Add These Voter Fraud Cases to the Growing List

Despite the lack of media coverage, evidence of election fraud continues to mount.

This week, The Heritage Foundation added 26 new entries to its election fraud database, bringing the searchable ledger to a total of 1,132 proven instances of election fraud. That includes 983 cases that ended in a criminal conviction, 48 that led to civil penalties, 79 where defendants were enrolled in a diversion program, and 22 cases of official or judicial findings of fraud.

Americans should be alarmed. These entries represent irrefutable evidence that fraud has impacted elections in 47 states, and across all levels of government.

Worse still, they are probably just the tip of America’s election fraud iceberg. The Heritage database is not comprehensive, so the actual volume of vote fraud is likely far higher. Exactly how much higher is anybody’s guess.

Many states lack the robust procedures needed to detect and prevent fraud, and many prosecutors opt not to pursue election fraud cases in favor of other priorities once an election is over.

So long as these circumstances remain unchanged, American elections will be vulnerable to those willing to put their own personal interests or political preferences ahead of the will of the voters.

Here are some examples of people doing just that, from the latest database entries.

Kevin Williams (aka, Kunlay Sodipo)

Kevin Williams, a Nigerian citizen and an illegal immigrant, voted illegally in both the 2012 and 2016 elections in St. Louis, Missouri. He also committed tax refund fraud to the tune of $12 million, employing a scheme using stolen IDs from public school employees, among other nefarious actions.

Williams had been deported in 1995 but illegally re-entered the United States in 1999. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and was sentenced to six and a half years (78 months) in prison for voting fraudulently, as well as other crimes including mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and illegally re-entering the United States.

In addition to his prison sentence, he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $889,712 to the Internal Revenue Service, and he faces deportation.

Miguel Valencia-Sandoval

Miguel Valencia-Sandoval, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, admitted that he paid $50,000 in March 2005 for the birth certificate of a Texas man, Ramiro Guerrero-Vasquez. Using that stolen identity, he resided in Champaign County, Illinois, for the past 11 years.

His false identity was discovered when he applied for a U.S. passport in 2012 and made a false statement claiming U.S. citizenship on the application. Further investigation revealed he also made a false claim of citizenship on a voter registration application and voted in elections in 2012, 2014, and 2016.

Valencia-Sandoval pleaded guilty in 2017 to five counts, four of which relate to voting while not a citizen. After spending a year in jail following his apprehension for trying to illegally re-enter the United States, he was sentenced to time served in January 2018. Afterward he will be deported back to Mexico.

Max Judson

Max Judson was convicted of election fraud and witness tampering related to the 2014 primary election in Indiana.

Judson admitted that while running as a candidate for the Sullivan County Council, he solicited someone he knew was not a resident of the district to cast an absentee ballot. He also admitted that when he realized he was being investigated, he attempted to intervene and deter the voter from communicating with law enforcement officials.

In 2017, Judson—who had been elected to the county council—pleaded guilty to two charges related to his election misconduct. He was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison, one year of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $500 fine. He was also forced to resign from his seat on the Sullivan County Council.

Harmful to Every American

As these cases should make clear, voter fraud is not, and ought not be treated as a partisan political issue. No one’s interests, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, are served by noncitizens casting fraudulent ballots, candidates for office cheating their way to victory, judges overturning elections because of falsified ballots, or any of the other schemes identified in the Heritage database.

Nor are anyone’s interests served by politicians and activists who deny that election fraud exists. Those who resist and obstruct even fact-finding efforts to discover the extent of the problem are doing America no favors. They may prefer to remain willfully blind to weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our system that strike at the very heart of our democracy, but the voters who are expected to trust the results of that system deserve better.

It is therefore incumbent on our elected leaders to take the issue of election fraud seriously, and guard against it. That includes adopting reasonable policies and procedures, like voter identification and proof of citizenship requirements, utilizing interstate cross-check programs to identify duplicate voters registered and casting ballots in multiple states, and routinely purging voter rolls of inaccurate and out-of-date entries to cut down on the potential for fraud.

It is long past time for states to take these steps. Sadly, until they do, Heritage’s election fraud database will continue to grow—and so will all the other fraud that remains hidden in the shadows.


Portrait of Jason Snead

Jason Snead is a policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

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

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

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

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

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


EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of a polling place is by JasonDoiy/Getty Images

The Defrauded Friar

Fr. Michael D. Calabria

Fr. Michael Calabria, a Franciscan Friar of Holy Name Province, is director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University.  His extensive travels throughout the Islamic world and the subject matter of his broad list of speaking engagements and presentations appear to indicate that he has drifted from his original path.

The Founder of Calabria’s Order of Franciscans, St. Francis, similarly traveled into Islamic Egypt during the Fifth Crusade, in 1219, to meet with Sultan Malik al-Kamil in a courageous, but naïve, attempt to evangelize. He had undoubtedly been shown the censored version of Islam and returned impressed with the frequency of Islamic prayers, their 99 names in praise of God, and their reverence of bowing to the ground, and he adopted the Order’s devotionals accordingly.  Unfortunately, he had not been told that devout Muslim spirituality was largely practiced under threat of the sword. In 1220, five friars were martyred in Morocco, and more were slaughtered in later centuries.  In 1291, Franciscans left the Holy Land when Acre, the last Crusader stronghold, fell.  Fr. Calabria is also bewitched by a mythical Islam.

He is scheduled to speak as an apologist for Islam this summer at the Chautauqua Institute, in New York State.  Founded as a Christian institution in 1874, there is a current Jewish presence, and the Institute’s Department of Religion began inviting a series of lecturers about Islam in the mid-1990s, with the aim of reaching its nearly 150,000 annual visitors.  Calabria will be yet another of many speakers invited to woo the unwary audience into esteeming the misrepresented Islam.

In past lectures and on his website, Calabria managed to compose a non-violent version of Mohammed’s hijra (journey) to Mecca and Medina, never divulging the Islamic leader’s beheading of as many as 900 Jews, sexual enslavement of the women and children, and demands of jizya (protection money) from the surviving Christians  The methods used by Islam to conquer the non-Islamic world continue unchanged to this day, with intolerance and invasion, rape, seizure and slaughter throughout Africa, into Europe and the Americas.  Yet, Calabria presents a sanitized picture of the prophet, and encourages Christians to offer hospitality and friendship to the alleged oppressed Muslims, and to guarantee their freedom and safety, united against injustices.   

Furthermore, he will repeat verbatim Islam’s own false claims of astounding achievements.  As I noted in my 2015 reply to aspiring presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s erroneous treatise about Islam on the Hewlett-Packard site, the self-styled “Islamic arches” were already Roman, Byzantine, Persian, Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek. The vaulted and hemispherical ceilings were invented by non-Muslim Romans.  The first numerical system was developed by Babylonians, 800 years before Islam.  The misnamed “Arabic numerals” were adopted from the Hindus, in India. Arab scientists were largely Jews who were forcibly converted.  Arabic philosophers and scientists were Jewish and Berber survivors of massacres.  Arab astronomers were inspired by the great physician, Isaac Israel of Kairouan; and the greatest of “Arab” scientists, Avicenna (980-1037), was probably of Jewish origin from Bokhara.  Their astronomers used instruments, such as the astrolabe, to facilitate world-girdling sea voyages, but created by a “remarkable Jewish genius,” Mashala of Mosul; their astronomical tables were created by the Jewish Joseph ben Wallar at Toledo, and by Judaic specialists, including Immanuel ben Jacob in Aragon.

The sincere, but deluded, Calabria asserts that Muslims played a positive part of American society for more than a century when, in fact, the part they  played was that of Barbary corsairs  These were Ottoman pirates known as the Scourge of the Mediterraneanwhose raids and invasions had strangled world trade, caused economic disaster, and stopped shipments of papyrus to create a decline in writing, literacy and books written – the crucial cause of the European Dark Ages.  For centuries they had been capturing European merchant ships and holding for ransom or enslaving their crews.  When they began attacking American ships after the end of the American Revolution, and diplomatic talks failed, US President Thomas Jefferson, in 1798, formed the United States Department of the Navy in order to end the attacks, tributes and ransoms paid and to protect our commerce.  Such has been the real Islamic contribution to Western civilization.

Regarding slavery, it had been the Muslims themselves who forcibly kidnapped their co-religionists, as many as 11 million Black (Muslim) slaves, the men being trafficked for harsh labor, the women primarily for sexual slavery. Taken from their African homelands and sold into Europe and South and Central America for great profit (only 5 percent came to the United States), the traders were prepared to deal with the journeys’ high mortality rate (between 80 and 90 percent), and still be confident of sufficient financial gain.

Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans, many converted to Islam during the last 70 years  Although an estimated 10 to 30 percent of the slaves did arrive as Muslims, their adherence was suppressed on plantations, but the non-enslaved Muslims in North America were merchants, travelers and sailors, from the 16th and 17th c. Ottoman and Mughal Empires. Their increased number today is a result of the recent influx of migrants, following the Koranic commands of conquest by invasion (al-hijra) and breeding (al-wilada).  Nearly 96,000 became legal residents in 2005, with another 115,000 in 2009.  While world population may increase by 32 percent, Muslims are predicted to increase by 70 percent.  Their supposedly rich history remains undefined, their beneficial contributions to mankind undetermined, but Calabria remains convinced of an Islam that exists in the imagination only.  

Contrary to his ardent claim of Islam’s wellspring of contributions, the “Muslim genius” appears to be their unique ability to invade and feign victimhood, to insinuate their laws into the host country and protest discrimination, to force civilizations to relinquish their treasured mandates of truth and freedom, to convince a world of a non-existent history, to receive unending entitlements and support, and to contribute nothing beneficial and to destroy their host culture while declaring provenance over every field of endeavor.  Fr. Calabria has strayed from the original path and walks in Mohammed’s shoes.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why doesn’t Pope Francis view Islam as his namesake St. Francis did — As Christianity’s mortal enemy?

Gorsuch Defends the Rule of Law in Immigration Case

If you take anything away from Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion concurring with the Supreme Court’s so-called “liberal” bloc in an immigration case this week, it should be his continued faithfulness to the rule of law and the separation of powers.

In Sessions v. Dimaya, Justice Elena Kagan wrote the court’s opinion—joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and in part by Gorsuch—holding that part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines a “crime of violence” for purposes of removal proceedings, is unconstitutionally vague.

Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion expressing concerns about how vague laws can lead to the arbitrary exercise of governmental power.

Some media outlets and noted conservatives have suggested that Gorsuch’s opinion is surprising or misguided, ruling with the liberal justices and against the Trump administration. For example, a New York Post headline reads, “Gorsuch Sides With Liberal Justices in Supreme Court Immigration Vote.” And Mark Levin tweeted, “Gorsuch blows it, big time.”

Whatever you think of any immigration policies or other issues surrounding this case, one thing is clear: Gorsuch faithfully applied fundamental constitutional principles and upheld the rule of law.

In many ways, Gorsuch also carried on Justice Antonin Scalia’s legacy.

Consider what the law in this case required, and what Gorsuch wrote.

The Immigration and Nationality Act

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, any alien who is convicted of an “aggravated felony” in the United States is subject to deportation, regardless of their ties to the country. Congress defined “aggravated felony” by a long list of specific offenses and offense types (at 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)), one of which is “a crime of violence” punishable by imprisonment for at least one year.

Congress defined “crime of violence” elsewhere, in 18 U. S. C. §16, in part by stating that it includes any felony “that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

Only that provision, known as the residual clause, was at issue in this case.

But in order to figure out which convictions trigger that residual clause, the court assesses the presence of “substantial risk” by looking not at the facts of the case, or the elements of the crime, but to “the ‘nature of the offense’ generally speaking,” and asks this: Does “‘the ordinary case’ of [this] offense pose[] the requisite risk”?

Immigration judges held that James Dimaya, a Philippine native and lawful permanent resident, is deportable because he was convicted—twice—of first-degree burglary under California law. The government sought to remove Dimaya after his second conviction, and immigration judges found that first-degree burglary counts as a “crime of violence” under federal law.

Dimaya appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the “residual clause” is unconstitutionally vague.

The 9th Circuit relied in part on Johnson v. United States, a 2015 opinion that the Supreme Court published while Dimaya’s appeal was pending.

In Johnson, the court struck down part of the definition of “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act on vagueness grounds.

That law increased the sentence of a defendant convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if he had three or more previous “violent felony” convictions, which includes any felony that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the court in that case, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Scalia concluded that the residual clause left “grave uncertainty about how to estimate the risk posed by a crime,” and further “uncertainty about how much risk it takes for a crime to qualify as a violent felony.” Rather than make up those aspects of the law himself, Scalia chose instead to send Congress back to the drawing board.

For that, Scalia’s opinion advanced the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Gorsuch’s Concurring Opinion

In his concurring opinion this week in Dimaya, Gorsuch provided thorough reasoning for a narrow conclusion: that “to the extent it requires an ‘ordinary case’ analysis, the portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act before us fails the fair notice test for the reasons Justice Scalia identified in Johnson.”

Gorsuch’s concern in Dimaya was, like Scalia’s in Johnson, a fundamentally conservative one: hostility to vague laws and arbitrary power.

Gorsuch wrote that “vague laws … can invite the exercise of arbitrary power … by leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.” Gorsuch explained:

[T]he Immigration and Nationality Act requires a judge to determine that the ordinary case of the alien’s crime of conviction involves a substantial risk that physical force may be used. But what does that mean? Just take the crime at issue in this case, California burglary, which applies to everyone from armed home intruders to door-to-door salesmen peddling shady products. How, on that vast spectrum, is anyone supposed to locate the ordinary case and say whether it includes a substantial risk of physical force? The truth is, no one knows.

Gorsuch gave the following examples of the confusion that results from the “ordinary case analysis”:

Does a conviction for witness tampering ordinarily involve a threat to the kneecaps or just the promise of a bribe? Does a conviction for kidnapping ordinarily involve throwing someone into a car trunk or a noncustodial parent picking up a child from daycare? These questions do not suggest obvious answers.

Because the statute “leaves judges to their intuitions and the people to their fate,” Gorsuch wrote, “the Constitution demands more.”

And Gorsuch explained exactly why that is.

Looking to history, Gorsuch cited early American court cases and turned to the Federalist Papers for the principle that “[w]ithout an assurance that the laws supply fair notice, so much else of the Constitution risks becoming only a ‘parchment barrie[r]’ against arbitrary power.”

And Gorsuch discussed exactly how vague laws might jeopardize other constitutional rights.

“Take the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that arrest warrants must be supported by probable cause,” Gorsuch wrote, “and consider what would be left of that requirement if the alleged crime had no meaningful boundaries.”

Finally, Gorsuch observed precisely how vague criminal laws undermine the separation of powers.

Only Congress may enact law, but if Congress writes vague statutes, Gorsuch wrote, then it leaves judges, prosecutors, and police “free to ‘condem[n] all that [they] personally disapprove and for no better reason than [they] disapprove it.’”

Thus, to “keep the separate branches within their proper spheres,” Gorsuch wrote, is “the more important aspect” of the vagueness doctrine.

And that is the most important aspect of Gorsuch’s opinion in Dimaya.

To judge how individual justices vote in particular cases in relation to one another, without regard to the substance of their opinions, unjustifiably politicizes the judiciary.

Dimaya is interesting not because of how the justices voted in relation to one another, but because of how the justices—especially Gorsuch and Justice Clarence Thomas—debated legal history and precedent, and did so respectfully.

Yes, the other conservative justices all dissented. Roberts dissented, joined by Thomas and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito, arguing that, unlike the law in Johnson, the statute at issue in this case was not vague.

Thomas also wrote a separate dissent, joined by Kennedy and Alito, challenging Gorsuch on the merits of the vagueness doctrine.

And yes, Gorsuch’s opinion is not what the government hoped for in this case.

The government had pointed to the executive’s “considerable constitutional authority” in immigration and foreign affairs but, as Gorsuch wrote, “to acknowledge that the president has broad authority to act in this general area supplies no justification for allowing judges to give content to an impermissibly vague law.”

Now, Congress can go back to the drawing board and draft a more precise law.

Gorsuch’s opinion has explained why that is a job for Congress, echoing his prior statements on the role of the judge: “to put aside their personal politics and preferences to decide cases and to follow the law and not try and make it.”

And by echoing Scalia’s opinion in Johnson, this case also illustrates how Gorsuch carries Scalia’s legacy.


Portrait of John-Michael Seibler

John-Michael Seibler is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

EDITORS NOTE: The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now. The featured image of Justice Neil Gorsuch is by Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA/Newscom.

Parkland Student Plans Conservative Livestream on Columbine Anniversary [April 20, 2018]

Conservative Parkland student Kyle Kashuv is organizing a pro-Second Amendment Facebook Live show on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

Kashuv, 16, tweeted that the goal is to “discuss ways to save lives without infringing on [the Second Amendment] and the importance of mental health and not bullying.”

Confirmed speakers for the livestream so far include Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump; Charlie Kirk, founder and executive director of Turning Point USA; Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director; and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Originally, Kashuv planned to bring Kirk to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Friday for a discussion of the Second Amendment.

However, the school blocked Kirk from coming on the grounds that “non-school sponsored, student-initiated guest speaker assemblies/meetings are not permitted to take place on campus,” according to a spokeswoman with Broward school district, reported the Sun Sentinel.

Kirk spoke to “Fox & Friends” Sunday about his intended message, had he been allowed to speak in Florida.

“My mission would not have been to offend. I did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but instead … here’s what really troubles me. Ever since that horrific shooting, the national conversation predominantly from students from that school has been about gun confiscation, about taking people’s guns away,” he said.

Kirk went on to say that conversations about the law enforcement failures at state and local levels are important to address, even though the left wants to stay focused on gun control.

Another Parkland student, David Hogg, is promoting a walkout Friday.


Portrait of Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Ginny. Twitter: @GinnyMontalbano.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Better Treatment of the Mentally Ill Could Reduce Mass Shootings

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Kyle Kashuv and Patrick Petty, both Parkland survivors, hugging outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 13. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch /UPI/Newscom). The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

Out With the Old Tax Code, in With the New

Say your fond farewells, because this April marks the last year you will have to pay your taxes under the old tax code.

Next year, when you sit down to file your taxes for 2018, you and your family will send less of your paychecks to Washington.

In 2018, the average American will work the first 109 days of the year to earn enough money to pay their full tax bill. This year, thanks to tax reform, we will work three fewer days to pay our taxes than last year. That’s three more days of income you and your family get to keep for yourself.

Each year, the Tax Foundation calculates Tax Freedom Day—the day we are able to begin working for ourselves and our families, rather than Washington. Mark your calendars, Tax Freedom Day 2018 is April 19.

The Treasury Department estimates that next year, about nine out of 10 Americans will have larger paychecks thanks to lower tax rates, a larger standard deduction, and an increased child tax credit. But everyone wants to know exactly how the new tax code will help them, personally.

Luckily, Heritage Foundation research fellow Rachel Greszler crunched the numbers. Here are some examples.

Tom Wong, a single teacher making $50,000, just finished filing his 2017 taxes and paid $5,474 in federal income taxes for 2017. Next year, he can expect to pay $1,104 less to the federal government. His marginal tax rate dropped from 25 percent to 12 percent.

Under the old tax code, John and Sarah Jones, a married couple with combined earnings of $75,000, three children, and a home mortgage, just finished calculating that they will pay $1,753 this year. Next year when they file their taxes, their federal income tax bill will decline by $2,014. In fact, because of the larger $2,000 child tax credit, they will get a refundable credit of $261.

Now that the political rhetoric has subsided, it is clear that families across America can expect a sizable tax cut when they file their taxes next year.

Tax reform did more than cut personal income taxes. It was designed to boost the economy by making it easier for businesses to hire Americans and invest in the United States. The early evidence shows that tax reform is indeed contributing to more new jobs and higher wages for working Americans.

More than 450 companies to date have announced bonuses, pay raises, and better benefits—including American Airlines, AT&T, Bank of America, and Comcast. Americans for Tax Reform is keeping a running list here.

Fiat Chrysler announced it will move some of its manufacturing plants in Mexico back to the United States, invest more than $1 billion in Detroit, and add 2,500 new jobs.

A small Wichita business gave each of the company’s five employees bonuses,ranging from $4,000 to $6,000. Meanwhile, tech giant Apple announced it will invest $350 billion and add 20,000 employees in the U.S. over the next five years.

New lower tax rates for businesses and individuals have made the U.S. competitive again and given Americans much-needed tax relief. For tax reform to succeed, however, Washington must constrain federal spending to reduce pressures to raise taxes in the future.

The true measure of taxes is not what we pay, but what the government spends. If you include 2018’s federal borrowing, Tax Freedom Day—or more aptly, Spending Freedom Day—is 17 days later, on May 6.

Every American who just received a tax cut should be a newly minted deficit hawk. Congress made many of the tax cuts temporary, so without serious spending reforms, there will be continued pressure to let taxes rise again.

To solidify the gains of tax reform, Congress must make the existing tax cuts permanent and bring spending under control. Phase 2 of tax reform is nonnegotiable.

For now, we can bid adieu to the old tax system and welcome 2018 with lower taxes and a healthier economy.


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: .

Dear Readers:

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

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

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

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

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


EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by DNY59/Getty Images.

U.S. Energy Facts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides these U.S. Energy Facts:

Americans use many types of energy

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power are primary energy sources. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated from primary energy sources.

Energy sources are measured in different physical units: liquid fuels in barrels or gallons, natural gas in cubic feet, coal in short tons, and electricity in kilowatts and kilowatthours. In the United States, British thermal units (Btu), a measure of heat energy, is commonly used for comparing different types of energy to each other. In 2016, total U.S. primary energy consumption was about 97.4 quadrillion (1015, or one thousand trillion) Btu.

In 2016, the shares of total primary energy consumption for the five energy-consuming sectors were:

    • Electric power—39%
    • Transportation—29%
    • Industrial—22%
    • Residential—6%
    • Commercial—4%

The electric power sector generates most of the electricity in the United States, and the other four sectors consume most of that electricity.

The pattern of fuel use varies widely by sector. For example, petroleum provides about 92% of the energy used for transportation, but only 1% of the energy used to generate electricity.

Domestic energy production is equal to about 91% of U.S. energy consumption

In 2016, energy produced in the United States was equal to about 83.9 quadrillion Btu, which was equal to about 86% of U.S. energy consumption. The difference between production and consumption was mainly in net imports of petroleum.

The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—accounted for most of the nation’s energy production in 2016:

The mix of U.S. energy production changes

The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have dominated the U.S. energy mix for more than 100 years. Several recent changes in U.S. energy production have occurred:

    • Coal production peaked in 2008 and trended down through 2016. Coal production in 2016 was about the same as production was in 1977. The primary reason for the general decline in coal production in recent years is the decrease in coal consumption for electricity generation.
    • Natural gas production in 2016 was the second largest amount after the record high production in 2015. More efficient and cost-effective drilling and production techniques have resulted in increased production of natural gas from shale formations.
    • Crude oil production generally decreased each year between 1970 and 2008. In 2009, the trend reversed and production began to rise. More cost-effective drilling and production technologies helped to boost production, especially in Texas and North Dakota. In 2016, crude oil production was lower than production in 2015, mainly because of lower global crude oil prices.
    • Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) are hydrocarbon gas liquids that are extracted from natural gas before the natural gas is put into pipelines for transmission to consumers. NGPL production has increased alongside increases in natural gas production. In 2016, NGPL production reached a record high.
    • Total renewable energy production and consumption both reached record highs of about 10 quadrillion Btu in 2016. Hydroelectric power production in 2016 was about 12% below the 50-year average, but increases in energy production from wind and solar helped to increase the overall energy production from renewable sources. Energy production from wind and solar were at record highs in 2016.

Why One Florida Legislator Voted ‘NO’ on Gun Control Legislation

The following is a statement from Florida Representative Cord Byrd who voted NO on SB7026. SB7026 is the Gun Control Legislation created in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting in Broward County, Florida. This legislation was passed before the full investigation of what actually happened at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School was completed.

As Representative Byrd points out this legislation was based on the desire to “do something” not on the facts of what actually occurred.


Over the past three weeks my office has received thousands of emails and phone calls regarding the horrific tragedy in Parkland and what steps the State should take moving forward. It was impossible to respond at the time, but now that Session is over I wanted to make sure everyone received an explanation as to why I voted NO on Senate Bill 7026.

I simply could not vote for legislation that has serious constitutional infirmities infringing upon the Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. When I took the Oath of Office I meant it.

What happened in Parkland was a failure of government. Over and over again, federal, state and local government failed. When government fails, the solution is not more government. The solution is not gun control.

The gun control measures in SB7026 would not have prevented the Parkland tragedy. The desire to “do something” cannot serve as the rationale to infringe upon the rights of law abiding 18-20 year old citizens.

Our society has lost its values and morals. It glorifies vice and mocks virtue. Until we fix our broken society, until we fill the God-sized hole in the hearts of our children, we will not solve this problem.

Thank you for being engaged politically, I look forward to hearing from you in the future. In the meantime, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates on our battle to protect the 2nd Amendment and all other issues before the Florida Legislature.

Cord Byrd
State Representative
District 11

RELATED ARTICLE: Corporations, Professional Agitators Behind DC Gun Control Rally

Votem joins with Department of Homeland Security to Stop Election Fraud

CLEVELAND, Ohio /PRNewswire/ — Votem is proud to announce its participation in the Department of Homeland Security’s Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) for the Election Infrastructure Subsector. The Council, which is a cooperative effort between the DHS, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), The National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), and state and local election officials, will facilitate joint engagement between public and private entities to coordinate efforts to make voting the United States’ voting infrastructure as secure as possible.

The SCC will also be comprised of private sector companies, including Votem, that have an interest in making American elections more secure and threat-resistant.  Votem is joined in the council by 23 other companies, ranging from elections providers to major publications, that have a stake in the success and betterment of domestic elections.

Votem’s membership on the SCC will offer the company the unique opportunity to weigh in on the most prescient security issues facing the U.S.’s election infrastructure, including questions of how to prevent meddling in the upcoming 2018 Midterms.

“Votem is honored to be a founding member of the Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) which was formed to defend the U.S. elections infrastructure. We believe that the SCC, in conjunction with the Government Coordinating Council (GCC), will help usher in an era of unprecedented security in our elections.” – Votem CEO Pete Martin

About Votem

Votem is a blockchain mobile voting platform enabling citizens around the world to easily vote online with a level of verifiability, accessibility, security and transparency that does not currently exist. Founded in 2014 by CEO, Pete Martin, Votem’s mission is to change the way people vote and believes that mobile voting will lead to positive change in the world by providing voters with complete transparency, thus shaping the future of democracy. Having conducted nine elections for both private and public clients, Votem has received praise and accolades from various institutions including the Cleveland Technology Awards and OHTech Best of Tech Awards.

The mobile voting platform is in its public pre-sale of Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) for its VAST tokens that is currently only open to accredited investors. The public pre-sale is scheduled to close on March 29th,2018.

New U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Mission Statement puts Americans First

For far too long our federal government, and many state and local governments, have been representing everyone and anyone but the citizens of the United States.

As an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agent I became painfully aware of how the supposedly “broken” immigration system has been operating as one of the most efficient delivery systems in the entire federal government, rivaling the both Fed-Ex and UPS.  The broken immigration system has been delivering a virtually unlimited supply of foreign tourists, foreign students and especially an unlimited supply of exploitable Third World workers who bring with them Third World expectations of Third World wages and working conditions.

Over time the magnitude of the immigration crisis grew exponentially.  This crisis undermines national security, public safety and the overall well-being of America and Americans.

The Amnesty of 1986 that was part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) not only resulted in nearly four million illegal aliens acquiring lawful status and ultimately enabling those newly legalized aliens to petition to have their family members admitted as lawful immigrants, but encouraged an influx of even more illegal aliens who believed that if one amnesty could be enacted to “solve” the immigration crisis, other such amnesties would likely follow.

The immigration system became ever more ineffective and politicians from both parties made false claims that since there were so many illegal aliens in the United States the only way of solving this huge problem was to legalize all of the illegal aliens and secure the U.S./Mexican border so that more illegal aliens ostensibly could not enter the country.

Of course, while the U.S./Mexican border must be made secure, as I have noted in many of my articles and especially in my testimony before a succession of congressional hearings in both the House and Senate, our nation does not have four border states (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas), but 50 “border states.” Any state that lies along America’s northern and southern borders are border states, as are those states that have access to the estimated 95,000 miles of the U.S. coastline and any state that has an international airport.

On November 15, 2014 the David Horowitz Freedom Center sponsored an event in which I was honored to join three true leaders in the United States Congress in a panel discussion on immigration: then-U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions and Congressmen Louis Gohmert and John Fleming.  A video of this panel discussion has been posted and includes a statement by Rep. Gohmert in which he said that my perspective on America having 50 border states was gaining traction in Washington.

It is encouraging when we are able to change the perspectives of our political leaders.  However, those instances are far too infrequent.

This weekend I was elated to find out that I may have had an impact on how the leadership of USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) perceives its vital mission in adjudicating applications for a wide variety of immigration benefits, which include applications for political asylum, lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship. This is a welcome change from years of inadequate leadership, especially during the Obama administration.

On March 20, 2013 during the disastrous Obama administration, I testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the topic, “Building An Immigration System Worthy Of American Values.” I concluded my prepared testimony with the following paragraphs:

I want to make this clear: Law enforcement is at its best when it creates a climate of deterrence to convince those who might be contemplating violating the law that such an effort is likely to be discovered and that, if discovered, adverse consequences will result for the law violators. Current policies and statements by the administration, in my view, encourages aspiring illegal aliens from around the world to head for the United States. In effect, the starter’s pistol has been fired, and for these folks, the finish line to this race is the border of the United States.

Back when I was an INS special agent, I recall that Doris Meissner, who was at the time the Commissioner of the INS, said that the agency needed to be ‘‘customer oriented.’’ Unfortunately, while I agree about the need to be customer oriented, what Ms. Meissner and apparently too many politicians today seem to have forgotten is that the ‘‘customers’’ of the INS and of our Government in general are the citizens of the United States of America.

I have referenced Meissner’s fatally flawed perceptions and guidance in numerous articles and speaking events in addition to my prepared testimony at that Senate hearing.

On February 22, 2018 NPR reported “America No Longer A ‘Nation Of Immigrants,’ USCIS Says.” Here is an excerpt from the NPR article bemoaning the removal of the phrase “nation of immigrants” and the term customer:

The agency’s new mission statement as it appears on the agency’s website reads:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

Here is USCIS’s previous mission statement:

“USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

The removal of the phrase “nation of immigrants” was announced to agency staff in an email letter from Director L. Francis Cissna.

In the letter, Cissna said, “I believe this simple, straightforward statement clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and the commitment we have to the American people.”

He also explained why the new mission statement deletes the reference to agency applicants as “customers.”

“What we do at USCIS is so important to our nation, so meaningful to the applicants and petitioners, and the nature of the work is often so complicated, that we should never allow our work to be regarded as a mere production line or even described in business or commercial terms. In particular, referring to applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits, and the beneficiaries of such applications and petitions, as “customers” promotes an institutional culture that emphasizes the ultimate satisfaction of applicants and petitioners, rather than the correct adjudication of such applications and petitions according to the law. Use of the term leads to the erroneous belief that applicants and petitioners, rather than the American people, are whom we ultimately serve.”

Director Cissna’s understanding of the true mission of his agency is a refreshing change from those who preceded him and insisted that the adjudications officers “get to yes” and seek to approve virtually every application that lands on their desks.

In the business world, it is said that “the customer is always right.”  Bringing that dangerous notion to an element of homeland security encourages and enables immigration fraud, a key vulnerability exploited by the majority of terrorists who have entered the United States determined to carry out and/or support deadly terror attacks.

Undoubtedly there are going to be some employees as USCIS who will find the change in fundamental philosophy to be a shock to their systems, particularly if they have entered on duty during the Obama administration where the “customer” was always right.

However, the clear and unequivocal message that the new mission statement and use of terminology sends to personnel at USCIS and to all who interact with USCIS is that the priority is to imbue the system with integrity.

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel detailed numerous examples of instances where terrorists made use of visa and immigration benefit fraud to embed themselves in the United States. For example, page 54 contained the following excerpt under the title “3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot”:

Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.

In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.

This new and welcome philosophy will help to deter potential fraudsters from filing fraud-laden applications by those who thought that as “customers” they could game this system.

As the number of applications for immigration benefits decline, beleaguered USCIS adjudications officers will have more time to more carefully scrutinize each application. (It takes just minutes to approve an application, but can take days or longer to deny an application.)  This will likely result in more fraud being discovered, thus deterring the filing of fraudulent applications as the word gets out. Deterrence through enforcement works.

EDITORS NOTE: This column first appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

The Government Has Already Tried Universal Basic Income. Here’s What Happened.

How would you like to receive $500 a month, no strings attached?

Stockton, California, a city outside of Silicon Valley, is providing such benefits to a group of its low-income residents in a pilot version of universal basic income.

Universal basic income is a policy that gives all people a set amount of benefits without requirements or stipulations. After a brief stint of popularity in the 1970s, the idea has resurged in the public interest, with backers including innovators Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, union leader Andy Stern, and even libertarian Charles Murray.

The pilot program, called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, has received initial funding from the Economic Security Project, an advocacy group for universal basic income policies.

There is no official start date for the program, but Stockton’s mayor, Michael Tubbs, has indicated they will be screening applicants through June. Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, is providing $1 million toward the effort.

To those familiar with the universal basic income debate, the renewed interest in the program is baffling because similar programs have been tested with terrible results.

In the 1970s, the government ran four random control experiments across six states to try the negative income tax, a similar policy proposal that was popular at the time. In each test, the work disincentive effect was disastrous. For every $1,000 in added benefits to a family, there was an average reduction in $660 of wages from work.

There are many reasons universal basic income proposals fail. The policy tends to direct resources to people who do not need them, while increasing dependency and decreasing work across the truly needy population.

The most apparent flaw in the universal basic income proposal is the lack of work requirements. Work requirements are important because they help those in poverty achieve self-sufficiency. Additionally, a vast majority of Americans believe that people should be required to work in exchange for benefits (upwards of 90 percent by The Heritage Foundation’s latest estimates).

Robert Rector, senior welfare policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, spoke recently about universal basic income with The Daily Signal. In the podcast, he suggested expanding the earned income tax credit, a program that rewards work with benefits, as an alternative to universal basic income.

Rector pointed out that the earned income tax credit “has the same effect as a guaranteed minimum income, but it’s linked to positive contributions to society.” To improve it, Rector suggests making the program more generous and supportive of marriage, as well as working to reduce fraud.

Despite the admirable goals of the Stockton proposal, the program is likely to reduce work, increase dependency, and overburden the taxpayer. Instead of overthrowing our current welfare system, it is better to focus on the initiatives that work.

Strengthening work requirements for major programs and reforming the earned income tax credit would be a good start.


Portrait of Mimi Teixeira

Mimi Teixeira is a graduate fellow in welfare policy at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

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

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.


DACA Is a Cheap Amnesty Ploy

Every year, millions of families make the trip to one of Disney’s famous amusement parks. Thousands of parents diligently save to bring their young children on the vacation of a lifetime.

Honeymooning newlyweds stroll the streets of “The Happiest Place on Earth,” snapping pictures with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy. Some visitors even pick up a season pass to enjoy this magical place all year round.

But what if there was an easier way to enter Disney World? What if your status as a child under the age of 16 entitled you to a lifetime pass? And what if that pass not only entitled you to free entry but automatic access to every one of Disney’s special VIP perks?

And what if the only condition was that you have a parent carry you into the park? Sound unfair?

Well, that’s exactly what the bipartisan open border club has been telling hardworking Americans they must do when it comes to DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “Compassion,” they proclaim. “It’s the right thing to do,” the insulated elites exclaim.

The hardworking parents who took on extra shifts to pay the ticket price for admission certainly would appreciate learning of such “compassion.” Disney’s shareholders would likely revolt, slamming the board members who so carelessly voted to open park doors.

And wait until you saw the new lines of young parents desperately trying to get their children into Disney to take advantage of such a unique opportunity.

But this isn’t a low-stakes issue involving theme parks and line-skippers. This is a dangerous national security issue that’s putting our country at risk and setting a dangerous precedent for our nation.

For decades, the establishment immigration lobby has been insisting Americans give so-called “Dreamers” a lifetime pass to America: citizenship. Don’t worry, they say. These “Dreamers” will enhance the American experience.

At the same time, the open borders club turns a blind eye to the pitiful state of our immigration system, demanding that immigrants who skip the box office be welcomed into our arms.

Those same elites never mention the millions of law-abiding and hardworking immigrants who enter our country legally—some after waiting over a decade to join this place we call home—and are getting delayed and punished for following the law.

They certainly never discuss the thousands of felons shielded from deportation by so-called “prosecutorial discretion” (translation: ignoring congressionally-passed law).

And the American citizens who refuse to reward the line-skippers and call for enforcement of our current laws first? Attacks of racism, bigotry, and, yes, anti-Americanism.

What good is having a price for park admission or a national immigration policy if they are not enforced? Why subject any potential immigrant to vigorous background checks if other immigrants can walk right across our border, wait a couple of years, and unlock the golden ticket: American citizenship?

Americans know DACA is nothing more than a cheap ploy for amnesty, a sort of citizenship-for-votes scheme that could only be hatched in the darkest corners of Washington, D.C., by liberal elites.

The forgotten men and women of America have a message to the backroom wheelers and dealers in Washington feverishly looking for a so-called permanent “DACA fix” in 2018: Do your job. Secure our border. Keep America a place that rewards those who work hard and come here legally.

And most importantly: Do not reward law-breakers. Anything less would be, well, goofy.


Portrait of Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli is president of the Senate Conservatives Fund and the former Virginia attorney general. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

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

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.


Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie Led the Elimination of Florida’s Statewide School Safety Hotline Law

Recent reports have revealed the existence of Broward County’s “Promise Program“, first begun in 2013, whereby Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, Sheriff Scott Israel, the Chief Judge of the Judicial Court, the State’s Attorney, the Public Defender, local police departments and the NAACP entered into a “Collaborative Agreement” to statistically reduce juvenile recrimination by simply covering it up within the public school system.  This program evolved on the heels of a similar program initiated circa 2012 by Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, whose school district and police department also covered up student juvenile crime simply to improve his school district’s statistics.  (See B&B’s “Did Superintendent Patton Import a Cover-Up Policy from Miami-Dade” 2/20/2018″).

These “Promise”-type programs rely upon the ability of a county’s local school district and law enforcement to work hand-in-hand to cover up student criminal activity, transforming crimes into lesser school punishments that remain publicly undisclosed by virtue of student privacy laws.

In 2012, an opportunity to eliminate Florida State regulations in the area of crime and school safety fell into the lap of Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Such programs work best if any state-mandated oversight or reporting requirements of school districts can be eliminated.  In 2012, an opportunity to eliminate Florida State regulations in the area of crime reporting and school safety fell into the lap of Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie.

In September 2012, Florida Governor Rick Scott attended the Fall meeting of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS).   Governor Scott was reportedly struck by the concept that the state might eliminate excess public school regulation in order to increase school districts’ focus on classroom learning.   “He had just finished his tour with teachers and he sort of started the discussion that excessive regulations didn’t add value to what was happening in the classroom.”

At its core, Governor Scott’s concept was laudable.  Governor Scott appointed a task force comprised of seven (7) Florida district superintendents, including Runcie, to report back to the Governor on what excessive regulations might be cut to achieve greater focus on classroom learning.

Runcie and the other 6 superintendents got busy formulating regulations to be cut.  One on the short list: Repeal Florida’s “Statewide School Safety Hotline” as codified at Fla. Stat. 1006.141.

The “Statewide School Safety Hotline” statute, first enacted in 1995, authorized the creation of a toll-free safety hotline through the Florida Sheriff’s Association, “for the purpose of reporting incidents that affect the safety and well-being of the school’s population…..The toll-free school safety hotline is to be a conduit for any person to anonymously report activity that affects the safety and well-being of the school’s population.”

1006.141 Statewide school safety hotline.— (CIRCA 2012 – NOW REPEALED):

(1) The department may contract with the Florida Sheriffs Association to establish and operate a statewide toll-free school safety hotline for the purpose of reporting incidents that affect the safety and well-being of the school’s population.

(2) The toll-free school safety hotline is to be a conduit for any person to anonymously report activity that affects the safety and well-being of the school’s population.

(3) There may not be an award or monetary benefit for reporting an incident through the toll-free school safety hotline.

(4) The toll-free school safety hotline shall be operated in a manner that ensures that a designated school official is notified of a complaint received through the hotline if the complaint concerns that school. A complaint that concerns an actionable offense must be reported to the designated official within a reasonable time after the complaint is made. An actionable offense is an incident that could directly affect the safety or well-being of a person or property within a school.

(5) If a toll-free school safety hotline is established by contract with the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Sheriffs Association shall produce a quarterly report that evaluates the incidents that have been reported to the hotline. This information may be used to evaluate future school safety educational needs and the need for prevention programs as the district school board considers necessary.

The statute also provided that the Florida Sheriff’s Association would produce a quarterly report that evaluates the incidents that have been reported to the hotline, and then use the information “to evaluate future school safety educational needs and the need for prevention programs as the district school board considers necessary.”

Runcie’s task force recommendation on the Florida’s Statewide School Safety Hotline:  “Repeal.  Concerns should be reported to local law enforcement or local school officials.”

Runcie’s task force recommendation on the Florida’s Statewide School Safety Hotline was to “Repeal.  Concerns should be reported to local law enforcement or local school officials.”

The elimination of the Statewide School Safety Hotline would be convenient to the likes of Superintendents Runcie and Carvalho, whose “Promise”-type programs were designed to sugarcoat any “reporting” of juvenile delinquency by orchestration between the local sheriff and local school officials.   In other words, bury the wrongdoing.  What better way to sweep student recrimination under the rug than to eliminate laws designed to provide for state oversight of local school safety efforts.

Keep in mind — Runcie’s proposed repeal of the “Statewide School Safety  Hotline” would do little to achieve Governor Scott’s intent to eliminate regulations that took away from classroom teaching and learning.  After all, the Hotline law had little impact on the local school districts’ resources or operations.

Florida’s FADSS Superintendent’s lobby, led by Democrat state senator William Montford, backed Runcie’s efforts.

In their continued pursuit of school safety deregulation, Runcie and his superintendent colleagues pushed for the repeal of the statewide hotline law, and circulated a  shortlist of 13 proposed “deregulations” amongst the entire group of Florida Superintendents on September 24, 2012.


The circulation of the “deregulation” list was orchestrated through the FADSS Superintendent’s lobby group, which was (and still is) curiously overseen by Democrat State Senator William “Bill” Montford.  Senator Montford acts as the FADSS Chief Executive Officer.

Florida’s Department of Education Commissioner enthusiastically jumps on board.

In November 2012, Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart, also enthusiastically jumped on board Runcie’s task force deregulation proposals which had grew to 54 in total.  Stewart described the elimination of these regulations, which included the repeal of school safety-related laws — as the elimination of “unnecessary regulations” and “a win for students.”

Runcie’s task force also tried unsuccessfully to repeal Florida’s “school safety assessment and reporting” law.

Runcie’s “deregulation” shortlist also pushed for the repeal of the school board “school safety reporting” law in Fla. Stat. 1006.07(6).  That statute requires school boards to annually conduct a self-assessment of the school district’s current safety and security practices. The superintendent is then required to annually recommend to the school board which strategies and activities that the school board should implement in order to improve school safety and security, and thereafter the district reports the self-assessment results and school board action to the commissioner of the Department of Education within 30 days.

1006.07:  District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety.The district school board shall provide for the proper accounting for all students, for the attendance and control of students at school, and for proper attention to health, safety, and other matters relating to the welfare of students, including:

*  *  *

(6) SAFETY AND SECURITY BEST PRACTICES.Use the Safety and Security Best Practices developed by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to conduct a self-assessment of the school districts’ current safety and security practices. Based on these self-assessment findings, the district school superintendent shall provide recommendations to the district school board which identify strategies and activities that the district school board should implement in order to improve school safety and security. Annually each district school board must receive the self-assessment results at a publicly noticed district school board meeting to provide the public an opportunity to hear the district school board members discuss and take action on the report findings. Each district school superintendent shall report the self-assessment results and school board action to the commissioner within 30 days after the district school board meeting.

Fla. Stat. 1006.07 “Safety and Security Best Practices”  (still Florida law despite attempt to repeal).

Runcie’s seven-person committee wanted to eliminate this common-sense safety reporting to the state back in 2012, but was unsuccessful in repealing this.  It remains in Florida’s statutes today.

Did the Dec. 2012 Sandy Hook/Newton School Massacre temporarily derail Runcie’s safety regulation repeal efforts?

Ultimately,  Runcie and his fellow Florida superintendents successfully achieved their objective to repeal the “Statewide School Safety Hotline” law by the legislature’s passage of Laws of Florida 2014-39, but not until the 2014 legislative session.  Curiously, despite the coordinated efforts and support of the governor, Runcie’s select committee, the FADSS, and the Commissioner of the Department of Education, the repeal of the Safety Hotline did not occur during the 2013 Florida legislative session which commenced in early 2013, just after the December 2012 Newtown/Sandy Hook school shooting massacre.  Was the political environment then not suitable for Runcie & Co. to eliminate the State School Safety Hotline law?   Did they have to wait for the Sandy Hook dust to settle?

Questions That Deserve Answers….

The facts and circumstances surrounding Florida’s coordinated school safety deregulation, led by Runcie’s task force and the FADSS, raise the following questions:

  • Might state authorities have intervened and prevented the Broward County school shooting massacre had Runcie and the FADSS instead pushed to enhance and further fund the “Statewide School Safety Hotline” following the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012, rather than expediently pushing for its repeal?  After all, it has been reported that the local Broward County Sheriff’s office failed to take proper action despite dozens of complaints about the school shooter Cruz.  Would an anonymous statewide hotline have made a difference?
  • If the “Statewide School Safety Hotline” was in effect today, would Governor Scott and the Legislature be utilizing it as another tool to enhance the safety of Florida’s schools, and to identify potential safety threats before they result in tragedies?
  • By what authority do Florida’s 67 superintendents fund and support a lobby organization at all?  Do taxpayers fund the FADSS lobby?  Do district school vendors fund it?  By statute, Florida’s superintendents are the executive officers of their respective school boards, and thus have a fiduciary duty to that board.  The school boards are the elected policy-making heads of each county school district, NOT the superintendents.  So why do the 67 superintendents have their own separate lobbying organization?  What happens when the Superintendents’ lobbying platform diverges from a local elected school board’s own legislative platform?  Are Superintendents informing their local School Boards about the substance of the separate FADSS legislative platform?
  • Is the 67-member FADSS Superintendent’s lobby really running Florida’s various school districts, with local school board members becoming mere puppets pulled by the strings of their local district Superintendent?  In effect, have school board members become hand-picked “useful idiots” who serve no purpose? 
  • Why is Bill Montford, a sitting Democrat State Senator, the Chief Executive Officer of the FADSS Superintendent’s lobby?
  • Has your local Superintendent and school board complied with the annual school safety assessment, review and reporting requirements in Fla. Stat. 1006.07?  If you don’t know the answer, you should ask your local district records custodian to provide the meeting minutes and backup records.


Teacher Suspended For Saying He Supports Teachers Being Armed In The Classroom [Video]

Behind Cruz’s Florida Rampage, Obama’s School-Leniency Policy 

VIDEO: Law Enforcement’s Failures Before, During and After Parkland School Shooting

In this episode of “Inside Judicial Watch,” host Jerry Dunleavy joins JW Senior Investigator Bill Marshall to discuss the perfect storm of events that led to the Parkland school shooting on Valentine’s Day which resulted in the deaths of 17 students and faculty. Had local and federal law enforcement been more proactive, the massacre could have been prevented.


Release the Florida School Shooting Surveillance Videos

Rubio Backs ‘Gun Violence Restraining Orders,’ Other Measures to Boost School Safety

Repealing Gun-Free School Zones Act Would Make Schools Safer, Kentucky Lawmaker Says

Parkland Kids: The Return of the Grieving Activist

According to many gun-control advocates, 18-year-olds are too immature to handle guns — but are mature enough to advise us on gun policy. Thus we’re told we must “listen to the voices” of the young Parkland shooting survivors. Not only that, we’re not to question or oppose them because they’re young, they’re survivors and, by golly, because it’s absolutely devastating to the anti-gun agenda!

There’s something truly reprehensible about this situation, and it’s not conservatives criticizing the positions of activist Parkland students such as David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez. It’s that liberals are using the students as human props and human shields, letting them throw the punches and then condemning the assailed if they dare defend themselves.

Well, sorry, but as I wrote years ago in “The Grieving Activist,” if you want to grieve, grieve.  If you want to play politics, play politics.

But my sympathy for grieving ends when the use of grief as a political battering ram begins.

Now, putting minors on the front lines is not at all unprecedented. The youngest U.S. naval captain was 12-year-old David Farragut, and the British would often have upper-class, preteen boy officers aboard their warships, as accurately portrayed in the film Master and Commander. But could you imagine if, after firing some salvos at French vessels and receiving a proportionate response, a British captain bellowed, “What do you think you’re doing?! There are kids aboard this ship!” Ridiculous.

But no more ridiculous than doing likewise in our political campaigns — and, mind you, “campaign” is a military term, applied here because at issue is political warfare. So put kids on the front lines if you wish, as the Nazis did in WWII’s waning days, but know that they’re taking flak because you placed them in harm’s way.

Of course, this all is very calculated. We know that CNN staged a town-hall affair, cherry-picking the attendees and controlling the questions. We know that, as pro-Second Amendment Parkland survivor Brandon Minoff related, the media are ignoring the voices of the pro-gun Parkland kids (so much for “listening to the children”). Nonetheless, while this anti-gun operation may or may not have George Soros’ fingerprints all over it, as Sheriff David Clarke suggested, it’s also no doubt true that the student activists are “wildly motivated,” as CNN’s Alisyn Camerota put it in response to him.

Yet there’s an obvious question here: Is it wise to have recently traumatized people advising on policy? Would we let someone whose dog was just killed by a neighbor help determine punishment for cruelty to animals? “Passion governs, and she never governs wisely,” as Ben Franklin warned.

Additionally, we’re a pretty immature civilization if we look to kids for policy advice. There’s a reason why societies might traditionally have been governed by a council of (hopefully) wise elders: Teen boys may sometimes have utility in warfare, but adolescent angst doesn’t make for sober heads. Moreover, mainstream media love publishing articles about the impulsive “teen brain”; now they say we should bow before these brains’ latest impulses. (Note: I instinctively knew the “teen brain” thesis was nonsense, as this article explains, but immaturity is nonetheless a factor.)

Yet something else must be said about these “wildly motivated” teens. To paraphrase late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, “They really care — about what I have no idea!”

It’s fashionable to beatify survivors. Endure a tragedy, and you’re suddenly a sainted soul whose motives are beyond reproach. But while I’m sure many Parkland students are what we’d call, practically speaking, “good people,” I’m also sure about their character as a group.

They’re just people.

Their number includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Heck, we’re only talking about this issue right now because of a Parkland teen who attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) and who is not at all a good person (I won’t give him publicity by using his name).

Yet the mainstream media exalt Parkland students as fonts of wisdom — while simultaneously infantilizing them, saying they can condemn but not be criticized, offend but not be offended. I’m different: realistic. I’m thus going to exercise some logic here, even though it’s wholly out of fashion.

With approximately 3000 Parkland teen survivors, what’s the probability that they’re all “good people”? Oh, I’m sure a handful will go on to do great things and that most of the others will do good but average things. Then there are the rest. Whom might they include?

Well, without naming names, is it inconceivable that a few of the 3000 might be Machiavellian enough to realize that the shooting’s aftermath is an opportunity for fame and possibly wealth and career-building? This doesn’t mean they don’t have genuine anti-gun passions — they may, as people’s actions are often driven by multiple motivations, some noble and some ignoble — only that the primary impetus may be a more self-serving one.

And, actually, out of 3000 students, it’s inconceivable that there wouldn’t be two or three of this mold. Teens ain’t potted plants — they can be manipulative as well as meritorious. Just ask “clock boy” Ahmed Mohamed about that.

The Left can huff and puff about these observations, but it draws distinctions among gun-crime survivors, too. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was seriously wounded by a left-wing activist in last year’s congressional baseball shooting, and Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, also a Republican, survived the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. But I don’t hear them trumpeted as voices “we must listen to.” Why? It could be what they have in common with the ignored Parkland pro-Second Amendment kids.

The latter, however, are just a few of the young voices about which leftists couldn’t care less. Other examples are the Boy Scouts booed at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, the six-year-old lad in a 2012 anti-Obama video whom liberals wanted dead, and the 650,000 babies they actually do manage to kill annually via prenatal infanticide. And this does reflect the culture-of-death mentality: Liberals want to hear young voices — until they become inconvenient. At that point their freedom of speech can be aborted.

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Border Security Is Important For Immigration But Workplace Enforcement Is YUGE

What’s the best way to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States? Most Republicans would say tougher border security. Many have loudly applauded President Donald Trump’s proposal to build an impenetrable “wall” between the United States and Mexico and to hire more border patrol agents to keep unwanted aliens out.

But even the best border barrier isn’t infallible. Some aliens will slip through — or simply overstay a tourist visa. So, it’s critical to have a second layer of defense in the interior of the country.

Conservatives know that. That’s why they want to deputize law enforcement as de facto immigration agents on the nation’s highways and in federal, state and local prisons.  Aliens stopped on the road or booked at jails will be fast-tracked for deportation. In fact, it’s already happening — by executive order.

But even these measures — essentially tripwires — are hardly foolproof. If you really want to target illegal aliens, it’s at the point of hiring.  Nearly everyone acknowledges – quietly, it seems — that often difficult-to-fill low-skill jobs are the real “magnet” for immigrants to try to enter the country illegally.

But thus far it’s been nearly impossible to institute an effective workplace enforcement system.

Part of the problem — but only part, and probably not the most important part — is technical.

Democrats and some Republicans have long complained that most “workplace verification” systems — like “E-Verify” — are too error-prone to be useful.

And for years, politicians have used that argument to stall or derail bills that included the program.

But the real problem isn’t technical. It’s political. Most American businesses don’t want to be held responsible for weeding out illegal aliens from the workforce. They don’t want to shoulder administrative burden or the additional costs involved. We’re not immigration “cops,” they insist.

In fact, the last time a comprehensive immigration reform package passed the Congress, in 1986, businesses revolted against a proposed provision–– known as “employer sanctions” — that would have punished them for employing illegal workers.

Their revolt was so strong that Congress was forced to water down the employer sanctions provision to the point where it no longer served as an effective deterrent to illegal hiring.

Businesses were allowed to claim an “affirmative defense” against illegal hiring by claiming that they had made a “reasonable effort” to verify the legal status of their workers by inspecting their hiring documents. As long as those documents seemed “genuine on their face,” employers could not be accused of “knowingly” hiring illegal workers.

As a result, illegal aliens began forging their hiring documents en masse. And not surprisingly, it was soon found that “employer sanctions” system weren’t working. In fact, fabricating green cards and driver’s licenses and stealing social security numbers became a burgeoning new industry.

Believe it or not, this toothless system of workplace enforcement — which has deluded taxpayers into thinking that their government was actually protecting their jobs as well as their borders — has remained in place at the federal level for the past thirty-plus years.

What little progress that’s been made is due largely to conservatives pushing for E-Verify at the state level. Currently, some 20 states have mandated the use of E-Verify in the private or public sector, or in some cases, both. Nationally, about 57 percent of all jobs are screened with E-Verify, up from just 30 percent in 2010.  But with only piecemeal and partial local enforcement, illegal aliens are free to apply for work in the thirty states that don’t use E-Verify.

President Trump, to his credit, has decided that America, at last, must end the current “nod-and-a-wink” conspiracy between illegal immigrants and low-skill businesses by insisting that E-Verify be implemented nationwide.

But Trump hasn’t exactly touted E-Verify, either. A border wall is a far more visually compelling symbol and metaphor for American policy intent. It also implicates America’s southern neighbor more directly. Mexico has no reason to pay for interior enforcement, but insisting that Mexico fund a wall along a border the two countries share makes perfect sense. It also stokes the kind of patriotic fervor that keeps Trump popular with the GOP base.

Downplaying E-Verify also allows Trump to dodge a potential fight with the US business community over immigration enforcement. Remember: Trump needs the business community’s support on tax reform, infrastructure rebuilding and a host of other economic issues.

Antagonizing business groups on an issue they are leery of could backfire. Immigrants are heavily concentrated in “Blue” states like California, New York and New Jersey. Democrats in these states would love to exploit business resistance to workplace verification to win support for their political candidates and to undermine Trump’s immigration policies generally.

Some Democrats have support an expanded E-Verify system in the past, but only in the context of a sweeping amnesty program. Without a commitment from Trump to expand legalizations beyond the so-called DREAMers, they’re unlikely to support E-Verify.

Trump should agree to make that commitment – one still short of a full-scale amnesty, mind you — if it ensures that tougher workplace enforcement as well as border enforcement receives bipartisan support.

No doubt some powerful conservatives will howl. And business concerns will need to be allayed.

But getting E-Verify passed is simply too important not to make additional concessions.

Illegal immigration is at its lowest level since 2003, but those flows will resume – and surge – as the economy keeps expanding. We need a deal now. Otherwise, we will be arguing over this same issue – without resolution – for another thirty years.


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Stewart Lawrence is a consultant and policy analyst.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.