The Supreme Falsehoods of HB 1523 Opponents

Why do some people recklessly repeat statements ad nauseam which are, in the end, simply not true? Because for many, the means justify the ends. Some people will believe anything if it is repeated enough, allowing proponents of claims such as those made about Mississippi’s HB 1523 to see them increasingly accepted as true. Unfortunately, this does not help our increasingly fractured society get along, but only cements intolerance toward many well-meaning Christians — who themselves would never act in such bad faith toward those who disagree with biblical truth.Since HB 1523’s challengers lost before the 5thCircuit after they were not able to show how the law injured them, they have now appealed to the Supreme Court — and have recklessly mischaracterized the circumstances surrounding this law in doing so.

Their petition opens by absurdly arguing that the religious exemptions in HB 1523 “demean” and “stigmatize” same-sex couples and deny them equal treatment under the law (ostensibly, because such exemptions allow some to withhold their approval of such conduct). In the petitioners’ view, “[t]hat is precisely the harm that Obergefell sought to rectify.”

This line of reasoning misleadingly implies that HB 1523 somehow was designed to undercut Obergefell. It wasn’t. The law simply provides exemptions for those whose consciences are implicated by Obergefell — which can be followed consistent with HB 1523; same-sex marriages are still fully treated the same by the state of Mississippi as other marriages. Just as objections to military service and abortion have long been protected in law despite fitting the petitioners’ notion of a “particular” religion (notably, the petition never really addresses these areas), the law can provide conscience exemptions in other areas too.

Nevertheless, the petitioners continue to try to condition the reader to the “goodness” of Obergefell and the nefarious nature of any religious objections to it (notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s own recognition to the contrary) — the warm sounding yet nebulous “promise” of Obergefell is discussed, HB 1523 is alleged to “repudiate central aspects of petitioners’ lives, families, and identities,” and the law is an “attempt[] to use religious exemptions to undermine rights to equality and dignity of LGBT people.” Even the Masterpiece case is subtly equated with “state attempts to limit Obergefell by creating unprecedented religious exemptions.”

Christians are trying to live with Obergefell, and just protect their own conscience by not being forced under penalty of law to celebrate something that is clearly contrary to scripture. Yet instead of trying to find a reasonable middle ground, opponents of HB 1523 are forging ahead and asking the Supreme Court to take this case with the help of none other than former Obama Solicitor General Donald Verilli — who famously admitted at oral argument in Obergefell that religious institutions that disagree with same-sex marriage could lose their tax-exempt status.

Those supporting HB 1523 and similar legislation might disagree with Obergefell, but they are not trying to change the ruling — they are just trying to protect themselves in the face of it. If only those who support Obergefell and disagree with HB 1523 would do the same.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the October 11 Washington Update:

Kellyanne Conway to Address VVS

The NFL Needs to Stop Kneeling on The Taxpayer’s Dime

Should the United States Military Academy at West Point Remain Open?

I am a graduate of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri. I graduated in July 1967 and because I received one of the first full two year ROTC scholarships I was given a Regular Army commission and had a four year service obligation, the same as graduates of the United State Military Academy at West Point.

I served in peace time and in combat with many officers, subordinates, colleagues and superiors, who graduated from West Point. They, to a man, were always fine officers and gentlemen. I retired from the U.S. Army in 1990 as a Lieutenant Colonel (LTC).

It saddened me to receive a copy of a letter from LTC Robert M. Heffington, U.S. Army (Retired). A sworn statement by Colonel Heffington has been referenced in multiple publications dealing with former West Point Cadet, and now U.S. Army Lieutenant Spenser Rapone. In a Breitbart column titled “West Point Launches Investigation over Its Handling of Communist Soldier” Kristina Wong reports:

 [I]t was unclear whether West Point was aware of his activity as a student until the Daily Caller on Wednesday published a sworn statement from a then-West Point history professor, which mentioned Rapone’s anti-U.S. and pro-communist views.

Retired Army Lieutenant Col. Robert M. Heffington gave the statement after a tense encounter with Rapone, whom he said had a “serious problem with military authority figures.”

Heffington said he shared his misgivings about Rapone with three close friends and colleagues, and one of them showed him Rapone’s Facebook page, which contained a number of anti-military, anti-government, pro-communist, and pro-Muslim posts stemming back to 2014. Read more.

West Point has produced former presidents, numerous corporate executives and officers of the highest caliber who have held the highest positions in our military and Department of Defense. I have only the highest respect for graduates of West Point. However, West Point is under intense scrutiny for admitting, graduating and commissioning someone like Spencer Rapone.

QUESTION: Is Spenser Rapone an anomaly or endemic of something bigger?

That is the question raised and answered by LTC Heffington in his letter.

LTC Heffington’s letter begins with,

Before you read any further, please understand that the following paragraphs come from a place of intense devotion and loyalty to West Point. My experience as a cadet had a profound impact upon who I am and upon the course of  my life, and I remain forever grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the Long Gray Line. I firmly believe West Point is a national treasure and that it can and should remain a vitally important source of well trained,  disciplined, highly educated Army officers and civilian leaders.

LTC Heffington then writes, “However, during my time on the West Point faculty (2006-2009 and again from 2013-2017), I personally witnessed a series of fundamental changes at West Point that have eroded it to the point where I question whether the institution should even remain open.”

Here are the reasons that, sadly, LTC Heffington questions whether West Point should remain open:

  • First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history.
  • The cadet honor code has become a laughingstock. Cadets know they will not be separated for violating it, and thus they do so on a daily basis. Moreover, since they refuse to enforce standards on each other and police their own ranks, cadets will rarely find a cadet at an honor hearing despite overwhelming evidence that a violation has occurred. This in turn has caused the staff and faculty to give up even reporting honor incidents.
  • Academic standards are also nonexistent. I believe this trend started approximately ten years ago, and it has continued to get worse. West Point has stated standards for academic expectations and performance, but they are ignored. Cadets routinely fail multiple classes and they are not separated at the end-of-semester Academic Boards. Their professors recommend “Definitely Separate,” but those recommendations are totally disregarded.
  • Even the curriculum itself has suffered. The plebe American History course has been revamped to focus completely on race and on the narrative that America is founded solely on a history of racial oppression. Cadets derisively call it the “I Hate America Course.”
  • Conduct and disciplinary standards are in perhaps the worst shape of all. Cadets are jaded, cynical, arrogant, and entitled. They routinely talk back to and snap at their instructors (military and civilian alike), challenge authority, and openly refuse to follow regulations. They are allowed to wear civilian clothes in almost any arena outside the classroom, and they flaunt that privilege.

LTC Heffington ended his letter writing:

It breaks my heart to write this. It breaks my heart to know first-hand what West Point was versus what it has become. This is not a “Corps has” story; it is meant to highlight a deliberate and radical series of changes being undertaken at the highest levels of USMA’s leadership that are detrimental to the institution. Criticizing these changes is not popular. I have already been labeled a “traitor” by some at the Academy due to my sworn statement’s appearance in the media circus surrounding Spenser Rapone. However, whenever I hear this, I am reminded of the Cadet Prayer:

“…suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish.

Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong,

and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.

…that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice, and knows no

fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”

West Point was once special, and it can be again. Spenser Rapone never should have been admitted, much less graduate, but he was—and that mistake is directly attributable to the culture of permissiveness and apathy that now exists there.

It hurts me to publish this as a retired Army officer as much as it saddened LTC Heffington who wrote this letter. LTC Heffington is truly an officer and a gentleman. He is doing what his training, oath and rank require – to tell the truth.

Duty, honor, country!

RELATED DOCUMENTS:

Letter from LTC Robert M. Heffington, U.S. Army (Retired)

Letter from Commandant of the USMA at West Point.

Decorated Air Force Officer: Pentagon Covered Up Real Cause of the Shoot Down of Extortion 17

CIRCA.com’s Sara A. Carter in a column titled “A retired Air Force captain says Pentagon covered up real cause of deadly chopper crash” reports:

A decorated retired Air Force officer who witnessed one of the most deadly attacks on Navy SEALs in U.S. history is breaking her silence, saying the government covered up evidence detailing that the 2011 downing of a Chinook helicopter gunship [call sign Extortion 17] that killed 38 fighters in Afghanistan could have been prevented had it not been for restrictions to the military’s rules of engagement that were changed under the Obama administration.

The mission

August 6, 2011: Retired Air Force Capt. Joni Marquez and her crew were working the dark morning hours aboard an AC-130 gunship after being summoned to a mission she describes “as almost like a 9-1-1 type of a situation.”

The gunship was ordered to fly close-in air support above Afghanistan’s dangerous Tangi Valley, in Wardak Province, assisting troops with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment who were being fired on by eight heavily armed Taliban insurgents.

Joni_Marquez.JPG

Retired Air Force Captain Joni Marquez was on the AC-130 gunship the night Extortion 17 was shot down. (Photo, Joni Marquez)

The Rangers had called in for assault helicopters to engage the enemy hiding among the rocky valley. The air weapons team fired on the Taliban fighters, but not all of the insurgents were killed as originally believed.

“I had the sensor operators immediately shift to the eight insurgents the helicopters had taken out,” Marquez told Circa, in her first interview about the incident. “Two were still alive.”

Marquez was the fire control officer aboard the AC-130 gunship, making sure that the sensors and weapons were aligned and allowing the crew hone in on targets.

Permission denied

That night it didn’t matter, because the gunship was not given permission to fire. “We had seen two of them (insurgents) moving, crawling away from the area, as to not really make a whole lot of scene,” she recalled.

Monitoring the scene from above, she relayed the scene to the ground force commander. “You have two enemy forces that are still alive,” she said. “Permission to engage.”

They were denied.

Read more.

The United West, on the fourth anniversary of the shoot down of Navy SEAL helicopter call sign – Extortion 17, release a critically important press conference that took place on May 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The May 2013 press conference confirmed what U.S. Air Force Captain Joni Marques says.

Please watch SEAL TEAM SIX – Extortion 17 EXPOSED:

Now, We Know My Mother Has Flaws, but….

There’s a disclaimer many of us have been conditioned to utter, quite reflexively, and it’s something that has got to stop. When preparing a defense of the United States (against, lamentably, other “Americans”), we may preface it with, “Well, I know our country isn’t perfect” or, as pundit Tucker Carlson said while debating a bigoted lawyer last month, “I don’t deny…that this country is flawed….” Actually, our perspective is flawed.

To gain some perspective, imagine you were giving a speech about your mother and opened with, “Now, we know my mother has flaws, but….” Sound good?

Consider the message sent. Since we’re all imperfect, it’s a given your mother has flaws, and, therefore, it isn’t something you’d normally even think to mention. Thus, the very act of mentioning it involves the implication that your mother isn’t just saddled with the usual imperfections — but that she’s uniquely flawed. It’s not something you do unless she’s a somewhat horrible person.

Or you’re a horrible child — or one horribly brainwashed into thinking he must please a certain hateful audience by disparaging what should be held dear.

Of course, if America were uniquely flawed, it would follow that there are a host of nations better. If we know of one, we may want to consider moving there. If we don’t, we should stop parroting that stupid disclaimer. Russians don’t do it. Chinese don’t do it. Japanese don’t do it. Not even Sudanese, Iranians or North Koreans do it.

In fact, while there’s no nation without sin, can you think of one beyond the waning West whose citizens feel compelled to issue self-flagellating we’re-so-flawed utterances? So why do many Americans, despite occupying history’s greatest nation, feel such a compulsion? What are they comparing America to? Heaven?

Speaking of the spirit world, many cultures would engage in ancestor worship. We engage in ancestor condemnation. Just recently, while defending Columbus Day against Indigenous Peoples Day dunderheads, a quite well-meaning commentator wrote that there “are 364 other days in the year on which we could acknowledge the sins of our ancestors….”

Sorry, but I don’t do ancestors. First, I’ll consider condemning our forebears when other groups and nations begin condemning theirs. Second, I’m no more responsible for their trespasses than I am for their triumphs. (Speaking of which, when I start getting royalty checks for all the inventions and innovations birthed by history’s great white men, I’ll consider offering reparations.) Lastly, I have no interest in continually “acknowledging” my ancestors’ sins — I have enough problems with my own.

This brings us to another aspect of this matter, one well illustrated by another comment Tucker Carlson made: that our country “is deeply flawed on questions of race.”

Actually, no, it’s not. As in the 1990s Rwandan genocide, racial/ethnic/tribal/religious conflicts elsewhere often have resulted in massive bloodshed. In contrast, it’s hard to think of a nation in which so many disparate peoples get along as well as in the U.S. (though the Left is trying feverishly to change that). The point is that in all this talk about “our flaws,” we’re not even talking about “our” flaws.

We’re talking about the flaws of people long dead (that is, when the flaws aren’t wholly imaginary).

In other words, we’re fighting yesterday’s battles — harping on our ancestors’ sins in an infinite loop — and ignoring today’s.

As to this, if a man seeing a therapist fixated constantly on his late father’s faults, wouldn’t the therapist point out that, not only is he living in the past, but that incessantly focusing on another’s flaws can be a way of avoiding having to confront your own?

Leftists haven’t the foggiest idea what our “flaws” are for the simple reason that, being moral relativists/nihilists (not believing in Truth, absolute by definition), they have no standard of perfection to use as a yardstick. And if you have no objective standard of right, you can’t know what’s wrong — not any more than you could identify unhealthful foods without believing in and knowing the rules of human nutrition.

We do have real flaws, today, now, things such as confusion over marriage, sex and the sexes (“transgender” agenda); the mainstreaming of perversion; decadent entertainment; rampant vulgarity; racial demagoguery; profligate spending; leftist propaganda everywhere; and, what lies at the heart of it all, moral relativism. But it’s easier to talk about those dastardly dead white males — they’re not around to defend themselves.

One of the great victories of the Left is that it has woven so many of its suppositions so seamlessly into the culture that even good people accept them, unknowingly, unthinkingly. Thus will we utter, cowed and callow, “Look, I know our country has flaws….”

The irony is that if we could purge so-called leftism from the hearts and minds of Americans, most of our flaws would disappear overnight.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

RELATED VIDEO: America The Beautiful with Lyrics.

Value Voter Summit Goes Presidential!

Last year, he spoke to the Values Voter Summit as a candidate — this year, it will be as the 45th President of the United States. Today we have confirmation from the White House that President Donald Trump will speak to the VVS crowd this Friday morning. If you’re on the fence about attending, jump on over to the VVS website to secure your spot now!

The October 13-15 event in Washington, D.C. is only a few days away, and President Trump won’t be the only newsmaker on the platform. You’ll hear from hero and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), RSC Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Dr. Bill Bennett, Dana Loesch, “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson, Laura Ingraham, Todd Starnes, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Steve Bannon, Judge Roy Moore, Lt. Col. Oliver North, and more. Click here to seize the moment in Washington next week!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the October 10 Washington Update:

Judge: Tax the Pastors

Prison for Pronouns: California’s New Law on Speech

Prospective on the Person: An Essential Initiative in the Struggle to Save the West

Robert Royal celebrates the 100th edition of the personalist journal Prospettiva Persona, an essential initiative in the struggle to save the West.

People sometimes write me to complain that much online commentary is too negative. That TCT and other sites do not pay enough attention to the many good things happening and to Christian joy.

You can’t be against “joy,” of course, assuming (a large assumption) that you know what authentic joy is. The way the phrase is often used, I admit, strikes me as a somewhat less than fully Christian effort to tell a hedonistic world: Look, we’re having fun too. In my judgment, that hasn’t worked out so well. It may be just me, but like Paul writing to the Thessalonians, I think it safer – and better – on the whole, these days, to keep faith and work quietly.

There are many groups and individuals who do so and never get any notice. I was with one such group last week and hope to help many people hear much more about them. Twenty-five years ago, in the immediate afterglow of the fall of Communism and of John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus – which reviewed the disasters of the previous century and tentatively sought a way forward – a remarkable married couple decided that the work necessary to the reconstruction of civilization had not ended with the Cold War. Indeed, it had just barely begun.

This month they published the 100th number of their quarterly magazine, Prospettiva Persona (“Perspective on the Human Person”), and also announced – not their retirement, but their new roles as contributors and counselors to the new editor Flavio Felice (a sometime contributor to The Catholic Thing and old friend to many of us).  Flavio, a man of many talents, is the youngest person ever to receive tenure at the Lateran University in Rome, where he teaches Catholic Social Thought.

Giulia Paula di Nicola and Attilio Danese met and married as undergraduates, went to study philosophy – Hegel of all things – in Germany, but like other earnest seekers of wisdom in the twentieth century, decided that much modern philosophy was too stretto, i.e., narrow. They found their way – like Jacques Maritain, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Gabriel Marcel, Edith Stein, Emmauel Mounier, Karol Wojtyla (later JPII), and many others – into the “personalist” currents of modern philosophy. And founded Prospettiva Persona, significantly not in Rome, but on the opposite coast of Italy, in the city of Teramo.

Click here to read the rest of Bob Royal’s column . . .

Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

The False Ideas Intellectuals Peddle at College Campuses

As George Orwell said, “some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

Many stupid ideas originate with academics on college campuses. If they remained there and didn’t infect the rest of society, they might be a source of entertainment, much in the way a circus is.

Let’s look at a few stupid ideas peddled by intellectuals.

During the Cold War, academic leftists made a moral equivalency between communist totalitarianism and democracy.

Worse is the fact that they exempted communist leaders from the type of harsh criticism directed toward Adolf Hitler, even though communist crimes against humanity made Hitler’s slaughter of 11 million noncombatants appear almost amateurish.

According to Professor R.J. Rummel’s research in “Death by Government,” from 1917 until its collapse, the Soviet Union murdered or caused the death of 61 million people, mostly its own citizens.

From 1949 to 1976, Communist China’s Mao Zedong regime was responsible for the death of as many as 78 million of its own citizens.

On college campuses, the same sort of equivalency is made between capitalism and communism, but if one looks at the real world, there’s a stark difference.

Just ask yourself: In which societies is the average citizen richer—societies toward the capitalist end of the economic spectrum or those toward the communist end?

In which societies do ordinary citizens have their human rights protected the most—those toward the capitalist end or those toward the communist end?

Finally, which societies do people around the world flee from—capitalist or communist? And where do they flee to—capitalist or communist societies?

More recent nonsense taught on college campuses, under the name of multiculturalism, is that one culture is as good as another. Identity worship, diversity, and multiculturalism are currency and cause for celebration at just about any college.

If one is black, brown, yellow, or white, the prevailing thought is that he should take pride and celebrate that fact even though he had nothing to do with it.

The multiculturalist and diversity crowd seems to suggest that race or sex is an achievement. That’s just plain nonsense.

In my book, race or sex might be an achievement, worthy of considerable celebration, if a person were born a white male and through his effort and diligence became a black female.

Then there’s white privilege. Colleges have courses and seminars on “whiteness.” One college even has a course titled “Abolition of Whiteness.”

According to academic intellectuals, whites enjoy advantages that nonwhites do not. They earn higher income and reside in better housing, and their children go to better schools and achieve more. Based upon those socio-economic statistics, Japanese-Americans have more white privilege than white people.

And, on a personal note, my daughter has experienced more white privilege than probably 95 percent of white Americans. She’s attended private schools, had ballet and music lessons, traveled the world, and lived in upper-income communities.

Leftists should get rid of the concept of white privilege and just call it achievement.

Then there’s the issue of campus rape and sexual assault.

Before addressing that, let me ask you a question. Do I have a right to place my wallet on the roof of my car, go into my house, have lunch, take a nap, and return to my car and find my wallet just where I placed it?

I think I have every right to do so, but the real question is whether it would be a wise decision.

Some college women get stoned, use foul language, and dance suggestively. I think they have a right to behave that way and not be raped or sexually assaulted. But just as in the example of my placing my wallet on the roof of my car, I’d ask whether it is wise behavior.

Many of our problems, both at our institutions of higher learning and in the nation at large, stem from the fact that we’ve lost our moral compasses and there’s not a lot of interest in reclaiming them.

As a matter of fact, most people don’t see our major problems as having anything to do with morality.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

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.

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

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RELATED ARTICLE: Council on American Islamic Relations Conducted Sensitivity Training for Philadelphia Teachers

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VIDEO: Former CIA Officer Explains ‘The Shadow Government’

Zero Hedge’s Tyler Durden in an article authored by Aaron Kesel via ActivistPost.com, titled “High-Ranking CIA Agent Blows Whistle On The Deep State And Shadow Government” report:

A CIA whistleblower, Kevin Shipp, has emerged from the wolves den to expose the deep state and the shadow government which he calls two entirely separate entities.

Shipp had a series of slides explaining how the deep state and shadow government functions as well as the horrific crimes they are committing against U.S. citizens.

Some of the revelations the former CIA anti-terrorism counter intelligence officer revealed included that “Google Earth was set up through the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and InQtel.” Indeed he is correct, the CIA and NGA owned the company Google acquired, Keyhole Inc., paying an undisclosed sum for the company to turn its tech into what we now know as Google Earth. Another curious investor in Keyhole Inc. was none other than the venture capital firm In-Q-Tel run by the CIA according to a press release at the time.

Shipp also disclosed that the agency known as the Joint Special Ops Command (JSOC) is the “president’s secret army” which he can use for secret assassinations, overturning governments and things the American people don’t know about.

FBI warrantless searches violate the Fourth Amendment with national security letters, which Shipp noted enables them to walk into your employer’s office and demand all your financial records and if he or she says anything about them being there they can put your supervisor in jail or drop a case against themselves using the “State’s Secret Privilege law.”

“The top of the shadow government is the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency,” Shipp said.

Shipp expressed that the CIA was created through the Council on Foreign relations with no congressional approval, and historically the CFR is also tied into the mainstream media (MSM.) He elaborated that the CIA was the “central node” of the shadow government and controlled all of other 16 intelligence agencies despite the existence of the DNI. The agency also controls defense and intelligence contractors, can manipulate the president and political decisions, has the power to start wars, torture, initiate coups, and commit false flag attacks he said.

As Shipp stated, the CIA was created through executive order by then President Harry Truman by the signing of the National Security Act of 1947.

According to Shipp, the deep state is comprised of the military industrial complex, intelligence contractors, defense contractors, MIC lobbyist, Wall St (offshore accounts), Federal Reserve, IMF/World Bank, Treasury, Foreign lobbyists, and Central Banks.

Read more.

Former CIA officer Kevin Shipp explains “The Shadow Government” on The Hagmann Report.

What Trump Told Congress He Wants to See on Immigration

Before granting legal status to illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors, President Donald Trump wants to push enhanced border security, interior enforcement, and move toward a merit-based legal immigration system.

At this point, Democrats would be blamed if an amnesty isn’t enacted, said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a pro-border security think tank.

“It’s the opening bid, the president is going to aim high, but I’m skeptical of whether Democrats will negotiate and come up with a counteroffer,” Krikorian told The Daily Signal. “They just expected Trump to sign an amnesty bill. The ball is now in the Democrats’ court.”

Trump is working with Congress on a legislative fix to the Obama-era executive action granting temporary legal status to illegal immigrants who came to the country as children, the policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Trump’s letter outlines 70 principles for any immigration legislation. This includes the completion of a border wall, which was the cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign. However, he indicated that it would not be part of the deal with Congress on codifying the Obama-era DACA policy.

Trump asked the administration to conduct a review and provide recommendations.

“Rather than asking what policies are supported by special interests, we asked America’s law enforcement professionals to identify reforms that are vital to protect the national interest,” Trump said in the letter. “In response, they identified dangerous loopholes, outdated laws, and easily exploited vulnerabilities in our immigration system—current policies that are harming our country and our communities.”

Trump’s principles on immigration—presented in a letter to Congress Sunday—are solid enough, but this still poses the problem of trading amnesty up front for the promise of stronger enforcement maybe later down the road, said David Inserra, a homeland security policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation.

“Amnesty is one and done, but enforcement measures still require annual appropriation, annual policy, and adjustments to the policy,” Inserra told The Daily Signal. “We should enforce our laws first and foremost.”

Trump’s letter to Congress calls for closing loopholes on illegal immigrants to make deportations easier, and to fund another 370 immigration judges to expedite court cases.

Trump also asserted the need to cut off federal funding to sanctuary states and cities, which are jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. California recently became a sanctuary state. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., denounced Trump’s plans.

Trump also calls for cracking down on visa overstays, which the letter says account for 40 percent of all illegal immigration.

“The administration therefore proposes strengthening the removal processes for those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas, and implementing measures to prevent future visa overstays which may account for a growing percentage of illegal immigration,” the letter says.

The proposal would also debar any company that doesn’t use E-Verify from qualifying for federal contracts. E-Verify is an electronic system for employers to determine the legal status of employees.

UnidosUS, a Hispanic rights group formerly known as the National Council of La Raza, blasted Trump’s principles.

“President Trump has gone back on a promise to support a clean bill and instead is now seeking to sabotage legislation aimed at giving these young people a chance for a stable and prosperous future by loading the bill with unpopular and controversial measures,” said Janet Murguía, president of UnidosUS, in a statement. “Sending these so-called ‘conditions’ to Congress is simply a way to stop the bipartisan effort behind a clean DREAM bill.”

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of President Donald J. Trump is by Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom.

Obama’s Climate Plan Was a Failure on All Accounts

The Trump administration is dismantling President Barack Obama’s climate legacy piece by piece, and this week it’s taking an axe to arguably the biggest piece.

In an expected move, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt officially began the process of rolling back the incorrectly named Clean Power Plan.

If the Trump administration is intent on achieving 3 percent economic growth and rescinding costly regulations that carry negligible climate benefits—and if it is concerned about preserving our energy grid—the Clean Power Plan is a must-go.

Under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Obama EPA formalized regulations to reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants.

Using a name that surely message-tested well, the Clean Power Plan had nothing to do with eradicating hazardous pollutants from power generation. The U.S. already has laws on the books to protect Americans’ health from emissions that have adverse environmental impacts.

Instead, the Clean Power Plan regulated carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas, because of its alleged contribution to climate change.

From Day One, Obama’s Clean Power Plan was fraught with problems—economically, environmentally, and legally.

For starters, families and businesses would have been hit with more expensive energy bills.

How so? The plan set specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions for each state based on the states’ electricity mix and offered “flexible” options for how states could meet the targets.

But no matter how states would have developed their plans, the economic damages would have been felt through higher energy costs, fewer job opportunities, and fewer energy choices for consumers.

The EPA’s idea of flexibility would not have softened the economic blow. It merely meant that Americans would have incurred higher costs through different mechanisms.

Environmentally, the climate impact of the Clean Power Plan would have been pointless. According to climatologist Paul Knappenberger:

Even if we implement the Clean Power Plan to perfection, the amount of climate change averted over the course of this century amounts to about 0.02 C. This is so small as to be scientifically undetectable and environmentally insignificant.

Legally, the Clean Power Plan was on shaky ground, to say the least. The regulation grossly exceeded the statutory authority of the EPA, violated the principles of cooperative federalism, and double-regulated existing power plants, which the Clean Air Act prohibits.

Take it from Laurence Tribe, Harvard University professor of constitutional law and a “liberal legal icon” who served in Obama’s Justice Department.

Tribe stated in testimony before Congress that the “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the states, Congress, and the federal courts—all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.”

It’s no surprise that more than half the states in the country petitioned the Supreme Court to pause implementation of the regulation, and judges obliged, issuing a stay in 2016.

Pruitt, who led the charge against a rogue EPA as attorney general in Oklahoma, will respect the limits of the EPA as head of the agency. The EPA will now go through the formal rule-making and public comment period in order to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

What comes after that remains to be seen. State attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts, as well as environmental activist groups, are lining up to sue. The EPA could offer a far less stringent replacement regulation, which some industry groups are pushing for to buttress against lawsuits.

If members of Congress are fed up that policy continues to be made through the executive branch with a phone and a pen, they should step to the plate and legislate.

In this case, the solution is clear. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress should pass legislation prohibiting the EPA and other agencies from implementing harmful regulations that stunt economic growth and produce futile climate benefits.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. 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.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of former President Barack Obama is by Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom.

Some Say GOP Tax Plan Would Raise Taxes. Here’s What They’re Missing.

Since the release of the GOP’s long-awaited tax reform plan, a flurry of commentators have criticized it, saying it is a regressive plan that will raise taxes on a sizable portion of Americans.

What they often fail to mention is that their estimates depend on details of the plan that have yet to be released. As it turns out, different assumptions about those details can dramatically alter the projections of who gets a tax cut under the GOP plan.

For a vast majority of Americans, the main changes they would experience from the plan would be to their income tax rate, the standard deduction, the personal and dependent exemption, and the Child Tax Credit.

So what do we know about how the GOP plan will affect these variables?

1. It would lower individual tax rates.

The GOP’s framework would lower rates and consolidate tax brackets for individuals. The three new income tax brackets (down from seven) are 12, 25, and 35 percent, but the framework does not specify what the income thresholds will be.

The plan also mentions that an additional fourth top rate may be added.

2. It would double the standard deduction.

The framework would almost double the standard deduction. It would do so by collapsing the additional standard deduction and personal exemptions into the one larger deduction available to everyone.

For married joint filers the deduction would be $24,000, and for single filers it would be $12,000. This means taxes would become much easier for many people because they won’t need to itemize or check frivolous boxes.

3. It would expand the Child Tax Credit.

The framework would repeal the personal exemption for dependents, “significantly increase” the Child Tax Credit, and increase the income limits at which the credit currently begins to phase out.

The framework gives no further details on these items.

Taken together, it is still uncertain how these changes will ultimately alter any individual or family’s tax liability. There are other proposed reforms that could also interact with these changes, but that hasn’t stopped commentators from projecting winners and losers.

Other analyses have simply mapped the current tax brackets on to the new rates so that the current 15 percent bracket would now pay 12 percent, the current 25 and 28 percent brackets make up the new 25 percent bracket, and the 33-39.6 percent brackets are consolidated into the 35 percent bracket.

These assumptions are often biased. They keep many Americans paying the same tax rate and actually project an increase in some people’s rate. It’s very unlikely that these conservative lawmakers intend to do that.

If we assume different income thresholds that are entirely reasonable, we find very different results.

One could, for instance, raise the new income thresholds by 15 percent so that more people would pay a lower tax rate. Lower taxes are, after all, a key stated goal of the plan.

Using The Heritage Foundation Individual Income Tax Model, we estimated what these changes—along with the other details released thus far—would mean for taxpayers. In particular, we modeled:

  • 15 percent higher income thresholds for the new brackets.
  • Doubling of the standard deduction.
  • Elimination of all personal exemptions.

With these three changes, some of our modeled income groups would end up paying slightly more in taxes because the lower rates and higher standard deductions don’t fully compensate for getting rid of the dependent exemption.

But increasing the Child Tax Credit by a modest $100 flips all of our income groups into the black. And that’s even without increasing the credit’s income limits.

Pairing this with the new larger standard deduction and lower tax rates, most families would end up paying less in taxes than they currently do. In fact, every income group would pay a lower tax bill.

Those households with adjusted gross income between $100,000 and $125,000, for example, would see a significant drop in their tax bill of about 6 percent.

Those with adjusted gross income below $50,000 would receive the smallest tax savings because they already pay very little in taxes. However, the Child Tax Credit would likely increase by $500 or more, which would largely benefit this group.

Moreover, other changes to state and local tax deductions and other provisions would likely shift some of the gains for upper-income earners toward middle- and lower-income earners.

(Of course, it is near impossible to enact pro-growth tax reform without some positive benefits for the individuals and small business that pay the majority of taxes, and the top 5 percent of taxpayers pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes.)

These are perfectly reasonable assumptions to make about the details of the GOP plan, given the political promises that have been made. Tax cuts for middle-class Americans are going to be real.

There are also several other possible changes that would alter our analysis, such as eliminating the state and local tax and municipal bond interest deductions (along with some other itemized deductions), creating the newly proposed nonrefundable credit of $500 for non-child dependent care, and nixing the alternative minimum tax.

Regardless of whether these changes occur, the GOP plan makes a huge stride by expanding the standard deduction. Given that 70 percent of Americans already take this deduction, our results show that the GOP plan may very likely result in a tax cut for Americans across the board.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Kevin Dayaratna

Kevin D. Dayaratna specializes in tax, energy and health policy issues as senior statistician and research programmer in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. Read his research. Twitter: 

Portrait of Adam Michel

Adam Michel focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: 

Portrait of Rachel Greszler

Rachel Greszler is a senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. Read her research.

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

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., making remarks as the GOP introduces its tax reform framework is by Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom)

Catholics Across the Globe Rally with Poland as a United Front Against Islamization

Hundreds of thousands of Polish Catholics gathered in Poland in a massive rosary prayer against the rise of secularization and the spread of Islamization across Europe.

The event, “Rosary on the Borders,” was held on the anniversary of the October 7, 1571 naval Battle of Lepanto, in which the outnumbered Christian naval fleet dealt a massive blow to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, saving Christendom from Islamic domination.

Watch a short video clip of the event:

Catholics from more than 70 different locations in the world joined spiritually with the Polish Catholics including Catholics from the United States, England, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, the Philippines and New Zealand.

Clearly, it was a resounding success, as thousands of Poles were bused in from more than 300 churches to points all along the 2,000-mile border. According to the New York Times, participants in Poland gathered for prayer at 320 churches as well as in 4,000 designated prayer zones.

Citizens of all ages, including many elderly, braved the brisk cold weather to take a stand against Islamization and to pray for the salvation of Poland, as well as all of Europe to remain Christian. Approximately 90% of Poland residents identify as Catholic.

To read the New York Times articles and for additional photos of the massive rosary prayer, click here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Thousands of Poles Pray on the Border Against ‘Islamisation of Europe’

The European Union Is Doomed to Fail

How on earth can the European Union unite that which history forced asunder?

Marian L. Tupy

by  Marian L. Tupy

Have you ever heard of Deutsch Jahrndorf? No? I don’t blame you. The tiny Austrian village, which is situated four miles from the Danube, is utterly unremarkable, except for the fact that it sits on the border of three countries. To the east is Slovakia. To the south lies Hungary. As such, within shouting distance of one another, live three peoples speaking completely unintelligible languages. Austria belongs to the West Germanic language group, Hungary to Finno-Ugric and Slovakia to West Slavic.

I thought about the exquisitely rich tapestry of European languages, cultures, customs, and nationalities as I watched the sad spectacle of Spanish riot police and Catalan separatists confronting one another on the streets of Barcelona. How on earth can the European Union unite that which history forced asunder?

The Folly of the EU

The European Union, French President Emmanuel Macron has recently declared to almost universal acclaim, needs more unity, including the creation of “a eurozone budget managed by a eurozone parliament and a eurozone finance minister”.

Therein lies the conundrum of European unification.

The need for the centralization of power in Brussels is, apparently, the lesson that the EU establishment has learned from the outcome of the British referendum on EU membership. Meanwhile, in Catalonia, millions of people have set their sights on independence from Spain. Foremost among their complaints is that the Catalan budget is influenced by Madrid.

Independence, the Catalans feel, will rectify a grave injustice occasioned by the French capture of Barcelona in 1714. The conqueror, Duke of Anjou, became the first Bourbon king of Spain under the name of Philip V. His descendant, Philip VI, is on the throne today. In Europe, ancient lineages last as long as ancient resentments.

Therein lies the conundrum of European unification. On the one hand, people throughout much of Europe desire greater autonomy. Madrid has the vexing problem of the Basque Country to worry about as well as Catalonia. In Italy, Padania and South Tyrol in the North don’t feel like they have very much in common with the Mezzogiorno in the South. Corsica does not want to be French and Britain has only recently revisited a territorial arrangement that dates back to 1707.

On the other hand, every separatist movement in Europe declares its support for the project of European unification. But, how likely is it that people annoyed by Madrid, Rome, Paris, and London will be happy to have their affairs decided upon in Brussels? Will the Catalans, resentful of subsidizing farmers in Andalusia, quietly have no problem with subsidizing Polish peasants in Lower Silesia?

How Did It Go So Wrong?

Speaking of Brussels, it is both the seat of the increasingly dysfunctional EU and the capital of Flanders, which wants to separate from Belgium. It’s complicated.

On a continent inhabited by a multitude of diverse peoples with no shared identity, Macron’s proposal, if implemented, will surely prove to be the EU’s undoing.

Years from now, when the EU is either reformed beyond recognition or gone, historians will debate what went wrong and when. The Maastricht Treaty of 1992, which reinvigorated the British Eurosceptic movement that ultimately delivered Brexit, will be one of the obvious culprits. But I think that the problems of European integration are of an older vintage. Perhaps because it was signed by none other than Margaret Thatcher, the Single European Act of 1986 does not get the attention it deserves. Yet it was SEA that eliminated the national veto in a number of crucial policy areas and replaced it with qualified majority voting (QMV). Thatcher acceded to this new arrangement, for it was meant to break down intra-European trade barriers and transform the fledgling “common market” into a freer “single market”. Unfortunately, the introduction of QMV also meant that, occasionally, individual nation states got outvoted on issues they cared deeply about. Accusations of “meddling from Brussels” grew.

To make matters worse, the SEA engorged the powers of the Commission. That proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the Commission went after the anti-competitive practices of nation states with gusto. On the other hand, it used its new powers to start over-regulating economic activity. The regulatory and protectionist impulses of the nation states, in other words, were replaced by regulatory and protectionist impulses at the pan-European level and Europe became less competitive vis-á-vis the rest of the world. Maastricht and the Lisbon Treaty sped up the excessive centralization of power in Brussels that was already underway and transformed the European Economic Community into the EU with its own flag, anthem, and currency.

To those symbols of statehood, President Macron now wishes to add a financial transfer union, which, he feels, is necessary to make a success of the single currency. On a continent inhabited by a multitude of diverse peoples with no shared identity, Macron’s proposal, if implemented, will surely prove to be the EU’s undoing.

Reprinted from CapX

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

Obamacare Failed Breastfeeding Mothers

In a classic case of unintended consequences, what was meant to help new mothers actually made things more expensive and difficult.

Lauren K. Hall

by  Lauren K. Hall

I recently had a conversation with my health insurance company that gave me some interesting perspective on the current US health care system. I’m pregnant, so I called to figure out whether my insurance covered a new breast pump for when I return to work while nursing. There was good news and bad news.

Good news: insurance covers (most of) a new breast pump!

Bad news: Due to federal regulations and insurance bureaucracy, I cannot simply order the pump I want from Amazon, where prices are clearly laid out, the pump I want is in stock, and I know what I am getting. Instead, my insurance gave me a list of 10 different medical supply companies, all of which provide different pumps and half of which do not list prices. This is a problem since my insurance only covers $178 of the pump’s price.

So rather than spending two minutes ordering a pump from Amazon, I will spend at least an entire morning sifting through websites mostly designed circa 2004 and filling out various information request forms to find out whether the company carries the pump I want and how much the same pump costs at these different websites. I will also need to get a prescription from my doctor, which will require another appointment and more paperwork.

All in all, a process that should take two minutes will now take at least a week of back and forth, many emails, multiple phone calls, and shipping that will definitely take longer than two-day Prime shipping.

So what’s going on here?

The Unintended Consequences of Health Insurance Mandates

The breast pump example is a classic case of unintended consequences. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, one much-lauded goal was to provide better support for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The requirement was touted as a way mothers could nurse longer (a major public health goal that may or may not make a lot of sense), particularly once they re-entered the workforce.

The requirement, as many have noted, turned a normal consumer good into a medical device that all women could get for “free,” regardless of income level. Some four million American women give birth every year, and some large percentage of those at least attempt to breastfeed. Many, if not most, nursing mothers will need a breast pump at some point, so the costs of this mandate are not small.

Insurance companies, predictably, did not respond altruistically and absorb the costs of an expensive new mandate. They passed some of these costs on to consumers in the form of higher premiums but also sought to control costs by limiting the kinds of pumps mothers had access to. My insurance, for example, only covers a single electric pump, which is ironic because the last time I checked, most women have two breasts. But insurers’ rationale is understandable: they’ve been ordered to provide a free thing — not necessarily the best free thing out there, nor the free thing that actually would meet women’s wants and needs for pumping.Companies also, predictably, increased the red tape associated with ordering a breast pump, both to ensure they can prove their compliance to the federal government, and also probably in part to make it harder for women to access the benefit. I didn’t bother getting an insurance-covered breast pump for my second child (the ACA wasn’t fully in effect when I had my first) because I had an old breast pump a friend had given me and I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting a new pump while wrangling a newborn.

Without government interference in my insurance plan, where would I be today? I probably would have taken some of the money I would have saved in slightly lower premiums and bought myself the breast pump I really wanted. Instead, I’m faced with both paying higher premiums and being forced to choose a product that does not fit my needs. As FEE’s Pamela Hobart discussed, lower-income women already had access to low-cost breast pumps through the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Why did the government believe it necessary to mandate coverage for all women, when most women not on WIC would have been better served simply buying the breast pump they really wanted out of pocket? Obviously, the answer is political, but it makes little to no economic sense.

Government Micromanagement and Insurance Bureaucracy

My breast pump saga is merely one example of a much broader lesson that goes well beyond nursing mothers. The more government micromanages what insurance companies are required to do, the more insurance companies will respond with red tape and hurdles to lower their own costs and prevent being taken advantage of.The breast pump saga is also an important reminder of what insurance was originally not meant to do. Health insurance was meant to help cover the catastrophic costs of medical care that an average person could not have foreseen: getting hit by a bus, developing cancer, or needing a liver transplant. Health insurance was never meant to provide people with basic consumer goods they can and should be saving for themselves. It also was never meant to pay for regular checkups, physicals, and the foreseeable and moderate expenses of being a human being with a fallible body.

Now we use health insurance to pay for everything from yearly physicals to breast pumps to blood pressure screenings, and the government continues to mandate more and more covered items and procedures. The result has not been better care, but escalating costs and more restrictions on consumer choice. None of that seems like much of a “benefit” to me.

So how did my pump saga ultimately end? After a few hours of wasted time Googling and talking to medical supply companies on the phone, I ended up ordering the pump I wanted from a local medical supply company. That pump, available for $174.98 on Amazon, ended up costing my insurance $178.00 and me another $70, while the sticker price on the receipt inexplicably totaled $318.00. Total extra bureaucratic costs: a few hours of my time, my insurance company’s time, the medical supply company’s time, and an extra $70 to $140, depending on which price you hold to be the “real” price.

But yes, by all means, let’s get MORE government involvement in healthcare.

Reprinted from Learn Liberty

Lauren K. Hall

Lauren K. Hall

Lauren has is Associate Professor of Political Science at the College of Liberal Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology. She is also a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

Taxpayer funded resettlement contractor helps organize march opposing Trump ‘Muslim ban’

I continue to be amazed that a quasi-government agency receiving millions of dollars from the US taxpayer is a leading agitator in marches against the hand that feeds them—in this case the Trump Administration.  Chutzpah! I suppose!

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society is helping get people out to the #NoMuslimBanEver rally scheduled for a week from tomorrow—October 18th—in Washington, DC.

mark-hetfield-hias logo

Before I get to their latest appeal for marching bodies, here is just a reminder of their financial position.

According to the most recent Form 990 for 2016, they had income from government grants to the tune of $24,493,763 in a category (p. 9) of contributions, gifts and grants of $41,855,465 putting them at 58% funded by the US taxpayer.

58% of course isn’t as bad as some contractors***Episcopal Migration Ministries is 99.5% funded from the US Treasury, but it is still a significant chunk of change.

According to that same Form 990, CEO Mark Hetfield pulls down a salary, benefits and other compensation package of $343,630 (p. 8).

If the nine contractors*** were truly private non-profit charitable organizations, salaries would not be any of our business, but when organizations like these (really quasi-government agencies) receive taxpayer dollars, it becomes our business.

It seems to me that HIAS is always out as the leader of the pack when it comes to demonstrating against the Trump Administration and filing lawsuits to stop them, all the while taking money from Washington (from us!).

Here they are again!

Screenshot (942)

Screenshot (943)

Screenshot (944)

You should know that HIAS has long supported a ‘religious test’ known as the Lautenberg Amendment that gave preferential treatment to Jews and other religious minorities coming from places like Russia and Iran.

The above is a screenshot so the links are not ‘hot.’  Go to Facebook to learn more about the #NoMuslimBanEver event.

I sure would like to know who is behind this event??? Muslim Brotherhood? CAIR?

***For new readers, these are the nine major federal refugee resettlement contractors. There are over 350 subcontractors working for them throughout the country.  Basically they pass federal grant money through their headquarters to their subcontractors and keep a certain amount of it for their headquarters/office/travel/salaries etc.

HIAS has 20 subcontractors, here they are.

It would be important to find out if the other eight contractors (besides HIAS) will be marching next Wednesday.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Scranton, PA school district struggling under weight of needy immigrant students, working poor

New York Times spins Twin Falls rape case story

Refugee resettlement contractors get platform to complain at Christian Post, but….

Donors of Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ Group Revealed