Senator Ted Cruz: We Will Never Surrender on Life

This week, millions of Americans mourn the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that forced legalized abortion on demand onto the 50 states and has led to the deaths of tens of millions of Americans.

But the hundreds of thousands marching for life in Washington, D.C., and hometowns across the nation also celebrate the great progress we have made since then, fighting to restore the God-given rights of all Americans, of every age.

Under Roe, 60 million precious lives—generations of sons and daughters—have been lost in the United States alone. For far too long, the tragic practice of abortion has not only denied the most basic rights of those in the womb, but has also left mothers suffering with tremendous loss and pain.

It has been used by governments to limit population growth, as seen in China’s infamous “one child policy.” It has been used to eliminate unwanted baby girls from societies where baby boys are prized. And now, nations like Iceland are proudly announcing the elimination of afflictions such as Down syndrome because they’ve aborted almost all the babies who were diagnosed.

Even while legal, the horrors of abortion were thrown into public view by the prolific serial killer Kermit Gosnell, whose sheer contempt for human life extended from the unborn, to infants, to their mothers themselves. A few years later, undercover videotapes revealing frank discussions of aborted body part sales shocked and outraged the nation.

But pro-life activists should be heartened by the growing list of victories achieved for unborn Americans in recent years.

From its first days in office, the Trump administration reinstated and expanded the Mexico City policy, which blocks federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that facilitate abortions. In the Senate, we’ve been able to confirm more and more of the administration’s constitutionalist judges who recognize the terrible jurisprudence behind Roe v. Wade.

We passed a law allowing states to deny Title X funding to Planned Parenthood, and saw the federal government finalize religious exemptions to prevent the Little Sisters of the Poor and private employers from being required to provide abortifacient drugs.

Last January, I introduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban late-term abortions that result in pain and suffering for an unborn child. After five months, an unborn child’s toes, eyelids, fingers, and eyelashes have formed. He or she has a heartbeat, and can feel pain.

While this bill was blocked by Senate Democrats, it reflects the growing body of evidence that unborn children can sense and suffer, and that the pro-life movement stands on the side of science.

There is still much work ahead of us. Thankfully, many legislators are stepping up in the 116th Congress and offering ways for our country to move beyond the horror of abortion, and I’m proud to be a co-sponsor for these vital initiatives.

A big one is the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services from providing federal family planning grants and other funds to entities that perform abortions—entities like Planned Parenthood.

I am also co-sponsoring the Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act, which redirects federal funding from abortion providers to better women’s health organizations that provide cervical and breast cancer screenings, diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, and more.

The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime to knowingly transport a minor to another state to obtain an abortion without satisfying a parental involvement law in the minor’s resident state. Too many girls and young women have been victimized by abusers and human traffickers under the current system, and this policy would be a vast improvement for expecting mothers, children, and parents alike.

Finally, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act would establish a government-wide statutory prohibition on taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage. This legislation would also prohibit subsidies in the form of refundable, advanceable tax credits for abortion coverage, and would codify an annual renewed appropriations policy providing conscience protections.

I am proud to join all of these measures to protect human life from its first stages of development. I look forward to a time when every child—girl or boy, with special needs or special mind—has the opportunity to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Keep marching for them.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz is a U.S. senator from Texas. Twitter: @SenTedCruz.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Leandro Cesar Santana on Unsplash.

I’m A Senior Trump Official, And I Hope A Long Shutdown Smokes Out The Resistance

The Daily Caller is taking the rare step of publishing this anonymous op-ed at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose career would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.

Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.

The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.

Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.

Process is what we serve, process keeps us safe, process is our core value. It takes a lot of people to maintain the process. Process provides jobs. In fact, there are process experts and certified process managers who protect the process. Then there are the 5 percent with moxy (career managers). At any given time they can change, clarify or add to the process — even to distort or block policy counsel for the president.

Saboteurs peddling opinion as research, tasking their staff on pet projects or pitching wasteful grants to their friends. Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them. Until the shutdown.

Due to the lack of funding, many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce, with only select essential personnel serving national security tasks. One might think this is how government should function, but bureaucracies operate from the bottom up — a collective of self-generated ideas. Ideas become initiatives, formalize into offices, they seek funds from Congress and become bureaus or sub-agencies, and maybe one day grow to be their own independent agency, like ours. The nature of a big administrative bureaucracy is to grow to serve itself. I watch it and fight it daily.

When the agency is full, employees held liable for poor performance respond with threats, lawsuits, complaints and process in at least a dozen offices, taking years of mounting paperwork with no fear of accountability, extending their careers, while no real work is done. Do we succumb to such extortion? Yes. We pay them settlements, we waive bad reviews, and we promote them.

Many government agencies have adopted the position that more complaints are good because it shows inclusion in, you guessed it, the process. When complaints come, it is cheaper to pay them off than to hold public servants accountable. The result: People accused of serious offenses are not charged, and self-proclaimed victims are paid by you, the American taxpayer.

The message to federal supervisors is clear. Maintain the status quo, or face allegations. Many federal employees truly believe that doing tasks more efficiently and cutting out waste, by closing troubled programs instead of expanding them, “is morally wrong,” as one cried to me.

I get it. These are their pets. It is tough to put them down and let go, and many resist. This phenomenon was best summed up by a colleague who said, “The goal in government is to do nothing. If you try to get things done, that’s when you will run into trouble.”

But President Trump can end this abuse. Senior officials can reprioritize during an extended shutdown, focus on valuable results and weed out the saboteurs. We do not want most employees to return, because we are working better without them. Sure, we empathize with families making tough financial decisions, like mine, and just like private citizens who have to find other work and bring competitive value every day, while paying more than a third of their salary in federal taxes.

President Trump has created more jobs in the private sector than the furloughed federal workforce. Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda.

President Trump does not need Congress to address the border emergency, and yes, it is an emergency. Billions upon billions of hard-earned tax dollars are still being dumped into foreign aid programs every year that do nothing for America’s interest or national security. The president does not need congressional funding to deconstruct abusive agencies who work against his agenda. This is a chance to effect real change, and his leverage grows stronger every day the shutdown lasts.

The president should add to his demands, including a vote on all of his political nominees in the Senate. Send the career appointees back. Many are in the 5 percent of saboteurs and resistance leaders.

A word of caution: To be a victory, this shutdown must be different than those of the past and should achieve lasting disruption with two major changes, or it will hurt the president.

The first thing we need out of this is better security, particularly at the southern border. Our founders envisioned a free market night watchman state, not the bungled bloated bureaucracy our government has become. But we have to keep the uniformed officers paid, which is an emergency. Ideally, continue a resolution to pay the essential employees only, if they are truly working on national security. Furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid.

Secondly, we need savings for taxpayers. If this fight is merely rhetorical bickering with Nancy Pelosi, we all lose, especially the president. But if it proves that government is better when smaller, focusing only on essential functions that serve Americans, then President Trump will achieve something great that Reagan was only bold enough to dream.

The president’s instincts are right. Most Americans will not miss non-essential government functions. A referendum to end government plunder must happen. Wasteful government agencies are fighting for relevance but they will lose. Now is the time to deliver historic change by cutting them down forever.

The author is a senior official in the Trump administration.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column with images is republished with permission. The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

The Terror Threat on the Southern Border

Border security is once again front and center on the American political scene as politicians in Washington posture in the debate over whether the U.S. should build some sort of border wall or fence on its porous southern border with Mexico.

Whenever the Mexican border is at the top of the news, it serves as a reminder that our southern border is almost completely unsecure. And there have been some reminders mixed in over the years that Washington has ignored this problem about the potential for a terrorist threat from south of the border, such as James O’Keefe of Project Veritas wading across the Rio Grande dressed like Osama Bin Laden.

Some on the Left insist on downplaying the threat from terrorism on America’s southern border, almost to the point that they insist that there is NO threat from terrorists associated with our insecure borders (the reality is that the potential threat exists on our northern border as well).

But there IS a Jihadist threat from south of the border and it is not new. It has been discussed since well before 9/11. The Jihadist threat on the southern border is real and it is multifaceted.

For instance in May 2001, former Mexican National security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, reported, that ‘Islamic terrorist groups are using Mexico as a refuge.’

There is no way to estimate how many jihadists may already have crossed into the U.S. from Mexico. But the time to play politics with the border issue is long past. The shallow sloganeering and race-baiting that have dominated the national debate about border controls should be recognized as what they are: hindrances to sane and sensible national defense measures.

SIA-OTMs

OTM is an acronym for illegal aliens who are ‘Other Than Mexican’ — SIA stands for ‘Special Interest Aliens’ from 34 nations like Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen.

Mexicans trying to enter the U.S. illegally are often simply processed at the border and sent back. But Mexico won’t allow us to send citizens from other countries back through Mexico, and under U.S. law, they’re entitled to a formal deportation hearing. The immigration service lacks beds to hold them, so the vast majority of OTMs are released from custody and asked to voluntarily return for their court date.

For instance, in 2005 alone, there were estimated to be 71,000 such OTM fugitives.

From 2008-2010, an estimated 180,000 OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) were believed to have crossed the border illegally. In that same period, 1,918 “Special Interest” OTMs were apprehended on the border.It is generally believed that for every illegal alien apprehended at the border, there are several who elude border security and are not apprehended.

Law enforcement sources in Arizona have told me that it has become increasingly common for Muslims in Mexico to change their Islamic surnames to Hispanic sounding names to facilitate moving across the border. Apologists claim this is simply to avoid discrimination.

Perhaps not coincidentally, there has been a noticeable proliferation of Salafist mosques in Latin America since the early 1990s and an increasing proselytization campaign on the part of Wahhabi and Saudi-funded nongovernmental organizations like the World Assembly for Muslim Youth (WAMY). It is worth mentioning that WAMY’s U.S. operations were shut down by the Justice Department due to the organization’s massive material support for Jihad.

My law enforcement sources tell me that drug cartels have been involved in trafficking Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and Hezbollah operatives into the US.

The vast majority of the time, the media line is that the overwhelming majority of the people crossing our southern border are just poor innocents looking for work and a meager wage. Evaluated in the most simplistic terms, this is of course, partly true. But the more complex reality isn’t that simple or sanitary.

According to law enforcement personnel I have spoken to, the majority of border crossers are NOT economic immigrants.

An examination of anecdotes about general enforcement conditions on the U.S.-Mexican border paint a picture that indicates that America has not taken the steps necessary to defend itself from terrorist infiltration.

For instance, there are severe constraints on border enforcement personnel. The Border Patrol is forbidden from patrolling on federal land, opening large swathes of territory by default. Demoralized Border Patrol officers also report receiving instructions over the years to avoid detaining and processing illegal aliens.

Against these constraints, our border and immigration enforcement personnel are going up against a robust, sophisticated alliance of drug cartels and Jihadis.

According the law enforcement personnel in Arizona, cartels are buying real estate on both sides of the border to set up staging areas and camps. The cartels employ high-tech communications gear superior to that in the hands of US law enforcement. Cartels and “coyotes” employ scouts and snipers on the high ground along trafficking routes—as far north as Phoenix.

Border enforcement personnel report that the Mexican army has in fact provided surveillance and cover fire FOR traffickers on more than one occasion in the past.

Arizona ranchers report that they are afraid to use their cell phones in the open because cartel snipers might think they are calling in reports to law enforcement and kill them. Even U.S. law and border enforcement personnel are careful about using communications gear in the open on the southern border.

Anecdotal Evidence of Jihadi Activity on the Southern Border Over the Years

• In an infamous undated video, a Muslim cleric in Kuwait, Abdullah al-Nafsi, in a sermon in his mosque said that “there is no need for airplanes and planning; one man with the courage to carry a suitcase of anthrax through the tunnels from Mexico to the United States could kill 330,000 Americans in one hour.”

• In June 2004, the US Border Patrol arrested 77 “Middle Eastern” men attempting to cross the border from Mexico illegally.

• In October 2004, US intelligence officials received reports that 25 Chechans had illegally crossed into Arizona from Mexico.

• In December 2004, a Bangladeshi Muslim named Fakhrul Islam, was arrested crossing the southern border from Mexico in the company of the Central American gang MS-13.

• In January 2005, two Hamas operatives, Mahmoud Khalil and Ziad Saleh, were arrested as part of a criminal enterprise in Los Angeles. Both had entered the U.S. after paying a smuggler $10,000 each to take them across the border.

• In September 2007, Texas’ top homeland security official, Steve McCraw, told the El Paso Times that terrorists with ties to Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda had been arrested crossing the Texas border with Mexico in recent years.

• In November 2007, the FBI issued an advisory about a plan by jihadists in league with Mexican drug lords to cross the border via underground tunnels and attack the intelligence training center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, twenty miles from the border with Mexico. “The Afghanis and Iraqis,” one official explained, paid the Mexicans $20,000 or “the equivalent in weapons” for their help in getting into the U.S., and “shaved their beards so as not to appear to be Middle Easterners.”

• In February 2008, three Afghanis were arrested at an international airport in India for traveling on forged Mexican passports.

• A 2010 GAO report detailed the ease with which WMD might be smuggled across the southern border. In a simulation exercise conducted by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in three states, investigators were able to cross undetected, successfully simulating the cross-border movement of radioactive materials or other contraband into the United States.

• On December 30, 2015, The Washington Times reported that two Pakistani nationals with terrorist ties were apprehended on the southern US border near San Diego the previous September:

“The Border Patrol nabbed two Pakistani men with ties to terrorism at the U.S.-Mexico border in September in the latest instance of illegal immigrants from so-called “special interest countries” using the southern border as a point of entry to the U.S.

Muhammad Azeem and Mukhtar Ahmad, both in their 20s and from Gujrat, were caught Sept. 20 by agents south of San Diego and just over the international border from Tijuana. When agents checked their identities through databases they got hits on both of them: Mr. Ahmad popped up as an associate of a known or suspected terrorist, while Mr. Azeem’s information had been shared by a foreign government for intelligence purposes.

Both men had been processed two months earlier by immigration officials in Panama, suggesting they took advantage of smuggling networks or other routes increasingly used by Central American illegal immigrants to sneak into the U.S.”

Most recently, the House Homeland Security Committee has released a 29-page report detailing the latest about the terrorist threat on America’s southern border.

The intrepid Todd Bensman of the excellent Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has provided the highlights of that report’s findings:

• The recent migrant caravans originating in Central America have included “several SIAs, and potentially” known or suspected terrorists traveling toward the U.S. border.

• The U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to prioritize the SIA threat as one of the top threats to the homeland because of the consistently “large number” of individuals from special interest countries that travel to the Western Hemisphere using illicit pathways.

• Written ISIS materials and publications have encouraged ISIS followers to cross the U.S. Southwest Border.

• DHS Border Patrol Agents “routinely” encounter SIAs at the border using routes controlled by transnational criminal organizations.

• Statistics on the number of known or suspected terrorists on routes to the border are often classified, but the threat posed by “the existence of illicit pathways into the United States” highlights that “border security is national security” as terrorist groups seek to exploit vulnerabilities among neighboring countries to fund, support, and commit attacks against the homeland.

• The report lists five open-source, unclassified cases representing the types of individuals and threats associated with illicit routes to the homeland. (CIS recently compiled and published a list of 15.) A number of heavily redacted cases are included in which biometric enrollment information uncovered suspected terrorists in 2013, 2015, and 2018.

• The frequency of international flights from special interest regions into Latin America and the Caribbean continues to increase due to economic and governance challenges in those countries that create an attractive environment for illicit SIA travel to the U.S. border.

• ICE Homeland Security Investigations is deeply enmeshed in investigations and operations throughout Central America to counter human smuggling organizations that move SIAs in Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Brazil.

• The United States-Canada border “is also susceptible to exploitation by SIAs.”
CIS has also detailed more incidents of terrorists on our southern border:

• Abdulahi Sharif, Somalia, detained in Alberta, Canada, September 2017, ISIS (“It soon emerged that some years earlier, in 2011, Sharif smuggled through Latin America and Mexico to the California border.”)

• Ibrahim Qoordheen, Somalia, detained in Costa Rica, March 2017, probable al-Shabaab (Detained in Costa Rica en route to U.S. southern border)

• Unidentified Afghan national, reported smuggled into the United States, between 2014-2016, Pakistani Taliban. (In 2017, federal prosecutors convicted Sharafat Ali Khan, a Pakistani human smuggler based in Brazil, for transporting between 25 and 99 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan from Brazil to Texas and California over the Mexican border. According to the Washington Times, at least one of Khan’s customers was an Afghan “who authorities said was involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. or Canada and had family ties to members of the Taliban.”)

• Muhammad Azeem and Mukhtar Ahmad, Pakistani nationals, Mexico-California border, September 2015, affiliation unknown. (U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended Azeem and Ahmad just north of Tijuana after the pair had traveled from their home in Gujrat, Pakistan, through Latin America. Database checks revealed that both migrants were on U.S. terrorism watch lists.)

• Unnamed Somali national, detained at the Texas-Mexico border port of entry, June 2014, probable al-Shabaab. (This Somali entrant told U.S. immigration officials that two months prior to his border entry to claim asylum he had completed training for a suicide attack in Mogadishu but instead went to African Union troops who were able to thwart the planned terrorist operation. He stated that he had trained with 13 other Somalis for 10 weeks to use suicide belts, AK-47s, and grenades.)

• Unnamed Sri Lankan national, detained at Texas-Mexico border, March 2012, Tamil Tigers. (This Sri Lankan was with two other Sri Lankans apprehended by Border Patrol agents in McAllen, Texas. He stated that he belonged to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.)

• Unnamed Somali national, detained at Mexico-California port of entry, May 2011, probable al-Shabaab. (Somali individual crossed the border at the San Ysidro, Calif., port of entry. He had previously been denied a U.S. immigration visa and was on multiple U.S. terrorism watch lists. His mother, father, and four siblings also were on terrorism watch lists.)

• Unnamed Bangladeshi national, detained near Naco, Ariz., June 2010, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh. (One of two Bangladeshis apprehended after traveling together and illegally crossing from Mexico admitted to U.S. Border Patrol interviewers that both had worked in the “General Assembly” for the U.S.-designated terrorist group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh. Subsequently, one of two detainees was deported, but the other was granted bond on an asylum claim and absconded.)

• Abdullahi Omar Fidse, Somalia, detained at Mexico-Texas Border, June 2008, al-Shabaab. (In July 2013, a U.S. District Judge sentenced Fidse on convictions for lying to the FBI about his terrorism associations after he traveled through Latin America to a Mexico-Texas port of entry in 2008. An FBI counterterrorism investigation found he had served as an al-Shabaab combat operative, crossed the border intending to conduct an unspecified operation, possessed the cell phone number of a terrorist implicated in the 2010 Uganda bombing that killed 70 soccer fans, and laid out details of a plan to assassinate the U.S. ambassador to Kenya and his Marine guard.)

• Mohammad Ahmad Dhakane, Somalia, detained at Mexico-Texas border port of entry, October 2008, al-Ittihad al-Islamiya. (In 2010, Dhakane was convicted at trial in San Antonio, Texas, on asylum fraud charges derived from an FBI terrorism investigation, which began when he was recorded speaking about his work as a terrorist to an undercover informant inside a Texas detention facility. Dhakane had worked as a Brazil-based smuggler of fellow Somalis to the U.S. border )

Al Qaeda on the Southern Border

The Al Qaeda threat in Latin America has been well documented:

• On June 30, 2004 it was announced by the Honduran Security Ministry that high-ranking Al Qaeda operative Adnān Shukrī Jumaʿah (Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah) had been in Honduras during the previous month meeting with members of the MS13 street gang. He is also believed to have conducted surveillance of the Panama Canal. He was still one of the most wanted terrorists in the world at the time he was killed in Pakistan in 2014. (He happened to be the son of an Imam from Miramar, FL incidentally)”

• In July 2004, a woman named Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed was arrested at a Texas airport boarding a flight to New York after she either walked or swam across the Mexican border into Texas. According to the Washington Post, she was connected to a Pakistani terrorist group and was believed to be ferrying instructions to U.S.-based Al Qaeda operatives.

• In November 2004, captured Al Qaeda Egyptian Jihadist Sharif al-Masri told US interrogators that Al Qaeda sought to exploit the US’s porous southern border and possibly smuggle radiological material across it from Mexico.

• In February 2005, Porter Goss, the director of central intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Al Qaeda had considered infiltrating the United States through the Mexican border.

• In February 2005, Adm. James M. Loy, the deputy secretary of homeland security testified before Congress that intelligence “strongly suggests” that Al Qaeda operatives have considered using the Mexican border as an entry point. Admiral Loy cited recent information from investigations and detentions as the basis for his concern about the Mexican border. He added, “Several Al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons.”

• Also in 2005, FBI Director Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony indicated that “there are individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic.”

• In November 2005, Texas Congressman John Culberson described on national TV how an Iraqi al-Qaeda operative on the terror watch list was captured living near the Mexico-Texas border.

Al Shabaab on the Southern Border

The east African Jihadist organization Al Shabaab has been discovered to have a footprint in Mexico. They are receiving Mexican language and cultural assimilation training, have been discovered to have a relationship of convenience with the Mexican drug cartels, and have been smuggling their operatives into the United States to raise money and to recruit members to their cause:

• In 2010, a man named Ahmed Muhammad Dhakane allegedly secreted “hundreds of people” — including Somalis believed to be associated with Al Shabaab — into the United States. Prior to arriving to Congress, Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) worked as chief of counterterrorism in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Western District of Texas — part of the Lone Star State that borders with Mexico. McCaul’s statement on this incident is chilling: “To this day we do not know where those 300 Somalis are … We do know they are in the United States.”

• In May 2010, the DHS sent an alert to Texas law enforcement to be on the lookout for a suspected member of Al Shabaab suspected of entering Texas from Mexico.

• In June 2010, Mexican Marines raided a house occupied by an Al Shabaab member in Mexico City, uncovering a large cache of explosives reportedly to be used in an attack on the US embassy, which was less than a mile away.

Hezbollah on the Southern Border

The Iranian-backed Shia Jihadist terrorist group Hezbollah is probably the biggest threat on the southern border:

• In February 2001, Mahmoud Kourani (the brother of Hezbollah’s security chief in southern Lebanon) came across the border from Tijuana into California in the trunk of a car, after bribing a Mexican embassy official in Beirut to get a visa. He eventually settled in Dearborn, Michigan. Kourani had received training in weapons, intelligence, and spycraft in Iran.

• In December 2002, Salim Boughader was arrested for smuggling 200 Lebanese, including Hezbollah operatives, across the border from Tiajuana into California. Boughader had previously worked for Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV satellite network.

• In April 2006, FBI Director Robert Muller announced that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah had succeeded in smuggling operatives across the Mexican border into the U.S. Mr. Muller claimed the FBI had dismantled the smuggling ring, identified the people who had been smuggled in and “addressed” them. Or at least “addressed” those we knew about. Or something.

• In July 2010, Mexican authorities announced that they had broken up a Hezbollah network operating in their country.

• An indictment was handed down on August 30, 2010 by the Southern District Court of New York that showed a connection between Hezbollah and the drug cartels that violently plague the U.S.-Mexico border. In short, a well-known international arms dealer was trying to orchestrate an arms-for-drugs deal in which cocaine from FARC – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which works with Mexican drug cartels to take cocaine into America – would be traded for thousands of weapons housed by a Hezbollah operative in Mexico.

• Michael Braun, a former Drug Enforcement Administration chief of operations, has even been quoted as saying, “Hezbollah relies on the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels. … They work together; they rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.” In February 2012, Braun testified before Congress that Hezbollah, had developed strong, sophisticated relationships with Mexican drug cartels: “And by developing those relations it provided them with the ability to operate far from home in our neighborhood and on our doorstep.”

• In September 2012, three members of Hezbollah–including a US citizen named Rafic Mohammad Labboun Allaboun–were arrested in Merida, Mexico and turned over the US authorities. Allaboun was carrying a fake passport identifying him as a citizen of Belize at the time of arrest. Once a prominent Muslim leader in Northern California, Labboun spent over two years in prison for credit card fraud. Authorities suspected that the $100,000 in credit card fraud was linked to Hezbollah’s money laundering activities.

What all this adds up to is that the American people are being sold a bill of goods.

When politicians call for action to “reform” immigration they ignore the reality that the most pressing need for true reform is border security and there has been no Congressional action on that issue whatsoever.

This is despite the fact that there is a true national security threat on the southern border. Our Jihadist enemies have openly discussed this vulnerability and have already exploited it in documented cases. Pundits who go on national television and declare that there has never been a single credible report of a terrorist threat on the southern border are either ignorant or dishonest.

The American people are right to be concerned about the vulnerability of our porous, undefended borders. Open borders in the age of global Jihad amount to insanity.

COLUMN BY

Christopher Holton

Christopher Holton is Vice President for Outreach at the Center for Security Policy. Mr. Holton came to the Center after serving as president and marketing director of Blanchard & Co. and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit from 1990 to 2003. As chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit in 2000, he conceived and commissioned the Center for Security Policy special report “Clinton’s Legacy: The Dangerous Decade.” Holton is a member of the Board of Advisers of WorldTribune.com. Follow Holton on Twitter @CHoltonCSP

View all posts by Christopher Holton →

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EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is from Adobe Stock.

The Two Energy Futures Facing America

Energy improvement does not depend on geography or race but on the right institutions. Sustainable energy—available, affordable, and reliable—requires private property rights, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law.

here are two energy futures for America. One is freedom and prosperity. The other is politics, conflict, and waste. As with other goods and services, energy’s availability and affordability will depend on whether natural incentives and economic law are respected or hampered by government policy.

The future of free-market energy is bright and open-ended. “It’s reasonable to expect the supply of energy to continue becoming more available and less scarce, forever,” Julian Simon wrote in his magnum opus, The Ultimate Resource II. “Discoveries, like resources, may well be infinite: the more we discover, the more we are able to discover.” 

Resourceship, entrepreneurship applied to minerals, explains the seeming paradox of expanding depletable resources. Statistics confirmed Simon’s view, yet Malthusian critics belittled him as a naïve romantic. To which Simon responded: “I am not an optimist, I am a realist.”

Julian Simon had once feared overpopulation and resource depletion. The contradictory data, as he explained in his autobiography A Life Against the Grain, reversed his thinking. More people, greater wealth, more resources, healthier environment was the new finding that Simon turned into articles, books, and lectures in the last decades of his life.

Energy coordination and improvement do not depend on geography or race but on the right institutions. Sustainable energy—available, affordable, and reliable—requires private property rights, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law. Cultural and legal freedom unleash human ingenuity and problem-solving entrepreneurship, what Simon called the ultimate resource.

Philosopher Alex Epstein has reframed the energy-environmental debate in terms of human flourishing. Under this standard, consumer-chosen, taxpayer-neutral, dense, storable mineral energies are essential and moral.

Free-market energy is a process of improvement, not a state of perfection. There is always room for betterment as the good is no longer the best and as problems and setbacks occur. Profit/loss and legal consequences propel correction in a way that government intervention does not.

Problems spur improvement in ways that otherwise might not occur. “Material insufficiency and environmental problems have their benefits,” noted Julian Simon. “They focus the attention of individuals and communities, and constitute a set of challenges which can bring out the best in people.”

Government interventionism has plagued domestic energy markets in pronounced and subtle ways. Price and allocation controls during wartime and in the 1970s caused shortages of gasoline, fuel oil, natural gas, and other essential products. More subtly, tariffs, quotas, entry restrictions, efficiency edicts, punitive taxes, tax subsidies, forced access, profit guarantees, and other government intervention distort energy markets away from consumer demand.

Socialism has reversed resource abundance in nations around the world. Venezuela is today’s example and is not unlike Mexico’s plunge into nationalism a century ago. International statism is responsible for much of the price volatility experienced in global oil markets.

American citizens must be educated on the perils of politicized energy and corporate cronyism at all levels of government. Capitalist institutions need to be introduced in state-dominated oil regions. Subsoil mineral rights and infrastructure privatization are golden opportunities for wealth creation and wealth democratization around the world.

“The world’s problem is not too many people,” Julian Simon concluded, “but a lack of political and economic freedom.” He explained:

The extent to which the political-social-economic system provides personal freedom from government coercion is a crucial element in the economics of resources and population…. The key elements of such a framework are economic liberty, respect for property, and fair and sensible rules of the market that are enforced equally for all.

This message for 2019 will be the same a century hence. It is optimistic and realistic. And it points toward a continuing open-ended role for natural gas, coal, and oil as the master resource.

Let freely functioning supply meet demand, and let market demand meet supply. Banish alarmism, pessimism, and coercion—the very things that incite and define government intervention and socialism where markets can and should prevail.

COLUMN BY

Robert L. Bradley Jr.

Robert L. Bradley Jr.

Robert L. Bradley Jr. is the CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research.

EDITORS NOTE: This column by FEE with images is republished with permission.

PODCAST: In Case of Emergency, Build Wall?

It was just last week that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised the American people that her House would be “bipartisan and unifying.” Eight days later, there isn’t a scrap of evidence she meant it. After 20 days of waiting at the negotiating table, President Trump is considering going it alone on the border wall. One of the options being tossed around by the White House is declaring a national emergency — an idea some people think is too far-fetched. But is it? Legal experts say no.

Believe it or not, these types of national emergencies aren’t as unusual as you might think. In two years, President Trump has already declared three. Since 1976, when Congress gave the White House that authority, there have been 58 national emergency declarations — 31 of which, Breitbart’s Ken Klukowski explains, are still in effect today. That includes, Ken points out, the very first national emergency from Jimmy Carter on Iran-sponsored terrorism. But is it, I asked him on Thursday’s “Washington Watch,” a legitimate legal option for the border wall?

“Right now,” Ken said, “the president is going the extra mile with Senate Democrats. The law does not require him to negotiate. He is doing so, and I believe he’s doing so in good faith — trying to find a settlement for everyone to save face.” But, he went on, “in the event that Pelosi and Schumer continue to dig in their heels… the president has unconditional authority to declare a national emergency about anything.”

“Contrary to what you’re hearing from partisan Democrats — and also from hyperventilating media pundits, who are all of the sudden calling themselves legal experts — the fact that there [have] been 31 of these shows how common it is for presidents to do it. If Trump declares a border emergency, [then]… under [the U.S. code], the secretary of Defense can then order military units — including the Army Corps of Engineers and the other construction units of the U.S. military — to direct their personnel and their funding and money and machinery to construction projects… There are billions of dollars that are available to DOD to be able to undertake that project, if the president decides to declare a national emergency.”

After all, this is Defense Department money that’s already been approved by Congress. The president would simply be redirecting it to another national security crisis: the flood of illegal immigrants, drugs, and criminals crossing the border. And in this case, there’s already a precedent for using national emergency declaration to stop the flow of heroin and cocaine into the country. Back in the 1990s, Bill Clinton used the same kind of declaration to deal with narcotics traffickers. As Ken argued in his column, “one of the deadliest drugs killing Americans right now, fentanyl, is made in China — but fully 85 percent of that lethal drug enters the United States through the Mexican border. Such a declaration would be consistent in scope and effect with many of the 31 current emergencies.”

Of course, as with everything this president does, there would almost certainly be lawsuits — even if it’s well within Trump’s legal power to act. “The reality,” Ken says, “is that you’ll always find someone who files a lawsuit… And if you pick the right judicial district, dominated by left-of-center judges, you’re running a pretty good odds that you’re going to get a judge who dares to go where no judge has gone before… We have seen some federal judges at the trial level act like they are nothing short of the resistance of Donald Trump. We have seen some outrageous judicial activist rulings from federal judges…” Even on issues where the Supreme Court would almost certainly side with the president, there’s a good chance the legal battle would put everything on hold for a good “12 or 18 months.”

Of course, “Can the president?” and “Should the president?” are two very different questions. Most people, Donald Trump included, would like to solve this problem legislatively. “I would like to do the deal through Congress,” he’s said. “It makes sense to do the deal through Congress… It would be nice if we can make a deal, but dealing with these people is ridiculous.” The longer Democrats refuse to do their jobs, the more creative Republicans will have to get in order to protect America.

For more on the immigration crisis, check out my column in today’s Washington Times, “Protecting America’s National Home.” Also, don’t miss my full interview with Ken Klukowski, as he takes a deeper look at the prospects of a national emergency declaration.


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


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Slowing Productivity and Rising Inequality Have a Common Driver: Government Intervention

Mainstream economists are overlooking a key connection.

A growing chorus of alarmist voices decries the rising economic inequality in the Western world, especially in the United States. Surprisingly enough, the same mainstream analysts complain about the anemic growth of labor productivity without seeing the correct link between the two.

Data shows a strong correlation between labor productivity and economic inequality (the two charts below). From the end of the Second World War until the mid-1970s, labor productivity grew at a robust rate of almost 3 percent per annum (p.a.), while income inequality declined. Afterward, both trends reversed—labor productivity slowed to below 2 percent growth p.a. on average and has almost stagnated since the Great Recession, while both wealth and income inequality expanded steadily.

What common factor could explain the two divergent trends that the mainstream analysts seem to overlook? In the 1940s, Mises was impressed by the ”miraculous” rise in the standards of living of American wage earners, which had been going on for more than two centuries. For him, the answer was straightforward: capital accumulation is the driving force behind both labor productivity and standards of living convergence.

Building on Mises’s work, Rothbard explained in detail what capital accumulation requires: (i) new capital investment that lengthens the structure of production and (ii) technological progress that overcomes the diminishing returns accompanying the increase in the supply of capital goods. However, Mises also warned that depletion of the capital stock would hamper capital accumulation and labor productivity. Unfortunately, mainstream analysts and the United States seem to have forgotten this valuable lesson.

In terms of technological progress, the US has maintained its world leadership during past decades. It ranks second in the world to Switzerland in terms of both innovation and business sophistication, spends more for Research & Innovation than the OECD or EU on average relative to GDP, and makes up the majority of the top 25 universities in the world. Moreover, it has issued the same amount of patents over the last three decades compared with the previous 150 years.

In terms of capital stock, the picture is completely different. According to estimates of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the stock of private non-residential assets per worker has increased in real terms at about 1 percent p.a. from 1947 to 2009 and stagnated since the Great Recession (left chart below). However, BEA’s alleged sustained pace of capital growth seems hard to reconcile with the falling private investment and savings since the mid-1970s (right chart below).

In addition, the BEA methodology presents some serious shortcomings. Except for cars, BEA uses the “perpetual inventory method” to estimate fixed assets. According to it, the value of the capital stock is indirectly estimated as the sum of past investment flows minus the estimated depreciation. It means that all past investments are considered sound by default, which is certainly not the case nowadays when recurrent booms and busts cause significant volumes of malinvestments. Other question marks relate to the accurate estimation of depreciation rates in the face of rapid technological progress and the use of GDP deflators as their accuracy is unreliable, especially with regard to real estate investment.

All these considerations have led not only us but also the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) to suspect that BEA’s estimates of the US capital stock are overvalued. It is intriguing that the FRB adjusts the BEA estimates downward, especially with regard to real estate assets— “structures” in BEA’s jargon when it uses them as input for the calculation of the capital stock in manufacturing. As a result, there is a substantial difference between BEA and FRB estimates of the evolution of the volume of manufacturing capital stock from 1952 to 2016, in particular for the real estate component (left chart below). Therefore, we tried to recalculate the BEA estimate of the total stock of private non-residential capital per employee by extrapolating the difference between the two manufacturing indexes coming from BEA and FRB (right chart below).

The new results suggest that the real stock of capital per worker grew in a clear and sustained manner only until the end of the 1970s and fell afterward until the trough of the Great Recession. The recalculated capital stock is more consistent with the observed declines in investment and productivity since the mid-1970s and also confirms Mises’s prediction that wrong policies would lead to capital consumption.

For the United States, the failed economic policy is the exponential growth of government intervention in the economy in the 20th century, which stifled entrepreneurship and capital accumulation. This is obvious in the rise of both government spending that redistributes away economic resources from their originators (left chart below) and the amount of regulatory burden (right chart below). Another key factor taking a toll on capital endowment is inflation, which gained traction following the de facto abolishment of the gold standard in 1971.

Most importantly, inflationary policies trigger boom-bust cycles via the artificial lowering of interest rates below their free-market level. In a recent article on the business cycle, Salerno emphasizes that “overconsumption” and “malinvestment” are the two salient marks of the boom—not “overinvestment,” as wrongly understood by some mainstream critics. It is no surprise that the capital stock per worker dropped during the business cycles that have occurred regularly since the 1970s and that culminated in the Great Recession. The illusion of the boom fuels not only capital consumption but also the polarization of wealth and incomes in the society. The fiduciary credit expansion fuels an increase in asset prices, most commonly on stock exchanges and in real estate (charts below).

Although starting from a limited number of transactions, all owners calculate their net worth with the newly inflated asset prices, boosting the value of household assets in excess of liabilities. As a result, the rich appear to get even richer in an economy on steroids. This explains why both the US national wealth has grown much faster than national income since the end of the 1970s (left chart below), and the number of wealthy people increased significantly (right chart below).

The rising inequality since the 1970s has been fueled by both the decline in labor productivity and monetary expansion inflating asset prices. Both are perverse effects of government interventionist policies, which led to a gradual erosion of the US capital stock per employee. This is the correct linkage between inequality and productivity as explained by Mises and other Austrian School economists.

People have different skills and preferences, so the free market does not lead to a complete equalization of incomes and wealth. Nevertheless, it does ensure the proper allocation of capital to increase labor productivity and satisfy the most urgent needs of consumers. As a result, the gap between the well-off and the poor is not only gradually diminishing but also gets less significant in terms of consumption. Eventually, the disadvantage of wealth inequality becomes mostly a psychological one. As long as the capitalist consumes only a fraction of his wealth and invests the rest into productive businesses, the real beneficiary of the increase in labor productivity is the poorer part of society.

This article was reprinted from the Mises Institute.

COLUMN BY

Mihai Macovei

Dr. Mihai Macovei is an associated researcher at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Romania and works for an international organization in Brussels, Belgium.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by FEE is republished with permission.

Back to the Drawing Border

If the Democrats wouldn’t talk, then President Trump decided to go to the people who would: the men and women protecting America’s border. Earlier this afternoon, the president touched down in Texas for his first on-the-ground briefing since last March. This time around, things are different. Stuck in a 20-day government shutdown with no liberal cooperation in sight, the message is obvious — for the country to get a wall, Republicans will have to be one.

So far, the White House shows no signs of cracking. Yesterday, when “Fox & Friends'” Steve Doocy said the president’s supporters don’t want him “to cave,” Trump raced to Twitter to assure them, “I won’t!” If Democrats think the border is a problem, then they’ll come to the negotiating table and prove it. Until then, the president says, the federal government will remain partially closed. As far as he’s concerned, this administration doesn’t waver — and an issue of national security isn’t the place to start.

Meanwhile, the media is hoping the GOP isn’t nearly as determined as its leader. After a handful of Republicans voted for a non-wall Treasury bill, the rumors started flying that some party members were wobbling. Not true, Trump fired back. “There is GREAT unity with the Republicans in the House and Senate, despite the Fake News Media working in overdrive to make the story look otherwise. The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give ‘Trump’ another one of many wins!” he tweeted. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) agreed. “Quite frankly, I see no wavering,” Meadows said. Another House member backed him up, telling the Washington Post that, contrary to the rumors, conservatives are “dug in.” “We really believe in our souls that we have a responsibility to the American people to secure the border.”

Elsewhere, Democrats keep making the same illogical point — that border walls are immoral. That’s interesting, the Wall Street Journal points out, since these same liberals (Pelosi and Schumer included) voted to spend $1.6 billion on a wall last March! “Were they immoral?” “Was Senator Barack Obama mistaken in 2006, when he praised the passage of legislation providing for ‘better fences and better security along our borders?’ Was President Obama engaged in a ‘vanity project’ in 2009 as he oversaw construction of roughly 133 miles of fence, barriers, and wall along the border?”

Let’s be honest. The Left’s objections aren’t about cost or morality or efficiency — they’re about the president. “The Democrat platform in 2008 basically supports virtually everything the Republican President of the United States said today,” Mark Levin argues. “The American people haven’t changed. The Republican Party hasn’t changed. The Democrats for political reasons and power reasons, they’ve changed — and they want to drag us all off the cliff with them.”

Others, like Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) are trying to ignore the cold, hard facts. On Tuesday night, the president made a point of explaining that not everyone is coming to America with good intentions. “In the last two years,” he explained, “ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.” That upset Castro, who thinks it’s an unfair characterization of the illegal population. “These people, unlike what the president says, are not coming to harm Americans.”

He’s right. Not everyone crossing the border illegally is a physical threat. But just because these migrants don’t intendto harm America doesn’t mean they haven’t. Our country spends $200 billion on illegal immigration every year. That’s $70,000 per illegal (and seven times the cost of deporting them). Suddenly, a $5.7 billion wall doesn’t sound so expensive. And while the media likes to focus on the unfortunate federal workers being treated like hostages by the Democrats, most of whom will eventually get paid, what about the money that taxpayers are shelling out that they’ll never get back? The trillions of dollars in social services, housing, and tighter immigration enforcement — all because these people refused to go to a legal point of entry.

As President Trump said, “This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice… When I took the Oath of Office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do, so help me God.”


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


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RELATED VIDEO: President Trump’s full remarks before his trip to the U.S. border by CNBC Television.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by the Family Research Council is republished with permission.

Poll: 79 Percent Of Americans Think Border Is In ‘Crisis’ Or Is A ‘Problem’

A vast majority of American voters believe that the United States is facing a “crisis” or a “problem” on the southern border, according to a new poll by Politico and Morning Consult.

While less than half of those surveyed (42 percent) agree with President Donald Trump’s assertion that the border is in “crisis,” another 37 percent concede that there is a “problem” — meaning 79 percent of voters believe the situation at the border is a serious issue.

Only 12 percent of voters polled said that the situation at the border is neither a crisis nor a problem.

According to data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an average of nearly 2,000 immigrants are apprehended at the border each day attempting to cross illegally into the United States.

The poll, which was conducted January 4-6 during the second week of the partial government shutdown, also found that 44 percent of respondents support a border wall.

While Trump previously took credit for the government shutdown in an Oval Office meeting with then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he is now shifting the blame to Democrats, who he says are refusing to negotiate until the government is re-opened. However, 47 percent of those polled say Trump is mostly to blame and just 33 percent say Democrats are to blame for the continual shutdown.

COLUMN BY

Amber Athey

Amber Athey

White House Correspondent. Follow Amber on Twitter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by The Daily Caller is republished with permission.

VIDEO: President Trump’s Address To The Nation On Border Security

TRANSCRIPT

My fellow Americans:

Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them, and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country.

America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation. But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.

In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.

This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.

Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States — a dramatic increase. These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system.

This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end.

My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers. It’s a tremendous problem. Our proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents at the Department of Homeland Security. These are the resources they have requested to properly perform their mission and keep America safe. In fact, safer than ever before.

The proposal from Homeland Security includes cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband, and many other things. We have requested more agents, immigration judges, and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy. Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support.

Furthermore, we have asked Congress to close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home.

Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense.

The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year — vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for, indirectly, by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.

Senator Chuck Schumer — who you will be hearing from later tonight — has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected President.

Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis. And they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation.

The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.

My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation. But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and re-opens the government.

This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited Congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.

Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.

America’s heart broke the day after Christmas when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien, who just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country.

Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders. In California, an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading, and dismembering his neighbor. In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.

Over the last several years, I’ve met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I’ve held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible. I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices, and the sadness gripping their souls.

How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?

To those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask: Imagine if it was your child, your husband, or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken?

To every member of Congress: Pass a bill that ends this crisis.

To every citizen: Call Congress and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border.

This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve.

When I took the Oath of Office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do, so help me God.

Thank you and goodnight.

TRANSCRIPT OF THE FULL REMARKS OF SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE CONGRESSWOMAN NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) AND SENATE MINORITY LEADER SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY)

Speaker Pelosi.

Good evening. I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end this shutdown and meet the needs of the American people.

Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice.

The President has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts.

The fact is: On the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to re-open government and fund smart, effective border security solutions.

But the President is rejecting these bipartisan bills which would re-open government – over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall – a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for!

The fact is: President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation – many of them veterans.

He promised to keep government shutdown for ‘months or years’ – no matter whom it hurts. That’s just plain wrong.

The fact is: We all agree that we need to secure our borders, while honoring our values: we can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry; we can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation; we can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border; and we can fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings.

The fact is: the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge – a challenge that President Trump’s own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened.

And the fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government.

Thank you.

Senator Schumer.

Thank you, Speaker Pelosi.

My fellow Americans, we address you tonight for one reason only: the President of the United States – having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill – has shut down the government.

American democracy doesn’t work that way. We don’t govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.

Tonight – and throughout this debate and his presidency – President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity.

Make no mistake: Democrats and the President both want stronger border security. However, we sharply disagree with the President about the most effective way to do it.

So, how do we untangle this mess?

There is an obvious solution: separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security. There is bipartisan legislation – supported by Democrats and Republicans – to re-open government while allowing debate over border security to continue.

There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference. Federal workers are about to miss a paycheck. Some families can’t get a mortgage to buy a new home. Farmers and small businesses won’t get loans they desperately need.

Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration.

My fellow Americans, there is no challenge so great that our nation cannot rise to meet it. We can re-open the government AND continue to work through disagreements about policy. We can secure our border without an expensive, ineffective wall. And we can welcome legal immigrants and refugees without compromising safety and security.

The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a thirty-foot wall.

So our suggestion is a simple one: Mr. President: re-open the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But end this shutdown now.

Thank you.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Trump delivering an Oval Office address on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018 on border security. Photo via WINK News.

Trump to Address Nation on Border Security as Pence Says Democrats Won’t Negotiate

On the eve of President Donald Trump’s prime-time address to the nation Tuesday night about border security, Vice President Mike Pence asserted that congressional Democrats are unwilling to negotiate.

After weekend talks, senior Democratic congressional staffers agreed with Trump administration officials that a crisis exists at the southern border, but weren’t ready to negotiate a plan to address it, Pence said Monday.

“Senior Democratic staff did not dispute our facts about the border,” Pence told reporters at a briefing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, held in the same conference room where the weekend talks occurred.

Trump is trying to reach an agreement with congressional Democrats to gain funding for a wall along the southern border and end the partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22.

Trump announced Monday that he will deliver the address to the nation at 9 p.m. Tuesday, then visit the border Thursday.

“They informed us they would not negotiate until the government is opened,” Pence said. “The president is not going to reopen the government on the promise that negotiations will go on sometime after.”

Democrats asked the administration for revised budget estimates based on Trump’s requests for increased border security.

The biggest request from Trump in the revision is $5.7 billion for construction of a steel border wall, a $4.1 billion increase from the Senate-passed bill in December designed to keep the government running.

Pence got multiple questions about Trump’s comment Friday that he has considered declaring a national emergency to build and pay for the wall. The vice president said he hopes it doesn’t come to that, adding that he believes Democrats care about border security.

“What I’m aware of is that he is looking at it. The president is considering it,” Pence said. “There is no reason in the world that Congress shouldn’t be about rolling their sleeves up and compromising and working together on the crisis on the southern border.”

Many Democrats voted in 2006 to build fencing or another barrier along the border, but the needed money never has been appropriated.

Congress has funded most of the government. The current shutdown affects only about 25 percent of the government, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, State, and Transportation.

Pence said he sympathizes with the 800,000 federal employees affected by the partial shutdown, but also with “tens of millions of Americans” who expect the government to provide stronger border security.

The vice president also said Trump made a “good faith offer” to Democrats on the day the shutdown began to keep the government open. Pence declined to provide specifics.

The administration is working to make the partial shutdown “as painless as possible consistent with the law,” said Russell Vought, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Vought said the National Park Service will have the money to ensure trash pickup and clean restrooms through the end of the month, and that the IRS will mail out tax refund checks on time.

The administration’s revised budget estimate for fiscal year 2019 also includes a $563 million request for 75 additional immigration judges—consistent with what the Senate passed in its bill to keep the government running.

The administration asks for $211 million in the revised request to hire 750 more Customs and Border Protection agents—an increase of $100 million over the Senate version.

Trump also wants $571 million for 2,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, which was not included in the Senate bill, and $4.2 billion to pay for 52,000 ICE detention beds—a $798 million increase from the Senate bill.

Pence identified two areas in the revised budget request as “consensus items” where congressional Democrats agree with the administration.

One is Trump’s request for $800 million to address humanitarian needs at the border, including medical support, temporary facilities for processing, and short-term custody of vulnerable populations. The agreement includes in-country processing of asylum requests by unaccompanied minors.

The other item of agreement is spending $675 million on technology designed to allow Customs and Border Protection to “detect and deter” contraband such as drugs and guns and materials that pose nuclear and radiological threats.

Pence said the administration’s stand “isn’t about” pleasing the president’s voter base but about border security, because the president is “driven by the facts” at the border.

Many of the facts are included in a Department of Homeland Security reportthat DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen initially provided to Congress before talking about Monday with reporters at the briefing.

The DHS report says the solutions are finishing the border wall, updating the law on how to treat unaccompanied children, and reversing the Clinton-era “Flores settlement” that required officials to separate some children from adults in family units.

The numbers show a 73 percent increase in fentanyl, one of the deadliest drugs, at the southern border from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018. That amounts to 2,400 pounds.

The agency also reports a 38 percent increase in methamphetamine at the southern border over the last fiscal year, and a 38 percent increase in heroin.

Criminal organizations gain $2.5 billion in annual profit from smuggling migrants into the U.S., the DHS report says.

In fiscal 2018, which ended Sept. 30, Customs and Border Protection agents caught 17,000 adults at the southern border who had criminal records. They captured 3,755 known or suspected terrorists entering the U.S. in fiscal 2017.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement also apprehended 6,000 members of gangs, including the violent MS-13, at the border.

The report states that the past five years saw a 2,000 percent increase in asylum claims, yet 72 percent of migrants report making the journey for economic reasons, so they wouldn’t qualify for asylum.

The report says 60,000 unaccompanied children and 161,000 family units arrived in fiscal 2018. About 50 migrants per day are referred to medical providers.

Customs and Border Protection rescues about 4,300 migrants in distress each year, according to the report, which also says that 31 percent of female migrants say they were sexually assaulted on the journey to the U.S.

Immigration courts have a backlog of nearly 800,000 cases and 98 percent of family units and unaccompanied alien children never are removed from the country, the report says.

Asked why Trump didn’t request the $5.7 billion in his budget proposal for fiscal 2019, Nielsen told reporters that “the humanitarian crisis has skyrocketed since February.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED INFORMATION: BorderFacts.com

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by the Daily Signal is republished with permission. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Turns Out California Democrats Used Illegals For Ballot Harvesting

Sometimes a clueless leftist media is a conservative’s best friend.

The Los Angeles Times published a big mushy kiss of a puff piece on New Year’s Day about how Dreamers got deeply involved in the 2018 midterm elections that turned so many red Congressional seats blue — particularly in the days after the election through ballot harvesting.

Nowhere were the Dreamers more active than in California, where the almost entirely Republican blue Orange County flipped to 100 percent Democrat red and where these DACA beneficiaries were very active.

Here’s the story’s lead:

“Gabriela Cruz, who was brought to the U.S. illegally when she was 1, couldn’t vote, but in the final hours before the Nov. 6 election, she was making one last run to get people to the polls.

The sun was setting in Modesto when she found Ronald Silva, 41, smoking a cigarette on a tattered old couch behind a group home. He politely tried to wave her off until she reminded him he had a right that she as an immigrant without citizenship didn’t have.

“It could really make a change for us,” said Cruz, 29.

Half an hour later, she was helping Silva look up candidates as he filled out his ballot by the light of her phone. “I’m glad you guys came,” he said. “I was going to leave it in my drawer.”” (Emphasis added)

The notion of an ethnic “us” in America has always been poisonous. It requires the opposite and equal reaction of a different ethnic “them.” Divisive poison that the LA Times flatters.

So a foreigner, a non-citizen of the United States, was openly working to affect the outcome of our elections. In another context, this is a scandal of enormous proportions. In this context, it is a wonderful of example of immigrant civic involvement.

More from the L.A. Times’ story:

“In California, Dreamers like Cruz phoned voters, walked precincts and protested outside Republican lawmakers’ offices, reaching people who had not been called or visited by either party. Their efforts helped boost turnout among Latinos in this year’s midterm election — 29 million nationwide were eligible to vote, according to the Pew Research Center — which is projected to surpass levels higher than in past presidential election years, political analysts said.

An analysis of data from eight states by the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative at UCLA found the Latino vote grew by an estimated 96% from 2014 to 2018, compared with 37% among non-Latinos. The surge, researchers said, helped move 20 House districts held by Republicans to Democratic control in California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Florida, New Jersey and New York.

In another study, the political research firm Latino Decisions found that an increase in Latino voter turnout contributed to flipping six GOP-held congressional seats in California — four in the once conservative bastion of Orange County and two in the Central Valley that have long eluded Democrats.”

In eight states, the Hispanic vote doubled in four years? Does that in any way seem legitimate, in a real sense?

Let’s be clear. The Democratic Party employed the manpower of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of foreigners living in the United States to effect the outcome of an election. And the media applauds. Further, there were no controls on the actions of those involved with ballot harvesting — whether legal or illegal — in how they handle ballots.

Is there really any doubt that the Time’s example, Gabriela Cruz, or other Democrat ballot harvesters, would be highly incentivized to “help” these indifferent and obviously politically ignorant “voters” in how they should vote? Remember her comment about “us.” She was pursuing Hispanics to vote in Democrats to help other Hispanics like her in the country illegally become legalized.

In most states, laws require political activity at polling places to be a certain distance from where voters are actually voting to limit undo political pressure.

But in ballot harvesting, there is no such thing. Quite the opposite, with people hunting down registered voters who had not voted because they want specific votes to be cast. They are not looking to simply turn out voters. They are turning out Democrat votes by people too indifferent to know the issues, the candidates or even vote until someone knocks on their door and essentially does it for them.

And in 2018, in California, a lot of the people doing that were not even American citizens.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. The featured photo is by Element5 Digital on Unsplash.

Calm Down and Enjoy the Ride!

Many of us are beyond frustrated waiting for the hammer of justice to fall. We are infuriated with what we see unfolding daily on the MSM evening news as Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the mob, including some of the newcomers, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the ever so eloquent Muslim to boot, Rashida Tlaib, gear up for obstructive attacks against our great President versus governing the nation. We are growing deeply concerned for President Trump, for our nation, and for not only our lives, but for posterity. Many are doubtful, fearful, angry or apathetic. There are those simply confused and uncertain about all that is happening. Well consider this…

The Happy New Year Tweet

“Happy New Year to everyone, including the haters and the fake news media! 2019 will be a fantastic year for those not suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. Just calm down and enjoy the ride, great things are happening for our country!” – President Donald Trump (twitter)

Not Without a Fight

2019 will prove to be a year of extreme political warfare which will eat away at us every day without fail.  But remember, and I have said this many times before, Trump has the goods on everyone. The Deep State and its operatives are on the run. This is why we will see relentless attacks against the President as President and over his life as a private citizen as well as others around the President including family members. Subpoenas, indictments, hearings, investigations, law suits, charges, impeachment filings and so on. Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. Not too mention the deliberate collapse of Trump’s economy by collapsing the markets as the Fed is holding on and gasping for air in what I believe are the final days for the Fed as we know it. Watch what happens in the first half of this new year.

President Trump is now taking on, head on, the Shadow Government, the Deep State, CIA, FBI and the NSA along with the Democrats and Republican swamp creatures. This as we know, is a deadly serious endeavor and without Trump at the helm, all would be lost. No Trump-no hope. Pray for our President.

Restoring Power to the People

We are witnessing a relatively peaceful overthrow of the ruling elite’s shadow government, restoring power to the people. This may lead to Martial Law and Military Tribunals. Our once sound immigration policies are being reinstated and the border wall will be built and Mexico will pay for it. The information cartel (MSM – Fake News) has been exposed, the endless wars are beginning to come to an end. Silicon valley is now having to answer before congress via hearings so we may begin to restore free speech at some point down the line. The swearing in on the Koran is something the President has spoken out against. Those we thought were our friends turn out to be our enemies and those we thought were our enemies are becoming our allies. The Rothschild world bank dynasty, the Federal Reserve for profit banking cartel’s days are coming to an end as we know it. Manufacturing is returning to America. Jobs follow manufacturing thus the jobs too are returning to America.

Flippant Eternal Optimist? Not!

I get the danger. I get the probability of success. I am a staunch realist. I am a short term realist but a long term optimist. But I am one who sees the forest for the trees. We are winning and ultimately we will win. But as a realist, I believe that we may not be here to see the ultimate victory. I know one thing, in the end they lose.

Many of us listen to Rush, Levin, Hannity, Tucker etc. Look I will get to the point. Fox News is really not our friend. Fox is a controlled asset. Yes, we have a voice there but lost in an ocean of liberal controlled media. Look deeper. I can talk about this in another dedicated post.

You see, Fox commentators are contracted. Some there, are truly supportive of the President and do get what is really going on but their contracts prohibit them from discussing what I call, the real news, the news behind the news. Most all major media, radio, TV, newspapers, magazines news feeds etc. are owned by just six corporations. This is controlled by and a part of the deep state apparatus. Consider signing up for my free RSS feed (Understanding America’s Second Revolution – my weekly commentary and analysis) and receive articles in your in box the moment my articles are authored and posted. For those that need further data consider signing up for the John Michael Chambers Report.

But what I am saying here is this. Fox News (and I watch it too), in the main, the ones supportive or seemingly supportive of Trump, their talking points in the main, are from the position of defense, desperately defending the President. Better than not, I get it. But is that enough? Sun Tsu is laughing. This leads us to alternative sources. Want to feel better going into 2019 which will be a very dangerous and disruptive time? Want to alleviate some of that angst? Get the news behind the news.

News Behind the News

Intel. That’s right intel. People like Kevin Shipp, Robert David Steele and or QANON. I prefer intel. versus controlled regurgitating talking heads with their talking points. Balance your intake of data by habitually turning to alternative sources. Sources like Dr. David Janda, Paryingmedic, X22 report and others which can be found on YouTube. There are scores of alternatives news feeds, sites and sources. And best of all, follow President Trump on Twitter and here on this site. You will start to feel better.

Light Defeats The Dark

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Funny thing is, you are that light so shine bright! Yes it’s dark indeed but remember these words from MLK, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” And as to the fear they instill in us? Consider this. The opposite of love is not hate. It is fear. Don’t go there. Stay connected to good sources for data. Surround yourself with like-minded people who understand the times and expand these circles of influence. Speak truth, share truth and pray for our President and pray for our country. And know this…we are indeed winning!

Stay The Course

These battles will be fought for many, many years to come. We are at the entry gate of this battle between good and evil. What we do right here, right now means everything. There is a plan. Fight the good fight because we are at war for humanity. Look at it from the perspective that we are on the cusp of redirecting civilization, because we are. Redirecting civilization into perhaps a thousand years of peace and prosperity. Well the entry point for attaining this is here and now and this will be the most dangerous period of time as evil is exposed and people awaken and arise and heed the call. Call? Yes call. A call to action. Get busy living or get busy dying. We have been given free will. Use it wisely. Freedom? It’s up to us!

Hail hail to our leader, the commander in chief. Do not waiver. Support this President. History will label him as the man of the century. Some say that Trump can’t handle the storm when in fact he is the storm. And so, just calm down and enjoy the ride, great things are happening for our country!

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: AP.

New Year’s Resolution: Get Your Coffee At Chick-fil-A (And Peet’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts) Instead Of Starbucks

Throughout the week, 2ndVote has urged conservative shoppers to make New Year’s consumer Resolutions. We’ve also vowed to work more closely with you to ensure that corporations are held accountable for how they spend your money. Today, we are asking you to make a final resolution in 2019: make the best possible choice when it comes to where you buy your coffee

As you know, Starbucks is the world’s largest coffee chain and a supporter of a slew of left-wing causes such as redefining marriage and sanctuary cities. Starbucks is also a financial supporter of abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Instead, consider getting your coffee from three other chains — Dunkin’ Donuts, Peet’s, and Chick-fil-A!

We are encouraging you to swap Starbucks for Dunkin’ DonutsPeet’s, and Chick-fil-A because they largely focus on you, the customer, instead of political activism. Dunkin’ Donuts’ ranks at a 2.7 out of 5 in 2ndVote’s rankings, Peet’s is a neutral 3, and Chick-fil-A ranks a 4. We are especially proud to endorse Chick-fil-A because of their well-known Christian values as well as their massive company growth which Business Insider concluded was due to amazing customer service.

2ndVote consumers won’t be alone in putting the brakes on Starbucks’ purchases in 2019. A recent stock market analysis concluded that Starbucks is facing stiff competition from other coffee chains. Competition plus 2ndVote consumer engagement could easily cause Starbucks significant heartache in the new year. Perhaps this will teach them to listen to customers all the time instead of when it’s politically convenient.

Help us continue developing this content to help conservative consumers hold companies accountable by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by 2ndVote is republished with permission. The featured image is from Shutterstock.

California and Los Angeles County to Remove 1.5 Million Inactive Voters from Voter Rolls

Good news for the voters in California and across the country.

We have signed a settlement agreement with the State of California and the County of Los Angeles under which they will begin the process of removing from their voter registration rolls as many as 1.5 million inactive registered names that may be invalid.

These removals are required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), a federal law requiring the removal of inactive registrations from the voter rolls after two general federal elections (encompassing from 2 to 4 years). Inactive voter registrations belong, for the most part, to voters who have moved to another county or state or have passed away.

Los Angeles County has over 10 million residents, more than the populations of 41 of the 50 United States. California is America’s largest state, with almost 40 million residents.

We filed a 2017 federal lawsuit to force the cleanup of voter rolls (Judicial Watch, Inc., et al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al. (No. 2:17-cv-08948)). We sued on our own behalf and on behalf of Wolfgang Kupka, Rhue Guyant, Jerry Griffin, and Delores M. Mars, who are lawfully registered voters in Los Angeles County. We were joined by Election Integrity Project California, Inc., a public interest group that has long been involved in monitoring California’s voter rolls.

In our lawsuit, we alleged:

  • Los Angeles County has more voter registrations on its voter rolls than it has citizens who are old enough to register.  Specifically, according to data provided to and published by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Los Angeles County has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. 
  • The entire State of California has a registration rate of about 101 percent of its age-eligible citizenry. 
  • Eleven of California’s 58 counties have registration rates exceeding 100 percent of the age-eligible citizenry. 

The lawsuit confirmed that Los Angeles County has on its rolls more than 1.5 million potentially ineligible voters. This means that more than one out of every five LA County registrations likely belongs to a voter who has moved or is deceased. We noted: “Los Angeles County has the highest number of inactive registrations of any single county in the country.” 

Our lawsuit also uncovered that neither the State of California nor Los Angeles County had been removing inactive voters from the voter registration rolls for the past 20 years. The Supreme Court affirmed last year in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Inst., 138 S. Ct. 1833 (2018) that the NVRA “makes this removal mandatory.”

The new settlement agreement, filed with U.S. District Court Judge Manuel L. Real, requires all of the 1.5 million potentially ineligible registrants to be notified and asked to respond. If there is no response, those names are to be removed as required by the NVRA. California Secretary of State Padilla also agrees to update the State’s online NVRA manual to make clear that ineligible names must be removed and to notify each California county that they are obligated to do this. This should lead to cleaner voter rolls statewide.

Prior to this settlement agreement, we estimated that based on comparisons of national census data to voter-roll information, there were 3.5 million more names on various county voter rolls than there were citizens of voting age. This settlement could cut this number in half.

Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper is the director of our Election Integrity Project and led our legal team in this litigation. We were assisted in this case by Charles H. Bell Jr., of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP; and H. Christopher Coates of Law Office of H. Christopher Coates.

This is only the third statewide settlement achieved by private plaintiffs under the NVRA – and we were the plaintiff in each of those cases. The other statewide settlements are with Ohio (in 2014) and with Kentucky (2018), which agreed to a court-ordered consent decree. 

You can take pride in knowing that we are the national leader in enforcing the list maintenance provisions of the NVRA. In addition to settlement agreements with Ohio and a win in Kentucky, we have filed a successful NVRA lawsuit against Indiana, causing it to voluntarily clean up its voting rolls, and we have an ongoing lawsuit with the State of Maryland

We helped the State of Ohio successfully defend their settlement agreement before the Supreme Court. In North Carolina, we supported implementation of the state’s election integrity reform laws, filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court in March 2017. And, in April 2018, we filed an amicus brief in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Alabama’s voter ID law. In Georgia, we filed an amicus brief in support of Secretary Brian Kemp’s list maintenance process against a lawsuit by left-wing groups. We won when the Supreme Court ruled in Ohio’s favor.

This settlement vindicates our groundbreaking lawsuits to clean up state voter rolls to help ensure cleaner elections. We are thrilled with this historic settlement, which will set a nationwide precedent to ensure that states take reasonable steps to ensure that dead and other ineligible voters are removed from the rolls.

EDITORS NOTE: This column by Judicial Watch, with video and images, is republished with permission.

House’s Biggest GOP Caucus Now ‘Counterweight’ to Democrats, New Leader Says

The new leader of House Republicans’ largest caucus says he plans to “streamline” its operations to effectively counter the Democrats as they take control of the lower chamber of Congress.

For starters, the Republican Study Committee no longer will have a dozen or so task forces, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a recent phone interview with The Daily Signal as the group’s incoming chairman.

“We’re going to streamline that into seven core working groups,” Johnson said of the RSC, a caucus of about 178 GOP lawmakers.

After their midterm election victories, Democrats now have 235 seats in the House, compared with Republicans’ 199. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., again became speaker of the House after the 116th Congress convened Thursday.

Johnson, 46, said he sees an opportunity for the Republican Study Committee to build its presence and influence.

“We’re also at the same time going to be working on our messaging strategy because we feel like it’s going to be vitally important, as we move into the minority position in the Congress, to articulate what our conservative ideals and answers are,” Johnson said.

“It will be the counterweight to what Pelosi and the Democrats are going to do,” he said.

The Louisiana lawmaker said his goal is to unite RSC members so they can continue making headway on issues that matter most.

“We’ve got so many talented people in our caucus and all of them bring so much to the cause and to the movement,” he said. “And we want to give more and more opportunities for our rank and file members to be a part of that, developing the mission and defining what the conservative movement looks like for the next decade or more.”

Johnson, who assumed office in 2017, said each RSC task force will have specific objectives and goals, and that their leaders will be chosen based on expertise and interests.

Although Johnson wasn’t ready to announce the new task forces, he said people can expect the caucus to stay true to key priorities such as its budget and spending task force, which produces an annual budget proposal.

The RSC will have a “vibrant” task force on health care and related entitlements and will continue to have a task force on foreign affairs and national security, Johnson said.

He also indicated that the Values Action Team, which works with outside groups and focuses on traditional family values such as religious freedom and the sanctity of life, will continue to be “another one that RCS is really well known for.”

Johnson, who received his law degree in 1998 from Louisiana State University, was a litigator for almost 20 years. He worked on what his official bio calls “high profile constitutional law cases in district and appellate courts nationwide.”

Johnson said he was hired as one of the earliest lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal defense organization launched in 1994 that works to safeguard religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. He said his work there helped shape who he is as a person.

“That sort of started my journey in all this and it became primarily a religious liberty defense litigator,” Johnson said.

When he would attend a meeting of the Values Action Team, he said, he’d look around the table and see “20 or 25, 30 different organizations” represented, and “at some point in my career, I represented almost everybody in that room once.”

Johnson and his wife Kelly have been married almost 20 years and have four children: Hannah, 17; Abigail, 16; Jack, 13; and Will, 8.

He didn’t want his children to grow up in the Capital Beltway area, he said, and so opted to stay in Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana, and travel back and forth rather than relocate.

“We didn’t want to raise our kids in the Beltway, so we’ve been pretty insistent about that. So far it’s worked out,” Johnson said. “So yeah, I travel. I go back and forth constantly, so it’s a sacrifice on everybody’s part. But we’re blessed because … we have really great kids and they’re all into this.”

His children are relatively young, but Johnson said he is inspired by their expressed interest in his career.

“It’s so bad that three out of four of my children say they want to be constitutional law attorneys when they grow up, so we’ll see how far that gets,” he said.

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COLUMN BY

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by The Daily Signal is republished with permission.