The Ignored Threat

On October 5, The Daily Signal posted an article about the threat posed to the United States by China.

Vice-President Pence lists four major threats to America from China:

1. Cyber Espionage

…Microchips, about the size of a grain of sand, were inserted into the manufacturing of equipment in China of Super Micro Computer Inc., which is a server supplier for several major companies in the United States.

Investigators determined the chips allowed attackers to create backdoor entry to alter computers. However, Amazon, Apple, Super Micro itself, and the Chinese government all disputed the Bloomberg reporting.

“This is a backdoor into the hardware level in determining personal identification, health care records, and possibly even voting machines,” Dean Cheng, research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“If the chip story is true, there is something fundamentally wrong with our supply chain,” he added.

Cheng contends these cybersecurity concerns are far weightier than concerns about election interference and spreading propaganda.

2. Election Meddling

…“It’s using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing’s political influence,” he said.

“When it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours,” Pence added. “The tariffs imposed by China to date specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election.

“By one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016. Now, China wants to turn these voters against our administration,” he said.

3. Squeezing US Companies

Pence called out Google for its seeming willingness to work with the Chinese government.

“Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers,” he said in his Thursday speech.

Pence also noted that Chinese officials tried to influence business leaders.

“In one recent example, China threatened to deny a business license for a major U.S. corporation if they refused to speak out against our administration’s policies,” Pence said.

4. Military Buildup

…China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail.

America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a greater partnership with us and with the world.

Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We ignore this threat at our own peril.

Walking Away From A Brutal Practice

The Daily Signal is reporting today that the Trump administration has ended a government contract to buy fetal tissue from a research firm and will conduct an audit of any such research subsidized by federal taxpayers.

The article reports:

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration signed a one-year, $15,900 contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources to acquire human fetal tissue “for implantation into severely immune-compromised mice to create chimeric animals that have a human immune system.”

The contract, first reported by CNS News, prompted 45 pro-life leaders to sign onto a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar calling for an end to the government’s use of tissue from aborted babies for research.

Thee article includes the following:

Late Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement announcing termination of the contract:

After a recent review of a contract between Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc. and the Food and Drug Administration to provide human fetal tissue to develop testing protocols, HHS was not sufficiently assured that the contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements.

As a result, that contract has been terminated, and HHS is now conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.

The Food and Drug Administration’s presolicitation notice had said that Advanced Bioscience Resources “is the only company in the U.S. capable of supplying” the fetal tissue, and “no other company or organization is capable of fulfilling the need.”

Advanced Bioscience Resources reportedly is among the entities under referral for a criminal investigation into whether they profited from the sale of tissue from aborted babies. Among the company’s sources for fetal tissue are Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics.

This will be a financial blow to Planned Parenthood. I don’t know how much of a financial blow, but Planned Parenthood profits off of the sale of aborted baby body parts. This will at least end public funding of research on aborted baby body parts. It is a step in the right direct. Next, we need to defund Planned Parenthood. No organization that accepts government money should be able to contribute to the campaigns of the people who allocate that money.

The Impact Of President Trump’s Economic Policies On Working Ameicans

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on average Americans.

The article highlights the story of Tom Condon, a factory worker for 28 years, employed by Jamison Doors.

The article reports:

Before the election of President Donald Trump, John T. Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Jamison Doors, said the policies of the federal government “had not been kind to us.”

“The economy has not been good to us and we’ve had a pretty rocky road,” he told The Daily Signal.

But since Trump became president, “the business climate changed in a significantly positive way.”

“Now not all of it could be attributed to the election,” Williams explained, “but the general attitude seemed to change because of the prospect of fewer regulations in tax reform and a generally positive attitude toward businesses and building the economy.”

Condon, and two other factory workers The Daily Signal spoke with, agreed.

“We got a good bonus this year,” said Condon. “We appreciate that. And the way the company talks, in the future we can look forward to those pretty regularly.”

Economic policies matter.

The article explains the impact of the tax cuts:

Because of tax reform passed by Congress and signed by Trump just before Christmas, the company is expanding, investing in new equipment and making plans to open a new factory.

Workers are personally benefiting, too. Condon, along with the rest of the company’s estimated 150 full-time employees in the United States, already has received two bonuses related to tax reform this year.

“Passage of the tax reform was important because it provided more money that could be used to grow our business and improve our business,” Williams said. To share in the benefits of that, Williams gave two special bonuses to everybody who’s on the payroll, each time equal to a week’s worth of salary.

In January, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described those benefits as “crumbs.”

“The bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic,” she said.

But for workers like Condon, those bonuses are meaningful. Married for 44 years, Condon has a son and a daughter to care for, both with cerebral palsy. Twice a year, the family goes on vacation to Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. This year, thanks to the bonuses Condon received, he’s able to rent a bigger, nicer house, and able to extend the vacation by a few days.

The American people will decide in November whether or not they want to keep this economic growth going.

Taking Advantage Of Those Who Can Least Afford It

The Daily Signal posted an article today about another battle in the war on the involuntary taking of union dues.

The article reports:

Sally Coomer of Seattle, who cares for her disabled adult daughter at home, doesn’t like the fact that union dues are deducted from the Medicaid payment she gets for her services under a Washington state policy.

“The money that is taken out in union dues, if it was not siphoned off, could be used to provide for more care,” Coomer told The Daily Signal about the Medicaid stipend given to home care providers.

“A lot of family members forgo careers to take care of family members and are working in situations where they are really financially struggling,” she said.

Washington is one of 11 states where the state governments work with public-sector unions to automatically deduct a portion of the Medicaid stipend and divert it to unions representing state employee unions.

The other states are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, according to the State Policy Network, a conservative think tank that focuses on state issues.

Nine states take money from Medicaid home child care workers: Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Taking care of your child at home should not result in having union dues taken out of money you receive for the care of that child.

The Trump administration agrees:

However, the states face pushback from the Trump administration and, potentially, the courts in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down mandatory payments to public employee unions by employees who don’t belong to the union.

The rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would eliminate states’ ability to divert part of Medicaid payments from providers to a third party.

The article continues:

Caregivers may pay up to $1,000 per year in union dues, according to the State Policy Network, which says state governments are “dues-skimming” an estimated $200 million per year from home health providers and $50 million from child day care providers to give to unions.

Coomer’s daughter Becky, almost 28, has cerebral palsy and a disorder that causes seizures. She is blind and developmentally disabled.

Coomer, who has become an advocate for other families who don’t want to be forced to pay union dues, said many home care providers are not aware they have a choice in joining a union.

To qualify in Washington state, family members are required to go to an orientation run by the Service Employees International Union, which represents state government employees.

“At the orientation, they would tell people they are required to sign up,” Coomer said. “I don’t know what benefit we get from the dues. The only time I hear from the union is when they inundate me with a political agenda.”

The proposed new Medicaid regulation, announced July 10, is open for public comment.

Let’s hope that the practice of taking union dues from people caring for family members is ended quickly.

 

Misleading Propaganda From The United Nations

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the latest numbers on worldwide poverty.

The article reports:

Philip Alston, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, recently reported that in the United States, “[a]bout 40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in third-world conditions of absolute poverty.”

He further argued before the U.N. Human Rights Commission that “one of the world’s wealthiest countries does very little about the fact that 40 million of its citizens live in poverty.”

That would be very serious if it were true. Thankfully it is not.

The article further reports:

Such claims do have a veneer of legitimacy, however, because when compiling the U.S. government’s official poverty statistics, the Census Bureau considers only the cash income each family reports in an annual survey.

These “official” income figures exclude substantial off-the-books earnings among low-income households and omit roughly 95 percent of the $1.1 trillion U.S. taxpayers provide in means-tested cash, food, housing, and medical benefits for low-income persons each year.

Fortunately, the Census Bureau also conducts, on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a survey of household expenditures, in which families are asked to report how much money they spend each month on each of up to 594 categories of purchases. Poor families routinely report spending an average of $2.40 for each dollar of official cash income.

…Alston claims that 40 million Americans have incomes below the official U.S. poverty level of roughly $24,000 per year for a family of four. However, the reality is that at most 25.9 million Americans live in poverty, based on reported spending less than the official poverty threshold. And, the official U.S. poverty threshold is far higher than the living standard for most of the world’s population.

The article explains what poverty looks like in America:

The severe shortcomings of income-based poverty measures are made clear when one considers the actual living conditions of those whom Alston considers to be in “extreme poverty.” American families living in “extreme poverty” typically have air conditioning, computers, DVD players, and cellphones. They rarely report material hardships such as hunger, eviction, or having utilities cut off.

The article notes that we need to find a better way of compiling our poverty statistics in America so that they actually reflect the truth. An accurate reporting of poverty statistics would help the government gauge exactly what our spending on poverty needs to be.

Good News For Taxpayers

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about a new bill in Tennessee. On April 9, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill that ends state taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in the state.

The article states:

The bill will direct TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, money to health care facilities instead of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

“This money is a form of supporting abortions,” state Rep. Jimmy Matlock said last month, reported The Tennessean. He fought to remove state funding from Planned Parenthood, saying that in the last six years, nearly $1 million has been paid to abortion clinics in Tennessee out of TennCare reimbursements.

…Monica Burke, a research assistant in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that no state should use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.

“The government should not be entangled with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry,” Burke said. “Taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion. In order to provide women with quality health care, public funding should be directed to qualified health care centers instead.”

Abortion is legal in America, but there is no reason taxpayers should be forced to pay for it. I am not a doctor, but my understanding is that there is sometimes a medical need to do an abortion. I have no problem with that, but abortion should not be a million dollar industry. In 2015, Breitbart reported that Planned Parenthood reports more than $127 million in excess revenue, and over $1.4 billion in net assets. The majority of that money comes from performing abortions. I am sure that I am not the only person who finds that offensive. It’s time for Americans to step up to the plate–teach abstinence in our schools, help teenage mothers who do get pregnant, and adopt the children of teenage mothers. We also need to look closely at those government programs that encourage having children without benefit of marriage. We are looking at the future predicted by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1965. We can change that future, but it will take time and serious effort.

This Sums It Up

On Saturday, The Daily Signal posted an article listing some observations about the protest march last weekend. The author of the article went to the march and lists his observations about the march.

These are his observations:

1) A Left-Wing Movement

As Julie Gunlock at The Federalist noted, some parents were led to believe that the March 14 National School Walkout would be about memorializing victims of the Parkland shooting. It wasn’t.

“The real mission of the walkout is to demand Congress pass more restrictive gun laws,” Gunlock wrote.

This goal was even more obvious at the March for Our Lives.

The author noted that there were many pink hats from the 2017 Women’s March and many anti-Trump or anti-Republican signs. One wonders what the Republicans had to do with the shooting at Parkland since it was the policies of the Obama administration that allowed the shooter to buy a gun (see article here about The Promise Program).

2) Well-Organized and Well-Funded

As BuzzFeed reported, a litany of leftist organizations and politicos got involved, including the George Soros-backed MoveOn.org, Women’s March LA, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and, curiously, Planned Parenthood.

There were certainly many children present, but there’s no way they could have put this all together on their own. Outside help and organization was apparent.

It is ironic that Planned Parenthood, a group that is directly responsible for the murder of nearly one million unborn babies a year, provided part of the funding for the March for Our Lives.

3) Prayer Is Out

Taking away guns from ordinary Americans and denigrating prayer are two things that would have horrified our Founding Fathers.

4) Those Who Disagree Viewed as Complicit in Murder

So much for constructive debate.

5) Second Amendment Seen as Problematic and Outdated

This is probably a reflection on the failure of our education system to teach American history. The protesters seem to lack understanding of why the Second Amendment is included in the Bill of Rights.

6) Fuzzy Facts

For instance, in an interview with The Daily Signal’s Genevieve Wood, one marcher repeated the thoroughly debunked claim that there had been 18 school shootings this year prior to Parkland.

This shocking number, repeated by Obama and some major media outlets, was a bogus stat cooked up by a pro-gun control group.

Almost none of the incidents used in that statistic can be described as anything like a school shooting—several were suicides or random shootings that simply took place near a school campus.

The Washington Post even called the statistic “flat wrong.”

There were other examples of misinformation as well, including one sign that called for a ban on “automatic weapons,” which have actually been banned since 1934.

Unfortunately, Americans have received a huge amount of disinformation about guns and gun control, much of it perpetuated by the media.

7) Not a Gun-Free Zone

The March for Our Lives crowd may have wanted to disarm Americans, but the event hardly took place in a gun-free zone.

Armed police covered the streets to ensure the safety of those gathering in the nation’s capital. In fact, there were even armored military vehicles embedded within groups of protesters.

Some signs essentially called for only the government to have firearms.

Of course, the idea that only the government and the military should have access to firearms would not have sat well with the Founders. They feared a government powerful enough to disarm the citizenry and a standing army. That’s why we have the Second Amendment.

Sir Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I suggest those students asking for the repeal of the Second Amendment do a study of the history of countries where only the government has seized firearms from ordinary citizens. That scenario generally does not end well.

On February 6, 2010, I posted an article about the changes being made to the bar glasses in Britain.

This is the article:

The bar glasses had recently been reinvented.  According to the Houston Press, a new shatterproof pint glass is being introduced in the British Pubs.

The article states:

“According to British Home Secretary Alan Johnson, there are about 87,000 of these (glass) attacks every year, some very serious. We even read a story about a bloodbath in a London bar in which 50 pint glasses were smashed in a minute and one person’s eye popped out. Sounds more like a horror movie than a night out at the pub.”

I must admit I live in a very sheltered world–I wasn’t even aware of the problem.  I am glad they have come up with a solution to ‘glass attacks’ at the pub, but it occurs to me that you could still knock a person out with a well-placed hit on the head even if the glass didn’t break.  I’m not sure what the solution to that would be.

The article also points out that the new glass will keep the beer (or ale) cold longer.  Since the British drink their beer at room temperature, I suspect that would be more of an American selling point.  Oh well, I’m glad that some inventor has solved one of life’s problems.  Let me know when someone comes up with an idea of how to prevent the fights in the first place. 

Guns are generally illegal in Britain, so people in bars were fighting with broken bar glasses. Maybe the problem isn’t the weapon.

 

Good News For Free Speech

The Daily Signal reported yesterday that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Baltimore pro-life pregnancy centers do not have to put up signage in their waiting rooms saying they do not offer or refer for abortions.

The article reports:

At least 10 pregnancy help centers in the city of Baltimore are being spared the city’s “weaponized” attack on their work—including Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, which opened its fifth location in May 2017, right next door to a Planned Parenthood.

A legal process that has played out since early 2010 has failed to establish even one instance of pregnancy centers deceiving or misleading women into their offices, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in the ruling.

“After seven years of litigation and a 1,295-page record before us, the city does not identify a single example of a woman who entered the Greater Baltimore Center’s waiting room under the misimpression that she could obtain an abortion there,” Wilkinson, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote.

With pregnancy centers awaiting the Supreme Court’s say on a 2015 California law that forces state-licensed pro-life medical clinics to tell women where and how to get taxpayer-funded abortions, the 4th Circuit’s ruling could play into a number of state and local efforts to curb life-saving alternatives to abortion.

The article concludes:

As the abortion industry continues to spin its wheels in opposition to pro-life efforts, the pregnancy help community continues to celebrate lives saved and families transformed, one woman at a time.

And, should the courts continue to shift the battlefield from government coercion to compassionate persuasion, the pregnancy help community can expect to go on celebrating more and more lives in the coming year.

I wonder how people will look back at abortion in twenty years. Since Roe v. Wade (1973), there have been 59,115,995 abortions based on numbers reported by the Guttmacher Institute 1973-2014, with projections of 926,190 for 2015-16. GI has estimated possible undercounts of 3-5%,so an additional 3% is factored into the overall total. That’s a lot of American children that are not with us.

 

Why We Need Tax Reform

Yesterday, Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University, posted an article in The Daily Signal. The article explains who pays taxes in the United States.

The article reports:

According to the latest IRS data, the payment of income taxes is as follows.

The top 1 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted annual gross income of $480,930 or higher, pay about 39 percent of federal income taxes. That means about 892,000 Americans are stuck with paying 39 percent of all federal taxes.

The top 10 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income over $138,031, pay about 70.6 percent of federal income taxes.

About 1.7 million Americans, less than 1 percent of our population, pay 70.6 percent of federal income taxes.

The article points out that there are some serious questions about the fairness of this arrangement:

But the fairness question goes further. The bottom 50 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income of $39,275 or less, pay 2.83 percent of federal income taxes.

Thirty-seven million tax filers have no tax obligation at all. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 45.5 percent of households will not pay federal income tax this year.

There’s a severe political problem of so many Americans not having any skin in the game. These Americans become natural constituencies for big-spending politicians. After all, if you don’t pay federal taxes, what do you care about big spending?

So why should the bottom 50 percent of income earners and those who pay no income tax be interested in electing people who will cut taxes and stop runaway spending? If less than 1 percent of the population is carrying the tax burden, they really don’t have any serious political leverage–they are a very small voting bloc.

There is also another aspect to this:

There’s another side to taxes that goes completely unappreciated. According to a 2013 study by the Virginia-based Mercatus Center, Americans spend up to $378 billion annually in tax-related accounting costs, and in 2011, Americans spent more than 6 billion hours complying with the tax code.

Those hours are equivalent to the annual hours of a workforce of 3.4 million, or the number of people employed by four of the largest U.S. companies—Wal-Mart, IBM, McDonald’s, and Target—combined.

Along with tax cuts, tax simplification should be on the agenda.

Our current tax code is a tribute to the successful efforts of lobbyists and special interest groups. That needs to change.

 

 

Voter Fraud Is Real

The Daily Signal posted an article today about voter fraud.

The article reports:

On Thursday, The Heritage Foundation is releasing a new edition of its voter fraud database. Featuring well over 100 new cases, the database documents 1,071 instances of voter fraud spanning 47 states, including 938 criminal convictions.

This revamped edition of the database separates cases by type of disposition, allowing readers to easily distinguish not only what type of fraud occurred but the outcome of the case—criminal convictions, pre-trial diversion programs, and other types of adjudication used in various states and counties across the United States.

The article reports specific incidents in a few states. Elections, even federal elections, are controlled by the individual states. However, it is time for all the states to take action to limit voter fraud. One way to limit voter fraud would be to institute voter identification. That would be a really good place to start.

Investigating Voter Fraud

Yesterday The Daily Signal noted that the presidential commission to examine voter fraud began its work. The goal of the commission is to examine voter fraud and the soundness of the election process throughout the country.

The article reminds us why this commission is needed:

The panel likely will push best practices among states, such as voter ID and updating voter registration rolls, said Jason Snead, a legal policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation, who studies voter fraud and helps maintain the think tank’s database on voter fraud.

Snead noted a Pew Research Center study that found 1.8 million dead people were listed as voters, 12 million records with incorrect data, and 2.75 million persons registered in more than one state.

Every vote cast illegally cancels the vote of a legal voter. It is time we investigated and put an end to voter fraud.

Some Things Can Be Done Better Without The Government

This video was posted at YouTube yesterday by The Daily Signal. It is the story of Solutions for Change, an organization that is helping solve homelessness in Vista, California. The organization does not receive federal aid because the program requires residents to be drug-free.

The article summarizes how Solutions for Change makes a difference:

Instead of simply providing residents a place to sleep, Solutions for Change takes a holistic approach to solving homelessness, requiring residents to go through counseling, take courses in financial literacy, parenting, leadership, and anger management, and eventually, get a job.

 

Solutions for change had to choose between keeping their drug-free policy or accepting federal money. I believe that they made the right choice.

What Would Be The Result Of This Goal?

On September 13th, The Daily Signal posted an article about one of the goals of the current Democratic Party. This explains one of the reasons this coming election is so important.

The article reports:

Sen. Chuck Schumer has reminded us just how important the upcoming presidential election will be in shaping the federal judiciary, calling getting a progressive Supreme Court his “number one goal.”

So what would a progressive Supreme Court mean?

The article cites a few examples:

Schumer specifically criticized a 2013 decision involving a 5-4 decision about voting rights. In Shelby County v. Holder, the court held that Section 4 of the Voting Right Act, which set forth a 40-year-old coverage formula laying out which states needed to get preapproval from the federal government before making any changes in their voting laws, was unconstitutional.

The court explained that Congress “did not use the record it compiled to shape a coverage formula grounded in current conditions” and that the formula had “no logical relation to the present day.”

As Roll Call reported, Schumer “predicted that the Shelby County decision on voting rights would be overturned by a Supreme Court with the kind of progressive justices he would prioritize confirming as majority leader.”

A progressive Supreme Court would, therefore, be willing to infringe on states’ rights.

The article further reports:

The high court has been closely divided on a number of contentious issues in recent years: the Second Amendment (Heller, McDonald), religious liberty (Hobby Lobby, Town of Greece), the First Amendment (Citizens United), racial preferences (Fisher I), and the death penalty (Glossip), among others. One vote made the difference in each of these cases, which most consider as victories for the conservative wing of the court.

Our basic liberties are at stake. Are we going to follow the Constitution or are we going to become a banana republic? Consider this when you vote.