Some Common Sense From The Senate

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about a Senate bill sponsored by Senator Kelly Loeffler. The Bill is titled The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2020. The text of the bill can be found here.

The essence of the bill is as follows:

1 SEC.2.AMENDMENT

2    Section 901 of the Education Amendments of 1972

3  (20 U.S.C. 1681) is amended by adding at the end the

4  following:

5     ‘‘(d)(1) It shall be a violation of subsection (a) for

6  a recipient of Federal funds who operates, sponsors, or

7  facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a per-

8  son whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program

9  or activity that is designated for women or girls.

10    ‘‘(2) For purposes of this subsection, sex shall be rec-

11  ognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology

12  and genetics at birth.’’.

The article at The Daily Signal concludes:

“Title IX established a fair and equal chance for women and girls to compete, and sports should be no exception,” said Loeffler. “As someone who learned invaluable life lessons and built confidence playing sports throughout my life, I’m proud to lead this legislation to ensure girls of all ages can enjoy those same opportunities. This commonsense bill protects women and girls by safeguarding fairness and leveling the athletic field that Title IX guarantees.”

Regardless of what one thinks about the transgender movement or “gender identity” protections in other areas of life, fair athletic competition demands such a policy.

A similar bill was passed at the state level in Idaho this year (and was immediately challenged in court). But Title IX protected women and girls nationwide—and Loeffler’s amendment would do the same.

For that, Sen. Kelly Loeffler deserves a gold medal.

How many fathers of teenage girls are comfortable with teenage boys being allowed in the girls’ locker room? This bill seems to provide a much-needed dose of common sense.

 

The Root Of The Problem

The Daily Signal posted an article today about the connection between Alicia Garza, one of three founders of the Black Lives Matter organization, and the left-wing San Francisco group known to carry water for China: the Chinese Progressive Association. Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, was interviews for the article.

Mike Gonzalez reports:

It’s best to think of her (Alicia Garza) as somebody who sits a top an expansive global revolutionary network. She founded the main Black Lives Matter organization. In fact, she came up with the slogan.

The other two women who co-founded Black Lives Matter are Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. All three of them are committed Marxists, anti-capitalist. Alicia Garza has said many times that she wants to smash capitalism, that one cannot reach liberation in capitalism.

And one of the adventures that she has is the Black Futures Lab. The Black Futures Lab is a fiscally sponsored project of the Chinese Progressive Association of San Francisco.

That is an outfit that was created in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution by a … paramilitary group called I Wor Kuen. I Wor Kuen was a Maoist outfit, created the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco. And from the start, the Chinese Progressive Association promoted the thoughts of Mao and the ideas of China’s revolution and the Cultural Revolution.

…if you click on the button of the Black Futures Lab, it tells you that the Black Futures Lab is a fiscally sponsored project of the CPA San Francisco.

A lot of the Black Lives Matter organizations do this. They’re fiscally sponsored projects of other groups that affords the Black Lives Matter organization a great deal of flexibility in not having to disclose how they spend their money. That’s at least what the critics say.

But the connections between Garza and the people who run the CPA San Francisco are stronger than that. Garza, for example, spoke at a LeftRoots meeting in 2015. I think she’s a member also of LeftRoots, I’ll have to double check that. And Pam Tau Lee, one of the founders of CPA San Francisco is also a member of LeftRoots.

…the Black Futures Lab does say it on its website, that it partners up with Black Lives Matter. Everything under Alicia Garza is the same, as I said, they’re ventures of the same empire. And the Black Futures Lab, I believe, is kind of a lobbying arm of the whole entire thing.

Black Lives Matter, I’m talking about the organizations—obviously, nobody disagrees with the sentiment—I’m talking about the Black Lives Matter Global Network partners with the Movement for Black Lives, partners with the Black Futures Lab, they all crisscross and coordinate their moves. And the Black Futures Lab says that on its website, that it helps the Black Lives Matter organization.

Please follow the link to read the rest of the article. Black lives do matter, but the organization by that name is not a positive influence on our political debate.

Myths vs. Truth

On Tuesday The Daily Signal posted an article about the current lies being told about the U.S. Postal Service. It is a long and detailed article, so I suggest you follow the link and read the actual article. I will try to summarize it for you.

These are the 10 things we are currently being told:

MYTH No. 1: The Postal Service is removing sorting machines to sabotage delivery

MYTH No. 2: The Postal Service is removing collection boxes to block mail-in ballots.

MYTH No. 3: The Postal Service is locking collection boxes to prevent public access.

MYTH No. 4: The Postal Service could go bankrupt before the election without a $25 billion bailout.

MYTH No. 5: The Postal Service plans to triple postage rates on mailed ballots.

MYTH No. 6: Postal Service delivery changes are illegal “sabotage” by the postmaster general.

MYTH No. 7: The Postal Service needs more money to process mailed ballots.

MYTH No. 8: The postmaster general “massacred” Postal Service management.

MYTH No. 9: The Constitution requires a government-run Postal Service.

MYTH No. 10: The Postal Service loses money only because of unfair funding requirements.

The article debunks all of these myths with a healthy does of truth.

Here are a few of the realities:

The volume of mail has plunged in recent decades, due to the spread of electronic communication. As a result, the amount of infrastructure needed to manage the flow of mail also has declined.

…The Postal Service has more than 141,000 blue collection boxes spread across the country. Those boxes are moved regularly from low-demand to high-demand areas to maximize efficiency.

…Locked caps are sometimes put on collection boxes in areas where there is a rash of mail theft. Employees place the caps after the final pickup of the day and remove them in the morning, since collection box theft is overwhelmingly done at night.

…Although some were concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic would push the Postal Service over the financial edge, revenues have been stable, thanks to a big increase in package deliveries.

In addition, Congress provided a $10 billion loan to the Postal Service earlier this year.

…The Postal Service provided commonsense guidance to state and local governments regarding how to handle time-sensitive ballot requests. This guidance was already in the works before Postmaster General Louis DeJoy began his job.

You get the picture. Please follow the link to the original article for the rest of the story.

A College That Has Chosen To Follow The Law

Yesterday The Daily Signal reported the following:

The Citadel, the public military college in Charleston, South Carolina, has announced it will require all cadets to complete a class on the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents beginning in the 2020-21 academic year.

The article notes that South Carolina has a law requiring teaching of the Constitution and other founding documents that has been in place for 96 years.

The article reports:

The Citadel’s decision to comply with the law is in stark contrast to most other colleges in South Carolina that have flouted and balked at the law.

For example, the University of South Carolina—the state’s largest public college—called the law “archaic” and refused to comply with it. The university said a required class on the Constitution is too financially burdensome—yet somehow manages to finance classes on the history of the devil and Tailgating 101.

Instead of complying with the law’s mandate of a yearlong class, the University of South Carolina said it hands out pocket Constitutions on Constitution Day. The university has not said whether a student can pass Tailgating 101 by being handed a hot dog at a football game.

Similarly, Clemson University—the state’s second-largest public college—pretends to comply with the law by requiring students to watch a one-hour video about the Constitution as a single module within its freshman diversity class. Clemson claims the video is a sufficient equivalent to the law’s mandate of a yearlong class.

Concerned about the “optics” of breaking state law, Clemson has sent taxpayer-funded lobbyists to the state Legislature to “kill” the requirement to teach the Constitution.

Has it occurred to any of the esteemed college presidents who choose not to follow the law that one of the reasons for the lack of appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans might be the lack of knowledge of the Constitution and the the founding documents of America? Has it occurred to any of the esteemed college presidents that their students have no idea of the price the signers of the Declaration of Independence paid for their signatures on that document?

I am the daughter of a Clemson graduate who attended the school when it was a military college. When my father graduated, he was shipped to Europe as part of the D-Day landing. That is the heritage of Clemson. They need to remember that heritage and teach what their graduates fought for.

About That Voter Integrity Thing…

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article reporting that in North Carolina, 16,700 duplicate votes were cast in the 2016 and 2018 elections, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

The article reports:

Public Interest Legal Foundation made the court filing in the case of Democracy NC et. al. v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, which seeks to suspend North Carolina’s protections for mail-in voters during the presidential election in November in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Specifically, the state’s public voter rolls show that even with election integrity mechanisms in place, voters registered in more than one precinct are credited for voting a second ballot. 

This could be an individual voting twice or someone voting while using someone else’s identity. Such cases largely have resulted from poor maintenance of voter rolls at the local level—for example, not updating the rolls when voters move. 

The audit found that in the 2016 presidential election in North Carolina, about 9,700 voters were credited with voting twice. Of these cases, about half—or 5,000—were mail-in ballots.

Two years later, during the 2018 midterm election, about 7,000 voters were credited with voting twice. Of those, 2,900 were mail-in votes, the audit says.     

It is not clear how many of the same voters voted twice in both elections. 

In one of the most high-profile voter fraud cases in recent years, the North Carolina State Board of Elections decertified the outcome of the 2018 race in the 9th Congressional District and ordered a new election after evidence of absentee ballot fraud emerged. 

The article concludes:

“This is a widespread concern in North Carolina,” J. Christian Adams, president and general counsel of Public Interest Legal Foundation, said in a written statement. “We should be talking about how to strengthen our systems against misdeeds done out of the sight of election officials in 2020 instead of defending an imperfect system from total ruin.”

Those suing, Adams said,  “are only raising the threat of worsening the settled fact that voter fraud is most common in the mail.”

The lawsuit in North Carolina by Democracy NC, the League of Women Voters, and others calls for waiving requirements that voter registration forms be submitted 25 days before an election,  eliminating the witness signature on absentee ballots, allowing ballots to be received in ways other than mail, such as contactless dropboxes, and increasing early voting. 

Voter fraud should be a concern to every voter. Every fraudulent vote cast cancels out the vote of a legitimate voter.

The Supreme Court Gets It Right

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding religiously affiliated schools in state school choice programs. The court ruled that that families have a right to seek the best educational opportunities for their children, by preventing states from blocking the participation of religiously affiliated schools in state school choice programs. The decision was the usual 5-4 split–only this time the five were in favor of not discriminating against religious schools.

The article reports:

Tuesday’s decision in Espinoza removed the largest state constitutional obstacle by holding that so-called Blaine Amendments cannot be used to deny choice to parents.

Under the U.S. Constitution, states no longer may prevent parents from choosing religious schools if they are participating in a school choice program.

“A state need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools simply because they are religious,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion of the court in Espinoza.

This decision struck a blow to the notoriously anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment in Montana’s Constitution that sanctioned explicit discrimination against religious schools in funding. Montana’s discrimination hurt families who have a wide variety of values and preferences when it comes to their children’s education.

As the Supreme Court had previously noted, Blaine Amendments have an “ignoble” history. The amendments are named after Sen. James G. Blaine of Maine, who in 1875 sought a federal constitutional prohibition of aid to “sectarian” schools.

The article concludes:

In Mitchell v. Helms, Thomas wrote of Blaine Amendments: “This doctrine, born of bigotry, should be buried now.” On Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza took us one step closer to achieving that goal.

Now is the time for states to cast aside these 19th-century rules rooted in prejudice that unfairly punish religious families, students, and schools. The Constitution requires states to provide a level playing field for religious and secular education.

The legal impediment to school choice programs is now gone, and it’s up to state legislatures to move forward advancing education choice.

The court made it clear that policymakers across the country now have the power to enact robust school choice programs. They should do just that.

If the education establishment wants American children in public schools, they have a responsibility to make public schools better. Until then, parents who want their children educated will seek out voucher programs that will allow them to send their children to schools that teach the basics–not get bogged down by the social justice trend of the day.

One of Many Reasons The Democrats May Be Worried

The Daily Signal posted an article today titled, “19 Black Americans Explain Why They’re Conservative.” Please follow the link to the article to read the details, I am simply posting the list:

  1. W.B. Allen: Good Sense Needs No Explanation
  2. Brian Bledsoe: Most Fair for All
  3. The Rev. Arnold M. Culbreath: Not Sellouts, but Solutions
  4. Michael E. Kerridge: Reasonable Human Imperative
  5. Liz Matory: From Liberal to Liberated
  6. Lenny McAllister: Advancing Freedom for All
  7. Emery McClendon: Working for Everyone
  8. Charlotte D. McGuire: Against All Odds
  9. The Rev. Dean Nelson: Best for All People
  10. Sophia A. Nelson: Sustained Opportunity
  11. Autry J. Pruitt: Maximum Protection
  12. C.J. Sailor: Essential to Thriving Communities
  13. Carol M. Swain: Hope and Encouragement
  14. A.J. Swinson: Self-Sufficient, Entrepreneurial, Morally Strong
  15. Jimmy Tillman: Christian Values and Critical Thinking
  16. Terris E. Todd: Way of Life
  17. Deana Bass Williams: 3 True North Principles
  18. Dee Dee Bass Wilbon: Founding Principles
  19. Daren Williams: Origins of Conservatism

Please follow the link to read their explanations. They are well thought out and provide a lot of insight as to how all of them came to the conclusions they have come to.

 

 

Why Voting By Mail Is A Really Bad Idea

Today The Daily Signal posted an article about voter fraud in America.

The article reports:

All-mail elections have received heightened attention in the media these past few weeks. Prominent liberals highly endorse the idea, claiming it allows people to do their patriotic duty without risking being infected by the coronavirus.

In reality, without rigid safeguards to prevent fraud, misuse, and voter intimidation, absentee ballot fraud—while it may occur sporadically—already has affected the outcome of elections in states and counties across the country. 

Just look at the 2018 congressional race in North Carolina that was overturned by the state election board. Or the mayor of Gordon, Alabama, who was removed from office last year after his conviction for absentee ballot fraud.

Although talk of voter fraud may be increasing because of the stakes in the 2020 election, The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database has been around for four years. With the addition of our latest batch of cases, we are up to 1,285 proven instances of voter fraud.

…This sampling of cases illustrates the existence and effect of voter fraud. Most importantly, the public must understand that fraud can occur throughout the entire process of registering and voting.

Examples include impersonation fraud at the polls; false voter registrations; duplicate voting; fraudulent absentee ballots; vote buying; illegal assistance and intimidation of voters; ineligible voting, such as by aliens; altering of vote counts; and ballot petition fraud.

A recent Heritage fact sheet offers a quick summary of the dangers of voting by mail and the necessary safeguards to ensure an election’s integrity. Another Heritage report details how Wisconsin successfully conducted its recent primary election–including in-person voting—and how other countries such as Liberia have conducted an election successfully during a health crisis.

Voting by mail makes it easier to commit fraud, intimidate voters, and destroy the protections of the secret ballot. It puts elections into the hands of the Postal Service. Without the oversight of election and polling officials, ballots can be lost, disqualified, and even stolen.

Keep in mind that these are only the proven cases. How many cases were ignored or not discovered?

The article concludes:

This is not a partisan issue. Heritage has documented elections overturned or elected officials removed on account of fraud that involved both Democrats and Republicans.

Securing the integrity of elections should not become wrapped up in partisan politics. Yet since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic (and some would argue even before then), many leading Democrats have scoffed at the reality of voter fraud and the importance of election integrity–even though it is their own voters and supporters who often are affected by such fraud.

It is important that we take reasonable steps to make it hard to cheat in elections while making it easy for legitimate voters to vote. 

Elected officials and party leaders, regardless of political affiliation, should put their ambitions aside and understand that election integrity is of the utmost importance in self-government and maintaining a functioning democratic republic. 

I think I would rephrase that first sentence–it shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but it is. The continuation of our republic requires election integrity. Mail in voting undermines that integrity. It is not a good idea.

In The Long Run, This Would Not Have Mattered, But It Was Still Irresponsible

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the shortage of N95 protective respirator masks. Some of the media have stated that President Obama chose not to replenish the stockpile of these masks after the 2009 H1N1 virus epidemic. That is true, but there is more to the story. At this point I would like to note that the masks have a shelf life of five years–even if President Obama had replenished the stockpile, in order for the stockpile to be any good it would have had to have been replenished again in 2014 and 2019. The responsibility for the shortage of these masks rests of both the Obama and Trump administrations. However, I think that the blame actually rests on the bureaucrats running the CDC and other health agencies inside the government.

The article notes:

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, drew down about 100 million N95 protective respirator masks.

Afterward, an H1N1 task force recommended that the Obama administration replace the masks in the national stockpile, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News.

“If the Obama administration didn’t respond to a request for additional masks, and if they did not communicate that need to the incoming [Trump] administration, that would certainly make the present situation more difficult,” Amy Anderson, a registered nurse and co-founder of the Global Nurse Consultants Alliance, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

…The Los Angeles Times reported March 20 that the U.S. government ignored warnings in 2009, making no reference to Obama’s being president at the time. 

The CDC, under the George W. Bush administration, published a “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza” in 2005. In that case, the government heeded the agency’s advice to stockpile medical supplies. 

…The International Safety Equipment Association and the federal H1N1 task force recommended replacing the N95 masks after the response to the swine flu drew down 100 million masks from the federal stockpile, the paper reported.

However, association President Charles Johnson told the Times: “Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown.”

The problem with a medical emergency is that you generally don’t see it coming. Blaming any administration for current supply problems is not helpful. Finding a solution to those problems is helpful. It would be nice if the mainstream media would attempt to unite us rather than divide us. The reporting during the Wuhan Flu epidemic has been horrendous and very unhelpful.

Laws Have Consequences

Somehow the dead Equal Rights Amendment has been resurrected. It was a bad bill when it was first passed in 1972, and it is still a bad bill. Since 1972, women have gained the rights that the bill originally enumerated. Despite claims to the contrary, women have achieved equal pay. Career paths for women have very few limitations. So, is the bill necessary and what would be the impact of the bill?

In January, The Daily Signal posted an article about four consequences of the bill if it were to pass and be approved by the states.

The article lists four potential consequences:

1. Women Must Sign Up for the Draft

2. Disallow Same-Sex Bathrooms

3. End the Use of Women-Only Shelters

4. Government Funding of Abortion

Please follow the link to the article for a detailed explanation of each item.

There is no way any of these items make women more equal. In fact, I would argue that all of them make women less safe and more vulnerable to sexual assault and long term medical problems. This Equal Rights Amendment needs to remain dead–it does nothing to help women–it simply uses women as a cloak to advance a progressive agenda that will ultimately harm women.

 

Wrecking A Good Economy

Yesterday The Daily Signal reported on a bill making its way through the House of Representatives that will negatively impact the job market.

The article reports:

Despite its congenial acronym, a bill the House of Representatives is about to pass would upend the U.S. labor market as we know it.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act—dubbed the PRO Act—comes at a time when the labor market is stronger than it has been in decades.

Unemployment is at a 50-year low. Wage growth is incredibly strong, with the lowest-wage earners experiencing twice the average gains. The number of discouraged workers plummeted more than 25% over the past year as favorable work opportunities opened up for them.

The PRO Act threatens all of those gains at the expense of benefiting union bosses who send hundreds of millions of dollars to liberal causes and politicians each year.

The Democrats in the House of Representative are making a move to protect the flow of union money into their campaign coffers.

The article continues:

Here are just a few of the PRO Act’s harmful provisions:

1. It violates workers’ privacy. The PRO Act would force employers to provide employees’ private information—without their consent and without even the chance to opt out—including their home address, personal email address, and mobile and home phone numbers to unions.

2. It strips workers of the right to a secret ballot election. A fundamental component of our democracy is the right to vote in secret and free from fear and intimidation. That’s why many Democrats in Congress insisted on secret ballot union elections as a condition in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

3. It subjects neutral third parties to strikes and boycotts. In an attempt to force other companies to do their bidding, the PRO Act would allow unions to strike, boycott, and otherwise harass neutral third parties that are not involved in labor disputes, but that simply do business with a company involved in a dispute.

4. It overturns the franchising business model. There are about 750,000 franchise establishments in the United States, representing far more than just fast-food restaurants. All told, franchises are spread across 300 different types of businesses in the U.S.—including car dealerships, gas stations, hotels, and gyms—and employ nearly 8 million workers. The PRO Act would upend that business model by requiring franchisors to become legally liable for workers they do not hire, fire, pay, supervise, schedule, or promote—in short, workers over whom they exercise no direct control.

5. It upends the gig economy, contracting, and independent work. Lots of people like working for themselves. In fact, the Freelancers Union estimates that 1 out of every 3 workers in the U.S. participates in independent work. About 10% of workers perform independent work (contracting, freelancing, consulting) as their primary job, and that’s their choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 1 in 10 independent contractors would prefer a traditional work arrangement. By changing the definition of an employee, the PRO Act would require that almost everyone answer to a boss instead of having the option to work independently—including when, where, and for whom they want.

6. It invalidates 27 states’ right-to-work laws and overturns a Supreme Court decision. Currently, 27 states have laws that allow workers the right to choose whether or not to join a union, and the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public employees cannot be forced to pay fees to unions as a condition of their employment. The PRO Act would upend these laws of the land, usurping power from one branch of the federal government to another, as well as restricting state lawmakers from their rights to enact worker freedoms and establish an economic and business climate that they believe is most conducive to growth and opportunity. For workers in unionized workplaces, this could mean the loss of hundreds of dollars in wages each year to pay for a service workers do not want and may actively oppose.

This is the result of the election of a Democrat majority in the House of Representatives.

 

 

Fixing A Broken Law

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about the State Department’s beginning to look into what to do about ‘birth tourism.’

The article reports:

“Birth tourism” has become big business. Today, hundreds of companies advertise to pregnant women—particularly upper-middle-class women from China, Nigeria, Russia, and Turkey—offering assistance to get visas that would allow them to visit the U.S. during the time they expect to give birth.

The U.S. hosts tens of thousands of “birth tourists” every year. In 2015, the Center for Immigration Studies pegged the number at 35,000. The Qianzhan Industry Research Institute reported that, in 2016, as many as 80,000 birth tourists came to the U.S. Whatever the total number, it appears to be growing.

What draws these women to our shores isn’t U.S. obstetric or natal care. It’s automatic U.S. citizenship for their babies.

The 14th Amendment declares: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, [emphasis added] are citizens of the United States … .” The government currently interprets this as meaning that anyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen, regardless of the parent’s nationality or immigration status. Essentially, this reading ignores the qualifying phrase italicized above.

The article lists some of the reasons behind the growth of ‘birth tourism’:

U.S. citizenship makes a child eligible for free public education and loan programs, government food assistance, Medicaid, and other welfare programs. Costs can run into the billions. Furthermore, when birth-tourist babies become adults, they may then apply for immigrant visas (green cards) for their family members, increasing chain migration.

The wealth of benefits offered by the U.S. are a major selling point for the birth tourism industry. Last January, the Justice Department unsealed indictments for 19 people involved in Chinese birth tourism schemes.

The indictments revealed that the “birthing house” operators told pregnant women that they could seek U.S. visas to obtain the “most attractive nationality,” “priority for jobs in U.S. government,” “free education from junior high to public high school,” and “senior supplement benefits when the parent is living overseas.”

After paying a fee—which ranged from $15,000 to $50,000—each client received coaching on how to pass visa interviews; overstay visas once in the U.S.; and apply for federal benefits.

This kind of fraudulent behavior not only undermines the integrity of our immigration system, it generates national security concerns, as well.

The article concludes:

President Donald Trump has heard the call of those clamoring for an end to birthright citizenship and has pledged to end the policy. Since the 14th Amendment does not require universal birthright citizenship, a constitutional amendment is not necessary to change current policy. All that’s needed is a new policy.

And that’s exactly what the State Department is issuing—a final rule designed to combat birth tourism in the United States.

Specifically, the rule amends the State Department’s regulation on temporary visitors seeking a “B” (business or pleasure) nonimmigrant visa. It stipulates that such visas are granted to accommodate temporary visits for pleasure and not visits taken for the primary purpose of giving birth in this country.

It also states that, if a consular officer has reason to believe that a visa applicant would give birth while in the U.S., he or she may presume that the primary purpose is to gain citizenship for the unborn child. Unless the applicant is able to rebut that presumption, she would be ineligible for the visa.

Ending birthright citizenship would restore order to our immigration system, decrease welfare costs, and improve national security. The State Department’s new rule to combat birth tourism is a good first step.

This is definitely a move in the right direction.

Things To Keep In Mind

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the impending impeachment trial. The article is a summation of things to keep in mind as the trial progresses. Please follow the link to read the entire article. I will try to hit some of the high points here.

The article reports:

1. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced that the trial itself will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The Clinton impeachment took five weeks, and Johnson’s lasted 11 weeks. The Senate’s impeachment trial rules, adopted in 1986, mandate that the trial should begin at noon and last until the Senate decides to adjourn, Monday through Saturday, “until final judgment shall be rendered.”

2. When the trial begins, the Senate will adopt a resolution establishing the specific timetable, including the time allotted for each side to present its case, senators to ask questions, and the Senate to consider motions.

At that point, if the Senate follows the general pattern of the Clinton trial, the Senate will vote on a motion to dismiss the impeachment and, if that motion fails, on whether additional witnesses or evidence should be considered.

During Johnson’s impeachment trial, the prosecution and defense called a total of 41 witnesses. During the Clinton trial, three witnesses provided videotaped testimony.

McConnell and several other Senate Republicans have indicated they think the Senate should rely on transcripts of the testimony of witnesses who appeared before the House, while Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and several other Democrats have demanded that witnesses be called to testify.

3. Clinton likewise did not appear before the Senate during his trial.

Trump previously indicated he would “strongly consider” testifying or providing a written statement to the House during its impeachment inquiry, but that didn’t happen. Odds are, Trump won’t be present at the Senate trial.

4. Similarly, the rules of evidence used in criminal trials do not apply in an impeachment trial. The Senate’s impeachment trial rules state that the Senate’s presiding officer has the authority to rule on questions of evidence.

Any senator, however, may ask that the full Senate vote on such matters. That reflects the Constitution’s assignment to the Senate of “the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

5. There have already been calls for the House managers to move to disqualify senators whose impartiality is in question. There is no basis in the Constitution, Senate rules, or history for such an attempt.

The only qualification for participating in a Senate impeachment trial is to be a senator.

6. Removal from office is automatic upon conviction, and the Senate may vote separately whether to disqualify the defendant from serving in any other federal office.

The Constitution explicitly provides, however, that these consequences by the Senate do not, if the defendant’s conduct is also criminal, prevent “Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

7. In theory, he likely could be retried in the future. Although neither the Constitution nor Senate rules address this issue, and no precedent exists for it, a few legal scholars, such as former Obama administration official Neal Katyal, have pointed out that the Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy Clause does not apply to impeachment proceedings. 

8. Senate committees may hold hearings in the morning of each trial day, but doing any business such as sending bills, nominations, or other matters to the full Senate would require the consent of all senators.

The Senate impeachment rules provide that the chamber must suspend its legislative and executive business while the trial is under way.

One thing to consider in all of this is that the House of Representative’s evidence was generally hearsay evidence. Because impeachment does not follow the rules of evidence, it is possible that some of that evidence will be introduced. However, do Senators really want to go back to their districts to say that they voted for impeachment because a witness ‘felt’ that the President was thinking something that might have been against the law? Realistically, we also need to realize that there is an element of the Democrat party that will continue to do everything it can to destroy President Trump and his agenda regardless of what happens in the impeachment trial. At some point you have to wonder why successful economic and foreign policies are such a threat to the Democrat party.

The Truth About Purging Voter Rolls

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about some of the lies the media is telling about purging voter rolls.

The article reports:

Maggie Haberman, the esteemed New York Times reporter, recently tweeted out a Mother Jones article to 1.2 million followers. It was titled: “GOP-Led Voter Purges in Wisconsin and Georgia Could Tip 2020 Elections.”

The chilling piece warns readers that “hundreds of thousands of voters are set to be purged in two key swing states,” which “potentially” gives Republicans “a crucial advantage by shrinking the electorate” in those states.

None of this, of course, is true. Cynical pieces of this genre, an election-time tradition at this point, only allow Democrats to warn of widespread disenfranchisement and preemptively give aggrieved Democrats such as Stacey Abrams a baked-in excuse for losing elections and smearing Republicans.

How many people who fall for these claims understand that both federal law and state law mandate the updating of voter lists?

In Georgia, we already know that hundreds of thousands of “voters” were not purged, because at least 62% of registrations that were canceled recently by the state had surely moved away or died. Either their mail was returned as undeliverable or they had officially changed their address to a different state.

Other registrations were purged because the person hadn’t voted in years. Georgia has automatic registration. I know it’s difficult for some people to believe this, but lots of Americans have no interest in voting.

And Georgia voters can be declared “inactive” if they haven’t participated in elections, contacted officials, responded to officials, or updated their registrations since the 2012 election.

That’s state law. Georgia sends everyone letters explaining how they can fix any potential problems. Georgia, in fact, publishes a list of names online so anyone who has not received a letter can check if they are still registered. Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed a law that lengthens the period before voters become “inactive” from three to nine years.

As Justin Gray, a reporter in Atlanta, notes, the reason you don’t hear complaints from these “hundreds of thousands” of disenfranchised voters is because “most on [the] list are either dead, have moved, or as some told me were registered automatically when they got [a] license and don’t ever want to vote.”

It’s important to note, as well, that despite what you’ve heard, and what Democrats are constantly intimating, an analysis by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered no racial disparities in the voter roll purge in Georgia, finding that blacks and whites were purged in proportion to their shares of the state’s registered voters:

The article concludes:

However you look at these situations, though, “hundreds of thousands of voters” are not losing their right to cast ballots. Even if judges began forcing Wisconsin and Georgia—and the seven other states with “use it or lose it laws”—to ignore the law, there’s no evidence that it would have any bearing on the election.

Because even if we conceded that a tenth of these purges were inappropriate (and there’s zero evidence that suggests that even 1% of them are wrong), and even if we conceded that every single one of those voters would then cast their ballots for Democrats (which is implausible), it still wouldn’t change the outcome.

Not in Georgia. Not in Wisconsin. Not anywhere.

None of this is to contend that there isn’t a single person in the country who is being unfairly denied the right to vote. But the notion that “hundreds of thousands of voters” will be stopped from participating in the 2020 election through voter purges is nothing but destructive scaremongering meant to undermine American belief in the veracity of our elections.

Purging the voter rolls cuts down on voter fraud. It eliminates the possibility of someone claiming to be someone who has either moved or died. It prevents the vote of an American citizen from being cancelled out by fraud. It helps keep our elections honest.

The Human Cost Of Socialized Medicine

On Thursday, The Daily Signal posted an article which illustrates how thankful Americans should be for the health care we receive. The article tells the story of James Schmitz, a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. Mr. Schmitz suffers from West syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

The article reports:

After graduating college, I had an opportunity to work for a think tank in London. There, I’d be just hours away from the wonders of mainland Europe.

Britain is a historian’s paradise, so naturally as a history major, I was soaking it up. The idea of also going to Pompeii or Rome was spectacular.

The only thing standing in my way was a doctor to treat me abroad.

As an epileptic, I needed a steady supply of anti-seizure drugs and visits to the doctor about every three months to make sure everything was working as it should. I also needed a doctor to be available within a week’s time if necessary.

I didn’t know how hard it would be to find a doctor in Britain. I remember having a very difficult conversation with a general practitioner. It was the moment my dream of staying abroad was crushed.

It was a Friday. After work, I walked into an urgent care clinic to set up an appointment with a neurologist.

I knew how easy it is in the United States to see a doctor, so I thought this would be no different. I would go in, get a recommendation, and walk out with a name and number to call on Monday for an appointment possibly in two weeks’ time.

Sadly, that was not the case. The doctor said, verbatim: “I can recommend a neurologist for you. I will say, she’s pretty booked so you won’t see her for at least nine months.”

I was shocked. I felt as if I’d been blindsided. She wasn’t even guessing. She worked at a nearby National Health Service hospital right down the street on the weekends, so she knew.

I asked if there was anything I could do to expedite the waiting process. In response, all I got was: “I’ll call my colleague and see if she could maybe squeeze you in maybe three to four months from now.”

Disheartened by the news, I knew staying in the U.K. was out of the question. I had to return to the U.S. in order to keep accessing the routine medical care that had saved my life so many years before.

A month later, I packed my bags and left for Heathrow Airport having spent less than three months in the country. It’s a shame, because Britain is an amazing country and I would have loved to stay longer. Health care should not be a reason to have to leave a modern, First World country.

And that is how things work under socialized medicine. There may be no cost, but there is also no availability. Healthcare isn’t worth much if you can’t get it.

Something To Consider As The Process Continues

On Friday, The Daily Signal posted an article noting that even before Ukraine uproar, 10 of 13 Democrats on the intelligence panel backed Trump impeachment probe. We need to remind Americans that impeachment is not supposed to be a political vehicle to overturn an election you don’t like.

The article reports:

In July, Rep. Andre Carson, a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, voted for the then-most recent resolution calling for the ouster of President Donald Trump from office. 

“I think it represents a larger, more important conversation that we need to have about … what we’re willing to tolerate as a citizenry from our commander in chief,” Politico quoted the Indiana Democrat as saying, “What responsibility the commander in chief has to the electorate in terms of not fanning the flames of Islamophobia, xenophobia, and outright hatred.”

The intelligence committee has taken the lead role in the impeachment investigation of Trump, focused on Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the two leaders discussed former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and a Democratic computer server. 

But 10 of the 13 Democrats on the committee discussed an impeachment inquiry, actual impeachment, and the removal of, or resignation by, Trump well before news broke of the controversial phone call.

The article goes on to cite multiple examples of Democrats claiming that the Mueller Report was their cue to begin impeachment despite the fact that it showed no evidence of a crime. The statement that the Mueller did not exonerate the President is somewhat misleading–investigators are to look for evidence of lawbreaking and report on whether or not they found any. They do not find people innocent–they simply find evidence of guilt. The Mueller Report found no evidence of guilt.

Are Children Becoming Collateral Damage In The Culture War?

The Daily Signal today posted an article by Sydney Wright, a business sales representative in the private sector and a student at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Sydney Wright spent a year as a transgender man and shares her experience in the article.

In the article Sydney explains the path she traveled:

From my earliest years, I was always different from the other girls. I wore boy clothes, and I played with boy toys. I was a classic tomboy.

As I got older, I became romantically interested in other girls. In fact, with the exception of one guy I dated in high school, I exclusively dated girls.

At the time, you wouldn’t have been able to tell I was gay just from looking at me. I had long, blond hair, wore makeup, and carried myself rather femininely. But in my head, I knew I was gay—though I was more of a self-loathing gay.

The truth is, I didn’t like gays, and didn’t want to be associated with them. Yet there I was, dating only other girls.

Her journey begins in earnest with the viewing of successful transgender stories on Instagram. All the stories she saw painted a positive picture of transition and life after the transition. She expressed the feeling that being a transgender female would result in less negative feedback from society than being gay. She looked for books that would discuss both sides of the transgender issue, but found only books that supported the transgender movement and the medical procedures.

The article continues:

The first step was to find a therapist who would write me a letter to start me on male hormones.

I soon found a therapist who said she would help me, and I told her I wanted to start the hormones on my 19th birthday, which was only five weeks off. She required only a one-hour appointment each week.

That’s hardly enough time to get to know someone. Yet those five hours got me an official letter that unlocked the doors for me to get hormone therapy and become a “man.” It also helped me change my “sex” on my driver’s license from female to male.

I now see a huge problem with how easy this was. If the therapist had gone slower and been more careful, she would have seen that I wasn’t actually trans.

But by this time, I’d seen the promotional videos. I was convinced that my gender is what was “off,” and the therapist guided me along and made me feel like a sex change is what I needed.

By this point, my friends were also encouraging me to transition. “You’re a hot girl,” they said. “You’ll be a hot guy, too!” Others were too afraid to say anything against it, because after all, it was 2017. I never got pushback from anyone.

The article notes:

Not once did she tap the brakes to keep me from gender transition.

The article goes on to detail some of the medical problems a teenager may encounter with transition. Finally Miss Wright was encouraged to stop the transition by her grandfather. His wisdom probably saved her life. She then details the withdrawal process which also involved some serious medical problems.

The article concludes:

It’s insane to me that our society is letting this to happen to young people. At age 18, I wasn’t even legal to buy alcohol, but I was old enough to go to a therapist and get hormones to change my gender.

This is happening to vulnerable kids much younger than I was, and the adults are AWOL.

When you walk into these clinics, you won’t really see older people around. It’s boys and girls playing dress-up, brought there by clueless parents, waiting for the appointment that could likely ruin their lives.

I hope I’m not the only one who sees a major problem with this. Our culture has set up a fast-track to gender transition that will only result in scarred bodies and ruined lives—and the medical community is complicit. I met with these doctors in person and gave them my own cash. I can tell you they did not care.

At age 18, I wasn’t even legal to buy alcohol, but I was old enough to go to a therapist and get hormones to change my gender.

This is a public health crisis that our media and politicians are completely ignoring. More young people are being deceived every day, being told that the solution to their insecurity and identity problems is to get a sex change.

That’s just about the worst path you can put a young person on.

Until we do something, until the medical community puts up serious guardrails and begins to do its due diligence—and until politicians grow a spine and step in—expect to see more young people scarred for life.

If anything, I hope my story can serve as a warning bell and save some other young teenager the misery and grief I’ve been through.

Her story is chilling and should be a wake-up call to parents who for whatever reason are putting their children on the transgender train. The current transgender movement is a dangerous fad that ‘cool’ parents are taking part in. It is actually child abuse.

One Of Many Reasons Government Spending Keeps Increasing

On September 24, The Daily Signal posted an article about some recent comments made by Senator Joni Ernst. The Senator highlighted the practice of ‘Christmas in September’ spending by government agencies. There are some problems with the way our federal government’s budgeting system works. There is something called ‘baseline budgeting.’ This simply means that your starting point for your yearly budget is how much you actually spent of last year’s budget. Therefore, unless you want your budget to be cut this year, you had better spend all of the money you had in your budget last year. This means that as the fiscal year draws to a close, government agencies have the incentive to spend wildly. It also results in statements that actually make no sense but are widely accepted as fact. For instance, if I ask for a ten percent increase in my budget and only get a five percent increase, I will complain that my budget was cut five percent. In any other world, I got a five percent increase. In the world of government, I got a five percent cut. That is the reason that even though you are reading that the federal budget got cut, the spending actually increased. Unfortunately, to Washington it is all a game. Wild spending of taxpayer money is not a problem to our Congress–only to the taxpayers who have to pay the bill.

The article at The Daily Signal reports:

The fourth-ranking Republican in the Senate called on colleagues Tuesday to pass her legislation to reduce wasteful government spending and rein in agencies’ spending practices.

“Government agencies are going on their annual ‘Christmas in September’ use-it-or-lose-it shopping spree,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said in remarks prepared for delivery on the Senate floor.

“If not spent by midnight on Sept. 30, leftover dollars expire and can no longer be used,” Ernst said. “Rather than returning the money to taxpayers, binge-buying bureaucrats are wasting billions of taxpayer dollars needlessly.”

The federal government’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and Ernst’s legislation, called the End of Year Fiscal Responsibility Act, would end agencies’ annual 11th-hour sprints to spend all their budgeted money before the fiscal year runs out.

Her bill would curb how much an agency could spend in the last two months of the fiscal year to no more than what the agency usually spends each month on average during the rest of the year.

…“This bill won’t end all wasteful spending, but it will force agencies to put more thought into long-term planning and curtail the bad habit of out-of-control impulsive spending,” Ernst said.

Ernst said “spending sprees” in the past have included almost $12,000 for a commercial foosball table; $4.6 million for lobster tail and crab; $2.1 million for games, toys, and wheeled goods; over $53,000 on table china; and over $40,000 on clocks.

“With our national debt now surpassing $22 trillion, Washington should be looking for ways to save by canceling or delaying unnecessary expenses, rather than splurging on end-of-year wish lists,” Ernst said.

Another piece of legislation pushed by Iowa’s junior senator would keep her colleagues from returning home until they passed a budget.

“Through my No Budget, No Recess Act, members of Congress would be prohibited from leaving Washington if we fail to pass a budget by April 15 or approve regular spending bills by Aug. 1,” she said.

The government must stop enabling agencies to spend money that shouldn’t be spent, Ernst added:

I think Senator Ernst has some really good ideas.

This Is Not A New Problem

Congress has an uncanny talent for taking a bad situation and making it worse. Before they left for August recess, they did just that.

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday headlined, “Congress Poised to Give Unions a Massive Bailout.”

The article reports:

A new report from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. shows that the private union pension crisis is only getting worse, and now Congress is poised to make it worse still.

Not only are many multiemployer pension plans rapidly approaching insolvency, but the situation is so bad that even the pension safety net—the PBGC’s Multiemployer Program—will be bankrupt in just six years, leaving pensioners with mere pennies on the dollar in promised benefits.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives passed a bill just before leaving for August recess that will make the situation even worse. Not only would the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (H.R. 397), exacerbate the problem, it would put taxpayers on the hook for potentially $638 billion or more in broken pension promises.

This is the summary of the bill posted at Congress.gov:

Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act of 2019

This bill establishes the Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Department of the Treasury and a related trust fund to make loans to certain multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.

To receive a loan, a plan must be (1) in critical and declining status, including any plan with respect to which a suspension of benefits has been approved; (2) in critical status, have a funded percentage of less than 40%, and have a ratio of active to inactive participants which is less than two to three; or (3) insolvent, if the plan became insolvent after December 16, 2014, and has not been terminated.

Treasury must transfer amounts, which may include proceeds from bonds and other obligations, from the general fund to the trust fund established by this bill as necessary to fund the program. The Pension Rehabilitation Administration may use the funds, without a further appropriation, to make loans, pay principal and interest on obligations, or for administrative and operating expenses.

The bill allows the sponsor of a multiemployer pension plan that is applying for a loan under this bill to also apply to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) for financial assistance if, after receiving the loan, the plan will still become (or remain) insolvent within the 30-year period beginning on the date of the loan.

The bill also appropriates to the PBGC the funds that are necessary to provide the financial assistance required by this bill.

No. In 2010, I wrote about this problem at rightwinggranny. One source of my article was Human Events, which stated:

“EPI has published and advocated what we feel would be an excellent national supplemental retirement plan, the Guaranteed Retirement Account, which was authored by Prof. Teresa Ghilarducci, Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research. In a nutshell, the GRA would mandate employer and employee contributions to a federally administered cash balance plan. The combined 5% of payroll contributions would be invested by a Thrift Savings Plan-like entity in the bond and stock markets, with a guaranteed minimum return of 3% beyond inflation. A $600 tax credit would cover the entire 2.5% contribution for workers earning $24,000 or less, and greatly reduce the effective contribution rate for other lower-paid workers. We calculate that at the end of a normal working life, the average worker would accumulate, along with Social Security, enough to assure a 70%replacement rate of pre-retirement income.”

The Daily Signal article concludes:

Under H.R. 397 (which is similar to the Butch Lewis Act already before the Senate), insolvent union pension plans would receive taxpayer dollars to invest in the stock market, as well as loans to cover their broken pension promises.

Risking taxpayer money in the stock market and making loans to insolvent pension plans is reckless and wrong.

And instead of fixing the underlying problems, this bailout-without-reform proposal would incentivize union pension plans to become more underfunded so they could receive taxpayer funds.

That would be particularly unfair, considering that Congress has not even addressed its inability to pay its own Social Security obligations to taxpayers.

Instead of a costly bailout-without-reform, Congress should improve the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s solvency, prevent plans from overpromising and underfunding pensions, and help plans minimize pension reductions across workers.

The current House of Representatives will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible governmental bodies ever elected.

A Common Sense Approach To Saving Taxpayer Money

Welfare was meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Unfortunately we have lost the war on poverty started by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s. According to the social work degree center website, in the 1960’s, 22 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In 2014, 14.8 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In January 2016, The Daily Signal reported:

First, the War on Poverty has failed to achieve Johnson’s goal: to “strike at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.” Since he declared “unconditional war,” poverty has thumbed its nose at its would-be conquerors.

The official poverty rate has hovered between ten and fifteen percent for 50 years. But that is only a part of the story. Since the 1960s, the institutions that contribute to self-sufficiency—namely, marriage and work—have declined. Today, more than 40 percent of children are born outside marriage; in 1964, only 7 percent were.

…Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, writes that “taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution.” It’s time to change course. We need a new strategy against poverty.

The changes in our culture are part of the problem, but there is another increasing problem–people who come to this country to take advantage of our generous welfare system.

Breitbart posted an article today stating:

President Trump is set to save American taxpayers billions of dollars as his administration announces a new rule on Monday that will essentially ban welfare-dependent legal immigrants from permanently resettling in the United States.

A new regulation set to be published by the Trump administration will ensure that legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using subsidized healthcare services, food stamps, and public housing.

Below is a chart of current welfare expenditures:

I have no problem with having a safety net, but it seems that our priorities are out of order. The first group of people that we should be helping are our veterans. Too many of them come home and need help to get on their feet when they separate from the military. I would like to see that as our first priority in welfare spending.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

Currently, there is an estimated record high of 44.5 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S. This is nearly quadruple the immigrant population in 2000. The vast majority of those arriving in the country every year are low-skilled legal immigrants who compete against working and middle-class Americans for jobs.

If we don’t get a handle on immigration, we are going to bankrupt America.

A List The Media Has Failed To Mention

Over the weekend we had two horrendous shootings–one in Texas and one in Ohio. We also had the usual carnage in Chicago which no one seems to mention anymore. There will be calls to limit the number of guns in America and calls for ‘red flag’ laws and calls to confiscate guns from any suspicious person. There will be lists of the dead and the injured. But there will be one list that you won’t see in the mainstream media.

Today The Daily Signal posted a list of a handful of the many times law-abiding citizens have used their firearms in defense of their rights or the rights of those around them. The article links to the January, February, March, April, May and June examples.

The article lists the July examples:

July 3, Summerville, South Carolina. Concerned neighbors went to check out loud noises that they thought might be someone breaking into the local church, only to discover a very drunk trespasser roaming through a nearby backyard.

The drunk trespasser began attacking one of the neighbors, who then shot the drunk man in self-defense after his warning shot went unheeded.

Law enforcement officers determined the neighbor acted justifiably, and the drunk man is facing charges related to the incident.

July 5, Danville, Kentucky. A homeowner held a would-be thief at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived, after investigating why his gate intercom rang at 4 a.m.

The homeowner looked outside and saw that his vehicles had been moved, then found the cars parked away from the house, with the thief still inside one of them.

July 10, Summerfield, Florida. A disabled 61-year-old homeowner kept his AR-15 loaded by his bedside after a suspicious interaction earlier in the day with a man who was looking through the sliding glass door on his back porch.

When the homeowner awoke to loud noises that night, he grabbed his rifle just in time to defend himself from four armed men who had broken into his home.

He killed two of the armed intruders and sent the other two fleeing, until they were tracked down by a police K9 unit. Despite being outnumbered and wounded himself, the homeowner survived.

July 11, Tampa, Florida. A pastor, joined by a deacon, held an intruder at gunpoint for nearly 10 minutes after responding to the church’s alarm system and discovering a man who had used a brick to break in. The intruder was in the process of stealing electronics from the place of worship.

July 15, Phoenix. A retired military law enforcement officer acted quickly to defend himself and his family against a home invasion, drawing his handgun from his bedside table and chasing the intruder out of the house.

After running, the suspect broke into another home and attempted to sexually assault a woman before being arrested by police, who the first homeowner had called.

July 16, San Diego. A man armed with a knife broke into a home and began stabbing the 54-year-old homeowner until the homeowner’s son was able to intervene, shooting and killing the attacker with his father’s gun.

The home invasion caused some residents to question the logic of a proposed local ordinance that would require gun owners to keep their firearms locked in a safe or left inoperable when not on their person.

July 17, Oneida, Tennessee. A man rushed to his mother’s home after receiving a phone call from the mother’s caretaker about hearing suspicious talking from other parts of the house.

He discovered a woman in the process of burglarizing the home who was armed with a pocket knife, and held her at gunpoint until police arrived.

July 24, Rochester, New Hampshire. A father, whose two young children were in the car with him, spotted a would-be burglar while pulling up in the driveway of his home.

The father confronted the man and held him at gunpoint while waiting for law enforcement. He told reporters that while he wished he had not needed to draw his gun in the presence of his children, he hopes it taught them a valuable lesson.

“I don’t carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to neutralize threatening situations,” he said.

July 27, High Point, North Carolina. A woman fatally shot an ax-wielding man who broke into her property and charged at her. The man had assaulted the same woman earlier that night but was able to elude police.

July 29, Prospect, Kentucky. A homeowner brandished his handgun to chase away a man attempting to break into his home. The incident was captured by a security camera, and the homeowner believes that the presence of the firearm allowed him to scare off the suspect without putting himself in danger.

July 31, Nashville. An Uber driver defended himself and his passenger by shooting a man who opened fire on the driver’s vehicle. The man—who had a long history of violent crimes, including armed robbery—said he had felt “disrespected” by the Uber driver’s passenger and followed the car to exact revenge.

Neither the passenger nor the Uber driver was harmed, but the perpetrator was later treated at a local hospital for wounds to his chest and arm.

The guns are not the problem. The people holding them can be. Any restriction on gun ownership runs the risk of taking the guns away from law-abiding citizens and allowing criminals, who don’t follow laws, to have them. Disarming a population does not decrease crime–it increases it. I am also very suspicious of a government that wants to disarm its population. An armed population is one of the things that keeps government power in check.

A Disturbing Trend On College Campuses

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Basically that means that even people you disagree with have the right to speak. However, that principle is not being taught on many of our college campuses.

The Daily Signal posted an article today about some recent events at Williams College.

The article reports:

At Williams College in Massachusetts, biology professor Dr. Luana Maroja wrote online last year that she was concerned about student and administrator attitudes regarding free speech. She gathered more than 100 faculty signatures on a petition calling for the school to adopt what is known as the “Chicago Principles,” a statement in favor of free expression developed by the University of Chicago.

More than 60 schools have endorsed this statement, a welcome response to the disrupted events and other nonsense that have plagued universities around the country.

Some Williams students will have none of it. Maroja says that more than a dozen of them barged into a faculty meeting last November holding signs such as “free speech harms” and saying faculty were trying to “kill” the students.

After that, tensions escalated. The College Fix reports that a professor subsequently “threatened violence” if Williams adopted the Chicago statement. All this, because Maroja dared to promote the idea that Williams should maintain a “climate of mutual respect.”

If that isn’t troubling enough, a poll of the students is even more troubling:

A recent survey of college students found that more than half of respondents say shouting down speakers is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable. Sixteen percent of respondents say it is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable to use violence to stop a speech protest or rally.

These responses are disturbing. Civil society – life in the office, in your neighborhood, at your child’s soccer game – depends on people tolerating those who do not share their beliefs, not trying to silence them through intimidation or violence. The American Dream dies if we live in fear of persecution.

Williams officials should take seriously the threats posed to the next generation of adults that come from limiting the ideas that can be considered on campus. The school should require students to attend sessions on free speech during freshman orientation – and explain that hiding from ideas with which you disagree is a poor strategy for life.

New policies for public universities in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin now serve as examples of how to protect everyone’s freedom of expression in a campus community.

These policies affirm the idea that anyone should be allowed to protest or demonstrate in public areas as long as they do not prevent others from doing the same. Moreover, they stipulate that their public universities must be prepared to penalize individuals who silence others.

The article notes that Williams is a private college and can set its own policies regarding free speech. However, it is troubling that the First Amendment is no longer appreciated or practiced on some college campuses.

How Your Tax Money Is Spent

The Daily Signal posted the following today:

Obviously we have some work to do. The question that comes to mind is why do we always hear that Social Security is running out of money but we never hear that the Welfare State is running out of money. I think it is truly time to examine the bureaucracy that support each. I suspect we could save some serious money there without hurting the people who truly need government assistance.

Good News On Healthcare

The Daily Signal posted an article today about President Trump’s plan to reform healthcare (which obviously starts with the removal of ObamaCare).

The article reports:

A look at his fiscal year 2020 budget shows that the president has a plan to reduce costs and increase health care choices. His plan would achieve this by redirecting federal premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion money into grants to states. States would be required to use the money to establish consumer-centered programs that make health insurance affordable regardless of income or medical condition.

The president’s proposal is buttressed by a growing body of evidence that relaxing federal regulations and freeing the states to innovate makes health care more affordable for families and small businesses.

Ed Haislmaier and I last year published an analysis of waivers that have so far enabled seven states to significantly reduce individual health insurance premiums. These states fund “invisible high risk pools” and reinsurance arrangements largely by repurposing federal money that would otherwise have been spent on Obamacare premium subsidies, directing them instead to those in greatest medical need.

By financing care for those with the biggest medical bills, these states have substantially reduced premiums for individual policies. Before Maryland obtained its waiver, insurers in the state filed requests for 2019 premium hikes averaging 30 percent. After the federal government approved the waiver, final 2019 premiums averaged 13 percent lower than in 2018—a 43 percent swing.

The article explains that the President’s plan is similar to another proposed plan:

It closely parallels the Health Care Choices Proposal, the product of ongoing work by national and state think tanks, grassroots organizations, policy analysts, and others in the conservative community. A study by the Center for Health and the Economy, commissioned by The Heritage Foundation, found that the proposal would reduce premiums for individual health insurance by up to 32 percent and cover virtually the same number of people as under Obamacare.

It also would give consumers more freedom to choose the coverage they think best for themselves and their families. Unlike current law, states could include direct primary care; health-sharing ministries; short-term, limited-duration plans; and other arrangements among the options available through their programs.

Those expanded choices would extend to low-income people. The proposal would require states to let those receiving assistance through the block grants, Medicaid, and other public assistance programs apply the value of their subsidy to the plan of their choice, instead of being herded into government-contracted health maintenance organizations.

We can do better at healthcare. Either one of these proposals would be a great start.

Comparing Apples To Apples

Most of us understand that the media is biased and slants its articles accordingly. The challenge for voters is to look past the obvious to make sure what they are reading is actually true. One recent example of misrepresenting a basic fact is the way the Trump tax cuts are being reported.

On February 13th The Daily Signal posted an article illustrating the fake news regarding the tax cuts.

The article includes the following tweet:

The article explains the problem with her statement:

This is simply the latest episode in a long-running campaign to demagogue tax cuts that let the vast majority of Americans keep more of their hard-earned money.

Some of the biggest cuts are actually being enjoyed by the lowest-income Americans. A typical family of four got a $2,917 tax cut this year.

…So what’s the complaint about?

In an early sample of tax returns, the IRS has reported that average refunds are down $170 from last year and that they hadn’t changed much from 2017, the year before.

But this is not relevant, for two reasons.

First, the sample of tax returns cited by the IRS is very small, and some analysts expect refunds will actually go up this year.

But second, and more importantly, tax refunds have nothing to do with the size of anyone’s tax cut. A refund is what you get back if you’ve paid too much in taxes throughout the year. Your tax cut is the drop in total taxes you owed to Uncle Sam last year. The two are not connected.

Employers across the country already gave us our tax cuts by withholding less money from our paychecks every pay period. Americans saw a bump to their paychecks in February 2018.

Of course, withholding is never perfectly accurate, so your refund or tax payment at the end of the year is simply a last-minute adjustment. But that refund does not cancel out the overall bump in take-home pay due to the tax cut.

Do you remember when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts “monumental, brazen theft,” or when former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers predicted the tax cuts would kill 10,000 people every year? This most recent round of hysteria is just more of the same.

Be prepared for more false stories as the 2020 election grows closer.