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Podcast: Seinfeld Caught Up in Political Correctness

Tue, 2019-01-08 03:01

Seinfeld is one of the highest grossing sitcoms of all time, but in 2019 it’s rubbing some young people the wrong way. Are those concerns justified? We discuss in today’s episode. Plus: It’s Week Three of the partial government shutdown, and the president and Democrats are no closer to an agreement. Democratic leaders are quick to point out the plight of federal workers not receiving pay, but as Heritage Foundation budget expert Justin Bogie explains, that’s not the full story.

We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump will address the nation amid the shutdown, then travel to the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg misses Supreme Court arguments for first time ever.
  • Trump modifies his Syria plan, but denies backtracking on withdrawal.
  • Democrats created a bogus right-wing group in Alabama to scare voters away from the Republican candidate.

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.

The post Podcast: Seinfeld Caught Up in Political Correctness appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump to Address Nation on Border Security as Pence Says Democrats Won’t Negotiate

Mon, 2019-01-07 18:36

On the eve of President Donald Trump’s prime time address to the nation Tuesday night about border security, Vice President Mike Pence asserted that congressional Democrats are unwilling to negotiate.

After weekend talks, senior Democratic congressional staffers agreed with Trump administration officials that a crisis exists at the southern border, but weren’t ready to negotiate a plan to address it, Pence said Monday.

“Senior Democratic staff did not dispute our facts about the border,” Pence told reporters at a briefing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, held in the same conference room where the weekend talks occurred.

Trump is trying to reach an agreement with congressional Democrats to gain funding for a wall along the southern border and end the partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22.

Trump announced Monday that he will deliver the address to the nation at 9 p.m. Tuesday, then visit the border Thursday.

“They informed us they would not negotiate until the government is opened,” Pence said. “The president is not going to reopen the government on the promise that negotiations will go on sometime after.”

Democrats asked the administration for revised budget estimates based on Trump’s requests for increased border security.

The biggest request from Trump in the revision is $5.7 billion for construction of a steel border wall, a $4.1 billion increase from the Senate-passed bill in December designed to keep the government running.

Pence got multiple questions about Trump’s comment Friday that he has considered declaring a national emergency to build and pay for the wall. The vice president said he hopes it doesn’t come to that, adding that he believes Democrats care about border security.

“What I’m aware of is that he is looking at it. The president is considering it,” Pence said. “There is no reason in the world that Congress shouldn’t be about rolling their sleeves up and compromising and working together on the crisis on the southern border.”

Many Democrats voted in 2006 to build fencing or another barrier along the border, but the needed money never has been appropriated.

Congress has funded most of the government. The current shutdown affects only about 25 percent of the government, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, State, and Transportation.

Pence said he sympathizes with the 800,000 federal employees affected by the partial shutdown, but also with “tens of millions of Americans” who expect the government to provide stronger border security.

The vice president also said Trump made a “good faith offer” to Democrats on the day the shutdown began to keep the government open. Pence declined to provide specifics.

The administration is working to make the partial shutdown “as painless as possible consistent with the law,” said Russell Vought, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Vought said the National Park Service will have the money to ensure trash pickup and clean restrooms through the end of the month, and that the IRS will mail out tax refund checks on time.

The administration’s revised budget estimate for fiscal year 2019 also includes a $563 million request for 75 additional immigration judges–consistent with what the Senate passed in its bill to keep the government running.

The administration asks for $211 million in the revised request to hire 750 more Customs and Border Protection agents–an increase of $100 million over the Senate version.

Trump also want $571 million for 2,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, which was not included in the Senate bill, and $4.2 billion to pay for 52,000 ICE detention beds–a $798 million increase from the Senate bill.

Pence identified two areas in the revised budget request as “consensus items” where congressional Democrats agree with the administration.

One is Trump’s request for $800 million to address humanitarian needs at the border, including medical support, temporary facilities for processing, and short-term custody of vulnerable populations. The agreement includes in-country processing of asylum requests by unaccompanied minors.

The other item of agreement is spending $675 million on technology designed to allow Customs and Border Protection to “detect and deter” contraband such as drugs and guns and materials that pose nuclear and radiological threats.

Pence said the administration’s stand “isn’t about” pleasing the president’s voter base but about border security, because the president is “driven by the facts” at the border.

Many of the facts are included in a Department of Homeland Security report that DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen initially provided to Congress before talking about Monday with reporters at the briefing.

The DHS report says the solutions are finishing the border wall, updating the law on how to treat unaccompanied children, and reversing the Clinton-era “Flores settlement” that required officials to separate some children from adults in family units.

The numbers show a 73 percent increase in fentanyl, one of the deadliest drugs, at the southern border from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018. That amounts to 2,400 pounds.

The agency also reports a 38 percent increase in methamphetamine at the southern border over the last fiscal year, and a 38 percent increase in heroin.

Criminal organizations gain $2.5 billion in annual profit from smuggling migrants into the U.S., the DHS report says.

In fiscal 2018, which ended Sept. 30, Customs and Border Protection agents caught 17,000 adults at the southern border who had criminal records. They captured 3,755 known or suspected terrorists entering the U.S. in fiscal 2017.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement also apprehended 6,000 members of gangs, including the violent MS-13, at the border.

The report states that the past five years saw a 2,000 percent increase in asylum claims, yet 72 percent of migrants report making the journey for economic reasons, so they wouldn’t qualify for asylum.

The report says 60,000 unaccompanied children and 161,000 family units arrived in fiscal 2018. About 50 migrants per day are referred to medical providers.

Customs and Border Protection rescues about 4,300 migrants in distress each year, according to the report, which also says that 31 percent of female migrants say they were sexually assaulted on the journey to the U.S.

Immigration courts have a backlog of nearly 800,000 cases and 98 percent of family units and unaccompanied alien children never are removed from the country, the report says.

Asked why Trump didn’t request the $5.7 billion in his budget proposal for fiscal 2019, Nielsen told reporters that “the humanitarian crisis has skyrocketed since February.”

The post Trump to Address Nation on Border Security as Pence Says Democrats Won’t Negotiate appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

‘Heck of an Honorable Guy’: What Democrats Thought of Trump’s AG Nominee 28 Years Ago

Mon, 2019-01-07 18:13

Despite a polarized political environment, Joe Biden calls the Republican president’s nominee to be attorney general, William Barr, a “heck of an honorable guy.”

This is shortly after a slugfest over a Supreme Court confirmation, and in the midst of a prosecutor’s yearslong investigation of the GOP president’s administration.

That Republican president was George H.W. Bush in 1991, when Biden was the Democrat chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After the Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed Barr as attorney general by voice vote, he served until the end of the Bush administration in January 1993.

Barr, now President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, is almost certain to have a more rocky confirmation hearing Jan. 15 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“No Trump nominee appointed to an important position gets confirmed easily, much less unanimously,” John Malcolm, director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

While plenty has changed in Washington in the past 28 years, the political environment was just as toxic in many respects.

The Judiciary Committee will begin to consider Trump’s nomination of Barr as special counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate whether the Trump campaign was connected to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It will have been three months since a tough political battle over Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

During Barr’s 1991 confirmation hearing, independent counsel Lawrence Walsh was still investigating the Bush administration regarding the Iran-contra affair. After a contentious hearing involving allegations of sexual harassment, the Senate had confirmed Justice Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Barr also faced questions on abortion from Senate Democrats.

In that atmosphere, Biden as Judiciary Committee chairman lauded Barr as a “heck of an honorable guy.” (The Delaware Democrat, of course, went on to serve for eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama.)

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., now the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, was part of the Senate majority that voted to confirm Barr in 1991.

This time, committee Democrats in the Senate minority likely will push Barr to commit to protecting the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He also has a record to defend from his previous tenure as attorney general.

Last summer, Barr wrote a critical memo on the Mueller probe, something Democrats have pounced on.

As attorney general, Barr has said, he urged Bush to pardon several figures in the Iran-contra scandal during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, which involved the United States selling arms to Iran to help finance rebels in Nicaragua.

The senior Bush’s most notable pardon was of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who was indicted in an October surprise before the 1992 presidential election.

“I went over and told the president I thought he should not only pardon Caspar Weinberger, but while he was at it, he should pardon about five others,” Barr said in 2001.

Barr, 68, also is expected to face current questions on issues such as abortion, illegal immigration, and transgender individuals in the military.

Malcolm was an assistant U.S. attorney from Atlanta in 1991, when Bush nominated Barr for attorney general, and attended the Rose Garden announcement of the nomination. He said it’s difficult to compare the two political eras.

“Washington has always been a tough town,” Malcolm told The Daily Signal. “It’s hard to compare. You do have two politically fraught investigations, one with an independent counsel, one with a special counsel. You also had two very contentious [recent] Supreme Court confirmations, both of which included allegations of sexual misconduct. Still, it’s hard to compare the times.”

Before his first nomination to run the Justice Department, Barr served as deputy attorney general under Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, who resigned to run for Senate in Pennsylvania. Bush immediately made Barr acting attorney general.

Bush’s nomination of Barr for the job was reported as an effort to avoid another contentious Senate battle, as occurred with the Thomas hearing.

As he likely will do before the Judiciary Committee this month, in 1991 Barr asserted the Justice Department shouldn’t have to contend with political interference.

From William Barr’s 1991 Senate confirmation hearing: “Nothing could be more destructive of our system of government, of the rule of law, or Department of Justice as an institution, than any toleration of political interference with the enforcement of the law.” pic.twitter.com/9AQDtvMExQ

— CSPAN (@cspan) December 7, 2018

In one of the more notable moments, Barr told senators that he thought the Supreme Court wrongly decided Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion across the nation.

At the time, Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, asked Barr whether he supported abortion rights.

Barr, then 41, told the committee that he believed in a right to privacy, but had “no fixed or settled views” on the scope of that right. He did, however, say: “I do not believe it extends to abortion.”

The debate over abortion is “a legitimate issue for state legislators,” Barr added. “That’s where the decision ought to be.”

“I believe Roe v. Wade should be overruled,” Barr said. “I think that the basic issue is whether or not abortion should be something that is decided by society.”

Biden, the committee chairman, said he disagreed with Barr but that his response was “the first candid answer” someone had given the committee on the question.

“It’s astounding to me,” Biden said. “You should be complimented.”

No attorney general has the authority to overturn a Supreme Court decision, of course, but may only express the administration’s legal opinion.

“I know of no one on the Democratic side asking for a roll call vote,” Biden said later. “I see no need for one.”

With that, on Nov. 26, 1991, the Senate, which had a 57-seat Democratic majority at the time, confirmed Barr by a simple voice vote.

Biden also described Barr as “a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you.”

When Trump reportedly was considering nominating Barr to run the Justice Department again, Leahy told the Washington Examiner that the former attorney general could “have majority support from Republicans and Democrats.”

The post ‘Heck of an Honorable Guy’: What Democrats Thought of Trump’s AG Nominee 28 Years Ago appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Owner of Historic Boston Restaurant Says Minimum-Wage Hikes Hastened Its Demise

Mon, 2019-01-07 17:52

Durgin-Park, a renowned Boston restaurant, has been around for a long time. It opened in 1827, when Massachusetts’ own John Quincy Adams was president of the United States.

Phil Klein of the Washington Examiner wrote: “The restaurant, located in Boston’s Faneuil Hall, was an institution and tourist attraction, serving New England staples, such as chowder, shepherd’s pie, prime rib, pot roast, and Boston cream pie.”

But now, after nearly two centuries, it’s closing. Why?

The owner says it’s due in part to a recently passed law that raised the minimum wage from $11 to $12 an hour on Jan. 1, and will further increase it to $15 by 2024.

The $15 minimum wage has been a particular target for the national “Fight for $15” movement.

The Boston Business Journal reported:

According to Ark Restaurants CEO Michael Weinstein, the restaurant wasn’t profitable anymore. He says business has been down about 30 percent over the last five years.

Weinstein says the dwindling head count, increase in minimum wage and health care costs, the expensive upkeep of an old building, and competition from the growing Seaport District were all factors in the restaurant’s downfall.

One blogger for Minnesota Public Radio, Bob Collins, blamed the closing on mismanagement and “disloyalty” of the business toward workers—as though closing was somehow an act of revenge on the part of the owners, rather than bending to economic reality.

Certainly, the restaurant business is tough, regardless of minimum-wage laws. There are a number of reasons one would close.

However, there’s no doubt that the mandated increase in wages can have harmful consequences to business owners and workers alike. That isn’t because of petty meanness. It’s the bad policy, regardless of intentions.

It turns out the consequences of those bad policies don’t just fall on business owners. They fall on workers, too.

A 2017 study, conducted by economists at the University of Washington, illuminated how increased minimum-wage laws in Seattle could hurt lower-income workers in particular.

The law decreased employment for lower-income workers, and those that still had a job often had their hours cut, according to the report.

One particularly notable finding of the study was that a “wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum-wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016.”

So the policy didn’t just hurt the potential for new workers to find a job, it actually caused workers benefiting from the wage increase to make less money overall.

That has hardly been the only study to show adverse effects of a high minimum wage.

Perhaps the blame shouldn’t fall on businesses. It instead belongs with the politicians and activists who insist that this time, it will all work out.

The post Owner of Historic Boston Restaurant Says Minimum-Wage Hikes Hastened Its Demise appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

‘I Cannot Comply’: A Second Amendment Advocate’s Fight Against the City of Boulder

Mon, 2019-01-07 17:46

A Second Amendment advocate fighting against a constitutionally questionable gun ban and certification ordinance in the city of Boulder says he and his daughter have been targeted and bullied as his case winds through the court system.

The city last May passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to “certify” their “assault weapons” or remove their firearms from city limits. Those who didn’t could face fines, jail, and confiscation and destruction of their firearms.

The next day, attorneys from the conservative Mountain States Legal Foundation sued the city on behalf of Jon Caldara, Boulder resident and president of the Independence Institute; the Boulder Rifle Club Inc., a Colorado nonprofit corporation; a member of the University of Colorado Shooting Team; and others.

The foundation argues that the ordinance violates multiple provisions of the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution, and at least two state statutes.

The foundation asks two key legal questions regarding whether a municipality “can undermine the exercise of fundamental and unalienable rights and ignore the U.S. Constitution and controlling Supreme Court precedent?” Additionally, they question if the city can legally “ignore its state constitution and state law by infringing upon and criminalizing an individual’s unalienable and natural right to self-defense, and the right to keep and bear arms?”

City Ordinance 8245 banned the sale and possession of guns in the city defined as assault weapons in addition to bump stock devices and large magazines, and banned the sale and possession of weapons to anyone under age 21. Gun owners of such magazines had until July 15, 2018, to either sell or dispose of these items.

The ordinance includes a grandfather clause that permits owners of these firearms to keep them in their possession if they receive a certificate from the local sheriff’s office proving their ownership and certifying their firearms. The law also bans them from openly carrying their rifles and shotguns.

“My hope is that we will see more bans at the state level and one day at the federal level so these weapons will no longer be available,” City Councilman Aaron Brockett said after the ordinance passed.

But Dudly Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, told Watchdog.org, “The Boulder gun control ordinance is yet another dive into fantasy by a city already deep into socialism.”

Two groups not a part of the lawsuit, the Colorado State Shooting Association and Boulder-based Gunsport of Colorado, say the ordinance is invalid because it conflicts with state law.

Police and city officials have said that there is little they can do to enforce the ordinance. The Boulder Police Department has issued 87 certificates since the ban passed in May.

Plaintiff Jon Caldara does not have one.

“I did not comply. By my very core principles I cannot comply,” he told Watchdog.org.

Caldara added that no city or law enforcement authorities have contacted him, but his daughter has been bullied at her school because of his position.

“This is a very divisive issue where people have very strong feelings,” City Attorney Tom Carr told the Daily Camera. “The folks who oppose these kinds of bans … some of them suggest they’re not going to cooperate. I can’t predict what people are going to do, but I respect the feelings.”

In an op-ed Caldara wrote that was published in numerous Colorado publications, he argued that any other member of the public who is not a gun owner would never be subjected to such restrictions. He said they “would never be forced to self-identify to government authorities, to submit to inspection, to be registered, and made to pay fees to keep your core beliefs. My strong belief in my Second Amendment rights is core to who I am.”

Because he owns a long gun with a pistol grip and a detachable magazine, Caldara said he was required to self-identify to the police, present himself for investigation, and his gun for inspection, pay fees in order to receive a police-issued certification–or potentially go to jail, pay a fine, and have his firearms confiscated and destroyed.

But Caldara has not been charged with committing a crime.

Since he took his public stand against the city of Boulder, Caldara says his daughter has been bullied at her school, “the one with posters celebrating tolerance and diversity all over the walls.”

Teachers have criticized his stand on the Second Amendment to entire classes, and students “ganged up on” his daughter, telling her that “her father is a murderer.”

In September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado deferred to the Colorado court system to determine whether the city had the authority to enact the ordinance at all.

“While we will always support the principle of federalism, this decision forces the people of Boulder to wait to vindicate their rights under the U.S. Constitution,” Cody J. Wisniewski, the lead attorney on the case, said. “We will not give up the fight to defend the constitutionally protected rights of the people of Boulder.”

Originally published on Watchdog.org

The post ‘I Cannot Comply’: A Second Amendment Advocate’s Fight Against the City of Boulder appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Taxing Rich Probably Isn’t Enough to Fund Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal.’ Who Else Would See Higher Taxes?

Mon, 2019-01-07 17:39

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told “60 Minutes” host Anderson Cooper her grand plan to fight global warming could be paid for with a “60 or 70 percent” top marginal tax rate.

Ocasio-Cortez’s call for nearly doubling top marginal tax rates made waves in the media, but raising taxes on the wealthy is likely only one of many taxes that would need to be levied to pay for the so-called “Green New Deal.”

A “Green New Deal” could end up being the largest expansion of government in decades, meaning Democrats who support the plan will need to think of other ways outside of taxing the wealthy to pay for it.

Indeed, a question and answer section of draft “Green New Deal” legislative text suggests “a combination of various taxation tools can be employed,” including “taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes.”

“The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII),” reads the “Green New Deal” draft document.

Democrats have pitched carbon taxes in the past as a way to raise more government revenue while cutting emissions. Republicans and conservative groups overwhelmingly oppose such a tax on the grounds it would raise energy prices and put thousands out of work.

The Congressional Budget Office reported in December that a $25 per ton carbon tax would raise about $1 trillion in revenue over 10 years. That’s less than half the $2.3 trillion the conservative Heritage Foundation estimated it would cost to meet the Green New Deal’s main goal—a 100 percent renewable energy grid in 10 years.

But a green energy grid is only one part of the Green New Deal. The sweeping plan also includes:

(i) upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort, and safety;

(ii) eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural, and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;

(iii) eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water;

(iv) funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases;

(v) making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products, and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

Completely overhauling American manufacturing, transportation, and industry will likely cost much more than The Heritage Foundation’s estimate for just greening the grid.

But that’s not all—Ocasio-Cortez’s plan also includes sweeping social welfare programs, including universal health care and a “just transition” for minority communities. The draft Green New Deal text reads:

(i) include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs, and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility, and entrepreneurism.

Increasing taxes on wealthy Americans is another way Ocasio-Cortex believes she can pay for a Green New Deal. She suggested a top marginal rate as high as 70 percent during her Sunday night interview.

“Your tax rate, you know, let’s say, from zero to $75,000 may be 10 percent or 15 percent, et cetera,” Ocasio-Cortez told Cooper Sunday night.

“But once you get to, like, the tippy tops—on your 10 millionth dollar—sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.”

However, raising the top marginal tax rate to 80 percent—along with a 55 percent upper-income bracket—would raise an estimated $293 billion based on a static revenue model, according to a 2014 Tax Foundation report.

Over 10 years, that’s nearly $3 trillion, but actual revenue will likely be much smaller “because of the negative feedback from the smaller and weaker economy,” according to the Tax Foundation.

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

The post Taxing Rich Probably Isn’t Enough to Fund Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal.’ Who Else Would See Higher Taxes? appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Misses Oral Arguments Following Lung Cancer Surgery

Mon, 2019-01-07 14:57

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed oral arguments Monday as she recuperates from cancer surgery.

It’s not clear when the 85-year-old justice will return to work, though the Supreme Court’s public information office said she will continue to participate in official business from her home in Washington.

Despite Ginsburg’s absence, a court spokeswoman said the justice would participate in Monday’s cases by reading transcripts of the proceedings, then voting as normal.

Monday is the first time that Ginsburg has missed arguments since she joined the high court in 1993.

Surgeons at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York removed two cancerous nodules from Ginsburg’s lungs on Dec. 21. She was discharged on Dec. 26. The justice’s doctors said the surgery was successful and there are no signs of disease elsewhere in her body.

The growths were detected when Ginsburg was hospitalized for a rib fracture in November. On that occasion, the justice fell in her chambers and was admitted to a Washington-area hospital after experiencing discomfort in her chest.

In a public appearance just days before December’s procedure, Ginsburg said her health was “fine,” and made no mention of the pending surgery. The justice has been diagnosed with cancer three times—she was treated for colon cancer in 1999 and again for pancreatic cancer in 2009.

The Supreme Court returned from its holiday break Monday and will hear cases through Jan. 16.

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

The post Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Misses Oral Arguments Following Lung Cancer Surgery appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Fact Check: Do 98 Percent of Unaccompanied Minors From Central America ‘Never Leave’?

Mon, 2019-01-07 13:59

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that 98 percent of unaccompanied alien minors from Central America “never leave” the U.S.

“Right now, we have 11,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America; 98 percent of them never leave,” Graham said Dec. 30.

Verdict: Unsubstantiated

Government immigration data show that 2 percent of unaccompanied children from the Northern Triangle region in Central America apprehended in fiscal year 2017 have left the country. But another 9 percent have received removal orders and 87 percent are still in immigration court, meaning more may leave the country in the future.

It’s possible that many of the unaccompanied minors will stay in the U.S. unauthorized even if they receive a removal order. Limited government data, lengthy immigration court processes, and issues tracking individual cases make it difficult to predict an exact number of unaccompanied minors who remain in the U.S. permanently.

Fact Check:

When Graham mentioned 11,000 unaccompanied minors, he may have been thinking of the number of unaccompanied alien children in Health and Human Services custody. His office did not respond to requests for comment.

The Department of Homeland Security refers apprehended migrant minors who arrived alone or were separated from their parents to HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. The New York Times reported that more than 11,000 children were in HHS custody in August, but HHS told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email that the number is currently around 12,400.

Unaccompanied alien children referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement are placed with sponsors in the U.S. while they await immigration hearings.

DHS referred 40,810 unaccompanied alien children to HHS in fiscal year 2017, with about 95 percent coming from the Northern Triangle region in Central America—Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Unaccompanied alien children spent around 60 days in HHS custody in fiscal year 2018, on average.

Graham’s 98 percent figure appears to reference a group of Northern Triangle unaccompanied alien children that includes those no longer in HHS custody.

Figures provided by DHS show that of 31,753 Northern Triangle unaccompanied alien children apprehended in fiscal year 2017, 2 percent have returned to their home countries, while 98 percent are still in the U.S.

The vast majority of that 98 percent, however, do not have authorization to remain in the U.S. indefinitely. While 1 percent of the unaccompanied alien children have received some form of humanitarian relief, 9 percent have received removal orders from immigration judges, and 87 percent are still in immigration proceedings.

The immigration court process for Central American unaccompanied alien children can take years, so relatively recent statistics from one year don’t provide a full picture of their final status. More of those children could be removed from the U.S. in the future.

Government statistics on unaccompanied alien children final status are limited. But a study from DHS’ Office of Immigration Statistics shows that a similarly large percentage of unaccompanied alien children from the Northern Triangle region apprehended or found inadmissible in fiscal year 2014 remained in the U.S. three years later.

At the end of fiscal year 2017, only 3 percent had been confirmed returned to their country, while 26 percent were still in the U.S. despite receiving unexecuted removal orders. Another 44 percent were still in immigration court proceedings, and 18 percent had received some form of relief from removal.

The report noted that unaccompanied alien children outcomes “differ substantially by country of citizenship.” Federal law requires unaccompanied alien children from countries that do not border the U.S. to be transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within 72 hours of apprehension and guarantees an immigration court hearing.

Mexican unaccompanied alien children, however, are screened within 48 hours and can agree to voluntarily return to Mexico if they have no fear of returning or are not determined to be a victim of trafficking. The vast majority of Mexican unaccompanied alien children cases in 2014, 92 percent, were returned due to those provisions.

Graham mentioned the distinction in his CNN interview. “We have an unaccompanied minor from Central America, they should be sent back to their home country, just like if they were from Mexico. That’s a legal change we need to make with this deal,” he said.

It’s possible that a large percentage of Northern Triangle unaccompanied alien children will remain in the country indefinitely even if they are not granted relief.

Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the claim that 98 percent stay indefinitely didn’t strike her as inaccurate, though the exact percentage is difficult to determine. Some unaccompanied alien children may stay in the U.S. despite receiving a removal order.

“For many of them, they’re ordered removed in absentia; they’re not even at the hearing when the judge orders the removal,” Pierce said, so some may not be aware that they were ordered removed. Department of Justice statistics show that 50 percent of unaccompanied alien children cases completed in fiscal year 2018 were decided in absentia. Other unaccompanied alien children may be aware of the removal order, but never show up to be deported and knowingly stay in the U.S. unauthorized, she said.

Jennifer Podkul, senior director for policy and advocacy at Kids in Need of Defense, was skeptical that 98 percent of Northern Triangle unaccompanied alien children never leave the U.S. She highlighted the challenges of getting accurate data on the final status of unaccompanied alien children due to the lengthy court processes.

“A lot of times, by the time their case is finished, they’ve since turned 18, and so DHS tracks their return just like they would any adult,” Podkul told The Daily Caller News Foundation. About half of the unaccompanied alien children referred to HHS in fiscal year 2017 were at least 14 years old.

Ultimately, a backlog of immigration court cases resulting in part from a surge of unaccompanied alien children starting in 2014 makes it difficult to predict how many Northern Triangle unaccompanied alien children will remain in the U.S. permanently. DOJ reported that 76,634 unaccompanied alien children cases were pending as of March 31, 2018, with 8,378 of those pending for longer than three years.

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

The post Fact Check: Do 98 Percent of Unaccompanied Minors From Central America ‘Never Leave’? appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Rep. Dan Crenshaw Rebukes Democrat for ‘Cowardly’ Insult to Trump Supporters

Mon, 2019-01-07 13:34

Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw excoriated Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia on Sunday for degrading the Americans who voted for and support President Donald Trump.

While giving a keynote address to the Atlanta NAACP on Jan. 1, Johnson repeatedly compared Trump to Adolf Hitler and painted Trump supporters as “older, less educated, less prosperous” and “dying early.” He further claimed that many are dying from “alcoholism, drug overdoses, liver disease, or simply a broken heart caused by economic despair.”

Crenshaw dismissed Johnson’s Hitler comparisons as intellectually dishonest and insulting to the millions of Jews who perished during the Holocaust.

“OK, Mr. Johnson, President Trump is a lot of things but he’s not Hitler,” Crenshaw said in a video posted on social media. “He didn’t kill millions of people. He didn’t start a world war. He doesn’t have any concentration camps.”

“But if you want to insult President Trump, at least you’re picking on somebody your own size. At least you’re picking on somebody who can fight back,” Crenshaw continued. “But you went on to insult, degrade, and demean tens of millions of Americans who voted for him. To call them drug addicted, uneducated, and unhappy alcoholics—this is a cowardly form of politics.”

Stop insulting Americans just because they vote for someone you don’t like. pic.twitter.com/8wrP3ybtPe

— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) January 6, 2019

The Texas congressman vowed that despite disagreeing with Johnson’s political ideology, he would never insult the Americans who voted for him or members of his party. He further noted that referring to dissenters as “deplorables or fools or the dregs of society” is the worst form of leadership.

“These people are exercising their right and their voice the only way they can, which is through their vote. They don’t have a TV show. They don’t have a radio show. They don’t have a weekly column or big social media following,” Crenshaw said. “They have a vote. And you use your public platform to insult and demean them. This is not the behavior we expect from a member of Congress.”

“So I’ll leave you with this: Pick on somebody your own size,” he continued. “Pick on me if you’d like. My office will be right down the hall from yours—I’ll see you in Washington.”

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

The post Rep. Dan Crenshaw Rebukes Democrat for ‘Cowardly’ Insult to Trump Supporters appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

What Steve Scalise Says About Threats by Supporters of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Mon, 2019-01-07 12:49

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who was shot and wounded in 2017 by a political opponent, says hateful remarks and threats directed at him from followers of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y., are low blows that do not deserve responses.

“I would like to see her stand up to this; everybody ought to stand up to this kind of discussion,” Scalise said of Ocasio-Cortez in an interview Monday morning on “Fox & Friends.”

“If somebody wants to have a debate about policy, that’s what we’re all about, what the First Amendment’s all about,” he said. “But you shouldn’t threaten people, and if you’ve got to threaten people to make your point, you’ve already lost.”

Ocasio-Cortez  had not addressed the threats directed toward Scalise as of noon Monday.

Scalise had posted a tweet addressing Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a 70 percent tax on incomes exceeding $10 million.

The two lawmakers got into a debate on Twitter that generated the threatening responses from some.

“She’s got a better aim than James Hodgkinson, that’s for sure,” reads one reply to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet taking Scalise to task.

Hi @AOC. Happy to continue this debate on the Floor of the People’s House, but it’s clearly not productive to engage here with some of your radical followers. #StayClassy pic.twitter.com/lZCO3oiLUZ

— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 6, 2019

Hodgkinson, 66, was the gunman from Belleville, Illinois, who wounded Scalise after opening fire June 14, 2017, at Republican lawmakers and staff during a practice for a congressional baseball game. Hodgkinson, killed by police, was a supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

“Snipe his ass,” someone else tweeted about Scalise.

“Once we started getting into this Twitter back and forth, a lot of her followers started making very inappropriate references and comments and I said, ‘I am not going to have this debate here, I’ll have it with her on the House floor,” Scalise said.

The Louisiana Republican said he welcomes debating taxation and other ideas with Ocasio-Cortez, but not in an environment of threats and hate.

“I was just trying to have a little fun debate about this; it’s an important issue,” Scalise said, adding:

I strongly disagree with this idea that you should just confiscate most of the money that people make and try to get into this class warfare debate. I said, ‘Look, let’s have an economy that works for everybody, [and] by the way, our tax rates, the fact that we cut taxes, it’s creating jobs, it’s helping rebuild our middle class, those very hardworking families.

The post What Steve Scalise Says About Threats by Supporters of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Ben Carson’s Prescription for a Better Life

Mon, 2019-01-07 03:01

Dr. Ben Carson is the 17th secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After a successful career in medicine and his own presidential race in 2016, the celebrated brain surgeon joined President Donald Trump’s administration to lead an agency that focuses on housing issues and lifting Americans out of poverty to a better life. The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey and Ginny Montalbano recently spoke to Carson about his tenure at HUD and how he’s making a difference. An edited transcript of their interview is below.

Rob Bluey: What’s the most rewarding part of your job at HUD?

Ben Carson: There’s so many rewarding parts because even though we have the ugliest building in Washington, D.C., we have the best people. The best people to work with. They’re enthusiastic and they understand the mission because the real mission here is to turn this aircraft carrier around from a place that just sort of houses people to a place that invigorates and empowers people and helps people to actually get out of poverty—become self-sufficient contributors. For the people who are elderly or disabled, finding a way to take care of them in a meaningful way so that their lives are still meaningful.

Ginny Montalbano: You’re certainly doing some great work. What would you say your biggest challenge has been so far during your time as secretary?

Carson: There are a lot of challenges, but affordable housing I think is the biggest challenge and that’s a nationwide problem. It’s a supply-and-demand problem, but it’s also secondary to some things that we as a society have created ourselves with all of our zoning restrictions and other regulatory barriers that we’re placing.

Nimbyism—which is the idea of “not in my backyard”—a lot of that stems from the fact that people still think of assisted housing as the kind of thing that you saw in the big cities. Concentrated skyscrapers with no planning around them, that were left to deteriorate the minute the last brick was laid. That’s not what’s done anymore.

It’s completely different now. Now we do public-private partnerships, mixed-income planned neighborhoods, holistic neighborhoods that blend in nicely and make it possible for us to have teachers and firemen and policemen living in the same neighborhood where they’re working. Those are the kinds of things that are beneficial for everyone.

Housing is not built in a disruptive way. Certainly you don’t break up an established neighborhood. You wouldn’t do that anywhere. We obviously think about these things. We have lots of examples where holistic, well-planned neighborhoods have been done around the country.

Beautiful results. Everybody wants to live there. Schools are working well. I mean, these are things that we can do.

Bluey: That’s great to hear. I want to ask you about some of the other accomplishments that you’ve experienced here. One of the things that I know is near and dear to your heart is the EnVision Center model. If you could share with our listeners what that looks like and how that vision has been implemented for HUD?

Carson: First of all, it comes from a Bible verse, Proverbs 29:18. It says, “Without a vision, the people perish.” There were a lot of people who really didn’t have a vision. They just wanted to exist.

America is really about people with vision, about the American dream, thinking about what you can do, all the opportunities that exist, and we want to give that back to people again. It’s not their fault that they don’t have a vision. It’s the way that they’ve grown up, the way that their mother grew up, the way that heir grandmother grew up.

EnVision Centers are an opportunity to take 23 federal programs—each of them have things that are devoted toward self-sufficiency—and amalgamating those things along with state and local government and some of the things that they offer, as well as the private sector, the faith-based groups, and a whole host of individuals who are interested in empowering people. For example, one of the agencies actually will train elderly people in child care. They can actually get child care certification. They can make more money.

That’s a wonderful thing because the system as it exists now—we’re in the process of changing it through our rental reforms—means if you make more money, you immediately have to report it so your rent can go up. You say, “Well, why am I going to do that?” If you get married or bring another income-producing person into the environment, your rent goes up or you lose your subsidy all together.

Anyway, they come in, they train these elderly women in child care. Now she’s incentivized to actually do it. Her three neighbors, who are likely to be single moms, whose education ended with that first child, now have an opportunity to get their GDE or associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, become self-sufficient, teach that to her children, and that’s how we begin to break those cycles of poverty.

The EnVision Centers have facilities to help people be able to get that education and get those degrees, get the training. We hook them up with a whole host of apprenticeships and training opportunities for people so they can get the kind of skills that will allow them to become independent.

Bluey: I’m glad you brought it back to some of the people who are seeing progress in being helped. I know one of the other things that you’re doing at HUD is telling those stories. The Humans of HUD, if you will. Why is it important to relate it back to the individuals who are turning their lives around?

Carson: Because so often we get nothing but bad news. There’s nothing that encourages someone like seeing somebody who is exactly like they were and how they’ve managed to turn things around.

Our whole website is beautiful now. I encourage people to go to HUD.gov. It’s really more entertaining than HBO. You’d have a really good time looking around and clicking on things, but make sure you click on the Humans of HUD and see some of those stories, one of which is about a woman who is having trouble finding a place to live, even though she had a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. Finally, she was able to find somebody who will take it, enrolled in one of our self-sufficiency programs, got nursing training, became a nurse, became independent, became a homeowner, and is now also a landlord who accepts Housing Choice Vouchers. A complete 360 there.

Montalbano: There’s so much power in telling those personal stories. I know at The Daily Signal we try to do that as well. How would you say HUD is operating today differently under President Trump and your leadership than in the past?

Carson: One of the big things, perhaps the biggest thing, is that we now have a CFO. This organization was without a CFO for eight and a half years before I came. Can you imagine with the billions of dollars that flow through here?

Irv Dennis, who came here from Ernst & Young, is a 37-year veteran. We are just thrilled the way he’s putting in the financial controls and fixing things now. Some people don’t like it, the people who were benefiting from our inefficiencies out there in the fill, getting money under the table and stuff. They don’t like it, but that’s OK.

He said that Ernst & Young would never have taken this place on as a client because that’s how bad things were, but that is being changed dramatically.

We’re modernizing our IT systems, creating an electronic dashboard, which gives us real-time information about all the places where money has been allocated. All of that makes us into a much more efficient organization.

Bluey: I want to ask you about one of the priorities that President Trump has outlined for all of the different Cabinet agencies, and that’s to take a close look at regulation. I know we’ve seen across the federal government a reduction in some of the burdens that have been placed on businesses and people. How does HUD contribute to reducing some of those burdens on Americans?

Carson: I’ve asked all the divisions to take a deep dive into the regulatory and sub-regulatory environment. They’ve come up with over 700. That’s pretty impressive, but some of the things will be very practical.

For instance, manufactured housing. Now, when most people they think of manufactured housing, they think about trailers. But that’s not really the bulk of manufactured housing now. It’s the modular homes that really can be put up fairly quickly, which are structurally very sound. In fact, they tolerate hurricanes better than site-built homes. In most cases, in looking at one, you wouldn’t be able to tell it wasn’t a site-built home, and yet the cost is significantly less.

Removing some of the regulations that really apply more to mobile-type homes has opened that market up quite a bit. Those are the kinds of things that we really want to facilitate.

Montalbano: Conservatives often approach government programs with some suspicion. What’s your message to those people who might be critical of government assistance?

Carson: My message is, if you utilize the funding correctly, you empower people and they become self-sufficient, and then you don’t have to support them anymore. If you don’t, you get an ever-growing, unsustainable number of dependent people. Eventually you won’t be able to sustain them, and eventually you’ll have all kinds of riots and class warfare. I say, think ahead. You’ve got to think like a chess game, not like a checker game.

Bluey: President Trump has recently asked you to lead the White House Council on Opportunity and Revitalization. What does it mean to you to serve in this leadership role?

Carson: It’s actually sort of a natural place because many of the opportunity zones, which are selected by the governors in all 50 states, as well as the five territories and D.C., are already the places that we serve. Now to have this extra infusion of capital into these areas on a win-win basis is singing my song exactly.

For those who may not be familiar, the opportunity zones were created as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It provides an opportunity for people to take unrealized capital gains and invest them in economically deprived areas.

If you leave that investment in for five to seven years, first of all, you get the deferral on paying the capital gains tax for five to seven years, but you also get a 10 percent decrement on the taxes that you may owe. If you put it in for seven or more years, it’s up to 15 percent. If you leave it in for 10 years, then you have to pay no capital gains at all on the new money that resulted from the investment.

It’s a pretty powerful incentive, but more importantly, it’s estimated that it’ll bring at least $100 billion into these zones. Of course, as they start to be revitalized, that automatically attracts other things. There’s the peripheral effect that is even greater than the $100 billion.

Montalbano: HUD recently released its annual homelessness count. What did the latest numbers tell us?

Carson: It is a tremendous problem because you have a lot of pressure on prices going up—rental prices, home prices—much faster actually than wages are. We have a significant supply-and-demand issue, and it’s leaving a lot of people out in the cold.

Now, a lot of the people who are homeless are in sheltered situations. They’re in transitional homes or emergency shelters. In fact, the vast majority of them are, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to solve that problem. The number actually went up slightly, 0.3 percent, which is just a matter of a few thousand people.

In light of the fact that we’ve got this real pressure on pricing, obviously, if we weren’t making a lot of progress, it would be going up steeply. We want it to go down, which means working with the municipalities to create affordable housing that’s absolutely critical.

We could easily explain away the increase by just talking about Hurricane Irma and Harvey and Maria and the people who had to go into the disaster shelters. If you subtract that out, the number is going down.

I don’t really like to concentrate on what the reasons are as much as what are the solutions. How do we actually get to it? You have to look at focused attention on a specific problem.

For instance, we focus attention on the veterans through HUD and through the VA, which provides the wraparound services while we provide the housing. That number year over year has been down 5.4 percent. Tremendous success there. Also, families with children. That’s gone down 2.7 percent. Obviously we’re making progress.

Thirty-one states have decreases in the amount of homelessness. There is progress, but we still have a lot more progress to make. It is potentially an issue that can be solved, but it requires federal, state, and local cooperation. Where we have that, that’s where we see the most progress.

Bluey: One of the things that comes up frequently it seems with government agencies is religious liberty. There was a recent case out of Washington state, where a senior living center banned its residents from saying “Merry Christmas” or singing religious Christmas carols. They claim the reason that they couldn’t do this is because they accept funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now, whether it’s this case specifically or others like it, what are your comments with regard to actions that people might take like this?

Carson: I hope someone doesn’t think that we’re behind anything so arcane and silly as keeping people from greeting people in that way, but I’ll look and make sure that there isn’t. I don’t know of anything like that. That would be ridiculous.

Bluey: Alliance Defending Freedom, which is arguing the case, has said that there’s no HUD rule or any government rule that would prohibit such a thing. It was probably a convenient excuse that the local operator was trying to make.

Carson: I suspect so. But you know, it is an issue in our society now, the polarization. People getting into their little corner and thinking that it is the only way and nobody else can have an opinion that varies from theirs or they’re their enemy to be destroyed.

I don’t know where this kind of thinking came from. That certainly was not at the beginning of this nation’s origins.

Montalbano: We recently had the opportunity to interview Armstrong Williams and he had nothing but praise for you. He described your role as having a calming effect on President Trump, citing the prayer you delivered in a Cabinet meeting one time. Can you talk about your relationship with President Trump?

Carson: I think the president gets a bad rep. He’s actually a very nice person, but he has a hard time ignoring attacks. Let’s put it that way.

If people weren’t attacking him so much and were working with him, they would find a really very different person, but I don’t know that they actually want to find a different person. I think they enjoy the show and that’s why they keep attacking everything and he keeps responding to them, but he’s a wonderful person. I enjoy being around him. My wife enjoys being around him.

I hope before all this is said and done we see an environment where everything isn’t always attack mode. When people actually see how smart he is, he’s a very smart guy.

I mean, I’ve been around a lot of smart people, but yeah, he has very good insights and instincts, and his wife does, too. She’s very good at identifying bad people.

Bluey: Finally, you have lived such a remarkable life—the American dream—growing up in a rough community and becoming a world-famous doctor and the successful surgeries that you performed, to running for president and now serving in this role. What is your message from your own personal experience to those out there who may be down and looking for a message of hope?

Carson: I would say just remember that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you is you and the choices that you make. If you have a normal brain, you are endowed with a most special gift.

The human brain is the most fantastic organ system in the universe. It remembers everything you’ve ever seen, everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever heard. It can process more than 2 million bits of information in one second. You can’t overload it.

It is just an amazing thing. If you program it the right way, the possibilities are almost limitless. Having said that, it is our duty and we will be rewarded for it if we make sure that all the people in our society have an opportunity to develop that brain.

We need to provide opportunities, ladders of opportunity, and help people move up that ladder. That will only enhance the strength of our society when we do that.

Montalbano: Secretary Carson, thank you so much for being with The Daily Signal.

Carson: It’s always a pleasure. Thank you.

The post Ben Carson’s Prescription for a Better Life appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

We Hear You: The Border Wall and Shutdown Politics

Sun, 2019-01-06 06:01

Editor’s note: The clash between the president and congressional Democrats over a border wall resulted in a partial government shutdown that is entering its third week. The Daily Signal’s audience appears to have Trump’s back. Write us at letters@dailysignal.com.—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: It wasn’t all that long ago that Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the Clintons were adamantly opposed to illegal immigration and wanted it stopped, as Peter Parisi suggests in his commentary (“The Cure for Republican ‘Shutdown-ophobia’ Is Forceful Messaging on the Wall, Not Surrendering”).

They made public speeches condemning illegal immigration and the costs of it to American taxpayers.  There was a time when they had no problem with building a border wall, and voted for it.

However, because President Trump wants the border wall and it would be seen as a “victory” for Trump, the Democrats are adamantly opposed to it. Not only are they opposed to a wall, they are now in favor of open borders, sanctuary cities, and amnesty for illegal immigrants.—Drew Page


President Trump has taken a lot of good advice from The Heritage Foundation. Let’s hope he reads and heeds Peter Parisi’s great advice in his Daily Signal commentary.

I’m so sick of weak-kneed Republicans. They have blown opportunity after opportunity during the past two years.—Ken Marx


Why didn’t the GOP accomplish anything while they had the presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress?

Because most of them, senators and representatives, are cowardly, useless, pathetic little bureaucrats who revel in making decisions that ruin our lives but run in terror from any issue that requires the slightest moral courage. The lack of support for the wall is symptomatic of the general moral collapse of the Republican Party.—Douglas Mayfield

Every honest person knows that the Democrats have simply found another excuse to attack Trump. Five billion dollars is a totally insignificant amount in a nation adding that much debt every 40 hours.

Any president who wants this little for something important to him should get it, especially when it’s for something already approved by Congress. So this is more of the dangerous game of obstruction, with no regard for the people.

We are aware that Obama sought border security, ordered ICE raids, voted for a border barrier as senator, did plenty of deportations. And those kids in cages were on his watch. Here’s the problem: No one ever made a peep about any of that.

Then Trump is elected and doing the same things; this makes him a racist, bigot, hater, and anti-immigrant? So everything done by the Democrats and their lapdog media is intended to destroy Trump. Nothing more and nothing less.—Anthony Alafero


It is only the government that thinks we can’t get along without the government.—Larry Daniels


Trump himself said that southern border security is stronger than ever, that the caravan of migrants was completely turned back, and that because of that no new ones are forming.

So it begs the question why the wall is needed at all, since Trump says he’s been so successful protecting the border already at a fraction of the price—let alone that Americans need to pay for it, since Trump said Mexico would pay for it.—Edward Buatois


The wall is needed because while the caravan was stopped to some degree, thousands of other people, including criminals, drug mules, gun runners, and human traffickers, have been crossing the border where there is no wall. Anyone who checks before opining won’t be so far off base.—Ron Bartels


It is not a small group of migrants, it is 10 percent of our population and we are a bankrupt nation. I support legal immigration. People just showing up is not right. I would like to live in Monaco, but I don’t.—Blake Burgess


How many of the MS-13 gang, drug smugglers, and human traffickers are you willing to care for in your home? Then think again about why we need the wall.—Doris Gray


Why is Congress funded in a government shutdown and 380,000 employees are furloughed, as Justin Bogie writes in his commentary (“What Would Actually Be Affected in a Government Shutdown”)? Seems that it should be the other way around.

If I decide not to to pay my utility bill, the utility doesn’t suffer the consequences, I do. Of course the president would not suffer, but the charities that receive his compensation would.—Jason Traxler


Far too many people look at the dark side of a government shutdown. Since the Justice Department will be unfunded, then the Mueller probe goes down the drain.

We only can hope that government payments to Planned Parenthood, NPR, and other such “gifts” also stop. Look at it as the bright side.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas

.@Bre_payton was an incredible conservative voice with a bright future. Her vibrance, passion, and wit will be missed. https://t.co/M3yhpmLhfJ via @DailySignal #TeaParty #MAGA

— Jenny Beth Martin (@jennybethm) January 3, 2019

On the Loss of Bre Payton 

Dear Daily Signal: Condolences to Bre Payton’s family for their loss, as described in Katrina Trinko’s piece (“Remembering the Problematic Bre Payton”). Losing a family member at such a young age is especially hard, because you’re losing the person he or she had the potential to be.—Kevin Zelhart


Some people are ready for heaven sooner than others. Sounds like Bre had already learned and done all she was supposed to do here. The rest of us are still refining those rough edges. May the Lord comfort her loved ones, and raise up others to carry on her work.—Carol Morrisey


The lesson here is to tell everyone you love that you love them every time you see them. You never know if it will be the last time you have the chance.—Drew Page


I cannot recall the last time I shed a tear, but I teared up when I read the headline about Bre’s passing and a couple more as I read this article. How very sad! What an outstanding young woman. God bless her.—Jim B.


I never had the honor of hearing your show, Bre, but from all I’ve read here, you were an amazing young woman. Thank you for the contributions you made in your too short time here. I know that someday I’ll get to meet you in heaven. Prayers and comfort to Bre’s family. Rest in peace, dear one.—Tonya Acre Merrill


When someone whom we love so much departs our shores from “under the sun,” we trust and know that there are the other shores of heaven where they’re welcomed by the Son. For us believers, Christ Jesus is our living hope and one day in God’s timing there will be the great reunion. Maranatha.—Adriano Celentano


I am so sad. I loved Bre’s sass and honesty. And I loved it when she was on “Problematic Women.” I’m going to miss her.—Trisha Swift

“We offer a complete, end-to-end program to help address a man’s mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs, so that when they leave here they can actually go and live independently, and live a productive life.” https://t.co/JBXAsDDJDi @kelseyjharkness @DailySignal

— The Stream (@Streamdotorg) December 26, 2018

Championing the Homeless at Central Union Mission 

Dear Daily Signal: Kelsey Harkness’s video report on George Opudo and Central Union Mission  illustrates how things used to work (“How He’s Beating Homelessness Without Government Help”).

When there was some sort of disaster that affected one life or thousands of lives, individuals and community organizations jumped in to resolve the situation. It was an efficient use of resources that got events back on track fairly quickly.

Then nanny government stepped in about 90 years ago and started to fill the role. It did so by forcibly taking money from some and redistributing it through a bureaucracy that absorbed 90 percent of the resources before they reached the people in need.

It’s time to disband the numerous unconstitutional agencies that administer “welfare” and disaster “services” and return to having local people and their voluntary community services resume the full load.


We always get more bang for the buck when we use our money voluntarily to serve other people in need. We Americans are the kindest and most benevolent people anywhere. We help our neighbors.—Ken Marx


Our Constitution didn’t envision the government in charge of charity, and wanted God to be part of our daily lives.

Greedy, evil Democrats and slimy politicians now buy political votes by turning our government into a godless charity. And too many people are all too willing to forfeit all of our freedoms and theirs for a selfish, miserable handout.—Redigo Gubernatio


Most of those under age 40 are entitlement-trained by the left’s actions to control and indoctrinate the children as they attend schools that are government controlled.

Black, white, yellow, and brown, they all get the same indoctrination unless they go to parochial or educational places that do not accept government money.—Karin Callaway, Florida


A beautiful testimony. God bless George Opudo.—Delilah Fleharty

With War on Its Doorstep, a Ukrainian City's Civil Society Flourishes https://t.co/CHzBly664h @DailySignal #AAG

— All American Girl (@AIIAmericanGirI) December 12, 2018

Nolan Peterson Reports From Ukraine

Dear Daily Signal: What a heartwarming article by Nolan Peterson about the citizens of Mariupol (“With War on Its Doorstep, a Ukrainian City’s Civil Society Flourishes”).

As a newbie to the issue, I wonder where the money is coming from to support all the community organizers? Serious outside money may be needed to keep the city going if its seaport is closed.—Loran Tritter


What an uplifting article! Proud Ukrainians, taking care of their city.—Patty Howe Willey


Mr. Peterson, my respect.—Oksana Stolpovsky


I can’t help but see this change as a positive move for Ukraine, but the change described by Nolan Peterson seems more like a political move than one of faith (“Ukraine Steps Out of Russia’s Religious Shadow”). The move reinforces the Ukrainian identity, but is it a step toward God? I can’t tell from the article.

I also wonder about the state of the non-Orthodox and independent churches in Ukraine. Do they have the freedom to worship Christ as they see fit? Is there religious freedom in Ukraine?

I have followed Nolan Peterson’s articles published in The Daily Signal, and would love to see him address this issue. The only true solution to Ukraine’s future will be found in true faith in Christ.—John T. Reagan


Thank you to Nolan Peterson for another fine article about the Ukrainian situation. Much appreciated!—Stephanie Fredin


If they’re still under a communist government, they’ve escaped nothing.—Bob Shoemaker

5 ways we are worse off fiscally after 2018 https://t.co/bWZFbWPeoJ via @davidaditch @DailySignal

— Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) December 21, 2018

The Fiscal Shape We’re In

Dear Daily Signal: David Ditch writes of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid being the biggest increases in spending in the budget (“5 Ways We Are Worse Off Fiscally After 2018”). Remember that workers’ and employers’ payroll taxes are paid annually to Social Security and Medicare. Medicaid is more of a welfare program.

Some nations successfully privatized (a bad word) Social Security, to the benefit of both workers and government. Let workers own their own accounts for both Social Security and Medicare.

Plus, we need reform of the many welfare programs. We used to think it was awful that the old communist Soviet Union paid women to have babies. We do this now. One should be the limit.

The War on Poverty begun in the 1960s has not been a leg up, but rather an oppressive push down. Go back to a 5-year limit and a one-baby limit. That way, hardworking taxpayers might have more babies they can afford to pay for.—Dee Hodges


Only leaders with courage can get us out of this. Buckle up, folks, because any out there are greatly outweighed by the cowards.

The Democrats said Medicare and Medicaid would fix our health care issues, and that if seniors and the poor were covered, the rest would be fine. Then they said that Medicaid needed to be expanded to the next tier above the poor. Then the tier above that, and all would be wonderful.

So all of this is done. And the Democrats say that poor people were dying in the streets (total lie), so they needed Obamacare and all would be wonderful. So now they claim that all of it was BS and that we need Medicare for all?

In other words, it was never about health care. It was always about moving more toward an authoritarian system with an all-powerful government, run by the elitist left, of course.—Anthony Alafero


There is no such thing as a “government trust fund,” because the government can’t be trusted. The government has routinely taken money from the Social Security “trust fund” to spend on other things, always promising to pay it back. But the government has no money of its own to repay those thefts. It will, as usual, be the taxpayers’ responsibility to repay those government thefts.

The government has done the same thing with Medicare funds, moving $700 billion over 10 years to pay for Obamacare. How much more will “Medicare for All” cost? How much will “free” college tuition cost?

How many more billions will the open borders and illegal immigrants that the Democrats want cost? How many more billions will a continued military presence in Afghanistan and the Middle East that the Republicans want cost?

How many more billions will government bailouts cost? How many billions will be spent by government to pay salaries and benefits and pensions to “nonessential” government employees?—Drew Page


Why is it that Congress and administrations have completely ignored the need for a real budget? The continuing resolutions are nothing but padding that has pushed us over the brink.

Social programs should not include Social Security and Medicare because they are prepaid, mandated items by all workers from their paychecks. If it had been left in a trust account or at least something that would gain interest, and not “borrowed” from by the government on a whim, it would be in better shape.

The older people did not have the options that are available now for pension and retirement savings. Plus, had Social Security Administration accounts been interest-bearing, the cost of living adjustment might actually have been steadier.

Every business and family unit should have a budget or spending plan that is laid out for at least one year, every year. Then a tentative estimate of the following year. The budget plan needs to be started by no later than March of each year, so that it can be completed by Sept. 1 of each year to allow enough time for everyone to read it and be able to ask questions before voting to accept. That includes both houses of Congress, the administration, and the American people.

There are far too many departments in government, and I would say that most are entirely unnecessary. Which goes against the Constitution, which was written to control the size and meddling of government affecting our private lives.—Karin Callaway, Florida


Short of direct humanitarian or emergency aid, I would end all foreign aid. Unless there is a country that actually does something in return for the aid received; that country is Israel, which I wholeheartedly support.

The irony is that most Jewish Americans do not support Israel. Or they certainly don’t vote that way, voting overwhelmingly for Democrats who clearly do not support Israel.—Paul Johnson

After a month of violent protests, French leaders are trying to adopt new laws to help quell the underlying reasons why the country’s working and middle classes took to the streets. https://t.co/tjmCEXhxJz via @nolanwpeterson @DailySignal

— Allen L. Ose (@AllenLOse) December 25, 2018

The ‘Yellow Vest’ Riots in France

Dear Daily Signal: To be fair, the French in the past 15 years riot at the drop of a hat, and it’s hard to tell fun from substance (“France’s Riots Fueled by Anger at Elites,  Rich”). The French middle class is disappearing and being replaced by a benefits-dependent, alienated, polyglot lower-middle class.

Of course, the same could be said for the U.S., where Ivy League graduates hold 90 percent of the power. The rest of society deals with heroin and methamphetamine addicts, who are proclaimed the true victims who need even more federal money.—Gerry Wright


Back in the 1970s, I was told by an expert that France had a law requiring companies to pay those they lay off for a full two years. That may explain why young people with degrees often have to volunteer for a company for up to three years before they are accepted on the actual payroll.

This kind of thing started to happen here during the Obama years. No wonder so many millennials tend toward the left. It may not just be indoctrination.—Dee Hodges


The American revolt against arrogant elitists in November 2016 was a lot more orderly.—Boyd Richardson


We have the same divide here in the U.S. between people who work for a living and are overtaxed by an out-of-touch political class on both sides. This  political class  thinks that no tax is high enough and no spending big enough on the part of Big Brother.—Barry Takacss

Michigan lawmakers urge fast-food chains to stop offering ‘gender-classified’ toys https://t.co/dGkKJs37ch @DailySignal

— Jarrett Stepman (@JarrettStepman) December 4, 2018

This and That 

Dear Daily Signal: In response to Troy Worden’s article, “Michigan Lawmakers Urge Fast-Food Chains to Stop Offering ‘Gender Classified’ Toys,” also featured on the podcast the next day, I can say only that I’m proud to be a Floridian. The Michigan lawmakers have lost their minds.

If Michigan legislators think that classifying or not classifying a toy is going to change a child’s mind, then they haven’t spent enough time around children. Children don’t care how we, as adults, classify a toy. They simply want a toy to play with, and they want what they want.

Just because certain genders are predisposed to picking certain types of toys over others has nothing to do with it. This is not a gender identity issue, as state Rep. Leslie Love tries to make it into. It’s simply another way to ban free speech, and if too many left-wing Democrats get ahold of this legislation, I’m afraid to say what I predict could happen because I don’t want it to come to pass.

Love needs to have her head examined for bringing this up in the first place. She has no business being in public office or anywhere near the public. The best thing for her to do is go hide in a cave. I have cousins in Michigan, and I don’t want them exposed to her ideas. I don’t want to see their minds corrupted as hers obviously has been.

Excellent reporting. Thank you.—Keri Lynn Siegel, Delray Beach, Fla.


In response to David Harsanyi’s commentary “Dear TSA: Please Stop Molesting Kids at the Airport,” may I add this example. The last time we flew, a few years ago, my wife and I entered a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint for the flight home to Oregon from California. Approaching the agent, I greeted him warmly, at which point he demanded I empty my personal bags in his presence.

I immediately realized he was simply being an arrogant power guru, and his authority probably couldn’t be challenged. So I looked him in the eye and said we, this nation’s taxpayers, spent how many millions on this equipment to speed up this process, yet here now you’re telling me it was a waste of our tax dollars?

I told the agent that as a taxpayer I wanted to know if we taxpayers are in fact getting good value for our dollars, then immediately I tossed my bag onto their system and it passed through. Then I looked at him and asked, “Did you hear any bells or alarms go off?”

Next, I told his colleagues to send my bag back to me so I could test it in the next baggage pass-through lane. At which point the agent told me to get the hell out of his presence.

My wife had to empty her bag, as she didn’t choose to challenge him as I did. I observed that he barely looked at her possessions, as soon after she caught up to me.

As I departed, I heard the TSA agent tell a beautiful young woman to empty her bags, which she did. At that point it was obvious he was both misusing his authority and, in her case, keeping her in his area where he probably wrapped her within his thoughts.

That was the last time we flew or ever will again. We as taxpayers and paying customers won’t put up with arrogant, taxpayer-funded government employees dishonoring us with their misuse of power.

I wonder if anyone ever bothered to take a survey to determine who and how many, like us, have discontinued flying permanently because of dishonorable TSA mistreatment? Has anyone every taken a survey on how many opposite-gender citizens are equally mistreated because of their sexual appeal?—Ron Dale, Boise, Idaho


Great podcast by Rob Bluey and Ginny Montalbano on teaching civics. I am proud to see my alma mater, Arizona State University, push for civics being taught (“Podcast: The Importance of Civics Education“).

As a former intern of John McCain’s first Senate campaign, I am excited by the bill recently introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, to have civics introduced in K-12 schools all over America.

With both good citizens and good government, the United States of America will always remain free and strong. Yes, we can restore our republic and keep alive “that glorious liberty document,”our amazing Constitution.—Bill King, Pittsburgh


Hillsdale College has been teaching civics for generations.  But good for Arizona State University to get in on an important subject.

The more people learn, especially young people, perhaps we will see more truth and less obstruction of free speech on our campuses.—Vince Lorenz


After reading Fred Lucas’s report, it seems like most Americans should be able to be convinced that an investigation that goes on for well over two years has little to do with justice and is all about a political agenda (“3 Times Special Prosecutors Were Fired”).

I say it’s time for special counsel Robert Mueller to put up or be shut down.—Tom Yunghans


Great column by John York on salary increases for federal  workers (“Giving a Raise to All Federal Employees Makes No Sense“). I want all the perks stopped, and a great way would be to start releasing bureaucrats to compensate for any and all benefits. Big government is bad and like cancer feeds on itself. This would help clean up the swamp, and fiscal reform would help restore discipline and accountability.—Brennan Edwards, Savannah, Ga.


Pawan Kalyan is not only an actor or political leader, he is a great human being, as your podcast reveals (“Movie Star Leads a Youthful Revolution in India”). The sky is the limit for his humanity.

Kalyan helped a lot of poor people, helped cancer patients, and addressed people issues to government. He is definitely going to play a vital role in Indian politics. God bless India, the U.S., and Pawan Kalyan.—Vara Prasad


It takes a great effort to be able to come to the USA and try to represent the problems back in India, and also the problems of immigrants. We sincerely thank Pawan Kalyan and Nadendla Manohar for voicing their opinions and aspirations. Thanks a lot, Daily Signal, for publishing this to a wider American audience.—Naveen Budi

Sarah Sleem helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”

The post We Hear You: The Border Wall and Shutdown Politics appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Media Misses: New York Times Bias Exposed

Sat, 2019-01-05 06:01

President Donald Trump has called out The New York Times for its bias numerous times and it turns out he was actually right. Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson’s soon-to-be published book “Merchants of Truth” suggests the magazine’s news reporting has become “unmistakably anti-Trump,” Fox News’ Howard Kurtz reports.

The fact is, The New York Times has had a liberal bias that started long before Trump was elected president. This often came through in more subtle ways, such as the stories it chose to cover—and how it treated Democrats versus Republicans. This is old news.

What has changed is that the Times is now so aggressively hostile to the president that it’s made it more hyperbolic and reckless, even in its straight news reporting. Trump has merely exposed the long-term biases that media organizations like the Times and The Washington Post have always had, but now those outlets—in their zeal to undo his presidency and get clicks—have undermined their own credibility.

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

The post Media Misses: New York Times Bias Exposed appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Green New Deal Is a Trojan Horse for Socialism

Fri, 2019-01-04 18:07

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is ready to tax the rich to make her Green New Deal a reality.

“People are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” the recently-elected New York Democrat told TV show “60 Minutes” in an interview set to air Sunday.

Speaking of prior decades’ taxation rates in the country, Ocasio-Cortez added, “Once you get to the tippy tops, on your ten millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent.”


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests taxes as high as 70% on the wealthiest to pay for a "Green New Deal."

"If that's what radical means, call me a radical," @AOC tells @AndersonCooper. pic.twitter.com/fcw2YtdeSD

— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) January 4, 2019

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the avowed “democratic socialist” went with the predictable “tax the rich” formula in order to pay for a massive government program to combat climate change.

But it would hardly be good news for most Americans if Ocasio-Cortez got her way.

In fact, such a scheme would mean that her constituents in New York City would pay a max income tax rate of 82.6 percent, as Americans for Tax Reform was quick to point out. Perhaps New Yorkers deserve what they voted for, but does the country?

Interest in the Green New Deal

While Democratic House leadership has so far balked at the Green New Deal, it enjoys strong support from over 40 members of Congress, per The Daily Caller.

A poll released in December also shows Americans might be more inclined than you’d think to support the plan. The poll, from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, showed that eight out of ten Americans hadn’t heard about it.

But when asked if they would support it—albeit with a very favorable description of the deal that didn’t discuss higher taxes, for instance—81 percent of registered voters said they would back it.

However, polls tend to change quickly when people learn about how much policies cost them, and the details of the Green New Deal demonstrate that it’s about more than just a higher tax on a tiny number of rich people.

A Radical Agenda

In fact, the tax hikes on the rich would be one of the least radical parts of the agenda.

It’s no exaggeration to say that if implemented, the Green New Deal would upend our way of life and destroy the liberty and prosperity that Americans, of all backgrounds, currently enjoy.

Among its goals are meeting “100 percent of national power” demand through renewable sources, retrofitting “every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort, and safety,” and eliminating “greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural, and other industries.

Those changes are going to come with real costs. According to an editorial for Investor’s Business Daily, moving the economy away from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy will come “at a cost of about $5.2 trillion over 20 years.”

So much for America’s newfound energy renaissance that has in large part come through innovative new oil drilling techniques.

Energy Status Quo Couldn’t Change This Fast

Even if we’re willing to shoulder the costs, it’s, well, impossible to achieve.

“Producing 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources is a practical impossibility in the near future,” stated a report issued by the Senate Republican Policy Committee in December. The report, which looked at the Green New Deal, continued:

Scientists doubt it would be achievable by 2050, let alone 2029, the deadline Democrats would set. Such a massive overhaul in power generation would require the closure and replacement of about 83 percent of U.S. electricity generation, including all coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants.  … Today, renewable electricity—mainly wind, solar, and hydroelectric—provides only 17 percent of American electricity.

Make no mistake: While progressives have long been focused on green extremist policies, the Green New Deal proposals are significantly more radical than other environmentalist ideas like carbon taxes and subsidies for green industries. Foregoing the sticks-and-carrots approach to addressing climate change, this deal would instead rely on the ruthless bludgeoning of private industry and citizens through the levers of the state.

In fact, the plan outright dismisses attempts to “incentivize the private sector” toward greener policies as “simply inadequate to transition to a fully greenhouse gas-neutral economy as quickly as needed.”

Instead, the plan calls for direct government intervention to be its “prime driver.” (And in a mere ten years, no less!)

A Trojan Horse of Liberal Goodies

But that’s not all. There’s more.

The Green New Deal doesn’t just include environmentalist proposals: It also includes a grab bag of other left-wing goodies to “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional, and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low-income, deindustrialized, or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level.)”

Among the liberal wish list items included, the Green New Deal contains a proposal for universal health care and a basic minimum income program to make up for all the jobs lost in the process of transitioning to a fully green economy.

Of course, this will all come with an immense cost.

Citing an analysis by the Mercatus Center, Bob Moffit, a health care expert at The Heritage Foundation, wrote that the “Medicare for All” legislation proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years. A universal minimum income or basic income plan would also likely cost trillions of dollars a year.

The entire federal budget in 2018 was $4 trillion. The Green New Deal would require the U.S. to massively expand this already-bloated budget that is burying us in debt.

How do Green New Deal proponents propose to pay for this extreme growth in government?

“[I]n the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars,” the plan says. “The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.”

In other words, by massively hiking taxes, and then borrowing and ultimately printing money. Then it would use public banks run by unaccountable bureaucrats to carry the whole thing out.

That’s not very democratic, but it is socialistic—an American version of a Soviet-style five-year plan focused on command-and-control economic solutions that have proven to fail the world over.

As Justin Haskins, executive editor at the Heartland Institute, wrote for the Washington Examiner: “Make no mistake about it: This is one of the most dangerous and extreme proposals offered in modern U.S. history. It’s the sort of thing you’d see in the Soviet Union, not the United States.”

The Stakes Just Got Higher

If there is one positive thing the Green New Deal does, it’s that it brings to light the fact that much of the environmentalist agenda is just a thinly veiled vehicle for implementing far-left socialism.

Given the fact that nearly half of millennials say they’d rather live under socialism or communism than capitalism, according to a 2017 poll conducted by the Victims of Communism, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that these ideas didn’t die at the end of the Cold War.

They’ve been repackaged by young, hip millennials, like Ocasio-Cortez, who can deceive a generation, mostly detached from history, into believing that the failed flim-flam sauce of socialism can somehow work this time around.

Despite overwhelming evidence of failure and suffering, the American left is now more openly embracing socialism—a worrying and disturbing trend that needs to be countered.

It’s no longer just Sanders waging this crusade in Congress. It is a growing cohort of younger, even more extreme members who are attempting to revive ideas that should have been left in the ash heap of history. As Sanders himself recently noted in a CNN interview, his 2016 campaign helped make certain positions “mainstream” that were previously “considered extreme and fringe.”

Whatever one thinks about Ocasio-Cortez, it’s undeniable that she connects with a large and growing subset of voters. Her everywoman persona and ability to seem truly genuine is making her a potent voice on the left.

The Instagram cooking advice and dance routines may be charming and relatable—especially to millennials—but attention to these trivial matters masks the radicalism and bankruptcy of her views.

Socialism is not the cure for what ails America, and it hardly takes a history lesson to figure this out.

The agony of a collapsing Venezuela, praised as an economic model for the future just a decade ago, is a stark example of how badly this can end for people of all income groups.

The Venezuelan regime started out as “democratic” socialism, too. It’s ending in failure, tyranny, and collapse.

Let’s not let dancing videos and Twitter hot takes distract us from that fact.

The post The Green New Deal Is a Trojan Horse for Socialism appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump Says He Prefers Shutdown Deal, but Could Build Wall Without Congress

Fri, 2019-01-04 18:07

President Donald Trump said he could build a wall along the southern border without Congress, but prefers a negotiated deal–one that he’s willing to keep part of the government closed to get, even if it takes months.

“I could do it if I wanted,” Trump said Friday of completing a barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border, during a Rose Garden press conference that stretched more than an hour. “We could call a national emergency because of the security of our country. I haven’t done it. I may do it.”

“But we could call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” the president told reporters. “That’s another way of doing it. But if we could do it through a negotiated process, we’re giving that a shot.”

Trump’s remarks came after his second White House meeting in two days with top congressional leaders, including new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Trump said he brought up the possibility in the meeting of going ahead without Congress, adding: “I never threaten anybody, but I am allowed to do that. It’s called a national emergency.”

The president’s meeting with congressional leaders was to try to reach a deal with Democrats, who oppose construction of a border wall.

Pelosi told reporters outside the White House immediately after the meeting that the disagreements “can’t be resolved” in one day and called the meeting “contentious.”

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., however, all characterized the meeting as “productive.”

The president said each side would designate a negotiating team that would work through the weekend and beyond to reach a deal, and that Pence would be his point man. Also at his Rose Garden press conference were Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

“We told the president we needed the government opened,” Schumer said in remarks to reporters earlier. “He resisted. In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time. Months or even years.”

Trump confirmed Schumer’s account.

“Absolutely I said that. I don’t think it will, but I’m prepared, and I think I can speak for Republicans in the House and Republicans in the Senate,” Trump said. “They feel very strongly about having a safe country, having a border that makes sense. Without border security–I’ve said it many times–we don’t have a country. I hope it doesn’t go on even beyond a few more days. It could open very quickly.”

Only about 25 percent of the government isn’t being funded under the current shutdown, which affects parts of the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, State, and Transportation.

Pence indicated he would forgo a pay hike for the duration of the shutdown, and Trump said he might withhold pay increases for the Cabinet secretaries of the affected departments.

On Thursday, the Democrat-controlled House passed a spending bill to reopen most of the agencies with no funding for the wall, while talks on homeland security funding continue.

Trump said he doesn’t support the plan.

“Because we want to do what’s right and we want to do it all at one time, and we don’t want to take it in pieces,” he said.

Trump also brought up negotiating the Obama administration program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which shields millions of illegal immigrants brought to the country as minors from deportation.

However, the president blamed a federal court decision for blocking the administration’s move to scrap the program.

“DACA is going to be a great subject. I look forward to discussing it,” Trump said. “We’ll discuss it at another time, but there are a lot of great things that can happen with DACA if the Democrats want to do that. I think what we are all waiting for, to be honest, is the Supreme Court justices ruling.”

Trump also addressed a question about profanity-laced comments about him made Wednesday by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., one of the new members of the House.

“You can’t impeach somebody that’s doing a great job. That’s the way I see it,” Trump said.

The president continued:

I’ve probably done more in the first two years than any president, any administration in the history of our country. You look at tax cuts. You look at regulations. You look at everything we’ve done for the vets.

You look at the rebuilding of the military and the numbers that we are talking about, and millions of other things. I could give you a list. It’s pages long. It’s very hard to impeach somebody who has done a great job. That’s number one.

We even talked about that today. I said, ‘Why don’t you use this for impeachment?’ And Nancy said, ‘We’re not looking to impeach you.’ I said, ‘That’s good, Nancy, that’s good.’

But, you know what, you don’t impeach people when they’re doing a good job, and you don’t impeach people when there was no collusion.

The president’s last reference was to the ongoing probe by special counsel Robert Mueller of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible cooperation from the Trump campaign.

The post Trump Says He Prefers Shutdown Deal, but Could Build Wall Without Congress appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Democratic Lawmaker Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Abolish Electoral College

Fri, 2019-01-04 17:43

Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen introduced a measure Thursday that would add a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College.

Cohen introduced the yet-to-be-named legislation that if passed, would overturn a portion of Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which states the president and vice president are determined by electors under a grant of authority delegated to the state legislatures.

It reads:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The joint resolution was introduced only hours after the new Congress was sworn in, giving Democrats a majority in the House.

“In two presidential elections since 2000, including the most recent one in which Hillary Clinton won 2.8 million more votes than her opponent, the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College,” Cohen said in a press release. “Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office.”

“More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators,” Cohen continued. “It is past time to directly elect our president and vice president.”

The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and already has three cosponsors: Democratic Reps. John Garamendi and Julia Brownley of California, and Jim Cooper of Tennessee.

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

The post Democratic Lawmaker Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Abolish Electoral College appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

I’m a Mom. Here’s How Government-Run Health Care Could Hurt My Kids.

Fri, 2019-01-04 16:16

I’m pretty sure there’s no worse feeling as a mother than seeing your child sick or injured. The amount of helplessness you feel—even if it’s not a life-threatening condition—rocks you to the core.

That’s why moms rely on doctors and nurses to provide certainty and a plan of action when our children are sick and hurting.

At least that’s what I felt last month when I brought my toddler to the pediatric emergency room when her illness had lasted for several days.

As we waited for a prognosis, I heard young patients wailing in other rooms down the hall, and I thought about their mothers; specifically, how strong they had to be because they were likely dealing with bigger issues than what I faced, and how they probably took off work and had to juggle transportation to bring those children in to get urgent care.

What other concerns beyond the most important one—namely, whether my child will be OK—were running through their heads?

Most likely, cost was at the top of the list. Access to additional medical care also is a real concern.

That’s understandable. While America’s health system is one of the most advanced in the world, it is riddled with bureaucracy, waste, and perverse incentives, which are often created by the federal government.

We’ve seen the headlines that many Americans are surprised with unexpected medical bills when they go into the emergency room. We’ve heard how patients are limited in who they can see, because of narrowing provider networks under their health plans.

But would mothers be better served by a government-run health care system? Would they be better off if lawmakers uprooted the current system and replaced it with one run by the federal government?

For the working moms who are part of the more than 164 million Americans who get their health care coverage through work, that’s doubtful.

More than 70 percent of those employees are generally satisfied with their work-based health insurance plans. Sure, they want solutions to America’s rising health care costs, but they like their current health plans through the private sector.

For mothers who need access to specialists for chronically ill children or those with a pre-existing condition, government-run health care systems perform poorly. The experiences in Britain and Canada show that the governments slashed payments to medical providers, which diminished the quality care that patients could get.

Even here in the United States, government-run health care programs such as those of the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Services have appalling records of patients dying while waiting for care.

For anxious mothers like me who don’t want to wait three days for results from a lab culture while my child suffers, government-run health care doesn’t promise speedy service.

Wait lists are the norm in Canada. In 2017, Canadians were on wait lists for an estimated 1.04 million procedures. In the United Kingdom, hospital waits can be long and arduous, with the British National Health Service routinely canceling elective operations for nonclinical reasons.

And let’s not forget that “free health care” comes with gigantic costs to households. Projections for the “Medicare for All” legislation that would set up government-run health care would be an astronomical $32 trillion for just 10 years.

To pay for it, Americans would be taxed an estimated 20 percent in combined new payroll and income taxes.

Mothers shouldn’t face new taxes to pay for a health care system that takes away their choices in return for what’s likely to be substandard care. They need more choices when it comes to how they access and afford medical care for themselves and their children.

The best way to achieve that goal is to give states more flexibility and resources to heal their broken insurance markets. Policymakers have a plan that does that while protecting patients with pre-existing conditions.

That could go a long way toward easing motherly concerns.

The post I’m a Mom. Here’s How Government-Run Health Care Could Hurt My Kids. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Former NFL Player Burgess Owens Decries Socialists, Says ‘Black Elitists’ Letting Down Black Community

Fri, 2019-01-04 16:00

Former NFL player Burgess Owens said socialism and Marxism are pushing an “anti-white” and “anti-American” agenda that’s hurting the black community.

Burgess was discussing the NFL’s ratings boost as national anthem protests begin to fade and said America is fighting for its soul.

“The biggest takeaway from the last two years — we are in the fight for the heart and soul of our nation,” Burgess said Friday on “Fox & Friends.”

“We are fighting for our American, Judeo-Christian values and we’re fighting against a very evil force of socialism and Marxism that destroy everything they come close to. The NFL has been changed forever and people don’t realize this. But it used to be a place where we come together, no matter what our political persuasion was, and there was unity because we had God, country and family.”

“The Marxists and socialists made that so that we have these young people coming out of these environments — they’re anti-American, they’re anti-white, they’re anti-capitalist — and that is the message that now is going around the world and throughout our communities — that this is a place that’s not for black Americans,” he added.

Burgess claimed the far-left ideology is “evil” and seeks to destroy people’s “belief in God.”

“You look at the American black community, which once led our country, believe it or not, in the commitment to marriage and commitment to education, to entrepreneurship when I was growing up — that has turned totally upside-down because we have these black elitists, particularly, the ones you just mentioned that care less about our community. They care about their profits, their profitability and their prestige. And that’s what elitists do. That’s what socialists do.”

“I’ve watched as I’ve grown up, the impact of these socialists. Our greatest enemy is not white supremacists — it’s black elitists,” Burgess argued. “Those who live the American dream, who get a job for $100,000 a year as politicians and come out as multimillionaires, because what they do is they betray their own base. The people that believe in them, they give them up so they can get their ideology in place.”

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The post Former NFL Player Burgess Owens Decries Socialists, Says ‘Black Elitists’ Letting Down Black Community appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump on Impeachment Talk: I ‘Had the Most Successful First Two Years of Any President’

Fri, 2019-01-04 15:55

President Donald Trump issued a rhetorical question on Twitter Friday morning addressing the calls for impeachment against him, which have been increasingly apparent as Democrats officially took over the House on Thursday.

“How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93 percent?” the president wrote.

How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2019

We got congresspeople out here calling the president a mother fucker pic.twitter.com/GCXSPQbPb8

— Barstool News Network (@BarstoolNewsN) January 4, 2019

Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California reportedly reintroduced articles of impeachment against Trump Thursday that he first filed in 2017.

Tlaib also co-wrote an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press Thursday claiming the House doesn’t need to wait to see the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before moving forward “with an inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives on whether the president has committed impeachable ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ against the state: abuse of power and abuse of the public trust.”

Trump rebuked the claims from these Democrats and others involving the Russia probe, insisting that he had “done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded).”

It’s unclear what exactly the president was referring to when he claimed the “most successful first two years of any president.” In terms of approval ratings, he isn’t technically “the most popular Republican in party history.”

Trump, near the end of his first two years as president, reached an 89 percent approval rating among Republicans as of Dec. 17-22, according to Gallup.

Former President George W. Bush enjoyed a 97 percent approval rating among Republicans during roughly the same week in December 2002.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Bush saw nearly full support from the party. Bush garnered 99 percent support from Republicans and 89 percent from Democrats in October 2001, according to Gallup.

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

The post Trump on Impeachment Talk: I ‘Had the Most Successful First Two Years of Any President’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Sorry, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, But Conservatives Don’t Care About Your Dance Moves

Fri, 2019-01-04 15:29

The tale of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dance moves is as stupid as stupid gets.

Contra the most recent fake news narrative, conservatives could hardly care about a video going viral of a younger Ocasio-Cortez happily dancing and having fun. Some of us, in fact, find it adorable.

The saga began when an anonymous, unverified Twitter user by the name of “AnonymousQ1776” posted a clip of the New York Democrat dancing online. The user claimed the video of Ocasio-Cortez romping around on a rooftop was from high school. (It’s actually from 2010, when she was a student at Boston College.)

That tweet—and the user’s account—were quickly deactivated or deleted. Why? Probably because the user realized his or her attempt at trolling the freshman Congresswoman was dumb. We all like dancing and having fun.

But that didn’t stop the media and Ocasio-Cortez herself from capitalizing on the moment to pretend it was some sort of coordinated attempt by Republicans to demean her.

“Attempt to smear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with college dancing video backfires,” wrote CNN.

“’I love this’: bid to discredit Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with college dance video backfires,” wrote The Guardian.

“It is unsurprising to me that Republicans would think having fun should be disqualifying or illegal,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

Later, she tweeted a new video of her dancing into her congressional office. “I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous,” she wrote. “Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too!”

I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous.

Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too! ??

Have a great weekend everyone :) pic.twitter.com/9y6ALOw4F6

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 4, 2019

Of course, the media picked up on that too, furthering the narrative that conservatives actually care about Ocasio-Cortez’s college mashup. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., got in on the fun, too.

Just to go on record. I’m for *more* dancing in politics not less. pic.twitter.com/aCu9xofwM0

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 4, 2019

All this hype, based on a single, anonymous tweet from a user who, for all we know, could have been an Ocasio-Cortez staffer or a liberal supporter.

In the world of real news, conservatives—including myself—didn’t see anything “scandalous” about Ocasio-Cortez’s dance moves at all. If anything, we were a little jealous.

Rather, what we find “scandalous” are the radical, socialist policies the freshman congresswoman supports.

These ideas include Medicare for all, tuition-free college, gun control, and the Green New Deal. The latter, a truly radical attempt to fight climate change by eliminating nearly all fossil fuels from the electric grid within 12 years, would create “widespread economic chaos.”

In December, Ocasio-Cortez called the New Green Deal “the civil rights movement of our generation.” In order to pay it, she floated a federal income tax rate as high as 70 percent in a forthcoming “60 Minutes” interview scheduled to air this weekend. According to Americans for Tax Reform, that means combined with city and state taxes, New Yorkers could pay a tax rate as high as 82.7 percent.

“What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?” Ocasio-Cortez asked in the “60 Minutes” interview. “There’s an element where yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.”

We already know that taxing the rich doesn’t increase revenue in any meaningful way. And coming off another strong jobs report, it’s clear the economy needs the opposite.

So no, it’s not Ocasio-Cortez’s dance moves that conservatives are concerned about—it’s the scandalous, socialist policies that she supports.

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Categories: Public Policy