Duke University Sued Over Religious Discrimination Against Pro-Life Nurse

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit last Friday on behalf of Sara T. Pedro, a Catholic nurse in the Emergency Department of Duke University Hospital, who was discriminated and retaliated against after her employer learned of her pro-life religious beliefs.  Named as defendants in the lawsuit are both Duke University and Duke University Health System, Inc. (“Duke”).

Tyler Brooks, the TMLC attorney handling the case, commented: “This case illustrates the unfortunate dangers faced today by individuals who seek to remain faithful to their religious beliefs in the workplace.”

“With this lawsuit, however, we intend to show that even very large employers must respect the civil rights of their Christian employees,” said Mr. Brooks.

The complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, describes how Ms. Pedro compiled an unblemished record during her eight years of work as a nurse prior to being hired by Duke.

During a classroom orientation, a group of newly-hired nurses that included Ms. Pedro was told by a nursing supervisor that Duke categorically refuses to grant religious accommodations for Emergency Department employees who object to assisting in abortions. Learning about Duke’s pro-abortion policy for the first time, Ms. Pedro made written requests for religious accommodation because of her opposition to abortion. Her requests motivated acts of discrimination and retaliation by Duke in violation of federal and state laws.

Duke’s policy and actions violate several federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Labor Standards Act, North Carolina’s Wage and Hour Act, and North Carolina common law.

The federal lawsuit details several specific acts of retaliation as a result of Ms. Pedro’s requests for religious accommodation. For example, Duke refused to advance Ms. Pedro from training status to regular duty, issued her a written warning for vague and unsubstantiated reasons, and then placed her on administrative leave when she attempted to formally dispute the warning.

To this day, nearly a year after it was first made, Duke has not issued a final decision on Ms. Pedro’s request to be excused from assisting in abortions.  In her complaint, Ms. Pedro alleges that Duke sought to force her out of her job rather than accommodate her religious beliefs as required by Title VII.

The first two paragraphs of TMLC’s complaint describe the essence of the lawsuit:

“At its heart, this case presents a simple yet important question: Must a devout Catholic abandon fundamental tenets of her faith if she wishes to be employed as a nurse at Duke University Hospital?  Despite the fact that Defendant Duke has answered ‘yes’ to this question, federal and state civil rights laws say otherwise. Therefore, Plaintiff Sara Theresa Pedro brings this action to vindicate her rights under the law.

An employee does not forfeit her right to practice her religion and abide by the tenets of her faith when she enters the workplace.”

Read TMLCs entire Federal Complaint here.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values.  It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

VIDEO: 72,000 New Clinton Docs!

The FBI Recovered 72,000 Pages of Clinton Records – Court Orders Explanation on Processing

President Trump’s efforts to drain the Washington swamp are being seriously hindered by Deep State, particularly in the State and Justice Departments.

As an example, the State Department just revealed in a federal court hearing that it has yet to process 40,000 of 72,000 pages of Hillary Clinton records that the FBI recovered last year. The revelation came in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails that were sent or received during her tenure from February 2009 to January 31, 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). The case is before Judge James E. Boasberg.

The hearing, which took place last week, focused on the State Department’s progress on processing the tens of thousands of emails Clinton failed to disclose when she served as Secretary of State, some of which were emails sent by Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were found on the laptop of her estranged husband Anthony Weiner.

The State Department has processed 32,000 pages of emails so far, only a small number of which have been released, but 40,000 pages remain to be processed.

We asked the court to require the State Department to identify any records from the seven FBI discs that it intends to withhold, and why, in a timely manner. The State Department disclosed to the court that it was adding extra resources to its FOIA operation but would not commit to a faster production of the Clinton emails.

But right after the hearing, Judge Boasberg ordered the State Department to “explain how its anticipated increase in resources will affect processing of records in this case and when the processing of each disk is likely to be completed.” Surprisingly, the Tillerson State Department and Sessions Justice Department previously argued to the court that there was diminished public interest in the Clinton emails.

In November 2016, the State Department was ordered to produce no fewer than 500 pages of records a month to Judicial Watch, emails which the FBI found in its investigation into Clinton’s non-government email system. The State Department has produced 23 batches of documents so far.

At the current pace, the Clinton emails and other records won’t be fully available for possible release until at least 2020! (We originally filed the lawsuit in May 2015.)

Clinton attempted to delete 33,000 emails from her non-government server. The FBI investigation recovered or found a number of these missing emails, many of which were government documents. We know that some of these recovered emails are in the pile of documents on which the State Department now sits.

Secretary Tillerson should be asked why his State Department is still sitting on this mother lode of Clinton emails. It is disheartening that an administration elected to “drain the swamp” is stalling the release of documents in order to protect Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.

In a related lawsuit, the State Department admitted it received 2,800 Huma Abedin work-related documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that were found on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s personal laptop. The State Department expects to complete its review and production of the FBI records by December 31, 2017.

This is all a slow-motion cover-up, and it’s being conducted in a department allegedly reporting to President Trump. The President needs to clean house and get the American people these Clinton documents ASAP!

We Are Suing YouTube for Censoring Our Videos

As you know, PragerU’s videos are available on a number of platforms, one of which is YouTube. And as you may also know, YouTube has chosen repeatedly to restrict some of our videos for violating their “Community Guidelines.”  Those guidelines are meant to protect users against viewing sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech.

As a PragerU viewer, you know as well as I do that our videos contain nothing even remotely close to any of these categories.

To date, YouTube has restricted or “demonetized” 50 PragerU videos, addressing topics ranging from the Ten Commandments to the history of the Korean War.

More than a year ago, we filed a complaint with YouTube, hoping that there was some kind of innocent mistake.

That’s when we were told by YouTube that after reviewing our videos they determined that they were indeed “not appropriate for a younger audience.” Of course, we have this in writing.

Think about the millions of actually inappropriate videos on YouTube and then ask yourself, “Why is our content restricted?”

Unfortunately, the answer is rather obvious, isn’t it?  YouTube has restricted PragerU videos for only one reason: Ideological discrimination.

Of course, YouTube is owned by Google, which was founded to, ironically, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

YouTube has made some of our most important videos inaccessible to the very audience PragerU seeks to reach: young people.

Let me be clear: they don’t like what we teach and so they intend to stop us from teaching it. This kind of censorship is what we have seen on college campuses for years. But it is far more dangerous in this circumstance because the internet is where the world goes to get informed.

Can you imagine if the left owned the internet the way they own our universities?

Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?  

Well, this is why Prager University filed suit again YouTube and Google. We are not fighting this only for PragerU—we are taking this on for America and possibly the world.

Now, I have to tell you … this was not an easy decision.

Over the summer, former Governor of California Pete Wilson — who has been a longtime supporter of PragerU — approached us and posited the idea: “We have to sue them,” he said. “Google is hubris.”

Those words weighed heavy on our entire team as we considered our options.

Obviously, a fight with Google will be hugely difficult and costly, and we hate the idea of deploying energy and resources away from producing more content and reaching new audiences.  We simply cannot do that.

So, before taking any such action, we decided we’d attempt a more diplomatic approach one last time. On the one-year anniversary of Google blocking our content, or the “BANniversary” as we had come to call it, we renewed our complaints to YouTube and re-circulated an online petition urging Google to change course. Many articles have been written and many people, including many very prominent and influential people, rallied in support of our cause. To date, well over a quarter-of-a-million people have added their names to our petition.

What was the result of our efforts?

Nothing. YouTube ignored us. In fact, they have since restricted 11 more PragerU videos.

With our hands tied, we knew Governor Wilson was right—Google’s hubris had to be challenged.

So, we have built an all-star legal team, including Governor Wilson’s Law Firm, Eric George, Alan Dershowitz, Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver, and more.

It’s an impressive group, because this is an important case; not only for PragerU, but for the fundamental American right to freedom of speech.

But this is not going to be easy and it isn’t going to be cheap.

Despite the fact that our amazing attorneys have agreed to reasonably cap their legal fees, there will be additional personnel, research, marketing and public relations costs to PragerU.

This case will be tried in the court of public opinion as much as in the courtroom, and we intend to win in both venues.

However, we cannot deplete our operating budget to fight this case. Thanks to you, PragerU has reached more than 1-out-of-4 Americans on the internet. Sixty-three percent of them are under 34. We plan to continue to focus on this growth and reach 3 out of 4 Americans. We can’t let up now.

We are fully committed to the lawsuit but we won’t let them slow the growth of PragerU.

This is why our board of directors and many staff members have donated, in addition to our annual gift, to what we are calling the “YouTube Action Fund.” Dennis Prager, Allen Estrin, and I have all given extra this year.

Now, here is how you can help:

  1. Please go to our website and sign the petition against YouTube censorship. It already has nearly 300,000 signatures; please add yours if you haven’t done so already, and ask 10 of your friends to do the same.
  2. More importantly, please contribute to our action fund if you can, over and above your planned support for PragerU. Our initial goal for the legal fund is $1 million, and we think we can reach that goal with your help.

Many of you have already given so generously and I am embarrassed to ask for more. But if you think this fight is important please support us in whatever way you can.

It seems like a lot to ask…until you consider how much we have to lose.

Perhaps Goliath could teach Google a little bit about where hubris leads … when a David comes slinging.

Thank you, and God bless you.

RELATED ARTICLE: Conservative Group Claims YouTube Is Censoring Its Videos

Black Church Leaders Defend Baker in Wedding Cake Case

A Colorado baker has a right not to make a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage that is against his faith, and the LGBT agenda is not a new civil rights movement, black Christian leaders said Monday outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nine leaders spoke in support of Jack Phillips, whose lawyers will ask the high court Dec. 5 to affirm that his free speech and religious liberty rights under the First Amendment allow him to turn down a request by two male customers to create such a cake.

“The First Amendment gives us the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion,” Garland Hunt, senior pastor at The Father’s House, a nondenominational church in Atlanta, said at the press conference in defense of Phillips, who was not there. “The freedom of religion is an inalienable right that comes from God.”

In 2012, Phillips declined the business of two men who visited his bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and asked him to create a cake celebrating their wedding in Massachusetts.

His Christian faith, Phillips has said, teaches that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. He also has said he doesn’t design and make cakes that go against his faith in other ways, such as being sexually suggestive or depictingSatan.

Persecution of Christians is real and “coming for America,” Hunt said.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Amazing civil rights leaders at #SCOTUS standing with Jack Phillips of #MasterpieceCakeshop #JusticeForJack. Photo: Brianna Herlihy @briher10 on Twitter.

Dean Nelson, co-founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of North Carolina and senior fellow for African-American affairs at the Washington-based Family Research Council, said Phillips is being attacked because he is a Christian.

“Jack is an honorable man who has served his community through his business for all people, regardless of their race, creed, color, gender, or sexual identity,” Nelson said. “Jack as a Christian is compelled to love all people, and this is what he has done for decades.”

The press conference was organized by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group that defends religious liberty and represents Phillips, and sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Foundation, which promotes Christian and Republican values. The foundation also has launched a website in support of Phillips called We Got Your Back, Jack.

Janet Boynes, author of “Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery of Freedom,” said the civil rights movement started to help blacks gain their rights and sexual behavior is not the same as skin color.

“I resent having my race compared to what other people do in bed,” Boynes said.

LGBT activists want special rights, she said, and she is concerned that people are falling for the idea that homosexuality is not a choice. American culture is in a “downward spiral,” she said.

“God only condones and blesses sex between a man and a woman in marriage,” she said.

William Avon Keen, president of the Virginia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization co-founded by civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr., said activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans have hijacked civil rights.

Unlike many LGBT activists, Keen said, he dealt with separate and unequal public facilities when he was growing up.

Keen said the Bible calls homosexuality a sin.

“We as Christians, we feel that murder is a sin. … We feel that marriage is ordained by God between a man and a woman,” Keen said. “We don’t believe in the third gender.”

He said the civil rights movement of the 1960s was “anti-sin,” and that today Christians are “too quiet” on societal issues and need to speak up.

“It is an injustice for our nation or anyone to try to force an individual to deny their faith,” Keen said.

Trump’s EPA Chief Charts a New Course: An Interview With Scott Pruitt

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke to me earlier this week at The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club meeting in Washington. We discussed his leadership of the EPA, the agency’s top priorities, and what Pruitt considers true environmentalism. An edited transcript of our interview, along with the full video, is below.

Bluey: You’ve had a busy week. On Monday, you took a decisive action and ended the sue and settle process that has been plaguing the EPA and our government for a number of years. Can you explain to this audience why that is so significant and what it actually means?

Pruitt: Yes, well, it’s good to be with you. In fact, I see [former Attorney] General [Edwin] Meese here in the front and it’s always good to see General Meese. He has served as a great inspiration to me over the years.

With respect to this particular question on sue and settle, it is actually something General Meese talked about back in the 1980s. We’ve seen agencies at the federal level for many years engage in rulemaking through the litigation process, where a third party will sue an agency and, in the course of that lawsuit, an agency will agree to certain obligations. Maybe take a discretionary duty under statute and make it nondiscretionary or there will be a timeline in a statute and they’ll change the timeline.

But suffice it to say, they engage in what we would call substantive rulemaking, and then the court blesses it without much inquiry. The agency will take that consent decree and go to the states and citizens all over the country and say, ‘Thou shalt,’ and sometimes that mandate is totally untethered to the statute—the obligations that Congress has passed for that agency to engage in.

My job is to enforce the laws as passed by whom? Congress. They give me my authority. That’s the jurisdictional responsibilities that I have, and when litigation is used to regulate … that’s abusive. That’s wrong.

It is fifth-grade civics. I don’t know if they teach civics in fifth grade anymore, but at least they used to. I hang out at the executive branch; we’re an executive branch agency. My job is to enforce the laws as passed by whom? Congress. They give me my authority. That’s the jurisdictional responsibilities that I have, and when litigation is used to regulate … that’s abusive. That’s wrong. We took the first step under the Trump administration [Monday] to end the sue and settle process entirely at the EPA.

It is not just an attitude shift, not just a commitment to not engage in sue and settle and regulation for litigation. We actually put directives in the memoranda, safeguards if you will.

For instance, if there is settlement that we are engaged in, settlement discussions with a third party that sued the agency, we will post that settlement for all the world to see, for at least 30 days, for people to comment on it across the country so that there is transparency with respect to those discussions.

If a state seeks to intervene in litigation with respect to issues that impact them, we’re going to have a very generous and accommodating attitude to our states participating in those settlement discussions. But here’s one of the more important ones: in the past the sue and settle process has been affected by third parties. They would go to the EPA and they would say, ‘Let’s work out a deal,’ and, as I indicated, go to the court, put it within a consent decree without any type of transparency.

But then here’s the kicker: They would pay attorneys fees to the group that sued them. So the group is effectively engaging in rulemaking and they get attorneys fees to get paid to do it.

In my directive to the agency, I said this: We’re not going to pay attorneys fees anymore in that regard. If we have a settlement and there’s no prevailing party, there shouldn’t be attorneys fees. We’ve directed no attorneys fees as part of the end of this sue and settle practice. It’s been a busy week already but every week is that way.

Bluey: The left, over the past generation, has defined environmentalism in a way that is counter to freedom, conservation, even science. I want to ask, what do you consider true environmentalism?

Pruitt: That’s a great question, and it’s one our society needs to ask and answer. The past administration told everyone in this room at some point, told the American citizens across the country, that we have to choose between jobs and growth and environmental stewardship.

We’ve never done that as a country. To give you an example, since 1980, there are certain pollutants that we regulate under the Clean Air Act, criteria pollutants, they are called. … We’ve reduced those pollutants over 65 percent since 1980, but we’ve also grown our [gross domestic product] substantially.

We, as a country, have always used innovative technology to advance environmental stewardship, reduction of those pollutants, but also grown our economy at the same time. It was the past administration that told everyone that you had to choose between the two. That just simply is a false narrative. It’s a false choice, so we need to ask ourselves, what is true environmentalism?

True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with.

True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with to feed the world, to power the world with the sensitivity that future generations cultivate, to harvest, to be respectful good stewards, good managers of our natural resources, to bequeath those natural resources for the next generation.

It would be like having this beautiful apple orchard that can feed the world and the environmental folks of the past would say, ‘Build a fence. Don’t touch the apple orchard, though it can feed people.’ That’s not the proper approach. They would say it’s so pristine and we shouldn’t touch it. That’s not what we should do. We should harvest that apple orchard. We should use it to benefit our fellow mankind, but with environmental stewardship in mind for future generations. We can do both. That’s what we need to do with the EPA going forward and we are doing that.

Bluey: I’m glad you brought up [former President Barack] Obama and his administration because the media often portrays him as an environmental hero and you’re portrayed as the villain. What are you most frustrated about with the media’s coverage of you personally and the EPA in general under President Trump?

Pruitt: Well, I don’t like the hero-villain thing that you put me through there, but when you look at the past administration and what they actually achieved as far as environmental outcomes, they did not achieve very much.

In fact, look at those criteria for what we do regulate. One-hundred-twenty-million people in this country live in areas that don’t meet air quality standards. That’s what the previous administration left us with. They had Flint, Michigan, and Gold King, Colorado, with respect to water. With respect to those areas that we regulate that have land waste, we have more sites than when President Obama came into office.

[W]hen you look at the past administration and what they actually achieved as far as environmental outcomes, they did not achieve very much.

They tried to regulate carbon dioxide twice and struck out twice. So really when you look at that agenda, what did they actually achieve other than uncertainty and adversarial relationships with those across the country?

When you look at farmers and ranchers, for example, they are our first environmentalists. They are our first conservationists. When you look at the greatest asset that they have it is their land. They care about the water that they drink. They care about the air that they breathe. We should see them as partners, not adversaries. We should see them as states in the same vain. They have expertise and resources that we don’t have. We have resources that they don’t have. It should be a partnership and collaboration.

I’ve been on a 25-state tour over the last two to three months with respect to the Waters of the United States rule. We’re withdrawing that rule. We’re getting that right. As we’ve gone through that process, I was in Utah with Gov. [Gary] Herbert talking about issues there, the second driest state in the country. The very next day, I was in Minnesota; [there are] different issues in Minnesota with respect to waters than in Utah.

As we do our work in D.C., we should do our work in collaboration and in partnership, in cohesion with states so that we can work on environmental issues from Superfund to air quality to water quality across the full spectrum in things that we do in partnership with those folks. That’s the failure of the past administration. They saw them as adversaries and not partners.

Kayakers find themselves surrounded by the toxic mine waste that flowed into Colorado’s Animas River from the Gold King Mine in 2015. (Photo: Jerry McBride/Durango Herald/Polaris/Newscom)

Moreover, they acted outside the scope of their authority, which created tremendous uncertainty. President Trump, who is doing a fabulous job, is leading with great courage and conviction. He’s in the White House today because of two primary things: the American people want courage and they want action, and he embodies both of those in his leadership.

But as we look to these issues in areas that we regulate with respect to air land and water, these are issues that we ought to be working together to achieve and setting clear objectives. Where should we be in air quality in two to four years? Where should we be in investment of air and water infrastructure? How do we improve remediate those sites with respective to the Superfund?

Let me give you an example. There’s a site just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a site that has 8,000 tons of uranium from the Manhattan Project commingled with the 38,000 thousand tons of solid waste dispersed over this large geographic area outside of St. Louis.

We’re getting back to the basics and we’re operating under the rule of law.

It was discovered in 1970. In 1990, the EPA listed that site on the national priority list. Twenty-seven years later, as we’re in this auditorium together, the agency still has not made a decision on how to remediate that site, excavate, or cap the site. Twenty-seven years … to not even make a decision? That’s totally unacceptable. In fact, that’s one of the things that as I came into this position, I was so stuck by.

As I was engaged in meetings at the office, there just appeared to be a lack of urgency, a lack of focus, a lack of energy to do what’s right to serve the American people—the fundamental way to provide real, tangible environmental outcomes in water, air, and Superfund.

We’re getting back to the basics and we’re operating under the rule of law. We’re respecting process and we’re also engaging in federalism principles to ensure that we’re partnering together. It sounds like a pretty good agenda to me and I think in this country, we ought to be adopting that, not vilifying it to your question.

Bluey: I want to ask specifically about the Waters of the United States rule you raised. At Heritage, it’s an issue that we’ve done a lot of work on. It’s something we recognize that has a tremendous impact across this country. You’ve made a decision that you were going to conduct a reevaluation. What are your goals as you go through that process and coming out of it?

Pruitt: Clarity. I mean, that’s what’s so crazy about the past administration. … Let me give you a little background. The last time we defined that was 1986 as far as Waters of the United States. We provided guidance in 2008; that’s about as far as the definition of a water of the United States is. So the past administration said we need to provide clarity across the country when federal jurisdiction begins and ends. If that was their objective, they failed miserably. Because people all over the country have no idea today where federal jurisdiction begins and ends under that 2015 rule.

I mentioned Utah. I was in Salt Lake City with Gov. Herbert with an Army Corps of Engineers representative about two months ago. We were standing outside of this subdivision and this Army Corps of Engineers representative pointed to this thermal drainage ditch and said, “Scott, that is a water of the United States,” and I said, “It’s not going to be anymore.” That’s really the challenge here—that you had so much confusion and uncertainty about what waters were in [and] what waters were out.

They call this deregulation. This is regulatory reform, this is regulatory clarity. We’re getting rid of the deficient rule and then we’re going to provide a new definition that provides bright line criteria by which to define where jurisdiction begins and ends.

So what does that mean? That means land use across this country is held hostage because folks aren’t going to deploy capital. They aren’t going to allocate resources They aren’t going to put capital at risk and then face a fine five or 10 years from now saying you should’ve had a permit because this is covered under Waters of the United States.

The No. 1 objective is to get the definition right and to provide clarity across the country on when federal jurisdiction ends and we’re going to do that in 2018. We’re going to withdraw the rule that’s in place right now and that will be finished by the end of the year. Then we’ve got a substitute definition, and this is where the environmental left misses it. They call this deregulation. This is regulatory reform, this is regulatory clarity. We’re getting rid of the deficient rule and then we’re going to provide a new definition that provides bright line criteria by which to define where jurisdiction begins and ends. That’s so key and that’s what we are going to accomplish in 2018, and it’s not going to be the federal drainage ditch.

Bluey: The Clean Power Plan is another major action you’ve taken recently. In the same context, what are the implications of doing away with that? And where do you see it going next?

Pruitt: For the first time in history, the Supreme Court entered a pending litigation and issued a stay of enforcement against the Clean Power Plan. That case is being litigated in the D.C. Circuit. The Supreme Court intervened and said stop the enforcement of the rule because it’s going to impact the marketplace in ways that we don’t think meet the statutory criteria or authority of the agency.

So again, uncertainty. We had uncertainty in the utility sector, so let me say this to you: generally, from a regulatory perspective this is going to be a very profound statement, regulations should make things regular. That’s our job to take a statute and administer the statute and make things regular across the full spectrum of people subject to the statute or subject to the regulation. It’s not to pick winners and losers.

The president made a tremendously courageous decision by saying we’re going to get out of the Paris accord, put America first, and make sure that we lead with action and not words.

It’s not the job of the EPA to say to the utility company in any state of the country, you should choose renewables over natural gas or coal. We need fuel diversity in the general electricity. We need more choices, not less. No agency at the federal level should use their coerce power to force business utility companies to take those fuel sources away. They should be making it on cost, stability, and I would say resiliency of the grid.

The president talks a lot about economic growth. We’re already at 3-plus percent and this tax cut package is going to provide tremendous growth. When you grow your economy at 3 to 4 percent as opposed to 1 percent, the power grid, the resiliency of the power grid takes more significance, so when you reduce fuel sources that takes on more vulnerabilities.

President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced in June the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. (Photo: Ron Sachs/Newscom)

We need solid hydrocarbons like coal to be stored onsite to address peak demand. We need natural gas, we need renewables, we need all that. Chancellor [Angela] Merkel, in this Paris accord situation, I know you didn’t ask about this, but I have to get this in, when we talk about this Paris accord issue, if Germany is so concerned about this reduction of CO2, why is Chancellor Merkel getting rid of all nuclear in Germany? Its hypocritical and, by the way, we’re at pre-1994 levels in this country and from 2000-2014 after we exited Kyoto, we reduced our CO2 footprint by 18 percent, almost 20 percent, and that’s in the same timeframe.

This country has alway led with action, not words and labels like Paris. The president made a tremendously courageous decision by saying we’re going to get out of the Paris accord, put America first, and make sure that we lead with action and not words.

Bluey: What is your strategy for rolling back cumbersome regulations that hurt small businesses?

Pruitt: There has been a threefold strategy that has been introduced to the agencies since Day One. In fact, as I addressed the agency on the first day, I talked about three primary things.

One, respect for rule of law. The only authority we have is the one Congress gives us in the statutes, which enhances regulatory certainty when we act congruent to statutory guidelines.

Secondly, we are going to respect process, which means that as we go through rulemaking, we’re actually going to do what Congress says. We’re going to propose a rule. We’re going to take comment and it’s our responsibility to respond to that comment. Then, we’re going to finalize that rule by being informed of how it’s going to impact folks all over the country. That’s good. That’s how consensus is built.

Thirdly, we’re going to respect federalism. Congress is prescribed into the Clean Air Act, into the Clean Water Act certain responsibilities placed upon states. They imagined and really believed that we can work together.

[Trump is] in the White House today because of two primary things: the American people want courage and they want action, and he embodies both of those in his leadership.

Those are the three primary principles by which we are doing our work. I think as we do that, it’s going to create better outcomes for air, land, and water, as far as environmental outcomes.

But as far as when you look at the disrespective process—that’s the reason the sue and settle aspect makes the remedy there is so important. I think if we get back to the basics there and focus on those three cornerstone principles, we’re going to see better outcomes as far as air attainment, water infrastructure, sites being remediated on the Superfund list, and it’s going to be very encouraging.

And for small business, we’ve also done something else. President Bush introduced something, and it actually dates back to the Clinton administration. It was called the Common Sense Initiative. President Bush built on that and called it the sector strategy, where we bring in sectors of our economy—farming and ranching, chemical companies, energy, oil and gas, and others.

We’ve updated that because it went by the wayside under the Obama administration. We’ve revived that and we’ve created something called the smart sector strategy. Those businesses are now dialoguing with us on how we can work together going into the future to achieve better outcomes in the environment.

Bluey: What’s an issue that you are engaged in that isn’t getting the attention it deserves—that you think this audience should know about?

Pruitt: Well, I think one that isn’t talked about a lot is last year Congress adopted some amendments to the Toxics Substances Control Act, TSCA, and created new responsibilities for our agency. For instance, chemicals that enter the flow of commerce, we have to approve those chemical before they enter the stream of commerce.

When I came into this position, we had a backlog of over 700 of those chemicals. We cleared those out by July of this year. We focused resources and we provided certainty to folks across the marketplace on whether those chemicals could be used in an effective way. We’re implementing those changes to TSCA that I think provides certainty to those that are regulated.

There’s great optimism across the country, except in Washington, D.C., so that means things are going really well.

The other area I want to talk about is the Superfund arena. I mentioned the one site in West Lake, Missouri. I’d love to tell you that is an isolated example—that that is just one of many of the 1,336 sites that we regulate. We have many, unfortunately, sites that have languished on that list since inception of the program in the 1980s—sites that been there for decades with respect to no decision and very little action.

The American people deserve, in my view, answers and leadership in how to remediate those sites. That’s the most tangible benefit that we can provide to folks environmentally.

Just recently, San Jacinto, a site in Houston that is off of I-10 in a harbor there, where there is a bunch of barge traffic. There was a site listed around 2009-2010, and it has dioxin on the site. When the hurricane came through there was much concern about the dioxin being released into the barge traffic and it impacting folks’ health. The remedy that has been in place for the past 10 years was literally putting rocks on top of the site to prevent release. It sounds crazy but that’s exactly the case.

A tanker arrives in the Houston Ship Channel near a spot where the road dead ends into water at the San Jacinto battlefield. (Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters/Newscom)

When I was there after the storm, I said that is not acceptable. We’re going to make a decision for the betterment of the community to fix that site and provide permanence. Just last week I signed that record decision giving direction on how we are going to provide that relief to prevent the release of dioxin into the water supply in Houston, Texas.

We’ve got to take concrete steps to prevent those environmental issues. We’re doing such good work that no one, I really shouldn’t say no one … folks see it in the communities. There’s great optimism across the country, except in Washington, D.C., so that means things are going really well.

Bluey: Can you describe the shortcomings of the scientific evidence for climate change and the type of data that would be needed to convince you that climate change is happening?

Pruitt: Well, a couple things. Let me address something a little bit big picture and then I’ll get into the specific question.

I have advisory boards at my agency. The CASAC, the science advisory board that advises me on air quality issues. I have BOSC and I have the Science Advisory Board.

The scientists who make up these bodies, and there are dozens and dozens of these folks, over the years those individuals as they’ve served those capacities, guess what has also happened? They’ve received moneys through grants and sometimes substantial moneys through grants.

I think what’s most important at the agencies is to have scientific advisers who are objective, independent minded, providing transparent recommendations to me as the administrator and to our office on the decisions that we’re making on the efficacy of rules that we’re passing to address environmental issues.

If we have individuals that are on those boards that are receiving money from the agency, sometimes going back years and years to the tune of literally tens of millions of dollars, over time, that to me causes questions on the independence and the veracity of the transparency of the recommendations that are coming our way.

Next week, I want you to know something, and I’m not trying to get ahead of myself too much, but next week we are going to fix that. Next week, I am going to issue a directive that addresses just that, that’s much like the sue and settle, to ensure the independence, transparency, and objectivity with respect to the scientific advice that we are getting at the agency.

It’s not a question about whether climate change occurs. It does. It’s not a matter of whether man contributes to it. We do. The question is how much do we contribute to it and how do we measure that with precision?

Now, on this issue with respect to climate change, it’s not a question about whether climate change occurs. It does. It’s not a matter of whether man contributes to it. We do. The question is how much do we contribute to it and how do we measure that with precision? It’s a little bit more difficult questions like when we have individuals telling us in 2017 that they know what the ideal global average surface temperature should be in the year 2100, I think there should be a debate around that. I think there ought to be discussion around that very issue.

There are some, perhaps in this very room that believe that it poses an existential threat. If it poses an existential threat, I want to know. If it’s more important than ISIS and North Korea, I think we better know about it. So let’s have a real, meaningful discussion about it.

The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know, with respect to CO2. It’s never taken place. That’s the reason I’ve been proposing a red team, blue team exercise where we bring red team scientists in and blue team scientists in and they would engage in a multi-month process asking of each other these very difficult questions to help inform the American public on these issues to help build consensus toward this very important issue.

The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know, with respect to CO2. It’s never taken place.

Here’s the last thing I will say about it. That is a very important exercise and it’s something that Steve Koonin actually published in the Wall Street Journal about three or four months ago. I think it was a well-written piece and you ought to go read it. There’s actually another piece that Bret Stephens wrote in the New York Times about this very issue where politicians have taken information that we know and stretched it so far on this issue that it strains credibility.

We need to have a very honest and open discussion about this as a citizenry and as a country with respect to what we do. But here’s the other thing, what are the tools in the toolbox? That matters. Remember what I said earlier: the only authority I have is the one Congress gives me.

We have to ask and answer the question, What does the Clean Air Act say to this issue as far as regulation of CO2? The last time the Clean Air Act was amended—anyone want to guess when that was? I know you study this every day—1990. Twenty-seven years ago. If you go back and read post the amendments, the Clean Air Act from 1990, Congressman [John] Dingell is not the most conservative member to ever have served in Congress. Congressman Dingell said to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act of 1990 would be a glorious mess. The Clean Air Act was set up to address local and regional air pollutants, not the global phenomena of GHG and CO2.

Where is it in the Clean Air Act that the EPA has the authority to declare war on any sector of our economy? I don’t see it. And that’s what the last administration did. It ended under President Trump.

We have to ask the question, one, What do we know? And let’s inform ourselves about it. But we also have to ask ourselves, What can we do about it and what tools are in the toolbox? I can’t make that up. That’s what the last administration did. When they made it up, they got sued and they got stays of enforcement like the Clean Power Plan, which does not achieve any environmental outcomes and creates uncertainty in the marketplace. It was part of their war on coal, their war on fossil fuels.

I have to ask you a question rhetorically. Where is it in the Clean Air Act that the EPA has the authority to declare war on any sector of our economy? I don’t see it. And that’s what the last administration did. It ended under President Trump.

Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to EPA employees in February. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters/Newscom)

Bluey: I have a couple of questions about what it’s like to work at EPA headquarters. Specifically, are you running into any internal or political challenges with a staff that might not be willing to carry out the mission you articulated earlier?

Pruitt: Let me say a couple of things. One, having led a business, having been in that space and whatnot, I didn’t start from the premise that folks weren’t willing to be partners. In fact, the very first day I was there, I talked about rule of law and process and federalism, as I indicated to you. But also said to the folks there that I was going to listen and I was going to learn from them, but that we were going to lead, we were going to make decisions.

And so I’ve tried to exercise good will in working with folks. I don’t want people presuming certain things about me that are not based in fact and I shouldn’t presume certain things about others. I’ve tried to lead that way at the agency. That being said, I do think that there is a lack of urgency in some of these areas with respect to Superfund and otherwise, and we’re revitalizing those areas actually. And we’re actually getting the things done that matter and holding folks accountable.

I don’t want people presuming certain things about me that are not based in fact and I shouldn’t presume certain things about others. I’ve tried to lead that way at the agency.

There’s a gentlemen I brought into leadership. He worked for Gov. [Doug] Ducey in Arizona, and I was with Governor Ducey a couple of weeks ago and I thanked him for his contribution. But this individual came to me—he led the [Department of Environmental Quality] there in Arizona, and then he went into the Cabinet under Governor Ducey—and when he came into leadership at the DEQ in Arizona he said, Scott we had over 700 people that we employed and I started focusing on metrics and performance and everyday asking and answering what progress are we making? Are we actually remediating sites? And measuring that every single day. And there were some people in the agency, he said to me, that weren’t into that. They weren’t into accountability. And those folks just kind of left. And at the end of that process, it went from an agency of around 700 to an agency of around 350.

He said Scott, what’s amazing to me is that when that happened we were actually producing better results with the 350, measuring outcomes, than we had with 700. Now, that person is now at the EPA, and I’ve given him a charge. We have a dashboard that we’ve created, a dashboard of measuring results every single day. His name is Henry Darwin, by the way. I call this the ‘Darwin Effect,’ And I say, ‘Henry, how are we progressing today? How are we doing in air quality?’

Let me ask you something, What’s Republican and Democrat about improving air quality? Where’s the political issue around that? Where’s the political issue around avoiding Flint, Michigan, and Gold King, Colorado? Where’s the Republican/Democrat approach to remediating Superfund sites and actually making sure they’re actually reused and communities can enjoy those areas once again?

LeeAnne Walters of Flint, Michigan, shows water samples from her home amid growing health concerns in 2015. (Photo: Ryan Garza/ZUMA Press/Newscom)

Their shouldn’t be any political margin on any of those issues. These are not controversial things. We ought to focus on the good work of the agency, respectful of law, engage in partnership. And you know what’s going to happen? Good things. We ought to celebrate that as a country. So the Darwin Effect is in full force and we are going to make sure that we achieve accountability.

Just one other thing—permitting. Permitting has been a big issue with respect to infrastructure. Permitting, sometimes, at our agency, has not been, ‘Is there an issue and how do we fix it?’ It’s been obstructionism. It’s taken a decade, or 12 years or 15 years—and I’m not making this up—where it takes that long to make a decision on a permit. That’s not a decision. That’s simply no, just cloaked in no decision, right?

When I met with Henry, I said, ‘Henry we’ve got to have an outside time where all permits are processed. Let’s establish a timeline that all permits are going to be processed within X number of years or whatever.’ This was one of our first meetings and I decided two years or something; let’s find the right time. He said, Scott, ‘I was thinking more like six months.’ I said, ‘I love you Henry.’ So by the end of 2018, every permit that we issue, up or down, you’re going to know within six months.

Bluey: What has it been like working with President Trump? What can you tell us about it?

Pruitt: It’s been wonderful. As I shared with you earlier, the president is full of courage and he’s full of action. He wants results. That’s what the American people want.

They don’t like all the blather, they don’t like all the labels, they don’t like all the bumper stickers. Let’s actually achieve things. That’s what he’s done his whole life.

[T]he president is full of courage and he’s full of action. He wants results. That’s what the American people want.

I seek every day, and I mean this sincerely, to bless him. I want to bless him and the decisions he’s making. I want to carry out my responsibilities at our agency in a way that is respectful of the things I’ve talked about today. There’s so much optimism across our country—with respect to all the various states and stakeholders that there’s a different trajectory.

You know, several years ago there was a book that I picked up called “The Culture Code.” It’s a book written by a French sociologist, and I don’t normally pick up those books, but this was an interesting book where his business, his career is that he engages in surveys and focus groups. Coca-Cola or IBM will hire him and say, ‘OK, you go out and find the code, the one word that describes my company.’ He did that, that’s his whole career.

He wrote this book and he talks about these various areas, but he spent one entire chapter on America. He surveyed all these people across the country, focus groups, asking questions. He boiled the code word for America down to one word—one word. Anybody want to guess what it is? Dream.

We have nothing to be apologetic about as a country. We’re the best in the world. We feed the world, we power the world. And oh, by the way, when it comes to environmental stewardship, we’re better than anybody else.

And I’ll tell you as a country, we’ve lost that a little bit. We’re a little bit more risk averse than we used to be. We don’t dream and aspire like we used to be. This president is reinvigorating that. This administration is reinvigorating that.

We have nothing to be apologetic about as a country. We’re the best in the world. We feed the world, we power the world. And oh, by the way, when it comes to environmental stewardship, we’re better than anybody else. And that’s the Gospel truth.

Let’s not be apologetic. Let’s lead with action. And that’s what the president is doing. I love serving with him. I love serving him. And there’s much optimism, much hope ahead.

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

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VIDEO: I Went to a #NoMuslimBanEver March. Here’s What I Saw.

About 500 protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., for the #NoMuslimBanEver March, protesting the Trump administration’s travel ban. The Daily Signal went to the #NoMuslimBanEver March to find out why they were protesting.

“I’m so upset to see many, many things this president is doing … to see him discriminate against a group of people, which creates hatred and prejudices in the country,” one protester said. “And when he makes statements like banning Muslims, then that makes people in the country suspicious of their Muslim neighbors, it makes them treat people badly, and creates this whole climate of hatred.”

The rally was in protest of the third iteration of the Trump administration’s travel ban—which was supposed to go into effect on Oct. 18, but was blocked by federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii. Check out the video above to see what the protesters had to say.

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

VIDEO: On Huma Abedin, George Soros/Hillary in Guatemala and DOJ Corruption

In this episode of “On Watch,” Judicial Watch Director of Investigations & Research Chris Farrell dives into Huma Abedin’s 2,800 emails of government records found on former congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

Also–what is George Soros doing in Guatemala?

Why does Hillary Clinton have an office there?

Finally, Chris explains how the Justice Department is bent on trying to turn America into a failed state.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Trump’s Not Replacing Bureaucrats Enables the ‘Deep State’

Is There Really a Case for Pres. Trump’s Impeachment?

The short answer, No.

Click for AUDIO version.

The short answer, No. The long answer requires an explanation. First, the president can be impeached for committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” In the case of Richard Nixon in 1974, charges were being prepared for obstruction of justice, but Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. On the other hand, Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones. He was subsequently acquitted by the Senate. Both were embarrassing affairs, and both were politically motivated.

Today, we are hearing Democrats willing to press charges against President Donald Trump for various reasons, some claiming he obstructed justice in regards to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Others believe Trump is involved in a political relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia to promote his business interests, his seeming determination to go to war, either with North Korea or Iran, and whatever else is bothering the Democrats at the moment. Despite all of the hyperbole of his accusers, the accusations are groundless. Nothing of substance has yet surfaced from the many Russian probes. James Comey’s actions are still being scrutinized, and even though there has been a lot of saber-rattling, the last time I checked we were still relatively at peace (aside from minor actions around the globe).

All of Mr. Trump’s detractors claim their calls for impeachment are not politically motivated. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is all about politics, just as it was with Nixon and Clinton (and, for that matter, Andrew Johnson back in the 19th century).

Since losing the 2016 presidential election, the Democrats have been in a state of denial, specifically that a Washington outsider such as Mr. Trump could win and implement an agenda in stark contrast to their own. Instead of admitting defeat, the Democrats accuse the president of foul play, even going so far as to concoct a myth about Russian influence. In reality, Mrs. Clinton and the Democrats should be investigated for selling political influence.

All of this is part of the left’s plans to try to discredit Mr. Trump and derail his agenda. Calls for impeachment are simply a farce aimed at attracting media attention but going nowhere fast. The question though remains, does anyone honestly believe they have a legitimate case against the president? Aside from the liberal zealots who would like to see this happen, No, nobody is buying it. Even the authors of such legislation know it is nothing but a charade and going nowhere fast. They simply cannot stomach his victory and are bound and determined to remove him from office before his term is over.

All of this jealous rage by the Left leads me to believe they are suffering from an acute case of penis envy. Maybe this explains their sense of inferiority and why they possess a castration complex towards Mr. Trump. Oy!

Keep the Faith!

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Huffington Post. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

National security is ‘Islamophobic’: Hawaii judge blocks latest version of Trump’s travel ban

Every last one of the blocks of Trump’s travel bans ignores the statute that gives the President sweeping power to limit immigration:

(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

But now acting to defend the United States is “Islamophobic.”  Trump is recognizing the undeniable fact that there is no reliable way to distinguish jihadis from peaceful refugees. But clearly the Left will fight him to the death to keep him from defending the American people.

“Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump’s travel ban,” Associated Press, October 17, 2017:

HONOLULU (AP) — A judge in Hawaii has blocked the latest version of the Trump administration travel ban just hours before it was set to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson on Tuesday granted Hawaii’s request to temporarily block the federal government from enforcing the policy. It was supposed to take effect at midnight EDT Wednesday.

The Trump administration’s most recent restrictions, which affect citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

Hawaii argues the updated ban is a continuation of President Donald Trump’s “promise to exclude Muslims from the United States.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Italy: Muslim migrant slits non-Muslim’s throat, victim’s family warns against “racism”

Look Who’s Judging Now

There sure is a lot of judging going on in New York and Hollywood right now. Places that pride themselves on non-judgmentalism. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been accused of – and admitted to – sexually harassing and physically assaulting actresses and other women for decades. Many are saying it was an open secret in the movie business. Weinstein may not be a household name, but he is considered one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. It took a few days, but Hollywood liberals have now taken to social media to openly judge Weinstein’s actions as wrong. A lot of people are calling him a pig, a monster, and worse. That’s right, these secular progressives who don’t believe in judging are on their moral high horse.

I have often said that the favorite Bible verse of those who don’t believe the Bible is Matthew 7:1 where Jesus says: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” As with most verses in the Scripture, it’s helpful to read the before and after so that the meaning is in proper context. Read in context, it is clear that Jesus is warning against self-righteousness and hypocrisy. He is not preaching sexual freedom. But in popular culture, what happens to this idea of not judging is that whenever a Christian points out that a certain behavior is immoral or sinful according to the Bible, then that person or group of people is immediately attacked by those who don’t believe the Bible, and called “self-righteous” or “religious fanatics.” And who isn’t against self-righteousness? It’s one of the most off-putting personality traits someone can have. People who practice self-righteousness or a “holier than thou” attitude, usually don’t have many friends. But it is ironic that people who do not believe the Bible to be the final authority on morality do feel the need to point out to people who do how their theology is wrong.

In fact, some of those folks are reading this now and are about to post a message against Tim Wildmon for being a self-righteous man who tries to tell other people how to live. These folks of course will be passing judgment on me declaring that I should not be passing judgment when really I haven’t passed any judgment at all in this particular column. I have only written about the issue of passing judgment. So if you are going to post a message about Tim Wildmon passing judgment please wait until the next column when I really will be passing judgment on someone I’m sure. Probably Democrats. But I digress…

If you think about it, it’s really not judging that people have a problem with. It’s judging negatively. For example, no one gets upset when someone says something complimentary about another’s behavior, even though by doing so, they have passed judgment. But it’s a judgment of affirmation. No, it’s only when they say something of disapproval that the offended party then comes back with “Quit judging me!”

The truth is that the Bible, including the teachings of Jesus, is full of judgment. It tells us what is good and what is evil. It tells us what is right and what is wrong. It tells us what is moral and what is immoral. It tells us what to practice and what to shun. If you don’t want to be accountable for your life and your behavior, it’s best to avoid the Bible. And many do so for that very reason.

Every day the goal of Christians should be to obey and live out what the Bible teaches both inwardly and outwardly. Sometimes we will fail because, as long as we are here on earth, we have to contend with the war between the spirit and the flesh. It is unnatural to deny the flesh, so by the grace of God we have to discipline ourselves to submit to God’s will. It’s also called self-control. This is a day to day process. This is also why humility is so important. Humility is the opposite of arrogance or self-righteousness, which brings us back to judging. We are all capable of doing bad things, sometimes very bad things. For that reason we should be careful not to think too highly of ourselves and pray-lest we also fall into sin ourselves.

Micah 6:8 says: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

I judge that as a good verse on which to end this column.

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

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Gun Rights Are Women’s Rights

The right to bear arms isn’t just a constitutional issue — it’s a women’s rights issue. Author and commentator Katie Pavlich explains why guns are the great equalizer between men and women.

RELATED ARTICLE: NRA Spokeswoman Dana Loesch Forced to Flee Own Home After Anti-Gun Advocates Make Death Threats – American News

TRANSCRIPT:

GUNS RIGHTS ARE WOMEN’S RIGHTS WITH KATIE PAVLICH

Do you want equality between men and women?

I do. Which is why I own a gun. My Glock 43 is my equalizer.

Too NRA for you? Then, let’s take a step back and think about this. I will start with this premise: Men are physically stronger than women.

I know: even this is controversial these days. But men have more muscle mass and greater bone density; they run faster, and punch harder. It’s called “biology.” If a woman is going to protect herself against a man who intends to do her serious harm, she needs to even the odds. And what’s the best way for her to do that? Own a gun — and know how to use it.

Given this, you would think that feminists would be lining up in front of gun shops, spending quality time at the shooting range, and filing for concealed carry permits. But when was the last time you heard a feminist speak out for women owning guns? You haven’t, because
feminists aren’t for gun ownership. They’re for taking guns away from women.

Well, you might say, if no one owned a gun, then everybody would be safer. Yes…and it would be nice if cheesecake was a diet food.

There are over 300 million guns in the United States and that’s not going to change any time soon. But even if we could build a giant magnet, fly it across the country and snap up every gun, it wouldn’t much matter to women’s safety.

In Great Britain, where it’s almost impossible to get a gun, a woman is three times more likely to be raped than in America, according to a study by David Kopel, a professor of constitutional law at Denver University.

Here’s another telling comparison between gun-free UK and gun-owning US: In the United States, only about 13 percent of home burglaries take place when the occupants are home, but in the UK, almost 60 percent do.

Professor Kopel explains the disparity: “American burglars . . . avoid occupied homes because of the risk of getting shot. English burglars prefer occupied homes, because there will be wallets and purses with cash.”

And, by the way, an assailant doesn’t need a gun to be dangerous. What do you do if you’re a woman and a man comes at you with a knife? Or just his bare hands? If you want to depend Free Courses for Free Minds.com on pepper spray or a whistle, okay—but I think your finger on the trigger of a gun would be more effective.

Take the example of mail carrier Catherine Latta. After she had been assaulted and raped by her ex-boyfriend, Latta tried to purchase a firearm. She was told it might take a month to get a permit. “[I’ll] be dead by then,” she recalls telling the clerk. That afternoon, she went to a rough part of town and bought a handgun. Five hours later, her ex-boyfriend attacked her outside of her home. She shot him in self-defense, and saved her life.

I should add that firing a gun is very rare. Just carrying it—let alone brandishing it—is a deterrent.

And, isn’t that the issue? Personal safety? How is a woman supposed to defend herself? What if an intruder breaks into her home?

Liberal TV personality Sherri Shepherd answered this question a few years ago.

“At one in the morning, the alarm in our house went off,” Shepherd told her co-hosts on the popular daytime show, “The View.” As the alarm blared, her husband, Sal, went downstairs to look around. If something happened to him, a terrified Shepherd realized, she had no way to protect herself or her son, Jeffrey. “ …All I had was this wicker basket…[I] don’t have a bat, nothing.”

“‘We’re going to get a gun,’” I told Sal. “[This] just made me realize how vulnerable you are if you can’t protect your home. And the police [were] wonderful; they came about seven minutes later, but to me, that’s seven minutes too late.”

Luckily for Shepherd, the incident was a false alarm. But there are lots of cases where the alarm is real, especially in high crime areas. Yet every year, progressives push for more and more gun control without ever considering who will pay the price.

It won’t be the bad guys. They always get the guns they want. It will be the good women who need to equal the odds in a dangerous confrontation with a man.

Women owning guns shouldn’t be a partisan issue. In fact, it’s a women’s rights issue.

I’m all for equality between the sexes. And I practice what I preach.

That’s why I own a gun.

I’m Katie Pavlich for Prager University.

McConnell Wants to Ditch the Blue Slip for Judicial Nominees, and He’s Right

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., supports an important step toward fixing the backlog of judicial nominations that are piling up in the Senate.

McConnell told The Weekly Standard that blue slips—the practice of asking senators from a nominee’s home state for their opinion before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing—should no longer be used to bring a confirmation to a crashing halt.

Instead, they should be treated as “simply notification of how [a senator is] going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball.”

Soon after, however, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, stated that ditching the blue slip is his call to make, not McConnell’s.

Grassley did not refuse to ultimately change the practice, but he wasn’t enthusiastic about McConnell’s plan. Grassley’s spokesperson indicated that, at this point, the chairman would respond to “abuses” of blue slips on a “case-by-case basis.”

Blue slips have a long history, dating back to 1917. As part of the process for evaluating a judicial nominee, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee would ask senators from the nominee’s home state to select “I approve” or “I object” on a blue slip of paper.

The rationale was that home state senators may be more familiar with a nominee and have better insights into his or her suitability for a judgeship.

Except for a brief period in the 1960s and ‘70s, blue slips were never used as a way to veto nominees. Unfortunately, some Democratic senators have recently refused to turn in their blue slips in an attempt to prevent or delay the confirmation of conservative judges.

McConnell’s proposed change would be welcome news for David Stras, Michael Brennan, and Ryan Bounds—three nominees to federal appeals courts who have been waylaid by Democrat senators seeking to block their confirmations.

While the blue slip tradition remains in limbo for now, it’s not the only problem judicial nominees face. Once they are voted out of committee, many nominees have languished without a vote by the full Senate.

Fortunately, McConnell also made clear that confirming judicial nominees will be a top priority going forward. He said, “I guarantee they will be dealt with … [r]egardless of what tactics are used by Democrats, the judges are going to be confirmed.”

Judicial nominees aren’t the only ones waiting for a vote, but McConnell further explained, “Priority between an assistant secretary of state and a conservative court judge—it’s not a hard choice to make.” Federal judgeships are, after all, lifetime positions.

To date, the Senate has confirmed only seven judges, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Meanwhile, 53 nominations are still pending, and the president is sending more nominees to the Senate each month, working to fill more than 160 vacancies.

At bottom, the Senate needs to get to work holding hearings and confirming these roughly five dozen nominees.

Whether Grassley gets on board with McConnell’s plan or deals with the Democrats who are stonewalling nominees on a “case-by-case basis,” he needs to take steps to ensure the president’s highly qualified nominees are confirmed to the bench expeditiously.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Elizabeth Slattery

Elizabeth Slattery writes about the rule of law, the proper role of the courts, civil rights and equal protection, and the scope of constitutional provisions such as the Commerce Clause and the Recess Appointments Clause as a legal fellow in the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read her research. Twitter: .

Portrait of Tiffany Bates

Tiffany Bates serves as legal policy analyst in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: 

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

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RELATED ARTICLE: How to Stop Democrats From Stonewalling Judicial Nominees

VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Colorado Baker Asked to Make ‘Birthday Cake’ for Satan

The Christian baker in Colorado who was sued for declining to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding reception received a strange request last month: Design and bake a cake celebrating Satan’s birthday.

“I would like to get a quote on a birthday cake, for a special event,” the email request to baker Jack Phillips, sent Sept. 30 and exclusively obtained by The Daily Signal, reads. It continues:

It is a cake that is religious in theme, and since religion is a protected class, I am hoping that you will gladly bake this cake. As you see, the birthday cake in question is to celebrate the birthday of Lucifer, or as they [sic] are also known Satan who was born as Satan when he was cast from heaven by God.

The request for Phillips to quote a price for the cake also asks for an “upside down cross, under the head of Lucifer.”

The incident exemplifies the complexity of government laws mandating that those in creative occupations violate their religious beliefs in serving clients or customers.

This is a danger that lawyers for Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, say they’re raising before the U.S. Supreme Court, which in June agreed to take the baker’s case.

Phillips gained nationwide attention after declining to make the wedding cake for the gay couple, and eventually being found guilty of discrimination by a Colorado state agency and the courts.

Phillips has told The Daily Signal and others that his Christian faith not only doesn’t allow him to design and make cakes celebrating same-sex unions, it prevents him from designing cakes that involve such elements as witchcraft or explicit sexuality.

“The request for Jack to make a cake celebrating Satan proves the danger of using these kinds of laws to force people in the artistic profession to create artwork that violates their beliefs,” Jeremy Tedesco, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“The request from the Satanists is essentially the same as the request that Jack Phillips received from the same-sex couple to create a cake that violates his beliefs, because in both instances, the requester can say the law covers my request. For the Satanists, they’re going to say it’s religious discrimination for you to say no to a cake that I’m requesting because of my protected status.”

Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization, represents Phillips in his case.

Lawyers told The Daily Signal that Phillips received a second Satan-themed cake request by phone this month, this time asking that Satan be depicted smoking a joint.

The case dates to 2012, when the same-sex couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, got a marriage license in Massachusetts and asked Phillips to design and bake a cake for their reception back home in Colorado.

Lawyers for Mullins and Craig, who are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a complaint against Masterpiece Cakeshop with the state of Colorado, alleging Phillips’ refusal to make the cake violates the state’s public accommodation law.

Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled against Masterpiece Cakeshop on Dec. 6, 2013, concluding that Phillips discriminated against the couple “because of their sexual orientation.”

Phillips’ lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom have appealed the ruling through courts in Colorado and now to the Supreme Court.

Phillips received the email request for the Satanist cake, published in full below, on Sept. 30. His lawyers would not comment on how Phillips handled either request.

The individual emailing the request, whose name was redacted by Alliance Defending Freedom, appears to have targeted Phillips because of his Christian beliefs. The email reads:

I thought I would seek you out, to bake this cake since you appear to be a very moral person since you refused to bake a cake for same sex couples. And since religion is a protected class, I hope you will be willing to bake this cake, so my small group of religious friends can celebrate the birthday of Lucifer this coming November, just a few days after Halloween.

The request may end up helping Phillips’ cause, rather than hurting it.

“If we’re going to live in a world where these kinds of laws can be used to force people like Jack Phillips to create cakes that violate his beliefs about marriage, we’re also going to have to live in a world where people can be forced to create cakes celebrating Satan,” Tedesco said, adding:

It’s very easy to get caught up, and people do get caught up, in the idea that the case is just about a Christian cake artist who doesn’t want to create cakes supporting same-sex marriages, but the issue is much broader than that. If the government has the power to force Jack to create cakes and engage in artistic expression that violates his beliefs, it has that power over all of us. That’s why you can be for same-sex marriage, but you can also be for, and should be for, Jack Phillips to prevail in this case.

Oral arguments in the Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, are scheduled to take place Dec. 5, with a decision expected next year.

Credit: Alliance Defending Freedom.

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

Was Vegas Massacre a Federal Sting Operation Gone Bad, Like Fast and Furious?

Perhaps Stephen Paddock was a “lone wolf” who somehow “snapped.” But his arsenal, designed for a small terrorist army, and his “secret life” have led to speculation he was part of a gun-running and bomb-making operation similar to the federal ATF ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-walking scandal in the early Obama Administration. In this case, however, the targets were Islamists, not Mexican drug traffickers.

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By Cliff Kincaid

Why is there no motive for the Vegas massacre? Why did Stephen Paddock have a secret life?

It is terrible to contemplate, but the possibility that Stephen Paddock was an undercover federal operative or informant cannot be ruled out. He may have been either set up or used by ISIS and/or a federal agency in a scheme that backfired.

The feds may have thought they were going to catch ISIS in the act of preparing a major terrorist attack. ISIS terrorists may have thought Paddock was one of them but realized at the last minute that it was a set-up. So, they claimed him as one of their own.

Perhaps he did convert to Islam after trying to get local Jihadists to buy his weapons. Or perhaps they thought he did, and he used his “conversion” to convince them he was one of them.

In short, Paddock may have approached potential terrorists with offers of weapons and bomb-making material. Or they may have approached him.

Those of us who have been around Washington D.C. for a while know that the FBI has been rocked by scandals of all kinds and a series of failures, ranging from Ruby Ridge to Waco to 9/11. Because these scandals involve death, stonewalling, and cover-up, the agencies cannot be trusted to investigate themselves.

For someone with even elementary knowledge of government incompetence and corruption, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to consider the possibility that Paddock was a government informant or operative in a scheme that backfired.

We can anticipate there will be obligatory denials.

Reports indicate that the materials found in Paddock’s car included 1,600 rounds of ammunition, fertilizer that could be used to make explosives, and 50 pounds of the explosive substance Tannerite. He had 23 weapons in the hotel room and had reportedly bought 33 guns in the past year. This guy was the perfect operative to be used in undercover stings. He had everything they needed to carry out major terrorist acts.

Paddock was a one-stop-shop for terrorists. He had the guns and the bombs. He was a one-man Weather Underground.

Read Mr. Kincaid’s full column by clicking here.

Cliff Kincaid

Cliff Kincaid is the President of America’s Survival, a public policy organization and author of numerous books covering the United Nations and national security issues. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis, of the conservative-online-journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

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Las Vegas police now say critical 6-minute shooting gap doesn’t exist

Department of Health and Human Services: ‘Life Begins at Conception’

In a stunning turn of events President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has declared that life begins at conception.

The 2018-2022 DHHS draft strategic plan reads:

Mission Statement

The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.

Organizational Structure

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.

Readers may share their thoughts on each part of the draft strategic plan.

Download the HHS DRAFT Strategic Plan FY 2018 – 2022 – PDF

The Federalist’s Harvest Prude reports:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released their 2018-2022 plan, which unequivocally states that life begins at conception and deserves protection. In the introduction it says,

“HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

The draft mentions conception five times total. The overwhelmingly pro-life stance in the draft is welcome news to many.

The debate over the personhood of unborn children has been a central issue of the abortion debate. Ever since Roe v. Wade in 1973, pro-life advocates have been trying to establish constitutionally protected rights for the unborn. In the ruling’s majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that Roe v. Wade would collapse if “the fetus is a person.”

In support of the HHS’s draft, author and bioethics expert Wesley J. Smith wrote, “life ‘beginning at conception’ … is a fact of basic biological science.”

Read more.