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California’s Sex Ed Guidelines Suggest Asking Kindergartners What Gender They Identify As

Fri, 2019-05-10 14:00

“It’s pornography.” That’s how one mom described California’s new guidelines for sex ed.

Patricia Reyes, who spoke up Wednesday during a hearing in Sacramento, can’t fathom sending her children to school to learn about things that would be embarrassing for most of us to say out loud—let alone teach to elementary students.

“If this continues, I’m not sending them to school,” she said.

And she won’t be the only one.

Hundreds of parents protested the new framework Wednesday—which includes everything from lessons in self-pleasure to transgenderism.

As CBN pointed out, the guidelines even go so far as to encourage kindergarteners to think about whether they might identify with another gender.

Are you kidding? At that age, they don’t even know what gender is. The goal, officials say, is to create “an environment that is inclusive and challenges binary concepts about gender.”

Of course, the state Board of Education wouldn’t admit that. Instead, President Linda Darling-Hammond said, “We’re on a careful trajectory here not to be introducing things as though they are endorsed in some way.”

That’s interesting, since LGBT activists are tripping over themselves to tell California what a wonderful job they’ve done. And, as we all know, their goal isn’t to just “introduce things.” So many want to indoctrinate and recruit—and nothing short of that will suffice.

At one point, CBN notes, the state was considering cartoon drawings of genitalia for 5-year-olds and material for the older kids on bondage and homosexual acts.

“An earlier draft of the guidelines also suggested high schoolers read the book: ‘S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties.'”

After enough protest, these requirements were dropped.

But there’s still more than enough content to outrage parents—like the opt-out policy, which is allowed for portions—but not the LGBT lessons. That, most families have argued at various meetings, is a direct attack on parental authority.

“Now we’re teaching kids how to have a robust sex life? Not everything under the sun needs to be taught to our kids, with no moral judgment,” California Family Council’s Greg Burt, told The Sacramento Bee.

And the anger over the state’s curriculum isn’t just anecdotal. Stephanie Yates, founder of Informed Parents of California, says 20,000 people have joined the group since she created it last year.

And what about the teachers? They don’t want to send these messages any more than parents want their kids to hear them.

“Teachers are afraid they will be forced to teach concepts that go against their conscience, and use non-binary terms or else they could lose their jobs,” said Brenda Lebsack, who works for Santa Ana Unified.

Some of you may roll your eyes and dismiss this as “just California.” Don’t be fooled. This same extremism is coming to a classroom near you—and parents need to be equipped and ready to mobilize like these families have.

This sex ed countermovement in California is a testament to the involvement of a lot of moms and dads, teachers, and churches. As bad as some of these guidelines are, they would have been a lot worse if Californians hadn’t been actively engaged.

Make sure you are. For advice, check out the Family Research Council’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education.”

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

The post California’s Sex Ed Guidelines Suggest Asking Kindergartners What Gender They Identify As appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Liberals Were Very Wrong About Tax Cuts. Again.

Fri, 2019-05-10 13:59

For those of you who survived the Great GOP Tax Cut Massacre, things are finally looking up. The unemployment rate fell to 3.6% last month, the lowest level since 1969. We’ve now experienced over a full year of unemployment at 4% or lower. The economy beat projections, adding another 263,000 jobs in April. Wages are rising.

It was Larry Summers, Bill Clinton’s former treasury secretary and Barack Obama’s White House economic adviser, who warned that tax reform would lead to over 10,000 dead Americans every year in December of 2017. Summers, considered a reasonable moderate by today’s political standards, was just one of the many fearmongers.

The same month, after cautioning that passage of tax cuts would portend “Armageddon,” then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explained that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a reform of corporate tax codes and a wide-ranging relief, was “the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress.”

Worse than the Fugitive Slave Act? Worse than the Espionage Act? Worse than congressional approval of the internment of Japanese-Americans? That’s a really bad bill.

The tenor of left-wing cable news and punditry was predictably panic-stricken. After asserting that the cuts wouldn’t help create a single job, Bruce Bartlett told MSNBC that tax relief was “really akin to rape.” Kurt Eichenwald tweeted that “America died tonight.” “I’m a Depression historian,” read the headline on a Washington Post op-ed. “The GOP tax bill is straight out of 1929,” proclaimed the same writer. And so on.

None of this is even getting into the MSM’s straight news coverage, which persistently (and falsely) painted the bill as a tax cut for the wealthy. “One-Third of Middle Class Families Could End up Paying More Under the GOP Tax Plan,” noted Money magazine.

An Associated Press headline read, “House Passes First Rewrite of Nation’s Tax Laws in Three Decades, Providing Steep Tax Cuts for Businesses, the Wealthy.” “Poor Americans Would Lose Billions Under Senate GOP Tax Bill” reported CNN. Yahoo News ran one piece after the next predicting doom.

The GOP tax cut’s “unstated goal is to leave the poor and vulnerable in America without the support of their government,” an ABC News “analyst” alleged. “It’s not enough to give money to rich people. Apparently, Republicans want to kick the poor and middle class in the face, too,” a columnist at Washington Post noted, leaning hard into two of the stalest canards about tax policy.

Of course, the notion that allowing Americans to keep more of their own money is tantamount to “giving” them something is just transparently specious. Does any liberal really maintain that government owns all your income, and anything you keep is a gift?

Tax rates were not handed to us on Mount Sinai, they were cooked up by economists. In truth, you only “give” taxes, you never keep. And the government only spends.

In any event, the idea that the poor or middle class are being shaken down by the cuts was even more of a dishonest claim. As Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute has pointed out, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s largest percentage tax cuts went to the middle class.

Even the liberal Tax Policy Center estimated that 65% of Americans paid less last year (6% paid more) due to tax reform. More than 44% of Americans pay no federal income tax. (Though corporate taxes are also a tax on consumers, so cuts benefitted nearly everyone.)

That hasn’t stopped former Vice President Joe Biden. “There’s a $2 trillion tax cut last year. Did you feel it? Did you get anything from it? Of course not. Of course not. All of it went to folks at the top and corporations,” the presidential hopeful claimed the other day. It’s a fabrication.

Whenever you hear people bellowing about the wealthy benefitting most from across-the-board tax cuts, they always leave out the fact that the wealthy pay the vast majority of income taxes: The top 20% of income earners paid over 95% of individual income taxes in 2017, the top 10% paid 81%, and the top 0.1% paid nearly a quarter of all federal income taxes.

Supply-side economics isn’t a panacea. We’re racking up debt and continuing spending as if it doesn’t matter. Not all the underlying numbers are positive. There are thousands of economic unknowns that can’t be quantified or computed by economists, which is why the central planners and technocrats are almost always wrong.

And yes, when the recession finally comes, as it always does, liberals will once again blame tax cuts and deregulation. But to be this wrong this often deserves recognition.


The post Liberals Were Very Wrong About Tax Cuts. Again. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Taiwan Remains a Strong US Partner 40 Years After Key Legislation

Fri, 2019-05-10 13:06

The Senate last week passed a bipartisan resolution by unanimous consent that reaffirms America’s commitment to Taiwan and to the Taiwan Relations Act.

The Taiwan Relations Act, passed in 1979, set up a unique relationship with Taiwan whereby the U.S. engaged Taiwan politically and economically. China has claimed Taiwan as its own territory since Taiwan became a republic in 1947.

The April 30 resolution, which “urges the president to explore opportunities to expand and deepen bilateral economic and trade relations with Taiwan,” was submitted by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. Co-sponsors were Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Ed Markey, D-Mass.

Passage of the resolution was a timely act of Congress, as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act.

Also of note, the House recently passed another pro-Taiwan bill called the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019, which encourages Taiwan to build up its military and expresses a commitment to regularly sell weapons to Taiwan. The House also unanimously passed a non-binding resolution reaffirming U.S. support for the island country.

The Taiwan Relations Act provides policy continuity as the cornerstone of trust and cooperation between the United States and Taiwan. The law has survived has survived the test of time in the face of constant and growing criticism from China.

Then a member of the House, Markey is one of only two current senators to have voted for the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979. Markey observed that, with the realities of a new era calling for renewed dedication to peace and security, “I look forward to redoubling bipartisan efforts to uphold our responsibility to strengthen relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan.”

As a matter of fact, the United States and Taiwan have more in common than ever before: Both share values related to democratic principles, open and free markets, and respect for the rule of law.

Taiwan has proven to be a reliable and strong partner for America in advancing freedom, opportunity, and prosperity in the region and around the globe.

The Taiwan Relations Act has played an indispensable role in shaping American policy toward Taiwan and U.S. strategy in Asia.

Not surprisingly, Washington’s support for Taiwan has been getting stronger. Over the past year, Congress has reinforced the Taiwan Relations Act by enacting two new laws: the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages official visits between Washington and Taipei “at all levels of government,” and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which reiterates American support for Taiwan’s key role in the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy.

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act, former House Speaker Paul Ryan led the U.S. delegation to Taiwan.

In remarks April 15, Ryan said:

The U.S.-Taiwan partnership is a rare issue on which there is consensus from both sides of the aisle, and the Taiwan Relations Act was one of those transcendent moments when Congress did exactly what it was designed to do, and as a result, strong bipartisan support for Taiwan has endured for four decades thereafter.

The strategy of the United States is to ensure that freedom and openness flourish in the Indo-Pacific region. In this endeavor, we couldn’t ask for a better friend than Taiwan. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world.

Taiwan has been a steadfast partner for America, and 2019 is the right time for more practical steps to ensure that Taiwan remains, for the next 40 years as well, a reliable and like-minded ally for America in advancing freedom, opportunity, and prosperity in the Pacific region and beyond.

The post Taiwan Remains a Strong US Partner 40 Years After Key Legislation appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

House Democrats Are Shortchanging the Military

Fri, 2019-05-10 11:35

House appropriators have now released their budget top lines for every government agency, and their number for the Department of Defense shows they acknowledge the defense budget needs an increase.

But that increase still isn’t enough, as it falls short of the president’s budget request and of what the military needs to continue its rebuild.

The numbers released by Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, shows $622 billion for the base defense discretionary budget. That would be a 2.3% increase over the 2019 enacted budget.

It’s a good initial step that highlights a bipartisan understanding on the need to properly fund our national defense and make sure that our military has the necessary tools to engage in the great power competition outlined by the National Defense Strategy.

It is directionally correct, but Congress and the nation need to be more ambitious.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, have expressed multiple times that the Department of Defense requires between 3% and 5% real growth in the coming years in order to keep pace with the current threats facing our nation.

Meanwhile, the president’s budget request asks Congress for an increase of 4.8%. The president’s budget could still improve, but his defense budget top line is more in line with the challenges that our military faces.

As the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength shows, the military has seen improvement in its readiness, capacity, and capabilities because of the extra resources dedicated to it over the past two budget cycles.

Nonetheless, these gains need to be consolidated over time with continuous investments and improvement. The current emphasis on readiness recovery is especially fragile, because we’re dealing with human beings that need constant practice to keep their skills updated and sharp.

Furthermore, many of the investments in new platforms will take years to come to fruition.

For instance, an aircraft carrier contracted in January 2019 has a delivery date of March 2028. Or take the controversial F-15X. The Air Force wants to purchase eight of them in 2020, and the first two have a delivery date of June 2022. Even the Army is aiming to reach its readiness goals by 2022 and then focus on actualizing its modernization efforts.

These efforts will take time and persistent attention.

The military will not be fully ready in a couple of years and then everyone can go to Florida to relax on the beach. It requires a long-term vision and perspective.

One only needs to look at China, our pacing military threat, to get a better understanding of the time horizon of the challenge. The goal of the Chinese Communist Party is to have a modern military force capable of operating jointly in every domain of warfare by 2049. Talk about a long game.

If the United States wants to be able to counter Chinese ambitions, it needs to make sure we’re doing today what will help make us ready in the future.

That starts with recognizing the need to properly fund our military—and to do it.

The post House Democrats Are Shortchanging the Military appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Union’s Win Over Short-Term Rentals Shows Its True Colors

Fri, 2019-05-10 11:31

Union leaders really love to brag about things they don’t do.

You often can find them going on about how much they help and empower workers to fight the oppression of unscrupulous employers who will do anything to squeeze more profit out of their employees.

But reality doesn’t always match these claims. Recently released Labor Department filings for Unite Here Local 25, in Washington, D.C., reveal another egregious instance of union greed.

Primarily comprised of hotel workers, Local 25 was one of the most vocal advocates for heavily regulating Airbnb and other short-term residential rentals in the District of Columbia.

The D.C. Council in November unanimously passed legislation to strictly regulate short-term rentals.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson now threatens to deny building permits for new government buildings until Mayor Muriel Bowser, a fellow Democrat who opposed the law, implements it.

If the law goes into effect and survives legal challenges, D.C. residents no longer will be able to rent out properties that aren’t their primary residence. Residents also will be unable to rent out their homes for more than 90 days when they are not present.

This aspect of the law is especially worrisome in a city that has so many military and diplomatic personnel who often are away for significant parts of the year.

The D.C. Council grudgingly amended the bill to allow applications for exemptions to the 90-day limit, but more bureaucracy no doubt will be an impediment to busy city residents.

Unite Here Local 25 had advocated tougher regulations for years. The Washington Post reported in 2015 that “hotel workers in D.C. propose some of the strictest Airbnb regulations in the country.”

The local is honest about its selfish reasons for regulating Airbnb and similar operations. Several Twitter posts make it clear that union leaders viewed the regulations as necessary to eliminate threats to union jobs.

The Washington Times reported that the D.C. Council vote was greeted by cheers from union representatives. “About 100 of them in red shirts packed the council chambers Tuesday, having endorsed the bill as a means to protect hotel jobs,” the newspaper wrote.

The news site Curbed D.C. reported that John Boardman, executive secretary-treasurer of the local, ran up to the dais to shake Mendelson’s hand before the council chairman (whose 2012 campaign received $1,500 from the union) “politely shoo[ed] Boardman away.”

Yet the recently posted Labor Department filings reveal that the local’s support for regulating its competition went far beyond mere cheerleading: The union spent $130,000 in advertising during the run-up to the council’s vote.   

Sure, it’s unsurprising that a group would look out for its own economic interest. D.C. area hotels also supported the increased regulation because it hurts their competition.

But a union’s motivation is supposedly different than that of a private business. The principle of solidarity supposedly extends to all workers, not just those paying dues.

According to the local’s own website, “every day, unions are on the front lines of the real fight for democracy and justice.”

But the local apparently takes its idea of justice from the old adage: “That’s why they call it justice—because it’s just us.”

Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive places in the country to live. To make it in the district, many of those who rent out their homes and spare bedrooms and basements rely on the additional income they make through Airbnb.

Reason magazinerecounts the story of Lara Hawketts, a D.C. resident who lost her job and ended up renting her family’s basement out on Airbnb. Eventually, she started a business managing Airbnb rentals for friends who didn’t want to deal with the hassle.

The new regulations will make it illegal for her to do so, however, since they require that you live in the unit you’re renting out.  

If unions such as Unite Here actually practiced what they preached, they’d extend their solidarity to people such as Hawketts. Instead, they’re throwing her and thousands of other D.C. residents under the bus, along with the thousands of regular folks from out of town who now will be forced to pay higher prices to visit the nation’s capital.

It’s understandable that unions want to limit competition, but with over 9,000 additional hotel rooms planned by developers and under construction (more than the total number of D.C. Airbnb listings), there will be plenty of work to go around. With so much industry growth in the pipeline, one can’t help but think that in this instance the union cared more about preserving its power than protecting members’ jobs.

To power-hungry unions such as Unite Here, it doesn’t matter if you are a worker, a capitalist, or a needy Airbnb host. If you don’t pay your dues, you’re bound to lose.

The post Union’s Win Over Short-Term Rentals Shows Its True Colors appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Acting Defense Chief Shanahan Tapped to Succeed Mattis at Pentagon

Fri, 2019-05-10 11:27

President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to be the secretary of defense—and none too soon.

Shanahan has been the longest-serving acting secretary of defense in the nation’s history, assuming the position upon the departure of James Mattis on Jan. 1.

The nomination of a permanent secretary of defense is a good thing for America and for the Pentagon. As the Senate-confirmed defense chief, Shanahan will be able to set policy and give direction with the assurance that it will not be quickly superseded by another. 

He will enjoy a greater ability to work with key allies and partners as a Cabinet official who enjoys the full confidence of the president.

Shanahan responded to his nomination by Trump by tweeting, “I am honored by today’s announcement … . If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy.”

While some will note that Shanahan doesn’t have the experience working with the military that his predecessor, Mattis—a retired four-star Marine general—had, those who do so overlook the fact that it was Mattis who was the exception to the normal career pattern for secretaries of defense. 

With the notable exception of Gen. George C. Marshall, who was secretary of defense from 1950 to 1951, almost none have come into the job with an extensive military background. More typically, nominees are former congressmen, senators, lawyers, academics, or bureaucrats.

Shanahan has spent nearly his entire career as an executive working for the Boeing Co., in particular managing the Boeing 757 program. He’s known as a determined and hardworking leader with a zeal for obtaining performance.

In recent months, Shanahan has demonstrated that he can handle the job. He has navigated some delicate issues, including representing the United States at the Munich Security Conference in February, rolled out a controversial proposal for a Space Force, managed questions about the role of the Department of Defense on the southern border, and competently testified before Congress on the 2020 defense budget.

If confirmed by the Senate, Shanahan will not lack for challenges. There are critical policy decisions that the president will need the Pentagon’s advice on, including on Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, China, Russia, and others.

He also will need to seek allies and partners in Congress.

America’s national defense is critically important in these uncertain times. Having an experienced, Senate-confirmed secretary of defense is critically important, so it’s welcome news that Shanahan has been nominated for the position.

The post Acting Defense Chief Shanahan Tapped to Succeed Mattis at Pentagon appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

What Bernie Sanders Missed on His Soviet Honeymoon

Fri, 2019-05-10 10:47

Bernie Sanders and I have little in common, given his passionate commitment to “democratic” socialism and my firm belief in individual freedom. But we do share one thing: We both visited Moscow in 1988, albeit for differing reasons. 

Sanders was on what he called “a very strange honeymoon” with his bride Jane. I was traveling in the Soviet Union with a delegation of Western journalists and opinion leaders.  

According to The Washington Post, Sanders, then 46, had a wonderful time combining business and pleasure as the socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont, met “ordinary people” from everyday walks of life (carefully selected by the Communist Party, you may be sure).

He walked through Red Square and saw Lenin’s tomb, visited Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and took a boat ride down the Volga River. He traveled to Yaroslavl—Burlington’s “sister city”—where he toured factories, hospitals, and schools, all spruced up for the American visitors like a 20th-century Potemkin village.

Although visiting for only 10 days, Sanders found things that he liked, including the housing, which cost only 5% of a Russian’s income instead of the 40% in the United States. He was obviously unable to visit, as I did, a cramped Moscow apartment of two small rooms occupied by a family of five.

A Soviet-era apartment block in Moscow’s Presnensky District. (Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images)

At one point, Sanders went out of his way at a banquet to roundly criticize the way the United States had “intervened” in other countries. But he made no mention of the countless Soviet interventions since World War II—including the erection of the Iron Curtain that sealed off the 100 million people of Eastern and Central Europe, the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the suppression of the Czech rebellion of 1968, the banning of the Solidarity trade union in Poland in 1980, and the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

While in Yaroslavl, Sanders and his Vermont companions were treated to a visit to a sauna followed by so many toasts of vodka and Russian folk songs that a bare-chested, towel-clad Sanders was inspired to respond with the Woody Guthrie socialist classic “This Land Is Your Land.”

Just 584 miles to the southwest, Sanders could have visited Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster three years earlier, which turned that land into no man’s land. Any nation can have a nuclear meltdown, of course, but the Soviets led by Mikhail Gorbachev kept it a secret, allowing people to become sick and thousands to die. 

A Chernobyl widow cries, as she and other widows hold portraits of their late husbands during a mass march in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, April 23, 2005. (Photo: Sergei Supinsky/Getty Images)

What else did Sanders miss on his honeymoon in Moscow?

A visit to GUM, the gigantic department store fronting Red Square. When I visited, I saw desperate shoppers roaming the aisles like hungry wolves looking for hats, gloves, and coats. Dozens of women lined up to buy a pair of boots, which, if they didn’t fit, they would exchange with one other on the sidewalk.

Clearly, Sanders did not have the opportunity, as I did, to visit an official government “grocery” store empty of goods, save for dozens of unlabeled cans ignored by shoppers and a few withered yellowish chickens that even a starving man would have rejected.

Back in Vermont, reported The Washington Post, Sanders held a news conference in which he eulogized Soviet housing and health care and openly criticized America. But he left out the systematic Soviet repression of courageous dissidents like Natan Sharansky, who might still be in the gulag if President Ronald Reagan hadn’t determined to end the Cold War by winning it.

Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, left, is released in a prisoner exchange on Feb. 11, 1986, after being imprisoned for 13 years. He is flanked by U.S. Ambassador Richard Burt. (Photo: STF/Getty Images)

The next year, Sanders visited Cuba, and although he did not secure an interview with Fidel Castro, he returned with even greater praise of Cuba than of the Soviet Union.

While conceding Cuba had “enormous deficiencies” in human rights, he declared that he never saw a hungry child or a homeless person, but he did see a revolution “that is far deeper and more profound than I understood it to be.”

Neighbors in the poor neighborhood of Portuondo in Santiago, Cuba, sit by a mural that translates “Long Live the Revolution.” (Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images)

It’s a pity that Sanders didn’t return to Cuba a few years later and take a walk with the Ladies in White—the wives and female relatives of the many jailed Cuban dissidents. The ladies attend Mass each Sunday dressed in white, and then walk silently through the streets of Havana.

The Ladies in White march in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 2008. (Photo: Adalberto Roque/Getty Images)

This is the true face of the Cuban Revolution, one that an all-too-gullible Bernie Sanders didn’t seem interested in seeing.

The post What Bernie Sanders Missed on His Soviet Honeymoon appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

A Pediatrician Explains How ‘Dangerous’ Equality Act Would Force Doctors to ‘Do Harm’

Fri, 2019-05-10 03:01

Doctors who are uncomfortable prescribing hormone treatments or doing gender reassignment surgeries could soon potentially be in violation of federal law, warns Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians. And they’re not the only ones at risk: Parents, too, could find themselves unable to decide on their own child’s medical treatment. Read our interview with Cretella, posted below, or listen to it on the podcast:

We also cover these stories:

  • The U.S. seizes a North Korean ship.
  • President Donald Trump pledges to take action to end surprise medical billing.
  • Colorado teens walk out of a vigil following a school shooting when politicians start advocating gun control.

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!

Kate Trinko: We’re joined today by Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians. Dr. Cretella, thanks for joining us.

Dr. Michelle Cretella: Thank you for having me here.

Trinko: We’re looking at the Equality Act, which is legislation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have been advocating. It would essentially make sexual orientation and gender identity classes that you can’t discriminate against. Dr. Cretella, what do you think about this legislation?

Cretella: This is very dangerous legislation in that it literally mandates that health professionals do harm to people. This act says that a health professional cannot deny treatment to a person based on their gender identity.

Now, at first blush, people may say, “Well, what’s wrong with that?” The problem is this: A person who identifies as trans can very readily and easily go and access medical care for a common cold, an ankle sprain, etc. The issue is when they go into a doctor’s office and say, for example, a woman goes in and says, “I identify as a man. I want you, my OB-GYN, to perform a hysterectomy. Take my healthy uterus out of my healthy body.” That’s forcing a physician to violate his oath to first do no harm.

Now, the transgender activists claim that, “Oh, no. These transgender surgeries, removing reproductive organs, putting them on hormones is lifesaving.” It’s simply not true. That is not what the science shows.

As a matter of fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, under the Obama administration, found that the evidence for any benefit is too weak and that the risk of side effects and harm too great for the government mandate that Medicare or Medicaid pay. We’re talking about experimental procedures that H.R. 5 will mandate every single physician to participate in. And that’s the biggest problem.

It’s being mandated, as I say, under the guise of helping trans-identified people when, in point of fact, it does nothing to decrease their risk of suicide.

There’s a huge study out of Sweden that followed transgender individuals for 10, 20, and 30 years out. At 10 years out from surgery, their mental health was significantly worse than the general populations. So despite getting hormones and surgery, their underlying issues were not healed. By 30 years after surgery, the transgender-identified population had a suicide rate 19 times greater than the general population.

We are not helping. … These individuals who are suffering, we’re giving them toxic hormones that set them up for heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and worse, and we’re not even diminishing their suicide rate.

Daniel Davis: Yeah, it’s interesting that you talk about how doctors would be forced under this law to mutilate their patients, basically, under legal sanction. What kind of sanction would they be facing? Would they face jail time or fines if they refused to go along with gender transition surgery?

Cretella: Refusing to go along with prescribing these dangerous hormones, refusing to go along with performing the mutilating surgeries, you would be in violation of federal discrimination laws, and you would be subject to those penalties.

This isn’t just speculation. There are some states that have already enacted state laws similar to the Equality Act, and just based on that, in New Jersey, one Catholic hospital has been sued by a woman claiming to be a man. She sued the Catholic hospital because the hospital refused to perform a hysterectomy.

Similarly, in California, another Catholic health system is being sued by another woman who identifies as a man and wants a hysterectomy. And this is at a time when these individuals … have a choice. They can still go elsewhere.

Davis: It’s a lot like the cake baker who was forced to make a wedding for the gay—

Cretella: Exactly.

Davis: There’s plenty of other providers out there. It’s not a question of availability.

Cretella: Right. So it’s not a question of availability, which is why if H.R. 5 passes and becomes the law of the land, you are essentially putting Catholic health care out of business. You’re literally driving them out of business. …

So in other words, a surgeon who performs breast surgery for cancer patients must perform double mastectomies for physically healthy women who identify as men. But it’s not just in terms of surgeries or prescribing toxic hormones that would impact doctors.

It would also—it really should be the Inequality Act—will mandate physicians to also do other morally objectionable procedures, such as abortions, sterilizations. This is because H.R. 5 applies to sex and gender identity and sexual orientation without any moral conscience or religious exemptions.

Since H.R. 5 defines sex discrimination as including so-called reproductive health care, this H.R. 5 would also mandate physicians and health professionals to participate in sterilizations, dispensing contraception, and performing abortions against their moral conscience.

So there is a groundswell of opposition, certainly among the Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, but also in organizations like ours, the American College of Pediatricians, the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, and the American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs.

We stand for the traditional Hippocratic Oath, which means we don’t kill our patients—

Davis: Or harm them in any way.

Cretella: Or harm them in any way. So, although, as you would expect, Christian and Catholic physicians are especially alarmed, it is not only those two groups, but all of us who consider ourselves traditional Hippocratic physicians.

Trinko: You’ve obviously studied this legislation quite a lot. Do you have concerns about the Equality Act’s impact for parental rights, when they’re dealing perhaps with a child who doesn’t accept their gender identity, or for the curriculum and what it might start to include on LGBT issues?

Cretella: Parent rights in medicine, we’ll take first. There are none anymore. If this Equality Act passes, it literally says that any action by anyone to interfere with access to “transgender procedures or reproductive health,” that’s discrimination. That’s not allowed.

Again, we don’t have to speculate. In states already that have gender identity laws on the books, parents are losing their right to know.

We’re having kids who go to the school nurse, kids in middle school and high school going to the school nurse or another faculty member saying, “I’m trans, but I don’t want my parents to know.” And the schools are actually facilitating the puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

We’ve had one family in Ohio already had their parental rights terminated because they would not consent to their adolescent daughter getting puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

So no, H.R. 5, the kids essentially become the state’s. And similarly, as you alluded to, public schools, because they receive federal dollars, will actually be required to teach this transgender ideology from Pre-K on forward, all the way up.

… In terms of local control of your public schools—no. Out the door. No. Sex ed and this transgender ideology will be force fed to all kids from preschool on up.

Again, if you look at the states that have gender identity enshrined in law, this is already happening, so these aren’t scare tactics. I’m not making this up, it’s already happening in states that wrongly identify gender identity as though it’s race or skin color.

Davis: Yeah, it makes me wonder, if it were to pass, and, obviously, divided controlled government may not happen this year, but imposing this on the entire country … Yeah, some parts of the country are already doing it, they’re already progressive and liberal, but other parts of the country are not, and I can just imagine what kind of backlash there would be.

Cretella: There would be tremendous backlash. But I think it’s important for us to even step back. Even in the states that have gender identity enshrined as an innate and unchangeable characteristic, I think it’s important for our listeners to understand that even states that currently have gender identity protected as though it were skin color, they still have religious carve-outs. H.R. 5 has none.

This means, if H.R. 5 passes, that private schools and even churches and Catholic hospitals, all private institutions will have to bow down to the transgender ideology of the state.

Again, it’s because H.R. 5 rewrites civil rights law on so many different levels. It literally guts religious rights, parent rights, it eliminates the female half of the human race in law.

There won’t be anymore girls sports, it’ll be men’s sports versus coed sports. There won’t be any women’s restrooms, or women’s locker rooms, or even women’s shelters. It’s going to be coed everything. Yeah, coed everything. It completely undoes our entire way of life.

Trinko: Speaking of the sports issue, I was actually reading a liberal site the other day that was arguing that it shouldn’t matter if transgender athletes play women’s sports because some men are smaller than some women, and yada, yada, yada, and essentially, this shouldn’t be an issue.

What would you, as a doctor, say about the biological differences, even after transition, between biological females and biological males? And are there safety issues for biological females if they’re playing sports with transgender persons who were born male?

Cretella: You don’t get anymore anti-science than the claim that there are no biological differences between males and females. From fertilization, if you have a Y chromosome, you are male. That’s the normal pathway.

The fact that 0.02% of the time, you may have a mismatch, the fact that it’s this tiny … 99.98% of the time, you have a Y chromosome, you’re a male, XX, you’re a female. That’s the norm.

If you have that Y chromosome, it is present in every cell in your body, and it impacts the development of every organ system. So what does this mean? It means that every male has male musculature, bone structure. Yes, our brains are different. Every organ system is male at that basic cellular level. The muscle fibers of males are stronger than those of females.

Physiologically, we are a bimodal … Yes, there’s a range of normal in males and a range of normal in females, but at the most basic cellular physiological level, men are going to be bigger, faster, stronger.

Look, a man on estrogen is still a man. He’s still a man. He’s doping estrogen. He’s going to be weaker and slower than men who don’t dope estrogen, but he’s still not a woman.

Davis: One of the things we’ve also seen is some tension in the academic world. There was a study from Brown University that was very controversial, as you well know, it came out last year, and got a lot of flack because it reached some conclusions that the trans activist community didn’t like.

That study went under review for like six months, it came out again this past spring, basically the same conclusions.

But that made me wonder, how many other studies are there that are being suppressed, or researchers are being, behind closed doors, pressured not to pursue this kind of thing because of ideological pressure?

You’re closer to that world than we are. Do you think intimidation is a factor in shaping the kinds of questions and the kinds of approaches that researchers take?

Cretella: Absolutely, absolutely. Really, for a couple decades now, academia has been really controlled by progressive leftist elites, and American College of Pediatricians, we have many academic members who … won’t get their research funded because it doesn’t tow the ideological line, whether that is with regard to the life issues, or ideal family structure, and certainly the transgender issue.

One of our members is engaged in a lawsuit against his academic institution because he testified in favor of parents’ rights to not give their child the toxic cross-sex hormones, and his institution didn’t like that, and they basically fired him within three weeks, despite his stellar record as a clinician as well as a scientist. We anticipate he will win that lawsuit.

But you’re right, to come out in favor of caution with regard to affirming transgender beliefs in children can be career ending. And if that weren’t bad enough, you’re ostracized and vilified, so socially, you take a hit. It’s horrible.

Davis: So when we hear about the science, it’s important to remember that that “consensus” is being shaped by a lot of these ideological factors.

Cretella: Absolutely.

Davis: When Nancy Pelosi throws out, “Well, the scientific community has confirmed” so and so, that’s not exactly gospel.

Cretella: No. And the American Academy of Pediatrics is a great example. The American Academy of Pediatrics is roughly 87 years old. They were the only game in town. The American College of Pediatricians, we have been growing since 2002. So the AAP’s first statement on the care of gender dysphoria in children was written by an employee of the Human Rights Campaign. That would be like the American—

Davis: Which, for our audience, is the leading LGBT activist group.

Cretella: The leading LGBT activist group, yeah. And their update, the AAP’s updated statement, which was just released last October, sure, that one’s written by a physician. They weren’t counting on anyone fact-checking it, but a gender identity specialist and psychologist, Dr. James Cantor, was so shocked that the AAP was recommending that all children be transitioned, he fact-checked their policy.

Well, every single one of their references contradicts what they say. He pulled their references, read the references. Each reference they tuck away in their policy actually recommends watchful waiting, to support the young child through puberty, where the vast majority will accept their biological sex.

And the way this happens, by the way, it’s not that 66,000 pediatricians are lying. No. It’s that one extremist wrote the paper, and roughly 50 pediatricians get to vote on and pass the policy for everybody. We’re talking about large, so-called medical and mental health organizations publishing policies that are really reflecting the ideological belief system of a tiny minority of their members.

Trinko: Why do you think these big doctors’ groups are caving like this? Why are they going along with this agenda? And do you ever have doctors approaching you who say, “I’m afraid to speak out on this issue, but I agree with you.”?

Cretella: Absolutely. … The leadership in academia, over time, became very progressive, elitist, Marxist, if you will. The same has happened. That’s filtered over to medicine, psychology. The groups are caving because their leaders are of this mindset.

There’s a study from within the last five or 10 years that found people with gender identity disorder have a chemical factor in their brain that is elevated, and this particular factor is elevated in mental illness. You’re not going to hear about that study because, “Oh, it suggests that maybe gender dysphoria, trans identity might be related to mental illness somehow.” You won’t hear about that.

… The common person doesn’t realize that there are oodles and oodles of brain studies showing differences between girls who have anorexia nervosa and those who don’t.

Those studies are very solid, they’re replicated, but because there’s no political agenda there, doctors are free to say, “Oh, yeah. These differences. We know that the brain changes appearance and function based on behavior. We also know that if there is biology there, it’s only predisposition.” So they look at those brain changes and say, “Maybe one day there’ll be some medicine to help with the treatment of anorexia.”

But when we’re dealing with transgender, that’s not how the discussion goes. And by comparison, they’re very poor. Very few and far between, very poorly designed brain studies, but all you’ll hear is, “Oh, there’s differences here, there’s differences there in these brains. You know what? We’ve got some boys with girl brains, we’ve got some girls with boy brains.” … A boy can no more have a girl brain than he can have a girl hand. It’s all about political ideology.

Davis: I think that’s a great place for us to leave this. But Dr. Cretella, really appreciate you coming back to Heritage and joining us on the podcast.

Cretella: Thank you for having me.

The post A Pediatrician Explains How ‘Dangerous’ Equality Act Would Force Doctors to ‘Do Harm’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

New York Times May Have Broken Law by Publishing Trump’s Tax Returns

Fri, 2019-05-10 02:59

The New York Times no doubt considers it quite a coup to have obtained and published President Donald Trump’s tax return information from 1985 to 1994. But doing so violated Trump’s right under federal law to the confidentiality of his tax returns.

The Times—which reported that Trump’s businesses lost $1.17 billion during the 10-year period—has no more right to Trump’s tax returns than it has to mine or those of any of you reading these words.

Confidentiality, as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in 1991 in U.S. v. Richey, is essential to “maintaining a workable tax system.”

Taxpayer privacy is “fundamental to a tax system that relies on self-reporting” since it protects “sensitive or otherwise personal information,” said then-Judge (now Supreme Court Justice) Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1986 in another case when she served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Federal law—26 U.S.C. §7213(a)(1)—makes it a felony for any federal employee to disclose tax returns or “return information.” Infractions are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $250,000 under the Alternative Fines Act (18 U.S.C. §3571).

Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of The New York Times story, tax returns themselves, as well as tax return information such as these IRS transcripts (which are a summary of the tax returns), are protected from disclosure by federal law. And this provision applies to private individuals as well as government employees, a fact that should be considered by the New York Times’ source.

According to the newspaper, it did not actually obtain Trump’s tax returns but “printouts from his official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, from someone who had legal access to them.”

The Times quotes a lawyer for the president, Charles J. Harder, as saying that the tax information in the story is “demonstrably false” and that IRS transcripts, particularly from the days before electronic filing, are “notoriously inaccurate.” However, that claim is disputed by a former IRS employee now at the liberal Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

The president tweeted Wednesday in response to the Times story: “Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered ‘tax shelter,’ … you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”

….you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019

Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of The New York Times story, tax returns themselves, as well as tax return information such as these IRS transcripts (which are a summary of the tax returns), are protected from disclosure by federal law. If the newspaper obtained this information from an employee of the IRS, that employee will be in big trouble if he or she is identified.

Could the editors and reporters at The New York Times be prosecuted for publishing this information?

Section (a)(3) of the law makes it a felony for any person who receives an illegally disclosed tax return or return information to publish that return or that information. But it’s unknown if the bar on publication by a media organization could survive a First Amendment challenge.

What we do know is that in previous incidents, the government did not attempt to prosecute the publisher of tax return information. In 2014, the IRS agreed to pay the National Organization for Marriage $50,000 to settle a lawsuit after an IRS clerk illegally disclosed the organization’s tax return.

The clerk gave the tax return to Matthew Meisel, a former employee of Bain & Company, who gave it to the Human Rights Campaign (a political opponent of the National Organization for Marriage). The tax return was then posted on the Human Rights Campaign website and published by The Huffington Post.

Although the IRS paid to settle the lawsuit, none of the individuals or organizations involved in the illegal disclosure and publication were prosecuted.

If such a prosecution were attempted, there is no doubt that a First Amendment challenge would be filed.

The courts would then have to answer an important question: Are the interests of the government in an effective tax system and that of citizens in maintaining the confidentiality of their financial information outweighed by the First Amendment right of the press, and by and the public’s interest in obtaining financial information on elected officials?

In the midst of this illegal disclosure to The New York Times, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Monday that he would not comply with a demand by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., to provide the committee with copies of tax returns filed by Trump and eight of his companies for the last six years.

Mnuchin sent a letter to Neal telling him that “the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution requires that congressional information demands must reasonably serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The treasury secretary is correct. Numerous court decisions hold that legislative investigations must have a legitimate legislative purpose. Mnuchin says that Neal’s request “lacks” such a legitimate purpose.

The court decisions supporting Mnuchin’s decision include the 1957 decision in Watkins v. U.S., in which the Supreme Court told the House Un-American Activities Committee that “there is no congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure” the “private affairs of individuals.”

Neal has claimed that the legislative purpose of getting the Trump tax returns is to examine how the IRS audits presidents. But as Trump’s legal counsel has pointed out, Neal didn’t ask for the tax returns of any other presidents and hasn’t asked any questions of any kind about IRS policy and procedures for such audits.

Mnuchin tells Neal in his letter that he is willing to provide the congressman with complete information on “how the IRS conducts mandatory examinations of Presidents, as provided by the Internal Revenue Manual.”

If examining how the IRS audits presidents is really Neal’s legislative purpose—as opposed to simply wanting to expose anything embarrassing the committee finds in Trump’s tax returns—IRS information on its policies and procedures would be the only information the House committee would need.

So the Treasury Department has put House Democrats in check for now. It will probably be up to the courts to see who achieves checkmate when it comes to the Trump tax returns.

Now the interests of protecting the privacy of taxpayers warrants the opening of a government investigation to find the leaker who provided the Trump tax information to The New York Times.

The IRS and the Justice Department should investigate how this disclosure happened, find out who did it, and prosecute anyone who violated the law.

The post New York Times May Have Broken Law by Publishing Trump’s Tax Returns appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

US Seizure of North Korean Vessel Seen as Unlikely to Affect Relationship

Thu, 2019-05-09 18:56

The United States’ seizure, announced Thursday, of a North Korean vessel in Indonesia likely won’t affect already stalled denuclearization negotiations.

That’s the assessment of Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation.

“The U.S. legally seized the ship that Indonesia seized last year. Indonesia seized the ship for violation of U.N. resolutions,” said Klingner, a former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Korea branch, who warned against reading too much into the U.S. action by the Justice Department.

“This was a law enforcement procedure,” he said.

The 17,000-ton cargo vessel, named the Wise Honest, was reportedly used to illicitly ship coal from North Korea and deliver heavy machinery back to the country, according to the Justice Department.    

“Today’s action by the Justice Department was a positive step in enforcing U.N. resolutions and U.S. laws,” Klingner said. “Successive U.S. administrations, including the Trump administration, have pulled their punches on fully implementing U.S. laws. Hopefully, President [Donald] Trump will not reverse today’s actions as he did law enforcement measures by the Treasury Department in March.”

The ship’s allegedly illegal cargo became a U.S. legal matter because payments for maintenance of, equipment for, and improvements to the Wise Honest were made in U.S. dollars through unwitting U.S. banks, in violation of U.S. law, according to the Justice Department.

“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement. “North Korea, and the companies that help it evade U.S. and U.N. sanctions, should know that we will use all tools at our disposal—including a civil forfeiture action such as this one or criminal charges—to enforce the sanctions enacted by the U.S. and the global community.

“We are deeply committed to the role the Justice Department plays in applying maximum pressure to the North Korean regime to cease its belligerence,” Demers said.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of the Southern District of New York said this was the “first-ever seizure of a North Korean cargo vessel for violating international sanctions.”     

The Justice Department action comes shortly after North Korea test-launched a series of short-range missiles.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the missile launches or negotiations,” Klingner said. “People will ask, ‘Why today?’ My guess is, it’s a process matter. It’s not a major increase in U.S. pressure.”

Earlier Thursday, Trump was asked about the North Korean missile launches.

“We’re looking at it very seriously right now,” the president said. “Nobody’s happy about it. … I don’t think they’re ready to negotiate.”                    

Because the ship seizure’s initially occurred last year, Klingner doubts North Korea will respond now. He added that since Trump’s summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore last June, the Trump administration has gone easy on North Korea.

In March, the Treasury Department imposed additional sanctions on North Korea, and White House national security adviser John Bolton praised the move. However, Trump almost immediately reversed the move by his own officials.

“President Trump says he has applied maximum pressure, but he has not. In the first year and a half, the administration applied more pressure on North Korea than the Obama administration did during eight years,” Klingner said.

“That was good, but since Singapore, the administration has gone the opposite direction. Trump actually did something Obama never did; that’s reverse actions against North Korea. This [ship seizure] is not a case of Trump being tough on North Korea,” he said.

The post US Seizure of North Korean Vessel Seen as Unlikely to Affect Relationship appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Green New Deal Is a ‘Guise’ to Usher in Socialism, Lawmaker Warns

Thu, 2019-05-09 17:51

Members of the conservative Republican Study Committee say Democrats’ Green New Deal would be an economic wrecking ball.

“This is something that should concern every single American, because it will impact their pocketbooks. It will impact their families. It would, in a literal sense, change the very nature of our country,” Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said Tuesday in an interview with The Daily Signal for the group’s second episode of “Elephants in the Room” on Facebook Live.

“It is a guise, I think, to usher in the principles of socialism,” he added.

“Elephants in the Room,” launched April 9, is a live series hosted by The Daily Signal, where Republican Study Committee members address pressing issues of the day.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has sponsored the Green New Deal, is headlining a rally May 13 in Washington, D.C., in support of the legislation.

The Green New Deal, introduced in the form of a nonbinding resolution Feb. 7, would, among other things, “phase out conventional fuels (that is, oil, natural gas, and coal) by 2030 … ; implement a federal jobs guarantee; retrofit all U.S. buildings; overhaul transportation with high-speed rail; and provide universal health care,” Heritage Foundation scholar Lee Edwards wrote in a recent commentary.

The GOP group has released a “13-page takedown” of the Green New Deal. The document notes that one of the main goals of the Green New Deal is to “meet 100 percent of power demand through zero-emission energy sources,” but it points out that only 17 percent of the country’s energy generation comes from renewable sources.

“We are ‘all-of-the-above’ folks” supporting a wide range of energy sources, Johnson said. “We believe not only in the president’s vision for energy independence, but energy dominance. We achieve that … through private-sector innovation, not government regulation.”

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., the co-chairman of Congressional Republicans’ House Energy Action Team, said the Green New Deal would dismantle the gains the economy has made as a result of President Donald Trump’s policies.

“For the first time in my lifetime, we have jobs seeking employees, versus employees seeking jobs, and so, Trump policies, Republican policies, with taxes and with energy, have actually worked in this economy, and I don’t know why the Democrats would want to throw cold water on a robust economy,” Duncan said.

Johnson said the Green New Deal would force the American people to make drastic adjustments to their lifestyles to pay for the legislation, which he said “would do nothing” to improve the environment.

“Twenty-four percent of low-income families, they would have to make changes to cope with this. Twenty-four percent would have to go without food for a day, 37 percent would delay receiving medical attention, 34 percent would miss filling medications, and 23 percent would keep home temperatures at an unhealthy range,” Johnson said, citing figures from the study committee’s background paper, dubbed “A Greedy New Steal.”

Duncan said his Republican colleagues should instead be more focused on ways the country can capitalize on its abundant natural oil and gas reserves to promote energy independence and dominance.

“Energy dominance, being a nation of [exporting] crude oil and natural gas is not talked about enough by Republicans,” Duncan said. “We are not just meeting our domestic needs now. We have a surplus, and we are able to send it around the globe to improve the lives of people in poverty right now, in Africa or Third World countries.”

The post The Green New Deal Is a ‘Guise’ to Usher in Socialism, Lawmaker Warns appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

A Sign of Hope From Hollywood

Thu, 2019-05-09 17:24

This article contains spoilers for “Long Shot.”

For most of its two hours, “Long Shot” follows the usual tropes for a movie centered on a political character.

In the movie, which chronicles the love story between the elegant secretary of state and presidential contender Charlotte Fields (Charlize Theron) and the windbreaker-wearing, sloppy, stubborn journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), we don’t hear any mention of party, or the terms “liberal” or “conservative.”

But, as is typical for Hollywood, the main character’s top cause is a lefty cause: a giant environmental initiative. And the only person opposed to the initiative is, also typically, a greedy businessman and all-around terrible human being only after his own self-interest.

The movie gives zero suggestion that someone might do their research and, in good faith, come to oppose a comprehensive environmental initiative—not out of greed or hatred of nature.

Up to this point, the movie matches what we expect from the movies on politics.

Then something extraordinary occurs.

Hollywood allows a fun, endearing African-American character … to come out as a Republican.

And then it allows the liberal journalist character to realize he’s the bad guy, that his own judgmental attitude and arrogance has made his best friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) feel that he can never be true to who he really is around him.

(Yes, I nearly fell out of my chair.)

It’s clear from the get-go that Lance is—and always has been—there for Fred.

When Fred quits his job as a reporter—after finding out a corrupt business tycoon has bought the news outlet that employed him—Lance immediately ditches his own job to engage in a night of revelry with his friend to cheer him up. He’s also there to brighten Fred’s mood later, encouraging him with old axioms along the lines of “it’s important to pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and “hard work pays off.”

But when Fred breaks up with Charlotte because he’s frustrated at her compromises on the environmental initiative, Lance decides it’s time Fred learns some lessons about tolerance.

That’s when the big Republican reveal happens.

Lance tells Fred he’s never felt comfortable being honest with him about being Republican, or about believing in God—because he knew his friend would judge him. It’s a comedic scene, played for laughs—Seth Rogen is bombastic and wide-eyed in his horror, as his liberal journalist character discovers that his friend is praying for him, and that the cross Lance wears was no, not a cultural thing (and yes, believing that it was a cultural thing does make Fred the racist one), and that yes, those messages about hard work that resonated so deeply with Fred were coming from a conservative perspective.

It’s hilarious—and hopeful.

Jackson’s character is likable—and in this scene, regardless of your political beliefs, you want to root for him and not for the judgmental, small-minded Fred Flarsky.

It’s a sympathetic portrayal of a situation too many conservatives find themselves in these days: feeling that they can’t be honest about their beliefs on a whole host of issues because even friends won’t be tolerant.

The data shows it’s credible conservatives feel that way.

A 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 35% of those who were Democrat or leaned Democrat thought that a friend voting for Donald Trump would put a strain on their friendship. (Among liberal Democrats, just under half—47%—thought it would strain the friendship.) By contrast, only 13% of Republicans or those who lean Republican thought the same when it came to a friend voting for Hillary Clinton.

In 2016, a Public Religion Research Institute poll found that “nearly one-quarter (24%) of Democrats say they blocked, unfriended, or stopped following someone on social media after the election because of their political posts on social media.” But it was a different story on the right: “Fewer than one in ten Republicans (9%) and independents (9%) report eliminating people from their social media circle.”

But while losing friends over politics is a common story for conservatives, it’s not one that I can recall Hollywood ever acknowledging.

Of course, this isn’t to say “Long Shot” is a conservative movie—or even one I’d necessarily recommend. The sweet love story is unfortunately, and unnecessarily, marred by constant crude comments and scenes. It’s a little weird, in our #MeToo era, to see a female boss hit on her male subordinate—without even a cursory consideration of whether she just exploited power dynamics for sexual purposes. (Girl power doesn’t mean women can do the same bad things men do.)

And overall, by casting all opposition to the environmental initiative as driven by greed, the film perpetuates the myth that it’s only because of money that people have concerns about environmental initiatives.

But if you’re a fan of romantic comedies (#guilty), this is an often delightful one that takes the extra step of encouraging true tolerance.

Now, if Hollywood could just start practicing what “Long Shot” preaches.

The post A Sign of Hope From Hollywood appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Problematic Women: Leave Brett Kavanaugh Alone

Thu, 2019-05-09 15:03

Months after his confirmation, the left is still talking about Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Elizabeth Slattery, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, joins us to explain former President Bill Clinton’s accusations against him, the Tenth Circuit Court’s ruling dismissing claims against the justice, and if there’s any end in sight to the continued character attacks.

We also discuss the Pennsylvania state lawmaker who filmed himself berating a woman silently praying in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic and respond to some of his arguments against the pro-life movement. Also, we watched the new documentary “Knock Down the House,” about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other liberal candidates. We let you know the good, bad, and crazy about the film.

Lastly in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we crown moms as our Problematic Woman of the Week.

Listen to the full podcast:

The post Problematic Women: Leave Brett Kavanaugh Alone appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

An Illegal Immigrant Killed Her Son, a Police Officer. Here’s How This Mom Fights to Save Others.

Thu, 2019-05-09 14:32

A mother whose son died after a car wreck caused by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record who was drunk and high on drugs says his death left a permanent scar on her life.

“When he was taken from me, there was a huge part of my life that was taken,” Mary Ann Mendoza told The Daily Signal in an interview about her son Brandon, who served as a police sergeant in Mesa, Arizona.

Mendoza, a Realtor who now also calls herself an activist against illegal immigration, founded Angel Families with another woman who lost a daughter to an illegal immigrant and drunk driver.

Five years ago, Mendoza and her son had just celebrated Mother’s Day by having dinner together the day before the accident.

Brandon Mendoza was on his way home from work on May 12, 2014, when a vehicle driven by the repeat offender “slammed head-on” into his car in Tempe, she said.

Her son died in surgery about three hours later. He was 32.

Raul Silva-Corona, 42, the illegal immigrant responsible for the crash, was determined to be “three-times-the-legal-limit drunk, high on meth, [and] had driven over 35 miles the wrong way on the freeways here in Phoenix,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza wrote a letter to President Barack Obama in July 2014 asking for answers about her son’s death and why her son’s killer had not been deported.

Brandon was the only one of her four children who wasn’t married with kids of his own, she told The Daily Signal, so they used to travel and do other things together.

Mendoza, who is divorced and lives in Mesa, said she was awakened by a call about 2:45 a.m. to inform her that her son had been in a terrible accident:

I was woke up out of deep sleep, and I kept trying to call Brandon’s cell phone. He wasn’t answering, and a few minutes later the Mesa Police Department came to my house, rang the doorbell. I knew when we drove up to the hospital, the police presence there, I just knew that it wasn’t good. That’s the day that my life changed forever.

Silva-Corona, the illegal alien, reportedly was not deported in 1994 after being convicted of several crimes in Colorado. He also died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Mendoza, who met in March with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, said her son had a generous heart.

“He spent a lot of time at the Boys and Girls Club at the Mesa Arts Academy, [and] made sure that the children knew the importance of staying in school, staying out of gangs, staying away from drugs,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said Brandon “would spend his own money and go and get pizza or ice cream for them after he had spent his time off playing kickball with them in the park.”

Her son also bought presents for area children who weren’t going to be able to have much for Christmas.

Mendoza founded Angel Families with Michelle Root, whose daughter Sarah was killed in 2016 in Omaha in a car crash caused by Eswin Mejia, a 19-year-old illegal immigrant from Honduras who police said was driving drunk.

The two angel parents’ organization works to educate the public about crimes committed by illegal aliens and bring them to the forefront of society.  “Angel parents” refers to those whose children have been killed by illegal immigrants.

Mendoza said her son’s death at the hands of an illegal immigrant underscores the increasing need for border security and immigration reform.

“The thing that really catapulted me into this fight was the leniency that’s shown to illegal aliens in our court system, because my son’s killer was a repeat illegal alien criminal, and that is what you hear so many times,” she said.

“A lot of these angel families, their loved ones have been killed by an illegal alien who’s already committed a crime in our country, [but] was shown leniency or served no jail for the crime they committed, that you or I would be in jail for. So, that kind of catapulted me into this,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza and fellow activists are working on a campaign they call Blood on Your Hands.

We want to start calling these politicians out. Real soon here, we’re going to have billboards coming up across the United States. [They’re] going to show pictures of our loved ones, and talk about, ‘My son was killed by a repeat illegal alien criminal,’ ‘This person was killed by a Dreamer.’

Every one of our billboards are going to [say] #BloodOnYourHands, until Americans start realizing you’re electing politicians into office who don’t care about you.

She said critics are incorrect to say that pushing for immigration reform is hateful or racist.

“A lot of people say, ‘It’s racial, you’re just doing this in a hateful way,’” Mendoza said. “You know, illegal aliens aren’t a race. They’re people from all over … and I’m not saying anything about one particular race. I’m saying people who are illegally present in our country have got to be stopped.”

She said the most important thing people can do is become informed on the issue of illegal immigration.

“Start educating yourself,” Mendoza said. “Get on websites that give you the truth. Don’t read a headline and believe that it’s the truth. You have to know, illegal alien criminals are committing more crimes at a larger rate than American citizens are.”

The post An Illegal Immigrant Killed Her Son, a Police Officer. Here’s How This Mom Fights to Save Others. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Pompeo Sends the Message Britain Needs to Hear

Thu, 2019-05-09 14:23

Speaking Wednesday in London at the Centre for Policy Studies—a distinguished think tank founded by Margaret Thatcher—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered the annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture. And he said just what Britain needed to hear.

The essence of Pompeo’s remarks was that Britain is a great and global power, with which the United States enjoys a special relationship—and that it needs to remember that. Throughout, the secretary was careful not to fall into the trap of telling Britain what to do. Instead, he reminded it of its strengths, its interests, and its friends, and left Britain to draw the correct conclusions.

The special relationship is often ignored, or even derided. But as the secretary pointed out, it is a fact of history, of culture, of language, of shared security and intelligence cooperation, of tourism and travel, and of immense economic cooperation.

The fact that British diplomats “are free to enter our headquarters in Washington, D.C., wearing the very same [security] badges that we do” is symbolic of a much larger reality. Like an iceberg, much of the special relationship is below the surface—but it is there nonetheless.

The secretary did not make the mistake of avoiding hard subjects. The U.S. and Britain are similar in many things, but not identical, and as different nations it is natural they will differ from time to time. Mutual respect demands not soft platitudes, but the courteous and clear expression of differences.

One point on which we differ today is our approach to Huawei and other Chinese technology firms. Last month, Britain agreed to give Huawei a limited role in building parts of its 5G network.

The secretary reminded Britain of the dangers involved:

As a matter of Chinese law, the Chinese government can rightfully demand access to data flowing through Huawei and ZTE systems. Why would anyone grant such power to a regime that has already grossly violated cyberspace? What can her majesty’s government do to make sure sensitive technologies don’t become open doors for Beijing’s spymasters?

The U.S. and U.K. also have differences on Iran, though these differences, as the secretary noted, are smaller and more clearly defined than our differences on China.

Pompeo’s point here was clear: The only thing Britain has to gain from dealing with Iran is trade, and there are better and more enduring ways of opening the Iranian market than trading with those who rule Iran today.

He also called on Britain to embrace the shale revolution that has grown U.S. oil production—“one American revolution that the British can actually welcome,” as he put it.

The best part of Pompeo’s speech came at the end. Recognizing that Britain’s decision on Brexit rests in its own hands alone, the secretary made it clear that “our relationship has been amazing and strong before Brexit, and it will be strong after it.”

But he also emphasized that the U.S. is eager “for a new free trade agreement that will take our No. 1 trade relationship to unlimited new heights. And I spoke with both Foreign Secretary Hunt and Prime Minister May about this this morning. We’ve filed all the papers we can at this point, and we are ready to go.”

He ended his remarks by alluding to former President Barack Obama’s foolish remark that if Britain left the European Union, it would be at the back of the line for a new trade deal with the U.S.: “Ultimately, when all is settled, you’ll be first in line for a new trade deal, not at the end of the queue.”

Of course, as Pompeo will have known, the U.K. cannot do a trade deal with the U.S. unless and until it completely leaves the EU’s Customs Union. So the ball is in Britain’s court.

The U.S. has been as clear as it possibly could be. It has told Britain, in effect, to come on into the pool—the water outside the EU is fine. The U.S. has stated, over and over again in the plainest possible language, that it wants a major trade deal with the U.K.—and many of Britain’s friends around the world have said the same thing.

There is simply no basis for the notion that Britain will not be able to trade and prosper outside the EU. After all, the U.S. itself does both from outside the EU. So can Britain.

Congratulations to Pompeo for an excellent speech—one with several good jokes and good quotes—that managed the difficult feat of being both funny and serious. He spoke plainly and in friendship, and told Britain exactly what it needed to hear: We have our differences, but we also have your back.

What Britain needs above all is to believe what the U.S. already knows about it: Britain can thrive among its friends as an independent, democratic, and sovereign nation.

The post Pompeo Sends the Message Britain Needs to Hear appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Peculiar Case of Alaskan Senators’ Support for the Jones Act

Thu, 2019-05-09 13:53

Things cost more in Alaska. A very expensive reason why is the century-old law known as the Jones Act.

Section 27 of the act—named for Sen. Wesley Jones, R-Wash., who served in the Senate in the early part of the 20th century—requires that ships transporting goods between U.S. ports must be at least 75% U.S.-owned, at least 75% U.S. crewed, and assembled in the U.S. of components almost entirely fabricated in the U.S.

Among the many inefficiencies caused by the act—also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920—is that it drives up the price of shipped goods between U.S. ports.

There are few seaworthy ships that adhere to the rules of the Jones Act and those that do are expensive to build and to operate.

The daily operating cost of crew, tools, supplies, maintenance and repair,  insurance, and overhead of operating a Jones Act-compliant, U.S.-flagged ship was calculated as being $20,053 per day in 2010, compared with only $7,454 for the foreign-flagged vessels that are prohibited from transporting goods between U.S. ports due to the Jones Act.

As a consequence, goods and produce shipped on Jones Act vessels are pricier.

Or, goods travel by truck, air, or rail; snarl traffic; waste resources; and increase pollution.

Or, buyers look outside the United States for their goods so they don’t have to use Jones Act vessels—like when Virginia and Maryland bought rock salt used for treating icy roads in winter from Chile instead of Louisiana.

The Jones Act is a typical example of political cronyism at work in perverting economic policy: A small group of people lobby extensively to receive a government economic benefit whose cost is spread widely over the entire population.

The hope is that the overall population won’t notice the pennies being plucked from their pockets to enrich the politically connected beneficiaries.

In this case, the small group includes the dwindling number of domestic shipyards in the U.S. and some labor unions. The larger group includes everyone shopping for something at a grocery store.

Grocery items in the four Alaskan cities of Juneau, Kodiak, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, average more than 38% more expensive than in the average U.S. city, in large part due to the state’s dependence on maritime transportation having to comply with the Jones Act.

The transportation of crude oil and natural gas from U.S. port to U.S. port is also more expensive as a result of the Jones Act.

President Donald Trump was recently rumored to be considering relaxing some Jones Act requirements to more cost effectively ship natural gas by ship in the U.S.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., threw a wet blanket on that idea when he announced after meeting with Trump that no waivers to the law are imminent.

The president’s apparent change of heart may be due in part to the advocacy for the Jones Act at the meeting by Alaska’s two Republican senators, Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski.

Why would Alaska’s senators be arguing in favor of a law that so clearly raises costs for their constituents? For whatever reason, the vested interests of the sea transport industry have won the day in the competition for the senators’ ears.

The post The Peculiar Case of Alaskan Senators’ Support for the Jones Act appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Why the Left Mocks the Bible

Thu, 2019-05-09 13:41

At PragerU, we have released about 400 videos on virtually every subject outside of the natural sciences and math. Along with 2 billion views, the videos have garnered tens of thousands of comments. So we have a pretty good handle on what people most love and most hate.

For example, any video defending America or Israel inevitably receives many negative responses. But no videos elicit the amount of contempt and mockery that videos defending religion, explaining the Bible, or arguing for God do.

Why is that?

There is a good reason. The Bible and the left (not liberalism, leftism) are as opposed as any two worldviews can be. While there are people who claim to hold both a Bible-based worldview and left-wing views, these people are few in number.

Moreover, what they do is take left-wing positions and wrap them in a few Bible verses. But on virtually every important value in life, the left and the Bible are diametrically opposed.

Here are a few examples:

The biblical view is that people are not basically good. Evil therefore comes from within human nature. For the left, human nature is not the source of evil. Capitalism, patriarchy, poverty, religion, nationalism, or some other external cause is the source of evil.

The biblical view is that nature was created for man. The left-wing view is that man is just another part of nature.

The biblical view is that man is created in the image of God and, therefore, formed with a transcendent, immaterial soul. The left-wing view—indeed, the view of all secular ideologies—is that man is purely material, another assemblage of stellar dust.

The biblical view is that the human being has free will. The left-wing view—again, the view of all secular outlooks—is that human beings have no free will. Everything we do is determined by environment, genes, and the matter of which we are composed. Firing neurons, not free will, explain both murders and kindness.

The biblical view is that while reason alone can lead a person to conclude murder is wrong, murder is ultimately and objectively wrong only because there is a transcendent source of right and wrong—God—who deems murder evil.

The biblical view is that God made order out of chaos. Order is defined by distinctions. One such example is male and female—the only inherent human distinction that matters to God.

There are no racial or ethnic distinctions in God’s order; there is only the human sex distinction. The left loathes this concept of a divine order. That is the primary driver of its current attempt to obliterate the male-female distinction.

The biblical view is that the nuclear family is the basic unit of society—a married father and mother and their children. This is the biblical ideal.

All good people of faith recognize that the reality of this world is such that many people do not or cannot live that ideal. And such people often merit our support. But that does not change the fact that the nuclear family is the one best-suited to create thriving individuals and a healthy society, and we who take the Bible seriously must continue to advocate the ideal family structure as the Bible defines it. And for that, perhaps more than anything, we are mocked.

The biblical view holds that wisdom begins with acknowledging God. The secular view is that God is unnecessary for wisdom, and the left-wing view is that God is destructive to wisdom. But if you want to know which view is more accurate, look at the most godless and Bible-less institutions in our society: the universities. They are, without competition, the most foolish institutions in our society.

For nearly all of American history, the Bible was the most important book in America. It is no longer. This is a moral and intellectual catastrophe. If you want to understand why, consider reading “The Rational Bible,” my commentary on the first five books of the Bible. The second volume of “The Rational Bible,” “Genesis,” is published today.


The post Why the Left Mocks the Bible appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

How Equality Act Would Promote Abortion

Thu, 2019-05-09 12:59

In the history of bad bills, there are a lot of doozies. Just in the last handful of months, we’ve had a Democratic grab bag of everything from abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Green New Deal. But nothing—not even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, D-N.Y., crusade against airplanes and cows—compares to the one measure that out-radicals them all: the Equality Act. And the worst mistake any of us can make is not taking the threat seriously.

Maybe, like a lot of Americans, you think the Democrats’ H.R. 5 is just about sex and gender. Well, think again. This isn’t just the most extreme LGBT bill ever written. This is one-stop shopping for the worst the far-left agenda has to offer—including, we’ve discovered, the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion this country has ever seen.

That’s right. The Equality Act doesn’t just torch religious freedom and the First Amendment, it guts every pro-life protection ever passed into law.

On the Hill, the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus is just one of the groups frantically trying to warn members. Now that the text of the bill has been released, staffers have had time to comb the language for land mines. And based on what our team has seen, there’s a field of them.

Believe it or not, Democrats didn’t just expand the meaning of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”—they’ve also defined it to mean “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” In other words, under the terms of this proposal, “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition … shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions.”

Under this big new umbrella of “discrimination,” any American who doesn’t want to fund, offer, perform, or participate in abortion-on-demand will have no real choice. They can conform—or they can be punished.

If you thought the Obamacare mandate was bad, the Equality Act will look like a Sunday picnic by comparison. Taxpayers will be openly funding the culture of death all across America. Every wall that’s been built between abortion and the government would come crashing down, including the Hyde Amendment, the pro-conscience Weldon Amendment, and several international barriers that keep our country from exporting abortion.

And, since the left has made sure to strip out any religious liberty protections under the Equality Act, faith-based hospitals and medical staff could find themselves completely defenseless against a sex discrimination claim for refusing to perform or offer abortions—which liberals will argue gives “a related medical condition” to pregnancy “less favorable treatment than other physical conditions.” State laws could be just as vulnerable in court, where activist judges are all too eager to expand abortion.

Make no mistake: H.R. 5 isn’t just a threat to freedom, business, privacy, education, sports, and faith. This is a threat to innocent human life.

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

The post How Equality Act Would Promote Abortion appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Injustice of the Left’s Fury Against Barr

Thu, 2019-05-09 03:02

Democrats have grown infuriated by Attorney General William Barr’s indifference to their hysteria over the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Barr recently released a brief summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions that President Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians to warp the 2016 election.

Barr added that Mueller had not found enough evidence to recommend that Trump be indicted for obstruction of justice for the non-crime of collusion.

Progressives, who for 22 months had insisted that Trump was a Russian asset, were stunned—but only for a few hours.

Almost immediately, they redirected their fury toward Barr’s summation of the Mueller report. Yet few rational people contested Barr’s synopses about collusion and obstruction.

Both the Mueller report and Barr’s summation can be found on the internet. Anyone can read them to see whether Barr misrepresented Mueller’s conclusions.

Again, there have been few criticisms that Barr was wrong on his interpretation that there was no collusion and not enough evidence to indict on obstruction of justice.

But now Democrats are calling for Barr to resign or be impeached for not regurgitating the unproven allegations against Trump.

In other words, Barr acted too much like a federal prosecutor, rather than a tabloid reporter trafficking in allegations that did not amount to criminal conduct.

The besmirching of Barr’s conduct is surreal. He certainly has not done anything even remotely approximating the conduct of former President Barack Obama’s two attorneys general.

Has Barr dubbed himself the president’s “wingman” or called America a “nation of cowards,” as former Attorney General Eric Holder did?

Has Barr’s Department of Justice monitored reporters’ communications or ordered surveillance of a television journalist? Has Barr used a government jet to take his family to the Belmont Stakes horse race, as Holder did?

Has Barr met secretly on an airport tarmac with the spouse of a person his Justice Department was investigating, as did former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who had such a meeting with Bill Clinton?

The Mueller report ignored the likely illegal origins of the Christopher Steele dossier, the insertion of an FBI informant into the Trump campaign, the unlawful leaking of documents, and the conflicted testimonies of former high-level intelligence officials.

All of those things were potential felonies. All in some way yielded information that Mueller drew on in his investigation. Yet Mueller never recommended a single indictment of any of the Obama-era officials who likely broke laws.

Mueller was instead fixated on possible collusion with Russia. But it is a crime to knowingly hire a foreign national to work on a presidential campaign—in other words, to “collude.” That’s exactly what the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee did when they paid British subject Steele to smear Trump.

Did Mueller argue that the possible crimes of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and other former government officials—lying to federal investigators, perjury, obstruction of justice, deceiving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, planting an informant into a political campaign, unmasking and leaking the identities of individuals under surveillance—were only peripheral to his investigation?

Not really.

After all, Mueller indicted Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, and others for crimes that had nothing to do with collusion and were far less serious than the improper behavior of top Obama administration bureaucrats.

So, what really explains the furor now directed at Barr?

One, progressives are terrified that a number of Trump’s critics—Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe—may soon be indicted.

They apparently seek to pre-empt such indictments by attacking Barr, a seemingly no-nonsense prosecutor who will likely follow up on any criminal referrals from any inspector general that reach his desk.

Two, the 2020 progressive agenda—whether defined as the Green New Deal, a wealth tax, Medicare for All, or open borders—will not compete well with Trump’s currently booming economy.

Impeaching Trump for collusion and obstruction is seen by progressives as the best (or perhaps only) way to return to power. That effort so far is failing, causing even more hysteria.

Three, the Mueller investigation is over, finished after 22 months, $34 million, and a 448-page, two-volume report.

There will be no indictments of Trump for either collusion or the obstruction of justice during the investigation of that non-crime. So, now what?

Since late 2015, Trump, as the supposed Russian puppet or the Machiavellian obstructer of justice, was nightly cable TV news fare. Now, such fantasies are shattered. But progressives are not willing to let the Mueller investigation rest in peace and move on with their lives.

Perhaps they feel in the political sense that there is nothing to move on to. And they are probably right.

(C) 2019 Tribune Content Agency LLC

The post The Injustice of the Left’s Fury Against Barr appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

She Survived an Abortion Attempt. Now, She Defends Life.

Thu, 2019-05-09 03:01

It was just last month that the House failed to pass a bill protecting babies who survive an abortion attempt. Our executive editor, Rob Bluey, was able to sit down with a woman who survived just that—an abortion attempt, something few can imagine. Gianna Jessen is now a pro-life activist, and today, we bring you her interview. Plus: The royal baby has arrived.

We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump asserts executive privilege to block release of the full unredacted Mueller report.
  • Court rules that Trump administration can keep sending asylum-seekers to Mexico.
  • Trump’s tax returns from the ’80s and ’90s come to light.

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

Rob Bluey: We’re joined at The Daily Signal by Gianna Jessen. Gianna, thanks so much for being with The Daily Signal.

Gianna Jessen: Thank you for having me.

Bluey: You are the survivor of a failed abortion attempt. You’ve become a pro-life advocate. You have such a powerful story. I want to begin there. Tell us about when you first found out about this experience that you went through as a baby.

Jessen: I found out when I was 12. I’m adopted, and I found out on Christmas Day, which is interesting. My life has always been bizarre, but yes, I’m adopted, and my biological mother was 17 and she went to Planned Parenthood, who said, “You know, you’re too young to have a kid. You need to go have a late-term saline abortion.”

A saline abortion is a saline salt solution that’s injected into the mother’s womb. It burns, blinds, and suffocates the baby, and then the baby has to be born dead within 24 hours.

My enemies love to say this doesn’t occur anymore. In fact, it is rare, but they still do occur, and my response to that is, “Even if one more occurs, isn’t that one too many? I mean, you’re burning a child alive.” That’s pretty horrific.

And then they love to say that I’m lying because I have no burns on my body, but my medical records do, in fact, state, “Born during saline abortion,” which is pretty clear, “April the 6th, 1977, 6 a.m., 29.5 weeks gestation, 2.5 pounds, no resuscitation required upon arrival at the hospital,” which is miraculous.

So, I was speaking with a neonatologist in Italy, and he believes that the amniotic fluid was more than the saline solution and protected me, but he was careful to also say, ” … I believe it was Jesus,” and I absolutely agree with him. I am not ashamed of the gospel, and I have cerebral palsy as well. I was never supposed to hold up my head and all that, so, the fact that I’m able to walk is an absolute gift.

Bluey: Well, it is a blessing to have you here, and we’re so thankful for the work that you do. You did mention you have cerebral palsy … You’ve also described that as a gift, though, so I wanted to hear from you as to what it’s been like to live your life and why, when you found out at the age of 12, you decided to move in the direction of being an advocate for pro-life values?

Jessen: I think people need to know that their own life is precious. If you’re going to discard God in society and you’re going to be ashamed of Jesus, how are you going to teach people that they’re valuable at all? For me, it’s about telling you, “Hey, hey, you are valuable because you’re created in the image of God.”

So my biological mother showed up unannounced at an event one day and said, “You know, you are an embarrassment to this family, and you are this, and you are that, and your father is this, and blah, blah, blah.”

She could have told me I was the devil himself and it wouldn’t have mattered because I’m not defined by her. I’m defined by Christ. So people want to say, “Leave Jesus out of this. You’re too Jesus-y.” You know, we’re too sophisticated for him now, right? We’re just too sophisticated.

However, I was never supposed to live. I was never supposed to hold up my head. I was never supposed to walk. But how could I be embarrassed? So, you’ve got to find your values somewhere.

And to more specifically answer your question, for me, it’s about sharing the gospel. And then if I do that, I know that people’s hearts will change and they will not end the lives of their children, and also to bring relief to women and families who are tormented by the decision to abort their children.

Where do you find peace, really? Does that make sense?

Bluey: It does, and … what is your message or how do you interact with other abortion survivors? Because there seems to be a growing number of you who are speaking out and talking about the value and sanctity of life.

Jessen: Yeah, … we just kind of do our thing. I don’t go to conventions and whatever of them, but we all obviously stand for life and are doing what we can.

Bluey: … We’re at a time when New York state has adopted a law. Virginia’s governor has spoken openly about infanticide. What do you think is wrong with the culture, and how can we move to a direction where we actually value life? What do we need to do?

Jessen: You know what I’m really tired of? I’m really tired of lip service. … I know there are some incredible pro-life people in Washington. I am so grateful for them and have been working for years. I get all that. But I also see that there are over 3,000 kids every day being killed in America and I don’t see people grieving.

I don’t see people showing up with the same passion, mixed with, or combined with, love that the proponents of abortion show up with. They’re not showing up with love, obviously. But they show up with so much passion and they are so driven, and if we showed up with that level of passion with love to end this, to stop this, to take care of the women, to take care of the babies, to adopt all the kids, it would end. But I don’t think we really care.

Bluey: Well, there is a move in the U.S. Congress to bring to the floor in the U.S. House—and despite that fact the Democrats are in control—the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Jessen: Yes, I was just there to support the—

Bluey: Heritage Action is obviously fully supportive of the discharge petition. It really requires Democrats to sign on in order for it to get a vote on the floor. Tell us about your activism and what you’re trying to do to change the way that that legislation moves forward and maybe change some minds along the way.

Jessen: Yeah, I was just in an office of a Democrat, and I was speaking to actually one of the staff members, and the guy was just stunned, just stunned. He couldn’t even hardly say a word. You could see that he had never thought about it.

See this is the thing. … We’re not allowed to be honest anymore. We don’t want to talk about this. We don’t want to think about these things, so we don’t.

So, when you’re sitting in front of someone who was supposed to be dead and is bearing the consequences of surviving an abortion, though I’m not a victim or a feminist—and I say that because I believe that the modern-day feminists, there are two requirements to be that. You have to hate men and you have to consider yourself a victim every day of someone, and I’m too empowered for that, so I want to make that clear.

I don’t hate men, but, to answer your question, I take it one heart at a time, one heart at a time, because they’re not thinking about people. They’re thinking about an issue, and we’ve got to win this issue. But when you put humanity to it and you connect their humanity to it … Does that make sense?

Bluey: It does. I’d like you to talk about what that experience is like. So you walk into a Democratic member of Congress’ office. You talk to a staffer. How do you first approach that conversation? What is it like to explain your own story? And have you been able to win over their hearts and minds after you share your experience?

Jessen: Many times, yes. If I’m dealing with a man, I remind him that he’s made for honor and that he’s made to protect women and children, which you’re not supposed to say anymore.

I will never forget when I was in Australia, I walked into the member of Parliament’s office and I reminded him of that, and he began to tear up, and he said, “It has been 30 years since a woman has walked into my office and said these things to me and reminded me of these things.”

If we forget about honor, if we forget about who we are, then everything falls apart. So, it’s been amazing to just go back to what’s really true, how we’re really made, what’s really important, and dealing with people on a one-on-one basis, and I have seen people change.

And, then, I’m obviously dismissed a lot, and there are people who revile me and whatever, but that’s part of being a Christian. I didn’t sign up for an easy life. I signed up for an extraordinary one. And I didn’t sign up to live for myself, I signed up to live for Jesus. … You cannot change a world that you resemble, … so I refuse to resemble this world.

Bluey: Let’s talk about young people for a moment. We see so much enthusiasm—

Jessen: How do you know I’m not young? Huh?

Bluey: … When we have the March for Life, and not just in Washington, D.C., but now all over the country, I think the thing that moves people the most is the number of young people who are out there advocating—

Jessen: It’s so awesome.

Bluey: … for pro-life values. Why do you think that we’ve seen such enthusiasm among a younger generation, or even some millennials?

Jessen: Because they’ve dealt with their siblings who have died or their family members who have died, or they’re seeing the consequences of no one being home anymore.

We’re saying we can do whatever we want, we can live however we want, but there’s a consequence to each of those decisions, and they now are living those, and that changes you.

Bluey: It certainly does. … How can people find more about your story and the work that you’re doing?

Jessen: … I don’t do speakers bureaus and all that. Everything is through my website, giannajessen.com … and I’m on Facebook every day, writing away and doing my thing, but I am just all over, living this unconventional, beautiful life with my whole heart and soul and loving it.

Bluey: It is great to talk to you. Thank you for being with The Daily Signal.

Jessen: One thing—

Bluey: Yes?

Jessen: I have forgiven my biological mother for what she has done and have told her so, and I think this is very important for people to hear.

I am not a big shame festival. I am not about running around condemning people, but really telling them that the only person I have ever met to deliver them from the torture of having an abortion is Jesus.

Bluey: Thank you for sharing that with us.

Jessen: Mmhmm.

Bluey: We appreciate it. It’s great to be with you.

Jessen: Have a good day.

Bluey: Thanks.

The post She Survived an Abortion Attempt. Now, She Defends Life. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy