The Future is Now: Bitcoin Acceptance is Growing

Over the last couple of years, many folks have been lured to the cryptocurrency space expecting to hold or trade their way to riches. Despite the 2018 downtrend in markets, those who bought in pre-summer 2017 are likely still looking at some healthy profits.

Bitcoin wasn’t just created for speculation though. The clue is in the name – digital currency. That said, the process of turning some of your gains into usable money can be arduous. You first must bring your funds out of cold storage, get them to a Bitcoin exchange that allows fiat withdrawals, register your bank details, and wait for the withdrawal. It’s all a bit convoluted. Fortunately, you often don’t have to worry about any of that (or the harsh withdrawal and exchange fees that usually accompany it).

Just about any purchase you could possibly make can already be completed entirely using Bitcoin. From web services to outdoor gear, online entertainment to real estate, the future is already here. Hell, you can even buy that famous cup of coffee that many Bitcoin protesters are always banging on about. Let’s look at some of the options in more detail.

Online Purchases

There are loads of ways to spend your Bitcoin in a strictly online capacity. Any firm that supports credit or debit card transactions can technically accept the digital currency. It’s actually a lot simpler than making a legacy systems payment too. Just scan a QR code or copy a string of digits into your wallet and hit send. You don’t have to worry about personal data being stolen by hackers from the site either!

Here are some of the main online retailers accepting Bitcoin as a payment for goods and services:

  • Overstock.com – this online retailer sells mostly homewares, along with toys, sporting goods, jewellery, clothes, and gadgets. Their prices are pretty good too!
  • Shopify stores – merchants operating their own stores on e-commerce platform Shopify can opt to accept Bitcoin if they choose so. You’ll find an eclectic bunch of goods offered for the virtual currency there.
  • Subscription services – some massive names accept Bitcoin to pay for the subscriptions they offer. These include Microsoft, 4Chan, Reddit, Bloomberg, WordPress.com, NameCheap, and Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Travel services – when booking your next flight or hotel, check out some of these options to spend your Bitcoin in getting you from A to B. You can even get somewhere to rest up when you arrive: Expedia, airBaltic, AirTreks, and CheapAir.com. If you really want to splash the cash on the most exotic trip possible, head over to Virgin Galactic and check out their Bitcoin offerings.

Real-World Purchases

Real-world purchases with Bitcoin are a little trickier than their online counterparts, for now. That’s because when you want to have a quick bite to eat or even to pay for a home in person, you’re limited by your geographical location. Since many retailers haven’t begun to accept Bitcoin yet, finding one might be more trouble than it’s worth!

  • Real-estate – if you did really well from Bitcoin’s meteoric rise over the last five years, you could buy property with the virtual currency. All budgets are catered for too. There was the famous example of the massive Moscow mansion selling for Bitcoin. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, a man from Grimsby, UK, offered to sell his modest, terrace house for crypto last year. The US has also joined the trend, and if you are looking to buy a lake house in the state of Minnesota, you can pay for it with Bitcoin at some real estate agencies.
  • Bars, restaurants, and coffee shops – this one is a little bit location-dependent. However, if you live or are visiting one of the destinations on the growing list of Bitcoin-friendly cities, you’ll have loads of options to spend your gains. Berlin, Reykjavik, and Ljubljana are amongst the top spots for live Bitcoin purchases. The likes of KFC Canada have even had cryptocurrency promotions in the past. However, these were for a limited period only.
  • Entertainment – if you’re out in Vegas at a loose end, you can even pay for a spot of late-night activities using Bitcoin in the flesh. A strip club in Las Vegas has seen the advantages of a pseudonymous payment system early, and some of their exotic dancers come adorned with QR codes, so you can tip them directly using Bitcoin.
  • Charity – the Twin Cities, which are Minneapolis and Saint Paul, have long embraced cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin ATMs popping up regularly across the area. But, it’s not the only space the community is seeking to disrupt. Recently, Minnesota’s charity organizations have started accepting Bitcoin donations. The relevant authorities believe this will not only contribute to the public good, but also help boost mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. 

Mixing the Virtual and the Physical

Finally, if the store you wanted to shop at doesn’t directly accept Bitcoin, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Several gift card services have sprung up in the last couple of years. You pay for the card in Bitcoin (or another supported cryptocurrency) and you receive the voucher to your email. You can then use the code from the card online or print the voucher off and take it down to the store to do your shopping in an old-school style.

The following services are more than happy to sell you a gift card in exchange for some Bitcoin: GiftOff, eGifter, and Gyft. These vendors offer gift cards for some massive companies including but certainly not limited to:

  • Decathlon
  • Tesco
  • Pizza Express
  • Nike
  • Amazon
  • Adidas
  • Domino’s
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Macy’s

It’s even possible to use a peer-to-peer marketplace and sell your Bitcoin to someone directly in exchange for a gift voucher. You’ll be amazed at the price increase you can charge too. We’ve seen a trader offering Bitmain vouchers in exchange for Bitcoin with a 75% markup!

The list of places you can spend your Bitcoin continues to grow each week. With options to suit just about every taste, it can be quite difficult not to abandon your strategy and just blow a hefty chunk on a two-man kayak canoe, those Nike sneakers you’ve been pining after, or even a luxury apartment.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Pixabay.

Don’t Believe the Fake News. Tax Cuts for Everyday Americans Are Real.

The left-leaning media would have you believe that the 2017 tax cuts were nothing of the sort. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., recently tweeted that average refunds are down, calling the president’s tax cut a “middle-class tax hike.”

This is simply the latest episode in a long-running campaign to demagogue tax cuts that let the vast majority of Americans keep more of their hard-earned money.

Some of the biggest cuts are actually being enjoyed by the lowest-income Americans. A typical family of four got a $2,917 tax cut this year.

So what’s the complaint about?

In an early sample of tax returns, the IRS has reported that average refunds are down $170 from last year and that they hadn’t changed much from 2017, the year before.

But this is not relevant, for two reasons.

First, the sample of tax returns cited by the IRS is very small, and some analysts expect refunds will actually go up this year.

But second, and more importantly, tax refunds have nothing to do with the size of anyone’s tax cut. A refund is what you get back if you’ve paid too much in taxes throughout the year. Your tax cut is the drop in total taxes you owed to Uncle Sam last year. The two are not connected.

Employers across the country already gave us our tax cuts by withholding less money from our paychecks every pay period. Americans saw a bump to their paychecks in February 2018.

Of course, withholding is never perfectly accurate, so your refund or tax payment at the end of the year is simply a last-minute adjustment. But that refund does not cancel out the overall bump in take-home pay due to the tax cut.

Do you remember when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts “monumental, brazen theft,” or when former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers predicted the tax cuts would kill 10,000 people every year? This most recent round of hysteria is just more of the same.

Last year, The Heritage Foundation calculated what Americans across the country can expect from the tax cuts. The average household can expect about $26,000 more in take-home pay over the next 10 years thanks to the tax reform.

Americans benefit twice from the tax cuts—first, by paying less in taxes, and a second time from higher wages generated by a faster-growing economy.

At the end of 2018, workers saw some of the largest wage gains in over 10 years, and unemployment rates remain historically low. Over the next 10 years, because of a larger economy, the typical American will benefit from over $26,000 more in take-home pay, or $44,697 for a family of four.

The average American household can expect to pay about $1,400 less in taxes in 2018. But depending on where you live and how many kids you have, the numbers can look different.

In communities that had high tax bills last year, such as Palo Alto, California’s district (CA-18) represented in the House by Anna Eshoo, or one of New York City’s Manhattan districts (NY-12) represented by Carolyn Maloney, the average tax cut could be as much as $3,000.

Lower-income communities, such as areas near Phoenix, Arizona (AZ-7), represented in the House by Ruben Gallego, as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PA-2), will see much larger cuts in their tax bills. In these communities, tax reform brought an average income tax cut of 18 percent or more.

And the tax cuts are especially good news for parents. A married couple filing jointly with two children will see their tax bills fall by $2,917.

In the coming years, the tax cuts will continue to raise wages, increase investment, and expand economic opportunities. They will also continue through 2025. 

Don’t let the misinformation about refunds throw you off. Middle-class and lower-income Americans are the biggest beneficiaries from the tax cuts.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Adam Michel

Adam Michel

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

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

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

Florida Facing A Complete Assault Weapon Ban In 2020

Florida, the state with some of the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country, may be facing the reality of voters putting a full-on assault weapons ban into the Florida Constitution — bypassing a Republican-controlled Legislature that has resisted any such moves even after last year’s Parkland school massacre.

Gail Schwartz, the aunt of one of the students killed a year ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, held a press conference Monday to announce a petition drive she is spearheading to put a constitutional amendment on the Florida ballot in 2020 that would ban “assault weapons.” Her group is forthrightly named Ban Assault Weapons Now.

The language of the proposed amendment defines an assault weapon as “semi-automatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device.” Such a broad ban could presumably capture everything down to a revolver, as it has an “ammunition-feeding device.”

“Try explaining to your children that they’re never going to see their cousin again,” Schwartz said, hitting the emotional buttons that are essential to restricting Second Amendment rights. “That’s not a conversation that anyone should ever have to make.”

Schwartz said that she believes her nephew — 14-year-old Alex Schachter — might be alive today if Nikolas Cruz did not have access to such a deadly weapon. Cruz killed 17 students and teachers at Parkland as an on-campus Broward County deputy hid outside. Schachter was one of the very first victims of Cruz, so it seems unlikely his life would have been spared if Cruz only had access to non-semi-automatic weapons.

Each mass shooting is used to evoke the necessity of getting guns out of the hands of Americans. A ban on what the media frequently calls “military-style” semi-automatic rifles — which basically means scary looking guns, regardless of relative lethality — has been a goal of gun control advocates nationally since a temporary federal ban expired in 2004.

In Florida, the push has been particularly fierce since the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were killed in 2016. But school shootings elicit the most emotional response for obvious reasons.

So Florida Democrats have been pushing hard for an assault weapons ban. But they are a minority in the Republican-controlled Legislature and their efforts go nowhere.

Last year Democrats tried to attach an assault weapons ban to the larger school safety bill that was ultimately passed in response to the Parkland shooting, which included armed security on school campuses. But the amendment failed, gaining only two Republican votes.

In fact, Florida Republicans annually consider the opposite direction, proposing bills to allow conceal-carry permit holders to carry on college campuses.

However, a direct-to-voters constitutional amendment bypasses the Legislature. Florida now has a 60 percent threshold for amendments to make it into the state constitution. But last November, all but one proposed amendment met that, and that one had 58 percent. Given the media coverage and the number of mass shootings in the state, it would be foolish to think that such an amendment could not pass.

“I think there is a better chance of getting a citizens initiative on the ballot than getting the current Legislature to seriously entertain an assault weapons ban,” said Florida League of Women Voters President Patricia Brigham. Naturally, the “nonpartisan” League supports the ban.

She is right.

Possibly the larger hurdle is actually getting the proposed amendment on the ballot. That means gathering 766,200 legal signatures, which requires spending several million dollars to paid signature-gathering organizations.

The assault weapons ban campaign collected $439,888 as of the last filing date on Dec. 31. It will take a lot more and the question politically is whether Democrat organizations actually want to ban assault weapons, or whether they prefer to run on the issue of assault weapons so they can keep forcing Republicans to defend assault weapons used in mass shootings.

Polling on the issue in Florida is heavily dependent on the length of time between mass shootings. Right after the Parkland shooting, a Florida Atlantic University poll found that nearly 70 percent of Floridians support an assault weapons ban. But the same poll six months later found only 51 percent favored. How it would fare in the midst of a presidential election during heavy voter turnout is the question.

We may find out.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

Science is Falsifiable. Take Climate Change As An Example.

The Clear Energy Alliance produced the below video on global warming stating:

In order to know if a theory could be true, there must be a way to prove it to be false. Unfortunately, many climate change scientists, the media and activists are ignoring this cornerstone of science. In this bizarre new world, all unwelcome climate events are caused by climate change. But as legendary scientific philosopher Karl Popper noted, “A theory that explains everything, explains nothing.” Guest host Marc Morano explains.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Global Warming Theory Scientific?

EDITORS NOTE: This video by Clear Energy Alliance is republished from their YouTube channel. The featured image is from Pixabay.

Fact Sheet: National Emergencies, Military Construction Authority and the Border Barrier

It is not clear whether President Trump plans to declare a national emergency in order to build a physical barrier along our border with Mexico, in order to protect Americans from illegal aliens, drug traffickers, gun runners, human smugglers and other assorted criminal border jumpers.

The mainstream media has repeatedly asserted that the president does not have the authority to declare a border emergency and take the action necessary to defend the American public.

However, the media pundits would appear to be mistaken. Below, FAIR sets out the facts on the National Emergencies Act and related statutory provisions that would enable the president to accomplish what congress refuses to – place the interests of law-abiding Americans above those of law-breaking foreign nationals.

  • 1976 National Emergencies Act (NEA) 50 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1651: This legislation specifies the manner in which the president may declare a national emergency. It also gives congress the authority to terminate a national emergency by joint resolution of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.[1]
    • 58 national emergencies have been declared since the act was signed into law by President Gerald Ford.[2]
    • 31 of those national emergencies remain in effect.[3]
    • An emergency declaration pursuant to the NEA does not provide any specific emergency authority on its own. Rather, it allows the president to exercise emergency authorities set forth in other statutes.[4]
      • There are currently 123 distinct statutes granting the president emergency authority to respond to a wide variety of situations.[5]
        • None of those statutes explicitly reference immigration. However, many of them would allow the present to implement an emergency response to migration crises involving threats to national security, public safety or public health.
      • As part of the emergency declaration process the president must specify which emergency authority he is invoking.
    • The statutes the president is most likely to invoke, upon declaring an immigration-related national emergency, are:
      • 10 U.S. Code § 2808 – Construction Authority in the Event of A Declaration of War or National Emergency: This statute provides that, upon the President’s declaration of a national emergency, “that requires use of the armed forces,” the Secretary of Defense may “without regard to any other provision of law . . .undertake military construction projects . . . not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”[6]
      • 33 U.S.C. § 2293 – Reprogramming During National Emergencies: This legislation authorizes the Secretary of the Army to terminate or defer Army civil works projects that are “not essential to the national defense” upon the declaration of a national emergency. The Secretary of the Army can then use the funds otherwise allocated to those projects for “authorized civil works, military construction, and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense.”[7]
  • According to the Congressional Research Service there are also two statutes which may allow the president to begin construction on a border wall without declaring a national emergency or obtaining congressional authorization:
    • 10 U.S.C. § 2803 – Emergency Construction: This legislation provides that the Secretary of Defense “may carry out a military construction project not otherwise authorized by law” after determining the following: (1) “the project is vital to the national security or to the protection of health, safety, or the quality of the environment,” and (2) “the requirement for the project is so urgent that” deferring the project “would be inconsistent with national security or the protection of health, safety, or environmental quality.”[8]
    • 10 U.S.C. § 284 – Support for Counterdrug Activities and Activities to Counter Transnational Organized Crime: This legislation provides that the Secretary of Defense “may provide support for the counter drug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime” of any law enforcement agency, including through the “[c]onstruction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”[9]Should the president choose to declare an immigration-related national emergency and invoke his powers under one of the aforementioned statutes, he is sure to be challenged in court – most likely in the radical Ninth Federal Circuit – by organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and its network of open-borders, pro-illegal-alien agitators.However, outside the Ninth Circuit, he is likely to prevail. Many prior presidents have declared national emergencies and invoked extraordinary powers in response to “crises” that were significantly less threatening than the near failure of our southern border.For now, those of us who are concerned about the integrity of America’s borders can only wait, watch and hope that our elected leaders will do the right thing and put the interests of everyday Americans above those of un-vetted border-jumpers who may present a significant threat to our country.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Truth About Border Walls’ Effectiveness

Angel Dad: Border Wall Funding Would Happen If Pelosi or Schumer’s Child Were Killed

New Source of Funds for the Wall?

Footnotes and endnotes

[1]1976 National Emergencies Act (NEA) 50 U.S.C. §§ 1601-

[2]Kendall Heath, “Here’s a List of the 31 National Emergencies that Have Been in Effect for Years,” ABC News, January 10, 2019, 

[3]Ibid.

[4]Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Emergency Authority and Immunity Toolkit, accessed February 6, 2019, 

[5]Brennan Center for Justice, A Guide to Emergency Powers and Their Use, December 5, 2018, 

[6]Jennifer K. Elsea, Edward C. Liu, Jay B. Sykes, “Can the Department of Defense Build the Border Wall,” Congressional Research Service, January 10, 2019, p.3, 

[7]Ibid at p. 5.

[8]Ibid at p. 5.

[9]Ibid at p. 5.

House to Move Forward with Ineffective Gun Control Proposals

On Wednesday, gun owners got to see what a Nancy Pelosi controlled Congress looks like as the House Judiciary Committee held its first gun control hearing in nearly a decade. Things went as one would expect.

While the hearing was labeled “Preventing Gun Violence: A Call to Action,” it was intended to be the legislative launching pad for H.R. 8, the “universal” background check bill introduced by California Representative Mike Thompson (D). As we have pointed out, “universal” background checks will do nothing to prevent gun violence. H.R. 8 does, however, have the potential of ensnaring otherwise law-abiding gun owners unfamiliar with its proposed new restrictions on lawful activities that pose no threat to public safety.

From the beginning, it was clear how anti-gun members of the committee intended to steer the proceedings.

First, there was the panel, which consisted of two crime victims, two anti-gun representatives of law-enforcement, one trauma surgeon (who happens to sit on the Board of the anti-gun Brady Campaign), one constitutional scholar, and the Executive Director of the anti-gun Giffords Law Center. Out of the seven panelists, only two—one crime victim and constitutional scholar Joyce Lee Malcolm—spoke against H.R. 8 and other forms of gun control that were discussed.

Notably absent from the hearing was House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R). While the Louisiana Representative is a survivor of a well-known public shooting, and he asked to be given the opportunity to testify, his request was denied. He was likely denied for being unwilling to toe the gun control line, and anyone interested in seeing what he had to say on the matter can see his full statement here.

A tone that was clearly antagonistic towards the right to keep and bear arms was set early by Democrats on the committee. The panelists were each given five minutes to make an opening statement, and most used that time to make clearly emotional, political, and/or arguable points, which is expected in such a setting. But a courtesy normally extended to panelists allows them to make such statements unchallenged. If legislators wish to question something said during opening remarks, they are free to do so during their own allotted speaking time.

Anti-gun Florida Representative Ted Deutch (D) simply couldn’t wait his turn.

After Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm had made her opening remarks, Deutch decided he needed to make sure the anti-gun community knew where he stood. Abandoning common courtesy, he spoke up, misstating what Malcolm had said so that he could appear as if he was correcting her. The message was clear; support the Second Amendment in this committee hearing at your own peril.

It should come as no surprise that the committee didn’t focus on the actual effectiveness of H.R. 8 at reducing violent crime. Recent studies, even those produced by anti-gun research institutions, have found that “universal” background checks are ineffective at reducing crime.

Ultimately, the hearing went as anyone who pays attention to politics would expect. Anti-gun Democrats made sure they were able to promote anti-gun legislation, and they ignored facts, reason, and the concerns of crime victims that don’t support their agenda. What’s next for H.R. 8?

The bill will receive a “markup” as part of the committee process next Wednesday. That’s why it’s important for all gun owners to take action now to help stop this misguided and ineffective gun control from moving through Congress.

While we will keep working to derail this attack on law-abiding gun owners, you need to take action now. 

Please use this link to let your elected officials know that you won’t be blamed for the actions of violent criminals.

Ask your Representative to oppose H.R.8.

Additionally, you may call your U.S. Representative using the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Everytown Ignoring Bloomberg’s Findings

Aloha to Tax dollars: Hawaii Lawmakers Propose Public-funded Anti-gun Firearm Factoid Factory

Some Semblance of Law Returns to the Woeful Massachusetts Firearms Licensing Procedure

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column with images is republished with permission.

Florida Gov. DeSantis Issues 1-Year Deadline to Eliminate All ‘Vestiges’ of Common Core

The day before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced his $91.3 billion budget request for fiscal year 2020, which includes $21.7 billion for education programs, he issued an executive order to do away with “vestiges” of Common Core standards, “streamline” standardized testing, and revise the state’s educational curriculum.

In a Jan. 31 press conference at a Cape Coral High School in Lee County, DeSantis said he had instructed newly appointed Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran—the former House speaker and longtime Common Core critic—to develop new standards for presentation to the Legislature in 2020.

He said among the most frequent issues voters asked him to address during the gubernatorial campaign was their frustration with Common Core academic standards—especially its “confusing” math requirements—and its standardized testing program.

“I’m here to say when you complained about Common Core, I hear you, I told you I’d do something about it, and today we are acting to bring those promises into a reality,” DeSantis said.

The 2010 Common Core State Standards Initiative spells out what K–12 students throughout the U.S. should know in English and mathematics at the conclusion of each school grade.

The initiative was sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and was an attempt to establish consistent educational standards across all 50 states and territories.

The standards were developed by officials in 48 states and have been adopted by 41 states and the District of Columbia.

From its beginning, Common Core has been vigorously criticized and challenged, especially by Republican voters and elected officials, and especially in Florida.

In 2014, at the direction of then-Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Board of Education adopted the Florida Standards, which changed some components of Common Core but left “vestiges” intact.

Those “vestiges” mostly relate to Common Core’s rigorous schedule of standardized testing that have drawn widespread criticism not only from lawmakers of both parties, but by educators.

DeSantis said his executive order also calls for Corcoran to “streamline some of the testing” and “identify ways to really make civics education a priority in Florida.”

Corcoran, who also spoke at the press conference, eagerly accepted DeSantis’ directive, claiming Florida has been “stuck with Common Core,” which “needs to be scrutinized.”

In a later tweet, Corcoran called DeSantis “the boldest, #1 education Governor in the nation” and vowed that Florida “will have the best standards, best civics education, and be the most literate state in the nation!”

DeSantis’ plan was lauded by Fedrick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers union, which has rarely agreed with the state’s Republican leaders on educational matters.

“A deliberate look at what students must know is always appropriate, and it’s very encouraging to hear that Gov. DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran plan to bring teachers and parents to the table as they go about reshaping Florida’s standards,” Ingram said in a statement. “We’re also pleased to hear that the administration will look at streamlining testing. Parents and our members cite time spent on testing—as versus on genuine teaching and learning—as one of their top concerns. If all stakeholders are heard, we have confidence that this effort can improve public education in Florida.”

“What an amazing victory for Florida’s children!” tweeted Chris Quackenbush of Stop Common Core FL.

Florida Stop Common Core Coalition Executive Director Karen Effrem said her group was “thrilled with Governor DeSantis’ great efforts to keep his campaign promise and finally listen to the frustrations of parents.”

But getting rid of Common Core will be easier said than done.

“We also know that he will be up against a very entrenched corporate and political establishment that is very much in favor of keeping these standards. So we look forward to helping him fight that battle,” she wrote.

This article was originally published on Watchdog.org

COLUMN BY

Portrait of John Haughey

John Haughey

John Haughey is a contributor to Watchdog.org. Twitter: @JFHaughey58.

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Governor Ron DeSantis and his family is from Facebook.

National Day of Mourning & Repentance — February 23rd, 2019

IMG_7016.JPG
Poster for Business and Supporters to Display.

President Donald J. Trump at the State of the Union said the following:

To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.

 Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.  And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth:  all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

There will be a National Day of Mourning in silent protest of the state of New York’s infanticide law.

Saturday, February 23, 2019
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12210

According to the National Day of Mourning website:

The state of New York just voted to expand abortion access right up to the birth of the baby! To celebrate this unbelieveable depravity they lit the One World Trade Center in pink! Women used to celebrate motherhood and find joy in their children. Today, in places like New York City, they are taking joy in destroying their children. N.Y. State has crossed a line of inhumanity that should drive us to our knees. 46 years of the state sanctioned killing of our most helpless and defenseless children should cause us to weep, to mourn, and to take action. What is to be thought of a society that kills her own children? What will the future be of such a hearltess society that celebrates such barbaric inhumanity?

“If the foundations be destroyed what shall the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) We are calling for a National Day of Mourning and repentance. We are in desperate need for God to move upon the hearts of young and old in our nation. If our hearts do not break over the killing of these little image bearers of God in the womb, then how can we expect those growing up in this lost, confused and decadent culture to take our message seriously? Join us February 23rd for “A National Day of Mourning.”

WEAR BLACK

DON’T SHOP

CLOSE BUSINESSES

REPENT FOR ABORTION

Please CLICK HERE to sign the National Day of Morning petition.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Short Is the Road That Leads From Abortion to Infanticide, Euthanasia

House Democrats Block Request to Vote on Bill to Stop Infanticide For a Third Time

Attacker Kills Woman 5 Months Pregnant, New York’s New Abortion Law Says Her Baby Isn’t a Human Being

One Democrat Stood When Trump Called for Banning Late-Term Abortions: Because They’re “Horrific”

EDITORS NOTE: All images and information for this column is from the National Day of Mourning website.

VIDEO: The Disarmament Primary Is Gearing Up for Its Own Spartacus Moment

“Booker announced bright and early this morning that he’s running for president. We all know he was running months ago when he started grandstanding during the Kavanaugh hearings. Spartacus showed his true beliefs back then: He’s another gun-grabbing, Trump-despising liberal who’s out for power at all costs.” —Grant Stinchfield

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column with video and images is republished with permission.

Judicial Watch: USDA Dragging its Feet in War on Food Stamp Fraud

Thanks to reader Diana for spotting this news at Judicial Watch which uses the shockingly awful Ohio food stamp fraud bust I reported, here in late January, to say that the feds are taking way too long and the penalties aren’t stiff enough to deter this massive fraud.

judicial-watch-logo

They cite the case of the Ohio father and son who ripped off US taxpayers for nearly $3 million and also polluted a local waterway with “bodily fluids” from an illegal halal slaughter business—a story that everyone should continue to send out on social media (use the JW post this time!).

Food Stamp Fraud on the Rise as Government Allows “Retailer Trafficking”

Weeks after a federal audit blasted the government for failing to curb rampant fraud in its multi-billion-dollar food stamp program, two Ohio men have been indicted for operating a $2.7 million scheme that spanned six years. One of the men, 59-year-old Amin Salem, is a convicted felon with a history of food stamp fraud yet the feds took six years to bust him and he remained a qualified food stamp retailer. The other man, Mohamed Salem, is his 32-year-old son and federal prosecutors say they operated a highly lucrative food stamp trafficking ring in the Cleveland area with the help of a buddy named Zahran al-Qadan.

[….]

food stamp fraud

Though this operation sticks out among others, Food stamp fraud has been pervasive for years and the alarming numbers have been well documented by the government. The USDA’s most recent figures show about $1.1 billion in food stamp fraud a year. Nearly 12% of retailers authorized by the government to accept food stamps engage in illegal practices, according to the agency. Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the rampant fraud in the program that costs American taxpayers a bewildering $64 billion annually to provide more than 20 million households with free food. Less than a year ago, nearly 200 people were arrested in Florida for operating a sophisticated ring in which 22,000 fraudulent food stamp transactions totaling $3.7 million were documented by a task force of local and federal authorities. In 2016 the feds busted the largest food stamp fraud operation in history, a $13 million enterprise run by flea market retailers in the largely black and Hispanic areas of south Florida’s Miami-Dade County known as Opa-Locka and Hialeah.

[….]

A USDA division called Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is responsible for rooting out the type of fraud and corruption that continue plaguing the food stamp program.

“As of November 2018, FNS had not implemented this authority,” according to congressional investigators. “By failing to take timely action to strengthen penalties, FNS has not taken full advantage of an important tool for deterring trafficking.”

Go to JW here for the whole story and to follow links for more information.

Do you have a suspicious convenience store or small gas nation near you that accepts food stamps?  Keep an eye on their activities.  Some signs of a possible on-going fraud include large numbers of people going in and out every day with few purchases (if any!) when they come out.  Also look for poorly, or nearly bare shelves as a sign that selling groceries is not a priority. 

See this earlier post that includes information about the GAO study.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column with images is republished with permission.

The Perils of Cash

People have been asking me as of late about holding cash, at least those that are reading the writing on the wall. Besides the fact that there is a war on cash and a cashless society coming soon,  there are other reasons as to the perils of cash. With the talk of a global financial reset, coupled with the stock market gyrations and the unsustainable debt, many people have gone to cash. It used to be known as “cash is king”. Well today, I say “cash is trash”. So what are the perils of holding an excessive amount of cash?

Perils of Cash

Low Interest:  Cash and cash equivalent accounts these days are paying perhaps about 1%-2% at best, often times less than that. If you are not keeping pace with the real rate of inflation, you are falling behind in purchasing power and may run out of money down the line.

Inflation: The government reports the inflation rate today to be at around 2%, but like the unemployment numbers, this is not really the case upon further inspection. You see back in the days of Bill Clinton, changes were made to just how it is that the government reports the inflation rate to the American people. It is known as the Boskin Commission. The Boskin Commission, formally called the “Advisory Commission to Study the Consumer Price Index”, was appointed by the United States Senate in 1995 to study possible bias in the computation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is used to measure inflation in the United States. How To Rewrite Economic History? Here’s how.

The real rate of inflation as reported by Kirk Elliott, PhD, is at 6.12% today. Based upon Trump’s weak dollar policy and the Fed’s raising of interest rates, we can expect inflation to be on the rise. Interest rate cycles run 28 years on average. We just finished a 30-year declining interest rate environment and as of November 2016, we have embarked upon a rising interest rate cycle. So cash for now is trash. Hold some in the bank and perhaps some at home for emergencies and opportunities.

Global Financial Reset: What exactly is being reset? The debt is being reset and the value of the dollar will decline over time until sound money is restored. Easier said than done. Stay tuned. So once again excess cash may not be wise at this particular time in history. President Trump is now taking on the Federal Reserve, Rothschild World Banking Dynasty and the IMF as a move to restore sound money in order to MAGA. We will more than likely see a gold backed currency. So, buy gold (and silver). There is a reason you hear and use the expression, “it’s as good as gold”, own some. The signs are there indicating the reset is in motion. President Trump takes on the Fed.

Bank Bail-In: We learned all about the bank bail out in 2008-2009. How about the bank bail-in? A bail-inand a bailout are both designed to prevent the complete collapse of a failing bank. With a bank bail-in, the bank uses the money of its unsecured creditors, including depositors and bondholders, to restructure their capital so it can stay afloat. How much of your funds do you want caught in the bail-in? Again, right now cash is trash. Oh yeah, FDIC barely covers a fraction of the trillions on deposit. Take note. So what to do?

GOOTS

Get Out of the System: Well you cant really get out of the system unless you leave the planet. But there are alternative asset classes to consider in this paradigm shift of global economic and monetary policy to consider. I have a proprietary model which is truly a paradigm shift in thinking offering a new sound, superior, proactive approach to protecting and preserving wealth, utilizing both alternative paper assets as well as tangible assets. Follow the trend. The trend is your friend. The goal as wise and prudent investors is to identify and minimize risks and maximize returns keeping pace with inflation.

Does Wall Street have Main Street’s best interest in mind? I think we know the answer to this. While so many others will continue to operate in the deceitful and flawed modalities being advised by an industry they no longer trust. A great change is now upon us. The time for action is now. Better a day early than a day late. Request a copy of the Global Financial Reset Report here. To be continued…

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

Chris Pratt’s Bible-inspired diet highlights a discipline from a spiritual dimension

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been invited to serve as a FoxNews.com column contributor on matters of faith and family. My first column published yesterday highlights how the spiritual discipline of fasting has been ushered into the spotlight by one of the most unlikely places — Hollywood. Here is an excerpt from the column with a link to read the rest on FoxNews.com:

Actor Chris Pratt, a Christian, posted on Instagram that he was on a 21-day Daniel Fast. The Guardians of the Galaxy star, who recently got engaged to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daughter Katherine, created a lot of interest in “taking his health regimen to biblical proportions.” No doubt this had some curious folks turning to the infomercial channels looking for details on this latest fad in dieting. While I won’t rule out that some creative marketer will capitalize upon the attention created over Pratt’s post, the Daniel Fast is not new, and it’s so much more than a diet.

The Daniel Fast, named for the Old Testament prophet Daniel and his meal plan described in the first chapter of Daniel, is a deliberate and disciplined effort to place a higher priority on our spiritual well-being and growth rather than our physical wants and needs. The goal is to set aside the momentary pleasures of rich food to simplify life, allowing time and mental energy to focus on what’s really important. While fasting does have tangible benefits, the focus of fasting is spiritual; it’s about setting ourselves apart for spiritual focus and nourishment.

Click here to read the rest of the column on FoxNews.com.


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


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VIDEO: Man With Down Syndrome Says He Wants to Make Abortion ‘Unthinkable’

Former Special Olympian Frank Stephens spoke out about abortion on “Fox & Friends” Friday, after his video on the sanctity of life went viral on actor Ashton Kutcher’s Facebook page.

“I’d like to thank my friend Ashton Kutcher for bringing back my testimony,” he said. “It’s like the walking dead because it just won’t stay down.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DCNF-Logo-300x100-26.png

Stephens said he doesn’t want to make abortion illegal, but instead wants to make it “unthinkable.”

“About abortion, I don’t want to make it illegal,” he said. “I want to make it unthinkable. Politicians change laws. I want to change people’s hearts. I want to change people’s hearts by changing people’s minds and hearts together.”

Co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Stephens why his life is worth living and he said he’s gotten to travel all across the world and enjoys the strong love of his family and friends.

“My life is worth living because it is fantastic,” he replied. “I’ve gotten to travel all over the world. I get to workshop a play in New York. I’m going to be in two documentaries, which will be on next month. And I have a lovely girlfriend, friends, and a wonderful family.”

COLUMN BY

Nick Givas

Nick Givas is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @NGivasDC.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column with images is republished with permission. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org. Photo: Screenshot from “Fox & Friends.”

Responding to Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order Committing to Eliminate Common Core in Florida

Florida’s long Common Core nightmare is coming to an end.

For years students, parents and teachers suffered under the pressure and misguided effects of Common Core. Thanks to Executive Order Number 19-32 issued by Governor DeSantis, Common Core will be eliminated, and the burden lifted from Florida’s students.

By January 1, 2020 the Commissioner of Education must provide recommendations to the Governor that will eliminate Common Core standards, increase the quality of the instructional curriculum and streamline testing.

When we first started fighting to improve K-12 education in Florida, Florida Citizens’ Alliance identified Common Core as standards, curriculum and testing.  Four years ago, we actually were successful in getting a bill filed to address all of these elements. Sadly, many legislators ignored parent concerns and the damage being done by Common Core.

Two years ago, we convinced the legislature to pass and the governor to sign a bill giving parents and residents of Florida a louder voice in the discussion. Now the governor has listened to the people and provided a framework for permanently solving each of these interlocking pieces of the Common Core puzzle.

We commend the governor for his insight and courage in addressing these vital issues. He is actually listening to the people and putting our children first.

We also commend Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran for his contribution and leadership to this bold initiative. Commissioner Corcoran has an established track record of putting Florida’s children first as well. We look forward to supporting his innovative efforts to find solutions that improve student learning.

This is truly a day to celebrate. When we started this fight, no one would listen. Common Core was a toxic topic. Legislators and educators closed ranks and told all of us that they knew what was best for our children. Now our Governor and Commissioner of Education are listening. Now Common Core is evaporating before our eyes.

We at Florida Citizen’s Alliance also want to thank our many partners in this fight all across Florida. You did not grow weary in well doing. You did not give up in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. You did not and would not remain silent when our children needed advocates.

You endured. You persevered. You overcame. You refused to surrender your children to Common Core.

You are the champions for our children. You earned this victory.

There is much work to be done. We will do our part to help carry the load.

There will be many people trying to sidetrack what the governor has started.

Of that there is little doubt.

Let there also be no doubt that Florida Citizens’ Alliance and our partners across Florida will continue to work and, when necessary fight, for our children. We will never quit. Our work will not be finished until every parent in Florida is satisfied with the educational options available for their children. We will press on until every child has every opportunity to achieve his or her highest aspirations.

Today we celebrate and celebrate and celebrate.

Tomorrow we start fresh. Our continuing mission: real solutions that improve student learning. Because Florida Kids Deserve Better!

Executive Order 19-32: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/EO-19-32.pdf

World-Wide Threat Assessment Makes Powerful Case For Border Security

Timing is everything. Congress is currently in the midst of debating the construction of a “border wall” or “border barrier” to protect the dangerous U.S./Mexican border as the clock ticks down to another possible partial shutdown of our government if an agreement cannot be reached.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 the Senate Intelligence Committee conducted a hearing on Worldwide Threats that was predicated on a just-released paper, “World-Wide Threat Assessment,” that was issued by Daniel Coats, the Director of the Office of National Intelligence, which oversees the U.S. intelligence community.

As we will see, elements of that report addressed issues that have a clear nexus to border security and immigration law enforcement.

However, the leaders of the Democratic Party have thus far made it clear that they will oppose any and all efforts to construct a barrier to block the uninspected entry of aliens and cargo into the United States while simultaneously claiming that they don’t oppose border security — even as some Democrats call for disbanding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

While the Democratic Party leaders claim that a wall or barrier on the southern border is a waste of money and find all sorts of other absurd excuses to oppose it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outrageously and infamously claiming that any such structure would be “immoral,” the leaders of the U.S. Border Patrol as well as the leaders of the Border Patrol Council, the union that represents our valiant Border Patrol agents, have publicly and repeatedly stated that a wall or barrier is essential to help them to secure our nation’s borders.

Clearly the Democrats have no interest in actually securing our borders or in the enforcement of our immigration laws.

Now we come to that hearing conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the report that served as the predication for that hearing.

Inasmuch as the report contains material furnished by all of the elements of the U.S. Intelligence Community, the leaders of these agencies were witnesses at the hearing.

This is the Witness List:

Director Daniel Coats
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
ODNI

Director Christopher Wray
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI

Director Gina Haspel
Central Intelligence Agency
CIA

Director General Robert Ashley
Defense Intelligence Agency
DIA

Director General Paul Nakasone
National Security Agency
NSA

Director Robert Cardillo
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
NGA

Several areas of concern about national security vulnerabilities addressed in the report have a clear and unmistakable nexus to immigration, border security and related issues.

Page 4 of the report included this paragraph:

Migration is likely to continue to fuel social and interstate tensions globally, while drugs and transnational organized crime take a toll on US public health and safety. Political turbulence is rising in many regions as governance erodes and states confront growing public health and environmental threats.

Page 10 included the following excerpt:

TERRORISM

Sunni Violent Extremists

Global jihadists in dozens of groups and countries threaten local and regional US interests, despite having experienced some significant setbacks in recent years, and some of these groups will remain intent on striking the US homeland. Prominent jihadist ideologues and media platforms continue to call for and justify efforts to attack the US homeland.

Page 18 of the report focuses on Transnational Criminal Organizations and provided vital information about drug trafficking and human trafficking.

Here is an excerpt of the material provided in this chapter of the report:

TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME

Global transnational criminal organizations and networks will threaten US interests and allies by trafficking drugs, exerting malign influence in weak states, threatening critical infrastructure, orchestrating human trafficking, and undermining legitimate economic activity.

Drug Trafficking

The foreign drug threat will pose continued risks to US public health and safety and will present a range of threats to US national security interests in the coming year. Violent Mexican traffickers, such as members of the Sinaloa Cartel and New Generation Jalisco Cartel, remain key to the movement of illicit drugs to the United States, including heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cannabis from Mexico, as well as cocaine from Colombia. Chinese synthetic drug suppliers dominate US-bound movements of so- called designer drugs, including synthetic marijuana, and probably ship the majority of US fentanyl, when adjusted for purity.

Approximately 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, a record high and a 10-percent increase from 2016, although the rate of growth probably slowed in early 2018, based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data.

Increased drug fatalities are largely a consequence of surging production of the synthetic opioid fentanyl; in 2017, more than 28,000 Americans died from synthetic opioids other than methadone, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The CDC reports synthetic opioid- related deaths rose 846 percent between 2010 and 2017, while DHS reports that US seizures of the drug increased 313 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Other Organized Crime Activities

Transnational criminal organizations and their affiliates are likely to expand their influence over some weak states, collaborate with US adversaries, and possibly threaten critical infrastructure.

Mexican criminals use bribery, intimidation, and violence to protect their drug trafficking, kidnapping-for-ransom, fuel-theft, gunrunning, extortion, and alien-smuggling enterprises.

Gangs based in Central America, such as MS-13, continue to direct some criminal activities beyond the region, including in the United States.

Transnational organized crime almost certainly will continue to inflict human suffering, deplete natural resources, degrade fragile ecosystems, drive migration, and drain income from the productive—and taxable—economy.

Human trafficking generates an estimated $150 billion annually for illicit actors and governments that engage in forced labor, according to the UN’s International Labor Organization.

This is not the first report or the first hearing to provide clear evidence that the porous U.S./Mexico border creates national security, public safety, and public health vulnerabilities for Americans.

I have written a number of articles about this issue; one of my recent articles took on the bogus claim that technology is better than a wall: “Why Trump’s Wall Is A Must” – And why a “virtual fence” will stop no one.

My May 11, 2018 article, “Congressional Hearing: Iranian Sleeper Cells Threaten U.S.,” was predicated on a hearing conducted by the House Homeland Security Committee.

A failure to stop the flow of illegal alien workers also undermines the U.S. economy, and costs American and lawful immigrant workers jobs and suppresses their wages. That fundamental fact was the basis for my commentary, “OPEN BORDERS FACILITATE AMERICA’S RACE TO THE BOTTOM” – “Cheap labor” is anything but cheap.

As I have noted ever so many times in my articles and in my Congressional testimony, simply securing the problematic border against the illegal (uninspected) entry of aliens won’t end the immigration crisis but would close one of the major holes in what I have come to refer to as the Immigration Colander. I have come to conceptualize the wall on the U.S./Mexican border as the equivalent of a wing on an airplane. Without a wing the airplane will not fly, but the wing by itself would go nowhere.

The immigration system has never had a meaningful program to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. The need to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States is commonsense and was noted as an important issue by the 9/11 Commission. The dirty secret is that our political leaders understand just how important interior enforcement is but have intentionally never provided the resources to enforce those laws from within the interior. Consider that, in the wake of the terror attacks of 9/11 President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS ) and in so doing, broke the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) into multiple components that then blended immigration with other agencies such as Customs.

However, while the leadership of neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have been willing to take the necessary measures to finally save the immigration crisis through effective but fair law enforcement, unhinged members of the Democratic Party are now calling for dismantling ICE altogether. They are calling for immigration anarchy even as yet another hearing, involving the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community, are clear about the nexus between threats confronting America and border security and immigration law enforcement.

Meanwhile cities and states that are controlled by the Democrats have created “Sanctuary Cities” and “Sanctuary States” that shield illegal aliens from detection from ICE including criminals, members of transnational gangs and drug trafficking organizations. These jurisdictions also shield international fugitives and terrorists and, in shielding aliens who were smuggled into the United States, protect the human traffickers who smuggled them here.

If these politicians were really concerned about the plight of trafficked aliens, they could cooperate with ICE and make certain that ICE provides these aliens with visas that are available for aliens who cooperate with investigations into human trafficking and major crimes.

As we have seen with the trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, New York City — the American city with the largest, best-trained and -equipped police department in the United States — became the hub for the Mexican Sinaloa Drug Cartel that purportedly moved hundreds of tons of drugs including heroin, cocaine, meth, fentanyl, and marijuana into the U.S. across the Mexican border.

The only rational reason that NYC would have been selected as the hub, given the nature and reputation of the NYPD is the fact that NYC is a “Sanctuary City.” This was the focus of my article, “NEW YORK CITY: HUB FOR THE DEADLY DRUG TRADE” – “Sanctuary” policies attract foreign drug traffickers, fugitives and terrorists.

For far too long America has been bleeding red (blood) and green (money). Truly secure borders wold represent a giant step on the road to resolving the immigration crisis. Failure to secure the border costs innocent lives, each and every day.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column with images is republished with permission.