VIDEO: The Suicide of Europe

Europe is committing suicide. How did this happen?

The civilization born of ancient Greek philosophy, Judeo-Christian values, and the discoveries of the Enlightenment is staring at the abyss, brought there by its own hand. To put it starkly: Europe is committing suicide. How did this happen? In this week’s video, Douglas Murray, author of The Strange Death of Europe, explains the two major causes of Europe’s impending downfall.

Broward County Sheriff’s Office Training Materials Say First One or Two Officers on Scene should ‘Confront the Shooter’

‘Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.’ 

Four Officers on Scene at February 14 Parkland Shooting Did Not Enter School Building 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released Broward County Sheriff’s Office training and operation materials that specifically dictate that the first one or two officers on the scene of an active shooter incident “will immediately go to confront the shooter.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office’s Standard Operating Procedure and lesson plans for an active shooter incident were obtained by Judicial Watch via a Florida Sunshine Act records request.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that armed school resource officer Deputy Scot Peterson was first on the scene of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but he did not enter the school to confront shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Three other deputies also arrived on the scene but did not enter, the sheriff’s office said. The Broward County materials direct that if four officers are on the scene of an active shooter incident they are to form a “Quad” formation and enter the building.

The lesson plan instructs officers to immediately confront a shooter:

History shows when a suspect is confronted by any armed individual (police, security, concealed carry person) they either shoot it out with that person or kill themselves. Either way, the shooting of innocent bystanders must stop. Now, the first officer or two officers on scene will immediately go to confront the shooter. Military tactics work well in this situation. The two man “bounding overwatch” is our response.

Using lessons learned from Columbine (the 1999 high school massacre where officers waited for a SWAT team and allowed two shooters to continue) the first four responding officers are directed to form a “Quad” and approach from all directions:

During Columbine, the response to an ongoing shooting situation was to contain the suspect. After Columbine the International Chiefs of Police addressed the problem with the response and came up with the “Quad” or diamond formation. With the quad, the first four officers to respond entered the building with coverage in all directions. This was critical to address the concerns of officers who previously would not enter and just wait for SWAT.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said during a news conference that “What I saw was a deputy [Peterson] arrive … take up a position and he never went in.” Israel said Peterson should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”

The lesson plan clearly states: “If you are on scene or in the area and hear gunshots, you should immediately access what you have and prepare to respond. Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.”

The training materials also state that the first officers on the scene will “engage the suspect,” which Peterson did not do. “There are now three teams during Active Shooter Incident [Contact, Extraction and Rescue Task Force]: Contact Team: Is first on scene, 1-4 deputies, they will be actively engaging/searching for suspect (HOT ZONE).”

The lesson plan lists “priorities of life” as: 1) Hostages/victims; 2) Innocent Bystanders; 3) Police/deputies; and 4) Suspects. “If in doubt about going through the door after a suspect, think about the victims and where they stand on the list.”

The importance of a fast and effective response is emphasized: “Time is critical in each of these incidents. This is like no other crime. The motive is to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Why? Because the bad guy knows ‘we’ are coming.”

An exercise designed for a lone deputy on the scene of an active shooting is intended to “get the deputy moving towards the gunfire, passing dead students and others running by him.” However, “there is no reason to give up a good position of cover” if the shooting has stopped. “Remember the cavalry is on their way, so it’s better to hold, than to expose yourself to unknown threats.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office Standard Operating Procedure states:

“If real time intelligence exists the sole deputy or a team of deputies may enter the area and/or structure to preserve life. A supervisor’s approval or on-site observation is not required for this decision…. If the situation turns to a barricade or hostage situation the response team will contain, isolate, communicate and wait for SWAT.”

Records obtained by Judicial Watch also show that Sheriff Israel is the second highest paid of Florida’s 67 sheriffs at $186,631 for Fiscal Year 2017/18. The sheriff was eligible for $2,000 in supplemental pay for completion of a 20-hour training course. In 2016, Israel received a warning letter that he had not successfully completed the course and his supplemental pay was being withheld.

“These Broward County Sheriff’s Office documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that the law enforcement agency failed the victims of the Parkland shooting,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Lives were lost in Parkland because the Sheriff’s Office personnel were either poorly trained or failed to follow training protocols.”

New CIA Director, ‘One of the Most Accomplished Officers of Her Generation’

ast week, the Senate confirmed then-Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo to be America’s 70th Secretary of State. Upon Secretary Pompeo’s swearing-in, CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel assumed the role of Acting Director for the Agency. Haspel is President Donald J. Trump’s choice to succeed Mike Pompeo at the CIA’s helm on a permanent basis.

The President’s decision was an easy one. Like Secretary Pompeo, Haspel’s credentials as a public servant are far-reaching. She joined the CIA in the waning days of the Cold War and has spent many of the 33 years since in dangerous posts and foreign capitals on America’s behalf. That dedication has earned her multiple honors over her career, including the Intelligence Medal of Merit, a Presidential Rank Award, and the George H. W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism.

Gina Haspel

Haspel’s first overseas assignment was as a case officer in Africa. Years later, with the fight against al Qaeda heating up, she requested a transfer to the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center. Her first day on the job was September 11, 2001.

Service in the CIA is largely quiet, behind-the-scenes work to keep America safe. The names of these men and women are often unknown to the wider public, but their contributions to national security are indispensable. Haspel’s promotion from within the Agency is a testament to the crucial work of these public servants.

Her rise is also a milestone for women. She is the first woman in the CIA’s 70-year history to climb the ranks to become Deputy Director, as well as the first woman to be nominated for CIA Director. When Haspel first took over as a Chief of Station in a tumultuous capital abroad, the skepticism of some of her male colleagues was obvious. It didn’t take long for her to prove the doubters wrong.

As with Secretary Pompeo, a number of public officials have put country above party to support Haspel’s nomination. One example comes from a letter to the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from more than 50 national security experts. “The U.S. Senate can help protect our country by swiftly confirming Gina Haspel,” they write. The signees include former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George P. Schultz, as well as Democratic former Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Haspel draws this bipartisan admiration because of her reputation for providing objective, unbiased assessments to policymakers. She values the rule of law and Congressional oversight of the CIA, which aligns fittingly with President Trump’s accountability agenda for Washington.

The CIA workforce trusts Haspel to oversee these responsibilities. “She is one of the most accomplished officers of her generation,” former Director of the CIA Clandestine Service John Bennett says. “She has taken on some of the most demanding and least rewarding assignments in the War on Terror, not because she sought them out, but because she felt it was her duty.”

That sense of patriotism is precisely what Americans deserve in a CIA Director. The Senate has confirmed Haspel as the first woman Director of the CIA.

WARNING: Being LGBT is Hazardous to Your Health

The Recall Report has a section on LGBT health. The Recall Report warns:

Men and women who identify as LGBT have any number of health concerns depending on each individual.

[ … ]

Cancer is another big health risk for Americans in general, but there are some specific risks for LGBT people. For example, lesbians are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer than heterosexual women. This may be explained by the fact that lesbians are less likely to have full-term pregnancies, are more likely to be overweight, and are less likely to get mammograms and other cancer screenings.

Gay men are at a greater risk than their heterosexual counterparts for developing testicular, colon, and prostate cancers. Gay men and bisexual men who have sex with men are also at a greater risk for developing anal cancer because they are at a greater risk for being exposed to HPV, the human papilloma virus, which can cause cancer.

[ … ]

Both lesbian women and gay men report more harassment and physical abuse from family members. Lesbians, gay men, and bisexual men and women are all more often victims of domestic partner violence than heterosexual men or women. Gay men are both more likely to be victims of domestic abuse and criminal physical violence based on sexual orientation.

Read more.

Walt Heyer, who used to live as a transgender woman, now travels the country speaking about his experiences and reaching out to those who regret their own gender change.

The Daily Signal spoke with Heyer on camera about his story, as well as the lies he says society and the media tell young people today about gender.

David Carlin, professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, in a column titled “The Oddity of the LGBT Alliance” writes:

For some time now these rejections of nature have been celebrated, or at least condoned, on TV, in movies, in classrooms, in legislative chambers, and in law courts. What in particular?

  1. Homosexuality. It used to be called “the unnatural vice.” Now, according to the masters of our popular culture, it is a perfectly respectable form of love.

  2. Child abandonment. It used to be thought that only an unnatural parent would abandon his/her children, the parent-child bond being the most fundamental of all human connections. But for decades now American society has allowed fathers (though not yet mothers) to beget children and then walk out on them.

  3. Bodily mutilation. If you spend a lot of time among young people (as I myself do in my capacity as a community college professor), you will observe the relatively new fashion of making nickel-or-quarter-size holes in ear lobes or cheeks or elsewhere. That’s minor-league mutilation. More advanced advocates of mutilation (I have not, thank God, come across any of these at my college) go further, defending the amputation of fingers, hands, and limbs – either as a way of being “different” or as a way of maintaining solidarity with disabled (differently abled) persons.

  4. Suicide. It used to be that suicide was thought of as the most unnatural thing in the world. What could be more unnatural than to renounce life itself, the most fundamental of all natural goods? But now suicide or voluntary euthanasia is considered by truly “progressive” people to be a fine thing. To be sure, they don’t consider all suicide to be good. It is good that suicide or euthanasia should be chosen by very old people who are now (allegedly) incapable of getting any significant enjoyment out of life; or by terminally ill people who wish to shorten life by a few weeks or a few months; or by people whose life involves severe physical or mental suffering; or by mature (but not necessarily old) people who now find life boring. But it is not good (not yet, but stay tuned) if a 17-year-old girl commits suicide because her boyfriend dropped her.

  5. Transgenderism. In the other cases listed, nature gives us strong hints as to the correct way to proceed – e.g., “have sex with persons of the opposite sex only,” “don’t abandon your children,” “don’t mutilate your body,” and “don’t kill yourself.” But in the case of sexual/gender identity, what nature gives us is something more than a hint. It used to be thought that the question of whether a newborn is a boy or a girl could be answered by taking a quick glance at the baby’s genitalia. Now we are told that the question shouldn’t be answered by other persons (doctors, nurses, mothers, fathers) who “assign” a gender to the child.

Unnatural behaviors leads down a dangerous road that few travel. Even one person lost to the LGBT life style is one too many.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the LGBTQ Community

LGBT Lobby Rebutted by Medical Experts and Ex-gays

LGBT Playbook: Legally erase women through gender identity laws

Our ‘Cold Civil War’ Over 2 Constitutions

The United States is more than politically polarized amid a “cold civil war” over the meaning of the Constitution, constitutional scholar Charles Kesler said Tuesday.

Kesler, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, spoke as part of a panel discussion on “The State of the Constitution” during the 2018 Bradley Symposium at The Heritage Foundation.

“Underlying this cold civil war is the fact that increasingly America is torn between two Constitutions,” said Kesler, also a senior fellow with the Claremont Institute and distinguished professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. “Where it ends up then is some form of crisis, a crisis of the two Constitutions, a crisis towards which we are approaching if not yet hurtling, but which has no very good end available to us.”

Kesler outlined five possible ways to resolve the cold civil war.

One is to change the subject. Another is to change minds through persuasion, until one side wins. A third is a “reinvigorated federalism” that allows blue states and red states to address issues differently and coexist with minimal interference from the U.S. government. The others are more undesirable: secession or war.

“It’s possible we could agree to disagree in separate countries,” Kesler said. “Although that would be extremely difficult because succession, as we know from our history, leads to the fifth and final possibility—war.”

He described one Constitution, the original 1787 document as amended, as steeped in natural rights and limited government. This one, he said, is also the “conservatives’ Constitution.”

The other one is the “living Constitution,” or what he called “the liberals’ Constitution.”

“The living Constitution implies that the other Constitution is a dead Constitution, or at least is on life support, and that it must be transformed, it must be infused with new meaning, new ends and to some degree new means and institutions, to be kept alive in order to be a vital part of our politics,” Kesler said.

President Woodrow Wilson was one of the first to use the term “living Constitution” to suggest it changes with the times, Kesler said.

“A formula for the old Constitution was it was unchanging precisely because it was designed to keep the times in tune with the Constitution,” Kesler said. “The new Constitution is designed to keep the Constitution in tune with the times as much as possible.”

The “cold civil war” erupted when conservatives fought back, he said:

The conservatives who began an epic campaign against the inevitable emergency of the living Constitution had in common the desire, the duty to oppose the gradual disappearance of limited government from American political life. When it became clear in the ’50s and especially in the ’60s that the surrender was off, the cold civil war was on.

A part of the expanding federal government not identified under the Constitution comes in the form of independent enforcement agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Election Commission, and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, among others, said Robert Alt, president of the Buckeye Institute, a conservative think tank based in Ohio.

Alt said that Congress and the courts have been far too deferential to federal agencies that bring charges and adjudicate matters.

Congress is largely to blame for expanding executive power, said Christopher DeMuth, a distinguished fellow at Hudson Institute.

“A lot of seizure of power in the Obama years, and we can find some in the Bush years as well, [was] simply going with the flow of congressional delegation of lawmaking power to the executive branch,” said DeMuth, a former president of the American Enterprise Institute. “They were wrong, but in a sense, they were understandable.”

In what might seem out of step with most commentary about President Donald Trump’s nontraditional presidency, DeMuth said Trump represents a “return to normalcy.”

“Every president and every regulatory agency in modern times sometimes oversteps the bounds of the authorities given to them by congressional statutory law,” DeMuth said, adding:

President Obama and his regulatory agencies made it an open and notorious practice, a matter of routine, something that affected the biggest decision of President Obama’s second term, so that many of us thought during his second term that we might be evolving—seriously—in the direction of a government by presidential decree.

The Trump administration has been a return to normalcy, at least [to] the situation before Obama or late Bush administration, and then some. Not only has the Trump administration withdrawn many of the Obama administration’s most brazen extrastatutory ventures such as the Clean Power Plan, but in two critical cases, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals decree and his expenditure of billions of dollars for Obamacare cost-sharing expenditures without any congressional appropriation whatsoever, in these two cases, he has withdrawn them and sent them back to Congress.

COMMENTARY 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 ARTICLE: Podcast: As Seattle Passes Head Tax, Left’s Civil War on Full Display

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

Kanye West Threatens the Democratic Party’s Hold on Black Americans

In the aftermath of the Kanye West dust-up, my heart goes out to the white people who control the Democratic Party.

My pity stems from the hip-hop megastar’s November announcement to his packed concert audience that he did not vote in the presidential election but if he had, he would have voted for Donald Trump.

Then, on April 21, West took to his Twitter account, which has 28 million followers, to announce, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.” Owens is Turning Point USA’s director of urban engagement and has said that former President Barack Obama caused “damage” to race relations in the United States during his two terms in office.

West’s support for Trump, along with his criticism of the “plantation” mentality of the Democratic Party, has been met with vicious backlash from the left. In one song, West raps, “See, that’s the problem with this damn nation. All blacks gotta be Democrats. Man, we ain’t made it off the plantation.” Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said West “talks out of turn” and advised, “He should think twice about politics—and maybe not have so much to say.

The bottom-line sin that West has committed is questioning the hegemony of the Democratic Party among black Americans. The backlash has been so bad that West had to hire personal security to protect him against threats made against his life. Fortunately, the police are investigating those threats.

West is not saying anything different from what Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Jason Riley, I, and other black libertarians/conservatives have been saying for decades.

In fact, West has tweeted quotations from Sowell, such as “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it” and “The most basic question is not what is best but who shall decide what is best.” Tweeting those Sowell quotations represents the highest order of blasphemy in the eyes of leftists.

The big difference between black libertarians/conservatives and West is that he has 28 million Twitter followers and a huge audience of listeners, whereas few blacks have even heard of libertarian/conservative blacks outside of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. (I might add in passing that Sowell is one of the nation’s most distinguished and accomplished scholars alive today.)

The West problem for the Democratic Party is that if the party doesn’t keep blacks in line and it loses even 20 to 25 percent of the black vote, it can kiss any hope of winning any presidential and many congressional elections goodbye.

Democrats may have already seen that threat. That’s why they support illegal immigration and voting rights for noncitizens. Immigrants from south of the border who are here illegally may be seen as either a replacement for or a guarantee against the disaster of losing the black vote.

Keeping blacks blind to the folly of unquestioned support for the Democratic Party by keeping blacks fearful, angry, and resentful and painting the Republican Party as racist is vital. Democrats never want blacks to seriously ask questions about what the party has done for them.

Here are some facts. The nation’s most troublesome and dangerous cities—Indianapolis, Stockton, Oakland, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City, Baltimore, Memphis, St. Louis, and Detroit—have been run by Democrats, often black Democrats, for nearly a half-century. These and other Democratic-run cities are where blacks suffer the highest murder rates and their youngsters attend the poorest-performing and most unsafe schools.

Democrats could never afford for a large number of black people to observe, “We’ve been putting you in charge of our cities for decades. We even put a black Democrat in the White House. And what has it meant for us? Plus, the president you told us to hate has our unemployment rate near a record low.”

It turns out that it’s black votes that count more to black and white politicians than black well-being, black academic excellence, and black lives. As for black politicians and civil rights leaders, if they’re going to sell their people down the river to keep Democrats in power, they ought to demand a higher price.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Kanye West is by John Barrett-PhotoLink/Newscom.

Catholic Therapist Fired Because Of Her Religious Beliefs On Marriage, Lawsuit Filed

ANN ARBOR, MI – Kathleen Lorentzen, a Catholic and licensed clinical social worker was told by her supervisor that she had to be “a social worker first and a Catholic second,” and was fired because she refused to compromise the Catholic faith which teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. Mrs. Lorentzen had an exemplary employment record of providing psychological counseling for over 20 years to a diverse group of patients. But despite her outstanding record, her former employer, HealthSource Saginaw (“HealthSource”), located in Michigan, terminated her.

The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national nonprofit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, May 11, against HealthSource on behalf of Mrs. Lorentzen for violation of civil rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as Michigan state law.

TMLC Senior Trial Counsel Tyler Brooks said,

“This case shows that people of faith are under assault in the workplace. The fact is, however, that Christians need not choose between their faith and their jobs. Despite what many would have us believe, discrimination against Christians is a civil rights violation that will subject employers to legal liability.”

The events that led to Mrs. Lorentzen’s termination began after she was referred a gay couple seeking marriage counseling, whom she saw on two occasions last summer. Though Mrs. Lorentzen has counseled many gay patients in her career, she felt that she could not see this couple any further for marriage counseling because doing so would violate her religious beliefs and practices regarding the sanctity of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

Mrs. Lorentzen’s supervisor, though, became angry with her when she asked to refer the couple to another therapist, as was her right under Title VII. Federal civil rights law generally requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs so long as doing so would not impose an undue hardship. In this case, the couple could have easily been referred to another therapist.

After this initial meeting, Mrs. Lorentzen was called into a second meeting with the same supervisor as well as HealthSource’s outpatient manager. In this meeting, Mrs. Lorentzen was aggressively interrogated about her faith and her work at HealthSource. At one point, one of the men dismissively referred to the teachings of the Catholic Church by saying, “They are just priests.”

Soon thereafter, Mrs. Lorentzen received a letter in the mail informing her that she was being terminated in 30 days. As described in the complaint, the decision to terminate Mrs. Lorentzen was based on her religion as well as her request for an accommodation under the law and her opposition to being discriminated against on the basis of her religion.

Click here to read the full complaint.

PODCAST: Analyzing the Embassy Move to Jerusalem, Palestinian Protests

The Heritage Foundation’s Jim Phillips spoke to The Daily Signal’s Daniel Davis and Katrina Trinko for an interview for “The Daily Signal” podcast Monday.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of their conversation about the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, and rising tensions in the Middle East. 

Daniel Davis: Here to explain this opening of the new embassy and what it means for Israel and the region is Jim Phillips back on the show. He’s a Middle East analyst here at The Heritage Foundation. Jim, thank you for joining us again.

Jim Phillips: Well, thanks for inviting me.

Davis: So, Jim, there’s obviously a lot of implications for this in the region. We’re already seeing a backlash from some neighbors of Israel. But I wanted to ask you first—can you put this in historical perspective for us? Why is this moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem so important for Israel as a nation?

Phillips: Well, I think it corrects a historic injustice in the sense that Israel is the only nation in the world that was barred from declaring where its own capital was. That lead to a historic anomaly where the U.S. had a diplomatic consulate in East Jerusalem for talking to Palestinians but it had no diplomatic facility elsewhere in Jerusalem for talking to Israelis. All of the diplomatic contact came out of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

In 1995, the U.S. Congress, by a huge bipartisan majority, approved the Jerusalem Act, which called for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem by 1999. But there was a waiver within the act, which allowed presidents to postpone moving the embassy if they could cite national security reasons, and every president up until President [Donald] Trump did just that. In part because there was the Oslo peace negotiations early on, and the Clinton and Bush administrations didn’t want to disrupt those.

But in recent years, the Palestinians have refused to engage with the Israelis so I think that’s one thing that led the Trump administration to go ahead and move the embassy. Also, that was one of candidate Trump’s promises that he would do as president.

Katrina Trinko: So obviously Israel is thrilled about this move of the embassy to Jerusalem. At the same time, we’re seeing reports that, I believe, tens of thousands of Palestinians are protesting. It seems like the Middle East is heating up once again, and you in a piece last year noted that this could be an outcome. Does this show that it was maybe a mistake to move the embassy? Do you think it complicated the Middle Eastern situation in ways that we’re going to deal with for years to come?

Phillips: Well, there’s no doubt that it did entail added risk to move the embassy, but I would maintain that much of those risks are from terrorists who would plan to attack the U.S. regardless. They might use the movement of the embassy as a pretext to justify their latest terrorist attack. But to me that was not a reason to hold back.

I was more concerned about the impact on the negotiations, but in recent years, the negotiations have gone nowhere anyway. So that risk was greatly reduced. I think even the most recent Palestinian wave of protest was going to happen anyway because today is the 70th anniversary of Israel’s birth, which Palestinians call … the disaster, and they were going to riot and do demonstrations regardless of what the U.S. decided about the embassy.

Davis: So, Jim, a lot of folks might think it’s just moving the embassy. It’s just symbolic gesture. It doesn’t seem like a threat to neighbors. Can you put this into context for us? Why do Palestinians and some neighbors see this as a threat? Do they see this as one step toward Israelis taking over the whole city of Jerusalem or some kind of moving the ball in a larger context? Can you fill that in for us?

Phillips: Well, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, has said that the recognition of Jerusalem and the movement of the embassy discredits the U.S. and made it a pro-Israeli partisan rather than a neutral broker.

But I really don’t buy that argument. I think it shows that the Palestinians are still locked in the zero-some thinking that reveals them to be not really focused on peace, but they see everything that’s a plus to Israel to be a negative for them. As long as that thinking goes on and as long as their efforts to delegitimize Israel by even doubting that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel, then I think that policy should be resistant.

U.S. officials were careful to say that the movement of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem did not mean that the Palestinians couldn’t eventually have their own capital in Jerusalem, but they choose to interpret this as an either/or situation.

Trinko: Do you think there’s anything differently Israel should be doing toward Palestine right now? I mean, obviously, the 52 died—and Palestine is saying Israel is overreacting on the border thing. Israel is saying this is our border, “we need to keep it secure.” Then you mentioned Palestine isn’t even really engaging with Israel right now. Is there anything different Israel should be doing?

Phillips: I think it has to defend its borders, and I would blame all of this on Hamas, which is organizing these demonstrations. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization not only by the U.S. and Israel but by the [European Union].

Hamas is a revolutionary Islamic extremist organization that not only is opposed to a peace treaty with Israel, [but] is opposed to Israel’s very existence. So as long as Hamas has a strangle hold on Gaza, I have long argued there can be no peace because even if Israel signed a perfect peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority tomorrow, Hamas would be in a position to explode with another round of rocket terrorism.

When Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, Hamas staged a military coup against the authority, and turned Gaza into a base for terrorism. So as long as Hamas survives, then there can be no peace.

Davis: Well, you mentioned the rocket terrorism and last week we just saw rocket, uranium-backed rockets launched from Syria at Israel. Is Israel’s confrontation with Iran in any way connected to these developments in Jerusalem? How is Iran responding to the new embassy opening?

Phillips: Well, Iran not only supports Hezbollah and many other Shiite militias that are mobilized and deployed to Syria, but it also finances and arms Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, two of the terrorist organizations in Gaza that are firing increasingly sophisticated missiles against Israel. Hezbollah has more than 150,000 rockets and missiles in the north, along the Lebanon border, and Hamas has an unknown number inside Gaza that are smuggled through tunnels by smugglers that are being paid by Iran.

So Iran is very much involved in attacking Israel from both directions, and really all three directions, from Lebanon, from Syria, and from Gaza.

Trinko: So last question, it’s a simple one. How do we get to peace in the Middle East?

Phillips:  I would say that if you want peace now, you’re never going to get it because the other side will use that as a bargaining chip. If you show you want peace more than the other side, then I think that actually puts peace farther off.

I think peace can only come when totalitarian, Islamic ideologies are defeated and discredited because as long as Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic extremists organizations like that rule out any peace with Israel, as long as they are in the driver’s seat, then unfortunately, there’s no chance for peace with more moderate Palestinians.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is the commentary editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcastSend an email to Daniel. Twitter: @JDaniel_Davis.

Portrait of Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko is managing editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcast. She is also a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Send an email to Katrina. Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko.

Portrait of James Phillips

James Phillips

James Phillips is the senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He has written extensively on Middle Eastern issues and international terrorism since 1978. Read his research.

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin standing next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. (Photo: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters/Newscom)

How State Government fanned the flames of Hawaii’s volcano disaster

Government fanned flames of volcano disaster

by Joe Kent, Grassroot Institute, May 9, 2018

As lava engulfs the homes of many unfortunate Hawaii Island residents, it’s important to remember that the state originally encouraged the building of homes in this dangerous area by offering lava insurance where no private company would.

In the 1990s, the town of  Kalapana was destroyed by lava, and soon afterward, private insurance companies, after suffering millions of dollars in losses, stopped insuring land in Lava Zones 1 and 2.

Lava Zones on Hawaii Island

In response to the absence of private insurance, the state Legislature  created the  Hawaii Property Insurance Association (HPIA), whose job is to provide coverage for homes in areas that private insurance won’t touch.</span

The law  requires private insurance companies to pool their money to subsidize the expense of offering insurance in high-risk lava zones.

HPIA describes itself as a nonprofit association, created to provide basic property insurance for persons unable to purchase homeowners coverage in the private market due to the ongoing volcanic eruption in Lava Zones 1 and 2 on the Island of Hawaii.

Its members are all licensed insurers that write property and casualty insurance in Hawaii, each required to be a member of the HPIA as a condition of their authority to transact business in the state. Together they participate in the writings, expenses, profits and losses of the HPIA, in proportion to their market share of property and casualty insurance written in Hawaii, according to the association.

It adds, “There is no public funding or taxpayers’ monies involved,” but certainly any losses incurred by the HPIA members are passed along to their broader base of Hawaii customers, resulting in an indirect tax.

In any case, ignoring the obvious risks of building homes in active lava zones, the  law stated that any person “who has been unable to obtain basic property insurance from a licensed insurer may apply to the association for coverage.”

This resulted in a boom in the housing market below the active Kilauea volcano.

By 2008, there were more than  2,400 HPIA policies in the area, providing more than $700 million worth of insurance statewide to the highest-risk lava zones on Hawaii Island. At the time, the  Honolulu-Advertiser said Leilani Estates resident Douglas Pase could not find any private company willing to insure the building of his house in the area:

“Pase called various insurance companies to price coverage and said HPIA was the only willing insurer he could find. That was critical because ‘without some way of insuring the house that we would build, building in Leilani would not be an option for us,’ he said. ‘Since no one else would cover it, that becomes really, really important.’”

In economic terms, this created a “moral hazard,” a term which economist Paul Krugman described as “any situation in which one person makes the decision about how much risk to take, while someone else bears the cost if things go badly.”

The moral hazard of this new insurance program gave a false sense of security to homebuilders in Leilani Estates, some of whom were  disappointed to find a gap in their coverage when HPIA issued a  moratorium on new insurance following another lava flow in 2014.

A Pahoa home burns down in a lava flow in 2014.

At the time, Pahoa homeowner Corinne Traylor in  testimony to the Legislature said that she and her husband could no longer refinance their house, and she couldn’t sell it either, “due to the sudden lack of insurance.”

Others said the moratorium was a “market failure” and urged the government to step in to help. Soon afterward, Gov. David Ige signed  Act 32 in 2015, which mandated that the HPIA lift its moratorium and provide lava insurance, further fanning the flames of the moral hazard.

Today, that hazard is very real for families watching their homes be engulfed by magma. What was seen as a “market failure” was really a warning sign to those building in Lava Zones 1 and 2.

If the state had stayed out of the situation, probably fewer families would have built in the area, and today there might be less housing destruction.

After this disaster is over, Hawaii leaders should get out of the way and let the insurance market’s natural price mechanisms work to provide the valuable, even humanitarian, information needed regarding the areas in Hawaii that are simply too dangerous to build in.

RELATED ARTICLE:

2008: Red Hot Lava Menaces Old-boy Scam

FBI Acknowledges Life-Saving Potential of Armed Citizens

“Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”

Those are the final lines in the conclusion of the FBI’s Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017. The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. Gang and drug-related shootings are excluded. “The active aspect of the definition inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses to the situation.”

Ten active shooters were confronted by citizens. In four incidents, the responding citizens were unarmed; these heroes include school staff, the shooter’s girlfriend, and a man who intentionally struck the shooter with his car. Six shooters were confronted by armed citizens. Four shooters were stopped by lawfully armed citizens. One citizen was wounded as he confronted the shooter. “In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit exchanged gunfire with the shooter, causing the shooter to flee to another scene and continue shooting.” Unsurprisingly, it seems that these criminal cowards preferred targets incapable of defending themselves.  “Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”

Anti-gun politicians, celebrities, and organizations deride the idea that citizens can successfully defend themselves, their families, or those around them. They prefer that law-abiding gun owners be disarmed – a position they advocate from behind the safety of armed security. We’re fortunate to have real leaders who understand that Americans should be trusted to take responsibility for themselves, their families, and their communities, and that the quickest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

The FBI’s latest report affirms that ability.

RELATED VIDEO: Violence of Lies.

Migration Madness Syndrome

Europe’s Elite want their citizens to believe open borders and migration from Islamic countries will solve their need for a future workforce due to a shrinking population. I call their bluff. If they need workers, why not get them from the poorer parts of the EU–Romania, Bulgaria, Greece? This isn’t about guest workers. This is about the Left securing a voting block so they can be voted into office in perpetuity.  Islam makes for a perfect partner in their endeavor to achieve political dominance. Both conspire to tear down society and rebuild their Utopian ideal. What the Left doesn’t realize is when Islam ultimately takes power, as it tends to do, the last laugh will be on the them, just as it was with the Tudeh Party in Iran. In the end, Islam has no loyalty to Kafirs, only to Allah and Mohammed.

To understand Islamic migration today, it is imperative to understand the concept of hijra. The hijra dates to the time of Mohammed when he left Mecca and moved to Medina where he became a warlord and politician. Mohammed’s migration, or hijra, is so important to the success of Islam that it is the basis for the Islamic calendar.

Hijra is a form of soft jihad and is quite effective for spreading Islam.

Al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki stated, referring to doctrine: “Jihad today is obligatory on every capable Muslim…it is your duty to find ways to practice it and support it.” He then lists 44 ways to support jihad. In #36 Preparing for Hijrah, al-Awlaki quotes Mohammed: “Hijrah does not stop as long as there is an enemy to fight”.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Al Qaeda 9/11 mastermind, said, “the practical way to defeat America is through immigration and “outbreeding non-Muslims”.  These jihadists are not creating new ideas. They are repeating 1400 year old doctrine.

The bottom line: Hijra is a tactic to pave the way for Sharia.

Ultimately, the danger of migration is not that there will be too many unemployed workers draining welfare dollars from the state, but it’s that Sharia supremacists will keep Islamicizing the EU.  These guest workers aren’t going home. They have a religious duty to stay and fulfill the doctrine. Their loyalty is to Allah and Mohammed, not to the Kafir countries of the West. History has shown that once a nation is invaded by Islam, it will become 100% Islamic, unless driven out.

What is the solution?

We must wake up to the true nature of the problem. The doctrine of the Left says we aren’t nice enough, we need more programs, we need to integrate migrants better–the fault is always ours. I happen to agree that the fault is with us, but it is due to our ignorance, not our lack of virtue.

Once we understand the problem is the Islamic doctrine, then we can make proper plans for solutions, like changing migration laws, citizenry laws, instituting zero tolerance for Sharia, etc. In the meantime, churches and everyday people need to push back. We can’t wait for the government Elite.

Society can use social pressure like a weapon. We need to make fun of Sharia, use shame and humor. Islam reacts to shame and humor like a weed to poison. When a society can make Mohammed jokes, we win. It’s that simple. As soon as we become a citizenry of blasphemers, the problem solves itself.  This is key: to reverse Islamization, it must entail mass civil disobedience against censorship and oppression of freedom of thought, not just a few brave souls.

We must never give up. We must come out of the closet and face our fears. We can prevail and must because our civilization and freedoms are too precious to lose. Stand up Europe. Do not let North Africa and Arabia be your destiny.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Fiscal Cost of Resettling Refugees in the United States

Minnesota Somalis: You’re old and we are taking over

RELATED VIDEO: To learn more about hijra, watch video Hijra: Islamic Migration

6 More Judicial Nominees Advance in Trump Bid to Reshape Judiciary

President Donald Trump is completing a strong week, and is set to kick off a strong next week, in his push to reshape the federal courts, with Senate Republicans forcing votes on six more of his judicial nominees.

Despite the Democrat minority in the Senate using procedures to delay many confirmation votes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have prioritized pushing through appeals court judges, and 2017 was a record year for confirmations.

“This week, the Senate will consider another slate of extremely well-qualified nominees for seats on the federal bench,” McConnell said in a statement Monday. “A thoughtful, independent, and expert judiciary is a cornerstone of our constitutional order. It’s been the case since the very beginning.”

Moreover, six of the 16 of the Trump-nominated circuit court judges confirmed have replaced Democrat appointees, Axios reported.

That’s important because circuit courts are the final stop for a case before it reaches the Supreme Court. In cases the high court declines to hear, the circuit courts are the last word.

Several of the nominees to be voted on this week have has distinguished careers, including working for the White House or for one-time independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the 1990s. Others were federal prosecutors or lower court judges.

“The president is having a particularly significant impact on the 7th Circuit,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, told The Daily Signal, referring to the Chicago-based federal appeals court. “He’ll almost have a Trump class of appointees on that court.”

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hears cases arising in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

“Only one circuit, the 3rd Circuit, is shifting the balance of power” from a Democrat majority to a Republican majority, Severino said, referring to the Philadelphia-based appeals court, which handles cases from Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Still, Severino noted that other circuits are seeing considerable movement.

For example, the New York-based 2nd Circuit, currently with a 7-4 Democrat appointee advantage would move to a 7-6 Democrat edge if all of Trump’s nominees are confirmed, she said. The 2nd Circuit covers Connecticut and Vermont, as well as New York.

The famously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, could go from a 16-6 Democrat advantage to a 16-13 Democrat edge if all of Trump’s nominees are confirmed, Severino said.

The 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over cases arising from not just California, but also Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Here are the six judicial nominees expected to be confirmed by the end of the week.

1. Bush White House Lawyer

Senate action is pending this week on Michael Y. Scudder to be a judge on the 7th Circuit Court in Chicago. Trump nominated him in February.

The vote on his nomination was scheduled to Monday.

Scudder has worked at the Washington-based law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP since 2009.

Scudder spent two years in the White House Counsel’s Office during the administration of President George W. Bush, serving as associate counsel and then as senior associate counsel to the president and legal adviser and general counsel to the National Security Council.

Before that, Scudder spent four years at the Justice Department, first as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and later as counsel to the deputy attorney general on a national security team.

A graduate of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law,
he previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

2. Whitewater Prosecutor

As of Thursday, Amy J. St. Eve’s nomination to be a judge for the 7th Circuit in Chicago is still pending. Trump nominated her in February.

Her confirmation vote was also bumped to Monday, but she will bypass a cloture vote.

A Bush appointee to the bench confirmed by the Senate in 2002, St. Eve is currently a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

Before becoming a federal judge, she served as senior counsel for litigation at Abbott Laboratories after a stint as a federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Illinois.

St. Eve served for two years as an associate independent counsel for the Whitewater independent counsel’s investigation in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she helped oversee the successful prosecution of former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal for fraud.

She is a graduate of Cornell Law School.

3. Chief Judge in Louisiana

The Senate voted 62-34 on Wednesday to confirm Kurt Engelhardt to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Trump nominated him in September to the court, which hears appeals arising from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Engelhardt, who has served as the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, was a 2001 appointee of Bush.

While serving as a federal judge, Engelhardt was a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction, first named to the panel by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2004 and reappointed for a second term by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2007.

He was also president of the New Orleans chapter of the Federal Bar Association from 2011 to 2012.

Before becoming a judge, he was in private practice first at the Metairie, Louisiana-based Hailey, McNamara, Hall, Larmann & Papale LLP. While in private practice, he served on the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, which adjudicates statewide ethics complaints against judges, and became chairman of the commission in 1998.

He is a graduate of Louisiana State University.

4. Federal Judge From New Mexico

The Senate voted Thursday to end debate over the nomination of Joel M. Carson III to be a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Trump nominated Carson in December to the court, whose jurisdiction encompasses Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

His confirmation vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Carson has served as a part-time magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico since 2015 and as a partner in the Roswell, New Mexico-based law firm of Carson Ryan LLC.

Carson previously served for five years as general counsel for Mack Energy Corp. Before that, he was in private practice for nine years with the firm Hinkle Shanor LLP with offices in Roswell, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law.

5. Former Milwaukee Prosecutor

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Michael B. Brennan in a 49-46 party-line vote to be a judge on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Trump nominated him to the bench in August.

The controversy was largely over the “blue slip” rule that gives home state senators effective vetoes. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., opposed the nomination.

Brennan is a partner in the Milwaukee law firm Gass Weber Mullins LLC, where he tries cases involving commercial and tort disputes. He also serves as a mediator and an arbitrator.

Before private practice, Brennan served nine years as a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Before serving as a judge, he prosecuted cases as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County.

Brennan is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law.

6. State Justice Reformer

The Senate also moved to end debate on John B. Nalbandian to serve on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Trump nominated him in January to the court, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The Senate is expected to vote on Nalbandian’s nomination Tuesday.

Nalbandian is a partner in the litigation practice group of the Ohio-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, where he has worked since 2000, specializing in appellate cases.

In 2010, the Senate confirmed him to serve as a board member of the State Justice Institute, a nonprofit organization established by the federal government to improve the administration of justice in state courts.

In 2007, then-Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher named him as a special justice to the Kentucky Supreme Court in a case where a sitting justice had to recuse.

He has also served on the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, as a board member of the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development, and as a member of the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky.

Nalbandian is also a board member of the Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program and of the Asian Pacific Bar Association of Southwest Ohio.

He is a graduate the University of Virginia School of Law.

COMMENTARY 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.

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

NY Times Bites off More than It Can Skew

Fake news is alive and well — and thriving on the pages of America’s biggest newspapers. No wonder more people are tuning out the media. They don’t trust it. And outlets like the New York Times aren’t giving them any reason to try.At some point, the Times’s editorial board must have gotten together and decided to reprint every lie ever told about abstinence education. The result was Saturday’s work of fiction, a breathtakingly dishonest, 602-word crime scene of journalism that justifies America’s growing distrust of the press. About the only thing that was accurate about the column was its placement: on the opinion page, where it can’t be passed off as legitimate news.

Still, the editors’ agenda was obvious – discrediting a sex-ed approach that’s popular, effective, and grossly underfunded. They barely got the byline in before the absurdities began, starting with the Times’s insistence that HHS is somehow “advancing an anti-science, ideological agenda” by trying to level the funding field for abstinence. “The department last year prematurely ended grants to some teen pregnancy prevention programs, claiming weak evidence of success. More recently, it set new funding rules that favor an abstinence-only approach,” they complain.

If anyone’s ignoring science, it’s the Times. Barack Obama’s own HHS admitted outright that his contraception-first strategy was a billion-dollar failure. More than 80 percent of the students in his programs fared either worse or no better than their peers. Hardly the stuff of “weak evidence.” According to the last administration, Obama’s approach was a disaster — resulting in more pregnancies, more sexual initiation, and more oral sex1.

Not surprisingly, the Trump administration doesn’t think programs that encourage pregnancy are the wisest use of federal funds. So it rewrote the rules, shifting a very modest amount of money (10 cents of every sex-ed dollar) to the strategy the CDC agrees is working. But even now, HHS’s investment in abstinence isn’t close to what the Times’s preferred programs are getting. Liberal sex-ed still rakes in about $980 million, compared to $100 million for sexual risk avoidance (SRA). Even with the president’s changes, that’s still about a 10:1 ratio in favor of programs that taxpayers don’t want – and more importantly, don’t work!

The editors claim that “The administration’s approach defies all common sense. There is no good evidence that abstinence-only education prevents or delays young people from having sex, leads them to have fewer sexual partners, or reduces rates of teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.” Did the Times fire all of its fact-checkers? The CDC blew that myth to bits in 2016, explaining that not only does the abstinence message work — it positively affects every area of kids’ lives. “High school students who are virgins rate significantly and consistently better in nearly all health-related behaviors and measures than their sexually active peers.” That includes everything from “bike helmet and seat belt use to substance abuse, diet, doctor’s visits, exercise, and even tanning bed use.” Abstinence education is like one-stop shopping for healthier behavior.

Unfortunately, the Left is too beholden to its culture of permissiveness to listen. For some of them, it’s self-indulgence at all costs — so much so that they’re willing to help kids off a cliff that leads to teen pregnancy and everything that comes with it: financial hardshipschool failure, and depression. They refuse to treat sex like every other risk behavior and discourage it. And ironically, that’s what teenagers want.

In a survey of 18- and 19-year-olds, the Barna Group found that what kids care about is learning how to “understand healthy and unhealthy relationships (65 percent), avoiding sexual assault (64 percent), how alcohol impairs judgment (61 percent), and how to say ‘no’ to sex without losing a relationship (57 percent).” They’re relationship-driven, not sex obsessed. Most of them agree that today’s curriculum pressures them too much to have sex. And those who’ve given in regret it. They don’t think lessons on sexual pleasuring (26 percent) are nearly as important as having the skills to say “no” (63 percent).

That’s another thing the editors misjudge: teenagers’ desire to wait. “[G]iven that almost all Americans engage in premarital sex,” they argue, “this vision of an abstinent-outside-of-marriage world simply at odds with reality.” That’s ridiculous. All Americans don’t engage in premarital sex – and certainly all teenagers don’t. Even the Washington Post points out just how sharply teen sex is declining. Would you believe that about 60 percent of teens haven’t had sex? Most Americans are surprised to hear it – thanks in part to the misinformation campaigns of newspapers like this one. Once they know, Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between agree: it’s time to teach abstinence.

And the Trump administration is listening. They’re pursuing a bipartisan, evidence-based approach — which is more than I can say for the New York Times.

REFERENCE:

[1] Office of Adolescent Health (2016), Summary of Findings from the TPP Program Grantees (FY2010-2014). Washington, D.C.: HHS. Special issue of American Journal of Public Health, September 2016. 106 (S1):29-S15.


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


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Tennessee Refugee Resettlement Decision Appealed — A Fight For State Sovereignty

ANN ARBOR, MI – Informed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts’ observation that, “The States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it,” Tennessee has authorized the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”) to appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit which challenged the constitutionality of the federal refugee resettlement program. Although Tennessee officially withdrew from this federal program in 2007, the federal government continues, to this day, to commandeer state tax dollars to fund it.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it has filed an appeal of the federal district court decision which dismissed its case. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee General Assembly, and state legislators Terri Lynn Weaver and John Stevens, challenged the constitutionality of the federal refugee resettlement program as a violation of the principles of State sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. The Notice of Appeal was filed this morning with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The appeal will be heard by a panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals For The Sixth Circuit.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, stated: “We are grateful to the designated representatives of the General Assembly, State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and William Lamberth and State Senator John Stevens, for authorizing us to continue this significant legal battle. This case involves critical constitutional issues regarding the appropriate balance between the powers of the federal government and the states. The district court decision dismissing this case conflicts with several U.S. Supreme Court opinions upholding State sovereignty against overreach by the federal government.”

TMLC’s original lawsuit, which sought to permanently ban the federal government from forcing Tennessee to fund the refugee resettlement program out of its own treasury, was filed in March 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The lawsuit was authorized by Senate Joint Resolution 467, which passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming majorities. On March 19, 2018, a federal district court judge granted the Department of Justice motion to dismiss the case. State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and William Lamberth and State Senator John Stevens, as the designated representatives of the General Assembly, after consultation with the Thomas More Law Center lawyers, authorized an appeal of the decision. All the Law Center’s legal services are without charge.

Tennessee has a history of supporting the Tenth Amendment and State sovereignty.  In 2009, House Joint Resolution 108, which passed in the Senate 31-0 and in the House by 85-2, demanded that the federal government halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the U.S. Constitution.

As Tennessee’s own President Andrew Jackson declared in his March 4, 1837 Farewell Address: “[E]very friend of our free institutions should be always prepared to maintain unimpaired and in full vigor the rights and sovereignty of the States and to confine the action of the General Government strictly to the sphere of its appropriate duties.”

When Congress enacted the Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980, the explicit intent was to assure full federal reimbursement of the costs for each refugee resettled and participating in benefit programs provided by the states. Eventually, however, federal reimbursements to the states for these benefit programs were reduced and, by 1991, eliminated entirely.  The states thereby became responsible for the immense costs of the programs originally covered by the federal government.

Tennessee officially withdrew from participation in the refugee resettlement program in 2007. However, instead of honoring Tennessee’s decision to withdraw from the program, the federal government merely bypassed the State and appointed Catholic Charities of Tennessee, a private, non-governmental organization to administer the program. Catholic Charities receives revenue based upon the number of refugees it brings into the State.

Currently, Tennessee State revenues that could otherwise be used for State programs to help Tennesseans are appropriated by the federal government to support the federal refugee resettlement program. This arrangement displaces Tennessee’s constitutionally mandated funding prerogatives and appropriations process.

EDITORS NOTE: Copyright © 2018 Thomas More Law Center, All rights reserved.

USA: Leader of the Freed World

He’s only been on the job 13 days, but there aren’t a lot of people making more history than Mike Pompeo. In just two weeks, the new secretary of state has made some blockbuster headlines — and even more admirers. Today, he’s on an Air Force jet with three of them: American hostages released yesterday from North Korea.

“We have been asking for the release of these detainees for… 17 months,” Pompeo told reporters, who were as surprised as the rest of the world to hear that he was on his way to meet with Kim Jong Un. Like his April visit, this one was kept under wraps. While he was in the air, President Trump was on air, making the announcement that he was withdrawing America from the Iran nuclear agreement. Outlets like the New York Times wondered why Pompeo wasn’t there for the press conference. Now they know — he was bringing our prisoners home.

For the Trump administration, it was a busy day — shredding one deal and inching closer to another. For the president and Pompeo, the last 24 hours were significant ones in cementing America’s resolve, not only in holding Iran accountable but in bringing North Korea to the table. As far as the White House is concerned, Kim’s gesture of goodwill — releasing three innocent Americans — is another sign that their tough approach is working. “I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is… on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting,” the president celebrated. “They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.”

For the prisoners, who were grabbed and detained for supposed crimes against the North Korean government, the sight of Mike Pompeo must have been emotional. U.S. doctors gave all three men the green light to travel but hinted that their captivity had taken a toll. Kim Dong Chul, who was arrested in 2015, was accused of espionage and sentenced to a hard labor camp. The image of him wiping his eyes at his sentencing is still heartbreaking. Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song were snatched by North Korean officials two weeks apart. Both of them were charged with “hostile acts” while working at a university that’s run by a Korean Christian. After years of wondering whether they would ever see him again, the family of Tony Kim rejoiced in the news that he was finally coming home. “We also want to thank the President for engaging directly with North Korea. Mostly, we thank God for Tony’s safe return,” they said in a statement.

While the plans for a Trump-Kim meeting move forward, the Iranian backdrop is a meaningful one. “The message to North Korea,” national security advisor John Bolton said, “is [that] the president wants a real deal.” In both cases, President Trump has made it clear that he won’t let up until the two nations — who share information and a nuclear physicist — agree to “full denuclearization.” The countries’ close ties make Tuesday’s announcements a warning shot to both.

In the meantime, security experts continue to cheer the administration’s decision to pull the plug on a pact that did more to encourage Iran’s nuclear program than deter it. Thanks to Israeli intelligence, the White House had tens of thousands of pages of proof that President Hassan Rouhani has been lying about the country’s activities for years. “At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program,” the president told the press. “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie.”

Over at NRO, Andrew McCarthy says that Americans everywhere should be thrilled that this White House is canceling the blank check Obama gave to a nation of terrorist-backers. “President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is the greatest boost for American and global security in decades,” he wrote jubilantly.

Obama said the mullahs would use the windfall to rebuild their country (while Kerry grudgingly confessed that a slice would still be diverted to the jihad). Instead, billions of dollars poured into Iran by Obama’s deal promptly poured out to Syria, where it funded both sides of the war. Cash flowed to the Taliban, where it funded the war on the American-backed government. It flowed to Hamas and Hezbollah for the war on Israel. It flowed to Yemen, funding a proxy war against Saudi Arabia…

The [deal] made Iran better at war than it has ever been — and that’s saying something.

President Trump isn’t isolating the U.S., he points out. He’s proving that America “is the indispensable nation.” Other countries will be put to a choice: “You can have access to the U.S. economy or you can have commerce with Iran — not both. Our European allies know this is not a real choice: They can’t isolate us — they need us, our markets, and the umbrella of our protection. They’re angry because they’d like to pocket the benefits they get from us while cutting profitable deals with our enemies. That’s not ‘isolating us;’ that’s a tantrum. They will get over it…”

When they do, America will be ready to move forward — not from a position of weakness, like the last eight years, but of strength.


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


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