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Today — September 29th 2022Politics – The Daily Signal

Biden’s Bumbling and Stumbling Could Start World War III

Conservative political pundits love to air videos of Old Joe’s erratic, often unintelligible remarks. There are sure to be “replays” of many of these in campaign commercials during the nonstop run-up to the 2024 elections.

President Joe Biden’s uncertain, dithering, wrong-headed decisions and outright lies on everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to the catastrophe on our southern border, inflation, and errant energy policy inflict real pain on the American people. But all these pale in comparison to his cognitive disarray on matters of national security. Presidential weakness in thought, word, and deed when dealing with “near peer adversaries” could well result in war.

For the good of our republic, Biden’s handlers should avoid placing our sadly compromised commander in chief in situations where his meandering mind compromises the security of our nation.

His Sept. 18 appearance on “60 Minutes,” where all hands were starry-eyed sycophants, is but one recent example. Host Scott Pelley asked, “So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, U.S. forces, U.S. men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Biden answered, “Yes.”

Afterward, CBS posted in the online transcript of the “60 Minutes” fiasco, “After our interview a White House official told us U.S. policy has not changed. Officially, the U.S. will not say whether American forces would defend Taiwan. But the commander-in-chief had a view of his own.”

We are not alone in wondering, who is running the U.S. government?

Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin has again warned about using “all necessary means [code words for nuclear weapons] to defend Russian homeland.” On the edge of winter, he has shut down the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to Europe, called up at least 300,000 “reservists” for duty in his thus far failed invasion of Ukraine, and is now asserting a phony “referendum” affirming Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory.

Putin’s only real friends are Communist China, Iran, Syria, Nicaragua, Cuba, and North Korea. He is begging them for tanks, armored vehicles, helicopters, aircraft parts, unmanned aerial vehicles [“drones”], ammunition, guided missiles, anti-aircraft weapons, artillery pieces, and spare parts for everything.

Meanwhile, Putin is facing unprecedented protests across Russia against horrific casualties in Ukraine, draft dodgers fleeing the country, increasing unemployment, shortages of food and basic necessities, and a pro-nationalist revolt against a prisoner of war swap with Ukraine.

Putin is on the ropes. His only hope is to hang on through the winter while fighting a war of attrition against the Ukrainian people. And the only “world leaders” who can save him are Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and Biden in Washington.

Our goal should be for Ukraine to restore all its territory and national sovereignty. Xi is waiting to see what ensures Taiwan being recognized as part of Communist China with the least possible cost to the Chinese Communist Party.

Biden, timorous at best, flaccid and confused at worst, does not seem to understand the disastrous consequences of appearing weak. After Putin’s thinly veiled nuke threats, Biden’s undersecretary of defense for policy, Colin Kahl, said, “Ukraine’s success on the battlefield could cause Russia to feel backed into a corner, and that is something we must remain mindful of … “

That’s precisely the kind of weak thinking behind Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s part of his abysmal decision to reopen “talks” with Iran on building nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them on Israel and the United States. As pointed out in our last column, it was this president’s muddled mind that turned the brightest and bravest military force in world history into demoralized Woke Social Justice Warriors.

COPYRIGHT 2022 CREATORS.COM

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post Biden’s Bumbling and Stumbling Could Start World War III appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Before yesterdayPolitics – The Daily Signal

Contract With America: The Sequel

House Republican leaders have announced a plan they are calling a “Commitment to America” in time for the November election and presumably the presidential contest two years from now.

In unveiling the plan, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has the party’s priorities right. The question is whether the Republican Party can survive the familiar and expected Democrat and media onslaught we have seen before, the one that claims the GOP will end Social Security and Medicare and harm children.

The Commitment to America plan promises to reduce government spending (the main driver of debt that accompanies record high inflation), control the southern border and the migrants and drugs pouring in, and attack violent crime.

These issues have worked well for Republicans in the past. The problem has been sustaining them against opposition from Democrats, much of the media, and interest groups that later would be characterized as “the swamp.”

It would be helpful if McCarthy and his colleagues would tell us which government programs they will cut, but perhaps they don’t wish to telegraph anything to prevent Democrats from mischaracterizing the plan. Not that they won’t anyway.

In this “sequel” to the “Contract With America” of 1994 from then-Reps. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and Dick Armey, R-Texas, Republicans are again promoting some of the same ideas that created their first House majority in 40 years.

The 1994 contract had many things going for it, but chief among them was that everyone could understand it. The contract contained 10 promises and was reduced to the size of a full-page ad in the then widely distributed TV Guide magazine. Voters could also carry copies in their wallets and purses.

Not all of the contract’s objectives were achieved after Republicans’ victory, including congressional term limits and a constitutional amendment to force balanced budgets, but those that did were astoundingly successful.

While Democrats screamed like scalded dogs and promoted doomsday scenarios, President Bill Clinton correctly gauged the mood of the country, declaring that “the era of big government is over.” If only.

The Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform bill was a major achievement of the contract. The Left claimed that poor people would starve. They didn’t. Most of the able-bodied among them found jobs, which benefited them and the country.

Taxes were cut and in 1998 the federal budget was balanced and stayed balanced through 2001. Hard as it is to believe with today’s $30 trillion debt, the country experienced a surplus of $236 billion in 2000.

Economic growth was 4% or higher from 1997 through 2000 and unemployment rates, which had been above 7% at the beginning of the decade, fell to less than 5% in 1997. By the end of 2000, unemployment was under 4%.

For three straight years—from 1997 through 1999—the economy produced more than 3 million jobs, a record.

It is undeniable that the Contract With America worked.

The new list of Republican goals will work, too, if they are implemented, because they are rooted in the history of what has worked before—lower taxes, less spending, personal responsibility and accountability, empowering parents, not teachers unions.

President Joe Biden is no Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party has been taken over by the hard Left and they are not about to compromise on anything, from social issues to “climate change.”

Only if Republicans win the Congress and the White House does the GOP’s “Commitment to America” have a chance to fully succeed. As in 1994, the party has the issues on its side—from inflation and a declining stock market that is hurting the savings of retirees, to an uncontrolled border, violent crime, and a cultural fabric that seems to many conservatives to be coming apart.

If Republicans can’t win on these issues, they can expect and deserve to be committed by voters to years of irrelevancy.

Distributed and copyright by Tribune Content Agency

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post Contract With America: The Sequel appeared first on The Daily Signal.

‘Abuse of Power’: Lawmakers Tear Into DOJ for Arrest of Pro-Life Father in Front of Screaming Children

Republican lawmakers tore into the Department of Justice on Monday over the sudden and reportedly dramatic arrest of a pro-life father.

Members of the GOP reacted to reports that the FBI sent a “25-30 person swat team with guns drawn to target Mark Houck, a pro-life father of seven, for allegedly shoving a guy in front of an abortion clinic (while he maintains he was defending his 12-year-old son),” as Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, described it to The Daily Signal.

“This appears to be nothing less than a brazen continuation of the abuse of power by federal authorities against average American citizens that must stop,” Roy told The Daily Signal on Monday.

“We owe the American people congressional hearings to provide public and transparent accountability for any and all wrongdoing,” he continued. “Even further, the FBI needs a complete and total overhaul to return primary law enforcement power to the states and to get the Bureau out of the business of politics once and for all.”

This is absurd.

A blatant, partisan abuse of power.#JusticeCorrupted https://t.co/si3OZJtc36

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 25, 2022

Huock’s wife told Life Site News that 25-30 FBI agents entered their home around 7 a.m. on Friday morning. 

“The kids were all just screaming. It was all just very scary and traumatic,” Ryan-Marie Houck shared with the pro-life outlet, adding that her husband pleaded with the agents to be calm and not scare his children. The agents were holding “big, huge rifles,” she said, “pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house.”

“Our staircase is open, so [the kids] were all at the top of the stairs which faces the front door, and I was on the stairs as well, coming down,” she said.

In a Monday afternoon letter, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to explain why “[President Joe] Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists—complete with SWAT-style tactics—while letting actual terrorist acts go unpunished.”

I want to know from Merrick Garland directly why Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists – complete with SWAT-style tactics – while letting actual terrorist acts like firebombings go unpunished pic.twitter.com/tU1Jwe4c7h

— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 26, 2022

Hawley noted that authorities obtained a warrant under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act to arrest Houck for “allegedly committing a single count of simple assault by pushing a man near an abortion clinic.” The FACE Act forbids preventing or obstructing anyone from going into an abortion clinic to provide or obtain an abortion.

“Houck contends that he only did so to defend his child against the man, and local authorities have already dismissed a separate criminal complaint against Houck for the same conduct,” Hawley continued. “Not only did your office turn a local dispute into a national case, but the FBI reportedly executed the search warrant in as extreme a manner as one can imagine.”

The senator also pointed out that Garland’s office has “so far turned a blind eye to the epidemic of violence across the country by pro-abortion extremists against pregnancy resource centers, houses of worship, and pro-life Americans—violent acts that are prohibited by the very same law under which you are charging Mark Houck.”

The corruption & abuse of law is out of control. Come January, the new Republican Congress must launch a thorough, public investigation of DOJ & the FBI – from their targeting of parents to religious protestors to political opponents. What Biden is doing is wrong. And dangerous

— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 26, 2022

Pro-life crisis pregnancy centers and churches have faced a slew of attacks since the May leak of a draft opinion indicating that Roe v. Wade would soon be overturned. According to a Catholic Vote tracker, at least 72 crisis pregnancy centers and at least 80 Catholic churches have been attacked or vandalized since the leak.

It does not appear that the Justice Department is prosecuting anyone in relation to these crimes under the FACE Act, which also includes safeguards for houses of worship. The FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Signal on this point or others related to Houck’s arrest.

Reminder: Blocking the entrance or threatening physical force at a place of religious worship is a federal crime under FACE that – even for non-violent first offenses – that could result in up to six months in prison or a $10,000 fine. 18 USC 248https://t.co/BZwdg858cN

— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) May 6, 2022

According to Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, Garland’s inaction on the attacks on pro-lifers should come as no surprise.

“Merrick Garland sent a press release attacking the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which explains why he’s ignored attacks on pregnancy centers and attempts to intimidate Justices,” he told The Daily Signal. “Criminals are criminals, no matter who they vote for and Republicans oppose violence in all its forms. But in recent weeks whistleblowers have confirmed that partisan politics hold sway at the Biden DOJ.”

FBI Philadelphia has contested the claim that a SWAT team went to Houck’s home for the arrest, with an unnamed spokesperson telling Fox News, “There are inaccurate claims being made regarding the arrest of Mark Houck. No SWAT Team or SWAT operators were involved.”

FBI Philadelphia and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have not responded to requests for comment from The Daily Signal.

The FBI has not denied to The Daily Signal that 25-30 agents showed up early in the morning at the family’s home with weapons drawn, as described by the family.

After his Friday arrest, Houck appeared before the U.S. Eastern District Court in Pennsylvania. He was indicted for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which “makes it a federal crime to use force with the intent to injure, intimidate, and interfere with anyone because that person is a provider of reproductive health care,” the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a Friday press release.  

Authorities released Houck later that day, but he now faces felony charges. If convicted, Houck could have up to an 11-year prison sentence and fines of up to $350,000.  

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

The post ‘Abuse of Power’: Lawmakers Tear Into DOJ for Arrest of Pro-Life Father in Front of Screaming Children appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Republicans Must Fight Continuing Resolution Funding for Third Year of Biden-Pelosi Priorities

Conservatives shouldn’t help President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer fund a government that is destroying the safety of our families, the future of our children, and the strength of our economy.

From open borders and student debt amnesty to skyrocketing inflation, climate radicalism, and our public education system, there’s a lot on the ballot this November. But even if conservatives prevail in the midterm elections, Pelosi and Schumer might still get their way for another year.

The next big fight is not in November. It is next week.

The federal government is set to run out of funding on Oct. 1 unless Congress steps in and passes a temporary funding package, also called a “continuing resolution.” These short-term funding packages have long been a precursor to rushed negotiations and reckless spending.

Usually, how this plays out is that Congress passes a short-term funding package in September, kicking the budget can down the road until December. Congressional leadership then uses the threat of a government shutdown over Christmas to gift rank-and-file members with a big lump of coal—a hastily written omnibus spending bill, negotiated in a secret backroom deal, which funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

It’s not uncommon for members of Congress to have less than 24 hours to read a 1,000-page bill before voting, and there are no real opportunities for amendments.

This year, if Congress extends funding only until Dec. 16, it will create another artificial deadline right before Christmas, and give Schumer and Pelosi the opportunity to cement Biden’s policy agenda for a third year. That means that regardless of which party wins the midterm elections, Democrats will still control the power of the purse through September 2023.

The buzzer-beater funding fight happens almost every year, and the American people pay for it every time.

Think back to as recently as December 2020, when the same lame-duck setup resulted in a massive, multi-thousand-page, $1.4 trillion omnibus with an additional $900 billion “COVID-19 relief” package. This legislation allowed a lame-duck Congress to fund tax subsidies for special interests and extended and enhanced the frivolous COVID-19 unemployment benefits that wrecked our economy.

In December 2019, a lame-duck Congress passed a somewhat smaller, yet offensively partisan “minibus” package that made dramatic changes to our nation’s health care system, adding $400 billion to our debt and expanding taxpayer funding for abortions through Obamacare insurance plans.

The legislation also gave handouts to certain politically favored industries and spent $25 million trying to study different ways to restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

These are just two examples of the consequences of a short-term September continuing resolution setting up a December lame-duck funding fight.

But there is still hope for this year. All conservatives in Congress must unite and reject any attempts from Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer to fund their agenda for another year.

Conservatives in Congress should insist on funding the government at current spending levels into January. That would give the next Congress the opportunity to enact the will of the voters and fund the government according to the priorities set forth on Election Day.

Republican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas have been leaders on this issue, laying out their arguments in a recent Fox News opinion piece. And in the House, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, has gathered a coalition to oppose a December deadline.

They argue that a “clean” funding package that expires after December is the only way that elected officials can be accountable to the American people.

Lame-duck legislating leads to bad policy, but it also fails the standards of representative government. Funding the government is one of the most important duties of Congress, and it should only be done by those who voters elect to properly represent their values and interests.

Conservatives cannot wait until December to complain about this same lame-duck strategy. They have seen this scheme enough times to know what comes next. The choice they must now make is to stand up and fight for the American people or give Pelosi and Schumer the power to pass Biden’s spending and inflation agenda for a third year.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post Republicans Must Fight Continuing Resolution Funding for Third Year of Biden-Pelosi Priorities appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Biden’s Increasingly Totalitarian Behavior

“He’s so nice!” 

A key reason that Joe Biden occupies the White House is that too many voters considered him a nice guy.

“It would be fun to have a beer with Grandpa Lunchbucket!” Or so the thinking went. Whatever his ideas, Biden would be so much warmer than Mean Mr. Marmalade, Donald J. Trump.  

 So, how is that working out? 

Rather than nice, Biden is angry, nasty, vindictive, and increasingly totalitarian. 

In short: Joe Biden is America’s Erich Honecker. 

Much like East Germany’s final dictator, Biden brooks no dissent. He vilifies over 74 million Americans who voted for Trump as “ultra-MAGA Republicans,” “extremists,” and “semi-fascists.” 

Even worse, Comrade Joe Honecker has unleashed the FBI—America’s Stasi, or secret police—to terrorize dissenters. 

 •The unprecedented raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, in a dispute over classified or (per Trump) declassified documents, should have been settled in court, at worst, not at gunpoint. These “classified” materials included Trump’s privileged legal documents, tax papers, medical records, passports, other nongermane materials, as well as former first lady Melania Trump’s garments and even items in teenage son Barron’s bedroom. 

•The FBI has seized the cell phones of at least nine Trump allies, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark; House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa.; Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald; campaign strategist Mike Roman; election security expert Douglas Frank; and My Pillow founder Mike Lindell

•The Honecker-Harris regime’s radical War on Attorney-Client Privilege has capsized that ancient legal norm. The FBI has invaded the offices of, and snatched phones from, Trump’s legal advisers. These include John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Victoria Toensing. 

•These Americans were among the 35 to 40 Trump supporters who have endured FBI raids, federal subpoenas, or both. My Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson quoted relevant subpoenas. They’re probing Americans who made “Any claim that the Vice President and/or the President of the Senate had the authority to reject or choose not to count presidential electors.” 

There is nothing illegal about claiming that the vice president wields certain powers. 

“Vice President Kamala Harris sets gasoline prices. If you’re paying too much, tell her to chop them.” 

Is this claim nonsense? Yes. 

Is it illegal? Hell, no! 

Likewise, Americans are free to make the still-debatable argument that the vice president influences which Electoral College votes can or cannot be accepted when a joint session of Congress certifies each presidential election. 

Such “election denial” is the Democrat Party’s favorite indoor activity. 

On the House floor, Democrats loudly raised doubts about the fairness of the 1968, 2000, 2004, and 2016 elections. They argued that certain states’ electoral votes should be replaced with others.  

Right or wrong, under the U.S. Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887, Democrats had every right to inquire whether Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Trump won the White House, fair and square. Democrats were in the clear even when they outlandishly claimed that Trump stole Alabama and Wyoming, despite winning 62% and 68% of the vote in those states. 

Republicans, in and out of Congress, also had and have every legal right to object to the 2020 election for all the reasons and in all the ways that Democrats did in previous years.  

When Democrats claim that Republicans cheated, they win applause for their political courage. 

When Republicans claim that Democrats cheated, they get stopped by the FBI, confronted in public, deprived of their cellphones, subjected to house raids, arrested in front of their families and friends, and tossed in jail. 

For Democrats and Republicans, this is called free speech. It remains shielded by the First Amendment. If Biden and his secret policemen, Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, do not understand all of this, then they lack the elementary capacity to do their jobs. In that case, they should resign immediately. 

East Germany went kaput in 1990. Resurrecting it here would be dummkopf

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post Biden’s Increasingly Totalitarian Behavior appeared first on The Daily Signal.

When California Elects an Unconstitutional, Right-Wing Gavin Newsom Wannabe

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces no real opposition for reelection in November, is on a rampage.

The most recent unconstitutional legislation he signed includes an anti-First Amendment law requiring social media platforms “to publicly post their policies regarding hate speech, disinformation, harassment and extremism on their platforms,” according to The Hill.

Newsom issued a statement: “California will not stand by as social media is weaponized to spread hate and disinformation that threaten our communities and foundational values as a country. Californians deserve to know how these platforms are impacting our public discourse.”

Would this “hate and disinformation” pertain to Democrats, such as former Vice President Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, former President Jimmy Carter, and Jan. 6 committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, R-MIss., all of whom have questioned the legitimacy of elections lost by Democrats?

Newsom also signed anti-14th Amendment legislation that mandates publicly held companies headquartered in California include at least one member from “an underrepresented community,” defined as “an individual who self-identifies as black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.”

Someday, California may elect an equally unconstitutional conservative governor presiding over an unconstitutional conservative legislature.

Consider the bills that such a governor could sign:

To address concerns about “weaponized” social media, Twitter accounts, Facebook, and Instagram must be 50% conservative.

A 2006 study published in Econ Journal Watch found that liberal college professors outnumber conservative professors 12 to 1, with liberal history professors outnumbering conservative professors 33.5 to 1.

Another study found that virtually all the political donations made by California professors go to Democrats and left-wing groups. At UCLA, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California, half of the professors’ contributions in 2019-2020 went to five left-wing organizations: ActBlue, Biden for President, Biden Victory Fund, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

And of the 2022 commencement speakers at the nation’s top 100 universities, according to a study by the Young Americans for Freedom, only three were conservative.

So, how about a bill mandating that colleges hire liberal and conservative professors in equal amounts; a law mandating that professors split their donations evenly between left-wing political organizations and politicians and conservative political organizations and politicians; and that college commencement speakers be divided equally between liberals and conservatives? Also, 50% of public school teachers, K-12, must be conservative.

A report from The Federalist found that Democratic White House press corps reporters outnumbered Republican reporters 12 to 1. The then-New York Times executive editor, Dean Baquet, admitted, “I think the Left, we don’t—I’m not ‘we,’ I’m a journalist—but the Left as a rule does not want to hear thoughtful disagreement.”

And the Los Angeles Times last endorsed a Republican for president 50 years ago. So, let’s have a bill mandating that California newspapers hire an equal number of conservative reporters, require an equal number of conservative and liberal members of their editorial boards, and alternate between endorsing a Republican and a Democrat for president.

Let’s turn to Hollywood. Movies frequently feature conservatives and greedy capitalists as villains. So, we need a “good guy/bad guy law” that mandates Hollywood heroes and villains be equally divided between liberal and conservative, and equally divided between capitalist villains and Marxist/collectivist/socialist bad guys. Villains may be no more than 50% conservative. And, of course, hero characters in Hollywood movies must be 50% conservative/Republican.

These are but a few ideas that await the coming of California’s right-wing governor and a conservative supermajority in the state Legislature.

COPYRIGHT 2022 LAURENCE A. ELDER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post When California Elects an Unconstitutional, Right-Wing Gavin Newsom Wannabe appeared first on The Daily Signal.

House Republicans Release ‘Commitment to America’

House Republicans released their “Commitment to America” on Thursday morning, promising to fight for a strong economy, a safe nation, a future built on freedom, and a government accountable to its people.

The Commitment to America promises that Republicans will fight inflation and lower the cost of living, curbing “wasteful government spending that is raising the price of groceries, gas, cars, and housing” as well as increasing take-home pay, creating jobs that pay well, and stabilizing the economy through “pro-growth tax and deregulatory policies.”

Republicans also committed to maximize the production of American-made energy, reduce gas prices, strengthen the supply chain, and end American dependence on China.

In efforts to make the United States a safe nation, the Republicans promised to secure the border, combat illegal immigration, reduce crime, protect public safety, and defend the United States’ national security by supporting troops and investing in an “efficient, effective military.”

Part of the “Commitment to America” also focuses on a “future that’s built on freedom”—including efforts to promote student success and giving parents a say in their children’s education and defending fairness in women’s sports. And as part of this focus on a future that’s built on freedom, lawmakers also promised to confront Big Tech and demand fairness, as well as to help Americans achieve longer, healthier lives.

To hold the government accountable, Republicans promise to uphold free speech, protect the lives of both unborn children and pregnant mothers, and to protect religious freedom and the Second Amendment.

Holding Washington accountable includes conducting “rigorous oversight to rein in government abuse of power and corruption,” providing “transparency to the American people,” requiring “the White House to answer for its incompetence,” and saving and strengthening “Social Security and Medicare” as well as reducing national debt.

The Republicans also promise to “end special treatment for members of Congress by repealing proxy voting, and increase accountability in the election process through voter ID, accurate voter rolls, and observer access.”

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts praised the policy agenda on Thursday, saying that “American people are demanding commonsense solutions after living through nearly two years of the radical Left’s disastrous policies.”

“Fortunately, conservatives in Washington are coming to the rescue. From putting parents in charge and reversing inflation to securing the border and countering Communist China, the Commitment to America is a welcome plan for the 118th Congress,” Roberts said.

“We need more leaders who have the courage to put forward an agenda, and I applaud Leader [Kevin] McCarthy for encouraging his caucus to do so,” he added. “Conservatives expect both a plan from congressional leaders and the commitment to follow through on that plan. The Heritage Foundation is proud to have worked with Leader McCarthy on this agenda and we are ready to fight for these ideas in the next Congress.”

Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson also applauded the plan, praising McCarthy for putting together “a clear plan to take on the nation’s most pressing issues.”

“Now more than ever, America needs leadership from Congress and solutions like these that will support American families and restore American greatness,” she said. “Heritage Action is committed to fighting for the Commitment to America alongside our Seven Priorities in the next Congress.”

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post House Republicans Release ‘Commitment to America’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Conservatives Gain Ground With Latino Voters. How Can Those Gains Be Made to Stick?

Latinos are becoming an increasingly important part of building a coalition. Shifts in allegiance in places like the Rio Grande Valley of Texas indicate that they aren’t a group that has become totally beholden to the Left.

The question is, how do conservatives best court Latinos, and what is the voting bloc most concerned with?

Jorge Martinez, spokesperson and director of coalitions for The LIBRE Initiative, says that Latinos are concerned about many of the same things as most other Americans.

“The message doesn’t change [for Latinos],” he said. “It’s the messages of freedom, of family, and values of life, and God. And so, that is a message that is the same.”

Martinez joins the show to discuss how conservatives can keep Latinos in their coalition.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Doug Blair: My guest today is Jorge Martinez, spokesperson and director of coalitions for The LIBRE Initiative in the state of Texas. Jorge, welcome to the show.

Jorge Martinez: Thanks for having me, Doug. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Blair: Of course, it’s great having you on. And I’m so interested about this topic today because there has been so much discussion about bringing Latinos into the conservative coalition. So, before we get into the meat of things, I want to know a little bit about what you guys are. So, what is The LIBRE Initiative and what are you guys trying to do?

Martinez: Well, first of all, The LIBRE Initiative was founded in 2011 by founder and President Daniel Garza. He worked in the Bush administration and he currently lives in Mission, Texas. That’s also where I live, which is in the Rio Grande Valley, where all the action is at right now.

And basically, we were originally founded to spread the message of economic freedom within the Hispanic community. And throughout the years, we’ve definitely expanded our portfolio and what we do. And now, we really still have that message, but we want to see the U.S. Hispanic community prosper and thrive.

So, we talk about principles of limited government, the rule of law, sound money supply, property rights, when it comes to policy and informing the community on those policies that improve our lives.

Blair: Right. Well, one of the things that struck me when I was reading about The LIBRE Initiative is a lot of those things that you mentioned don’t really seem specific to the Latino community. It’s kind of everybody—white, black, anything in between. Does that sort of imply that Latinos are just like every other American?

Martinez: Yeah. The message doesn’t change. It’s the messages of freedom, of family, and values of life, and God. And so, that is a message that is the same. But we have a specific target audience that is a Hispanic community. And we’ve been doing it since the beginning, 11 years now.

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of LIBRE for 10 years and to see the growth of where we’ve been. And not only that, but to see the exciting changes that we are now seeing when it comes to the policy changes and the policy champions we want to see.

Blair: What does that look like to reach out specifically to Hispanic communities? Is it Spanish-language outreach? Is it speaking to particular countries’ values? What does it look like?

Martinez: There’s multiple. So, you’re going to do English, you’re going to do Spanish, whatever the audience needs to reach out to that demographic. So, you have first generation, which mostly is Spanish-speaking only. You have second, third, and then that’s mainly English-speaking. So, it just depends.

But we really hire our staff that they’re from the community. We’re not a flying organization where we take someone from somewhere else and plant them there. It’s really authentic grassroots community-building.

Blair: One of the things that I think a lot of conservatives get confused by is the seeming social conservatism of Latino Americans, who maybe come and they have these values—like you mentioned, they’re God-fearing, they have traditional family structures—but they continuously vote for the Left. They vote for Democrats. Why is that happening?

Martinez: I think for many generations, and you’ve seen this even from the ’60s, the Left has done a really good job of reaching out to Hispanic community, whereas the Right was just not there. They were absent. And over the last decade, there’s been a shift in reaching out.

What we have to do as just anybody that’s out there that wants to inform the community, doesn’t matter what party you are, what affiliation, you want to get people where they are at, meet with them where they are at, talk to them about the issues that matter to us: How can we improve our lives? And when you start doing that, you start making inroads, you start building trust.

And Hispanic community, it’s very hard to build that trust and maintain it. So, you can’t come in during election season and say you’re for the Hispanic community, and then Nov. 9, you’re out the door. It doesn’t work that way. That’s not authentic.

So, LIBRE is a 24/7, 365, we are in communities throughout the country and we’re not going away after Election Day. We’re still there to inform the community on policy, remove barriers, as well that we want to help the communities. And we do that through our 501(c)(3) organization.

Blair: So, you are embedded in these communities. You are working with particular members on the ground. What are they saying about the direction of the country? Are Latinos more or less maybe hopeful about the direction the country is going in?

Martinez: I could tell you that at first it was difficult. Because after many years and generations, my grandma voted Democrat, and so I’m going to vote Democrat or whatever party. And I can tell you, my parents had voted Democrat most of their lives, too. They were like, “Well, the Democrats are for the poor and therefore to help us.”

But as we’ve gotten older, more educated as well, my family, they worked hard so that I could pursue my dreams as well. And we worked in the fields, I got to experience that as well. And it’s not the life that—I don’t know of any mother that has a child and says, “I want my son or daughter to work in the fields.” Hey, that’s tough work. I’ve done it and it’s hard, but it really taught me a lot of life lessons.

And I know that my parents had dreams for me, so they sacrificed so that I can reach my goals.

So, back to your point, I think that what we’re seeing now is that we had a good four years of policies that really limited the growth of government, that reduced taxes. And that is something where, especially in Texas and when we saw energy jobs increase, we depend a lot on that. And so, there was a lot of growth.

We started seeing wages increase, 401(k)s increase, and then you go to the policies that we have now, where we’re seeing more government handouts, that’s taxpayer money. People are seeing the rise of inflation. Now people are starting to realize, “Oh, this isn’t good for me.”

And LIBRE has been doing a lot of campaign events, but by campaign, I mean, we have a campaign called the True Cost of Washington Tour. And we’ve been able to go around the country, specifically for me in Texas, meet with people, usually Spanish-speaking only, about inflation, talk to them about inflation and why we have inflation, but also hear their stories and how they are struggling. And it is a real need.

So, when you have President [Joe] Biden saying that inflation’s not a big deal, that it’s the same it was last month, I mean, he’s out of touch.

Blair: Well, I mean, it sounds as if there is a shift happening in this particular community. You mentioned the Rio Grande Valley, obviously, where we are seeing a monumental change from a certain voting pattern to a new voting pattern. As somebody that is based out of there and is able to tell us what it’s like there, what does it look like on the ground? What does that shift actually look like?

Martinez: So, it wasn’t overnight. Before 2020, there was no other organization like ours there. It was just us. And I’m just saying that to show that it takes many years to get to where we are at today and what we want to build toward the future.

So, it was a lot of education, like I said, on the policy, we had a lot of community events, fun events as well, as it wasn’t always just on policy. That could be boring to some people. So, we want to have a good time and also talk a little bit about our message.

So, what people are seeing now and where they’re at, I think people are going to be surprised, and outside of our area, but what I’m seeing and hearing, people want to change.

Blair: And that’s not just in the Rio Grande Valley, you’re seeing that across the country?

Martinez: Across the country. Specifically, for me, because I’m based in Texas, I can tell you Texas, but where all eyes are at right now, South Texas, where I’m from, I think we’ll be seeing some changes there. Because people now can see what good policy looks like and how it improves my life and what bad policy looks like and how that messes up our lives.

Blair: Right. Well, that’s actually a great point because it almost begs the question, is this going to stick? I think a lot of people are curious whether or not this realignment seems to be something that’s permanent or if it seems to be based on possibly former President [Donald] Trump, if that’s sort of the glue holding this coalition together.

Martinez: I’ve long said that it wasn’t a character that people were voting for, it was the policies. And we will probably see that here in November in seven weeks, that people are voting based on policy.

Blair: One of the things that we are also kind of concerned about here, too, is that we’re going to divide Hispanic into an identity group. So, the Left tends to view voter blocs, like blacks, Asians, Latinos in certain services, as just an identity monolith. Is there a risk sometimes of saying, “We’re going to push Hispanic policies, we’re going to push for the Hispanic voter,” or is it a useful way of describing this bloc of voters?

Martinez: I think it’s a useful way to describe voters. I mean, it exists. It is what it is, but LIBRE is not pushing for Hispanic policy. We are pushing for policies that benefit all. And if you look at our mission statement, it says we want to improve the lives that benefit all. So, we do that by advancing generic policies that, obviously, are limited in strength and in scope.

Blair: What role do the different countries of origin, for example, play in reaching out to this type of voter, because there’s Venezuelans, there’s Puerto Ricans, there’s Cubans, all of these different what we would call Hispanics but have such different background?

Martinez: Yeah. So, I’m from Mexico, Monterrey, Nuevo León. I was born there, raised in California, unfortunately. Don’t feel sorry for me.

Blair: I’m from Oregon. I feel you.

Martinez: But look, I mentioned that we hire people within the community. If I were hired to work within the Cuban community in Florida, in Miami specifically, I wouldn’t do well. I don’t know their culture. Things are different. So, we hire people who are in the community that know their community.

So, I did really well and have done really well talking to people from Mexico because I get it, I understand. I came here legally and found a way to prosper and fulfill my American dream, and I want others to do the same through right channels.

And we talk about things like immigration, and that’s obviously the big topic around immigration. But inflation and economy, criminal justice, reform health care.

But we definitely want to hire people and have people that know the country and the values of that country. And if there’s a specific population, that’s what we want to do, because we are authentic. … We’re not hiring someone that’s from another area and bringing them in.

Blair: Now, immigration is something that I’m curious about because it does seem like when you think about Hispanic voters, immigration is the issue that comes to mind. But from what it sounds like you’re saying, that’s not really the top-of-mind issue.

Martinez: No, it’s No. 3, No. 4. Usually, it’s what it polls. Look, The LIBRE Initiative has had a very commonsense approach and there’s been a lot of misconceptions out there, but one, we do need border security. I live on the border. I want my family to be safe.

So, that could look differently, though. It could be more Border Patrol agents. It could be more infrastructure, more technology. It could be a mixture of all of those combined at the same time.

Just solving border security alone will not fix our immigration system. People will still find a way to come here. So, we need to actually update our immigration laws, reform them so that people can actually have legal channels, legal pathways to get here. Because we want the most talented people to be able to come here, contribute to our society, and you can’t do that when you don’t update the needs of our labor demands today.

Blair: Where does wokeness and the idea of identity politics rank among the concerns in this particular voting bloc?

Martinez: Yeah. I don’t even think that gets any kind of level here. It doesn’t poll. I can tell you that it’s not the No. 1, No. 2, 3, 4 issue. I think from what I’m seeing on the ground, it’s something that is against what we believe as Hispanics. So, the wokeness, the Latinx, it just does not work. I don’t like it. I know others don’t like it either.

Blair: Right. Well, that’s the reason I don’t necessarily know if it ranks as immigration or inflation, but I would assume that as a group that is being consciously targeted by the identity politics Left, that would sort of have an impact on the perception that Hispanic and Latino voters have of, let’s say, the Democratic Party that is pushing that ideology.

Martinez: It’s definitely having an impact and you’re starting to see that people don’t like it. So, they’re going further away from the Left.

Blair: Sure. I guess there’s one final question to of wrap things up in a little bow. What can conservatives maybe who aren’t associated with LIBRE, who maybe don’t speak Spanish, who don’t have these particular connections with the Hispanic community, what can they be doing to more effectively pull these voters and these people into the coalition?

Martinez: Biggest thing is, get to know our community, spend time with them. It’s just like anybody else, we want to be able to build a relationship, a friendly relationship, build that trust. It’s nothing different other than making the time to spend time with them.

And then as far as LIBRE, you can follow us online. Look us up at The LIBRE Initiative, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the whole works. And get to know that the policies that The LIBRE Initiative is pushing are policies of, again, limited government and of pro-growth.

Blair: Excellent. That was Jorge Martinez, spokesperson and director of coalitions for The LIBRE Initiative in the state of Texas. Jorge, very much appreciate your time.

Martinez: Thanks for having me.

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Reading Past the Democrat and Media Spin on the Jackson Water Crisis

Here in Jackson, Mississippi, the big news is that we have running water again. After pumps at the main water treatment plant in the city failed a few weeks ago, many in this city of 150,000 had to try to cope without. 

Even better news, for the first time in months, the city is not on a “boil water notice,” meaning that we are supposed to be able to drink that water—not that I would be tempted to consume the sepia-tinged sludge that comes out of the taps. But at least something now flows.

With the immediate crisis over, it is worth asking how it was possible for a state capital in America in 2022 to end up unable to provide its residents with even the basics. How did it happen?

Jackson city leadership would like you to think it has something to do with all the recent rains we have had here in Mississippi. 

Speaking somewhat cryptically at a recent press briefing, Jackson’s mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, said the water treatment facility had been “challenged, as it relates to these flood levels.” Putting the blame on the rain, he went on to say that the city’s water administration was trying to “figure out how they contend with that additional water that is coming in.”

Officials in neighboring towns and cities, such as Madison, Flowood, and Clinton, managed to figure out how to supply residents with clean water despite having just as much rain.  

Unless the laws of physics are different in Jackson, the only logical conclusion one can draw from this fiasco is that Jackson’s water problems are a consequence of systemic mismanagement.

Two thousand years ago, the Romans figured out how to supply a city with running water by putting it in pipes. Jackson today seems to be struggling to master this technology.

Key water treatment plants in the city did not employ qualified personnel to run them. Now they have stopped running. What did city authorities think would happen?

For years, city authorities have underinvested in Jackson’s water infrastructure, to the point where it is now falling apart. This, some will be quick to tell you, is because of a lack of money. But why is there not enough money?

In 2017, Jackson’s water billing system collected $61 million in revenue, and the operating costs of the city’s water system were about $54 million. That left a healthy surplus that competent management might have allocated to meet maintenance costs.  

This year, the amount of revenue collected is likely to be closer to $40 million, far below running costs. Not only is there no surplus to go toward maintenance, there does not seem to have been much maintenance even when there was a surplus.

How on earth does a city water authority manage to lose almost a third of its revenue in the space of five years? In large part because the city authorities have not collected revenue since they have lacked an effective water billing system.

I’m tempted to say that it feels like Homer Simpson was running the billing system, but the thing about Homer is that by the end of every episode, Homer comes good. I’m not sure that the same can yet be said for our city.

Several years ago, the city contracted with Siemens to create a new billing system, and to upgrade much of the city’s dilapidated water infrastructure at the same time. That arrangement ended with the city suing Siemens for $89 million.

Was that large dollop of Siemens’ money given to the city used to improve Jackson’s water system? Twice as much was spent on attorneys ($30 million) as went to improve Jackson’s water and sewage system ($14 million).

Given what happened with Siemens, I worry that Jackson might not be able to find a contractor willing to undertake the herculean task of fixing the city’s water supply, even if the money could be found. I also suspect that any large outside contractor prepared to undertake the task may want to ensure that they were free to subcontract with their preferred partners on the basis of value, and not to be subjected to various “contract rules” on the basis of politics.

The restoration of the city’s water supply came about almost entirely thanks to the state governor, Tate Reeves. He took on the task of providing emergency water distribution to local residents and offering state money to pay for half of it. 

Of course, the media hasn’t given him a shred of credit for any of it.

Such is the level of dysfunction in Jackson’s city administration that not even the federal government (controlled by Democrats) is yet willing to step in with aid to help Jackson’s mayor (a Democrat) unless and until, as Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., put it, “the city to comes up with a plan.” 

None of that stopped the media writing the water crisis story up as a tale of wicked neglect from state Republican officials determined to do down a Democrat-run city.

Instead of starting from the position that Jackson, like every other municipality in America, ought to be able to provide its citizens with clean water, many in the media wrote up the crisis as being about race. The Washington Post led the way with a ludicrous article saying that “racial politics” was to blame. Others then piled on.

As I am a relatively new arrival in Mississippi, what shocked me most about Jackson’s water crisis was not that it happened, but what I believe was the sheer dishonesty in much of the media reporting about what happened and why. 

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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‘They Want You to Apologize Because They Want Dominion Over You,’ Says Adam Carolla

Performers censor themselves, fearing they might offend. Those who offend Hollywood lose work. Some lose friends.

Adam Carolla doesn’t care. That’s why he’s the subject of my video this week.

Carolla is one of the most successful performers in America.

His books are bestsellers. His comedy shows sell out. He hosts one of America’s most listened to podcasts.

Recently, Carolla dismissed the intellect of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., cracking that “If AOC was fat and in her 60s, would anyone listen to another thing she ever said?”

That enraged leftists.

“Predatory!” said “Majority Report’s” Emma Vigeland.

“Projects his sexism onto others,” said “Young Turks” host Cenk Uygur.

But what Carolla said is simply true. Nobody pays much attention to House freshmen. Ocasio-Cortez is a political celebrity simply because she’s pretty, and also, she speaks without constantly saying “uh.”

“If she was in her 60s and husky,” adds Carolla, “nobody would listen to a word she ever said!”

He won’t apologize for saying that. Or anything else.

“No Apologies” is on the cover of his new book “Everything Reminds Me of Something.”

“They want you to apologize because they want dominion over you. And once you apologize, they just keep coming back,” Carolla says.

I get upset when people criticize me.

But Carolla says, “I just happen to be wired not to care, as long as I’m right.”

He says he was right for criticizing the government’s COVID-19 pronouncements.

“They didn’t give the ages of the people who died at the very beginning,” Carolla tells me. “I immediately got suspicious because it was a bunch of 90-year-olds.”

For saying that, Carolla was mocked and condemned by his celebrity friends.

Radio show host Howard Stern said Carolla was “making fun of people for taking COVID seriously.”

“Adam doesn’t believe in shampoo or soap,” added Jimmy Kimmel. “It’s disturbing.”

Carolla is a “right-wing troll,” said actor David Alan Grier.

Carolla laughs at those attacks.

He’s unusual in Hollywood because he’s still friends with leftists who disagree with him.

He does stand-up comedy with Sarah Silverman. He joins Bill Maher’s podcast. Such political mixing is rare today. Usually, the left and right just don’t talk to each other.

Carolla says that’s not surprising.

“If you’re a Steelers fan in a bar, you want to sit next to a guy who’s a Steelers fan.” But, he says, “occasionally … you have to invite somebody over from the Patriots bar and have a robust debate.”

All my career, I had robust debates. I learned from those arguments. Today, Stossel TV still hosts debates, but that’s rare in today’s political media. Most just mock the other side or spend all their time with people who agree with their own positions.

On college campuses, it’s worse. The Left simply silences the other side.

I first encountered it years ago, covering a rape accusation at Brown University for ABC’s “20/20.” A student had sex with a woman who was drunk; weeks later, she accused him of rape. The school newspaper put the boy’s photo on its front page but kept his accuser anonymous. University officials suspended the boy.

I asked Brown students, who held up signs saying, “Break the silence, stop sexual assault,” to explain Brown’s new definition of rape. The group screamed at me, chanting, “Rape is not TV hype!” so loudly that I couldn’t interview anyone else.

They don’t want the other side to be heard.

“They would let the other side speak if they thought they could beat them in a debate,” says Carolla. “They don’t.”

Carolla is eager to debate, partly because he’s confident about his ideas.

“I think if you’re intellectually honest or I gave you two beers, you would agree with me,” he says.

Agreeing isn’t the point.

If his ideas are bad, they’ll go away. But it’s important that people be free to speak.

“I don’t really have a choice as to what I say,” says Carolla. “It has to be the truth all the time. I’m a comedian. It’s a sacred oath I took.”

Good for him.

COPYRIGHT 2022 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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Sanders, Warren Demonize Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers Amid Post-Roe Rash of Violence 

Vandals have targeted about 70 pro-life pregnancy resource centers since the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overruled Roe v. Wade, but Senate Democrats have unleashed their own attack on these pro-life centers, demonizing them as potential “surveillance infrastructure” to power “pregnancy- and abortion-related prosecutions.”

Seven prominent Democrats—including former presidential candidates Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (a nominal independent who caucuses with Democrats)—sent a letter to Heartbeat International CEO Jor-El Godsey on Monday, demanding answers as to how the organization uses the data women provide to crisis pregnancy centers.  

The letter insinuates that Heartbeat International might be using the data to target women and their health care providers for prosecution under laws restricting abortion. 

The Democrats cite a report from The Alliance: State Advocates for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, which suggests the crisis pregnancy center “industry is now functioning as surveillance infrastructure for the anti-abortion movement, amassing data that could be used in pregnancy- and abortion-related prosecutions post-Roe.” 

“Heartbeat International—which is explicitly opposed to abortion rights—appears to be in a position to collect a significant amount of personal information from women about their pregnancies and potential plans for managing their care, but it is not under any legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of this information, or keep it out of the hands of abortion bounty hunters,” the senators wrote.

The “bounty hunter” phrase is a derisive reference to Texas’ 2021 abortion law, which allows private individuals to bring lawsuits in state court against people who allegedly perform or abet certain abortions, offering a reward for successful suits. 

The senators accuse Heartbeat International of “luring pregnant people  … to affiliate [crisis pregnancy center] facilities by using a variety of false and misleading tactics,” such as suggesting that these pro-life centers provide “legitimate abortion and reproductive health care services” when they ostensibly do not. (Note the use of “pregnant people” there and the avoidance of the now supposedly offensive term “woman.”)

While the roughly 3,000 pregnancy resource centers across the U.S. do not offer abortion, they do provide various services, such as pregnancy tests, counseling on available options (including parenting, adoption, and abortion), ultrasounds, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, classes on prenatal care and parenting, maternal assistance with things such as diapers and baby clothes, post-abortion support, medical referrals, and more.

Over a five-year period beginning in 2016, pregnancy resource centers reportedly saved an estimated 828,131 lives, and in 2019 alone, they served almost 2 million people. 

Vandals, many of whom are apparently associated with the group Jane’s Revenge, have carried out 70 attacks on these centers since May 3, according to Catholic Vote. Vandals have broken windows, sprayed graffiti reading “If abortion isn’t safe, you aren’t either,” and set fire to some of the centers. 

The Democrats’ letter acknowledges that Heartbeat International and its affiliate pregnancy resource centers “claim to adhere to [federal regulations] to protect patients’ health information,” but it claims that the organization is not required to follow the federal law and does not disclose how it uses the data. 

In a statement sent to The Daily Signal Tuesday, Godsey condemned the letter as “naked politics intended not to help women, but to influence elections.” 

“It is clearly a stunt designed to appease Big Abortion power brokers,” he said. 

“It is important to note that not one of the senators listed in the letter condemned actual violence and vandalism against pregnancy help centers this summer,” Godsey added. “Instead, they’ve spent their time fabricating a narrative on unfounded speculation. Rather than finding ways to help women be able to choose something besides abortion, they have used their political powers to bully those who are helping women make life-affirming choices.” 

Indeed, none of the signatories to the letter—Booker, Sanders, and Warren, along with Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut—responded to The Daily Signal’s request for comment on the attacks against pro-life pregnancy resource centers by the time of publication. 

“What we do is safe, secure, and legal,” Godsey said. “Heartbeat has been providing help for more than 50 years and never once did we receive any of these questions or concerns until recently, and then from those with a clear abortion agenda. It’s politics, and we regret only that it’s a distraction to our important work of helping women find alternatives to abortion.” 

The National Institute of Family & Life Advocates, an organization that legally represents and equips pregnancy resource centers, condemned the Democrats’ letter. 

“Democrats are trying extremely hard to shut down organizations that exist to help women in need,” Anne O’Connor, the institute’s vice president of legal affairs, told The Daily Signal. “Life-affirming pregnancy medical centers and their 10,000 licensed medical professionals nationwide are providing free essential services, like prenatal vitamins, ultrasounds, [and] STI testing, to women facing unplanned pregnancy.” 

“It’s bizarre that this bothers the likes of Elizabeth Warren so much,” O’Connor noted. “She says she is ‘pro-choice,’ but, really, she is just about one choice: abortion. If she really cared about women, she would be condemning the violence against life-affirming pregnancy centers, not trying to shutter their doors.” 

“Life-affirming pregnancy centers keep all medical records confidential and secure per [the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act], state medical record privacy laws, and standards in the medical profession,” O’Connor added. “Privacy and security of medical records is standard in the health industry, and life-affirming pregnancy centers are no different. Interestingly, Warren has not cited one incident supporting her outrageous claim that centers don’t protect their patients’ privacy.”  

O’Connor characterized that omission as “proof that she is fabricating this false idea to promote her radical pro-abortion agenda.” 

Connor Semelsberger, director of federal affairs for life and human dignity at the Family Research Council, compared the Democrats’ letter to the demonization tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center.  

As I documented in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the center condemns conservative nonprofits like the Family Research Council as “hate groups,” placing them on a map alongside the Ku Klux Klan. 

“We here at Family Research Council have been tracking not just attacks on pregnancy centers, but on churches as well, and to see the violent rise in damaging buildings and vandalism,” Semelsberger told The Daily Signal. He said the Democratic senators’ letter is “likely to increase attacks” against pregnancy resource centers. 

“When an organization is painted in a negative light in this way as if they are doing something morally wrong or evil, that can paint a target on its back,” he added. “We at [the Family Research Council] know that particularly well. We saw a violent attack in our own building 10 years ago directly related to the Southern Poverty Law Center attacking [our] work on marriage and religious freedom as something evil and to be shunned.” 

Three of the seven senators who signed the letter—Hirono, Booker, and Blumenthal—also cited the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s “hate group” accusation in attacking former President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. 

Semelsberger also dismissed the Democrats’ insinuations as entirely baseless. 

While the letter warns about women getting prosecuted, Semelsberger noted that “none of the laws on the books in any way, shape, or form criminalize a mother seeking an abortion.” 

Furthermore, he noted that crisis pregnancy centers have been collecting health information since 2017, and that up until June of this year, Roe v. Wade remained on the books, so “there was no enforcement” of the kind the Democrats suggest. “It would be very out of character to assume that this data that’s been collected for five years is going to law enforcement,” he said. 

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School Districts Are ‘Sabotaging Parent-Child Relationships.’ Sen. Tim Scott’s New Bill Fights Back.

One Republican lawmaker has introduced a measure to protect parental rights, which he warned are under attack by public schools teaching gender ideology without parents’ knowledge or consent.

This Tuesday, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced the Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their (PROTECT) Kids Act. If passed, the bill would require that government-funded elementary and middle schools tell parents before changing “a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name” and before allowing a child to change “sex-based accommodations.” The government could withdraw funding from K-12 schools that fail to disclose this information to parents.

As Scott writes, “Parents have a fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed right to raise and educate their children in the way they choose.”

He roots this right in the 14th Amendment, which states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The South Carolina senator claims that public schools have violated parental rights by “deliberately hiding information about gender transitioning children from their parents.” Public schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia, among others, have pushed gender ideology on students behind parents’ backs.

In Fairfax County, Scott notes, teachers are told they needn’t seek parents’ permission before using alternative names and pronouns for students. Teachers are given similar instructions in Montgomery County school districts.

“Regardless of their intentions, these schools are sabotaging the parent-child relationship and encouraging children to keep secrets from the adults who are charged with protecting and defending them—their parents,” writes Scott. “School districts, activist organizations, and teachers unions must never be allowed to intrude on parental rights by concealing critical information from parents about their children.”

Two advocacy groups that focus on parental rights, Parents Defending Education Action and Independent Women’s Forum, have backed Scott’s PROTECT Kids Act.   

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We ‘Cannot Afford Another Washington Feeding Frenzy,’ Republican Senators Say

As midterms approach and a Republican victory in Congress hangs in the balance, Republican congressmen have pushed their colleagues to reject Democrats’ plans to increase government funding before the year is up.

Forty-two Republicans in the House and 14 in the Senate have joined in opposing Democrats’ plans for a continuing resolution that would extend government funding into the next congressional year.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, spearheaded an effort to combat this resolution in the Senate. In a “Dear Colleague” letter addressed to Republican senators on Monday, Lee writes, “We must not accept anything short of a ‘clean’ Continuing Resolution (‘CR’) that contains no additional spending or extraneous policy riders.”

The letter urges members of Congress to “stand strong against lame-duck spending” and warns that “caving to the Democrats will likely worsen inflation, prolong the current economic recession, and advance policies contained in the Biden administration’s progressive wish-list.”

Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and Rick Scott, R-Fla., also signed Lee’s letter calling for a “clean” continuing resolution.

“Month after month for the last two years, Democrats and President Joe Biden have been able to advance their radical agenda while Republicans have largely been sidelined,” Scott writes in a Fox News op-ed with Lee and Cruz. The senators argue that their constituents are “sick and tired of watching Washington’s broken status quo continue while they deal with the consequences of reckless spending in Congress.”

The Republican senators note that a “clean” resolution wouldn’t cut current funding. It would simply “ensure that the federal government continues to operate as it must for the American people until a new Congress begins in 2023,” they write. “This is not some convoluted scheme to cause a government shutdown. This is about accountability and doing what’s right for American taxpayers. That’s it.”

House Republicans signed a similar letter on Monday, led by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas. Roy has urged House Republicans to reject a continuing resolution that would raise current levels of spending or expire before Jan. 3 of next year, The Epoch Times reports.

As Congress convenes on Jan. 3, this would allow the continuing resolution to expire and would give a Democrat majority the chance to increase government spending through the rest of the fiscal year.

As Roy’s letter states, “Federal dollars are fueling rampant inflation and funding the Biden administration’s radical agenda.” According to the letter, Biden’s agenda includes “empowering authoritarian bureaucrats at agencies like the IRS and FBI, implementing open-border policies that are threatening our communities, [and] imposing COVID-19 mandates that shut down schools and are forcing our military service members out of their jobs.”

As the Sept. 30 deadline for federal funding approaches, Roy urges Republicans to “do what is necessary to ensure not one additional penny” will go toward the Democrats’ agenda. Lee similarly writes, “The American people cannot afford another Washington feeding frenzy. We must not let them down.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Republicans Accuse State Department of ‘Radical Gender Imperialism’

Republican lawmakers are accusing the State Department of “radical gender imperialism” and of seeking to push other nations to “normalize and encourage transgenderism among youth.” 

In a letter first obtained by The Daily Signal, members of the Republican Study Committee point to a leaked memo reportedly circulated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicating that the Biden administration may begin pushing other countries to endorse youthful “gender affirming care”—a euphemism used by the media, activists, and Democrats to describe the more grisly-sounding transgender surgeries, hormones, and puberty blockers. 

“First and foremost, normalizing and encouraging transgenderism among children has no place in American society, especially when it is done by the federal government,” the Republicans warned in the letter, sent Monday. “Children in America and abroad shouldn’t be exploited to advance a radical agenda.” 

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., led his colleagues in sending the letter to Jessica Stern, the U.S. special envoy to advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex persons. Stern did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Signal. 

“These sorts of surgeries have no mental or physical benefits; in fact, the suicide rate post-surgery for transgenders is about 20 times higher than average,” Banks told The Daily Signal on Tuesday. “But according to the Biden administration, providing therapy instead of performing irreversible surgery on patients with gender dysphoria is a violation of their human rights.”

“The Biden State Department has now flown a pride flag outside the Vatican, funded atheism, appointed a special representative on [critical race theory], and promoted insane gender ideology,” he added. “They have seriously damaged our standing in the world to promote a far-left ideology that most Americans reject.”

In the letter, the lawmakers highlighted that the State Department memo reportedly defines conversion therapy as all efforts to “suppress or change an individual’s … gender identity.” 

“This definition implies that counseling minors against gender transition is akin to electrically shocking minors to ‘cure’ same-sex attraction,” the letter said. “It also condemns all potential treatments for youth suffering from gender dysphoria aside from the two most extreme and irreversible options: transition surgery and hormone therapy.” 

The letter continues: “This ignores the fact there is no strong empirical evidence to support the idea that gender transition surgery helps patients lead happier, better, healthier, or more fulfilled lives. However, there are many reports of transgender individuals feeling physiologically damaged post-transition.” 

The lawmakers describe the memo as “a form of radical gender imperialism that threatens our relationships with other nations and harms our standing in the world,” warning that “the first consequence of this policy is to undermine our allies’ regard for the United States’ moral authority on human rights issues.” 

Such strict U.S. measures would ostracize countries that have banned “gender affirming care” or transgender surgeries, hormones, and puberty blockers for minors, the lawmakers said. 

“Many countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Finland, and Sweden, employ either ‘last line of defense’ policies on ‘gender affirming care,’ or have banned gender surgeries for youth altogether,” the letter noted. “These more restrictive policies now risk making Western European nations ‘human rights abusers’ in the eyes of the State Department, putting them on similar footing as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which has committed genocide of the Uyghurs, or the Maduro regime, which has utilized arbitrary detentions and torture against regime dissidents in Venezuela.” 

The Republican Study Committee promised that it is committed to “providing oversight of this radical proposal,” emphasizing that “unlike parts of America and Western Europe, transgenderism does not enjoy government support.” 

The letter demands that the State Department address a slew of questions by Sept. 30, including how the State Department reconciles the initiative with its “professed commitment to religious liberty,” which official in President Joe Biden’s administration approved of the initiative, whether the Department of Health and Human Services helped draft the memo, and whether the State Department intends to use financial pressure to push Sweden, Finland, and the U.K. “towards endorsing ‘gender affirming care.’” 

“How will the Biden administration punish countries that allow nonsurgical and nonhormonal treatment of youth gender dysphoria?” the letter asks. “By what metric(s) will the State Department deem the Stern initiative successful? Will economic and cultural cooperation between the U.S. and other nations be made contingent on these countries demonstrating that a sufficient number of youth every year have ‘transitioned’?”

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At UN, It’s Politics as Usual for Biden

This time of year, at Turtle Bay in New York, the leaders of the world flock to the United Nations like homing pigeons for the annual gabfest at the meeting of the General Assembly. Leaders, great and small, get their chance to address the world. President Joe Biden will be one of them. His theme will reportedly be “democracies vs. autocracies.” Prepare to be underwhelmed.

For starters, remember that the best strategic leadership is words and deeds. Take Winston Churchill’s famous declaration, “We will fight them on the beaches.” This speech would be long forgotten, if the prime minister had not actually resolutely committed to fighting and winning the Battle of Britain.

Indeed, friends, allies, and enemies pay more attention to what our leaders “do” than what they “say.” Biden starts with a bit of a credibility deficit. The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a disaster. An open border has the world scratching its head. Biden looked flustered over the Taiwan crisis. He failed to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and despite the massive American aid, Biden doesn’t seem to have real plan for a way forward.

This, however, is not the worst of Biden’s foreign policy. Beyond the shear ineptness and incompetence of his team lurks a deeper shortfall—a serious penchant to put politics ahead of good policy.

There used to be axion that politics ends at the water’s edge. The Biden administration has turned that principle of statecraft on it head. Throughout the Cold War, there was in fact a serious effort to fashion bipartisan foreign policy with a coalition of political leaders across the Left and the Right. In the 1990s, however, the character of American political leadership began to significantly change. Political diversity atrophied in both parties to the point that forging a foreign policy consensus with leaders across both sides of the aisle became increasingly difficult.

Biden has taken this divide to the extreme. Instead of politics ending at the water’s edge, our president sees foreign policy primarily as an extension of his domestic political agenda. Just look at the White House top priorities. They are not China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea. They are climate change and a woke cultural agenda that mimics leftist radical social policies pushed here at home.

Climate change is a case in point. Biden’s climate policies are not an economic plan. They are not energy or environmental plan. They are certainly not a national security plan. They are a political agenda to further the radical transformation of America and secure progressive control of the country. Global climate policy exists only to reinforce his domestic agenda.

All this ought to raise all sorts of red flags for Biden’s U.N. speeches where he plans to take on the world’s bad boys. Domestically Biden has used the threat to democracy theme exclusively to go after his political opponents. Threats to democracy are anyone who disagrees with Biden policies. 

Detractors from the Biden agenda are axiomatically described as racists, fascists, white supremacists, and radicals. They hate women. They hate men who want to call themselves women. They are outraged by outrages like men competing in women’s sports, radical thugs rioting in American cities, and indifference to the life of the unborn. All these forms of “violence” are anti-Biden and thus, anti-democracy.

We should have every expectation that Biden will mirror this division of good and bad in his approach to foreign policy.

There is already ample evidence that the president’s administration has less than zero credibility when it comes to making distinctions between good and evil abroad. His approach to evil actors is actually to engage them and occasionally finger-wave and offer a bit of scolding.

He is still desperate for an Iran deal, despite ample evidence that this regime is as evil as it looks, even attempting to hire hunter-killer squads to hunt former U.S. officials. He is soft on China. Before the outbreak of the war Ukraine, he looked like little more than a speed bump to Putin. He has coddled every leftist anti-American regime in Latin America.

Further, his leadership record so far is less than dismal. His summit of democracies was a lot. His summit of the Americas was an embarrassment. These were meant to be his signature achievements of democratic leadership.

Biden will make a speech at the U.N. His cronies will praise. His allies will be polite. His enemies will deride it. In short order, we will all forget it and be faced with the reality that when it comes to defending democracy and battling authoritarianism, we have a White House with a deficit of both.  

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Biden Declares Pandemic ‘Over.’ So What About His COVID-19 Policies?

President Joe Biden has declared the COVID-19 pandemic “over.”

“We still have a problem with COVID,” Biden said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday night on CBS. “We’re still doing a lot of work on it … but the pandemic is over.”

While walking through the site of the Detroit Auto Show during part of the interview, Biden referred to the crowds: “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks.”

It is interesting that the president, and thus his administration, finally declared the pandemic over now.

Even though for most Americans the pandemic has been “over” for quite some time, it’s clear that some of the administration’s die-hard supporters aren’t willing to let go. 

If you visit Washington, D.C., or Manhattan, you will still see plenty of people in masks. And some online left-wingers weren’t happy with the president’s pronouncement in his interview with “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley.

The pandemic isn’t over.

— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) September 19, 2022

Scene outside the White House now. The pandemic isn’t over for millions of long haulers. #mecfs #longcovid pic.twitter.com/PMJPPpILAJ

— Ryan Prior (@r_prior) September 19, 2022

I generally avoid making too much of Biden's gaffes but saying the 'pandemic is over' will directly lead to preventable illness and death.

POTUS needs to issue an airtight statement admitting that his statement isn't supported by facts, the WHO, or expert consensus. Period.

— Dr. Jorge Caballero stands with ?? (@DataDrivenMD) September 19, 2022

The pandemic isn't over.

— See Mia Roll ?? (@SeeMiaRoll) September 19, 2022

It might be safe to say that, for some, the pandemic never will be over; life will be an endless loop of social isolation, double masking, and booster shots.

That’s their prerogative.

Of course, the Biden administration didn’t want to give the American people the prerogative if they disagreed with the president’s policies. 

The timing of Biden’s proclamation is interesting and more than a little grating. It seems little has changed in regard to COVID-19 in recent months, yet the administration was happy to use it to ram through political priorities.

Biden’s sudden proclamation of “mission accomplished” is grating.

It’s clear that the Biden administration has tried to have things both ways, continuing COVID-19 emergency policies when they’re convenient for the political agenda and dropping those policies when they aren’t.

Remember that, just three weeks ago, Biden used the excuse of the pandemic to unilaterally declare student loan debt forgiveness. 

His plan wasn’t just constitutionally dubious, it was a slap in the face to working-class Americans. It foisted a $300 billion bill on the backs of taxpayers when inflation already was spiraling out of control.

Less important but significantly pettier was the Biden administration’s decision late last month to prevent Serbian tennis great Novak Djokovic from playing in the U.S. Open because he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The administration has kept a vaccine requirement in place for foreign travelers and wouldn’t make an exception for Djokovic, even though he is a world-class athlete in peak health.

The Biden administration insists on keeping this vaccine mandate while looking for ways to drop Title 42, a public health policy invoked by the Trump administration during the pandemic that allowed for rapid deportation of illegal immigrants. 

As has become clear, this administration has been happy to let the floodgates stay open on the border, regardless of risks to the American people.

The White House’s declared public health emergency over COVID-19 is set to expire in October. Will that emergency be dropped, now that the pandemic is “over”? This is important because the White House is still trying to secure over $20 billion in funding for fighting COVID-19.

This huge amount of money may seem like nothing after the staggering amount of spending in the past few years, but it still feels like the Biden administration is trying to squeeze every drop of wealth out of the American taxpayer that it can before the gravy train stops.

If the pandemic is over, it seems the administration should drop the vaccine mandate for everyone in the military. The Army is grappling with a historic recruiting crisis. It seems like upholding a vaccine mandate for the military when the pandemic is over makes the crisis significantly worse.

Biden declared the pandemic is over.
 
So, when will he let those discharged from the military due to vax mandates return to protecting our country?

— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 19, 2022

In addition, Biden’s Democrat allies continue to pursue repressive pandemic policies.

The New York City Department of Education just fired an additional “850 teachers and classroom aides” because they didn’t provide vaccine information by the Sept. 5 deadline, according to the New York Post. Over 2,000 education employees have been fired in New York so far because of the vaccine mandate.

This is happening even as the city faces a massive teacher shortage.

Thousands of police officers and firefighters lost their jobs because of New York’s vaccine mandate, too. Will they get their jobs back now?

One would think New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer and a Democrat, should do something about this. So far, nothing.

No wonder people are fleeing New York for Florida.

The bottom line is that for most Americans, the president’s sudden declaration that the pandemic is “over” means almost nothing. Biden’s announcement during his “60 Minutes” interview just points to the cynical and farcical nature of this administration, that they’ve juggled this decision mostly because of politics and not “science.”

It also points to the countless reasons that many Americans have completely lost faith in our country’s institutions and leaders.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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The Left Targets Youngkin’s Transgender Education Reform Prioritizing Parental Rights 

Many on the Left appear appalled at the idea that parents should have the right to know and intervene if their children “identify” as the opposite sex or seek controversial transgender medical interventions that may irreversibly harm their bodies.  

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, on Friday announced a new model policy on students who identify as transgender in schools, prioritizing parental rights and upholding sex-based policies while directing the Virginia Department of Education to enforce federal and state laws protecting children from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  

Youngkin’s policy reversed the directives issued under former Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, which mandated that schools adopt a pro-transgender stance and directed schools to keep parents in the dark if “a student is not ready or able to safely share with their family about their gender identity.”  

If parents or guardians know about a minor student’s transgender identity and disagree with it, the Northam guidelines positioned the school as the arbiter of such disagreements. 

The new Youngkin guidelines put parents in the driver’s seat. The model policy begins with the declaration: “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children: Policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights.” 

The new policy states that “schools shall respect parents’ values and beliefs,” and that parents have the right “to instill in and nurture values and beliefs for their own children and make decisions concerning their children’s education and upbringing in accordance with their customs, faith, and family culture.” 

The policy roots this squarely in the U.S. Constitution, key Supreme Court decisions, and Virginia law. 

The Youngkin policy states that “schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children,” regarding health care, names, pronouns, counseling, and social transition at school. 

The new policy clarifies that students will participate in sex-segregated school programs according to their biological sex, rather than their stated gender identities, yet it allows for potential exceptions. “Single-user bathrooms and facilities should be made available in accessible areas and provided with appropriate signage, indicating accessibility for all students,” the policy states.  

While the policy states that when sports are segregated by biological sex, male students and female students will compete according to their sex, it makes exceptions for federal law. 

The policy also explicitly states that schools “should attempt to accommodate students with distinctive needs, including any student with a persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs from his or her sex.” 

The new model policy criticizes the Northam-era guidelines, saying they “disregarded the rights of parents and ignored other legal and constitutional principles that significantly impact how schools educate students, including transgender students.” The new policy cites the same law under which Northam’s administration created its guidelines. 

“This is about the right of parents to be involved in such important decisions and that all our students are treated with dignity,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told The Daily Signal. “The law mandating that [the Virginia Department of Education] have a policy is cited, and the model policy is crafted to ensure local school boards who adopt it fully comply with all applicable federal and state laws. The ‘2022 Model Policies,’ designed to protect ‘the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools,’ allows for a 30-day comment period for Virginians to engage on its suggested content.”

Only 10% of school districts had adopted the Northam administration’s policies two years after Virginia law required them to adopt a policy on these issues, according to the Virginia Mercury.

The new guidelines make a great deal of sense. While transgender activists claim that students are more likely to commit suicide if schools and parents do not encourage their transgender identities, it remains unclear whether affirmation and controversial medical interventions actually help students with gender dysphoria.  

Medical interventions can have dangerous lifelong impacts. So-called puberty blockers, for example, actually introduce a disease into a patient’s body, according to Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist in Rocklin, California. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism occurs when the brain fails to send the right signal to the gonads to make the hormones necessary for development. 

“An endocrinologist might treat a condition where a female’s testosterone levels are going to be outside the normal range,” Laidlaw told PJ Media. “We’ll treat that, and we’re aware of metabolic problems. At the same time, an endocrinologist may be giving high levels of testosterone to a female to ‘transition’ her.”  Cross-sex hormones can also have serious long-term side effects, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular events.

Government should defer to parents when it comes to the health and beliefs of their children, especially on such politically charged issues.  

Yet Virginia Democrats responded to this moderate policy change with outrage. 

“Gov. Youngkin’s mandate targets vulnerable children, and it’s downright shameful to think that an elected leader would punch down at kids to score political points,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., widely seen as a more moderate Democrat, wrote on Twitter. “This mandate rolls back the rights of kids to be themselves in schools.” 

Gov. Youngkin’s mandate targets vulnerable children, and it’s downright shameful to think that an elected leader would punch down at kids to score political points. This mandate rolls back the rights of kids to be themselves in schools. https://t.co/2rSyNxBv3D

— Abigail Spanberger (@SpanbergerVA07) September 18, 2022

“We are appalled by the Youngkin administration’s overhaul of key protections for transgender students in public schools,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia wrote on Twitter. “LGBTQ+ students already experience much higher self-harm & suicide rates because of the discrimination they face. This will only make matters worse.” 

??ATTN: We are appalled by the Youngkin administration's overhaul of key protections for transgender students in public schools.

LGBTQ+ students already experience much higher self-harm & suicide rates because of the discrimination they face. This will only make matters worse. https://t.co/cAM04prOqr

— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) September 17, 2022

The Washington Post’s Hannah Natanson characterized the guidelines as a “top-down approach to governance,” even though they direct schools to honor parental input first. 

Openly transgender state Rep. Danica Roem, D-Prince William County, claimed that Youngkin’s action “should be contested in court under the Virginia Human Rights Act.” That law, which Northam signed in 2020, bans “unlawful discrimination because of … sexual orientation, gender identity, [and other protected characteristics] in places of public accommodation, including educational institutions and in real estate transactions.” 

.@GovernorVA’s action should be contested in court under the Virginia Human Rights Act.

This is one of the laws passed by the Virginia General Assembly *with bipartisan support* in 2020.

Executive fiat does not overrule state law, as the Governor found out earlier this year. https://t.co/jg12eO9zvO pic.twitter.com/aIIRYQC3cu

— Del. Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) September 17, 2022

Yet the same law states that the ban on discrimination shall not “affect any government program, law or activity [regarding persons under 18] … where the program, law or activity constitutes a legitimate exercise of powers of the Commonwealth for the general health, safety, and welfare of the population at large.” 

In other words, in pursuit of parental rights, fairness in sports, and protecting girls from being forced to share locker rooms and bathrooms with biological boys, the law seems to allow Youngkin’s policies.  

Roem was not available for comment to explain her reasoning to The Daily Signal. 

“It is not under a school’s or the government’s purview to impose a set of particular ideological beliefs on all students,” Porter, the Youngkin spokeswoman, said in a statement on the policy. She emphasized that “key decisions rest, first and foremost, with the parents.” 

Ultimately, the outrage on this issue traces back to the fundamental question of whether parents have the right to make key decisions for their children. Do parents have the right to intervene if a boy says he “identifies” as a girl? Do parents have the right to prevent him from taking so-called puberty-blocking drugs that will impede the natural development of his body and effectively give him a disease? Can they prevent him from taking estrogen or getting parts of his anatomy removed in the name of a female identity?  

Radical transgender activists are trying to take away parents’ right to veto decisions that will harm their children over the long term, and Democrats are demonizing a moderate policy change that guarantees that fundamental right.  

Youngkin’s campaign centered on restoring parental rights, and this policy shift represents a key fulfillment of that central campaign promise. By condemning this policy change, the Left only reveals just how radical it truly is. 

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Colorado’s Democratic Governor Raised Special-Interest Tax Benefits, Breaking Campaign Promise, New Report Says

A new report by the Independence Institute claims that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, expanded special-interest tax benefits during his first term, breaking promises he made on the campaign trail. 

The report asserts that despite promising to cut tax loopholes, Polis instead signed bills increasing them by nearly $640 million. 

“To win votes in 2018, Jared Polis told Coloradans he would cut special-interest tax giveaways if elected governor. That year, he and his party took unified control of Colorado’s state government,” said Ben Murrey, the study’s author, in an exclusive statement to The Daily Signal. “But instead of reducing special tax benefits as promised, he and his political allies spent the next four years redistributing them to their own politically favored special interests.” 

Murrey, the Independence Institute’s director of fiscal policy, added: “Voters were clearly duped by Polis’ empty words.” 

The report used data taken from official state sources to conclude that the tax expenditures expanded special-interest tax benefits to the tune of around $640 million.  

Murrey noted that, out of 50 bills signed by Polis relating to tax expenditures, 46 increased expenditures while only four reduced them. 

As a result, the report concluded, the 10-year impact of the bills reduces tax benefits by $3.86 billion, but increases them by $4.5 billion for a net increase of about $640 million. 

Murrey said that based on the data, Polis does not deserve his reputation as a governor with an effective tax policy.  

“Despite repealing and reducing some tax benefits, because Polis increased far more tax benefits by a much larger amount in total, this report concludes that he has failed to deliver on his tax-reform campaign pledge,” Murrey wrote. “On the contrary, his actions mostly contradicted the tax-reform platform upon which voters elected him in 2018.” 

The report additionally asserts that the 50 bills relating to tax expenditures will cost the state more than $300 million to administer, as well as impact the amount of money Coloradans will receive from their Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds.  

According to Colorado’s Department of Revenue, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights amendment to Colorado’s state constitution limits the amount of revenue governments in the state can keep and spend. The amendment also requires excess revenue to be refunded to Colorado taxpayers.  

According to Murrey, Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refund forecasts for the next four fiscal years show reduced refunds of about $211.59 million. 

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Is National Conservatism the Future of the Movement?

Conservatism has existed as a philosophy since the founding of the republic. As the country has evolved and grown, so too has the political ideology that has guided America through its toughest trials.

Conservatism again stands at a possible point of evolution. Much has been said about national conservatism, both for and against.

Nate Hochman, a staff writer at National Review, says that national conservatism is both the future of the movement—and its past.

“You can point to any number of issues, whether it’s a more, sort of, assertive social conservatism, immigration restriction, a sort of rethinking of conservatism’s relationship to big business, a kind of ‘two cheers for capitalism’ approach to free markets,” he says. “All of those things have been aspects of conservatism since the modern American conservative movement was founded.”

Hochman joins the show to discuss what national conservatism is, and why he feels it represents the future of the movement.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Doug Blair: My guest today is Nate Hochman, a staff writer at National Review. Nate, welcome to the show.

Nate Hochman: Doug, thanks for having me.

Blair: Of course, always a pleasure to have a fellow Portlander on the show, by the way. So we are here right now at the National Conservatism Conference to hear from the brightest minds in the national conservative movement. I think for a lot of our listeners who maybe aren’t aware of what that actually means, how do you define national conservatism?

Hochman: Yeah, I mean, that is the million-dollar question.

I think one of the things that Peter Thiel was talking about at the first speech of the conference is that there’s an enormous amount of ideological diversity at a conference like this. But I think, essentially, what national conservatism is about is something approximating the kind of policies that Donald Trump ran on in 2016. So immigration restriction, trade hawkishness on China, a more aggressive stance on the culture war. There’s a sort of suite of different policy issues and that’s expanded over time.

But to me, I think national conservatism is very much within the broader American conservative tradition. It’s mostly just about a reformulation of traditional conservative principles to confront the contemporary issues today, whether those are cultural issues, immigration, a rising China, etc.

Blair: You say it fits into the sort of traditional values of conservatism. Is this something that’s not really new, it’s just sort of a reformulation of old values or is this something that’s developed and is different now?

Hochman: No, I think everything that’s being discussed at this conference is squarely within the American conservative tradition. You can point to any number of issues, whether it’s a more sort of assertive social conservatism, immigration restriction, a sort of rethinking of conservatism’s relationship to big business, a kind of “two cheers for capitalism” approach to free markets—all of those things have been aspects of conservatism since the modern American conservative movement was founded.

It’s just that over the course of the last couple of decades, the argument from a lot of the people at the conference here is that conservatives have sort of become complacent and haven’t really developed new policies to confront new problems. And that’s what I see the project of this conference as being all about.

Blair: You mentioned Donald Trump, obviously, as one of the sort of standard bearers maybe of this movement, that a lot of his policies that he ran on are the national conservative policies. Do we see that there are other candidates in the field who are adopting these policies or do we see some pushback to some of them?

Hochman: Oh, well, there’s both. And there’s nothing more quintessentially conservative than fierce disagreements about what conservatism means. So that’s not new either, but [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis spoke last night. He’s obviously someone that I think a lot of people at the conference are big fans of—[Sen.] Josh Hawley, Blake Masters, Peter Thiel obviously is a major figure.

So there’s a lot of conservatives, both actual elected Republicans and Republican candidates, but also conservative intellectuals and standard bearers who are interested in at least aspects of the program. But there are also a lot of Republicans and conservatives who have real concerns. And I think that debate is at least partially what a conference like this is all about.

Blair: What are some of the threats that the national conservative movement sees as some of the biggest ones facing the country right now?

Hochman: Well, to my mind, at least, and I don’t want to speak for all national conservatives, what a lot of this is about is understanding that those primary fundamental challenges to America today are cultural. And they often flow from concentrated private power that the Left exercises, whether it’s through major corporations, foundations, civic activist groups, etc., which are really presenting an existential challenge to the American way of life.

And something like the Paul Ryan-era tax cuts deregulation as the primary goal of Republican party politics just isn’t going to actually be capable of confronting those challenges.

So someone like DeSantis is a model, where you’re actually willing to use public policy to put the culture war and all of those attendant issues at the forefront of your policy agenda and being willing to rethink our relationship to institutions like Big Business, which oftentimes have been captured by activists on the left, and proceed from there accordingly.

Blair: Does national conservatism have any equivalence maybe across the globe? We’ve seen that other countries, specifically in Europe, like Britain and Italy, have moved in a more rightward direction. Do those movements have any similarities to national conservatism here in the U.S.?

Hochman: Absolutely. Look, again, national conservatism, the best understanding of the project is a rethinking of traditional conservative principles to confront new issues. Those issues are often, although there’s sort of variations across geography, they’re consistent across all of the West.

So the Left and the way that it exercises power in its agenda in the United States has a lot of parallels with the Left in the United Kingdom, in France, Germany, Canada, etc. So as a result, I think right-wing parties in all of those places are having very similar conversations, at least in some spheres, to American conservatives here.

And there’s a National Conservatism Conference in Europe as well, because I think there’s an attempt to take the intellectual resources from conservative parties and thinkers across Europe, not just the Anglosphere, but France and Germany and Belgium as well, and to share those conversations and how different conservative parties are thinking about that.

Blair: Sure. Well, we’ve had you on the show before to talk about the Canadian trucker protests, the freedom rallies, and I guess my question is, that sort of protesting, is that style of standing up to authoritative government, is that a strain of national conservatism or is that more of a populist strain of conservatism?

Hochman: Well, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive all the time. Obviously, it’s tough too when you have something as unruly as mass outpouring at protests, it’s not always easy to assign a coherent ideological framework to what’s going on.

So when I was on the ground in Canada, I talked to people, vastly different ideological substrates. There were Christian groups, there were populist-minded truckers who were probably the Canadian equivalent of the Trump base here, there were people who just didn’t like vaccine mask mandates and wanted to go back to normal life.

So … all of those people had a shared goal. And I think national conservatives and right wingers in general would do well to harness movements that spontaneously arise like that and share our goals.

But mass political movements aren’t always intellectually coherent. So national conservatives and conservatives in general should be looking at grassroots energy and trying to direct it toward the ends that they want, but that kind of populist uprising isn’t always exactly easy to pinpoint in terms of their subscription to national conservative principles.

Blair: Sure. Well, on that note, it actually makes me think about how that coalition formed. Power seems to derive when you can form a coalition to keep it. Are we seeing that national conservatism is drawing in partners that maybe haven’t been part of the conservative coalition before?

Hochman: Well, I think on the political electoral level, that’s clearly true. So if you talk about something like the Hispanic realignment in places like South Texas and Florida where we are, clearly, a lot of non-white, non-college-educated voters are moving into the conservative coalition. And I think that a lot of that has to do with the cultural issues that we’re talking about.

So insofar as national conservatism counsels an effort to put these cultural issues at the front and center of the conservative understanding, you are going to win a lot of folks who might have tended toward the Democratic Party in a different era and national conservatism is also counseling a move away from sort of fundamentalist free market libertarianism, which is also where you’re going to get a lot more working-class voters who might have been put off by Republican Party that ran primarily on cutting Social Security or something like that.

So all of those things are bringing these sort of socially conservative, economically moderate working-class voters into the Republican Party. And that to me seems like the clear future of the Republican coalition and of conservatism at large.

Blair: So we are seeing that those gains stick? I know a lot of people following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and then watching his vote share in 2020 were unsure of whether or not that was going to stick, if the party was going to be able to keep those gains. Are we seeing that that’s happening?

Hochman: Well, hopefully, of course, we’ll see in 2022 whether they return, but from 2016 to 2020, you saw massive shifts in places like the Rio Grande Valley, sometimes to the tune of 50 points from 2016 to 2020 in these sort of 90-plus percent Hispanic areas.

So that realignment, it’ll be interesting to see how it looks in 2022 and 2024, but as it stands today, it certainly looks like that’s where the trending is moving and public opinion polling, while often not entirely reliable, has also showed that realignment continuing to happen since 2020.

Blair: One of the things that I find very interesting about the conversation about national conservatism, at least with some of the people that I’ve spoken to, is the role of religion. Specifically many national conservatives I’ve spoken with view the church, and in certain contexts, the traditional Catholicism, as essential to the national conservative movement. Is that something that you find accurate or is that maybe a misunderstanding of how the movement works?

Hochman: It’s obviously incredibly important, right? Again, if you’re looking at a sort of conservatism that is primarily focused on social issues, or at least organized around social and cultural issues, you can’t have that conversation without discussing religion.

Religion plays a fundamental role in our cultural debates and will continue to. So you don’t have to be, I think, devoutly religious to be a national conservative, but you do have to affirm to a certain extent the importance of religion in civil society. And you can hear that if you listen to any number of panelists at this conference.

Blair: Sure. One of those panelists we’ve spoken to is Yoram Hazony, who has a view on religion as being essential. You cannot untie those two principles, otherwise, it’s not conservatism. One of the questions I always have for people who do believe that is, where does that extent go in terms of foreign religions? Does that apply to Hinduism? Does that apply to Buddhism? Does that apply to Shintoism, for example?

Hochman: Well, it’s a good question. I don’t know exactly how something like Buddhism plays in the American political context, just because I don’t know. I don’t think the Buddhist voting block is significant. There is some really funny polling about the fact that something like 20% of Buddhists in America are Republicans. I would love to meet the Buddhist Republican voter. I haven’t met any here necessarily.

But obviously, the preeminent religion in the United States traditionally has been Christianity. You also have a lot of devout Jews at conferences like this. So the Judeo-Christian religious tradition and the sort of political and philosophical tradition that flowed from it are the foundation of the West and of the United States.

And insofar as national conservatives are trying to preserve and defend our cultural heritage, that’s fundamentally what they’re defending, but that doesn’t mean that other religions which share our political goals, and I certainly think that there are plenty of people who belong to other religions that do, aren’t welcome in national conservatism and don’t have something to contribute.

Blair: Sure. Let’s speak about the response to national conservatism from possibly our enemies on the left. How does the Left perceive this movement and how have they moved to counter it?

Hochman: Well, it depends exactly what sort of leftist you’re talking about, but there’s been an enormous amount of somewhat hysterical coverage of national conservatism as basically sort of latent fascism, semi-fascism, to use the president’s turn of phrase.

Obviously, I don’t think that’s true. I’m not a fascist, I’m a national conservative, but I think the Left correctly perceives that the ideas on offer here and the kind of Republican policy agenda that’s being formulated here is a bigger threat to their cultural hegemony because it’s actually focused on targeting their cultural hegemony is one of the primary goals.

That is understandably concerning to them. I think they should be concerned. It doesn’t mean that anything being discussed here is illegitimate. I think the policy priorities are the correct ones, but it is a much more threatening kind of conservatism to left-wing hegemony than the one that primarily counsels tax cuts and occupational licensing.

Blair: Do we see any particular arenas of the culture where the conservative movement, at least in the national conservative space, is winning, where we’re starting to see shifts from that overarching power of the Left, maybe moving either toward the middle or toward the right?

Hochman: Oh, certainly. I think one of the biggest political and cultural stories of the last two years is the parent-led grassroots uprising at school boards over critical race theory and also gender ideology. Subsequently, the slate of anti-critical race theory laws that were passed in most red state legislatures at this point and laws restricting transgender athletes in women’s sports and obviously Dobbs [v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization], which is the culmination of basically what social conservatism as a political movement was founded on.

So I think a lot of what national conservatives have been talking about for the last few years, since the conference began in 2019, have begun to turn into material policy wins. And the momentum to me is a vindication of the argument for national conservatism. If we actually focus on these cultural issues, we can win, but we can use public policy to advance conservative ends and we should continue to do so because it’s crucially important.

Blair: Sure. One of the maxims I tend to live by is the Breitbart maxim, which is, politics is downstream of culture. And I almost see some of these discussions that we’re having right now, specifically surrounding Dobbs, as we won this victory at the Supreme Court. However, it is entirely possible that the federal government will then pass a law that allows for abortion across the states. With that being said, how do conservatives counter that sort of prevailing cultural narrative while still attaining victories at something like the Supreme Court?

Hochman: Well, I think part of it is understanding that I actually am not convinced that, strictly speaking, politics is downstream of culture. Obviously, sometimes it is, it would be naïve to say that politics exist in a vacuum and isn’t affected by culture. But culture is also downstream of politics sometimes.

If you look at any number of major Supreme Court cases, Roe v. Wade, for example, it’s impossible to deny that Roe v. Wade had a profound effect on American culture. Same thing with major laws that were passed, every major policy decision. The Iraq War had a profound effect on American culture. American culture would not be the same if it weren’t for something like the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

So public policy and American culture do not exist in mutually exclusive spheres from one another. They’re constantly in conversation with one another. And that doesn’t mean that you can completely engineer culture through sort of central planning and via top-down government or something. But it does mean that you have to think of public policy as intertwined with culture.

I mean, it comes to something like education, I think Ron DeSantis has been a really good model of understanding that and not just focusing on banning poisonous ideologies like critical race theory, but also really focusing on a positive vision of renewed civics education, where we’re actually teaching about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Again, we’re teaching that America’s a good country and explaining to students why all of that stuff is public policy.

That has a profound effect on the cultural understanding of the next generation. And that’s what conservatives need to be focusing on.

Blair: Absolutely. As a final note, who are some of the people that our listeners might be able to look into or who might be able to research and say, “OK, I have a good understanding of what national conservatives believe and what their plan of action is”?

Hochman: Well, … obviously the speaker roster for National Conservatism is a good place to start. So on the political level you’ve got people like Ron DeSantis who’s a leader, you have candidates like Blake Masters and J.D. Vance. You have elected Republicans like Josh Hawley and then in the House, you’ve got folks like Jim Banks. Those are all people who have really been tuned into a lot of national conservative priorities. In terms of the intellectual sphere, it’s impossible to compile a comprehensive list. I won’t bore your listeners.

But my colleague Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review is someone who’s worth listening to. Obviously, all the folks at the Claremont Institute have been really involved in this. Yoram Hazony, who’s the organizer. I would suggest that all of these people are worth listening to.

But if you want to see the actual policy agenda in action, there’s a number of Republicans and I think there will be even more after 2022 who are at least national conservative-friendly.

Blair: I guess just as a quick aside, are we seeing any Democrats who are maybe moving more toward that movement or has the Democratic Party been entirely taken over by the Left?

Hochman: Well, I don’t see any Democrats who I think national conservatives would identify as their friends for the most part.

There are Democrats who will work with Republicans on some priorities that national conservatives like. So something like family policy is an area where national conservatives are interested in something like a child tax credit. That’s something that you can get a lot of progressives on board with. But the cultural agenda, I think Democrats are pretty much uniformly opposed to what national conservatives believe in.

Blair: That was Nate Hochman, a staff writer with National Review. Nate, always appreciate you coming on.

Hochman: Thanks, Doug.

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‘Zuckerbucks 2.0’: Lawmakers Eye Private Money to Get Out Vote in Milwaukee Elections

Two dozen states banned the use of private money to finance election operations in response to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pouring part of his $400 million fortune into the 2020 election process. 

Wisconsin wasn’t one of them. 

Now, an initiative to boost voter turnout called Milwaukee Votes 2022 involves some private partners, including a Democrat-aligned political communications company known as GPS Impact.

A spokesman for Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson told The Daily Signal that GPS Impact is “one of several” partners in the initiative, which Johnson announced this week at a press conference. 

However, Wisconsin state lawmakers have more questions. 

“This is Zuckerbucks 2.0,” said state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, a Republican who chairs the Wisconsin State Assembly’s Campaigns and Elections Committee.

Republicans in both the Assembly and the state Senate are seeking documents showing communications between the city of Milwaukee and GPS Impact.

No lawmaker is alleging that Zuckerberg is funding Milwaukee’s get-out-the-vote program. Rather, “Zuckerbucks” or “Zuck Bucks” have become nicknames for private money that pays for local or state election operations. 

A special counsel appointed by the Wisconsin State Assembly issued a report finding that jurisdictions getting Zuckerberg dollars may have conducted an illegal get-out-the-vote operation and violated other state laws. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, vetoed a measure to ban private dollars and private actors from infiltrating election administration offices in the Badger State. 

The presidential election results in Wisconsin were among the closest in the country in 2020, with Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump by about 20,000 votes. However, Biden got 79% of the vote in Milwaukee. 

Various nonprofit groups in 2020 orchestrated a “well-oiled machine of knowing what ballots are outstanding, who voted, who hasn’t voted” that allowed them “to do a real-time system of turning out the vote,” Brandtjen told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. 

“When we heard that they were using this group, this GPS Impact, if you look at the website it clearly is not nonpartisan,” the Republican lawmaker said. “They work for Democrats and progressives to win in states, including Wisconsin. That’s a complete set of red flags.”

She also said it is improper for cities to be working to turn out voters. 

“Municipalities are not supposed to be in the business of getting out the vote,” Brandtjen said. “Certainly, say [that] today is voting day and publicize that information. But to know which people have voted and not voted, that’s not the job of municipalities. That’s the job of political parties.” 

GPS Impact’s Twitter account includes tweets touting Democrat politicians it works for at the federal and state level, and boasts of work more recently in helping to defeat a pro-life amendment to the Kansas Constitution. 

GPS Impact should not be confused with the Washington-based opposition research group Fusion GPS that figured in the false Trump-Russia allegations. GPS Impact did not respond to phone and email inquiries from The Daily Signal for this report. 

The Milwaukee Votes 2022 initiative began in May. But on Monday, the city’s mayor announced bigger plans for the program. 

“We’re doing more, and I’m going to be embracing outreach and engagement through what we’re calling ‘Milwaukee Votes 2022,’” Johnson, a Democrat, said during the press conference. “As part of that, you will soon see a new website widget on many Milwaukee.gov website pages.”

The planned activity potentially is illegal, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a joint statement with other Republican leaders. 

And these Republicans aren’t standing for it. Their statement says:

We are demanding that the city of Milwaukee immediately cease assisting a privately funded, liberal group in their efforts to only engage with and turn out certain voters. The city of Milwaukee’s promotion and coordination of potentially illegal activities under the guise of canvassing is why Wisconsin voters have lost confidence in our elections. It is inappropriate for any municipality to support a get-out-the-vote campaign.

Jeff Fleming, the mayor’s spokesman, said in an email Wednesday  to The Daily Signal that the city of Milwaukee neither receives nor provides money to support the Milwaukee Votes 2022 initiative.

“All the work is nonpartisan; none of the efforts support individual candidates or causes,” Fleming said. “The mayor wants all eligible Milwaukee residents to cast ballots in upcoming elections. He supports democracy, and he wants voices in Milwaukee to be heard. The city works with any nonpartisan effort that encourages eligible voters to cast ballots.”

Fleming said he didn’t have specifics about the cost of the initiative or the funding sources, but elaborated that partners other than GPS Impact are involved. He noted that plans began in May. 

“I do not have information about individuals, corporations, or foundations that are funding nonpartisan voter outreach,” Johnson’s spokesman said. “On May 24th, the mayor first announced this partnership—and that event was supported by the two largest business associations in the region, the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. Also at the event were a representative of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a group called ‘Souls to the Polls,’ and the League of Women Voters.”

In speaking to reporters, Johnson said the effort will involve going door to door. 

“Milwaukee Votes 2022 will also have door-to-door canvassers that will be underway, funded by the private sector,” Johnson said. “Dozens of canvassers will be face to face with eligible voters, encouraging them to exercise their right to vote for the November election. I’m not asking anybody to cast their ballots for one party or another or one candidate or another.”

When asked about it by The Daily Signal, Fleming said: “I am not familiar with the specifics of the work of the door-to-door outreach, other than they are not paid by the city.”

A city-endorsed effort to go door to door to get out the vote is still concerning, Brandtjen said. 

“There is no oversight of the going door-to-door that we know of,” the Republican state lawmaker said. “Can you imagine someone shows up from the city at your door to ask you if you’ve voted yet, or says, ‘I know you haven’t voted’? That could be perceived as massive intimidation.” 

Dan O’Donnell, a conservative talk radio host in Milwaukee, says that the city referred his questions to a GPS Impact staffer. When he contacted the staffer, he said, she told him that she was only an informal adviser to the get-out-the-vote initiative. 

“This doesn’t pass the smell test at all,” O’Donnell said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal. 

“It’s private money going into election operations in a city. I would classify this as extremely similar to Zuckerbucks,” the talk show host added. “The city working with a Democratic firm on a get-out-the-vote effort is pretty obviously a Democratic get-out-the-vote effort. The city shouldn’t be doing this.”

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In Pledge to ‘Stand Up for America,’ Texas Lawmaker Vows ‘to Restore Common Sense, Responsible Spending’

Rep. Chip Roy says he has a plan to hold lawmakers and the Biden administration accountable now and into the future.

The Texas Republican announced a three-part “Stand Up for America” pledge to his Lone Star State constituents on Sept. 8.

“I pledge to the 21st Congressional District of Texas to Stand Up for America by fighting to restore common sense and responsible spending; freedom through government based upon the consent of the governed, not big, corporate crony interests; and a sovereign nation secure from both the tyranny of the authoritarian state and the vulnerability created by open borders and a woke, overextended military,” Roy’s pledge states.

The Texas lawmaker announced his pledge shortly after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., previewed the GOP’s forthcoming four-part “Commitment to America” plan, which highlights the party’s chief priorities for the nation ahead of the November midterm elections.

With those elections less than eight weeks away, Roy says, accountability must return to Washington in three key areas:

1) Freeze on ‘Spending Levels’

“We, Republicans, should not agree to spend one more dollar to advance the Democrats’ harmful, inflationary agenda,” Roy says in the pledge.  

Lawmakers in the House and Senate are preparing to vote on a short-term spending bill this month that would fund the government into December, when lawmakers will likely vote on the fiscal year 2023 federal budget.  

Roy says Republicans should not allow a “lame duck” Congress to pass budgets that include funding to “hire thousands of new IRS agents to target hardworking families, make plumbers pay for an Ivy Leaguer’s student loans, drive up the price of gas & electricity, or leave our borders wide open.” 

“After the voters speak in November,” the pledge reads, “the NEXT Congress must chart the path forward—starting with frozen spending levels.” 

2) Policies that ‘Restore a Baseline of Sanity’

Republicans should oppose the “purposeful disregard of the rule of law and the well-being of the American people by this administration,” the pledge reads. Through hearings and investigations, Roy says, he and his colleagues must expose and stop what he calls the Left’s “radical agenda” from advancing any further. 

Instead, government funding needs to include policies that “restore a baseline of sanity,” such as:  

  • “Protect Americans from Cartels, Fentanyl, and Crime by forcing DHS to Secure our Border.” 
  • “Neutralize the Power of the Authoritarian State—Particularly the IRS, FBI, and [the National Institutes of Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Food and Drug Administration].” 
  • “Keep the Lights On—Produce, Use, and Export Reliable U.S. Natural Gas and Expand Nuclear Power.” 
  • “End COVID tyranny—End Vaccine Mandates and Eliminate the Abuse of ‘Emergency’ Powers. Period.” 

3) Expand Middle Class, Support Working Class

Roy devotes the last three pages of his five-page pledge to discussing the key priorities that should be within Republicans’ plan for the future of America.  

First, Roy says, policies need to be set in place that expand America’s middle class and support the needs of working-class Americans.  

Through legislation and strategic initiatives, Roy is urging colleagues to:  

  • “Combat Inflation with Responsible, Balanced Spending and End Blank Checks to the Bureaucrats Killing Small Business Through Regulation.” 
  • “Restore Energy Freedom to Lower Gas and Electricity Costs, and Unleash Economic Growth.” 
  • “Establish Healthcare Freedom for All to Empower Patients and Doctors to Lower Healthcare Costs and Expand Options Outside of ‘Big Healthcare.’” 
  • “Stop the Costly & Unfair Biden [Student] Loan Bailout.”  

Second, Roy argues for policy solutions that he says will make American communities stronger and safer. 

America’s “woke and divisive government” should be ended, the Texas lawmaker says. Critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion training have no place in the government, according to Roy. Instead, government policies should be rooted in “biological truth.” The latter is a reference to the Biden administration’s push to promote transgender rights. 

Communities will be safer when policies are in place to support law enforcement and restore law and order, according to Roy’s pledge. The FBI needs to be refocused to address issues of “organized, interstate crime connected to cartels, human trafficking, and the fentanyl trade.”  

Strengthening American education is also a central priority for Roy, who says parents should have a voice in their children’s education, and education choice programs should be implemented so “parents have the ability to decide how best to use those education dollars to fit their needs.”  

Third, the balance of power should be restored in favor of the American people, according to Roy’s plan.  

“The Executive Branch is out-of-control and far too much power has left Congress and been outsourced to unelected officials in deep state agencies,” he says. Power can be given back to the people by passing legislation that would allow for the firing of federal bureaucrats and the rolling back of “executive emergency powers by requiring affirmative congressional approval.”  

Fourth, the Texan’s plan details a strategy to defend America by strengthening our military and securing the southern border.  

  • “Restore a Strong, Non-Woke Military.” 
  • “Secure our Borders by Establishing Full Operational Control.” 
  • “Protect American Farms, Ranches, and Food Processing Centers from Foreign Control—Particularly the Chinese Communist Party.” 
  • “Save Taxpayer Money & Restore Sovereignty by Exiting Organizations that Do Not Serve the American People’s Interests.” 

Because the Founding Fathers intentionally gave Congress the power of the purse, Roy says, it’s time for elected leaders “to use [that power] to demand immediate change” in Washington.  

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EXCLUSIVE: Marsha Blackburn Resolution Calls Out Democratic ‘Attacks on the Constitution’

Sen. Marsha Blackburn has introduced a resolution defending the Constitution from “leftist attacks” and affirming that “the Constitution of the United States is not a flexible document, but an enduring covenant.” 

Blackburn, R-Tenn., is pushing back on ongoing attacks from leftists on the United States Supreme Court, particularly following the recent pro-life victory in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and calls to end the “archaic” Senate filibuster, should Democrats win seats in the upcoming midterm elections. 

In recent days, liberal activists like Demand Justice board member Elie Mystal have gone so far as to call the Constitution “kind of trash” in advocating packing the Supreme Court. 

Blackburn’s resolution, first obtained by The Daily Signal, comes ahead of Constitution Day commemorating the signing of the historic document by America’s Founding Fathers on Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia. 

The Tennessee Republican called for the Senate to celebrate the signing of the historic document by recognizing Constitution Day on Sept. 17 and affirming that the Constitution is “an enduring covenant.” 

“The United States is the freest nation in the world, and it remains free because of the rights secured by the Constitution,” Blackburn told The Daily Signal. “This guiding document has faced relentless attacks from leftist radicals who are determined to destroy the balance of power laid out so carefully by the Founding Fathers and seize control over every aspect of American life.”

“My resolution calls out Democrats’ attacks on the Constitution and underscores the importance of preserving it,” she added.  

"The Constitution is kind of trash," said @ElieNYC on #TheView. pic.twitter.com/9wLkME7i9l

— Mediaite (@Mediaite) March 4, 2022

The senator’s resolution emphasizes that the “Constitution establishes justice, ensures domestic tranquility, provides for the common defense, promotes the general welfare, and secures the blessings of liberty, now and for future generations.”

The resolution also notes that “the Constitution guarantees that no one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, including unborn children” and “protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” 

The Constitution of the United States is the oldest written national constitution in use, defining the basic rights of American citizens, the principal parts of the United States government, and the jurisdictions of these parts. 

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Liz Cheney’s Big Lie About Jan. 6, Trump

When Rep. Liz Cheney was picked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve as vice chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, the Wyoming Republican launched one of her biggest lies.

Cheney said she took the job to ensure the committee would achieve its goal of conducting a “nonpartisan, professional, and thorough investigation” of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

But her time on the panel has not been nonpartisan, professional, or thorough.

From the very start, she helped load the scales against former President Donald Trump. At no time did Cheney bother to act judiciously or fairly.

She came to the select committee with the mindset of a hanging judge. Before the panel had completed its investigation, she charged that what Trump did on Jan. 6 was both unconstitutional and illegal.

Cheney knew from its inception that the panel had been heavily stacked by Pelosi against anyone who thought that Trump was not guilty of a crime, even though many distinguished jurists thought the case against Trump was nonexistent.

Two liberal publications, The Washington Post and The New York Times—both of which loathe the former president—took that exact position in their news stories. Instead of finding him guilty of any criminal conduct, they found him innocent of all the serious charges that Liz Cheney and her Democratic allies leveled against him.

No matter. Cheney not only brazenly tilted facts in a way as to put Trump behind bars, but she began working overtime to purge from public office several conservative GOP lawmakers who also don’t think that the former president committed a crime.

Here’s a reminder of how Cheney collaborated with Pelosi to transform the Jan. 6 committee into the kangaroo court that it became. Under its rules, the speaker was given complete authority, without the need to consult any Republican, to appoint eight of its members. She chose all of the Democrats, each in the anti-Trump camp.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was initially permitted to appoint five, but only with the speaker’s approval. The first Republican chosen by Pelosi to serve on the committee was Cheney, who had already claimed the president was guilty of criminal conduct. She never disagreed with Pelosi on any of her demonstrably partisan tactics. Nor did she take issue with Pelosi when the only other Republican she chose was Rep. Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, who, along with Cheney, had voted for Trump’s impeachment.

More major Pelosi stacking was to come. On July 21, 2020, the speaker blocked two of McCarthy’s choices, Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana—both of whom supported Trump’s decision to contest the election.

The election challenge was perfectly legal, and had been done by Democrats a number of times in this century alone. The latter were vigorously defended by Pelosi and could have made then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., president in 2005. (See Karl Rove’s splendid history lesson Sept. 7 in The Wall Street Journal.)

Cheney had a chance to partially redeem herself with her Republican colleagues by coming to McCarthy’s defense and telling Pelosi that the Jan. 6 committee would never be viewed as an impartial body if it didn’t permit any pro-Trump lawmakers as participants. But she was in no mood to be conciliatory. Instead, she rushed to issue a statement on the Capitol steps, remarking: “I agree with what the speaker has done.” Translated, she agreed with Pelosi’s decision to make it impossible for the ex-president to get a fair hearing.

Even The New York Times thought Cheney had abused her authority. In a front page article, the Times told its readers that the committee is employing prosecutorial techniques “typically used against mobsters and terrorists” as it seeks to “develop evidence that could prompt a criminal case” against Trump and his allies.

The Times then pointedly noted that the select committee “has no authority to pursue criminal charges.”

Cheney has never stopped twisting the facts to get Trump indicted, even though she has never produced the tiniest shred of evidence to support her magnificent obsession. She recently maintained that Trump, the Oath Keepers, and the Proud Boys were all conspiring to forcibly overthrow the U.S. government.

The Wall Street Journal—which has relentlessly trashed Trump’s “stolen election” theory—said her “seditious conspiracy” accusation was in no way persuasive and that Cheney “offered no evidence” that Trump had communicated directly with either group.

Surely that tells us all we need to know about Cheney’s “character,” an attribute she says too many other Republicans lack.

The Washington Post completed a remarkable report back in January quoting distinguished prosecutors, defense lawyers, law professors, and judges on whether our country’s former chief executive would be criminally charged for any of his actions on Jan. 6, 2021—or even on the days leading up to that event.

The Post didn’t think so. Did Trump prompt the crowd marching to the Capitol to engage in violence, as so many Americans believe? “There is no evidence,” the Post stressed, “that he knew they planned to storm the building.” Repeat: “no evidence.”

Indeed, the record distinctly shows that Trump repeatedly told the portion of the crowd that was marching to the Capitol to do so peacefully.

The Post raised major doubts that Trump could even be prosecuted for demanding that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger come up with enough votes to overcome Joe Biden’s lead in the Peach State. “I just wanted to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump told Raffensperger.

Even “never Trumpers” found this language disturbing. He might have been vulnerable to federal criminal prosecution if he had let that “request” stand. But he added this mitigating comment, which his enemies usually omit: “Because we won the state.”

Credible legal authorities told the Times and the Post that if the then-president genuinely believed the election was stolen, it would be hard to charge him with a crime for contesting the outcome.

“The key to pretty much all these crimes he’s been accused of,” former federal prosecutor Randall Ellison told the Post, “would be proving corrupt intent.” But there would be no corrupt intent if Trump could argue there was an overload of seemingly credible election fraud to challenge a Biden victory and that his key legal adviser on elections had told him that Vice President Mike Pence could deny Biden the presidency. (The adviser, John Eastman, had said that Pence had that authority. Pence famously repudiated Eastman’s advice.)

Other constitutional experts interviewed by the Times thought it would be difficult to prove he violated any laws dealing with the chaos that occurred on Jan. 6.

Daniel L. Zelenko, a defense lawyer and former prosecutor, sided with Ellison. “The key,” he told the Times, “is having contemporaneous evidence that Trump knew the election was not stolen, but tried to stay in power anyway.”

Samuel W. Buell, a Duke University law professor, made the same case. “You need to show,” he told the Times, “that he knew what he was doing was wrongful and had no legal basis.” No such evidence has materialized, though that hasn’t deterred Cheney from obsessing over ways to put Trump in an orange jumpsuit.

The House is barely—but clearly—controlled by the Democrats as passage of the $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act reveals. The final vote was 220 to 207, with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

The Democrats in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Democrats (including two nominal independents) and Republicans, carried the day when Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote for the administration.

But Cheney has become so vengeful that her current tactics are not only focused on Trump, but every Republican who doesn’t roundly condemn him.

She claims she still holds Republican values, but is doing everything she can to give the Democrats a boost.

She has already accused GOP lawmakers of palling around with “antisemites” and “enemies” of the U.S. Constitution for failing to embrace her view that Trump is guilty of criminal conduct.

She insists the GOP leader in the House, McCarthy, is too ignorant of the Constitution to hold public office. She has harshly criticized Republicans who thought investigations should be made of significant vote fraud allegations before Congress formally approved the Biden delegations for president.

In her zeal to strike back at her own party for ignoring her advice, she has issued a fatwa against three prominent Republican lawmakers in the House and the Senate and a well-known governor: McCarthy; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.; and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

And it looks as if she’s eager to hurl similar broadsides against other GOP lawmakers whom she regards as soft on the former president.

Cheney has shown she’s willing to falsify the case against Republicans she dislikes. She has bitterly assailed Cruz as if he had embraced Trump’s assertion that the election was stolen. Cruz never said it was. He did call for a 10-day investigation of significant fraud allegations prior to certification of Biden delegates by the Congress. But on Jan. 23, 2021—almost two years ago—Cruz condemned Trump’s claims as “reckless and irresponsible” since he was relying on speculation and had never produced any proof.

No apologies from Cheney, naturally.

Her outburst against DeSantis was especially puzzling. Unlike Cheney, DeSantis thinks the best way to return the country to sound Republican policies that Cheney says she still embraces—she voted for Trump’s policies 93% of the time—is to expand the conservative Republican influence in Congress. But asked if she could support the Florida governor for the presidency, she immediately nixed the idea.

Had the governor joined Trump in insisting the election was stolen? No. Had he challenged presidential delegates who had been awarded to Biden? No evidence of that has come to light. His unforgivable sin? She assailed DeSantis for campaigning for GOP candidates whom she accused of being “election deniers.” According to her broad definition, that means every Republican who may not share her minority view in the legal community that Trump should go to jail for what occurred on Jan. 6.

Wyoming Republicans wisely turned against her, but she can still cause a great deal of harm.

The final report of the Jan. 6 committee, with Cheney determined to play a major role, is expected to come out closer to the election. The report is likely to be a document that will savage both Trump and scores of Republican lawmakers for what happened on Jan. 6, 2021.

Cheney will then make sure that the most damning charges, whether true or false, are spread nationwide by the Democrats’ media allies.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since publication.

This article originally appeared on Newsmax.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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The post Liz Cheney’s Big Lie About Jan. 6, Trump appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Left’s Vision for America Grows Increasingly Dark

The Left’s vision for America has grown increasingly dark. Its embrace of identity politics has morphed into an all-out drive for divisiveness, demonizing huge swaths of the American people for purely political purposes.  

The most recent examples of this came last week when President Joe Biden labeled tens of millions of his own constituents—Americans who oppose his far-left policies—as “semi-fascists.” Days later in Philadelphia, he unleashed one of the most divisive speeches a sitting president has ever delivered. 

The optics for this prime-time address were as bad as his rhetoric. Bottom-lit in scarlet, Biden appeared like a character from Dante as he clinched his fists and insisted that he was fighting a battle for the soul of our nation. But his angry, hectoring screed showed he’s fighting on the wrong side.  

Not that anyone familiar with Biden’s career should be surprised. This is the man who said Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wanted to put black Americans “back in chains,” who discharged soldiers for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine and tried to force law-abiding civilians out of a job, who conspired with Orwellian technology corporations to censor dissent, who engineered an international humiliation in Afghanistan, who created a deadly border crisis, who spawned historic inflation, and who sicced the FBI on his political opponents and parents who protested failing school boards. 

The common thread running through all of these outrages is divisiveness—something that runs counter to our country’s traditional motto: e pluribus unum (“out of many, one”). Yet the Left would have us believe that it’s the critics of these outrages, not the authors of them, who are “threats to the republic?” 

No.  

The true soul of our country is the American people. The families whose schools were closed, whose communities are beset by violent crime, whose children are being indoctrinated and sexualized in their classrooms, who were already paying more than ever for gas, food, and rent and are now paying off the student loans of lawyers, professors, and White House aides.   

For two years now, Biden has promised results, and the mainstream media has assured us that better days are right around the corner. Yet so far, he has produced a recession, rampant inflation, violent emergencies foreign and domestic, and repeated assaults on the Constitution he swore to defend. As for his promise to be the Great Uniter, all he has delivered is deeper, more bitter division. 

If anyone is a danger to the soul of this nation and what America represents in the story of human history, it’s Biden and his far-left allies.  

The American people know it. Polls show it. 

Yet Biden’s speech in Philadelphia made very clear that he has every intention of ramming his deeply unpopular agenda—for our government, our economy, our energy, our schools, our border, our security, and his crime wave—down Americans’ throats unless and until he is stopped.  

Conservatives must fight back—not simply by attacking the woke, Marxist Left, but by engaging the millions of hardworking families being left behind by its self-serving, elitist agenda and helping them make their voices heard. It’s not enough to express our displeasure over the Biden-led lurch to the left; we must build a coalition and agenda to turn our nation around.  

On the economy, education, immigration, Big Tech, the right to life, China, crime, opioids, and the crisis of the American family—conservatives cannot be cowed by Biden’s divisive partisanship. We must be energized by it, inspired to rise above it, and help our nation do the same. And we must do it as we have done it successfully in the past: together.  

Originally published by Fox News Digital

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House Freedom Caucus to GOP: Vote ‘No’ on Funding Democrat Policies

The leader of the House’s most conservative caucus is calling on party leadership to prevent “leftist Democrats” from getting “another bite” at tyranny as Congress prepares to vote on a short-term government spending bill before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.  

“We call on each and every Republican to vote ‘no.’ Vote ‘no’ to continued spending that supports these outrageous policies, especially when reinforcements are just over the horizon,” Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said at a press conference Thursday outside the Capitol.  

Perry listed COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the energy and border crises, an “out-of-control, weaponized bureaucracy,” and the FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home as examples of why Republicans should not vote for Democrats’ spending bill.  

“We’re going to take back the House. The Republicans are going to take back the House [in the Nov. 8 midterm elections]. In light of that, why would Republicans cast one vote in favor of this tyranny?” Perry asked. “Especially when it’s going to go into December and give these leftist Democrats another bite at more continued tyranny.”  

Lawmakers are working on a short-term spending bill, called a continuing resolution, that would fund the government through early December and avoid a government shutdown before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, Fox News reported

Congress so far has been unsuccessful in passing a spending bill and is unlikely to do so before the deadline, hence the need for a continuing resolution to keep the government running, CBS reported

Perry told reporters that the House Freedom Caucus is asking House Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., “to request that every single Republican vote ‘no.’”  

“Not just recommend ‘no,’” he added. “Whip a ‘no’ vote.” 

“Again, not one more vote. Not one more day of tyranny. Not one more penny,” the Pennsylvania Republican said.  

The continuing resolution would have to pass in both the House and the Senate so that President Joe Biden could sign it into law ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline, Roll Call reported. The resolution requires the support of at least 10 of the 50 Senate Republicans to succeed, CNN reported.  

Prior to the press conference, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said he had attended a roundtable discussion with about 12 families with relatives who died from fentanyl poisoning.  

“That’s what happening in our country right now because of [the] policies of this administration,” Roy said. “Wide-open borders empowering cartels to put pills into our communities laced with fentanyl causing 79,000 people to die in the last year. The No. 1 cause of death for people aged 18 to 45.”

“This is avoidable, but it’s being purposefully done by a radical Left administration that is endangering the American people and endangering migrants when they say that they’re helping those migrants. Thousands of dead migrants on ranches in South Texas. All of this is happening in real time,” he said.  

The Texas Republican also asked these questions:  

Are we going to continue to fund the very bureaucracy that is causing Americans to die, causing cartels to get empowered, our borders to get overrun, Texans to get endangered? 

Are we going to continue to fund a bureaucracy that is targeting parents, labeling them as ‘domestic terrorists’ for daring to go to a school board and challenge them if their daughter got raped in a bathroom? 

Are we going to continue to fund IRS agents to go after the American people? Are we going to continue to fund an energy platform … a plan that is undermining our ability to have affordable gas, affordable electricity, weakening our grids, weakening our national security?  

Roy said the message of the House Freedom Caucus to Democrats is to “stop screwing over the American people.” 

“Our message to voters is help is on the way if you’ll get us control of the House,” Roy said. “But my message to Republicans is, and our message to Republicans is: Fight for the American people. Stop funding the things you campaign against.” 

“Not one more penny for the tyranny that is undermining the American people, undermining our security, undermining our way of life, undermining our health. Not one more penny,” he said.  

Matthew Dickerson, director of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at The Heritage Foundation, said the House Freedom Caucus is pressuring House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to avoid cutting a “bad deal” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the lame-duck session following the Nov. 8 elections. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.) 

“If Kevin McCarthy cuts a bad deal in the lame duck, it could make it harder for him to win the speaker vote, and so that’s a leverage point that the Freedom Caucus is trying to exert on Kevin McCarthy,” Dickerson said. 

Republicans are pushing for McCarthy to focus on their policy priorities such as cutting spending, regulations, and stopping “all the stuff that Biden is doing” rather than caving to Pelosi, he added.  

Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and Mike Lee, R-Utah, called for their fellow Republicans to “stop caving to Democrats” in a Fox News op-ed published Tuesday.   

“It’s time for Republicans to stand united and demand that Congress pass a clean continuing resolution (CR) that simply maintains current federal spending levels—and not a penny more—until a new Congress begins,” the three senators wrote, adding later:  

It’s time for Republicans to stand up and unite. We cannot green-light one more liberal priority that will simply send America further in the wrong direction.  

We must show strength now and prove to the American people that we will end the madness in Washington and return power back to them, where it rightly belongs. 

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House Democrats Pass Bill Blocking Trump-Era Order to Hold Federal Employees Accountable 

The United States House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that would prevent future presidents from imposing an initiative of former President Donald Trump—and thereby preserving and entrenching “bureaucracy,” according to one Republican lawmaker. 

Introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., the Preventing a Patronage System Act would eliminate a category of Schedule F employees that Trump created through an October 2020 executive order. 

Though President Joe Biden rescinded that category when he was elected, Trump has reportedly indicated he would reimpose it if elected president. But Thursday’s legislation would require the former president, or any other future president, to obtain consent from Congress before moving federal government positions in the competitive service to outside the merit system principles. 

Democrats claim that reimposing Schedule F would cause federal employees to lose protections, “including due process rights, which prevent them from being easily fired when a new administration takes office.”

Six Republicans supported the bill, which passed the House in a 225-204 vote. The bill’s description broadly promises to “impose limits on excepting competitive service positions from the competitive service.” 

?JUST NOW?@RepJamesComer blasts the so-called 'Preventing a Patronage System Act' on the House Floor.

This bill insulates the federal bureaucracy from accountability.

We need MORE accountability, not less. pic.twitter.com/AHdLQjwJY7

— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) September 15, 2022

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, slammed the bill’s passage on the House floor Thursday.

“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to preserve and entrench bureaucracy to step over the will of the people so that this town can decide the well-being of the American people,” Roy said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s about power. It’s about the entrenchment of power among bureaucrats. My colleagues know it, and that’s why they’re trying to advance this legislation.” 

DRAIN THE SWAMP: @RepChipRoy sounds off on "entrenched leftists in this bureaucracy" who are "undermining the will of the American people every single day." pic.twitter.com/KrWhFvrKXS

— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 15, 2022

“Let’s be 100% clear,” the Texas congressman added. “This is about leftists in this body wanting to protect the entrenched leftists in the bureaucracy undermining the will of the American people every single day. That’s what it’s about. We don’t want to allow the people who are running the agencies to go in and fire people who are either not doing their job, completely violating their ethics at the desk, or frankly, are going right against the law or the will of the American people.” 

Democrats have framed the effort as an attempt to keep unsuitable employees from rising to positions they do not merit. In a statement on Thursday after the vote, Connolly said that “expertise, not fealty, must define our civil service.” 

“The civil servants who make up our federal workforce are the engine that keep our federal government running,” said the Virginia Democrat, who first introduced the legislation with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., in January 2021 after Trump created Schedule F. 

“The former president’s attempt to remove qualified experts and replace them with political loyalists threatened our national security and our government’s ability to function the way the American people expect it to,” he added. 

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Gavin Newsom’s ‘State of Hate’ Commission Tilts Toward Democrats 

Editor’s note: Brian Levin’s history formed an essential part of this story, so his response to The Daily Signal justified a significant update. The original version of this article suggested that Levin’s history at the Southern Poverty Law Center and his uncritical citing of the SPLC’s “hate group” accusations should terrify conservatives. His comments to The Daily Signal dispelled those concerns, so the article has been updated accordingly. His statement is printed in full below. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., on Tuesday announced five appointments to his new Commission on the State of Hate, and they send mixed messages for conservatives in the Golden State.

According to Newsom’s office, the commission will “assess data on hate crimes in California, provide resources for victims, and make policy recommendations to better protect civil rights.”  

The commission aims to help all Californians, but Newsom has nominated a slate of Democrats and activists—without including a single Republican—to serve on it.

The one non-Democrat, Brian Levin, once worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Ironically, however, he may be the one silver lining for conservatives, giving some hope that the commission may investigate violent threats from both sides of the aisle. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has morphed from a public interest legal nonprofit representing poor people in the south into a far-left smear factory, branding mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups” and placing them on a map alongside the Ku Klux Klan. It brands socially conservative organizations “anti-LGBT hate groups” and national security nonprofits “anti-Muslim hate groups.”  

My 2020 book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center” explains why the SPLC should not be trusted when it comes to “hate” in America. I trace the history of the SPLC’s “hate” monitoring, which it initially employed against the Klan and other white supremacist groups, but which it has wielded as a cudgel against ideological opponents in recent decades. Most notoriously, this “hate group” accusation inspired one deranged terrorist to target the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.  

While the SPLC condemned that attack, it has kept the Family Research Council on its “hate map” ever since. The SPLC also fired its co-founder and had its president resign in 2019 amid claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. 

Yet Levin does not represent this new SPLC. He worked at the organization in the 1990s, before it used the “hate group” accusation to smear conservatives. While Levin did not originally respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time, he responded to the original version of this article in a statement printed in full below. 

Levin recounted to The Daily Signal that he was deeply moved by attacks on churches in the 1990s, and that he advocated for legislation expanding “various state and federal laws and resources to address these acts of terror directed against people of faith.” He supported the Republican-introduced bipartisan Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996 and its 2018 expansion, which then-President Donald Trump signed into law. 

Levin also condemned “a disturbing rise in cowardly attacks against our churches and institutions across North America – not to mention other parts of the world.” He announced his intention to “organize a volunteer task force of faith leaders to make sure religious institutions in our state have their safety and security needs met. Urgent action is needed: last year there were nearly 70 attacks on houses of worship in our state – a 47% increase over 2020.” 

“My earnest wish for my Christian friends, who I care for so very much, can be summed up in the words that President Washington wrote to the Jewish Congregants of Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island in 1790: May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and Figtree, and there shall be none to make him [her or they] afraid,” Levin added. 

“In our California, any bias motivated violent attack against our residents because of their faith, race, national origin, documentation status, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability, among others is an attack upon us all,” he said. “As the Governor’s office rightly stated our Commission’s mission and work is to protect all Californians’ civil liberties, and I am steadfastly committed to that end.” 

Levin’s record does indeed demonstrate a bipartisan concern. In 2012, he condemned the violent attack at FRC. When black bloc agitators physically attacked conservative reporter and commentator Andy Ngo, Levin criticized Ngo’s commentary but noted that “to his credit, I’ve never seen him be the physical aggressor in the posts that he’s made generally.” Levin has repeatedly drawn attention to the violence that Christians face in other countries, and he has defended free speech, even when he considers it vile. 

Levin may not follow the current SPLC’s strategy on “hate groups,” but other members of the commission might. The SPLC claims to have identified 65 “hate groups” in California, including seven chapters of the national security nonprofit ACT for America, which SPLC characterizes as an “anti-Muslim hate group.”

Brigitte Gabriel, founder and chairman of ACT for America, previously told PJ Media that the organization rejected its “chapter” model years ago. Not only does she dispute the “hate group” charge, she also claims the SPLC’s ACT for America chapter number is baseless. 

“Conservative Californians should be extremely concerned about this commission and the way it will operate,” Gabriel told The Daily Signal on Thursday. “Government agencies and departments on all levels are now weaponized against good, patriotic Americans simply for their political views.” 

“The SPLC, which once did good work to stamp out hate, is today a leftist activist organization, writing opinion reports against their political adversaries—which government agencies are using as a fact sheet to silence and intimidate patriotic Americans,” she warned. 

Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalism fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center (which the SPLC brands an “anti-Muslim hate group”), told The Daily Signal that he “would strongly agree” with conservatives’ concerns about the California commission. He cited “California’s new law monitoring so-called hate speech” and the state’s “previous role in reporting social media so-called disinformation to social media companies for censorship.” 

“Newsom and the California Democrat supermajority have cultivated a culture of censorship and political intimidation that is targeted at conservatives,” Greenfield added. “Every Californian and American who cares about the Constitution should be worried.” 

A spokesperson for Newsom’s office did not address concerns about the bias of the commission. The spokesperson did, however, express confidence that the commissioners would protect civil liberties. 

“We are confident that the appointees will uphold the Commission’s mission and work to protect Californians’ civil liberties,” the spokesperson said. 

Levin did not specify a political affiliation, but the press release identifies all of Newsom’s other appointees as Democrats. Thse appointees include Cynthia Choi, a co-director of Chinese for Affirmative Action and co-founder of Stop Asian-American Pacific Islander Hate; Bamby Salcedo, a transgender activist and president and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition; Shirin Sinnar, a professor at Stanford Law School; and Erroll G. Southers, associate senior vice president of safety and risk assurance at the University of Southern California, who also has law enforcement and private-sector security experience. 

Choi was unavailable for comment. Salcedo, Sinnar, and Southers did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time. 

While Levin’s commitment to opposing extremism from both the Right and the Left should reassure conservatives, Newsom’s commission still skews heavily in the Democratic direction. The California Legislature has more seats to fill on the commission, and legislators should choose Republicans to balance out some of this bias. Levin may not represent the modern SPLC’s demonization of conservatives in the name of fighting “hate,” but any such commission should include hate monitors from both sides of the aisle. 

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Full Statement of Brian Levin:

It is often said that “a lie travels halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on” and this is such a case – so I appreciate the opportunity to finally set the record straight.  

I proudly stand by my work in Alabama from over a quarter century ago during the couple of years I worked there, where my primary focus was using legal tools to track, expose and bring to justice violent bigoted criminal extremists like the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazi skinheads whose brutal bigotry shattered lives, torched churches and tore at the core of our American aspiration for equality.  Among my most vivid memories from that time was our-all-hands-on-deck response to a horrendous wave of church arsons, at mostly small African American churches across the South.  

This had a profound impact on me and I can still recall breaking down in tears on the long drive back to Montgomery after I testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Cleveland, Mississippi in July 1996 along with ATF supervisor Jim Cavanaugh and community members. Afterwards, I overheard a congregant say how their love of Jesus compelled him to forgive these arsonists, and I remember thinking Jesus may – but I don’t.  

While forgiveness is something I sometimes struggle with, action is not and I have been active for three decades in pursuing the passage and expansion of various critical state and federal laws and resources to address these acts of terror directed against people of faith. This includes, inter alia, the passage of a Republican introduced bi-partisan bill called the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996 and its 2018 expansion to also encompass threats directed at religious institutions. The expansion was co-sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and signed into law by President Trump. So, in short, I have nothing whatsoever to apologize for in that regard and never will.  

Moreover, as the fortunate son of a decorated American World War II POW who was brutalized by the Nazis, I know all too well this threat, and am committed to the same bridge-building inter-faith, and bi-partisanship efforts that got the aforementioned laws passed. I remain steadfastly committed to addressing all vile forms of hate violence and terrorism, irrespective of whatever end of the ideological spectrum it originates.  

So, you can imagine why it pains me deeply to see that some of my conservative Christian brothers and sisters sincerely, but mistakenly, may feel that the Commission I endeavored for years to establish, and which I serve on at no pay, would abandon a commitment to their safety and security at the very time we again bear witness to a disturbing rise in cowardly attacks against our churches and institutions across North America – not to mention other parts of the world. To turn our backs on people of faith now on this scourge is a violation of the oath I undertake next week, and it will never happen under our watch. I intend to organize a volunteer task force of faith leaders to make sure religious institutions in our state have their safety and security needs met. Urgent action is needed: last year there were nearly 70 attacks on houses of worship in our state – a 47% increase over 2020.  

My earnest wish for my Christian friends, who I care for so very much, can be summed up in the words that President Washington wrote to the Jewish Congregants of Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island in 1790: May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and Figtree, and there shall be none to make him [her or they] afraid. 

In our California, any bias motivated violent attack against our residents because of their faith, race, national origin, documentation status, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability, among others is an attack upon us all.  As the Governor’s office rightly stated our Commission’s mission and work is to protect all Californians’ civil liberties, and I am steadfastly committed to that end.  

Respectfully, 

Brian Levin, JD 

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Senate Pushes Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill Until After Midterms in Hopes of Gaining GOP Votes

Lawmakers have decided to push a vote on same-sex marriage legislation until after the midterm elections, senators announced Thursday. 

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, one of the top Republican supporters of the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, said Thursday that the Senate will wait until after the midterms before it attempts to codify the legislation, Fox News reported. The bill’s supporters had hoped lawmakers would vote on the bill this month. 

“I’m still very confident that the bill will pass, but we will be taking the bill up later, after the election. We will be putting out a joint statement,” said the bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., following Thursday’s Democratic caucus lunch, Politico reported

While some Democrats had thought that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-.N.Y., would grant the lawmakers more time in order to vote on the legislation before the midterms, Democrats told Politico that they would prefer to wait and successfully pass the legislation rather than rush the vote and fail (Schumer needs 10 GOP votes to avoid the filibuster). 

And Republicans have indicated that the bill has a better chance after the midterms anyway. 

“We should have a vote when you’ve got the votes. They’ll get more votes in November and December than they get on Monday,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who is retiring, told Politico. “If I wanted [it] to pass and I was the majority leader and I wanted to get as many votes as I could possibly get, I’d wait until after the election.”

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., also told the publication that the group of bipartisan senators “believes that we had the opportunity to grow votes,” adding that taking more time “makes sense.” 

“I’m convinced that this is going to pass,” the senator added. “The people who have been negotiating it want an outcome. I reject the idea that the timing decision was political. But quite honestly, it even takes that off the table.”

Jay Richards, the director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation, warned The Daily Signal that the legislation is a “stunt designed to help Democrats with messaging.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“They want to talk about same-sex marriage (which polls in their favor) rather than talking about sterilizing gender transition procedures for minors (which has very little electoral support),” he explained. “They’ve been hoping to get 10 Republican senators to support it, presumably to make it go away.” 

This would be a mistake, according to Richards. 

“It’s unlikely that any of these senators would gain a single new voter, but they would dispirit and alienate the conservative base that still cares about marriage,” he said. “Perhaps worse, their support of the act would imply that Republicans no longer believe that children should, all things being equal, be raised by a married mother and father.”

Conservative leaders have called for senators to reject the Respect for Marriage Act, which seeks to codify into federal law the Supreme Court’s 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. 

The legislation passed the House of Representatives this summer: Two hundred and twenty Democrats voted in favor while only seven Republicans abstained from voting and 47 Republicans voted in support.

Today I voted NO on H.R.8404, the "Respect for Marriage Act."

It's a slap in the face of our federalist system that is just the latest effort to impose their leftist agenda on the entire country.

? FULL STATEMENT: pic.twitter.com/eOrqjZsDf4

— Rep. Jody Hice (@CongressmanHice) July 20, 2022

“The Act, which was suddenly rushed through the House without any public hearings or input, is an attack on millions of Americans, particularly people of faith, who believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” wrote more than 80 conservative leaders in a July letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. 

The conservative leaders warned that the bill would threaten Americans’ religious freedoms if it became law, noting that though it “does nothing to change the status of, or benefits afforded to, same-sex marriage in light of Obergefell, it does much to endanger people of faith.”

Roger Severino, vice president for domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation, also accused the legislation on Thursday of putting “a giant target on the backs of people and institutions of faith.”

“To be clear, there is no risk of any legally married same-sex couple losing any of their benefits or legal status,” he said. “The only reason to add Congress’ explicit blessing on such unions now is to cement it as national policy that can be used as a weapon by government agencies, such as the IRS, to deny traditional religious institutions tax-exempt status, licenses to assist in adoptions, and government funding and contracts.”

Severino noted that conservatives have already seen government actors “hound faith-based adoption agencies out of major cities across America because of their views on marriage.”

“Some senators, however, namely Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Susan Collins, and Mitt Romney, want to prop up this bad bill by offering an amendment that purports to address religious liberty concerns,” he said. “The American people should not be fooled.”

He praised Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s First Amendment Defense Act, which Severino said “would address the defects of the bill.”

“If lawmakers are serious about religious freedom, they should reject the Baldwin-Collins-Romney amendment out of hand and look to the Lee amendment instead,” he added.  

The Daily Signal’s Gillian Richards contributed to this report. 

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Most Americans Say the US Should Only Continue to Spend Money on Ukraine Under Certain Conditions

As the Biden administration is requesting an additional $13.7 billion to help Ukraine between October and December, one YouGov/Stand Together poll found that most Americans would put conditions on further funding for Ukraine.

Only 2% of Americans think President Joe Biden should prioritize Russia’s defeat in Ukraine, while a plurality (40%) said the president should prioritize lowering or eliminating inflation.

Of the 1,000 participants surveyed, 42% said the United States should be less militarily engaged in international conflict, while 37% said our level of engagement should remain the same. Only 7% said the U.S. should be more engaged in military conflict abroad.

Among three views offered, a minority of participants (20%) agreed that “the United States should support Ukraine for as long as it takes, even if American households will have to pay higher gas prices and food prices, as well as higher taxes, as consequences.”

Over half (54%) agreed with the following viewpoint:

The United States should only continue to support Ukraine if European allies are willing to show a similar amount of support. The costs of supporting Ukraine should not be born primarily by American households, even if that means Ukraine may end up losing some territory to the inaction of wealthy European countries.

Twenty-seven percent said the United States should stop supporting Ukraine after the Biden administration sent more than $50 billion in aid and other European countries began to withdraw support.  

Of those surveyed, the poll found Trump supporters tended to be more wary of additional aid to Ukraine than independents and Biden supporters.

“Support for an independent Ukraine is clearly in America’s interest,” James Carafano, vice president of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal shortly after leaving Ukraine. “It is a head-butt to Russian and Chinese designs to destabilize Europe and marginalize U.S. Ukrainians would be first to tell you there would be no Ukraine today without U.S. military aid, which was started by President [Donald] Trump.” (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)  

Even so, Carafano noted that Americans are concerned about how the money will be spent.

“Americans helped Ukrainians and they did something in their own interest,” he added. “Many are rightly concerned about how money is spent, especially on the civilian side. They are right we should never waste a tax dollar.”

“The United States has provided more aid to Ukraine than nearly every other country combined, despite the limited American national interests at stake in the conflict,” Dan Caldwell, senior adviser at Concerned Veterans for America, said in a statement. “With so many pressing challenges at home and in other parts of the world, the American people clearly don’t want Uncle Sam to continue to play Uncle Sucker in Europe.”

As YouGov found in a poll, 51% of Americans say the U.S. should send the same amount of military and economic aid as wealthy European countries to Ukraine. Thirty-four percent say the U.S. should send less. A majority (60%) say the U.S. should encourage other countries to assist Ukraine, rather than relying more on American resources to provide support.

YouGov conducted the first poll Sept. 1-6 and the second Sept. 9-12. Both surveyed a general U.S. population sample of 1,000 participants, with a 3.4% and 3.5% margin of error, respectively.

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How Can You Befriend a ‘Semi-Fascist’?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, at a recent event with a liberal audience, praised Justice Clarence Thomas, her ideological adversary.

Sotomayor said, “He is a man who cares deeply about the court as an institution.” She added that while the two often disagree over judicial decisions, “We share a common understanding about people and kindness towards them.”

As to Thomas’ “kindness,” Sotomayor elaborated: “Justice Thomas is the one justice in the building that literally knows every employee’s name, every one of them. And not only does he know their names, he remembers their families’ names and histories. … He’s the first one who will go up to someone when you’re walking with him and say, ‘Is your son OK? How’s your daughter doing in college?’ He’s the first one that, when my stepfather died, sent me flowers in Florida.”

Daniel R. Suhr, managing attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, a conservative public interest law firm, praised Sotomayor’s “courage.” He said, “I will give her deserved plaudits for saying something nice about her colleague when it would have been easy to keep her head down. That’s a good example for us all.”

Describing a simple statement of kindness about a Supreme Court colleague, with whom one has ideological differences, as an act of “courage” says a lot about where we stand today as a nation.

The now-deceased Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a liberal, and Antonin Scalia, a conservative, often attacked each other in court decisions, yet they became close personal friends, sharing a love for opera. They also often traveled and shopped for souvenirs together.

In the ’80s, conservative President Ronald Reagan battled over policy against House Speaker Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill, D-Mass. Reagan once compared O’Neill to Pac-Man, calling O’Neill “a round thing that gobbles up money.” O’Neill called Reagan “Herbert Hoover with a smile” and “a cheerleader for selfishness.”

There is some dispute about whether they personally liked each other, but in O’Neill’s memoir, he wrote that he advised Reagan that Democrats and Republicans “were always friends after 6 o’clock and on weekends.” O’Neill said: “Reagan would often begin our telephone discussions by saying, ‘Hello, Tip, is it after 6 o’clock?’ ‘Absolutely, Mr. President,’ I would respond.”

O’Neill’s son said, “While neither man embraced the other’s worldview, each respected the other’s right to hold it. Each respected the other as a man.” Chris Matthews, later an MSNBC host, served as O’Neill’s press secretary. Matthews said: “Reagan was fond of Tip and completely believed that Tip wanted to help the little people. He just disagreed about how to do it.”

This brings us to today. Matthews, on his TV show, analyzed why then-President Donald Trump invited rapper Kanye West to the White House. Matthews said Trump did it to challenge the charge that Trump is “racist.” Matthews said, “White people won’t vote for a guy—most of them—if they think they’re racist.” So, it would be counterproductive for Trump to use, as critics claimed, “a racist dog whistle” to encourage whites to vote for him. America would never vote for a racist for president. And it would not be in Trump’s best interest to be perceived as one.

Yet a 2018 Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that “85%” of Democratic adults considered Trump “racist.” Later that same year, an Axios poll found that 61% of Democrats consider Republicans “racist/bigoted/sexist,” while 31% of Republicans feel that way about Democrats.

President Joe Biden recently accused Trump voters of embracing “semi-fascism.” Semi-fascism?! But Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent for hard-left the Nation magazine, said, “If people aren’t talking about you, then don’t answer. … If you’re not a fascist, he’s not talking about you. So, lighten up. But don’t take it personally.”

Pundits did not applaud Ginsburg and Scalia or Reagan and O’Neill for their “courageous” friendships. Why would they? Isn’t it—or wasn’t it—possible to have firmly held beliefs yet maintain friendships with those who strongly disagree?

But it’s rather difficult to befriend a “semi-fascist,” isn’t it?

COPYRIGHT 2022 LAURENCE A. ELDER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.


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After Botched Census Counts in 14 States, House Democrats Push Less Accountability for Bureaucrats

As the Census Bureau faces questions about a botched population count in 2020, the White House expressed conditional support Tuesday for legislation that would loosen the agency’s accountability to taxpayers and elected lawmakers. 

The Office of Management and Budget released a statement of President Joe Biden’s administration policy in support of HR 8326, a bill dubbed the Ensuring a Fair and Accurate Census Act. 

The bill, approved Tuesday by the House Rules Committee, would grant the Census Bureau’s director the sole authority to make operational, statistical, or technical decisions about the census. The bill also says the director would be removable only for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”

The president nominates and the Senate confirms the Census Bureau director, who currently may be fired at will by the president as with any other political appointee.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, sponsored the bill. 

“This legislation would safeguard the integrity of the Census Bureau and enhance the accuracy of census data,” the OMB statement says, adding:

The administration appreciates the Congress’ interest in improving the decennial census. Population data serves as the basis for political representation, determines how hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent, and provides critical information to policymakers and business owners about their communities.

But Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation, warned that the measure would further insulate the Census Bureau from accountability if it becomes law. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)  

“It is another step down the road of empowering a government bureaucracy that is not answerable to voters and is unsupervised by the elected leaders of the executive branch,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “It is a dangerous and reckless bill that expands the administrative state at the expense of democracy, accountability, and fairness.”

The provision that would empower the Census Bureau director to make statistical, operational, or technical decisions has been a longstanding goal of the left, which wants to conduct “statistical sampling” that doesn’t include a finite count, said Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state who was co-chairman of the bipartisan U.S. Census Monitoring Board in 2000. 

“When I was co-chairman of the board in 2000, we fought off the left’s efforts to use statistical analysis and instead insisted on counting real people and not statistics that were made up,” Blackwell, a Republican, told The Daily Signal.

“The statistical analysis is a sleight of hand to draw more favorable political districts for Democrats,” he said. “You would have to have the imagination of Walt Disney to think this is anything else.” 

The Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey determined that the 2020 census undercounted six mostly conservative states and overcounted eight mostly liberal states. The errors potentially tilt both representation in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College in favor of Democrats. 

The proposed changes could insulate the Census Bureau from accountability to the president required under current law. In the OMB’s statement, the Biden White House suggested it has concerns:

As HR 8326 proceeds through the legislative process, the administration looks forward to working with the Congress to ensure its provisions do not circumvent OMB’s role in formulating the president’s budget request and to avoid impinging on the president’s authority over executive branch agencies.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, says the increased power proposed for the Census Bureau director would undermine accountability for future problems. 

“Democrats talk a big game about disinformation, but their so-called Ensuring a Fair and Accurate Census Act is a prime example of it,” Comer told The Daily Signal. 

“The bill will do nothing to make the census more fair and accurate. Instead, it weakens accountability at the Census Bureau by placing massive power in the hands of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats,” Comer said. “If Democrats are truly concerned about ensuring an accurate census, they would support adding a question on citizenship to guarantee a fair basis for the apportionment of congressional districts.”

The legislation also would establish a career deputy director to serve when the directorship is vacant. It would cap the number of Census Bureau political appointees at three, down from about two dozen now, and give civil service protections to more Census Bureau employees. 

The House Oversight and Reform Committee approved the legislation in July, when Democrats sought to wrap the proposed changes around former President Donald Trump. 

“After the Trump administration’s illegal efforts to weaponize the Census Bureau for political gain, it is clear we need stronger protections for this vital institution that impacts everything from congressional representation to the disbursement of public and private funding,” Maloney, the bill sponsor and Oversight Committee chairwoman, said in a public statement. “I’m proud that the committee took this important step to safeguard the integrity and independence of the Census Bureau.”

The legislative push to protect Census Bureau bureaucrats comes as the Post-Enumeration Survey found that the 2020 census undercounted the population of Arkansas by 5.04%; Tennessee by 4.78%; Mississippi by 4.11%; Florida by 3.48%; Illinois by 1.97%; and Texas by 1.92%. 

The survey also found that the 2020 census overcounted the population of Hawaii by 6.79%; Delaware by 5.45%; Rhode Island by 5.05%; Minnesota by 3.84%, New York by 3.44%; Utah by 2.59%; Massachusetts by 2.24%; and Ohio by 1.49%. 

Because of the overcounts and undercounts, Florida lost out on two additional seats it should have gotten in the House and two Electoral College votes, while Texas lost one House seat and an electoral vote. Meanwhile, Minnesota and Rhode Island each kept a House seat that likely would have been lost under an accurate count, while Colorado gained a House seat it shouldn’t have gotten. 

If passed by Congress and signed into law by Biden, the measure likely wouldn’t pressure bureaucrats to improve, Heritage’s von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. 

“This is a terrible bill that takes away all accountability and oversight of the Census Bureau and hands power to unelected bureaucrats,” von Spakovsky said.

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‘Careless’: Federal Government May Have Accidentally Sent $1.3 Billion in COVID-19 Relief to People in Foreign Countries, Inspector General Says

The Small Business Administration may have inadvertently sent over $1 billion in COVID-19 relief to individuals in foreign countries, a government watchdog said in a Monday report.

SBA handed struggling small businesses and nonprofits up to $2 million in loans each through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans program as well as grants and advances. But the agency did not properly detect certain foreign IP address applicants, including those in “high risk” countries and may have given them up to $1.3 billion in funding, according to a SBA inspector general report.

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Some Americans and aliens who live in foreign countries may have qualified for Economic Injury Disaster Loans relief if they “meet certain eligibility requirements,” the report said, not explaining what those requirements were. The risk of fraud in the program was elevated “because of the history of fraud originating from transnational crime organizations that have stolen funds from U.S programs in the past,” said the report.

“The federal government’s response to COVID was panicked and not thought out,” E.J. Antoni, an economics fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The careless, shotgun approach to disbursing unneeded aid was an invitation for fraud, both at home and abroad.”

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans program was launched during the Trump administration and was first authorized by the passage of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act in March 2020, the report says. It was reauthorized in two other coronavirus relief packages, including the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden, the report says.

SBA hired a contractor that processed relief applications and made recommendations to SBA loan officers or teams on whether they should approve them, the report says. The agency stopped accepting COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans applications on Jan. 1, 2022, and the program’s portal closed in May, the report says.

The system did not flag over 41,600 applications from six “high risk” foreign IP addresses despite “four layers of controls” to do so, according to the report. In turn, the agency between March 20, 2020, and Nov. 12, 2021, disbursed these applicants $1.3 billion, the report says.

“Under the previous administration, a decision not to require a static IP address for EIDL applicants was made,” a spokesman for SBA told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Under the leadership of Administrator Guzman, this administration immediately set to work to implement risk control measures designed to help prevent fraud, including monitoring of the IP static address for EIDL applicants.”

“With this new framework, SBA successfully stopped most of the applications from foreign IP addresses and is committed to ensuring that effective fraud controls are in place for future programs,” said the spokesman.

Former SBA Administrator Linda McMahon did not respond to a request for comment.

The possible payments to foreign recipients accounts for 0.04% of the $342 billion SBA disbursed through its program, according to the report. During the March 20, 2020, and Nov. 12, 2021 period, SBA processed over 233,000 applications.

SBA determined people had high-risk IP addresses based on them having fraud risk, connections to the “deep web,” or engaging in “suspicious online behavior,” says the report. Applicants that received the funds had IP addresses registered in multiple countries, including Nigeria, Pakistan, Ghana, and Mexico.

For instance, there were over 33,000 applications submitted from people with IP addresses in Nigeria, the report says. The applicants may have received over $19 million in loans, grants, and advances, the report says.

COVID-19 relief programs have been ripe for fraud and abuse. The Justice Department said in March 2021 it had charged 474 defendants with allegedly trying to illegally obtain over $569 million in funds from Economic Injury Disaster Loans and other programs.

Biden signed two bills in August giving DOJ more time to prosecute fraud related to both Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program—another program for businesses to obtain COVID-19 relief loans.

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‘Ripe for Abuse’: Sen. Hawley Slams Credit Card Companies Over Gun-Related Purchase Change

A Republican senator is calling on three major credit companies to reverse course after announcing new policies that would distinguish firearm-related purchases from other retail purchases, according to a letter sent Tuesday.  

“I write to express serious concern with your decision to separately categorize gun-related purchases from other retail transactions made with your payment cards so that firearm purchases can be more easily tracked,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote in a letter to the chief executive officers for Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, noting that numerous media outlets labeled the move a “major win for gun control advocates.”  

“This new system is ripe for abuse and brings to mind similar policies of Big Tech companies and payment processors that have targeted law-abiding Americans for engaging in constitutionally protected activities. I urge you to immediately reverse course,” Hawley wrote.  

The Missouri senator, who called for the immediate end of the practice, added: 

The Second Amendment is clear: The right of the people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed to law-abiding citizens and ‘shall not be infringed.’ Whether this infringement is by the federal government or powerful corporations seeking to ostracize citizens for exercising their rights, I will oppose all attempts to undermine the Second Amendment’s protections.  

The International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, approved a “merchant category code” for gun-related purchases, last Friday, The Associated Press reported. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and New York City Mayor Eric Adams advocated for the move, Reuters reported.  

“A merchant category code is a four-digit number used by credit card companies to classify businesses,” according to Bankrate. “A business [merchant category code] indicates the types of services or goods being sold to customers.” 

American Express, Visa, and Mastercard adopted the new merchant category code the next day, Bloomberg reported.  

“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules,” the company told Bloomberg in a statement.  

The National Rifle Association also sounded the alarm on the policy change adopted over the weekend. 

“The ISO’s decision to create a firearm specific code is nothing more than a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans one transaction at a time,” Lars Dalseide, an NRA spokesman, told CBS MoneyWatch.

“This is not about tracking or prevention or any virtuous motivation — it’s about creating a national registry of gun owners,” Dalseide added.  

New York Attorney General Letitia James applauded the credit card companies’ decision, labeling it a “big victory” in a tweet.  

“In a big victory today, these credit card companies are now required to categorize the sale of guns and ammunition,” James tweeted. “This decision will help us better address gun violence and avoid future tragedies.” 

Karmina Zafiro from Visa’s global corporate communications directed The Daily Signal to a Sept. 14 blog entry, “Protecting Legal Commerce,” which said:  

As background, last week the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a global standards-setting organization, decided to establish a new merchant category code (MCC) for ‘gun and ammunition stores.’ 

Many misunderstand what that means and are, in turn, advocating the use of MCCs to ‘track’ gun sales as a potential tool in combatting gun violence. That’s not what merchant codes are designed for, nor should they be. 

“We do not believe private companies should serve as moral arbiters. Asking private companies to decide what legal products or services can or cannot be bought and from what store sets a dangerous precedent,” the blog added. “Further, it would be an invasion of consumers’ privacy for banks and payment networks to know each of our most personal purchasing habits. Visa is firmly against this.” 

The Daily Signal sought comments from Mastercard and American Express but did not receive a response by press time. The International Organization for Standardization didn’t immediately respond to The Daily Signal’s comment request.  

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Ken Starr, Rest in Peace

Famed lawyer Ken Starr died unexpectedly Tuesday following complications from surgery after a long and previously undisclosed illness. He had a long and storied—and somewhat controversial—career.

Starr, 76, was born in Vernon, Texas, and was a Texan through and through. A graduate of George Washington University and Duke Law School (with a master’s degree from Brown University in between), Starr was an early standout. Following a clerkship with a judge on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Starr clerked for Chief Justice Warren Burger on the Supreme Court.   

Following a brief stint in private practice, Starr joined President Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department in 1981 as a counselor to Attorney General William French Smith. At the ripe old age of 37, Starr was nominated by Reagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—the second-most powerful court in the country—where he served for six years. 

He left the bench—most likely to his regret—in 1989 to accept the position of solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush. Between his stint as solicitor general and in private practice, Starr argued 36 cases before the Supreme Court.

In 1990, following the retirement of Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, a liberal icon, Starr was a finalist for the Supreme Court seat, as was 5th Circuit Judge Edith Jones, another solid conservative. The president ultimately elevated David Souter to the position, who became a reliable vote with the justices in the liberal bloc of the high court to the great disappointment and chagrin of conservatives. 

In 1994, in what was perhaps the seminal moment of his career, Starr was appointed to succeed Robert Fiske as independent counsel investigating a failed (and fraudulent) real estate investment in the Whitewater Development Corp. involving President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, with partner Jim McDougal—who operated a prominent savings and loan association in Arkansas—and his wife, Susan. 

Although praised by both sides of the political aisle at the time of his appointment for his intellect and his integrity, Starr was ultimately pilloried by Democrats as a partisan hack, including in a book by Democratic strategist-pundit James Carville in his book “And the Horse He Rode in On: The People v. Kenneth Starr.”

The scope of Starr’s investigation unexpectedly grew to include other matters, including the firing of personnel in the White House Travel Office, the suicide (and suspected homicide) of White House aide Vince Foster, and—most famously—an allegation of perjury in connection with a civil sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones against Clinton and before a grand jury that was convened to investigate the matter, which included lying about a sexual liaison Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. 

Despite obtaining more than a dozen convictions related to that investigation, Starr’s tenure as independent counsel was overshadowed by the subsequent impeachment—and acquittal—of Clinton for perjury. The investigation so dominated the news that Time magazine named Starr and Clinton as its Men of the Year in 1998.

In his 2018 memoir “Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation,” Starr said, “I deeply regret that I took on the Lewinsky phase of the investigation.” But, he added, “at the same time, as I still see it 20 years later, there was no practical alternative to my doing so.” 

He also noted that “[m]uch of the drama was tragically unnecessary, in my view, a self-inflicted wound by a talented but deeply flawed president who showed contempt for the law, the American people and the women he had used,” adding: “Yet ultimately, much of the nation readily forgave Bill Clinton and instead blamed the prosecutor: me.”

Starr reflected on the power of special counsels during an October 2018 program on the power and limits of special counsels that I moderated at The Heritage Foundation, which can be seen here. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Despite the criticism—and Clinton’s acquittal following his impeachment trial—Starr’s successor, Richard Ray, negotiated a resolution with Clinton, based largely on the evidence that Starr’s office uncovered, in which Clinton’s Arkansas law license was suspended for five years, and he paid a fine of $25,000. 

Clinton was also held in contempt for lying during his deposition in the Paula Jones case and was fined $90,000 and settled that case by paying $850,000 to Jones.

Following his stint as independent counsel, Starr served as the dean of Pepperdine Law School (where he hired me as a distinguished practitioner in residence) before being named as president of Baylor College in 2010. 

Although a popular presence on campus, Starr was demoted and ultimately resigned from Baylor after an investigation concluded that the university had mishandled allegations of serious sexual misconduct by several members of the football team. Although he denied knowledge of the misconduct or the allegations, he took responsibility for what happened, declaring: “The captain goes down with the ship.”

Following his resignation from Baylor in 2016, Starr returned to private practice, where he wrote and spoke frequently about religious liberty, including a 2021 book, “Religious Liberty in Crisis: Exercising Your Faith in an Age of Uncertainty.”

He represented several prominent individuals, including serving as a member of President Donald Trump’s defense team during his first impeachment trial, which, like the Clinton impeachment, also ended in an acquittal. 

In an email after his passing, Starr’s devoted wife, Alice, called her husband a “brilliant, kind, and loving” man who, despite what his critics said, “did not have a mean bone in his body … and he never responded in kind to hurtful libel or slander.”

I can attest to all of that, based on my many interactions with Starr over the years. 

In a statement following the announcement of his passing, Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Ken loved our country and served it with dedication and distinction. He led by example, in the legal profession, public service, and the community.”

May he rest in peace.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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Should Conservatives Fight Fire With Fire, Seek to Cancel the Left?

The radical left wields immense cultural power in America. When a conservative crosses them, intentionally or otherwise, he or she is met with a volley of vile, leftist hatred. The left ruthlessly tracks down any information about the conservatives, their jobs, friends, and family and attempts to cancel them. The left views the loss of livelihood and relationships as the price of dissent.  

That’s what happened to conservative journalist Amber Athey.  

After Athey made a joke about Vice President Kamala Harris’ outfit at last year’s State of the Union address, enraged leftists harassed her employer, a talk radio station in Washington, D.C., into firing her.  

Athey views her experience as just one more piece of evidence that the right needs to fight the left on the same battlefield and cancel them.  

“I feel like if all of the cultural signals are that employers and society respond to cancellation attempts, then I don’t see any reason why conservatives shouldn’t try to wield that same power,” Athey says. “I don’t think it’s too far for conservatives to do the same thing back and show them this is the logical conclusion of the societal culture that you’ve created.” 

Athey joins the show to talk about how conservatives should fight back against cancel culture, and how the left wields its cultural power.

Doug Blair: My guest today is Amber Athey, Washington editor at The Spectator, senior fellow at The Steamboat Institute, and host of the “Unfit to Print” podcast. Amber, welcome to the show. 

Amber Athey: Thanks for having me. 
 
Blair: Yeah, it’s a pleasure. But I think one of the things that I really like about you is you are so outspoken about the woke mob and things like cancel culture and you are actually a victim of cancel culture relatively recently. Would you mind explaining your story, what happened, and where you came from it? 
 
Athey: Yeah, absolutely. I was a co-host on a morning radio show in D.C. on WMAL, which is a conservative radio station, alongside Larry O’Connor and several women. I was on two days a week, so this was a part-time gig. I was on there for six months.

And then during the State of the Union address, I decided to mock Vice President Kamala Harris’ outfit, which a lot of people were doing because it was just objectively not a good outfit. For people who haven’t seen it, or maybe don’t remember, it was that drab brown pantsuit or skirt suit where she was blending into the leather chair behind her.

And my crack was that she looked like a UPS employee. If you’re too young to know, I think most people listening to this probably know that the UPS slogan until about five to 10 years ago was, “What can brown do for you?” So I said, “What can brown do for you? Nothing good, apparently,” because obviously, Kamala Harris is pretty incompetent. 
 
This joke was fine for a few days. Nobody seemed troubled by it because they all understood what the point of it was. But after I got into a debate on Twitter with some pro-child genital mutilation people, like the pro-trans lobby, they decided that I needed to be canceled because I don’t believe that children should be allowed to undergo surgeries or hormone therapy to try to change their gender.

I needed to be removed from the public square, so they went back into my Twitter, started looking for some reason to cancel me, found the Kamala tweet, and decided to completely reframe it as being about her race, which I think says a lot more about them than it does about me because what kind of person thinks that only black people can be UPS employees? That’s kind of racist, I think. 
 
But anyway, they started sending emails to my employers, and The Spectator, The Steamboat Institute both laughed the entire thing off because of course they thought it was ridiculous, right? But shockingly, WMAL, and more specifically, its parent company, Cumulus Media, received a few emails, called me up about a day or two later, and told me that I was fired effective immediately.

I didn’t even get a chance to defend myself. I didn’t get to explain the tweet. They just told me, “Your tweet was racist. We don’t condone racism. You’re out. Goodbye. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” 
 
Blair: I mean, it’s crazy that that happened because the left routinely says vile things about conservatives with seemingly no consequences. And I guess one of the things that I always find so strange is that there’s no concerted response from conservatives other than to call it out and just say, “Hey, that’s weird.” The left never faces the consequences. What should conservatives do? How should we respond to this? 
 
Athey: Yeah. I know that this is probably controversial, but I feel like if all of the cultural signals are that employers and society respond to cancellation attempts, then I don’t see any reason why conservatives shouldn’t try to wield that same power because if you’re talking about preventing people from making a living, people have actually been debanked. For example, the truckers in Canada were not allowed to raise money for their legal efforts because their fundraiser was removed from GoFundMe.

People are being removed from social media, they’re losing friends, family members, being basically unable to participate in society. I don’t think it’s too far for conservatives to do the same thing back and show them this is the logical conclusion of the societal culture that you’ve created. 
 
For example, recently there was this professor from Carnegie Mellon University who, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, decided to say that she hoped that her death was incredibly painful and that she suffered because she was complicit in colonization, which, besides the fact that it’s not even true, she actually had a great hand in allowing a lot of these colonies to become independent. What kind of sick person wishes death on a beloved matriarch person who has been a force of stability in England for 70 years?

People were complaining about it on Twitter and posting screenshots and replying to her and I just sent an email to the school.

Why are conservatives so afraid to let the people who employ these miserable, awful people know about their behavior outside of those institutions? You’re right that they still don’t face the consequences, even when we do that. This professor received a condemnation from the university, but no disciplinary action. But I think eventually, if conservatives actually do this in a concerted way, and in a group effort, it will start to have an effect on the left. 
 
Blair: Sure. Have we seen any instances where that has happened, where we have successfully been able to, for lack of a better term, cancel somebody on the left for behavior that they’ve done against the right? 

Athey: Yeah, I think there’s been a couple. Sarah Jeong at The New York Times was supposed to be an editorial board member and they kind of quietly had her leave the editorial board after this happened.

So a lot of conservatives, I think, didn’t even realize that they had a hand in this, but she had this series of anti-white, anti-police, really gross tweets, and conservatives did the thing, they did the cancel culture, and they tweeted them out and sent them to The New York Times, and were just kind of relentless about it for a couple of weeks. I think it was only a few months after she actually joined that they sort of quietly dismissed her. That was one example. 
 
Then there’s also been a couple of times where I think conservatives sort of mockingly or sarcastically point out old tweets that leftists have that could be considered offensive, such as in the case of Alexi McCammond, who was sent over to Teen Vogue to be its new editor-in-chief, and then they actually successfully managed to get the woke mob to jump on those tweets.

The woke mob started saying that Alexi McCammond, who I believe is half black, was a racist against Asian people, and she ended up losing her job at Teen Vogue.

So there’s smaller instances of this happening, and I think it’s good evidence that if we’re more intentional about it, that it can actually be a successful method. 
 
Blair: Mm-hmm. Then, on that Alexi McCammond note, I wrote about that for The Daily Signal, and one of the things that was so funny about that was the person who accused her of being a racist was then exposed for writing racist tweets in the past. Which gets to my next point, does this system create an “eye for an eye makes the world blind” mentality where now, all of a sudden, it’s just an arms race to cancel more people on both sides? 
 
Athey: I mean, yes, it is sort of a tool of retaliation, but I don’t think that that’s necessarily a bad thing. I mean, when people are actively hurting you and trying to make it so that you can’t support yourself or your family or that you’re not allowed to participate in society, then I don’t think it’s unjust or unreasonable to fight back and try to stand up for yourself. 
 
One of the things that I tried to do in the aftermath of being fired from the radio station was I wanted to give people a call to action. What can you actually do to support people who are canceled? Well, you can tell the company who fired them that what they did was terrible.

And I know for a fact that Cumulus received a hundred times more communications in support of me than they did when I was fired, which, hopefully, the next time someone goes through this at a Cumulus-owned station, the executives are going to think twice before trying to take the easy way out and just fires somebody who is accused of the woke mob of being racist or sexist, or homophobic, or whatever the allegation may be.

Then also, we need to stop funding and supporting the places that do this. The Daily Wire, I think, has done a great job and The Daily Signal has done a great job of trying to create alternative ecosystems for media and entertainment in ways that people can get this content that they so desire without giving their dollars to people who hate them. 
 
Blair: Mm-hmm. Speaking of race and some of the leftist nonsense surrounding race, you’ve been talking a lot about the Rachel Richardson incident recently with [Brigham Young University]. They found no evidence that this particular black athlete had been yelled racial slurs at it. It sort of feels like, though, the demand for hate crimes outweighs the supply. Why is that, that the left continues to do this, even though it doesn’t actually seem like there are hate crimes to cover? 
 
Athey: Well, for them, it’s about power, and more specifically, the power to silence. You cannot hold a guilt trip over people about race or sexuality or gender ideology unless you can have these purported incidents of these people being harmed, right, so they have to make sure that the classes that they claim are marginalized, there’s some proof of them actually being marginalized. 
 
The left does a politics of hostage-taking and guilt-tripping. They like to say that conservative politics are literally killing people and they point to murders of trans people, which are unfathomably low, or they point to police shootings of unarmed black men, which, by a function of how many black men police actually encounter because of crimes, they actually are killed at a lower rate than white men. The list goes on. 

But these individual anecdotes are ways to try to lord over the right’s head, “What you’re doing is hurting us, what you’re doing is hurting us, and so you have to stop.” Most compassionate people will immediately respond, “I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want my politics to harm you. I’m trying to make the world a better place.”

And so, if you accept their framework, if you accept the base logic of their ideas, then your first instinct is to stop whatever you’re doing. That’s how, really, how they get people to fall into their camp. Going back to the fabricated hate crimes is just another way for them to create these incidents that they can use to guilt trip people into accepting their woke and progressive political positions. 
 
Blair: Now, it sort of seems like the left is cultivating this culture of victimhood where your cache comes from how much of a victim you are. It reminds me of Andrew Breitbart’s maxim that “politics is downstream of culture.” I guess my question for you is, what are your thoughts on that maxim? As somebody that writes about culture, where do you see American culture going? Do you see it going in a positive direction? Do you see pushback against this sort of victimhood mentality? 
 
Athey: Well, I think it’s 100% true that politics is downstream from culture because over the past 20 years, we’ve really seen major nonpolitical institutions become aggressively political, and it’s not because the Democratic Party told them to do, it’s because a vocal minority of really aggressive activists actually infiltrated those institutions and started pushing culture in a certain direction.

That culture ended up trickling into our body politic, into Congress, and into the White House. It wasn’t the other way around. Hollywood, higher education, Big Tech, the media, these major institutions went far left, I think, before “the squad” ever existed, or before those ideas ever existed in Congress. 
 
There’s a couple of reasons for that. One of, I think, the reasons is that the people who go into these institutions were indoctrinated through an education system that really pushed those kinds of values because they came from academia.

But then another reason is that, specifically in the corporate world, in terms of economics and bureaucracy, it’s more efficient for people to all believe the same thing. It’s easier to control people if they all believe the same thing, and they don’t want independent thinkers because that makes them unpredictable, and therefore, more difficult to work under you.

So yeah, I think that’s 100% true. 
 
But I see good signs in the culture. I see conservatives for the first time really making an effort to create alternatives to a lot of the monopolistic institutions that control so much of our culture. I see conservatives getting better at boycotts like with places like Disney or Netflix, or some of these other entertainment industries. And I see conservatives using legislative power to push back against institutions that would culturally harm them.

That’s not to say that we’re on the verge of victory or anything, there’s a long way to go, but I think there’s good signs that not even just conservatives, but just normal people who don’t want politics in everything, every single facet of their life, are really fed up with this and are trying to find some other way to live their lives outside of this woke bubble that really encompasses so much of what we do in society. 
 
Blair: As a final note, I want to address something that you wrote in The Spectator that I found very interesting, which was about trade schools versus college. And you wrote, “It’s reductionist and not very helpful to tell young people that college isn’t ever worth their time.”

There does seem to be a very strong push, at least from the conservative movement, that college just isn’t worth it, it’s been taken over by the left, it’s an indoctrination center for people, it’s not actually useful anymore. What is your argument that that’s maybe reductionist? 
 
Athey: Yeah. So, I mean, I speak from personal experience. My father was a plumber his entire life, and really, by the time he was 45, 50 years old, his body was just decimated. He had a lot of doctor visits and medical issues, and really, just worked himself to death, basically, and didn’t make enough money to really justify it, right? And so, I think there just needs to be a little more nuance to the discussion.

It’s not the right solution for everybody to just go enter a trade school. It’s not that simple. There’s a lot of trade-offs that you have to consider when you’re doing that. Not everybody’s going to be like my dad, but it’s a real possibility, and the statistics for workplace injury, death, depression, addiction, suicide are much higher in manual labor jobs. So I think we just need to be realistic with young people about that. 
 
Not everybody should go to college, and for those people, trades might be a good option. For other people, college can be an important tool for them if they shop correctly so that they’re not graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, so that they’re going to a school that is not indoctrinating them, or that they’re intelligent enough and prepared enough to resist that indoctrination, and they’re majoring in something that is actually going to bear a fruitful job with stability.

So there’s all different kinds of things that we need to weigh, and I just worry that when conservatives tell people, “College is a scam,” or, “Don’t go to college,” that we’re missing the fact that society still really incentivizes people to get college degrees, and we’re setting people up for failure if we tell all of our offspring to not go to college, right? 
 
Blair: Interesting. Well, that was Amber Athey, Washington editor at The Spectator, senior fellow at The Steamboat Institute, and host of the “Unfit to Print” podcast. Amber, I very much appreciate your time. 
 
Athey: Thank you. 

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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7 Highlights From National Conservatism Conference

AVENTURA, Florida—Conservatives from across the United States gathered for the third annual National Conservatism Conference, hosted by the Edmund Burke Foundation. The Daily Signal was on the ground for the conference, held Sept. 11-13.  

Here’s some of the highlights from the conference: 

1. Sen. Josh Hawley: ‘The American Revolution Is a Continuation of the Revolution of the Bible. The Left Wants to Unmake It.’ 

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., spoke about how the left is engaged in a project to undo the American Revolution and separate the nation from its biblical, Christian moral heritage.  

“We are a revolutionary nation precisely because we are the heirs of the revolution of the Bible,” Hawley said. “This is a revolution that began with the founding of the nation of Israel, of Zion, and continued with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in the days of ancient Rome.”  

Hawley explained that the Christian revolution was a revolution that changed the mores of society and “turned the world upside down.”  

In a world of tribes, the Bible “introduced the very idea of the individual,” the Missouri senator said. In a world that valued the wealthy and the well-born, the Bible taught “the dignity of the common man.” 

“Without the Bible, there is no modernity. Without the Bible, there is no America,” Hawley said.  

The Bible’s centrality in our politics is the question of the age, he added. The “woke left” is desperate to unseat its influence in American life, to “remake” this nation. It’s doing this, he said, by making Americans believe that the country is “irredeemably racist and oppressive,” that men can become women, and that the family is repressive. He further explained:  

Their real target in all this, I submit to you, is the inheritance of the Bible. What they particularly dislike about America is our dependence on biblical teaching and tradition. What they particularly dislike about our culture is the Bible’s influence on it. And now they want to break that influence for good.  

Hawley said that regardless of your religious faith and background, the “revolution of the Bible” is worth defending because it is the source of what we know about “the rights of man,” along with human dignity and equality. 

2. Sen. Marco Rubio: Conservatives Must Consider Both National Interest and Free Enterprise

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., highlighted the potential tension between free markets and America’s interests.

“One of the big challenges facing conservatives today is what happens … when the market outcome, the most efficient outcome is not aligned with your national interest?” asked the Florida Republican. 

“And when I say that sometimes people start to squirm and get a little bit uncomfortable—suddenly The Wall Street Journal editorial board does,” he added. “And here’s why: because, in the view that they have, it’s like everything can be solved by economics. And it’s just not true. We are more than just consumers. We are more than just economic creatures.” 

When discussing when the market outcome and national interest might not align, Rubio used the example of it being cheaper for the U.S. to manufacture pharmaceuticals in China.

Later on in his remarks, Rubio returned to discussing free enterprise and the national interest: 

I believe in free enterprise, but you can’t just have growth. … Growth is important, but growth alone is not enough. It has to be … the kind of growth that also creates good-paying, dignified work for millions of people, because that’s the common good. … 

Yes. I want things to be made in the most efficient way possible. I want investment to flow in the most efficient location, but it also has to be in a way that promotes the common good and doesn’t leave us dependent on supply chains that could be denied to us by a pandemic or by a prelude to a war. 

He also discussed the American dream, arguing it wasn’t only about material aspirations.  

“The American dream is about being able to achieve happiness as you define, and for millions and millions and millions of people, happiness has nothing to do with the accumulation of wealth,” Rubio said, adding that, “There’s nothing wrong with wealth. There’s nothing wrong with earning and working hard.” 

“For the overwhelming majority of people, what they really want are the simple things that make life worth living, that make life enjoyable and memorable, and to leave their kids better off than themselves,” said the Florida senator. 

That means “the goal and the task of those of us who call ourselves national conservatives” is creating “a nation whose public policies are geared towards the common good of making that possible for millions and millions and millions of people,” he continued. 

3. Yoram Hazony: ‘Liberalism Has Been Replaced by Woke Neo-Marxism. Now What?’  

Yoram Hazony, author of “The Virtue of Nationalism” and chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, spoke about how America was fundamentally transformed over the past century departing from its biblical foundation toward liberalism.  

That transformation finally met its endpoint.  

“2020 was not a normal year, it was a watershed moment in the history of the United States,” Hazony said.  

Hazony called this a “public paradigm” shift where even liberals were being turned out of institutions by the left.  

“In the year 2020, when The New York Times started firing employees because they were liberals, something fundamentally changed,” he said. “Hegemonic liberalism” came to an end and “woke neo-Marxism” replaced it. 

This long transformation has reached its end point, and liberals ultimately don’t have the power or the answers to stop it, Hazony argued. Instead, it’s up to conservatives with a biblically-oriented attitude to change our trajectory.  

Until recent times, the Bible and Christianity were at the heart of American life, he argued. Their language pervaded the speeches of our politicians and provided the moral values that guided institutions.  

A big part of the problem, Hazony warned, is that conservatives live like liberals.   

“If you do no grow up in a society that has the guardrails, that is built around Scripture, that is built around the transmission of traditions and their repair and their restoration, if you’re not part of a community that’s built on repentance, if you’re not there, then you are leading the liberal life,” Hazony said.  

America is struggling because Christianity has been ejected from larger society to the point where many Christians are embarrassed to talk about the Bible and their faith in public settings, he argued. The only way for the United States to turn things around is to reembrace Christianity and make it the central focus of our society.  

“When people stand up for Christianity, that’s when woke neo-Marxism has met its match,” Hazony said. 

4. Kevin Roberts: ‘National Conservatives Have Revived the Most Important Debates in the West’  

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said that the national conservative movement has revived critical debates about threats to the West too often neglected and ignored by Republican leaders. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.) 

“I come today to this convention as president of The Heritage Foundation to extend my gratitude for the ideas and energy national conservatives have injected into the national debate, and my fellowship with principles you advance to rescue America from the barbarians inside the gates of our very own institutions,” Roberts said.  

The Heritage president commended the national conservative movement for restoring a “proper” public orientation of virtues like patriotism, courage, honor, loyalty, wisdom, religion, and family in American society.  

Roberts said there were three main directions from which the West is being besieged by mortal threats: the woke left, Communist China, and a “globalist, technocratic elite.”    

Roberts lamented that there are now few civilizational bulwarks working against these forces. In fact, he said these once powerful institutions have fallen one by one, “like dry leaves from dying branches,” due to their being severed from their roots.  

The rot is coming from within, he said:  

The tragedy of our universities, the stratification of our economy, the gelding of Congress, the farce of our news media, the weaponization of government against its people, and the popular culture against their values; these were all inside jobs. As was the betrayal by the Republican Party of the families, community, and nation it exists to serve.

This failure by the GOP is in some way worse, Roberts said, than the fall of other institutions because Americans depended on the Republican Party to defend American values. National conservatives are correcting that mistaken path.  

Roberts said that some libertarians “will object to the injustice or inefficiency of inserting moralizing government into the free market, to which I say, ‘What free market?’”  

He argued that much of Big Tech has become an oligarchy that “pays tribute” to the Chinese Communist Party, warning that China has shown how a police state can use liberalized trade “not to expand freedom for its people, but to secure its hold on power.”  

“Milton Friedman was right, people should be free to choose,” Roberts said. “But truly free people put their culture, their families, and their national survival ahead of [gross domestic product].”  

5. Rep. Ken Buck: We Must Fight Back Against Big Tech  

The Colorado congressman delivered a warning to the American people: Beware of Big Tech.  

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., highlighted how unaccountable Big Tech arbiters had wrestled control of America’s information infrastructure and were using it to further leftist ends.   

He referenced how Big Tech platforms collaborated to boot Parler off the web in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.   

“While the tech platforms kick conservatives off or freeze their accounts, Parler didn’t do that,” said Buck. “So, after Jan. 6, Apple says, We’re pulling the plug,’ … Amazon Web Services said, ‘We’re pulling the plug.'”  

Buck also mentioned how Big Tech colluded to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story. Twitter prevented users from sharing the New York Post’s report on the laptop, while Mark Zuckerberg, who heads Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has admitted Facebook suppressed the reach of the Post report. 

“Hunter Biden’s laptop story was true. Hunter Biden left his laptop with somebody,” Buck said. “The images were there for everyone to see. The emails that implicated Joe Biden in Hunter Biden’s activities with the Chinese Communist Party … It is taken down by Facebook. It is banned by Twitter. You can’t retweet that story.”   

Buck also talked about the alarming trend of collaboration between Big Tech and the government to censor content the government doesn’t like. He noted many companies are doing the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party.   

“Hong Kong protesters had an app on their iPhones and it told them where the Hong Kong police were so they could go to another part of town and protest,” said Buck. “The Communist Chinese Party said, ‘Take that app down.’ Apple took it off the App Store.”  

6. Balázs Orban: Europe, World Must Resist American Wokeness  

“Although the Hungarian language is known to be a rather difficult language with a fancy vocabulary, we do not have a word for woke,” said Balázs Orbán, political director for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “The reason is simple. So far, we are lucky enough to not have to come up with a word. Obviously, we’re doing anything we can do to ensure that it stays that way.”  

Orbán hails from Hungary, a country that has received aplomb from some conservatives for thus far resisting the worst excesses of woke ideology.   

But even in Hungary, some aspects of woke culture have managed to make their way across the Atlantic. 

“Wokeism became a center of discourse in Hungary around 2020 when Hungary, along with other countries, played in the European Soccer Championship,” recalled Orbán. “We realized that this practice of taking the knee before football and soccer matches was becoming more and more widespread.”  

“The way [the kneeling] was being imposed on us was that participating in the gesture became a sign of one’s morality.” 

The radical left further tried to influence Hungary by targeting the country’s children, similarly to what the left does in America.  

“The turning point came when we realized that the woke propaganda was being used against our children,” said Orbán. “They started targeting our children, brainwashing young kids with ideology.”  

The Hungarian government took action to fight back against the attack on the country’s children. Parliament passed a child protection law, legally enshrining the need to protect children from sexually inappropriate content in schools. 

As a result, Orbán claimed, the European Union turned against Hungary and politically similar Poland. Orbán said the bloc refused to provide the country with funding to help deal with the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. 

“The purpose of the EU was to … ensure that equal members worked together on issues of mutual interest while respecting each other’s history culture, aiming at improving the competitiveness of Europe and strengthening the continent in the process,” Orbán said. “What we see today is often the polar opposite.”  

Orbán concluded his speech by encouraging leaders and conservatives across the world to stand strong against wokeness coming from America.  

“We need all of us to come together. National conservatives should lead the way. This is our mission. This is our task.” 

7. Dr. Miriam Grossman: How the Left Is Destroying Children  

Dr. Miriam Grossman, author of “You’re Teaching My Child What? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Ed and How They Harm Your Child,” warned that the Left is inflicting irreparable harm on America’s children, particularly through the LGBT agenda. 

“Not too long ago, the parents that I saw in my office were concerned about hookup culture and friends with benefits,” Grossman, a psychiatrist, remarked in a panel. “They worried that their teenage daughters might get pregnant or infected with herpes. Those were the good old days.”  

Grossman said that the transgender “experiment” being promoted and foisted upon children had no basis in fact.    

“There is no high-quality evidence that ‘gender-affirming care’ leads to long-term positive outcomes or decreases suicides,” she said. “There is conclusive evidence of serious harm and lifelong suffering.”  

Grossman continued, “Decisions to block puberty, to take cross-sex hormones, and undergo surgery are based on the child’s or teenager’s wishes. That is not practicing medicine. That is rubber-stamping a child’s self-diagnosis.”  

Grossman also provided a laundry list of negative side effects from hormone therapy, including “heart attacks, blood clots, strokes, early menopause, sexual dysfunction, infertility effects, and effects on brain development.”  

Surgery, Grossman said, came with its own issues: “These surgeries come with an alarming rate of complications, some of them very painful, dangerous, and difficult. A nightmare. Hideous.” 

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‘Outrageous’: GOP Lawmakers Slam DOJ Official for Smearing Legal Defense Organization as ‘Hate Group’

Republican lawmakers are sounding the alarm after a senior Justice Department official labeled a prominent religious liberty organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, as a “hate group.”  

“Alliance Defending Freedom is one of the nation’s foremost champions of religious liberty and the constitutional rights of all Americans,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal. “It’s appalling that a Department of Justice staffer would consider this mission hateful. I’m proud to stand with ADF in its fight for religious liberty.” 

“Attorney General Merrick Garland must ensure that the DOJ faithfully executes justice for all, and he should investigate this incident,” Cruz, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, added.  

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the Justice Department official’s comment “outrageous” and slammed the agency’s credibility.  

“A DOJ lawyer slandering honest, law-abiding Americans as members of a ‘hate group’ simply because of their Christian faith is outrageous,” Rubio told The Daily Signal in a prepared statement.  

“Attorney General Garland promised to uphold the rule of law without fear or favor,” Rubio said, adding: “The credibility of his department continues to shatter.” 

Eric P. Bruskin, assistant director of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, made the derogatory comment about Alliance Defending Freedom in response to a LinkedIn post by Jason Weida, formerly an assistant U.S. attorney in Massachusetts. Weida is now a state health official in Florida, as The Daily Signal previously reported.  

Weida recently shared this LinkedIn post:  

[I’m] [h]onored to speak with Matt Sharp at Alliance Defending Freedom about the work we’re doing in Florida to protect kids from experimental medical interventions and to defend parental rights, all thanks to the leadership of Governor [Ron] DeSantis. 

In response, the Justice Department’s Bruskin wrote:

Jason, this is a hate group. You’re speaking at a conference for a hate group. Are these the beliefs you hold? If so, then it’s time we end our professional association. 

Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, describes itself as “the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.” 

Bruskin has worked for the Justice Department for 13 years, first as a trial attorney from 2009 to 2016, then as a senior trial counsel from 2016 to 2020, and most recently as an assistant director starting in 2020, according to his LinkedIn page

Prior to joining the Justice Department, Bruskin worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, of Massachusetts for about five months in 2009, from May through September.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., shared similar concerns to those of Rubio and Cruz, and reupped his call for Garland’s impeachment.  

“This is yet another indication that senior leadership at the DOJ has abdicated any sense of decency and impartiality,” Perry, who chairs the House’s Freedom Caucus, told The Daily Signal in a written statement, adding: 

The weaponization of the instruments of federal power is so deeply systemic now, that its senior officials feel free to open fire on well-respected advocacy groups dedicated to protecting the religious freedom and free speech rights of all Americans.

This kind of unbridled and abusive targeting of civically engaged conservatives is why I have called for the impeachment of Attorney General Garland.

Lauren Fine, a spokeswoman for House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Bruskin’s comment is part of a larger pattern within the Biden administration to target Americans who hold different opinions or values. 

In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, Fine said:  

Alliance for Defending Freedom defends the religious freedoms and First Amendment rights of Americans from all walks of life, and it is despicable that someone working for our Justice Department would call them a hate group.

This follows a disturbing pattern in the Biden administration of labeling those they disagree with as hate groups or terrorists, and there should be no tolerance for it. 

“The federal government exists to serve its citizens, not attack them for their political beliefs,” Fine added.  

The Daily Signal sought comment from the Justice Department for a response to the Republican lawmakers’ reaction but did not receive one by publication time.  

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Sen. Lindsey Graham Introduces Bill to Prohibit Abortion After Baby Can Feel Pain

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has introduced the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act. If passed, the bill would prohibit abortion across America after 15 weeks in most cases.  

Flanked by pro-life leaders, Graham introduced the bill during a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday, saying the legislation aims to limit abortion after an unborn child can feel pain in the womb.  

“At 15 weeks, the science tells us that the nerve endings are developed to the point that the unborn child feels pain,” Graham said.  

According to a study in the Journal of Medical Ethics, “In high income countries with relatively liberal abortion laws, over 90% of all abortions take place before 13 weeks’ gestation.”  

The authors of the study, Stuart W.G. Derbyshire and John C. Bockmann, go on to argue that “abortions before 13 weeks’ gestation do not involve any meaningful likelihood of pain” for the unborn child.  

>>> What a Post-Roe World Could Mean for Abortion Laws

“Overall, the evidence, and a balanced reading of that evidence, points towards an immediate and unreflective pain experience mediated by the developing function of the nervous system from as early as 12 weeks,” Derbyshire and Bockmann write. 

America is one of a handful of nations, such as China and North Korea, that allows late-term abortions, Graham noted. If the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act passes, America’s abortion law would be similar that of many European counties like France, Belgium, and Switzerland that limit abortion after 12 or 14 weeks.  

The pro-life act “provides the bare minimum protections for vulnerable unborn children,” Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, said following Graham’s opening remarks.  

“Politicians voting against this bill will stand not only against science, but they will stand against the American public, not to mention standing against basic compassion for women and unborn children,” she added. 

Six pro-life leaders delivered remarks in support of the bill, including Mancini, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser, Center for Urban Renewal and Education Founder and President Star Parker, and Concerned Women for America CEO and President Penny Nance. 

Graham’s federal pro-life bill comes just a few months after Democrats introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that sought to codify the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and remove all limits on abortion across the county. The bill failed in the Senate in May, a little over a month before the Supreme Court overturned Roe in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling. 

“The Democrats wanted a national standard, and their standard was basically abortion up to the time of birth,” Graham said. “And so now we’re going to talk about what the nation should be like. I’ve introduced this bill, and I’m ready to debate and vote on it.”  

There is currently no vote scheduled for the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act, but Graham said he is committed to seeing the bill pass, even if it takes years. 

“I am confident that if this bill came to the floor, it would get a lot of support among Republicans and hopefully a handful of Democrats,” Graham said, adding that he predicts “if we stay on this and keep talking about it, maybe less than a decade from now, this will be law.”  

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is leading efforts to further the bill in the House.  

“It is time to modernize our laws,” Dannenfelser said in a statement. “We thank Sen. Graham and Rep. Smith for their ongoing leadership in defense of women and the unborn and call on all pro-life Republicans as well as Democrats to support this commonsense legislation.”   

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Southern Poverty Law Center Takes Aim at School Boards, Local Elections With New PACs

The Southern Poverty Law Center, notorious for branding mainstream conservatives and Christians as “hate groups” and equating them with the Ku Klux Klan, is taking aim at school boards and local elections. 

The SPLC Action Fund announced the launch of two political action committees on Monday, targeting local government races in the South and countering conservative actions against critical race theory in school board races.

The federal New Southern Leaders PAC and the New Southern Majority Independent Expenditure Committee (a federal super PAC) will “help recruit, support and drive greater diversity among political candidates running for local offices throughout the South,” an SPLC Action Fund press release, first reported by Just the News, announced. 

“While many suburban counties have become more progressive and diverse in the last decade, local elected leadership remains overwhelmingly white and conservative,” Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the SPLC and its Action Fund, said in a statement.

>>> Justice Department Lawyer Smears Religious Liberty Advocate as ‘Hate Group’

Huang contended that “these incumbents often keep winning simply because they run unopposed,” noting that “it is not unusual for upwards of half of local elections to be uncontested.”

The SPLC Action Fund president then gave a glimpse into the goals of the local election arms. She lamented that uncontested races result in “school boards that are not only banning books, but also the teaching of Black history and culture, and the Holocaust; cities that arrest and kill Black citizens at a rate five times greater than whites; and elections deniers in charge of counting votes in elections.”

Critics have long condemned the SPLC for branding conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” placing them on a list and a map alongside truly hateful organizations such as the Klan.

My book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center” traces how the SPLC—originally a public-interest legal nonprofit representing poor people in the South—became a political fundraising juggernaut, in part by suing white supremacist organizations into bankruptcy and then using that work to exaggerate the threat of “hate groups” and to scare donors into ponying up cash.

A deranged would-be terrorist used the SPLC’s “hate map” to target the conservative Christian group Family Research Council in 2012, intending to shoot everyone in the building and smear a Chick-fil-A sandwich in the face of each of his victims. A security guard prevented the attack, and while the SPLC condemned the assault, it has kept the Family Research Council on its “hate map” ever since.

>>> Southern Poverty Law Center Bias Exposed

The SPLC, which advocates for LGBT causes, condemned the Family Research Council as an “anti-LGBT hate group,” ostensibly due to decadesold claims about a link between homosexuality and pedophilia (claims that the council no longer supports). The council and others claim that the SPLC targets conservative Christian organizations for their beliefs on marriage and the family. The SPLC, however, has claimed that it is “not anti-Christian at all.”

The SPLC also has advocated for a slew of left-wing causes, especially in education. Its training materials, sent through the program Learning for Justice, present critical race theory concepts, such as “white privilege” and “systemic racism.” Conservatives have argued that such lessons entail a form of discrimination on the basis of race by teaching that white children are inherently oppressors and black children are oppressed. SPLC educational materials also trumpet transgender identity and medical interventions for children. 

Given the SPLC’s activism in the classroom, Huang’s comments about school boards suggest that the new SPLC political action arms will promote critical race theory and oppose conservative efforts to outlaw discrimination in the classroom. 

After supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the SPLC called for Congress to “discipline, censure, or expel” the 147 Republican senators and representatives who contested the results of the 2020 election.

The SPLC characterized that vote as Republicans “supported the insurrection.” It demanded strict penalties even though those Republicans condemned the violence at the Capitol and even though Democrats have repeatedly contested Republican presidential election victories in recent years.

Although some Republicans have made claims about the 2020 election that are not supported by evidence, some election integrity questions regarding the election remain unanswered, and the SPLC Action Fund press release suggests that commonsense election integrity reforms—such as Georgia’s 2021 law—amount to empowering “election deniers.” 

The SPLC and the SPLC Action Fund did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time, and they did not respond on behalf of the two PACs.

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‘Troubling’: Justice Department Hides Biden’s Voter Registration Plan

The Justice Department has refused to release its mandated strategic plan about ways to champion voter registration and participation, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability.

President Joe Biden’s March 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting required every federal agency head to submit a plan within 200 days outlining methods the agency could use to promote voter registration and participation.

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A federal district court decided earlier in summer 2022 that the Justice Department must release documents on this matter to the Foundation for Government Accountability by Sept. 8, but the department withheld the plan, citing executive privilege, and revealed heavily redacted versions of other documents, the Foundation for Government Accountability revealed.

>>> Read: HUD Pushes Voter Registration Drives in Public Housing Under Biden’s Executive Order

Foundation for Government Accountability President and CEO Tarren Bragdon said Americans “deserve to know if the Biden administration’s unprecedented action is fair and nonpartisan.” He argued the Justice Department must reveal the documents to ensure fair elections.

“Why are they ignoring public record requests for strategic plans on federal voter registration efforts?” Bragdon asked. “Why are they treating these documents like they are classified information dealing with nuclear weapons? Midterms are approaching, and the DOJ’s failure to disclose information raises troubling issues.”

Biden signed the executive order while Republican legislators in Georgia and other states championed election reform measures that CNN deemed “voter suppression legislation.” The order was “limited in scope,” according to USA Today.

Democrats have failed to pass the For the People Act and the Freedom to Vote Act through the Senate, bills that would increase federal power related to elections.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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

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Smearing Your Opponents Is No Way to Run a Republic

Name-calling on the internet is nothing new. Enduring attacks based on biased or discredited sources is so common online it’s practically the price of admission for anyone seeking to contribute to the free market of ideas.

So trolls and hecklers are hard to avoid. But when reputable sources and institutions mimic their tactics, we have a problem.

That’s why, when a senior official in the Justice Department tosses about a smearing “hate group” label, all Americans should take notice—no matter their political leanings.

A Florida health official, Jason Weida, posted to LinkedIn: “Honored to speak with Matt Sharp at Alliance Defending Freedom about the work we’re doing in Florida to protect kids from experimental medical interventions and to defend parental rights, all thanks to the leadership of Governor [Ron] DeSantis.”

Citing no evidence, Eric P. Bruskin, assistant director of the commercial litigation branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, dramatically replied referring to Alliance Defending Freedom: “Jason, this is a hate group. You’re speaking at a conference for a hate group. Are these the beliefs you hold? If so, then it’s time we end our professional association.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.

ADF has successfully defended these fundamental rights for decades, racking up 14 wins at the U.S. Supreme Court and winning nearly 80% of its cases nationwide.

This apparently is what constitutes a “hate group” in today’s Justice Department.

Although Bruskin didn’t cite the Southern Poverty Law Center by name, there is little doubt about where his gross mischaracterization of ADF came from. No other group in America rivals the SPLC for publicly and recklessly slurring anyone or any organization that disagrees with its political views.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been thoroughly discredited repeatedly, most notably by its own admitted institutional racism, sexual harassment, and discrimination. But officials at the Justice Department and other federal agencies appear to have bought SPLC’s lies and are using their power to advance a radical agenda that relies on those distortions.

In the past two years, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has supported investigations of parents who oppose radical gender and race theories in the classroom. And the Department of Agriculture has threatened to shut down a school lunch program for schools that did not fall in line with the Biden administration’s views on sexual orientation and gender identity.

President Joe Biden has tried to rewrite Title IX, defying the separation of powers, and called nearly half the nation a “threat to democracy”—just for holding different political views than his.

This looks like a government our Founders warned us about. Alliance Defending Freedom stands ready to protect the God-given rights of all Americans from the very government whose original purpose was to protect those rights. No amount of name-calling, deplatforming, or attempted canceling will dissuade those who cherish liberty from rising to its defense.

The smearing of opponents to silence dissent threatens to ruin our republican form of government. Americans must resist and expel this cancer if free thought, free speech, and a free society are to survive. What better place to start than the Department of Justice?

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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DeSantis Touts Florida’s Successes, Paints Stark Contrast With Blue States

AVENTURA, Florida—Florida has become a “refuge of sanity in a world gone mad.”

That was the assessment of Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., in remarks Saturday evening at the third National Conservatism Conference here in this city north of Miami.

DeSantis’ speech focused on the core theme of how Florida has become a bastion of liberty—a refuge for those seeking better governance and a freer life. He said that his state, in many ways, has gone in the opposite direction compared with many other states and the federal government.

“It is said that our federalist system creates ‘laboratories of democracy’ where different states can approach things in different ways,” DeSantis said. “But I don’t think we’ve ever seen such sharp contrast between different governing philosophies as we have in the last few years.”

He said that what we have seen is that there’s been a “great exodus” from states and localities governed by “leftist” politicians. 

Refugees from those places have fled to Florida, which DeSantis said has become a “promised land” for record numbers of people.

The Florida governor laid out several statistics about how Americans—since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic—have flocked to Florida, not only to visit, but to live.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he said, “there’s been more adjusted income moved into the state of Florida than has ever moved into any one state in a similar time period” in American history. DeSantis pointed to the contrast with states “hemorrhaging” wealth and people, such as California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey.

That hasn’t meant that the Sunshine State has become bluer politically as people arrived there from other places. Instead, DeSantis said, it created a political sea change, where Republican voting registration is now higher than Democratic registration.

That occurred, he said, because Florida followed a specific “blueprint.”

Instead of following the path set by “media elites,” DeSantis said Florida became grounded in “core principles” derived from the philosophy of the nation’s Founders.

“We are not afraid to buck the discredited ruling class and elites,” he said, citing President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address in January 1961. 

In that speech, Eisenhower warned that “public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite,” and he called on “statesmen” instead to guide our system “aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

“My view was that we needed to choose freedom over Fauci-ism in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said, in reference to federal public health official Anthony Fauci. “We had to make sure these policies weren’t excluding important values just because you had people with a very narrow-minded view, with some credentials behind their name … telling us that those values didn’t matter.”

Taking that path is what allowed Florida to thrive while other states suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, DeSantis noted, and was the reason, for instance, why 2021 was a record year for tourism in the state. 

And it wasn’t just tourism that benefited. Schools remained open. That, he said, prevented the drop in student test scores that took place in states with heavy-handed restrictions and school closings.

In addition to keeping Florida generally open, DeSantis said, he thought it was important to protect an individual’s right “to participate in society.” In particular, he referred to so-called vaccine passports used by some businesses to bar entrance to people who didn’t have proof of vaccination.

DeSantis prohibited the use of vaccine passports and employer-mandated vaccines, which he said led to Florida having a reputation as an open and free state.

He acknowledged that some conservatives criticized his policies as intrusive for businesses, but persisted in the face of the criticism.

“Because we didn’t have vaccine passports, 2021 marked the best year for domestic tourism in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “… We were right on that, both from a freedom perspective and from an overall social-good perspective.”

In addition to his COVID-19 policies, DeSantis cited other areas that he said have moved the state in a positive direction. That includes an efficient system that has produced government services better than those of other states with vastly larger budgets. He pointed to New York state, which has 3 million fewer people than Florida, but a state budget that is “twice the size.” 

Despite that, Florida has provided better roads, schools, and other services while at the same time having no income tax and the “second-lowest per capita tax burden” in the country, DeSantis said.

The Florida governor also pointed to his state’s robust set of school choice programs that have provided opportunities for millions of children. But it wasn’t just school choice DeSantis offered; he said he also pushed for laws to prevent critical race theory and other fringe ideologies from taking over classrooms.

He said that by making Florida a “a law and order state,” and punishing those who rioted and destroyed property, he prevented the chaos, destruction, and social decay seen in other states amid and after the 2020 riots.

Finally, DeSantis spoke about the challenges we as Americans face in our time that are unique, even in comparison to what President Ronald Reagan tackled in the 1980s. No longer is the threat to freedom coming just from the size of government, he said. It’s coming from the power of unleashed bureaucracies and radicalized institutions, public and private.

He said too many institutions have been swallowed up and transformed by an aggressively left-wing and ideologically uniform ruling class.

It isn’t going to be an easy fight, he said, “because they have so much support across the commanding heights of society.” Yet the challenge isn’t simply about having common sense or the right policies, it’s about having courage and standing for what’s right.

“If you stand up for what is right, you are going to get attacked by corporate press. You may get censored by Big Tech. You’ll get smeared by the opposition,” he said.

Ultimately, however, DeSantis concluded,  it’s better to do the right thing and “let the chips fall where they may.”  

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New Founding Builds a Commercial and Cultural Network to Fight Wokeness

Woke corporations are increasingly embracing the left’s political agenda and taking aim at the values we as conservatives cherish.

So what can we do about it?

Matt Peterson is cofounder of New Founding, president of New Founding Media, and host of “The Matthew Peterson Show.” He’s fighting back against woke corporations and joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to tell us about New Founding.

Rob Bluey: You and I had the opportunity to be part of a panel at The Heritage Foundation’s Resource Bank earlier this year. Thank you for your remarks at that event and the work you’re doing today.

For our listeners who aren’t familiar, you founded The American Mind, a publication of the Claremont Institute, and you have years of experience working in digital media communications and political consulting. So what inspired Nate Fischer and you to start New Founding?

Matt Peterson: I think it was in 2020 after the election for me when I just thought, “We need to take this battle.” And in some ways, the real battle is being fought in the economic space and the cultural space. You can’t really separate the commercial and the cultural in America, we’re a commercial republic after all. And so much of the problem is that we have woke capital being used against the people who give it money.

We’re all giving money to corporations, we’re all investing money in large structures that are acting against us and, in my opinion, are really harming America, destroying it.

After the result of that election, I knew that, although I’m very proud of the work I do with Claremont and I still work with them, that we needed to move forward into this commercial-cultural space.

And Nate was thinking similarly. We had been talking for the last year and a half before that and it was just sort of go time, I think it was a release of energy, of people just to go out and start doing what needs to be done.

Bluey: Reading your mission, it’s to build networks, businesses, and organizations that are free to flourish and protected from this woke ideology that seems to invest so much of our culture today. How do we get to this point where those institutions have turned so dramatically in this direction?

Peterson: Look, there’s a lot of different causes, but I think what you have is a kind of civic religion that is protecting very powerful interests who’ve adopted it. Some because they really believe in wokeness, others perhaps more cynically. And I think there was a vacuum. There was a vacuum of a compelling and comprehensive moral vision of what society is and should be.

And in the past we used to say business was neutral. It was never neutral. But we could regard this neutral because we just all agreed on the basic principles and purposes of government and we were arguing about other things.

And so now when there’s a divide over what men and women are, what the family is, what citizenship is, what the nation state is, all of a sudden it’s apparent that business itself wants to, for good reason, be doing something for the common good of society even though it’s motivated by profit.

Everyone wants meaningful work. And so I think what the wokeness did is come in and give meaning to work, but it poisoned everything.

So right now you have a situation in which you know can say go woke and go broke. We can say that until we’re blue in the face. But the fact is these are large organizations that aren’t going broke. They might take a hit here and there, but they’re very committed to this cause, both for personal interest and for principle for many of the people who are more radical. So I mean, in a sense, though, however we got here, we are here. And the question is, what do we do about it?

Bluey: So should we, as conservatives, be content with neutrality or do you believe that we need to push these corporations and other institutions toward our values?

Peterson: I am one of those who firmly reject the idea that we’re just trying to go back to neutrality because I don’t think there ever was neutrality. You cannot have a nation and a healthy flourishing system. Ultimately, you’ll destroy the free market itself.

If you say that sort of all things are lawful for corporations and business can put its own interest above that of the nation, at a certain point it can’t. And you see that with a globalization problem, at a certain point, you’re either on America’s side or you’re on China’s side. And so, while I’m not against trade, I don’t think you can have neutrality.

And I think this is what’s got us in trouble because we’re trying to replace a positive with a negative when you argue for neutrality.

They have a comprehensive moral vision of how work can be meaningful. They have an ethical system. They have all of that in a neat package. You know what social justice is when you see it, you know what ESG [environmental, social, and governance] is, and it all kind of hangs together. And you can’t replace that positive with a negative, just saying, “Well, I’m anti-woke, I’m for neutrality.”

And that’s also not how you sell products and services. You sell products and services based on a compelling vision of a way of life that’s attractive. And this is not a top-down solution either. And that really is the true mission, I think, of New Founding, is providing that vision and getting people excited to see what we could be fighting for rather than just fighting against.

Bluey: What kind of reception have you received to what you’re trying to do? Specifically, one of the ways that you’re attempting to take on some of these challenges is to bring people together so that we can, as you say, build and defend a better way of life. So how are you bringing people together?

Peterson: Many ways. I mean, look, in the beginning, this started with people over the last few years, last four or five years or so, contacting me privately and I just noticed how many talented professionals in sectors like media, tech, and finance were, or law were knocking on my door, saying, “Hey, buddy, can you get me out? I don’t want to work for this big will corporation anymore. Can I get with like-minded people?”

So in the beginning it’s really grassroots and to some extent it still is. I still get direct messages. People who want to contribute in some way, want to be connected in some way.

And so the question is, how do you scale that? First, you need to put out this positive vision and I think that’s ultimately the most important thing we’re doing. But as you do that, people start coming together in different ways.

So one way is Return.Life, which is a community that has a publication and the publication is Return. And it’s a guide to living well in the digital age. We have some exciting plans for expansion in the near future for Return.

And to join Return is to join a community of people that ultimately is going to be getting all kinds of content and all kinds of ways to interact behind the scenes with each other. That has a digital tech focus, but it’s not exclusive to tech.

And then Align is for businesses that are not woke and connecting them with consumers who want to find products and services from people who don’t hate them.

Right now that’s as simple as a widely read newsletter every week, a directory that’s growing online, and a beta version of a platform that’ll allow people to curate these businesses. And as we grow, there’s a number of other ways in which we’ll connect people.

And ultimately, though, what people are rallying around, there’s always ways to connect them, but what they’re rallying around, especially in response, is this positive vision of a pro-American, pro-family, pro-self-sufficiency sort of way of life. We all know we want that and that’s how people band together.

And I would say, given that fact that people want this, demand is there, the real problem is organizational. I mean, every day we’re thinking about new ways to connect people.

Bluey: It’s so important for individual Americans, including listeners of this show, to fight back and get involved. We’ll provide links in the show notes in the transcript, but for our listeners, tell us what steps they can take right now to learn more about New Founding and perhaps sign up and support the work you’re doing.

Peterson: Absolutely. The easiest way is to go to newfounding.com, you can join us there. That membership, those memberships are going to include really everything we do. Return.Life also has a membership. And those are going to be the same thing. You’ll get access to everything as we build it.

So if you go to newfounding.com, you can see all the different things we’re doing and click out on there and you can just join us there with one simple membership.

And that membership is important because we’re going to a lot of investors now and when they see that people are signing up based on what we’re doing now and that are growing with us, that excites them and that helps us to hire more engineers and help build this movement. So I appreciate anyone going there. You can become a member today.

Bluey: That’s fantastic. As you build these alternatives, how is that competition going to force the entrenched interest or the existing institutions to perhaps change?

Peterson: That’s where things get fun. What excites me the most is the idea of taking small, medium-sized companies and building them into larger and larger entities that really start to draw blood from the big dogs. When you start to think about the investment side of this, Principal Investments is one of our adjacent entities that’s working on this.

What’s really going to change the dial is when you take a $10, $15 million company and turn it into a $50, $60 million company and all of a sudden the regional distributor of the large soft drink company is looking at this up-and-coming soft drink company that’s really trading on their wokeness and what will change the dial. That is what, ultimately, I think it takes to win.

A boycott is not sufficient. It’s very difficult to do, especially when these companies are so big. That’s why they’re able to get away with it. So the more we create alternatives and we have some real winners that emerge from this movement, the better.

But as it becomes easier and easier to buy all kinds of products from even smaller businesses that maybe don’t grow exponentially, you’re still taking billions of dollars that’s being used against you to support all this garbage that’s destroying America and bringing it out into a new ecosystem where it’s going to help consolidate power and bring people together in a way that can then retake the country.

And that’s what I would say to people who say, “Well, this is divisive and this will further divide us.” I say, “No, this is what people want. We don’t want to be hijacked by, well, corporate. We want to create a whole new media, tech, and financial ecosystem that ultimately retakes and saves America.”

Bluey: I’m glad you mentioned tech because digital platforms have provided conservatives with, certainly, unprecedented opportunities to reach the American people directly, bypassing the traditional corporate media filters.

And frankly, outlets like The Daily Signal and The American Mind might not be as successful as they are if they weren’t able to distribute that content across some of those platforms. And yet it seems that today it’s increasingly challenging because Big Tech has turned against conservatives, even some of the listeners of this show who occasionally write and tell us about their own experiences with censorship.

What changed in that Big Tech community to make them turn so hostile to conservatives?

Peterson: That’s quite a story. I mean, someone looking back, hopefully after we win, is going to have a tale to write. But what you can see is really the political moment, it changed very quickly.

And so the internet was good for many years and [Barack] Obama was the first Twitter president, remember? And that’s when he was getting all the information from Facebook and Google and those execs at Google were working on his campaign and digital technology was great, it was free and everything was hunky dory. It was when [Donald] Trump won that all of a sudden, actually, this digital media is really dangerous and we have to do something about this.

And that moment really profoundly changed everything. And even the last election, they changed their rules again so that it’s very hard to advertise for many conservatives. They got very nervous about politics.

So, I mean, I would say that it certainly, there’s a lot of woke people in tech, but it’s especially that the most powerful forces in the country and the most powerful institutions in the country, which are not really conservatives, all said, “What the heck is going on? We have to put an end to this. We can’t have this happen again.” And that’s when you saw the censorship really begin.

I would also say that we shouldn’t neglect the fact that China has a far greater influence than Russia on this sort of thing. You could see that when Twitter yanked zero hedge for saying true things about the virus very early on.

And so if you’re in tech, I mean, I would say, yeah, they’re woke and you should be angry at them. They shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. But I think the real impetus for this came from very powerful forces, both foreign and domestic, that did not want Trump to happen again, and that saw an opportunity to really clamp down and force the kind of speech they wanted. And it’s shameful.

It’s shameful to see what has happened in America. And it’s a kind of collusion between large corporate structures and governmental entities and the foundations on the left and everyone else just pushing, pushing.

So I do have some hope there. I mean, I think that we all know what needs to be done and there’s a certain element of we have to race to be there when the new internet is born. We have to be the users of the most cutting-edge tech to make us more self-sufficient. And that’s why we’re interested in Return.Life and creating that because we have to get ahead of the game.

It’s going to be very difficult to stop Google and Facebook, but the next round of technology is something that we really need to be part of and it needs to make us more self-sufficient. … Technology should make us more free. It should make us more human, not less. It should not enslave us.

And we know this now, so there’s no excuse. We need investors and founders to work together, to come together to really foster a new movement in technology.

And let me tell you, it’s latent, it exists. I mean, I see both sides of it. I mean, there’s investors who really want to find the best young talent who are going to build in this way. And there’s lots of young people in their 20s who are part of the blockchain, crypto communities who want to move in this direction. So we can do this, we can beat them, but it’s going to take a sustained effort and we have to foster this as a movement.

Bluey: Do you see any opportunities for there to be policy changes, whether it be in Washington, D.C., or increasingly, what it seems, state capitals to address some of these issues? Or are you more bullish on the private sector, as you are doing yourself, being the ones that are going to stimulate the change?

Peterson: It’s always a combination. I think both things influence each other. And one side of it is that politicians will do what you tell them if you’re part of a popular movement that has money. Just seems to work that way.

So that’s what we need to create, a commercial-cultural movement that really is demanding this way of life. And then let the policymakers figure out how to get us there. And I think, overall, that means encouraging people in policy in the state capitals or D.C. to just think more boldly about when and get more inventive, be more innovative about what might be done.

If you don’t have that kind of push to innovate in policy, just like in any other realm, things stale, get stale and stagnate. And we’re in a very exciting time here because people are starting to wake up, especially in red states, to the fact that, “Wait a minute, we are in charge. We can pass laws. What laws should we be passing that actually address the problems of reality that we see around us?”

And I think there’s a wide variety of things that we could be doing. Obviously, you see some great things in Florida with [Gov.] Ron DeSantis and all over. I think you see more experimentation. So I do think that there’s a lot that could be done in that area. There’s a lot that will be done in the area and both sides will nourish each other.

Now, one really important thing with the policy right now when it comes to tech is to protect, I think, a lot of the newer technology, and that includes bitcoin, crypto. There’s a real desire in the part of governments to take that over and use it in electronic currency to sort of tyrannize populations. And that’s one area in which policymakers can get inventive and that’s a traditional conservative stance to kind of keep things free.

But I have some hope here because I know that demand is there. I know the Republican base is increasingly demanding action, and I hope that we will see that and help foster it in the next five years.

Bluey: It’s critical that we do. … You’ve talked about some of the initiatives that you’re doing at New Founding. I also want to give you an opportunity to talk about the partners, particularly those who may be interested more in investing. You have Principal Investments, you have Firebrand, American Reformer. Anything you want to say about some of the other ventures that you’re doing?

Peterson: Some of the other things we’ve started along the way, I mean, they’re each wonderful. I’ll take two. Principal Investments existed before New Founding. My co-founder, Nate Fischer, started that at first to invest himself and now it’s become a much larger thing.

My colleague Bart Lomont does an incredible job as president of Principal, and the goal at Principal now is to create a growth equity fund that will do exactly what I was talking about earlier, right? We’ll start to invest in America, in the companies that are going to provide an alternative path rather than woke capital. So that’s very important stuff.

The other thing is we do have a super PAC, American Firebrand, which is making hot fire when it comes to content. And the goal there is to really curate and credential the messages that reward and punish, whether they’re on the right or left, the right messages.

So we don’t have a problem criticizing Republicans through American Firebrand where we feel like they should be criticized. We want to push an “America first” agenda. And I think a lot of your listeners would really like American Firebrand. And it’s one of those things where we get funding to make stuff. We can make all kinds of creative content that will really turn the dial up.

So if you check out American Firebrand on Twitter or americanfirebrand.com and you like it, get in touch because there’s a lot we can do with that vehicle as well. And it’s sorely needed in politics.

Bluey: And you have your own show, “The Matthew Peterson Podcast,” which we, of course, encourage our listeners to check out and subscribe to, where you can obviously follow a lot of the work that you’re doing at American Firebrand and New Founding. So thank you for being on the front lines and pushing those messages and making sure that more and more Americans, I think, are waking up and seeing the reality of what the left is trying to do.

Peterson: Thank you, Rob, and I thank Heritage for having me. I mean, I think it’s really exciting things are happening all around for all our organizations and more. We continue to work together on this, we can indeed fight to win, and I have a lot of hope for the future based on the response to what we’ve been doing. America’s not over, this isn’t done, we haven’t even begun to fight.

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Biden Education Department Declines to Explain 160,000 ‘Missing’ Public Comments on Redefining ‘Sex’ in Title IX  

As the clock ticks down on the public comment period for the Department of Education’s proposed rule change to Title IX, inconsistencies have emerged on the total number of comments already submitted. 

Politico reported Tuesday that the Regulations.gov website tracking the total number of publicly submitted comments had logged over 349,000 comments. 

But by Friday, three days later, the total number of public comments had shot down to 184,009—a decrease of more than 160,000 comments. 

The Biden administration provided no explanation to The Daily Signal of why those comments were removed. Politico later reported a “clerical error” had led to the disparity in numbers.

Additionally, a disconnect exists between two sources of data on submitted comments: Regulations.gov and the Office of the Federal Register

The proposed rule change for Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination because of sex in federally funded schools and universities, would redefine the word “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity.  

Opponents of the change argue that it would end protections for girls and women by allowing men who identify as women to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms and to compete on women’s sports teams. 

The Federal Register lists the total number of comments made on a certain regulation, regardless of duplicate comments or objectionable content. If a person makes a comment on a proposed rule, the Federal Register logs it.  

Regulations.gov, by contrast, is a curated and moderated list, meaning duplicate or spam comments are weeded out. By its very nature, the number of comments on Regulations.gov should be lower than the number logged on the Federal Register. 

However, the Federal Register currently has 163,013 comments logged, while Regulations.gov has 184,009—for a gap of nearly 21,000 comments. 

Agencies such as the Department of Education are permitted to redact certain comments if they contain private information or inappropriate language, or are likely part of a mass-mail campaign.  

However, a knowledgeable observer says that so many missing comments is abnormal.  

Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said: 

The jaw-dropping disparity in the Federal Register’s number of total comments received on the proposed Title IX rule from one day to the next, without explanation or disclaimer, should raise alarm bells for American parents whose children at federally funded schools will receive the direct impact of any finalized rule.  

Whether the sudden loss of nearly 200,000 citizen comments stems from incompetence or obfuscation, the Department of Education has some explaining to do.    

The Daily Signal, which is Heritage’s multimedia news organization, sought comment on the missing material from the Office of the Federal Register. 

Staff attorney Miriam Vincent replied, saying: “The Office of the Federal Register does not collect, maintain, or track comments on documents that we publish on behalf of other agencies.”  

Instead, Vincent said, the Federal Register uses an automated program that takes data from Regulations.gov and uploads it to the site directly. The Register has “no control over that number and does not know how it’s calculated,” she said. 

Vincent added: “Only the issuing agency can answer questions related to a specific docket or published document.” 

The Daily Signal also sought comment from both the Department of Education and Regulations.gov, but did not receive responses.   

However, in an updated version of the Politico newsletter, the outlet reported the Department of Education claimed that a “clerical error” with one comment that boosted the count by more than 200,000. 

The edit in the Politico newsletter article on the Title IX regulation change. Photo: Bianca Quilantan/Politico

Perry is skeptical that’s what happened. 

“The Department of Education’s claim that the error in the number of comments is due to a clerical error doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Perry. “Far more likely is that they don’t want the American people to know how unpopular this policy change is.” 

Individuals and organizations wishing to provide comment have until Sept. 12 to do so.  

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Karine Jean-Pierre’s ‘Election Denier’ Double Standard

The central hypocrisy of President Joe Biden’s indictment of the “MAGA Republicans”—as well as the Nancy Pelosi-picked panel on Jan. 6—is all the evidence of liberals and Democrats being “election deniers.”

Democracy is crumbling when Republicans question election results, but everything Democrats say and do should be categorized as exercises in idealism.

In Tuesday’s Biden press briefing, Fox White House reporter Peter Doocy started to point out what press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted in 2016.

She said, “Oh, I knew this was coming.” Doocy said, “You tweeted Trump stole an election. You tweeted Brian Kemp stole an election. If denying election results is extreme now, why wasn’t it then?”

On Dec. 17, 2016, almost six weeks after Donald Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton, Jean-Pierre tweeted, “Stolen emails, stolen drone, stolen election … welcome to the world of #unpresidented Trump.”

On April 2, 2020—about 17 months after Stacey Abrams lost her election in Georgia—Jean-Pierre tweeted over an MSNBC video link: “Reminder: Brian Kemp stole the gubernatorial election from Georgians and Stacey Abrams.” Why so late? Liberals at that time were suggesting Kemp (like Trump) was one of those GOP COVID-19 mass murderers.

Jean-Pierre tried to call the comparison “ridiculous,” that she “was talking specifically at that time of what was happening with voting rights and the—what was in danger of voting rights.”

That changes absolutely nothing. The hypocrisy remains. The only leg these liberals have to stand on is they didn’t riot at the Capitol. They spent most of Trump’s presidency treating him as a Russian-imposed fraud, but that’s somehow not being a dangerous “election denier.”

Conservatives quickly pointed out the obvious: If the press secretary had long anticipated this question, why was the answer so remarkably insufficient?

Then ABC’s “The View”—the platform where common sense goes to die—attempted to defend this hypocrisy. Whoopi Goldberg argued those tweets were just fine, since “she was part of MoveOn.org. She was not an elected official. She was doing her part as an American citizen saying how she felt about an election.” It was her “freedom of speech.”

Millions of “election deniers” are private citizens exercising free speech. That didn’t prevent Biden from attacking them as a rhetorical disaster-movie earthquake shaking the foundations of democracy. But new faux-conservative “View” panelist Alyssa Farah Griffin suggested Doocy’s comparison was “apples and basketballs.”

It gets sillier. Goldberg added not only was Jean-Pierre a “private citizen,” she “wasn’t even on television.” That is blatantly false. She proudly touted herself as an MSNBC political analyst in her MoveOn days, and also showed up on CNN with Don Lemon. In 2017, she railed against Trump on Joy Reid’s show for supposedly hating black women, that “he now sits behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, essentially defecating on women.”

In November of 2019, when NBC’s “Today” gushed over Jean-Pierre’s memoir “Moving Forward,” co-host Craig Melvin told viewers, “You can also catch her on MSNBC just about every day.” That’s not a “private citizen.”

It’s a rollicking part of our democracy that Democrats seek to keep their minority voters activated and lining up to vote by scaring them relentlessly about Republican conspiracies of “Jim Crow” voter suppression and wanting to “put y’all back in chains,” to quote then-Vice President Biden.

The “independent fact-checkers” fail to pounce, and the Big Tech platforms won’t squash them for “disinformation” and dangerous election-denier messaging.

Karine Jean-Pierre was only acting like every other cynical liberal playing this game. Doocy could have thrown this question at her when she took over for Jen Psaki in May. Her answer would have been just as lame then.

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New Disease Erases Democrats’ Memories of Their Post-2016 Attack on Democracy

Strategic amnesia is a new syndrome that lets Democrats forget their being guilty of the same behavior for which they demonize Republicans—especially when the GOP is innocent as charged.

Strategic amnesia is, essentially, what happens as psychological projection ripens over time.

Strategic-Amnesiac-in-Chief Joe Biden embodied this neurosis during the Snarl Heard ’Round the World—his corrosive, divisive Sept. 1 speech from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

Biden vilified “MAGA Republicans”—that is, President Donald Trump’s 74 million voters.

“They refuse to accept the results of a free election,” Biden shouted, in remarks translated here from the original German. “They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth, but in the shadow of lies.”

Biden shook his fists at the MAGA Republicans and added that “they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights … .”

Just as it has addled his fellow leftists, Biden’s strategic amnesia befogged his memories of how Democrats handled Trump’s 2016 triumph over Hillary Clinton.

To recollect the anger, chaos, lies, and violence that Democrats unleashed after Nov. 8, 2016, Biden and his Kameraden should consult “Rigged.” Mollie Hemingway’s first-rate chronicle of the 2020 election recaps what happened when Clinton blew an election that she supposedly had locked up.

The Democrat Non-Acceptance Caucus denounced Trump as a faux president.

  • “I know he’s an illegitimate president,” Clinton declared.
  • Former President Jimmy Carter told NPR: “Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016.”
  • “The Russians participated in helping this man get elected,” said the since-deceased Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

Lewis boycotted Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, as did at least 66 other House Democrats. They collectively spat on the peaceful transfer of power, a hallowed tradition of U.S. democracy.

Next, the Democrat chaos campaign targeted the Electoral College. Martin Sheen, Noah Wyle, and other actors starred in ads for Americans Take Action. They urged Republican Electoral College members to ignore their voters’ will and, instead, dump Trump.

Sharon Geise, Robert Graham, Ash Khare, and Rex Teter were among Trump’s electors whom Clinton’s supporters bombarded with thousands of abusive phone calls, emails, and even death threats. Michigan elector Michael Banerian told CNN: “I’ve had people talk about putting a bullet in the back of my mouth.”

During January 2017’s election-certification ceremony, seven House Democrats challenged Trump’s electors from 10 states, including Alabama and Wyoming, which he carried by 28.3 and 47.6 percentage points, respectively. The Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 enabled these Democrats to object, just as those documents empowered Republicans to oppose pro-Biden electors on Jan. 6, 2021.

After Clinton lost, her supporters clogged streets from coast to coast. Some bawled. More carried placards that read, “We don’t accept the president-elect.”

Others weren’t saying, “Give peace a chance.”

“In Oakland, rioters set trash cans, cars, and a building on fire,” Hemingway recalled. “They smashed store windows, hurt police, and blocked a freeway.”

That Nov. 9, a Chicago mob attacked David Wilcox, yelled, “You voted Trump!” at him, carjacked his Pontiac Bonneville, and then dragged him along its side.

Three days later, while riding a Bronx subway train, MAGA hat-wearing Corey Cataldo endured an attacker’s attempted strangulation for being “another white Trump supporter.”

Others soon learned that MAGA hats attract fists.

Terry Pierce, Bryton Turner, Gunnar Johnson, Jonathan Sparks, Hunter Richard, Eugenior Joseph, and Jahangir Turan are among the MAGA hat-wearing Trump lovers whom Trump haters eventually attacked—often drawing blood.

Radical film director Michael Moore instructed leftists to “disrupt the Inauguration.”

Message received.

“On Inauguration Day, more riots erupted in Washington, D.C.,” Hemingway wrote. “Hundreds were arrested as black-clad rioters set cars on fire, threw bricks, and injured police.”

While Team Biden’s strategic amnesia obscures these facts, the right should use them to expose their leftist sins.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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Lost House Seats and Electoral Votes Could Result From Census Undercounts in Red States

A senior adviser to the U.S. Census Bureau recalls sounding the alarm about the agency’s population count in 2020.

“Me and a couple of other people at the Census Bureau were pounding the table saying there are going to be problems,” Adam Korzeniewski told The Daily Signal.

“The sad thing is that no one cared,” Korzeniewski said.

Two years later, the Census Bureau has admitted to undercounting six relatively conservative states and overcounting eight liberal states. 

Critics contend that this inaccurate count now favors blue states over red states in determining Electoral College votes and seats in the House of Representatives for the next decade. 

Red regions of the United States traditionally complete census forms at a higher rate than do blue regions, Korzeniewski said. So Census Bureau career staff generally use certain procedures to estimate the population in undercounted regions, he explained. 

Because of the COVID-19 lockdowns, far less in-person enumeration occurred in 2020 than in past years. This caused staff to rely more on estimates to “correct the census into what they think it should be,” Korzeniewski said. 

The Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey shows how the 2020 census counted the total population by creating an independent estimate of the number living in the U.S. since April 2020. 

The 2020 census undercounted the population of Arkansas by 5.04%; Tennessee by 4.78%; Mississippi by 4.11%; Florida by 3.48%; Illinois by 1.97%; and Texas by 1.92%, according to the Post-Enumeration Survey. 

These six states now could have smaller delegations to the House of Representatives and fewer Electoral College votes than their respective populations should provide. 

The survey also found the 2020 census overcounted the population of eight states: Hawaii by 6.79%; Delaware by 5.45%; Rhode Island by 5.05%; Minnesota by 3.84%, New York by 3.44%; Utah by 2.59%; Massachusetts by 2.24%; and Ohio by 1.49%. 

If undercounted states opted to sue the Census Bureau under the principle of “one man, one vote” or other grounds, it would mark a landmark case for the Supreme Court, Korzeniewski said. 

The more likely scenario, he said, is congressional hearings being held or a future president seeking an independent review: 

This should be bipartisan. There needs to be serious hearings into this now. Democrats won’t do it because they got what they wanted. You have political apathy on one side, while the other side is taking a victory lap.

The Census Bureau maintains that the reassessment of its 2020 count is “not definitive.”

“Post-Enumeration Survey estimates are based on a statistical sample and created as one tool to help data users understand the quality of the census counts and help [the] Census Bureau plan for future surveys,” a Census Bureau spokesperson told The Daily Signal in an email. 

Under the overcount and undercount, Florida lost out on two additional seats it should have gotten in the House and two Electoral College votes, wrote Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation, parent organization of The Daily Signal. Texas lost one House seat, von Spakovsky wrote. 

Meanwhile, he noted, Minnesota and Rhode Island each kept a House seat they should have lost under an accurate count, while Colorado gained a House seat it didn’t deserve, von Spakovsky wrote. 

The Census Bureau contends that the impact of the overcounts and undercounts of some states is minimal. 

“The results of the PES do not change official 2020 census data, such as the apportionment data used to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives,” the Census Bureau says of the Post-Enumeration Survey in its statement to The Daily Signal. “Furthermore, the PES universe excludes people living in group quarters and remote Alaska areas, while apportionment must take into account the entire U.S. population.”  

The statement from the Census Bureau continues what the agency has done since release of the survey in May, von Spakovsky said. 

“The Census Bureau still does not explain how and why those errors occurred,” he told The Daily Signal. “The change in overcounts and undercounts in 2010 and 2020 is quite different.”

The bureau says the survey is just one means of getting closer to an accurate accounting of the U.S. population:

While PES provides a valuable tool that helps us gain insight into the quality of the 2020 census, it alone is not definitive. As a survey, it’s important to remember that results from the PES are estimates that are subject to various errors. Many of these are described in the Source and Accuracy statement and other methodological documents.

The Census Bureau’s statement also contends that the Post-Enumeration Survey shouldn’t have a significant impact on the amount of federal funds that go to states. 

“In regards to funding, it’s important to understand that the Census Bureau doesn’t determine funding formulas or how our data are used,” the Census Bureau spokesperson told The Daily Signal. “Our role is to provide quality data through a host of data products such as the annual population estimates, various surveys, and the decennial census. Together, these data inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal, state, and tribal funds are distributed each year.”

The 2010 census included what officials call a statistically insignificant national overcount of 36,000 Americans in raw numbers or just 0.01%. However, for the 2020 census, Florida alone was undercounted by about 750,000 and Texas was undercounted by about 560,000. Minnesota was overcounted by about 216,000, and Rhode Island by 55,000. 

Still, the Census Bureau argued that 2020 overcounts and undercounts “were not outside the range of variability we have come to expect from prior decades.” The agency added: “So, while informative, the 2020-to-2010 state-level comparisons cannot be considered definitive.”

No legal remedy exists to fix the count, according to the Census Bureau’s website, which asks: “Based on the PES results, can states change their 2020 census counts?” The response reads: “The quick answer is ‘No.’”

“Post-Enumeration Survey estimates are created to help data users better understand the quality of the census counts,” the Census Bureau’s website continues. 

“The estimates demonstrate the Census Bureau’s commitment to transparency and are a key tool for the Census Bureau to build and apply lessons from the 2020 census while planning for the 2030 census.”

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Clinton, Bush, Obama Didn’t Leave With Classified Information, National Archives Says

Donald Trump’s immediate predecessors as president didn’t take classified information upon leaving the White House, the National Archives and Records Administration told The Daily Signal. 

The typically history-focused agency—charged with holding White House documents and other government records under the Presidential Records Act—was thrust into a political firestorm last month when the FBI raided the Mar-a-Lago home of the 45th president. 

The FBI alleges that Trump stored classified information in his private residence in Florida. Trump has said he declassified the documents before leaving office and kept them in secure storage . 

In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, the National Archives said that Trump’s three immediate predecessors in the White House, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, didn’t leave office with classified information. 

“To our knowledge, no records containing classified national security information or information classified under the Atomic Energy Act were outside of government control with regard to the transfer of records at the end of the terms for Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, or Obama,” a National Archives spokesperson told The Daily Signal in an email. 

Each of those former presidents clashed with the National Archives over the Presidential Records Act, but the disputes did not pertain to classified documents. 

The National Archives and Records Administration provided the statement late Tuesday afternoon, although The Daily Signal first asked about the matter Aug. 26. 

The Daily Signal asked how many classified documents did Obama, Bush, and Clinton take with them when they left the presidency and what the agency did to get the documents back.  

The National Archives responded three days later, on Aug. 29, saying that because the agency is “experiencing quite a deluge of requests” from the news media, it could not meet a deadline of 4 p.m. 

The Daily Signal followed up for several days, inquiring when the agency might respond. It did so Tuesday. 

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has requested a briefing from National Archives officials as well as preservation of all documents and communications relevant to the FBI raid of Trump’s Florida home Aug. 9.  

Last month, The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act seeking communications between senior National Archives officials and the Biden White House, the Justice Department, the FBI, and Trump’s staff at Mar-a-Lago; Bedminster, New Jersey; or Trump Tower in New York City. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

The Oversight Project filed a lawsuit Sept. 2 under the Freedom of Information Act against the National Archives and the Justice Department after the agencies did not respond regarding those communications. 

“Biden’s DOJ and FBI raided Mar-a-Lago over a document dispute,” Mike Howell, director of Heritage’s Oversight Project, said in a prepared statement. 

“Now, they have a document dispute with us,” Howell said. “Let’s see if the law is truly applied evenly, or if these agencies continue to stonewall our efforts while selectively leaking information [about what was seized in the raid] to liberal media outlets to advance the narrative [Attorney General] Merrick Garland and Joe Biden want.”  

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

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For Midterms, House Republicans Preview 4-Part ‘Commitment to America’

With the midterm congressional elections just two months away, House Republicans are preparing to roll out a plan that includes their top priorities for the country.  

The “Commitment to America” is a four-part plan that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will formally unveil in Pittsburgh on Sept. 19, Axios first reported.  

“The American people expect their political leaders to have a plan, and I’m grateful [Minority] Leader Kevin McCarthy is putting forward the Commitment to America,” Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email Wednesday. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“There’s no better time than now to inspire voters with a bold vision, but it also requires a commitment to taking action once elected,” Roberts said. “Too often, politicians run on promises they fail to keep. We’re tired of the empty rhetoric and won’t settle for half-measures that fail to confront the great challenges facing America.”

McCarthy says Republicans are committed to:  

1. An Economy That’s Strong 

Fighting inflation and lowering the cost of living is central to Republicans’ plan to strengthen the economy, according to a fact sheet released by McCarthy.  

To achieve the economic growth America needs, Republicans say they will:  

  • “Put an end to ‘Build Back Better,’ and eliminate wasteful government spending that’s driving inflation.” 
  • “Continue proven pro-growth tax policies that increase take-home pay, reduce the cost of living, boost local businesses, and encourage innovation.” 
  • “Reconnect workers to jobs and end incentives that enable individuals to earn more by staying home, rather than going to work.” 

McCarthy and his colleagues on the right plan to lower gas prices and achieve American energy independence, putting an end to the “Biden administration’s anti-energy policies.” By increasing production of American-made energy, Republicans will seek to reduce America’s reliance on foreign energy from countries such as China and Russia.  

Improvements to America’s electrical grid will also help to prevent blackouts, the plan says. 

Additionally, by improving America’s supply chain, the country will face fewer shortages of items such as baby formula, and be less dependent on China, according to the [GOP] plan.  

2. A Nation That’s Safe 

A safe nation begins with a secure border, according to the “Commitment to America” plan.  

The Republicans’ plan to stop the flood of illegal immigrants streaming across the southern border includes strategies to:  

  • “Combat illegal immigration by requiring proof of legal status when applying for a job and restricting welfare benefits that incentivize illegal immigration.” 
  • “Confront the national security crisis at the border by ending catch and release, allowing [the Department of Homeland Security] to detain those who illegally enter our country while their immigration cases are pending.” 
  • “Require Remain in Mexico and allow Title 42 authority to be used to confront the public health emergency created by the fentanyl crisis.” 
  • “Finish building the wall, fully fund [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and Border Patrol, and deploy technology to stop the humanitarian crisis at the border.” 

In order to reduce crime and stop the flow of fentanyl into America, Republicans plan to increase support for law enforcement and provide law enforcement with the resources needed to “prevent drug cartels from flooding our communities with illicit drugs.”  

Republicans also say they will “place a hold on federal funds for local prosecutors and woke district attorneys who refuse to prosecute crimes.”  

National security is a priority, Republicans say, arguing that “President [Joe] Biden has managed our security through weakness and incompetence.” 

Through investing in the military, addressing the “catastrophic Afghanistan withdrawal,” opposing the Chinese Communist Party, standing with Israel, and opposing terrorism, Republicans plan to solidify America’s national security.  

3. A Future That’s Free 

The House Republicans’ plan to secure the future of America centers on providing opportunities for children and ensuring parents have a voice in their kids’ education.  

The GOP plans to ensure that parents know what their children are learning in school, protect girls and women’s athletics from males who claim to be female, and expand school choice options for students across the country.  

Republicans also plan to fight back against Democrats’ “one-size-fits-all government approach” to health care by creating more personalized health care options for Americans, increasing transparency and competition within the health care system, and expanding health care access.  

Big Tech companies are also a critical part of the conversation regarding America’s future, the Republican plan says.  

The “Commitment to America” plan would hold Big Tech companies accountable with a pledge to:  

  • “Scrap Section 230 for the largest tech companies and start over with rules that promote free speech.” 
  • “Provide greater privacy and data security protections for Americans.” 
  • “Target anti-competitive behaviors with strengthened antitrust review and enforcement.” 
  • “Equip parents with the tools necessary to keep their kids safe online.” 

4. A Government That’s Accountable 

The GOP says in its plan that congressional oversight is lacking in Washington, but it will seek to restore government accountability.  

Republicans say they will hold the Biden administration accountable through:  

  • “Use all tools at our disposal to pursue the truth, root out corruption and abuse of power, and provide transparency to the American people on the issues that matter most.” 
  • “Reassert Article I priorities with increased staffing of committee counsels.” 
  • “Demand the Administration answer to the American people for their mismanagement of our country.” 

Republicans’ plan also includes a commitment to preserve Americans’ constitutional freedoms.  

Top of mind for Republicans, according to their plan, is the need to protect Americans’ right to free speech, freedom of religion, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  

Republicans say they are committed to defending the unborn and protecting the “Supreme Court justices and pro-life organizations targeted by destruction and violence.”  

Finally, Republicans plan to hold the government accountable by restoring faith in America’s elections.  

Republicans will seek to end proxy voting for members of Congress, ensure secure elections through mechanisms such as voter ID, and prevent those who are not American citizens from voting.  

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

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Onward, Christian Soldiers Against Trump?

People who adopt a more modernist take on Christianity lean heavily on the Gospel of Matthew, insisting believers should not be quick to judge others, lest they be judged. But the evangelical Christians promoted by The Washington Post aggressively judge Christians who decided to vote for Donald Trump.

Post columnist Michael Gerson, a former chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush, sounded like he was writing a speech for President Joe Biden in a sprawling 4,295-word Sept. 4 essay, “Trump should fill Christians with rage. How come he doesn’t?”

If you don’t rage like Gerson, you’re not a good Christian.

Since 2016, many Christians have struggled to support Trump, whose public behavior is the opposite of Christian humility and kindness. But Gerson treats every Trump supporter as a “MAGA Republican,” saying that many believers are taking “perverse and dangerous liberties” with their faith, aligning with the “symbols and identity of white authoritarian populism,” a “serious, unfolding threat to liberal democracy.”

This doesn’t sound like a conservative Christian columnist. It sounds like the average Washington Post staffer mounting his hobby horse in their official “Democracy Dies in Darkness” T-shirt. Gerson’s stuck in a rut, regurgitating his righteous thunderbolts like an Episcopalian Max Boot.

A conservative Christian could write a stern lecture to fellow believers to avoid falling into hatred, unproven conspiracy theories, and, most darkly, into violent rioting. Christians should reflect daily on whether their own personal (and political) behavior is worthy of Jesus Christ. But Gerson denies the threats to religious freedom that have driven Christians to vote for Trump, especially the aggressive advance of radical gender ideology.

Gerson dismisses “baseless accusations of gay ‘grooming’ in schools” and “a patently false belief that Godless conspiracies have taken hold of political institutions.” Somehow, Gerson can’t engage with the evidence pouring out from Twitter accounts like those of Christopher Rufo and “Libs of TikTok” that demonstrate a crusade to indoctrinate young children into a thicket of choosing personal pronouns and then alternative sexual expressions.

Calling that “baseless” is willful blindness.

This Post evangelist accuses Republicans of exploiting Christian defensiveness in service to “aggressive, reactionary politics.” But he can’t spend a sentence of his long jeremiad on religious freedoms being crushed.

He could address the two Alaska Airlines flight attendants who were fired last year because they asked questions about the company’s support of the radical Equality Act and how it would impact people with religious beliefs. The airline argued, “Defining gender identity or sexual orientation as a moral issue … is … a discriminatory statement.”

He could claim the angst of Christians is unduly “apocalyptic” because the Supreme Court is still friendly to religious freedom, like the recent case of the high school football coach who was fired over saying prayers at midfield after games. But that result came from three Supreme Court justices appointed by Trump. He can’t acknowledge for one second the contradiction—that this thrice-married crude talker with a propensity to mangle the truth and encourage riots has become the man who has shielded religious freedom from a radical and godless onslaught.

Gerson is “surveying the transgressive malevolence of the radical right” and finding only “moral ruin” among Republicans without ever seriously addressing the transgressions of the radical left. But then, The Washington Post is one of those transgressors, routinely lobbying against any inkling of an “anti-LGBTQ backlash.”

He said, “When you choose your community, you choose your character.” Is his chosen media community the Christian model? We could ask him this question: “The Washington Post should fill Christians with rage. How come it doesn’t?”

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The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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What Happened When Rhode Island Rushed to Make It Easier to Vote (and Cheat)

Are corrupt election officials attempting to rig elections in Rhode Island? Or are the secretary of state and the Board of Elections utterly incompetent?

Either way, in its zeal to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to vote, Ocean State election officials—in promoting early voting through use of technology—have made it easily possible to cheat. Or at least easy for human error to affect elections.

With early primary voting underway in Rhode Island, and just days after Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea proudly launched a new, digital ExpressVote voting aid, it was disclosed and confirmed that 55 voters had been disenfranchised.

When at the polling place, the ExpressVote machine prints out a paper ballot after the voter marks a digital ballot on a display screen. The paper ballot is then fed into a traditional counting machine. The machines are designed to aid those who might otherwise have a problem manually marking a ballot, for whatever reason.

The problem occurred when the machines, in Spanish-language mode, in at least four known cities listed the wrong names. Somehow, candidates from 2018 were erroneously uploaded into the machines by a third-party vendor, rather than this year’s 2022 candidates.

Want even more incompetence? It was later discovered that the name of the Democratic mayoral candidate in Providence, Gonzalo Cuervo, was misspelled as “Gonzolo” on the screen of the ExpressVote ballot-marking machine when displayed in Spanish.

On the incorrect digital ballot, confused voters ended up voting for people who were not even running. Since the error was discovered, those 55 ballots were uncounted—and thus 55 unknown voters have been disenfranchised.

Nobody seems to know how the wrong candidate names were uploaded. But this digital process, just like an insecure mail-ballot process, highlights the many ways—purposefully or inadvertently—that voters and ballots can easily be invalidated.

Apparently, no one at the Secretary of State’s Office or the Board of Elections bothered to double-check or test whether the digital ballots were accurate, each claiming it was someone else’s fault.

In America, this lack of responsibility, this lack of accountability, and this kind of voter disenfranchisement is absolutely unacceptable.

So many questions should be asked, even though most are likely to go unanswered. For instance, news reports indicate that local polling place volunteers encouraged voters to use the digital ExpressVote system, even if they were perfectly capable of filling out ballots manually on their own. Why?

Did some unscrupulous state official or vendor employee purposefully see to it that the wrong list of candidates was uploaded? If so, how would deceiving Spanish-speaking voters help one candidate over another? Or was it unintentional human error, combined with a negligent lack of oversight? Will it soon be discovered that other machines in other cities have similar or other errors?

Regardless, the push by the left to “expand access” as much as possible has once again led to a serious, and previously avoidable, voting problem. With so many people handling, coding, uploading, or potentially being able to hack into these vulnerable machines, the potential for corruption, criminality, or human error is enormous.

Indeed, in recent years, Americans have learned that an election process where voter identification, ballot integrity, and chain of custody cannot be validated, or where software technology is involved in the marking or counting of ballots, is a process that cannot be trusted to be secure.

It’s not acceptable to identify a flaw in the voting process after the fact—as Rhode Island officials are bragging—in trying to sweep the incident under the rug.

“Fifty-five Rhode Island voters will experience real-life voter disenfranchisement due to sloppy work by Rhode Island elections officials. Not one elected official, elections official, or advocate has used the words ‘disenfranchised’ or ‘disenfranchisement’ when discussing this issue,” said Ken Block, two-time gubernatorial candidate in Rhode Island, a state election watchdog, and a former member of the National Task Force on Election Crises.

This ExpressVote machine-error incident will surely lead to even greater public distrust of election integrity.

In Rhode Island in 2020, as in many other states nationally, vote tabulations that clearly appeared to be going one way on election night had swung wildly the other way by morning, after mail-in ballots were counted overnight.

Many questions and concerns were aired by candidates and the public, but state election officials claimed it was the most secure election ever.

We now know better.

One of the first blue states in America to implement a strong voter ID law, Rhode Island’s more recent track record has served to weaken public confidence in its election integrity.

As we saw in other states when responding to the pandemic during the 2020 election cycle, then-Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, with the support of Gorbea, unilaterally and unconstitutionally altered the state’s voting process, via executive order, by funding and promoting mass mail-ballot voting, indiscriminately sending mail-ballot applications to every registered voter in the state, and further compounding the potential for fraud by also eliminating related and long-standing voter-validation provisions.  

Not only were these major election changes done without the state Legislature’s approval, but the General Assembly specifically failed to pass identical legislation in its earlier spring legislative session.

A related lawsuit was dismissed on frivolous grounds, because, according to the judge, the General Assembly, as the government entity whose authority was superseded by the executive order, would not agree to serve as co-plaintiff.

Then, during this year’s session, the state Legislature got back in line with the hard-left by passing controversial “Let R.I. Vote” legislation, which codified much of the temporary 2020 election changes—expanding early voting, allowing mail-in ballots without proper ID procedures, and mandating drop boxes in every city and town, all while doing nothing to address the free-for-all ballot-harvesting problem that is still not illegal in our state.

And it could get even worse in the Ocean State, as there’s a well-organized effort—backed by Big Labor and traditional left-wing advocacy groups—to next implement online or email voting, as well as same-day registration. Hopefully, this ballot-machine disaster will put the brakes on such error-prone ideas.

Our elections must be as secure as possible from the very start and throughout the entire process. Justice is not served when laws designed to “expand access to vote” end up expanding the number of voters who are disenfranchised.

In making it easier to vote, Rhode Island election officials are clearly making it easier to cheat—or be cheated.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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Biden Is About 1619, Not 1776

President Joe Biden travelled to Philadelphia, to Independence Hall, the place where the nation’s Founders signed the Declaration of Independence, to make his case for “The Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation.”

Indeed, the president, in his remarks, said we are at an “inflection point” regarding where we stand and the path we’ll take for the future.

It is one of those rare moments when I agree with our president. We are in a tug of war for our future.

Biden presented himself, and the political factions he represents, as those dedicated to saving and preserving the nation’s founding principles. The threat, per Biden, is “Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans,” who “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

But the woke crowd that Biden represents doesn’t see the beginning of American history with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776. They see the beginning of American history with the arrival of slaves to the state of Virginia in 1619.

They see America as a place of oppression that needs to be fixed. Not as the first nation in the world to be founded, under God, on the principles of liberty. Our president knows that if he conveyed imagery consistent with the values he really represents, the state of his party in upcoming elections would be even worse than it now is.

Biden’s performance in Philadelphia, as most appreciate, was politically contrived, because polling shows that former President Donald Trump is a polarizing figure. Democrats want to focus attention on him, rather than on what they are about and what those who identify with MAGA really want.

It’s not about any one individual, but about the struggle for the high ground. The inflection point is whether America will be secular, socialist, and woke or the free nation under God, as conceived by its founders.

Our president cannot even accurately read our own Declaration of Independence, which he described as “an idea unique among nations: that, in America, we’re all created equal.”

But this isn’t what it says. It says “all men are created equal”—not just in America.

It is not about politics. It is about a nation under God that embodies universal truths. And that the job of government is to preserve our God-given rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Biden left God out of the equation, and he left the role of government out of the equation, which, per the Declaration, is to secure individual liberty, not to exercise power to decide who has what.

The MAGAites that bother Biden so are a nationwide movement to recapture exactly those principles that the nation’s Founders declared in Philadelphia, where Biden stood and spoke.

It is no accident that Biden declares “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” but with one swipe of the presidential pen, he just wiped out somewhere between $500 billion to $1 trillion in student loan obligations that are now on the shoulders of American taxpayers.

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley at George Washington University writes that the president’s constitutional authority to do this is dubious at best. “His administration,” writes Turley, “is rushing to get money out the door in October, a month before the midterm elections.”

Turley continues, “The Supreme Court has repeatedly found that President Biden has violated the Constitution and overreached in his use of unilateral executive authority. Biden has, arguably, the worst record of court losses in the first two years of any recent presidential administration.”

Trump captured the presidency in 2016 as a complete political outsider because a massive part of America was and is concerned about losing their country.

Half the nation’s economy is now being taken by government at the federal, state, and local level.

This is not the America of 1776. We are indeed struggling for our nation’s soul.

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The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.


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Lawmakers Must Act as Biden Weaponizes Big Tech Against Americans

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt last week exposed the symbiosis of the deep state and the Silicon Valley elites. Schmitt’s revelation came just days after Americans learned that Facebook coordinated with the FBI to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story a few weeks before the 2020 election.

It is now clearer than ever that President Joe Biden’s regime is actively using the power of Big Tech’s totalitarian policies to silence the dissenting opinions of ordinary Americans.

The past few weeks of whistleblowers and court discovery have revealed evidence of the Biden administration’s deliberate weaponization of the power of Big Tech. It started in July 2021, when then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki disclosed that the Biden administration was working with Facebook to censor “misinformation” related to COVID-19.

Thanks to Schmitt, we now know of more than 45 officials at various agencies and numerous White House staffers who communicate with social media platforms about “misinformation.” (These agencies include the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of the Surgeon General, and the Election Assistance Commission.)

Meanwhile, the Justice Department stonewalls attempts in court to discover communications between Big Tech and White House staff.

While Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has insisted repeatedly that it relies on unbiased fact-checking partners to curtail misinformation, recent discovery from Schmitt’s lawsuit has proved otherwise.

In newly released emails, Facebook employees take direct orders from government officials on which Facebook accounts to act against. This alarming alliance between the liberal bureaucrats in Washington and Meta has resulted in the silencing of conservative voices, and there is no sign of this slowing down.

Coordination between the White House and Big Tech doesn’t stop with Meta. Recently, author and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson was deplatformed by Twitter after White House officials explicitly requested his removal. After release of the whistleblower report that revealed prevalence of corruption inside Twitter, and considering Twitter’s long history of suppressing dissidents, it is no surprise that Twitter management is willing to take orders from Washington.

These recent stories have provided lawmakers and ordinary Americans alike with hard evidence that this censorship enterprise is a coordinated effort to weaponize Big Tech against the American people.

Under the guise of protecting Americans from “misinformation,” the Biden administration has launched a war against free speech and traditional values. In this ongoing totalitarian crackdown, Biden and his allies in Silicon Valley have weaponized account limitations, suspensions, and deplatforming to silence dissidents and preserve the dying shreds of the ruling class.

Internet platforms’ content moderation policies for misinformation and other buzzwords are thin veils for the seamless collusion between liberal government and social media. Big Tech isn’t depending on “algorithms” or “unbiased third-party fact-checkers” to determine which accounts to suppress.

Instead, social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook work with their handlers in Washington to impose a liberal worldview on America and eliminate criticism of Biden and his allies. Misinformation policies were never anything more than an excuse to silence the enemies of the ruling class.

The unelected bureaucrats in Washington have conquered Silicon Valley and claimed it as their own. What Donald Trump identified as the deep state has now expanded its reach into every facet of our lives.

Although the threat of the Chinese Communist Party’s ideology receives attention, our own civil servants in Washington willfully have accomplished an equally dystopic vision for America. Americans no longer may post their political opinions freely without fear of being deplatformed.

Now it appears that draining the swamp also will require draining Silicon Valley.

After Biden’s divisive speech Thursday night, which served as a declaration of war against more than 70 million “MAGA Republicans,” Americans can be certain that this censorship and aggression toward conservatives will only grow.

The fight for the future of the internet is intertwined with the political battle for our country. As the radical left aggressively tries to consolidate power, the Biden administration will use the internet against ordinary Americans to force us into submission.

It is critical that lawmakers in Congress and in state legislatures take decisive action to protect their constituents from political oppression. The future of the internet depends on bold leadership that is committed to protecting dissidents. The next few months not only will determine the direction of our country, but also the future of the internet.

However, we can’t continue to depend on podcast interviews and the discovery process in lawsuits as our strategy to fight Big Tech’s tyranny. A defense-oriented approach that depends on tech policy being made by lawsuit is preventing us from achieving any real advances, and is no way to run a country.

Those concerned about the integrity of our republic should seek offensive legislative action from the people’s representatives in Congress and in state legislatures. Only the force of law will be enough to restore integrity to political life online.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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America Is Literally Falling Apart. It’s Time for Those Who Care About Country to Step Up.

The accelerating pace at which the U.S. is falling apart is matched only by the increasing hope among those in power that all will be solved if they just get Donald Trump out of the way.

That, of course, is wishful thinking of the highest order.

More than half a decade after Trump first came down the escalator, those running nearly every institution in America still don’t realize that he is a symptom of what’s going on in the country—not the cause.

Even more damaging, those in power have lost confidence that the political system will get rid of Trump, so they are now resorting to brute force. And now the criticism is not just of Trump or of those who stormed the Capitol and deserve it, but of all Trump’s voters as well. Upping the ante like they have has taken a country on edge and moved it that much closer to catastrophe.

If there are any cool heads left in American leadership, it’s time for them to step up.

The first casualty in the establishment’s war on Trump was free speech. The left now celebrates censorship over the battle of ideas. Some ideas are just too dangerous is the new attitude. They should not be heard. This crazy un-American notion began in the classroom and is now a widespread view among most American journalists and certainly among those running the social media platforms where speech is now conducted.

The problem, of course, is trying to suppress ideas does not work. Bad ideas must be overcome by good ideas. Those espousing ideas must fight it out in the court of public opinion. You can’t short-circuit this process by force. Numerous authoritarian countries have tried this, and it has never worked for long.

The newest casualty seems to be the rule of law. Nobody in America should be above the law. Many on the American left have argued against this notion in recent years. Crime has boomed in many cities as a result.

Latching onto these crazy, radical ideas is one of the reasons Democrats are suffering politically. Most Americans would agree that if Trump broke the law in a meaningful way, then he should be held responsible. Everyone also knows that prosecutors and law enforcement are given a great deal of leeway in how laws are enforced.

In the case of a violation of classified document regulations by a former president, the complications are compounded by the enormous power the U.S. Constitution places in American presidents. If the public feels that those in authority are misusing their prosecutorial discretion for political purposes, that the laws are not being administered fairly, then the repercussions could be devastating.

If Hunter Biden is given a free pass after potentially violating major laws, then America is one step closer to becoming a Third World country. If the Biden administration’s Justice Department unfairly went after the president’s biggest political opponent just months before elections, it needs to give a full explanation.

The Biden administration amazingly does not seem to have considered this factor at all before conducting a mob-style raid of the former president’s home. No explanation was offered for days, and when it was, the vast majority was literally redacted. To date, the government still has not explained why the treatment of Trump differed so much from the treatment of Hillary Clinton for what seems to most people like similar behavior.

Nobody can force the Biden administration to explain in detail its justification, why means short of a mob raid could not have been used, and how this differs in substance from how Clinton was treated. There are court efforts to force answers to these questions, but they will likely not succeed unless the administration wants to explain.

The administration should want to do just that. If this is not political at all, you would expect it to want to bend over backward to explain how and why. The absence of that explanation is the most damning part of it all.

All of this has upped the national temperature to a breaking point. Headlines in major U.S. newspapers now debate whether the country is headed for a civil war. Politicians and activists are betting on who would win.

The greatest country in the history of the world is literally falling apart. It’s time for those who care about America to step up. The current course is unsustainable.

Those controlling the levers of government, media, corporate, entertainment, and academic power have a clear choice going forward. They must go back to fighting and trying to win the battle of ideas.

Many of the policies that have benefited elite Americans are not working for everyday people. That’s been the source of all the current political unrest. It started with the financial crisis. Elites also got richer helping the rise of an authoritarian China. How was this good for everyday Americans?

It’s time to engage in this debate, and so many others head-on. If mistakes were made, it’s time to admit it and find solutions. Those in charge of America’s leading institutions hold all the power. Nobody can make them engage. They have to want to do it for love of country.

Ignoring the underlying problems and hoping to win by increasing levels of brute force is another option they can try, but it will not work. It will only push an amazing country further and further toward the abyss.

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Justice Department Lawyer Smears Religious Liberty Advocate as ‘Hate Group’

A senior Justice Department official referred to a highly regarded religious liberty organization as a “hate group” in a recent LinkedIn post. 

Eric P. Bruskin, assistant director of the commercial litigation branch in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, used the term to describe Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group founded in 1993.

The Justice Department’s social media policy discourages employee comments that could be “perceived as showing prejudice” toward characteristics such as religion.

Bruskin, previously a lawyer with the ACLU of Massachusetts appeared to follow the lead of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing group that regularly calls Alliance Defending Freedom and other conservative organizations “hate groups.”

Bruskin used the term “hate group” in responding to a LinkedIn post by Jason Weida, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Massachusetts who now is a state health official in Florida. Weida’s message also praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who routinely is attacked by Democrats.

In his post, Weida wrote: “Honored to speak with [senior counsel] Matt Sharp at Alliance Defending Freedom about the work we’re doing in Florida to protect kids from experimental medical interventions and to defend parental rights, all thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis.” 

Bruskin referred to Alliance Defending Freedom in his reply to Weida, writing: “Jason, this is a hate group. You’re speaking at a conference for a hate group. Are these the beliefs you hold? If so, then it’s time we end our professional association.”

Bruskin’s title, workplace, and the preferred personal pronouns “He/Him” appear next to his name. 

Screen Shot of LinkedIn 1

The Daily Signal sought comment from the Justice Department on Bruskin’s public comment on social media. Justice Department public affairs specialist Danielle Blevins replied Thursday in an email: “I received your inquiry. We’re going to decline to comment.”

Bruskin left the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts to work for the Justice Department in 2009, Barack Obama’s first year as president. In July 2020, he moved into his current career position as assistant director of commercial litigation. 

The Justice Department includes a standard of conduct regarding personal use of social media as part of an employee manual.

This employee policy states that department employees are required at all times to adhere to certain government-wide standards of conduct that apply to online communications, regardless of whether at work, off duty, or using government equipment. The policy says: 

All department employees should be aware of the following requirements governing the use of social media, and department attorneys should consider obligations imposed by applicable rules of professional conduct: 

… Department employees should not make comments that can be perceived as showing prejudice based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected basis. To figure out what other protected classes means, the DOJ Civil Rights and Civil Liberties website states [that] federal law prohibits discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status.

In late August, the Justice Department applied restrictions to prevent even non-career, political appointees—in addition to career employees such as Bruskin—from attending partisan political events, Politico reported.

“As department employees, we have been entrusted with the authority and responsibility to enforce the laws of the United States in a neutral and impartial manner,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a memo to Justice Department employees about the new policy. “In fulfilling this responsibility, we must do all we can to maintain public trust and ensure that politics—both in fact and appearance—does not compromise or affect the integrity of our work.”

On its website, Alliance Defending Freedom describes itself this way: “ADF is the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.”

“Alliance Defending Freedom is recognized as among the most effective legal advocacy organizations dedicated to protecting the religious freedom and free speech rights of all Americans,” Greg Scott, the group’s senior vice president for communications, told The Daily Signal in an email. 

Scott said he couldn’t speak directly about Bruskin. 

“[Alliance Defending Freedom] has prevailed in 14 Supreme Court cases since 2011, including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that overturned Roe v. Wade,” Scott said. “Additionally, [Alliance Defending Freedom] has secured more than 400 victories protecting the free speech rights of students on college campuses over that same time frame.” 

 “[Alliance Defending Freedom] will continue to do the hard work of preserving liberty and leave the name-calling to others,” he added.

Bruskin did not specify in the short post on LinkedIn where he came up with the “hate group” characterization. 

However, the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group. The left-wing group routinely lumps in conventional religious organizations and mainstream right-of-center groups with extremist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis on a list of hate groups. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been viewed as largely discredited since a discrimination and sexual harassment scandal rocked the outfit. 

The organization was forced to apologize to British activist Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in 2018 after listing them in its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” After Nawaz threatened to sue for defamation, SPLC settled the claim and agreed to pay $3.3 million in damages and post an apology video.

In 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center placed Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon then running for the Republican presidential nomination, on its “extremist list.” 

Carson went on to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration.  

Weida declined to comment. The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, where Weida is an assistant secretary, did not immediately reply to inquires for this story.

The post Justice Department Lawyer Smears Religious Liberty Advocate as ‘Hate Group’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Exposing Biden Regime’s Collusion With Big Tech to Suppress Conservative Speech

On Thursday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt unveiled some very interesting documents that his office and the office of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry have received since the two states jointly filed a potentially pathbreaking lawsuit in May.

Their lawsuit alleges that various high-ranking Biden administration officials have been colluding, in censorious fashion, with the purportedly “private” oligarchs of Big Tech. The straightforward aim of this collusion is the suppression of the dissident “wrongthink”—namely, conservative speech—that threatens the Biden regime’s tenuous grasp on power.

The documents Schmitt and Landry have received, pursuant to their serving of discovery requests and issuing of third-party subpoenas, shine a spotlight on the depths to which the Biden regime has fallen to collapse any putative distinction between the “public” sector and the “private” sector.

Their findings thus far in this still-pending litigation reveal to all—as if we needed more evidence but a week after Mark Zuckerberg’s podcast confession heard ’round the world with popular host Joe Rogan—the extent to which Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter no longer qualify as meaningfully “private” and have instead simply become appendages of the state.

According to Schmitt, the Biden Department of Justice has, since Missouri and Louisiana’s lawsuit was filed, identified 45 federal officials who have “interacted with social media companies on misinformation.” What’s more, Meta (Facebook’s parent company) pinpointed 32 additional Biden functionaries with whom it communicated, and YouTube (a Google product) identified 11 such flunkies with whom it communicated.

Overall, the emails obtained evince, as Schmitt says, “a vast censorship enterprise.”

The findings unveiled include the revelation that Facebook and the Biden administration arranged weekly and monthly phone calls to discuss what Facebook should be censoring. Those emails, from late July 2021, happen to be dated just a couple of weeks after then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized social media platforms for not doing enough to stifle “misinformation,” and President Joe Biden criticized them for “killing people.”

What curious timing!

Other emails confirm that Biden administration actors and agencies as wide-ranging as the surgeon general, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency were all in communication with some combination of Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

In every instance, the goal was the same: to censor “misinformation” and to constrain the regime’s Overton window of permissible civilian opinion formation so as to penalize the citizenry’s (well-earned) suspicion of the regime’s proffered narratives. As Saul Alinsky said, after all, “he who controls the language controls the masses.”

Schmitt’s revelations come just two weeks after Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed Rubenfeld, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column, compellingly demonstrated the extent to which the Biden administration directed Twitter to ban Alex Berenson, a notable skeptic of regime orthodoxy when it came to the COVID-19-era biomedical security state.

And in the interim, in the brief time between that recent Journal op-ed and Schmitt’s unveiled love letters between Zuckerberg’s hucksters and Biden’s nomenklatura, came perhaps the biggest revelation of all.

On Aug. 25, Zuckerberg himself confided to Rogan on-air that America’s Stasi—sorry, FBI—warned Facebook in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election about the threat of “Russian misinformation,” thus effectively commandeering Facebook to algorithmically penalize, and generally conceal, the New York Post’s bombshell October 2020 story pertaining to prodigal son Hunter Biden’s infamous “laptop from hell.”

Some polls have indicated that as many as 1 in 6 Biden voters would have changed their vote in 2020 if they had known the full extent of the Post’s reporting on Hunter’s cursed laptop. Given how narrow Biden’s winning statewide margins of victory were in the states that gave him his Electoral College majority, Big Tech’s censorship was all but assuredly dispositive.

Big Tech, then, is responsible for Biden’s presidency.

And it is demonstrably also responsible for the continuing suppression and subjugation of all those “misinformation”-peddling “wrongthink”-ers who refuse to bend the knee to the Biden regime. Big Tech gave Biden the election, and Big Tech now does Biden’s dirty work for him.

These technology platforms, in short, have proven themselves to not be “private” actors in any meaningful sense of the term. They are now direct appendages of the state, and they must be constitutionally treated and regulated as such.

At the state level, that means directly requiring Big Tech to embrace viewpoint-neutrality and to not censor conservative or otherwise-dissenting viewpoints, similar to Texas’ recently enacted law that is currently winding its way through the federal courts. Applying a First Amendment speech standard to Big Tech is manifestly fair—and simply bespeaks the reality of what these platforms have become.

At the federal level, that means amending our byzantine corpus of civil rights law to add political viewpoint as an additional protected class, as well as independent action to either statutorily clarify that platforms such as Facebook are—or have the Federal Communications Commission unilaterally regulate these platforms under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 as—common carriers.

There is absolutely no reason why Facebook, for example, should now be regulated any differently than how the phone companies and internet service providers are regulated.

It is bitterly ironic that the Biden regime, which has recently taken to denouncing so-called MAGA Republicans as “semi-fascists,” has so accelerated the collapse of any distinction between the “public” and the “private,” resulting in a singular regime blob.

Such a merging of the state and the corporate sphere into such a disfigured blob, historically speaking, was a hallmark of actual fascism. In the year 2022, such naked “public”-“private” collusion, and such a “public”-“private” merger, represents the single biggest threat facing the American way of life.

We must respond to that threat accordingly.

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The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post Exposing Biden Regime’s Collusion With Big Tech to Suppress Conservative Speech appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Who Are You Calling Fascist, Mr. President?

The other day, President Joe Biden accused voters of the opposition party of turning to “semi-fascism.” This is probably the first time in American history a president has openly attacked the opposing party’s constituents in this way.

Then again, Biden, who once alleged that the chaste Mitt Romney was harboring a desire to bring back chattel slavery, is prone to stupid hyperbole.

And it’s true that most people who throw around the word “fascist” fail to do so with much precision.

These days, the word “democracy,” like “fascism,” has lost all meaning. According to Democrats, asking someone to show ID before voting is an attack on “democracy,” but so is the Supreme Court’s handing back power to voters on the abortion issue.

When you have no limiting principles of governance, anything that inhibits your exertion of power is seen as anti-“democracy.” If students have loans to be repaid, “forgive” them. If you can’t pass a bill, the executive branch should do it by fiat. If the court stops it, pack it.

Power is only to be limited when the opposition holds it.

A microcosm of this confused thinking can be found in the recent spate of hysterical media pieces about alleged Republican “book banning.” The use of “ban” by the media is more than a category error; it’s an effort to paint parents who use the very same exact democratic powers the left has relied on for decades as book burners.

Public school curricula and book selection are political questions decided by school and library boards. Neither have a duty to carry every single volume on racial identitarianism or sexually explicit material simply demanded by some busybody at the American Library Association.

Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center notes that fascists “believed that multiparty democracy weakened the nation, and that competitive capitalism was wasteful and exploitative. Their alternative was a one-party state that guided the economy through regulation and sector-based accords between labor and business.”

Well, is it not the left that champions government intervention in the economy, with never-ending regulations, subsidies, and mandates that effectively allow for controlling the means of production?

Leftists—some incrementally, some less so—are the proponents of nationalizing the health care system, the energy sector, and education. Again, if progressives have any limiting principles when it comes to intervention in our economic lives, I’d love to hear about them.

Are the most vociferous defenders of “democracy” not the ones who sound suspiciously like they want a one-party state? Modern Democrats have stopped debating policy or accepting the legitimacy of anyone who stands in their way.

They will pass massive, generational reforms using parliamentary tricks, without any input from the minority. And they don’t merely champion their work as beneficial; they claim these bills are needed for the survival of “democracy” and “civilization”—nay, the survival of the planet.

Anyone who opposes saving Mother Earth is surely an authoritarian. There is nothing to debate. The villainization of political opponents isn’t new, but we are breaking new ground.

Some may find it a bit fascist-y that the FBI feels free to instruct giant rent-seeking corporations to censor news to help elect their preferred candidate, as it did with Facebook. Or that the White House is in the business of “flagging” “problematic posts” and threatening corporations to “root out” “misleading” speech or be held accountable.

One wouldn’t be off-base seeing a “Disinformation Governance Board” that sifts through speech the administration dislikes or a Justice Department that treats those protesting authoritarian school boards as “domestic terrorists” as “semi-fascist.”

It is curious, as well, that the same people who control basically all major institutions in American life—academia, media, unions, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, trade associations, public schools, publishing, the entire D.C. bureaucracy, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, not to mention the presidency and Congress—claim to be victims of budding authoritarianism.

The only major institution free of progressives’ grip right now is the Supreme Court. And the left is engaged in a systematic effort to delegitimize the court for doing its job and limiting the state’s power.

None of this is to say that the right is innocent. I often find myself debating the populist right on issues ranging from the free markets to the role of the state.

Abuses of the Constitution should be called out, no matter who engages in them. However, progressivism’s crusade to destroy the separation of powers, its attacks on religious freedom and free speech, its undermining of civil society, its binding of the economy to the state, and its fostering of perpetual dependency and victimhood are far bigger long-term threats to the republic than Trumpism—and far closer to the definition of “semi-fascism” than the Republican agenda.

COPYRIGHT 2022 CREATORS.COM

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post Who Are You Calling Fascist, Mr. President? appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Biden’s Authoritarian Speech: ‘MAGA’ Republican Opponents Are a Threat to Democracy

President Joe Biden confirmed on Thursday night that if you oppose him, you are an extremist who hates democracy.

Flanked by two members of the military and illuminated on a podium in blood-red lighting, Biden spent half an hour blasting his political opponents in a prime-time address to the nation.

Biden, who delivered his rant in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, defined his political opponents—the “MAGA Republicans”—as illegitimate monsters, a rich statement to make just weeks after the FBI raided the home of former President Donald Trump, the man who opposed him in the last election.

Though Biden stumbled and coughed through some of his early lines, his message was clear: People who oppose and disagree with his administration are against democracy.

Biden never really got around to the important issues that most Americans are concerned about right now. He said nothing about the runaway inflation, the economy, the border crisis, or any of that—just a long string of invectives against his political opponents followed up by statements about “unity” and “hope.”

“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault,” Biden said. “We do ourselves no favors to pretend otherwise.”

The president then smeared his political foes as an existential threat to the country: “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

So, what Americans represent unacceptable extremism?

Earlier in the day, Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had the answer.

“When you are not with where majority of Americans are, then you know, that is extreme.”

NOW – White House: "When you are not with what majority of Americans are, then you know, that is extreme. That is an extreme way of thinking." pic.twitter.com/MpiwE9bRlx

— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 1, 2022

Since Biden is deeply underwater in the polls, this administration must be defining the “majority” differently.

“There is no place for political violence in America. Period,” Biden said, adding that “the blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy.”

Of course, Biden wasn’t so vociferous and animated when the “mostly peaceful protests,” turned riots destroyed large sections of American cities in 2020. That’s different, of course. When riots happen in the name of Black Lives Matter or when Antifa—which Biden defined as no more than an “idea”—smashes businesses, well that’s just people getting a little carried away.

In his denunciation of political violence, Biden also said nothing about the abortion activist who tried to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He also said nothing about the dozens of churches and crisis pregnancy centers that have been vandalized and attacked in the last few months.

Biden spent much of his time saying that those who question elections are basically against democracy. Almost laughably, he said that his political opponents are against the Constitution. It’s a remarkable contention given that he just unilaterally declared student loan forgiveness, spending billions of dollars, with dubious constitutional authority.

Ignoring the Constitution is only bad when other people do it, I guess.

“Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very republic,” Biden said. “Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they were cheated.”

Is that so? What an interesting take from the leader of a party that’s had a significant faction question the electoral legitimacy of every Republican presidential win since 2000.

In fact, this was the president’s own press secretary after the 2016 election.

Stolen emails, stolen drone, stolen election …..welcome to the world of #unpresidented Trump https://t.co/NI7vqPV6cu

— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) December 18, 2016

And again, more recently.

Reminder: Brian Kemp stole the gubernatorial election from Georgians and Stacey Abrams.https://t.co/ZIKGTd6U1v

— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) April 2, 2020

Is the press secretary a threat to democracy or is it just the president’s opponents?

As caustic and at times unhinged Biden’s speech was, it was important in understanding what this administration defines as extreme and intolerable: Basically, anyone who opposes them. 

It was a fiery speech delivered to activists in his base. His attempts to inject words about unity came off as entirely unserious.

“MAGA Republicans have made their choice, they embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies,” Biden said.

You heard that? Biden isn’t just saying that his former electoral opponent is bad, he’s saying those who supported him are bad and that they’ve “made their choice.”

It’s as if the words of unity were sprinkled into the speech to justify punitive actions toward political opponents.

While most Americans may not have heard Biden’s speech—many were probably watching college football instead—it nevertheless summed up much of what the administration has stood for and will now lean into.

Extremism in the name of moderation, condemnation in the name of unity, petty politics in the name of leadership.

Biden said during his speech that his opponents “promote authoritarian leaders and they fan the flames of political violence.”

On Thursday night, it was Biden who sounded like an authoritarian.

Biden’s after-speech Tweet sums things up.

Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.

They don't respect our Constitution.

They don't believe in the rule of law.

And they don't recognize the will of the people.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 2, 2022

If you stand in opposition to his regime, Biden defines you as a threat to the country. So, now what will he do?

What a healer.

Biden certainly isn’t an Abraham Lincoln, who called on Americans to embrace the better angels of their nature. He’s not even a Jimmy Carter, who was simply an ineffective micromanager. 

Increasingly Biden’s looking like a James Buchanan, pushing his country to the brink while insisting that only his opponents are extremists.

The post Biden’s Authoritarian Speech: ‘MAGA’ Republican Opponents Are a Threat to Democracy appeared first on The Daily Signal.

House Republicans Ask Zuckerberg for Documents Related to FBI and Suppressed Hunter Biden Story 

House Republicans sent a letter Thursday to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg requesting all documents and communications between the FBI and Facebook before the 2020 election. 

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and James Comer, R-Ky., ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, led the letter also signed by 33 other House Republicans.  

The move comes one week after Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, revealed the FBI’s role in suppressing news stories about the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop on the social media site. 

Jordan, Comer, and the other GOP lawmakers focus on Facebook’s suppression of what their letter calls “an explosive New York Post article detailing how Hunter Biden used the position and influence of his father, now-President [Joe] Biden, for personal gain, with the apparent awareness of President Biden.” 

During an appearance on the “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast last Thursday, Zuckerberg said the FBI sought a meeting with his staff weeks before the election because of “a supposed dump of Russian election ‘misinformation.’” 

As a result, he suggested, Facebook blocked information pertaining to stories about the younger Biden’s laptop leading up to the 2020 presidential election, as The Daily Signal previously reported.  

FBI agents, Zuckerberg said, advised Facebook to “be on high alert” and “just be vigilant” because the law enforcement agency expected more “Russian propaganda” to surface. 

Zuckerberg told Rogan that distribution of the story through Facebook was slowed for roughly a week while “third party” fact-checkers analyzed the New York Post’s reporting.   

“I think it was five or seven days when it was basically being determined whether it was false. The distribution on Facebook was decreased, but people [were] still allowed to share it,” he said. “So, you could still share it. You could still consume it.” 

Zuckerberg told Rogan that he couldn’t provide the exact percentage decrease in Facebook’s distribution of the Hunter Biden story, although he did admit that the decrease was “meaningful.”  

A poll conducted in August by New Jersey-based TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics found that nearly 80% of Americans familiar with the Hunter Biden laptop story say that incumbent President Donald Trump would have defeated Democrat challenger Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election if voters had been accurately informed about the scandal, the New York Post reported

House Republicans’ letter to Zuckerberg, dated Sept. 1, labels Facebook’s decision to follow this FBI guidance “highly troubling” and calls on its parent company, Meta, to produce four different sets of “documents and communications.” Specifically, the letter requests:  

All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, between or among any employee or contractor of Facebook and any individual affiliated with the FBI referring or relating to the New York Post’s reporting about the Biden family. 

All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, between or among any employee or contractor of Facebook and any individual affiliated with the Biden for President campaign or the Democratic National Committee referring or relating to the New York Post’s reporting about the Biden family. 

All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, between or among any employee or contractor of Facebook and any individual affiliated with the FBI referring or relating to purported election misinformation in the 2020 presidential election. 

All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, referring or relating to Facebook’s plans to implement, or its actions based on, the FBI’s message to be “on high alert” for election misinformation.  

The GOP lawmakers gave Zuckerberg until Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. to respond by providing the requested materials. 

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

The post House Republicans Ask Zuckerberg for Documents Related to FBI and Suppressed Hunter Biden Story  appeared first on The Daily Signal.

IRS Official in Charge of 87,000 New Agents Played Key Role in Obama-Era Targeting Scandal

House Republicans say they will keep a “watchful eye” on the Internal Revenue Service official tapped to run the centralized office housing 87,000 incoming new agents because she has ties to the IRS’ targeting of tea party groups during the Obama administration.

The Daily Signal first reported that IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig had appointed Nikole Flax, commissioner in charge of the IRS’ Large Business & International Division, to lead the establishment of the agency’s centralized office. 

In 2014, Flax was among seven IRS employees who said their computers had crashed, making it impossible for them to provide information sought by the House Ways and Means Committee in investigating the agency’s targeting of tea party and other conservative groups. 

Flax made 31 visits to the Obama White House from July 2010 through May 2013.  

“Every American should be concerned that a key player in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups and ensuing cover-up has been tapped to oversee the implementation of Democrats’ tax and spending bill,” Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told The Daily Signal. 

Lois Lerner Connection

In an email sent May 8, 2013, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS’ tax-exempt organizations unit when the scandal erupted, told Flax that she received a call about working with the Justice Department to pursue certain political organizations that “lied” on IRS forms.  

Lerner was the central figure of the Obama administration’s IRS targeting scandal. She said her computer also crashed. 

Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself in testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. After being placed on paid administrative leave, she retired later in 2013. 

The IRS didn’t respond directly to the concerns raised by Flax’s background. Instead, the agency referred The Daily Signal to Rettig’s memo to staff announcing that Flax would run a new “centralized office” to implement elements of the tax and spending legislation that Democrats dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act. The package, signed into law by President Joe Biden, provides $80 billion for the IRS to add almost 87,000 new agents.

Despite the computer crash during the congressional investigation of IRS targeting, Rettig said that Flax would work with Congress and others in her new role leading the effort.

“Nikole has an extensive background in a variety of roles across the IRS since 2008,” Rettig’s memo says, adding: “Her wide range of experience will serve her well as she works with internal and external stakeholders, including Treasury, Congress, IRS employees and taxpayers.”

Rettig’s memo to IRS staffers about the new office also quotes Flax.

“This is a historic time for the IRS, and we are working to move quickly to begin work on the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law earlier this week,” Flax is quoted as saying. “This is an exciting opportunity, and we will be moving quickly with our work.”

Flax became director of the IRS Large Business & International Division in 2021. Previously, she had been deputy commissioner for the division since 2017. 

Flax also is a former chief of staff to IRS Commissioner Steve Miller and was assistant deputy IRS commissioner for services and enforcement.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee will monitor the IRS’ actions, Comer said. 

“This entrenched bureaucrat will oversee the establishment of a new, centralized IRS office and the hiring of up to 87,000 IRS agents, which raises concerns that the Swamp could weaponize new resources to target and harass Americans,” Comer said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.  

“Oversight Committee Republicans will keep a watchful eye on this office. If there is a whiff of government abuse, we will work to hold bad actors accountable,” he said.

‘Frequent Visitor to White House’

In 2014, then-House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., accused the IRS of “lying” by attempting to hide two years of emails from Lerner and other officials. 

“Despite their attempt to bury the missing Lerner emails on page 15 of a 27-page letter that arrived late Friday, we now know documents from other central figures, like Nikole Flax, are missing,” Camp said in a joint statement with Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., then-chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

The two Republican lawmakers added:

The fact that Ms. Flax was a frequent visitor to the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building only raises more questions. Who was she visiting at the White House and what were they talking about? Was she updating the White House on the targeting or was she getting orders?

These are answers we don’t yet have, because—surprise, surprise—a few computers crashed. Plot lines in Hollywood are more believable than what we are getting from this White House and the IRS.

When testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee in 2014, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen defended Flax, saying she had two IRS computers and that her IRS emails should be intact. 

“Those press releases with regard to Nicole Flax were inaccurate and misleading and it demonstrates why we’ll provide this committee a full report … when it is completed,” Koskinen told the committee. “We are not going to dribble out the information and have it played out in the press.”

A string of audits and congressional investigations found that the IRS improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles by holding up their applications for tax-exempt status. 

Chronology of IRS Scandal 

In May 2013, the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration released a report asserting that in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, the IRS “used inappropriate criteria that identified tea party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their policy positions.” 

That finding prompted investigations by the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which concluded in 2014 that top IRS officials knew of the targeting of conservative groups and decided against informing Congress. 

In 2015, the Senate Finance Committee released its findings that Lerner’s personal and political views played a role. The report said: 

Lerner orchestrated a process that subjected these applicants to multiple levels of review by numerous components within the IRS, thereby ensuring that they would suffer long delays and be required to answer burdensome and unnecessary questions.

Another report, from the Government Accountability Office in 2016, stated that the IRS still might be targeting some nonprofits unfairly “based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.”  

Nevertheless, Justice Department prosecutor Barbara Bosserman—who had donated a total of $6,750 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and the Democratic National Committee from 2004 to 2012—declined to press charges after investigating the matter. 

The IRS ultimately settled lawsuits with several tea party and other conservative groups in 2017 and 2018. 

In 2016, Congress approved a provision to prevent the IRS from doing anything to target organizations or groups applying for tax-exempt status. 

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Biden’s New Slur to Tar His Political Opponents

This week, President Joe Biden—in search of a new label to pin on his political opponents after the failure of his “ultra-MAGA” branding, which prompted peals of laughter rather than shudders of horror—landed on a new slur with which to tar those who don’t support his agenda: they are, he said, semi-fascists.

Speaking with a crowd of Democratic donors in Maryland, Biden reportedly said, “What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the—I’m going to say something—it’s semi-fascism.”

Now, Democratic politicians painting half of Americans as beneath contempt is old hat. Former President Barack Obama, of course, said that Americans who didn’t support him in 2008 were merely bitter bigots, clinging to “guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” Hillary Clinton was more pithy: she called them a “basket of deplorables.” So, “semi-fascist” shouldn’t come as much of a shock.

But that smear is particularly galling coming from Biden the same week in which he announced, without any constitutional authority whatsoever, that he was erasing some $500 billion in student loan debts— the single largest executive action in American history. Biden justified that action on the basis of a nonexistent COVID-19 emergency.

He has justified similar usurpations on similar grounds: He illegally tasked his Occupational Safety and Health Administration with forcing vaccines on some 80 million people on the basis of a “public health emergency”; he used his Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to try to propagate an eviction moratorium on the same basis; he bragged in July that he will reshape the American economy on his own if Congress doesn’t act in order to forestall a supposed “climate change emergency.”

If we’re talking about semi-fascism, this stuff qualifies.

The history of fascism, after all, does not begin with a dictator simply marching into a nation’s capital and seizing total power. It more frequently begins with the destruction of the legislative branch at the hands of centralization of executive power.

Adolf Hitler didn’t just declare himself dictator; dictatorial power preceded him in the chancellor’s office by several years, dating back to Heinrich Bruning invoking emergency powers under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution in 1930. Benito Mussolini came to power under constitutional means in 1922 and didn’t consolidate his rule until 1925. Fascism, in other words, is a gradual process. And that process starts with executive branch actors accreting authority they were never given.

Because our political discourse has devolved into middle-school histrionics—”Everyone I don’t like is Hitler!”—we fail to notice the gradual slide into tyranny, ignoring it on behalf of spectacular headlines and reactionary rhetoric. Standing up to that process isn’t semi-fascism; it’s the opposite.

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Remembering How Sen. Patrick Leahy Treated Clarence Thomas

When President George H.W. Bush nominated U.S. Appeals Court Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa both served on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

They still serve there today.

But Leahy, who is 82, is not running for reelection this year. Grassley, who turns 89 next month, is.

How Leahy and Grassley handled Thomas’ confirmation process will help define their legacies.

Grassley sought to determine whether Thomas would legislate from the bench or seek to apply the law as intended by the legislature that enacted it.

“In my first question, I hope that you will reaffirm what you said along this line in your confirmation hearings for the Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit,” said Grassley.

“You said, ‘The ultimate goal should always be to apply the will of Congress, the will of the legislature, I don’t think it is ever appropriate for a judge to replace the intent of the legislature with his or her own intent.’

“Is that something you can reaffirm today, after being on the circuit court of appeals?” Grassley asked.

“Senator,” Thomas responded, “when I spoke those words in my confirmation hearing for the court of appeals, of course, I had not been a judge. But now I can reaffirm those words with the experience of having had to be a judge and having had to judge in some difficult cases.

“I do not believe that there is room in opinions in our work of judging for the personal predilections, the personal opinions and views of judges,” Thomas continued.

“I think in the statutory construction, the ultimate goal for us is to determine the will of the legislature, the intent of the legislature, not what we would have replaced the legislative enactment with, if we were in the legislature, and we have no role in legislating,” said Thomas.

In his own opening statement, by contrast, Leahy warned Thomas that he wanted to know how Thomas would legislate from the bench on the issue of abortion.

“Let me make this very clear, Judge Thomas,” said Leahy. “In recent years, we have danced around the question of where nominees stand on a women’s fundamental right to choose an abortion. This is one of the burning social issues of our time. It is the single issue about which this committee and the American people most urgently wish to know the nominees’ views. And yet the Senate and the Nation have been frustrated by polite—albeit respectful—stonewalling.”

When it was Leahy’s turn to question Thomas, he tried to force the judge into taking a position on the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade and abortion.

He failed.

Referring specifically to Roe, Leahy asked Thomas: “Well, was it properly decided or not?”

“Senator, I think that that is where I just have to say what I have said before; that to comment on the holding in that case would compromise my ability to—.”

Leahy interrupted him. “Let me ask you this: Have you made any decision in your own mind whether you feel Roe v. Wade was properly decided or not, without stating what that decision is?”

“I have not made, Senator, a decision one way or the other with respect to that important decision,” said Thomas.

Thomas was eventually confirmed on a 52 to 48 vote. Leahy was among the 48 who voted no. Grassley voted yes.

Fifteen years later, when the Senate voted 58 to 42 to confirm Justice Samuel Alito, Leahy was again among the no votes and Grassley was among the yes votes. Eleven years after that, when the Senate voted 54 to 45 to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, Leahy again voted no and Grassley voted yes.

When the Senate voted 50 to 48 to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, and 52 to 48 to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020, the same pattern held.

This May, a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked before the Supreme Court was ready to release it. It reviewed a Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks and showed the court fully overturning Roe and returning the issue of abortion to state legislatures.

Leahy, it would turn out when the final opinion was released, had opposed all five justices who voted to overturn Roe—Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.

On May 11, the Women’s Health Protection Act was brought up on the Senate floor. It would have legalized abortion nationwide. But 60 votes were needed to end debate and hold a final vote.

Leahy, of course, voted for cloture. But only 48 senators joined him. Grassley was not one of them.

Speaking on the floor, Leahy expressed his disgust with the Senate for failing to advance the cause of killing unborn babies.

“I am the dean of the Senate,” declared Leahy. “I am the longest serving Member of this body today.”

While noting that Vermont would keep abortion legal, he declared: “The unfortunate reality is that 26 other States stand ready to ban abortion rights in the absence of Roe. What are the women of these States to do?”

He then—perhaps accidentally—seemed to refer to the unborn human beings that pregnant woman “bear” as “children.”

“And what laws are these States prepared to pass—what resources are they prepared to provide—to support these women and the children they will bear?” Leahy asked.

“Shame on this Senate today,” he said.

No. The shame is on Leahy.

History will remember him for seeking to perpetuate the legalized killing of innocent unborn children.

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Michigan’s Secretary of State Fights to Keep Dead on Voter Rolls

In an order that illustrates the bizarre views of controversial Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a federal court has turned down Benson’s motion to throw out a lawsuit filed against her for refusing to remove almost 26,000 dead voters from Michigan voters rolls. 

In mid-September 2020, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (of which I am a board member) sent Benson a list of all of the deceased registrants who remained on the state’s voter rolls less than two months before the presidential election.

Of those nearly 26,000 Michigan residents, 23,663 had been dead for at least five years, 17,479 had been dead for at least a decade and, astonishingly, 3,956 had been dead for at least two decades, yet they were still listed as registered voters in the state.

That shows just how inadequate Michigan’s procedures are for safeguarding the accuracy of its voter list. 

The Public Interest Legal Foundation had conducted a very detailed matching program to ensure the list it provided to Benson was accurate. As federal Judge Jane Beckering, an appointee of President Joe Biden, pointed out in her order, the legal foundation had compared the names of registered voters with the Social Security Administration’s Death Index and “matched full names, full dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and credit address history information.”

Yet Benson refused to take any action to verify this information and to remove those dead voters from the rolls. She was obligated to do so under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, which according to Beckering, requires election officials to remove “registrants from the voter registration roll because of the death of the registrant or a change in the residence of the registrant.”

The law also requires transparency. Election officials must make available for public inspection and copying all records “concerning the implementation” of its voter registration activities and, in particular, its procedures for maintaining the accuracy of the lists, such as removing deceased voters. 

Yet when the Public Interest Legal Foundation  requested that Benson allow “public inspection or provide copies” of its records regarding the removal of dead voters, she responded that no such inspection would be allowed and no copies would be provided because her “offices were closed to the public due to the pandemic.” 

According to the judge, the legal foundation sent multiple letters to Benson trying to get those records before it finally was forced to file suit because Benson not only refused to comply with the law, but also refused to take any action to use the detailed information provided by the foundation to clean up the state’s voter rolls. 

Her only response was that Michigan already had a general program in place that makes “reasonable efforts” to removed deceased voters from the rolls.  She apparently doesn’t care that her “reasonable efforts” are obviously not working. 

Instead of simply settling the lawsuit and agreeing to finally remove the dead voters, Benson filed a motion to dismiss the case, while her spokeswoman called the lawsuit an attempt to “undermine American democracy.” 

Apparently, Michigan’s secretary of state thinks that trying to prevent someone from using a deceased voter’s registration to fraudulently vote “undermines” democracy.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. The voter registration list is an essential election integrity document because it tells election officials who is eligible to vote. Accurate voter rolls reduce the opportunity for fraud and give voters confidence in the honesty of their elections.

In her motion to dismiss, Benson made the meritless claim that the Public Interest Legal Foundation had not fulfilled the notice requirement of the National Voter Registration Act, which requires that election officials be given written notice of a potential violation of the law prior to a lawsuit being filed. 

Given the numerous letters that legal foundation had sent to Benson, which included a detailed list of the dead voters as well as a complete description of the methodology used to create the list, the court refused to dismiss the lawsuit. 

The judge held that the legal foundation had more than satisfied the notice requirement since it had not only “set forth the manner in which Secretary Benson has purportedly failed to comply with the NVRA’s list maintenance requirements,” but also “clearly communicated that it would commence litigation if the purported violation was not timely addressed.”

In fact, the National Voter Registration Act requires notice 90 days before you are allowed to file suit. The legal foundation had waited 411 days, giving Benson more than enough time to act. But instead of trying to fix the problem, Benson failed to do anything about it and continues to spend taxpayer dollars and resources on fighting the lawsuit and defending the state’s inadequate list-maintenance program.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the case. But it is an initial win for election integrity in Michigan since the case will go forward, and Benson will have to defend her refusal to comply with federal law.

It should be alarming to Michigan residents that their secretary of state is fighting to prevent the removal of deceased individuals who are still registered to vote. Maintaining accurate, clean voter rolls is an important part of her job, and election officials should not have to be sued to force them to fulfill such a basic job requirement.

Hopefully, this lawsuit will be successful in finally getting Benson to remove the nearly 26,000 deceased registrants who shouldn’t be on Michigan’s voter rolls.

In 2021, a similar lawsuit was filed by the Public Interest Legal Foundation in Pennsylvania and ultimately the commonwealth agreed to settle the case and remove the deceased registrants from its voter rolls.  But as in Michigan, organizations like the legal foundation should not have to file a lawsuit to get a state to do what it should have been doing all along.

Michigan is a battleground state that often has very close elections. In 2016, Donald Trump won the state by a little more than 11,000 votes. Local elections in Michigan are often decided by a handful of votes.

We should all be able to agree that we do not want deceased individuals on the voter rolls, providing the opportunity for someone to cast illegal ballots in their name.

That should not be a partisan issue. One illegal vote is too many.

The good news is that because of this court ruling, Michigan might be one step closer to fixing this problem, whether Benson wants to or not.

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Refuting Big Lie the Left Tells About Pro-Lifers

“It’s … hard to take seriously Republicans’ passionate pleas for this body to defend the existence of an unborn fetus when they seem to care so little about many of the existential threats that are posed to every American after they are born. … It seems that after birth, life matters a little bit less to some people in this body.” 

So said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., on the Senate floor in May in support of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, which would actually make abortion on demand, up through birth, legal nationwide.  

“If [Republicans] refuse to support life after birth, how can they claim to believe in it before? Truth is, this is not about life and never has been. It’s about seizing power and control,” wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in a tweet on June 24, the day the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision came down.  

Using such rhetoric, the abortion movement has attempted to disparage pro-lifers with the faulty claim time and time again, that the pro-life movement does not care about mothers and their children after they are born. 

For those unwilling even to acknowledge the humanity of an unborn child, it’s apparently impossible to recognize that there is already a vast pro-life safety net that offers women and their children the love, support, and protection they deserve far beyond just the moment of birth. 

Today, there are at least 2,700 pro-life pregnancy resource centers nationwide, served by more than 10,000 medical professionals, reaching nearly 2,000,000 women, men, and youths per year and offering services from sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment to free ultrasounds, parenting classes, maternity homes, and job training referrals—all at little or no cost. 

The combined value of those services and more, mostly privately supported, was at least $266 million in 2019. 

Pro-life advocates have also been the driving force behind the creation and expansion of child tax credits and adoption tax credits at the federal and state levels.  

Congressional Republicans passed the first federal child tax credit in September 1997, just a few weeks before what was Ocasio-Cortez’s eighth birthday. State and federal child tax credits have steered well over $1 trillion back to families during the past quarter-century. 

Another hopeful sign is the current surge of action supporting mothers and babies in a broad swath of Southern, pro-life states. Those states are simultaneously acting to limit abortion and expand efforts to support both mother and child during and after birth. 

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 5 in April, which along with prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation, included $1,602,000 in recurring funds for the Department of Health to establish fetal and infant mortality review committees in every region of the state.

It also requires the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program to include information targeted at pregnant women and women who may become pregnant. 

HB 5 comes a year after DeSantis signed SB 2518, effectively extending postpartum eligibility for Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months of coverage. In April, DeSantis signed HB 7065, which “aids in creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and families that allow children to grow up to their full potential” by implementing educational and mentorship programs.

The bill encourages involved fatherhood and is tied to $70 million in funding to the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Families to provide support for families and youth. 

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott supported the Texas Health and Human Services Coalition in launching a website to serve as a resource for families—including expectant mothers and new families—to find and receive the care and support they need. 

The state also allocated $100 million of its budget this biennium to its Alternatives to Abortion program (a twentyfold increase in funding since 2006), a program that “promotes childbirth and provides support services to pregnant women and their families, adoptive parents, and parents who have experienced miscarriage or the loss of a child.” 

In Georgia, a six-week “heartbeat” abortion law recently took effect. Betsy’s Law (SB 116) allows nonprofits to provide free housing for mothers and their children in need. Gov. Brian Kemp says the bill will “support Georgia mothers and their newborns” and continue “Georgia’s reputation of being a state that protects life at all stages.”

Kemp also signed a Medicaid Postpartum Extension bill, which took effect in July, extending coverage from six months to one year following birth. 

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee proposed new pregnancy and postpartum benefits that include an expansion of health care from 60 days to 12 months through TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to approximately 1.6 million low-income Tennesseans, including pregnant women and children. 

The state also launched Tennessee Fosters Hope, a private-public alliance that engages “state agencies, community organizations, the business community, and houses of worship to elevate high-quality care and opportunities for children and families impacted by foster care and adoption.” 

Sadly, even as the pro-life movement continues to support women before, during, and after the birth of their child, doctrinaire abortion advocates have sought to prevent women and children from receiving the care they deserve. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that “[w]ith Roe gone, it’s more important than ever to crack down on so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers.’” That crackdown against pregnancy resource centers is not just theoretical, but is embodied in actions like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s veto of $21.4 million in line items in the state budget that support both mothers and adoption. 

Most extreme is the action of groups such as Jane’s Revenge, which has taken credit for firebombings and vandalism of pregnancy resource centers and churches across the country. 

While pro-life Southern states have combined limits on abortion with real support and resources for mothers and their children, the pro-abortion left has only redoubled its charges that pro-lifers do not care for mother and child after birth. 

Fiery rhetoric and firebombs are launched against the very places that serve these women and children. Despite those hateful actions, which are doomed to fail, pro-lifers have advanced, unrelenting in their efforts to protect life at every stage.  

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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The Media Bias Fight in Britain

Whenever conservative media watchdogs aspire to an argument seeking to expose and correct the distortions of the liberal news outlets, they receive the argument of hypocrisy.

“You can’t complain about bias,” they say, “because you’re awfully biased yourself.”

This would be a more impressive argument if one was a mirror image of the media, insisting that the one True Way of Journalism was to sound exactly like a conservative and only issue “news” that favors your side because your side is the staunch defense of “democracy” and “truth.”

Insisting that the media ought to reflect both sides—which actually sounds more like democracy—is despised as a conservative plot.

Take a recent article in The Guardian, a socialist news effort in Britain. Former BBC anchor (aka “presenter”) Emily Maitlis complained in a lecture at a television festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, that BBC board member Robbie Gibb was an “agent of the Conservative Party” who was acting “as the arbiter of BBC impartiality.”

The BBC doesn’t want anyone fussing about impartiality. It needs no outside arbiters. They cook it with a socialist flavor, and the masses should just accept their sermons and not complain about the service of the taxpayer-funded broadcaster.

Gibb was previously a communications director for Conservative former Prime Minister Theresa May, so that accusation sounds legitimate. He was appointed to the BBC Board by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where he’s now seen as a troublemaker upsetting the Labour Party apple cart.

Exhibit A was Maitlis popping off when she anchored “Newsnight,” attacking Johnson adviser Dominic Cummings for a breach of lockdown protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. She lectured that Cummings has “broken the rules” and “the country can see that, and it’s shocked [that] the government cannot.”

Maitlis was upset that after the prime minister’s office complained, the BBC aired a public apology, the recording was taken down, and “there were paparazzi outside my front door.” She complained that the BBC did this “without any kind of due process”—as if this were a court case.

The Guardian summarized that Maitlis’ lament was that the BBC slipped into a “both-sides-ism” approach to impartiality that gave a platform to individuals that did not deserve airtime. But isn’t airing both sides the definition of being impartial?

Maitlis added that during the Brexit referendum, the BBC would “create a false equivalence” by presenting a pro-Brexit economist with an anti-Brexit economist, which was obnoxious because “the overwhelming majority of economists felt Brexit was a bad idea.”

Conservative complaints about media bias were causing anchors to “censor our own interviews” and to fail to defend themselves as “facts are getting lost” and “constitutional norms trashed.”

Sound familiar?

The left thinks it’s the “democratic norm,” that they act as the bold “truth tellers” who explain nightly that the conservatives are basically the Enemies of the People. The media shouldn’t be “complacent, compliant onlookers,” as Maitlis sees it. They should be the frog leaping out of the boiling water “and phoning all its friends to warn them.”

Allowing two sides would be “normalizing the absurd.”

In other words, journalists believe they are society’s enlightened elites, self-appointed to run governments through their televised wisdom. Anyone who gets in the way with their benighted appeals to “both-sides-ism” is getting in the way of their power to shape minds for “the right side of history.”

They believe only in “my-side-ism.”

Then they conclude that anyone who disagrees with this arrogant arrangement hates democracy—and they wonder why they’re unpopular.

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There Should Be a Republican Tsunami This Fall. But Will It Happen?

The late spring scenario of a massive GOP win—in historic proportions analogous to 1938, 1994, or 2010—is said now to be “iffy.”

The left boasts that it now has a chance at keeping the House, with even better odds for maintaining control over the Senate.

Polls are all over the place. Now they show generic Republican leads, now Democratic.

The general experience in polling is that they are more often conducted by left-leaning institutions and massaged to show Democratic “momentum.”

Since the polling meltdown of 2016—when most polls showed a Hillary Clinton Electoral College landslide—they have regained little credibility.

Current progressive heartthrob and spoiler Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was polled at only 20% behind in her recent primary, only to be crushed in the end, losing by over 37%.

The corporate leftist media does its part by glorifying a now dynamic “Aviator Joe.”

President Joe Biden in cool sunglasses is now constructed into a swaggering “Top Gun” Tom Cruise-like figure, rather than a cognitively challenged 79-year-old.

Biden’s just-passed reconciliation Inflation Reduction Act, according to most experts, will raise taxes even on the middle class and spur inflation. So, the media euphemistically renames it a “climate change bill.”

With a stroke of his pen before the midterms, Biden forgives $300 billion in student debt, without a care for the dutiful who paid their loans off or those who did not go to college but will now pay for those who did.

If inflation is running at 8.5% over last July’s prices, the White House giddily announces inflation is “zero” because it did not climb at 9.1% over 2021 prices—as it did in June.

That’s like saying someone entombed in a sinkhole 10 feet below ground is no longer trapped at all since he floated up one foot since falling.

In California, when $6.50 a gallon gas dipped last month to $5.50 a gallon, Biden pronounced the end of high energy costs. He forgets that during his watch, gas prices doubled and remain $2.50 a gallon higher than they were on Inauguration Day.

Despite the propaganda, the Republicans seem confident nonetheless because of the dismal 40% approval ratings of Biden and his even less popular agenda.

Crime is out of control. The left blew up the southern border. Biden has waged war on energy production and deliberately spiked gas costs.

Foreign policy is in shambles. Racial relations are scary. Historically, presidents are shellacked in their first midterms.

So, there should be a Republican tsunami.

But will there be?

So far, the Republicans have not nationalized congressional races with a uniform Contract with America, an agenda that they will seek to enact the moment they take Congress.

If all Republican candidates run on what the left has done to America in less than two years and offer a systematic corrective, they will win. If they get bogged down in the 24-hour news cycle, they will flounder.

Conservatives seem oblivious to the current left-wing strategy. That is odd, since it is unchanged since the Russian collusion hoax and the psychodramatic Ukrainian phone call impeachment.

The left-wing playbook is based on two pillars: the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s home, the Jan. 6 “insurrection” investigation—and selective daily leaking about both.

About every week, in efforts at mass distraction from the dismal record of Biden, we will hear of a new “bombshell” and “walls are closing in” Justice Department or FBI leak to an obsequious media.

In 24-hour cycles, we will hear more about how Trump supposedly stole “nuclear secrets”!

And “informed but anonymous sources insist” that Trump is trying to sell memorabilia. Or is Trump trying to hide Jan. 6 evidence at his home? Or was it those Russian collusion files?

Sanctimonious Attorney General Merrick Garland will fight tooth and nail not to release an unredacted historic fishing-expedition affidavit for a warrant to meander through the closets of the Trump home. But he certainly will redact—and leak.

The Jan. 6 committee will continue to subpoena and flip witnesses with threats of indictments, certain doom before biased Washington juries, and crushing legal bills.

Between the raid and the star-chamber House inquiry, we are supposed to forget unaffordable gas and food, dangerous U.S. cities, over 3 million people swarming the border, and the Afghanistan debacle.

Big Tech in November as in 2020 will again flood registrars with billions of dollars in dark money—while denying it.

They will censor and expunge anything unflattering to the left on social media, and claim they do not.

The left will systematically try to ensure that, as in 2020, only 30% of the electorate vote in person on Election Day, as they plead they are underfunded and disorganized.

Yet if the Republicans advance a coherent national plan of action to restore a pre-Biden America, if Trump will focus positively on national issues and not take the bait to obsess on the wrongs done to him, and if grassroots conservatives this time around prepare to preempt massive left-wing vote harvesting, they will achieve their blowout.

But that is a lot of ifs. And meanwhile, time grows short.

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