VIDEO: Election Judge Pleads Guilty to Ballot Stuffing for Democrats

A former elected official in Philadelphia who accepted large payments from a political consultant to stuff ballot boxes for Democratic judicial candidates has pleaded guilty as part of a continuing federal investigation.

The Justice Department announced Thursday that Domenick J. DeMuro, 73, who was an election judge in South Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive city voters of their civil rights by fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections.

DeMuro, a judge for the 39th Ward, 36th Division, also pleaded guilty to violating the Travel Act, which forbids use of any facility in interstate commerce—in this case, cellphones—with the intent to promote certain illegal activity—in this case, bribery.

The Justice Department said the case is part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

The judge of elections is an elective office and a paid position in Pennsylvania municipalities responsible for supervising the local election process.

“DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said.

“This is utterly reprehensible conduct,” McSwain said. “The charges announced today do not erase what he did, but they do ensure that he is held to account for those actions.”

During his guilty plea hearing, DeMuro said an unnamed political consultant gave him directions and paid him money to add votes for certain Democrats who were running for judicial office. Their campaigns had hired the consultant.DeMuro also admitted to casting illegal votes for other candidates for federal, state, and local offices at the consultant’s request.Prosecutors said the political consultant solicited monetary payments from his clients in the form of cash or checks as “consulting fees,” then used some of the money to pay election board officials, including DeMuro, to tamper with the election results. DeMuro said payments ranged between $300 to $5,000.In a press release, McSwain said:

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. If even one vote is fraudulently rung up, the integrity of that election is compromised. I want the public to know that this investigation is active and ongoing, and my office is taking every possible step that we can to ensure the integrity of the upcoming primary and general elections in the nine counties of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Citizens of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania should be confident of election integrity, said Capt. Leo Hannon, director of the special investigations division of the Pennsylvania State Police.

“As this investigation clearly illustrates, the Pennsylvania State Police will relentlessly pursue any breach of the sacred trust bestowed upon our public officials,” Hannon said in a prepared statement. “Our agency is proud to partner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the United States Department of Justice as a whole to root out corruption at any level of our government.”

The probe is a positive step forward in prosecuting voter fraud, said former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group.

“Right now, other federal prosecutors are aware of cases of double voting in federal elections as well as noncitizen voting,” Adams said in a written statement, adding:

Attorney General William Barr should prompt those other offices to do their duty and prosecute known election crimes. Those who are considering election crimes should take note of U.S. Attorney McSwain’s work. Now, they have something to fear before they violate federal election laws.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Why Conservatives and Liberals Are Responding to COVID-19 in Such Different Ways [+Video]

Liberals and conservatives are approaching the COVID-19 pandemic through very different moral frameworks.


In a 2008 TED Talk, psychologist Jonathan Haidt said the worst idea in psychology is the notion that humans are born as a “blank slate.”

Like the cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, Haidt was rejecting the notion that the human mind is a blank slate at birth, an idea that can be traced to thinkers from Aristotle, to John Locke, to B.F. Skinner and beyond.

“Developmental psychology has shown that kids come into the world already knowing so much about the physical and social worlds and programmed to make it really easy for them to learn certain things and hard to learn others,” explained Haidt, a Professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Citing research from the brain scientist Gary Marcus, Haidt said the initial organization of the brain essentially comes with a “first draft.” Studying the anthropological and historical records, Haidt found that five pillars of morality exist across disciplines, cultures, and even species:

  1. care/harm
  2. fairness/reciprocity
  3. loyalty/betrayal
  4. authority/subversion
  5. sanctity/degradation

What’s interesting is that these moral pillars differ sharply across ideological lines in America today. Haidt found that both conservatives and liberals recognize the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity values (though liberals value these a little more than conservatives). Things change, however, when examining the three remaining foundational values—loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. While conservatives accept these moral values, liberal-minded people tend to reject them.

The difference is extraordinary, and it helps explain the different ways Republicans and Democrats are experiencing the coronavirus. In May, a CNBC/Change Research survey found that while only 39 percent of Republicans said they had serious concerns about COVID-19, 97 percent of Democrats said they had serious concerns.

While some of the divergence could stem from the fact that blue states have been hit harder by COVID-19 than red states, Haidt’s research would suggest that another reason Democrats are more concerned is because liberals have an intense appreciation of the care/harm moral pillar.

Indeed, the preeminence of the care/harm moral can be found in the rhetoric of many progressives.

“I want to be able to say to the people of New York, ‘I did everything we could do,’” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in March. “And if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.”

The care/harm moral is even found in the latest social media emojis. Last month, as USA Today reported in an exclusive story, Facebook rolled out its new “care” emoji.

“The new Facebook reaction—an emoji hugging a heart—is intended as shorthand to show caring and solidarity when commenting on a status update, message, photo or video during the coronavirus crisis that allow users to express how much they care about others,” the paper reported.

Cuomo’s language (and to a lesser extent Facebook’s emojis) suggests that, for many, care for others is the preeminent virtue. As such, efforts to protect people must be taken above lesser social considerations.

Understanding the different moral framework conservatives and liberals are using helps us understand why blue states have taken a much more aggressive approach in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

As The Atlantic explains, with a few exceptions, such as Ohio, Republican governors have been much more reluctant to impose sweeping restrictions on their residents than states led by Democratic governors. While governors in these states no doubt value care/harm, their moral framework likely gives them a heightened concern of other social considerations, particularly civil liberties.

The lockdowns, the Constitution Center explains, have threatened many of America’s most cherished civil liberties—the freedom to assemble, the right to purchase a firearm, the ability to freely travel, the freedom to attend church or visit a reproductive health facility. They’ve also put thousands of companies on a path toward bankruptcy by prohibiting them from engaging in commerce.

These infringements tend to be viewed as reasonable to liberals, who emphasize the care/harm moral but are less likely to recognize the sanctity/degradation moral. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, for example, said he never even considered the US Constitution—a document considered sacrosanct by many Americans—when he issued his lockdown order.

“That’s above my pay grade,” Murphy told Tucker Carlson in April. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. We went to all—first of all—we went to the scientists who said people have to stay away from each other.”

Similarly, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer saw no problem in suspending the Freedom of Information Act to prevent outside groups from assessing the model state officials used to justify locking down the entire state.

Those who view civil liberties and constitutional rights as sacred, however, are less than comfortable with such an approach. They will be less inclined to sacrifice sacred principles to support sweeping state efforts to protect people (and are probably more likely to see such efforts as counter-productive).

To be sure, some progressives do see civil liberties as sacred, and some of them have expressed dismay and bewilderment that so many progressives, in their enthusiasm for the care/harm moral, have abandoned civil liberties.

“[The COVID-19 crisis is] raising serious civil liberties issues, from prisoners trapped in deadly conditions to profound questions about speech and assembly, the limits to surveillance and snitching, etc.,” the progressive journalist Matt Taibbi recently wrote in Rolling Stone. “If this disease is going to be in our lives for the foreseeable future, that makes it more urgent that we talk about what these rules will be, not less—yet the party I grew up supporting seems to have lost the ability to do so, and I don’t understand why.”

If Haidt’s theory is correct, the reason is liberals and conservatives are, generally speaking, approaching the COVID-19 pandemic through divergent moral frameworks.

After all, the argument isn’t whether we should protect people.

“In any country, the disagreement isn’t over harm and fairness,” Haidt says. “Everyone agrees that harm and fairness matter.”

The argument isn’t even over how to best balance the care/harm moral with other considerations.

The disagreement is over whether efforts to protect individuals from COVID-19 should be balanced against other considerations—including constitutional and economic ones—at all.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: President Trump Declares ‘Houses of Worship’ as ‘Essential Services’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has declared houses of worship “essential places that provide essential services,” saying they should be opened up right away and governors who get in the way will have to answer to him. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship.

It’s not right,” said Trump. “So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque – many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life.”

WATCH:

©All rights reserved.

RELATED VIDEO: Social Distancing’: Preventing Humans from Gathering in Jesus’s Name.

As Unemployment Keeps Rising, Congress Needs to Fix What It Broke

Another 2.4 million workers filed for unemployment claims last week, bringing the 10-week total to nearly 39 million. If all of these represent separate claims, that means that almost 1 in 4 workers has filed for unemployment since the coronavirus shutdowns began.

That’s bad news because unemployment is undesirable at best, and devastating at worst.

The situation has both short-term and long-term consequences for unemployed individuals, and really, it’s to no one’s advantage. At least not normally.

But now, because of Congress’ problematic additional unemployment benefit of $600, unemployment has become advantageous—even preferable—to some workers, employers, and state and local governments.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>>

When can America reopen? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, is gathering America’s top thinkers together to figure that out. Learn more here>>>.


Instead of simply providing workers with a higher percentage of their usual earnings than the roughly 40% to 50% that state unemployment systems normally provide—which was appropriate and had bipartisan support—Congress messed up by giving everyone the same additional $600 per week, regardless of whether they had been making $100 a week or $1,000 a week.

Now, the majority of unemployed workers are receiving higher unemployment benefits than their usual paychecks.

A JPMorgan Chase analysis estimated that between 65% and 75% of workers are receiving more from unemployment than their paychecks. And an analysis by professors at the University of Chicago estimated that the median unemployment benefit equals 134% of workers’ previous wages, while 1 in 5 workers is receiving 200% or more of previous earnings and 1 in 10  is receiving almost 300% of previous earnings.

That’s both inequitable and counterproductive to the economic recovery.

As this table shows, someone in California who makes $36,000 per year—perhaps a nursing home or construction worker—would receive 53% more, or an extra $298 per week—by being unemployed as opposed to employed. (Note that individuals do not have to pay payroll taxes on unemployment benefits and a few states—including California—do not tax unemployment benefits.)

That’s hardly fair for the hardworking Americans who have continued to do their jobs each day.

In light of the unprecedented circumstances, it was appropriate for policymakers to temporarily increase unemployment benefits, but wrong for them to make unemployment pay more than employment.

Some policymakers who want to extend the expanded unemployment benefits until January or March of 2021 argue that it would be heartless to cut off bonus unemployment benefits on July 31.

But enticing workers with an extra $31,200 in unemployment benefits (potentially over $50,000 in total unemployment benefits) if they remain unemployed for a year could be far more damaging—both to individuals and to society.

Long-term unemployment results in lower incomes and fewer opportunities, as well as detrimental impacts on physical and emotional well-being.

Moreover, if Congress doesn’t fix this problem (by capping unemployment benefits at no more than 100% of workers’ wages) and instead extends excessive benefits, shortages of willing workers will contribute to more failures of small businesses.

Examples from around the country show that many small businesses are ready to open back up, but some workers don’t want to come back until their bonus $600 benefits expire.

Some lawmakers have suggested that those employers should just pay their workers more and raise their prices to cover the higher labor costs. But most small businesses are struggling just to stay afloat and wouldn’t be able to survive if they significantly increase prices. Those business failures would hurt both workers and their customers.

Take day care facilities, for example. Many parents will not be able to go back to work until day care centers reopen, but if providers raise prices enough to pay child care workers more than they are making on unemployment, families wouldn’t be able to afford child care.

Although larger businesses may be able to hang on in the short term, they likely will turn to increased automation for the positions they can’t fill. That will exacerbate unemployment and leave workers with even fewer options.

And finally, while a massive public health pandemic such as COVID-19 warrants a federal government response, such measures must be targeted and directly aimed at combating the pandemic and enabling an economic recovery.

That’s not the case with the $600 benefit, which invites misuse and abuse. In some cases, it’s also unfairly redistributing and driving up costs.

In Portland, Oregon, for example, the school district and teachers union teamed up to devise a strategy—Friday furloughs—that will allow teachers to work less and earn more.

Instead of the usual $460 in daily district pay supported by Oregon taxpayers, Friday-furloughed teachers would receive an average $730 in unemployment benefits supported by federal taxpayers.

These excessive unemployment benefits hurt the nation’s recovery. And at an estimated cost of $279 billion through July alone—equal to $2,170 for every household in the United States—the House’s proposal to extend the benefit into 2021 would shift even greater costs onto ordinary Americans.

Americans are hard-wired for work. Beyond a paycheck, producing goods and services of value and interacting with others are fundamental to human flourishing.

It’s time for Congress to focus on creating an environment that fosters employment opportunities instead of unemployment incentives.

COMMENTARY BY

Rachel Greszler is research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, of the Institute for Economic Freedom, at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Sweden’s Top Infectious Disease Expert Says COVID-19 Lockdowns Are Not Based on Science. History Shows He Could Be Right

The debate over COVID-19 lockdowns has thrust Sweden into the global spotlight. Anders Tegnell, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he’s confident Sweden’s approach is the right one.


As nations around the world begin to ease lockdown restrictions passed amid the scariest pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu, a new battle is brewing among disease experts and the punditry class.

On one side, are lockdown proponents who compare lockdown skeptics to anti-vaxxers who endanger lives because they are drunk on “freedom” and want to prematurely ease restrictions, which they say could result in a new spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Lockdown skeptics, on the other hand, draw the battlelines differently.

“On one side are ideologues heavily invested in the idea of lockdown, regardless of the cost,” The Wall Street Journal recently described one skeptic’s take. “On the other are scientists with data that the lockdowns are overkill.”

While there is room for middle ground here—I know several medical professionals who say lockdowns made sense initially to “flatten the curve,” but that stage is now over—it’s fair to say the political debate around lockdowns has become largely a two-front war.

As I wrote last week, the costs of lockdowns become clearer every day: nations around the world staggering into recessions and Great Depression-level unemployment. The benefits of the lockdowns, at least for lockdown skeptics, are less easy to quantify.

“There is no correlation between fatalities and lockdown stringency,” columnist Simon Jenkins recently observed in The Guardian. “The most stringent lockdowns—as in China, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Britain—have yielded both high and low deaths per million.”

The debate over lockdowns has naturally thrust Sweden, which has foregone a hardline approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in favor of a softer one encouraging voluntary action, into the global spotlight. The results of Sweden’s policy have so far been mixed.

While Sweden’s outbreak has to date been deadlier than its Scandanavian neighbors, The New York Times recently conceded that “it’s still better off than many countries that enforced strict lockdowns.”

While Sweden has endured a great deal of criticism for its “laissez-faire” approach, Anders Tegnell, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, recently defended his policies, stating that while a degree of social distancing is the right approach, lockdowns are not grounded in actual science.

“Nothing to do with [them] has a scientific basis,” Tegnell said, according to The Guardian.

It’s an astonishing claim. If the lockdowns are not based on science, what are they based on? As it happens, The New York Times recently traced the history of social US social distancing policy.

The origins apparently stem from a trip President George W. Bush made to the library in the summer of 2005 over concerns about bioterrorism, which prompted him to read The Great Influenza, a book on the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 written by John M. Barry.

Shortly thereafter, the Bush administration enlisted two federal government doctors, Carter Mecher and Richard Hatchett, to develop ideas to implement during the next pandemic. Mecher⁠— who “had almost no pandemic policy expertise,” according to the Times⁠—then met with Dr. Robert J. Glass, a New Mexico scientist at Sandia who specialized in developing models to explain how complex systems function.

And that’s where the story gets interesting. Via The Times:

Dr. Glass’s daughter Laura, then 14, had done a class project in which she built a model of social networks at her Albuquerque high school, and when Dr. Glass looked at it, he was intrigued.

Students are so closely tied together — in social networks and on school buses and in classrooms — that they were a near-perfect vehicle for a contagious disease to spread.

Dr. Glass piggybacked on his daughter’s work to explore with her what effect breaking up these networks would have on knocking down the disease.

The outcome of their research was startling. By closing the schools in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, only 500 people got sick. If they remained open, half of the population would be infected.

“My God, we could use the same results she has and work from there,” Dr. Glass recalled thinking. He took their preliminary data and built on it by running it through the supercomputers at Sandia, more typically used to engineer nuclear weapons. (His daughter’s project was entered in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2006.)

Dr. Mecher received the results at his office in Washington and was amazed.

If cities closed their public schools, the data suggested, the spread of a disease would be significantly slowed, making this move perhaps the most important of all of the social distancing options they were considering.

If the Times is correct, it would appear that federal social distancing policy is to some extent the brainchild of a trip George W. Bush made to the library in the summer of 2005 and a 14-year-old girl’s science project. (You can read more about Laura’s Glass’s science project, which reportedly took third place at the 2006 Intel fair in Indianapolis, in this Albuquerque Journal article.)

To be clear, there’s no direct evidence to my knowledge that this is what Tegnell, who earned a PhD in Medicine from Linköping University in 2003 and a MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2004, was referring to when he said the lockdowns are not based on science.

Moreover, there’s nothing to say the lockdowns don’t work simply because the policy stems from George W. Bush and a child’s school project. (The lockdowns will ultimately be judged on their results, not their intellectual genesis.)

Nevertheless, Tegnell’s assertion that there is no “scientific basis” for the lockdowns deserves attention. There’s a tendency to assume central planning is inherently rational and scientific, but this is hardly true. Karl Marx, perhaps the most famous central planner in history, was horribly unscientific in his methods, explained the historian Paul Johnson.

“[Marx] failed precisely because he was unscientific: he would not investigate the facts himself, or use objectively the facts investigated by others,” Johnson observed in the book Intellectuals. “From start to finish, not just Capital but all his work reflects a disregard for truth which at times amounts to contempt. That is the primary reason why Marxism, as a system, cannot produce the results claimed for it; and to call it ‘scientific’ is preposterous.”

For his part, Tegnell says the science of COVID-19 is becoming clear on at least one point, whatever the models of Laura Glass’s hypothetical town said in 2006.

“We feel more and more confident about [not] closing schools,” Tegnell told TV host Trevor Noah in a May interview. “It’s not something that really is going to be effective for this kind of disease. Schools don’t seem to be very much of a motor of this epidemic.”

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Obamagate — How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks

There is strong evidence that President Barack Obama’s administration improperly weaponized U.S. intelligence agencies in multiple and shocking ways against Donald Trump and other political enemies.

It appears the Obama administration did this in a number of ways, including: fraudulently obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on American citizens; promoting the Democratic National Committee-funded dossier assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele that was filled with lies about Trump; politicizing intelligence analysis; leaking intelligence; and spying on political opponents and journalists.

In the period when he was a presidential candidate and president-elect, Trump and his aides seemed to have been the major targets of this misuse of American intelligence for political purposes. But they were not the only targets.

It is imperative to uncover the extent of the Obama administration’s abuse of U.S. intelligence for political purposes. This must include a full list of every American unmasked from intelligence reports – Trump aides, members of Congress, and ordinary Americans – and who made these requests.

It would be irresponsible for the intelligence community and Congress to turn a blind eye to this abuse simply because it happened years ago. Wrongdoing by the Obama administration in this scandal – which President Trump has dubbed “Obamagate” – must be exposed to ensure such actions never take place again.

This week’s revelation that an astounding 39 Obama administration officials – including then-Vice President Joe Biden – made 53 requests to unmask incoming Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency phone intercepts between Election Day on Nov. 8, 2016 and Jan. 12, 2017 was a bombshell.

The stunning revelation regarding Obama administration spying on Flynn by secretly recording his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. at the time appears to confirm allegations by President Trump and his supporters of a broad effort by the Obama administration to weaponize intelligence to undermine the Trump presidency shortly before it began.

Flynn was simply carrying out his duties by making contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period after Trump was elected president. It is perfectly routine for incoming members of a new presidential administration dealing with foreign affairs to contact foreign officials to introduce themselves before taking office.

Making this worse, the 53 unmasking requests by Obama administration officials are probably the tip of the iceberg of the Obama administration’s abuse of National Security Agency intelligence to target Trump aides.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. confirmed this in a Fox Business interview this week on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” when he said the Flynn unmasking scandal is “even worse than this” because “a whole lot” of other Trump associates were unmasked.

With this in mind, it is frustrating to see former Obama officials, the mainstream media and some former intelligence officials brush off the Flynn unmasking requests by claiming such requests are “normal and routine” and that all relevant rules and laws were complied with.

As a former CIA officer who helped process requests to unmask the names of U.S. citizens from National Security Agency reports, I know that unmasking requests are not normal and routine. And I believe these requests raise serious civil rights and legal issues that have not yet been addressed.

From my 25 years working in U.S. government national security jobs, I know how sensitive and rare unmasking requests are.

Names of U.S. citizens mentioned in U.S. intelligence reports – often National Security Agency communications intercepts – are redacted because under U.S. law, America’s foreign intelligence services are normally not permitted to spy on U.S. citizens.

Although senior U.S. officials are permitted to ask for the identity of a redacted name in an intelligence report (an unmasking request), such requests are unusual and the requestor must have a “need to know” the identity of the U.S. person to understand the foreign intelligence information or assess its importance.

When the request is approved, the unmasked identity is released only to the person who requested it – not to everyone who might have seen the original version of the report.

For example, during my time at the State Department from 2001-2006, Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage made about 100 demasking requests. Then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton only made 10 in four years.

Ironically, Senate Democrats made Bolton’s unmasking requests an issue during his 2005 nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by falsely claiming these requests were improper and made to intimidate people and gain political advantage.

Then-Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said at the time that unmasking requests were “rarely requested” and made “infrequently” by “non-career political appointees such as Mr. Bolton.”

An April 14, 2005, New York Times article said this about unmasking requests in connection with the Bolton confirmation hearings: “The identities of American officials whose communications are intercepted are usually closely protected by law, and not included even in classified intelligence reports. Access to the names may be authorized by the N.S.A. only in response to special requests, and these are not common, particularly from policy makers.”

The above statements about the rarity of unmasking requests are consistent with what I witnessed during my government career. In addition, the National Security Agency tightened the rules in 2005 on unmasking because of the controversy over such requests caused by the Bolton hearing.

The Obama administration, however, appeared to weaken the unmasking rules.

The Obama administration expanded access to National Security Agency information in February 2016 and on January 12, 2017. Both changes appeared to allow larger numbers of government officials to have access to unmasked names of Americans in intelligence reporting.

Even more troubling was a major rollback by the Obama administration in rules protecting members of Congress from unmasking requests.

I know from my five years on House Intelligence Committee staff of longstanding sensitivity by lawmakers that U.S. intelligence agencies could be used by the executive branch to spy on a president’s political enemies. For this reason, until 2013 there were strict limits to keep members of Congress out of intelligence reporting and to prevent unmasking their names.

Under a policy in effect in the 1990s, unmasking requests of the names of members of Congress were extremely limited and generally had to be reported to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these rules were tightened further with “a 2011 NSA directive [that] required direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress to be destroyed, but [gave] the NSA director the authority to waive this requirement if he determines the communications contain ‘significant foreign intelligence.””

However, in 2013 the Obama administration significantly weakened rules on unmasking the names of members of Congress from intelligence reports. The requestor’s reason could now merely be “to fully understand the intelligence.”

Rules on notifying Congress also were weakened. National Security Agency officials henceforth would notify Congress when members were unmasked from intelligence reports “as appropriate” and would determine “whether and to what extent congressional notification would take place.”

The Obama administration appeared to take advantage of these rules changes in 2015 when it obtained private conversations from National Security Agency reports of U.S. lawmakers who opposed the Iran nuclear deal in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The rule changes on unmasking the names of members of Congress have a direct bearing on the Obama administration’s unmasking of Trump aides.

Since there no longer was a prohibition on using U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on members of Congress, Obama officials probably reasoned there was nothing to prevent them from spying on members of a presidential campaign or an incoming presidential administration. This helps explain the hundreds of unmasking requests regarding Trump aides in 2016 and early 2017.

So what should happen now?

In addition to an investigation of spying on American citizens by the Obama administration, all Obama administration rule changes making it easier to unmask the names of members of Congress and ordinary Americans from intelligence reports need to be reversed immediately.

There also should be a requirement in the law restricting when U.S. officials can unmask the names of members of a presidential campaign or incoming administration from intelligence reports or otherwise spy on them. These rules should include a requirement for congressional notification if such spying is deemed necessary in the future.

Finally, I want to know why career intelligence officials cooperated with unmasking Trump campaign and transition officials at the request of the Obama administration.

Since the prohibition on spying on American citizens and keeping the names of U.S citizens out of intelligence reports are cardinal rules of the U.S. intelligence community, how could career intelligence officers agree to process hundreds of these requests? Why did none of them file complaints with their inspector general or the congressional intelligence oversight committees?

The hundreds of unmasking requests of Trump campaign and transition officials made by the Obama administration were in no way routine and necessary. I believe carrying out these unmasking requests was a huge ethical lapse by dozens – maybe hundreds – of U.S. intelligence community employees that must be addressed by the White House and the leaders of our intelligence agencies.

Originally published by Fox News

COLUMN BY

About Fred Fleitz

Fred Fleitz is President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy. He recently served as a Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Chief of Staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton. He previously worked in national security positions for 25 years with CIA, DIA, the Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read his complete bio here. Follow Fleitz on Twitter @fredfleitz.

EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Both Parties Have Unleashed The Beast On America

The Founding Fathers understood. The monster must be imprisoned, shackled and padlocked in multiple ways. If it is not securely and soundly constrained, it will break free and terrorize the countryside. We see their increasingly ignored forewarnings brightly highlighted in draconian shutdown orders.

The monster of course is government, by nature a truly monstrous being. This gongs in the ears of Americans who have not been taught history, or refuse to learn from it. But from the beginnings of time, governments under kings, queens, emperors, chieftains, despots and potentates of every stripe have caused more death and misery than all of the famines, plagues and catastrophes of nature.

The history of the 20th century alone is soaked in the blood of governments terrorizing their own citizens, quite apart from the wars of conquest they embarked on. Mao, Stalin, Hitler, it is often forgotten or ignored, were the heads of government and could have accomplished none of their genocides against their own people without a gigantic government accountable only to itself. Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Castro and a host of others did the same on a smaller scale.

This is the history of big and unaccountable governments. Always. The most enlightened government in history to its time, the British Empire, still allowed its own citizens few individual rights, and those it granted and it removed. It ran press gangs to snatch even its own people out of pubs and dives for essentially slave sailors on its ships.

As often as not, the most tyrannical governments were those supposedly “protecting” us — from potential invaders, from religious heresy, from poverty, from “others” such as Jews. Their dictatorial powers frequently derived from the people’s fears, our fears. Such as fears of a deadly virus. Perhaps fears of “catastrophic” climate change.

But it always ends the same. Pick your empire (run by governments, all) and the rights-crushing, soul-sucking terror that follows the squashing of individual rights is inevitable. Only the scale differs.

Until 1776, that is, when for the first time in the history of mankind, a nation created a government by and for the people, not for itself. It created a government on the principles that all of mankind is created in the image of God and therefore has rights emanating from God, not from government. These rights were inherent to all mankind and government was to play the role of ensuring those rights were not encroached upon — mostly by constraint as a government, including an American government, would be the largest threat.

As history had taught Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and the rest, the government monster would always be a threat to those rights, to the individual’s liberty that comes from God. It was by its nature monstrous, and so while it had to exist, it had to be imprisoned, locked up deep in a vault far from the people and with no ability to terrorize the American citizenry.

And the Framers created such a prison by establishing a separation of powers. Creating three equal branches of government that would harness human nature’s lust for power to keep each in check, while also creating a strong state’s rights system that would further act to keep the federal government in check.

This system was brilliantly designed by the Framers to imprison the monster away from the people by creating constant friction within the government and between the government and the states. Over the course of the centuries, we’ve seen how marvelously it has preserved individual rights and freedoms and created a magnificent Shining City on a Hill.

However, we have steadily been loosening the chains on the monster, slowly freeing it from these restraints while at the same time providing it with weapons to use against the American people. The courts have done this through extra-Constitutional rulings. Congress has done this through legislation. Presidents have done this through executive orders. And to a degree, each branch has allowed the other to take these powers — Congress giving the most away.

And we the people allowed it all. It was all in our power to stop, but we let it slip away. Why? How did human nature turn this power over? More human nature, but within a changing dynamic.

The Framers almost universally agreed that this arrangement of freedoms and representative democracy was only fit for a Christian and moral people. It’s not clear we are either of those things anymore. We’re certainly not nearly as much as we were in 1776, or even 50 years ago. The loosening of the chains on the government monster has occurred in part because we lost the knowledge, through purposely lacking education, of why the cell was locked in the first place.

Part of the calculation is political expediency on the part of politicians who, with the growth and power of the monster and decline in Christian influence and morals, find more prestige and financial gain from being in office, and so re-election trumps all other considerations. Therefore Congress, filled with people of declining moral character, reflecting the country, has foisted off on the presidency or the courts the tough decisions that can have political blowback. The power and prestige far outweighs doing the right thing for the nation.

This has been bi-partisan. Each party is culpable as it attempts to gain control of the reins of power to bend the monster to its will. Democrats openly seek to free the beast, while Republicans tend to only slow the pace at which it is freed. And the American people are responsible for electing these people. They truly are representative. They are a reflection of us — a nation of people who are increasingly forgetting the monster behind the locks.

But in doing so, both parties representing the people who chose them, feed the monster while loosening its bonds, and it grows and grows and grows until the monster itself is the one in control — unbending and willful itself, unbound to the people or even the parties.

This is not a warning of where we are heading. We are here.

The monster is loose on the American people. It is not completely free, but the locks are off and it’s chain is long and weakening. It is shutting people into their houses, telling them what they can and cannot say. Stopping them from going to places of worship. If it is not re-imprisoned very soon, we the people will be incapable of restraining it. At that point, the great American experiment ends. The greatest power for good on earth, will cease to be that nation anymore. And the world will descend into the bloody chaos of unchained monsters and enslaved peoples around the globe.

No this is not our future. This is our present. And we’ve almost missed it. The creep has been so steady, we are as frogs in warming water. It has been going on a long time.

When the monster disapproved of the choice of the American people for president, it reacted via its nature and sought to devour that choice. As is being unveiled more every day, what we saw was a concerted, coordinated effort through different parts of government, from the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies, to the State Department, Justice Department and individual federal judges blocking presidential actions to the pliant FISA court. Or consider the mini-tyrants unveiled in the COVID shutdowns, or the IRS targeting political opponents of the former President, or the NSA broadly spying on everyone to the shock of many in Congress.

Readers may bristle at this, but they are all part of the monsters. Not all of the individuals, of course. Not by a long-shot. But in measuring the actions they have taken to destroy the people’s choice, it is difficult to dispute that, as organizations, they are part of terrorizing the American people and threatening the representative government bequeathed to us by the Framers.

Republicans and conservatives reactively, and not inaccurately, blame Democrats and the media working in conjunction with Democrats inside government to explain this. Yes. There’s plenty of truth to that. We’ve reported much of it on this site. However, this is the reality: Neither Democrat politicians nor the media were part of the launch of the Russia collusion hoax played on the American people. That was launched and steered entirely by the monster — acting on its own.

That is the key piece of evidence.

The other reality is that if a Democrat president ever moves against the goals and desires of the monster, the beast unleashed will do what it deems necessary to undermine, block or destroy that president. Right now, it has allies in the Democratic Party and media. But remember, the previous president willingly used the FBI and courts to pursue journalists in the AP and at Fox News that it did not like. The media glanced away because they perceived themselves on the side of the titular head of the monster — oddly, what they considered the right side of history. But the monster is greater than any president now, and certainly greater than a media that has burned down trustworthiness with the American people.

The monster is not loyal to any party or people. It is for itself. Period.

It is not clear that President Trump truly understands the depth of the threat to the American future. But he might. He certainly does more so than other politicians in Washington. But he cannot re-imprison the beast by himself. I don’t think he knows how to. He needs an iron-backboned Congress that also sees the desperate need to chain up the monster, even at great political risk. And he needs to keep appointing judges and justices who will rule on the Constitution and who also see the threat of leviathan unleashed.

If we do not bend history back and remember why the monster was chained in the first place, we will pay a very steep price.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like The Revolutionary Act on Facebook

It’s Wildly Wrong to Blame Capitalism for Government’s Botched Response to COVID-19

The litany of government fiascoes speaks for itself.


On April 1, 2020, a letter-to-the-editor appeared in my town’s newspaper in which the author declared that the COVID-19 pandemic proves capitalism to be “woefully inadequate to sustain itself through any type of major crisis.” He suggested that we must embrace a massive expansion of government without offering the slightest hint that this prescription might create a problem or two of its own.

It was breathtaking to read. I anticipated the line, “April Fools!” but this guy wasn’t kidding. Read it for yourself here. Mere weeks into the pandemic, he pronounced a sweeping judgment on an entire economic system (which in its pure form, we don’t even have!)—not just for the moment, but for whatever the duration of the crisis could be.

Try to follow the logic: An unexpected virus appears half a world away. A one-party socialist dictatorship lies about it, jails whistleblowing doctors and silences critics—evil on a grand scale that leads directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. That would normally prompt a hint of doubt about socialist dictatorships, but not in this instance. The author races straight to the conclusion that capitalism can’t handle it and what we need here is uncritical acceptance of gargantuan government (like they have where the virus came from).

Of course, you can’t follow the logic because there isn’t any. Not a shred. It’s the old, familiar knee-jerk reaction that defenders of freedom and markets deal with every day. Capitalism, even when adulterated with endless restrictions, taxes, political cronyism and the like, is a hair-trigger away from mindless, sweeping condemnation. The benevolent state, in spite of its monotonous and often deadly failures, gets a pass.

People who think this way judge capitalism against a fictional, utopian ideal and find it wanting; they judge the state by nothing more than the good intentions it expresses. They turn a blind eye when its intentions aren’t really good or when they produce disastrous results. The letter writer couldn’t wait until the pandemic’s end to render an informed assessment; he judged Big Government a home run before it even got to first base. Whatever the state does to handle it must be right! That’s a magical claim that would embarrass even an unlicensed witch doctor.

Meantime, while politicians deal with the pandemic by shutting everything down and ballooning the national debt, capitalists are revving up production of the very medical devices and equipment needed to solve the problem. We should forgive them if they all decide, “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Let somebody else take the risks. I’m headed to Galt’s Gulch.”

Where does this blame-capitalism-first nonsense come from? That’s an intriguing subject, but one for another essay. For now, I simply want to offer a partial catalogue of dubious state actions as documented in these articles. It’s not the final word on the matter because the pandemic is ongoing, and governments aren’t done yet. Count on a lot more mischief. In the meantime, the headlines alone should inoculate most readers against the “government is always right” virus:

COLUMN BY

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Ambassador for Global Liberty at the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of ProgressivismFollow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Seattle Police Officer Sacrificed His Job to Speak the Truth on Abuse of Power by Government

Officer Greg Anderson Courageously Speaks The Truth About Lockdown.

Watch:

Thank you Isaac.

EDITORS NOTE: This Vlad Tepes Blog posted by Eeyore is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Streak Continues: April Gun Sales Sets NICS Record

April 2020 set another record for background checks conducted through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS). The FBI NICS office conducted 2,911,128 background checks last month – a nearly 25% increase from the previous April, which had been the previous record high for the month of April.

April 2020 is now the fourth-busiest month in the history of the NICS office. Moreover, the week of April 13th through the 19th is the 9th busiest week in NICS history.

The more than 2.9 million checks run last month included: 984,872 checks related to the transfer of a handgun; 508,122 checks related to the transfer of a long gun; 68,746 checks related to “other” transfers; and, 34,779 checks related to multiple transfers in one transaction. There were also 311,568 permit checks and an additional 888,385 permit rechecks.

To be blunt: Americans set another record for background checks last month because we are a nation of law-abiding gun owners intent on keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. Nearly three-million background checks to purchase a firearm or obtain a permit were conducted in just the thirty days of April. That is not a small group of “super gun owners” stockpiling thousands of firearms or some small subset of the general population.

Gun owners include all, from every race, gender, and creed. We – the gun owning community – reflect the overall population because we are a significant part of the overall population.

April continued the 2020 trend of record-setting months for the NICS office. January was (at the time) the sixth-busiest month ever and the busiest January by far. February saw even more checks than January, making it the third busiest month ever (at the time) and easily set the February record. March reset the all-time record with more than 3.7 million checks.

This is not an emerging trend. December 2019 saw more than 2.9 million NICS checks and was the second-busiest December ever. Before that, each of these months in 2019 had set the record for that respective month: April, May, June, August, September, October, and November. Of course, April 2020 and May 2020 shattered those respective records.

There were more NICS checks run in 2019 than in any other year, and there were more run in 2018 than any prior year except 2016. The four busiest years for the NICS offices have been the last four years. So far this year, there have been 32% more NICS checks run than there were in the same time period in 2019.

We suspect that we may see more NICS records broken this year. The anti-gun billionaires see these numbers, as do their “volunteers” and their bought-and-sold puppets. Do you think that Mike Bloomberg is going to take this as a sign that the American people support 2nd Amendment rights?

This is a man who spent more than a billion dollars on a shortsighted bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination that only lasted three months. Bloomberg and his allies – as well as those that depend on his funding for their campaigns – will double down as they try to eliminate gun rights in the United States.

We respect the millions of Americans who have decided to become law-abiding gun owners in 2020, but their rights may be revoked if they do not vote this November.

Protecting our rights will take every one of us. Every single American that applied for a permit and/or purchased a firearm this year must do everything they can to help us protect our rights.

Volunteer. Spread the word. Get your family and friends registered to vote. Vote and make your friends and family vote, too.


NRA is always looking for volunteers. See how you can help today.


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Federal Judge Enjoins Massachusetts Gun Store Lockdown

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Does America Still Have a Prayer?

As of this writing, tens of thousands of Americans have reportedly died from the coronavirus. Also, 30 million have abruptly lost work.

Scan the headlines these days, and the bad news because of the coronavirus seems to get worse and worse:

  • April’s unemployment is described by the Wall Street Journal as “the largest one-month blow to the U.S. labor market on record” (5/3/20). The worst job loss ever.
  • “Universities across the country are being hit with lawsuits by students who aren’t satisfied with the refunds they’re being provided after being told to leave campus” (Campusreform.com, 4/27/20).
  • As one of six workers are suddenly out of a job, hunger is a growing problem. The AP reports, “Before the pandemic, food policy experts say, roughly one out of every eight or nine Americans struggled to stay fed. Now as many as one out of every four are projected to join the ranks of the hungry” (5/4/20).

Amidst all the bad news, is there any hope? Does America still have a prayer?

Yes. Thursday, May 7, 2020 is the National Day of Prayer. And, boy, do we need it.

America, it could be said, was born in prayer. We can even see an example in the rotunda of the

U.S. Capitol, where there are eight large paintings dedicated to aspects of our history.

One of them shows the Pilgrims having a prayer meeting with a large open Geneva Bible. The Pilgrims experienced one setback after another. But they also experienced answers to prayer.

For example, when they were finally settled in the New World in 1621, after a disastrous winter where half their number died, they planted their crops. But then they experienced a great drought.

The parched conditions threatened their first crop of corn, and it looked like the year’s harvest of corn was all but dead. But the Pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer. By the end of the day, it was raining.

The rain saved the corn, which miraculously sprang to life. The harvesting of that corn was part of what they celebrated in the first Thanksgiving.

A couple of paintings in the Capitol rotunda have George Washington as the central character. Although modern scholars like to discount the notion of Washington as a man of prayer, there were many contemporary witnesses who said otherwise. In our book, George Washington’s Sacred Fire, Dr. Peter Lillback and I document that Washington was a dedicated Christian who read the Bible regularly and spent much time in prayer.

Washington often said that as a nation we should be grateful for God’s repeated help. He once said, in reference to God’s help during the War for Independence, “The hand of Providence has been conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” (Letter to Thomas Nelson, 8/20/1778).

Susie Federer has written two books on miracles in American history, Miracles and Miracles II, based on the research of her husband, Bill. He is a bestselling author and speaker.

Bill Federer describes a time—not unlike today—when there was a plague of sorts ravaging the land in the mid-19th century. President Zachary Taylor declared a National Day of Fasting and Prayer, July 3, 1849, during a cholera epidemic: “A fearful pestilence which is spreading itself throughout the land…it is fitting that a people whose reliance has ever been in His protection should humble themselves before His throne…acknowledging past transgressions, ask a continuance of the Divine mercy. It is earnestly recommended that the first Friday in August be observed throughout the United States as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer.”

The Federers note that soon after that day of prayer, the cholera epidemic in America tapered off.

Many of our presidents throughout our history have called on God and have called on Americans to set aside a time (usually a day) of prayer. For example, FDR, in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, called for 1/2/1942 to be, “a Day of Prayer, of asking forgiveness for our shortcomings of the past, of consecration to the tasks of the present, of asking God’s help in days to come.”

President Truman even systematized the day of prayer as an annual event. Thus, the first Thursday of each May is the National Day of Prayer. Truman declared in his proclamation (6/17/1952): “from the earliest days of our history our people have been accustomed to turn to Almighty God for help and guidance.”

If ever America needed God’s help and guidance, this would seem to be that time—as the coronavirus crisis devastates the land. We need to pray and repent and seek His face. May He provide a vaccine soon, and may He heal our land.

©All rights reserved.

PODCAST: A New Type of Contract With America

Back in 1994, the Republicans in Congress led a movement to implement sweeping government reforms in what was called a “Contract with America.” This was a clever political ploy by the party to elect congressmen and, to their credit, they delivered on their promises. Whether you agreed with them or not is immaterial, the “contract” concept captivated the public’s imagination as the politicians felt compelled to comply with it. Perhaps it is time to implement another “Contract with America,” not so much to enact any particular legislation but to enforce how our politicians will act and behave while serving in office. Think about it, aside from their oath of office and the congressional rules by which they operate, there currently isn’t anything committing an elected official to how he will represent his constituents. Polls tell us the American public believes government is broken and, consequently, have lost faith in their elected leaders. A formal contract would go a long way towards reestablishing trust.

If such a contract existed, what would it consist of? My first reaction is that it should include something to have the politician promise to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, but since this is already a part of their oath of office, it probably shouldn’t be included in a new “Contract with America.” Aside from this, I can think of seven articles to include in such an agreement:

That you, the elected government official, hereby promises and swears to…

  1. be mindful that you serve the constituents who elected you (your employer) and, as such, you will put their best interests ahead of your own. Further, you will regularly and consistently report on your activities to them.
  2. constantly seek to improve the livelihood, well-being, prosperity, and standard of living for your constituents.
  3. be mindful of your fiduciary responsibilities, whereby you pledge government will live within its means, in accordance with an approved budget.
  4. lead by example. This means you will not engage in illegal activities or moral turpitude. Violations of ethical standards will not be tolerated and you will be held accountable for your actions.
  5. deliberate the issues of the day with honesty, candor, courtesy, and a professional attitude. You will do what is best for your constituency and not your political party.
  6. not vote to place military or public personnel in harm’s way without first being absolutely convinced of the necessity to do so.
  7. endeavor to do what is fair and equitable for the citizens of our country.

There is nothing startling here. This is how we expect all of our elected officials to behave, and why we become disillusioned when they do not live up to these standards. Perhaps if this became an official document though, such as the type of contract employees regularly sign in business, they may be more inclined to abide by it.

Come to think of it, maybe we should include having them read the Constitution now and then. I can’t imagine it would hurt anything, can you?

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right podcast is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

VIDEO: NRA Endorses ‘Big Dan’ Rodimer for US Congress

LAS VEGAS/PRNewswire/ — Nevada Congressional candidate “Big Dan” Rodimer is proud to announce that he has received the official endorsement of the National Rifle Association in his run for the 3rd District. The NRA officially gave Rodimer an AQ rating, the highest rating possible for a candidate who has not previously held office.

In response to the endorsement, Rodimer stated, “I am very honored and proud to have the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in my run for Congress. The NRA is America’s longest-serving civil rights organization, with tens of thousands of members right here in Nevada and in the 3rd Congressional District. The NRA knows that I will fight to defend our 2nd Amendment Rights against gun-grabbers like Dan Schwartz and Susie Lee. Thank you to the NRA and all of their members here in Nevada.”

The NRA endorsement comes as a major boost to the Rodimer campaign since his primary opponent, former Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz, has openly spoken out in favor of Bloomberg-style, anti-2nd Amendment proposals, including a ban on alleged “assault rifles” in Nevada.

Big Dan Rodimer has made it clear time and again that he is the pro-2nd Amendment candidate in the race for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. Rodimer has often described gun rights as “human rights” and proudly possesses a CCW permit.

Since announcing his campaign for Congress last year, Rodimer has received endorsements from House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, the Nevada Right to Life and National Right to Life organizations, former Nevada Attorney General and current Nevada Trump Campaign Co-Chairman Adam Laxalt and highly successful Las Vegas businessman and reality TV star from the hit show “Pawn Stars”, Rick Harrison, among many others.

In February, Rodimer was placed on National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) Young Guns “Contender” status, the highest-ranking status of any congressional candidate in Nevada, signifying continued strength and momentum of his campaign, and opening the door for continued support from across the country. Every other Republican candidate in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District has either refused to fill out the NRA survey or received an “F” rating.

You can learn more about Big Dan Rodimer click here. For regular updates on the campaign of Big Dan Rodimer for Congress, you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Parental Consent Laws for Underage Girls Seeking Abortion Help Fight Against Human Trafficking

It is welcome news that Florida is now set to become the sixth state to require both parental consent and notice before minor girls can get an abortion. A bill mandating this has passed both houses of the state Legislature, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has promised to sign it.

Ensuring that a child’s parents are involved before any medical or surgical procedure is performed on a minor patient makes sense in any state.

In Florida, though, it makes extra sense. Florida is home to a huge immigrant population, many of them undocumented and vulnerable, and special care should be taken to protect these vulnerable girls.

Surprisingly, abortion is often excluded under existing commonsense parental consent laws, even though it is an invasive surgical procedure with significant potential for harmful complications.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


In Florida, for instance, it is illegal to tattoo a child under 16, and parental consent is required for minors between 16 and 18. Anyone with a child in school knows how delicately and diffidently school administrators handle any medical intervention, even the administration of Tylenol for cramps.

Surgeons would lose their licenses if they performed a tonsillectomy on a child without informing the parents or guardians or seeking their consent.

In fact, from an ethical standpoint, children are deemed unable to consent to medical treatment since they may be unable to grasp complicated medical facts because of their age and inexperience.

Yet, the abortion lobby insists that minor girls should be allowed to access abortion without any parental oversight because such oversight could be a “threat to young women’s safety.”

But protecting girls from abusive or neglectful parents can be done with judicial waivers (included in the Florida bill) and without stripping good parents of their ability to protect their daughters from abusive boyfriends or older men who may be raping them and then coercing them to abort.

Sexual predators are happy when their victim has an abortion without the knowledge or involvement of her mother and father. It lets them keep abusing the child undetected.

Taking parents out of the picture doesn’t just leave girls to the mercy of bad men, it takes away parental counsel, guidance, and support. Parents who don’t know their child has had an abortion are unable to ensure their daughter will receive adequate follow-up care. In the absence of proper treatment, a minor complication can quickly become life-threatening.

All of these good reasons for requiring parental consent are even more important in Florida.

In my hometown of Miami, more than 50% of the population is immigrant. Many are undocumented. Far too many are vulnerable people whose lack of English and, sometimes, work papers consigns them to dangerous neighborhoods where their children live in close proximity to gang activity, prostitution, and human trafficking rings.

Sadly, after labor trafficking, “domestic minor sex trafficking,” constitutes “the … most prevalent and under-reported and under-prosecuted human trafficking offense in Florida,” according to a Florida State University study.

Given the prevalence of sexual abuse of girls here, it is simply unconscionable that Florida parents would not be informed if their minor daughter is pregnant and seeking an abortion.

Existing law requires abortion facilities and providers to alert the authorities if they suspect a young girl seeking an abortion is being abused by an older man or being trafficked as a prostitute, but abortion providers are in the business—the big business—of performing abortions and certainly cannot be counted on to report this.

One undercover sting video of a New Jersey Planned Parenthood showed a clinic manager telling a man posing as a pimp that when he brings his 14- or 15-year-old “girls” in for abortions they should lie or play stupid about their age. She is seen coaching the “pimp” on how to manage his underage prostitutes, some of whom, he says, do not speak English.

A girl’s natural protectors and defenders are her mother and father. A law that puts Florida parents back in that crucial role will be an important bulwark against the abuse of minor girls. It also will help ensure young women undergoing the tragedy of an abortion will receive the appropriate medical care should something go wrong.

The only losers when this commonsense, reality-based requirement becomes state law will be the sexual predators and greedy abortion providers who put profits over people.

COLUMN BY

Grazie Pozo Christie

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a policy advisor for The Catholic Association. Twitter: @GChristiemd.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

PODCAST: The Dignity of Work

I had a friend who used to be very class conscious when it came to work. He wouldn’t socialize with other people he deemed below him and was very choosy when it came to where he lived. If the wrong class of workers were in the neighborhood, he wouldn’t visit the area (let alone move into it). It had nothing to do with race or religion, only the types of jobs people had. In his mind, there was a clear delineation between people based strictly on their livelihood; e.g., blue collar labor, technical people, middle management, professional people, and executives. I guess we are all a little class conscious about how people make a living, a kind of one-upmanship, but I never saw it quite this vividly before.

This bothered me because I believe in the dignity and honor of any job, regardless how mundane it may seem. This caused me to do some soul-searching as to why I felt this way and I suppose it is because I am acutely aware of my family’s history; e.g., how we came to this country from Scotland, which certainly wasn’t in a luxury liner, how we struggled to get a foothold here, how we survived the Great Depression, and how we prospered following World War II.

Like many of you, I can recall the menial jobs both my grandfather and father performed to help the family survive. Interestingly, they never complained about it but, rather, always spoke with pride of how well they did their jobs. For instance, my grandfather used to be employed by the Wickwire Steel Company in Buffalo, New York where he ran a machine to make the rebar mesh used in such things as concrete sidewalks. It was certainly not a glamorous job. In fact, it was rather difficult as the machines would frequently break down. Instead of waiting for the machine to be fixed by someone else, as his union wanted him to do, he learned how to fix the machine himself. He figured he couldn’t get paid if the machine was idle, so he devoted his own personal time to learn as much about it as he could. His knowledge of the machines grew to the point where he eventually became the head of maintenance. Whereas he could have done nothing, instead he elected to take a proactive approach.

To my grandfather’s way of thinking, his job was no better or worse than anyone else’s. He was just thankful he had one and did it to the best of his ability. This taught me you should not look down your nose at anyone for the job they have, but rather how well they perform it. I have much more respect for the common uneducated laborer who knows what he is doing as opposed to a well educated professional who is a derelict.

It is fundamental to the human spirit that we all believe we are leading a worthy and honorable life. Since work is an inherent part of our life, how meaningful our job is depends on what we make of it. If we take a defeatist attitude and treat it as a triviality, we will suffer from low self-esteem and become jealous of others. However, if we adopt a professional attitude towards our job, regardless of its magnitude, we will have a more positive sense of self worth.

With this said, I don’t understand the obsession a lot of High School Guidance Counselors have in pushing students towards a college education. Not everyone is predisposed to attending college, some are better served by going into a trade school or the military. Yet, many guidance counselors pooh-pooh such institutions thereby creating a snobbish attitude towards them. Believe me, there is nothing dishonorable about learning mechanics, auto repair, plumbing, carpentry, or serving in the military. Imagine where we would be without such professions.

One of the main reasons I have enjoyed my time in the Masons is that we are taught regardless of your station in life, everyone serves on the level. In other words, everyone has an equal say regardless of who they are, thereby taking ego out of the formula and creating a sense of cooperation.

I do not know how well we are passing this lesson of work dignity to our young people, but I fear we are creating a generation of people who are more class conscious than the last, and never satisfied with the job they have, regardless what it is. From a psychological point of view, this should have profound long term effects on our productivity and our culture.

Keep the Faith!

P.S.  Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

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