DHS Warns ‘Violent Extremists’ Seeking to ‘Exploit’ Coronavirus, But Don’t Worry: ‘We’re Here’

My latest in PJ Media:

The Department of Homeland Security’s Counterterrorism Mission Center and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office has just sent out a memo warning law enforcement officials that “violent extremists probably are seeking to exploit public fears associated with the spread of COVID-19 to incite violence, intimidate targets and promote their ideologies, and we assess these efforts will intensify in the coming months.”

“Probably”? There isn’t any doubt about it. The Islamic State (ISIS) has even told Muslims that if they commit an act of jihad violence, it could prevent them from contracting the coronavirus. In the latest edition of its Al-Naba newsletter, ISIS stated that the coronavirus was a “plague” sent by Allah, causing “painful torment” to non-Muslims. In response to it, “The Muslims should not pity the disbelievers and apostates, but should use the current opportunities to continue working to free Muslim prisoners from the camps in which they face subjugation and disease.”

How could they work to free them? By means of jihad massacres. Taking this path would bring them great rewards: “They should also remember that obedience to God — the most beloved form of which is jihad — turns away the torment and wrath of God.”

The idea that Allah will punish the unrighteous in this world is in the Qur’an: “So if they repent, it is better for them; but if they turn away, Allah will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and the hereafter. And there will not be for them on earth any protector or helper.” (Qur’an 9:74) In line with this passage, ISIS even expresses the hope that Allah will make COVID-19 even more lethal than it already is, and to “increase their torment,” that is, the torment of non-Muslims, “and save the believers from all that.”

Meanwhile, if disobedience to Allah gets one “a painful punishment in this world and the hereafter,” then the immediate inference from this is that if one is righteous, one will prosper in this world as well as in the next. And the most righteous deed of all is jihad. A hadith has a Muslim asking Muhammad: “Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” Muhammad replied, “I do not find such a deed.” (Bukhari 4.52.44)

The DHS wants to reassure you, however, saying that it has “no information indicating any active plotting is underway.” FBI Director Chris Wray added: “With all the worry and uncertainty out there, we want the public to know that there are still things they can count on: We’re here, and we’re going to stay here, to protect them, no matter what. Because our criminal and national security adversaries sure aren’t going to take a day off — whether that’s for the coronavirus or, for that matter, anything else.”

“We’re here”? Great. That’s hardly reassuring. Even as ISIS is actively encouraging its followers to stage new jihad massacres in the West, the DHS, the FBI, and the rest of them are still institutionally committed to ignoring, downplaying, or denying the motivating ideology behind jihad terrorism.

Read the rest here.

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

Governor Despots? Panic Is Stripping Americans Of Essential Liberties

Ignored or buried in this global pandemic panic is the giant risk we have already taken not to the economy, as horrible as that is, but to our essential liberties. This is not theoretical anymore.

Forget the President. Since when does every governor, mayor, county executive and dog catcher in the country have unlimited powers over peoples’ lives in a time of crisis? Since never, at least if the Constitution has any relevance anymore.

But in this crisis, in which fear has driven public policy, they are all acting as though they do. And the question is whether the American people, once hearty, self-reliant and freedom-loving are now willing to bend the knee to every dictate from the local overlord or not.

Do I overstate? I hope so. But read the headlines.

One from today is that L.A.’s mayor is threatening to shut off water and electricity to businesses who are staying open after HE ordered them to close. Where does his authority come from to do that? I doubt it’s in the L.A. city charter. The City Council has not voted to make him a little despot. He’s  just doing it, with the power of the police force behind him.

At a press conference, Garcetti was frustrated some businesses did not obey his order. “You know who you are. You need to stop it. This is your chance to step up and shut it down, because if you don’t, we will shut you down.”

How far away from an overlord is that? Will he cede it all back when the crisis is past? Just think of the apocalyptic language used around climate change. It gets real sobering in a hurry.

Governors are shutting down whatever they want, whenever they want, without even pretending to show their homework — almost one-upping each other even as the evidence is now coming in that the virus apparently is not nearly as deadly as we thought two weeks ago. Yet several state’s are on lock-down, based on one person’s orders. (Side note: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been very cautious about doing so, and he’s been pilloried in the media and by Democrats. But he’s been right to not jump to such autocratic control.)

Governors do not have unrestrained powers even in quarantine situations. They have the power to quarantine those who are sick, because they do need some authority. But do they have the authority to tell every person in their state to stay home — except the ones they say can go to work? When they limit gatherings to 10, or even less, do they have the authority to abrogate the First Amendment’s right of freedom of assembly?

Beyond governors, it gets much more threatening. Mayors and county executives are acting in much the same way. We see it in New York and LA. Before that in San Francisco.

In Florida, there is an interesting mix because of DeSantis’ correct reticence to issue blanket orders. Miami-Dade and Broward and many other counties have issued stay at home “orders” through their county commissions. (Florida counties are run by elected commissions with a hired chief executive.)

But interestingly, the County Attorney’s Office here in Sarasota County, Florida has ruled that County Commissioners do not have the legal authority to issue a stay at home order with any further restrictions than those already ordered by Gov. DeSantis. Perhaps being a charter county makes a difference. Or being a very red county.

This is not a case against restrictions per se, but who orders them and with what authority. Because the risk is that many of these potentates-in-training may be reluctant to give up all of that power after the crisis — or simply label the next issue a “crisis.” And an even greater risk is that we the people may not force them to.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

That’s a truism through the ages.

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

Little of Pelosi’s Wish List Made It Into COVID-19 Relief Bill. That’s a Relief in Itself.

On Friday, the House passed the massive $2 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package that the Senate had passed on Wednesday.

There’s a lot in those 880 pages, and much of it is problematic: The bill is neither targeted and temporary, nor directed exclusively at the coronavirus—as scholars at The Heritage Foundation and its president, Kay C. James, have explained.

Before the bill made it through the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., temporarily derailed it by insisting that any relief bill include a left-wing wish list unrelated to the ongoing pandemic and the economic slowdown that it’s causing.

Among other things, Pelosi would have:


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


  • Mandated “diversity” on corporate boards and in banks.
  • Required airlines to disclose and reduce emissions.
  • Mandated that states allow voting by mail.
  • Increased union bargaining power.
  • Expanded tax credits for wind and solar power.
  • Prohibited universities from disclosing the citizenship status of their students.
  • Provided a bailout for some private pensions.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Pelosi was not going to be accused of letting a crisis go to waste.

In what is becoming a familiar theme (think of her failed attempt to control how the Senate conducted its impeachment trial), Pelosi backed down shortly after making her demands.

With the legislation now through Congress, how much of Pelosi’s wish list made it into the bill?

None of the wish-list items listed above made the cut, but there remains a lot of unnecessary and unwise spending in it.

Diversity requirements for banks and corporate boards are out, as is Pelosi’s demand for a Securities and Exchange Commission advisory group to promote corporate “diversity.”

Also out is her demand that companies taking relief funds establish and staff a minimum five-year “diversity and inclusion” program. Indeed, the words “diversity” and “inclusion” don’t appear in the legislation passed by the Senate.

The package also does not include any new carbon emissions restrictions or disclosure requirements for airlines or other industries.

Similarly missing are any of her proposals for a federal takeover of state elections.

Her attempt to give unions a handout failed, too, as did her attempt to give a handout to wind and solar power providers.

The bill does not prevent colleges and universities from disclosing their students who are illegal aliens, or provide any other shroud for illegal status.

Likewise, the private pension bailouts she demanded are nowhere to be found in the Senate bill.

Pelosi succeeded in delaying the relief package by several days, but she failed to capitalize on what her No. 2 lieutenant, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., called a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Still, Pelosi took to Twitter to celebrate her success in turning the Senate Republicans’ bill “upside down.”

In the end, Pelosi supported the bill wholeheartedly.

But despite her self-proclaimed success in turning the Senate bill upside down, progressives in her party are not happy with it.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., thinks that the relief package favors the businesses that employ the vast majority of Americans. She had threatened to delay the bill’s passage.

Even before this relief package becomes law, politicians on both sides of the aisle were already calling for another one to follow, so expect Pelosi and the progressives to try again to make the wishes on their wish list come true.

COMMENTARY BY

GianCarlo Canaparo is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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A Note for our Readers

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

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

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

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

Borders Matter to Dems! When the Border is Between New York and Rhode Island! LOL!

This story gave me a laugh (I know it is a serious issue)!  However, I can’t help chuckling about the Open Borders Dems who all of a sudden are becoming tribal about their people in their states. Civil liberties be damned!

Not sure how this fits into Frauds and Crooks, but what the heck, I’ll archive it in my ‘Politicians as frauds’ category.

From Bloomberg:

Rhode Island Police to Hunt Down New Yorkers Seeking Refuge

Rhode Island police began stopping cars with New York plates Friday. On Saturday, the National Guard will help them conduct house-to-house searches to find people who traveled from New York and demand 14 days of self-quarantine.

“Right now we have a pinpointed risk,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “That risk is called New York City.”

[….]

Rhode Island has just over 200 [cases of COVID-19 at the time this story was posted—ed], and it has begun an aggressive campaign to keep the virus out and New Yorkers contained, over objections from civil liberties advocates.

Raimondo, a Democrat, said she had consulted lawyers and said while she couldn’t close the border, she felt confident she could enforce a quarantine.

Many New Yorkers have summer houses in Rhode Island, especially in tony Newport, and the governor said the authorities would be checking there.

“Yesterday I announced and today I reiterated: Anyone coming to Rhode Island in any way from New York must be quarantined,” the governor said. “By order. Will be enforced. Enforceable by law.”

More here.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

3 Big Media Misses During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has become a health crisis that’s almost unprecedented in our lifetimes.

As our country and the world race to contain the spread of COVID-19, it’s important that we all stay informed on how to protect ourselves and our families and neighbors.

This is a time for journalists in a free country to demonstrate how they can bring vital and accurate information to the public when it’s needed most.

Many journalists have been doing just that, and at great risk.


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


Unfortunately, the media has made some serious missteps in recent months and acted unseriously in this serious time.

Here are three big media misses during the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Attacking Travel Bans

While there is certainly more that Americans and the Trump administration could have done in preparation for the tidal wave that has been the coronavirus outbreak, one early decision likely made a big difference in controlling its scope.

On Jan. 31, the Trump administration instituted a travel ban to stop the flow of infected people from China to the United States.

“The travel ban with China made a difference,” Dr. Tom Frieden,  former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and current head of the global health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, told USA Today.

“It resulted in a significant delay in the number of people coming in with infection and because of that, that bought time in the U.S. to better prepare,” Frieden said. “And yet, that time wasn’t optimally used.”

However, critics of the Trump administration roundly attacked the China travel ban as ineffectual, anti-science, and xenophobic.

My colleague, Lyndsey Fifield, had an excellent breakdown on Twitter of the media’s coverage of the travel ban.

At the time, the World Health Organization recommended against travel bans because it was relying on China’s disinformation and failure to report person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

Good on the administration not to rely on information that had gone through the filter of the Chinese communist government, which clearly has been dishonest about the outbreak since the beginning.

But media outlets didn’t stop with attacks on the administration’s China travel ban. They also widely condemned the more recent restriction on travel from Europe—some calling this move a product of xenophobia as well.

The fact is, contrary to the idea that viruses don’t recognize borders, borders are an important method to limit contact with people infected in a global pandemic. It’s the transmission between individuals that causes COVID-19 to spread quickly, one of the reasons why our whole country is practicing various forms of social distancing and in some places is in near total lockdown.

The idea that the federal government took precautions and shut down borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is anathema in a media environment in which the concept of borderless societies is taken as a given.

But if this moment demonstrates anything, it’s that border enforcement matters. It matters not just because of issues such as crime, culture, terrorism, and economics, but also in the realm of public health.

2. ‘China Virus’ Language Policing

Working alongside the attacks on travel restrictions is the media’s ridiculous and unserious condemnation of those who call the new coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” “China virus,” “Wuhan virus,” or any other name that links the pandemic to its country of origin.

In January and February, most media outlets had no problem using the terms China virus or Wuhan virus. But suddenly a switch flipped, and prominent journalists began to attack these terms as racist.

This flip-flop followed a wave of Chinese propaganda aimed at attacking the term “China virus” as racist and linking the outbreak to the United States.

It was a jarring reminder of the unserious nature of “woke” culture that at a press conference the day after Trump used the phrase “Chinese virus” on Twitter, he received four questions about it.

Clearly, when the nation is shut down due to the most threatening pandemic since the Spanish flu and Americans are facing mass unemployment and possibly a deep recession, our esteemed press is doing the all important work of language policing.

3. Trump Derangement and Fish Bowl Fluid

Unfortunately, this big media miss may make it more difficult to get the word out on COVID-19 treatments.

Trump and others—including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat—have touted the possibility that a drug long used to treat malaria may be effective in treating COVID-19.

This would of course be a huge breakthrough in stemming the pandemic if it proves to be effective. One of the malaria treatments contains the prescription drug hydroxychloroquine.

This story soon broke, with similar headlines in countless media outlets and countless journalists spreading it far and wide.

This stemmed from an NBC News report in which the dead man’s wife, who also ingested the substance, said they took it because of Trump’s suggestion that it might be a cure. She would not reveal her name.

“We saw Trump on TV—every channel—& all of his buddies and that this was safe,” the woman said, according to NBC News. “Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure.”

What the couple reportedly ingested, though, actually was a  fish bowl cleaner containing chloroquine phosphate, a different substance used to get rid of parasites.

For the sake of comparison, if it needs one: Bleach is a pretty effective chemical to clean with, but if you drink it, you’ll end up in a hospital. This couple certainly did not take a medication prescribed by a doctor.

It’s highly deceptive to connect Trump’s comments to this couple’s reported attempt to treat themselves with an industrial chemical.

Some news outlets were good enough to correct their headlines and stories.

Axios has deleted its tweet and made a correction.

Good for Axios and the other outlets that made corrections. Hopefully this deceptive story won’t stop the spread of medications that may prove vital in the future.

Also, let’s hope that the prolonged and serious pandemic that the country faces will spur the media to focus on the crisis at hand and less on the vapid virtue signaling and sensationalized digs at the president that have been their hallmark for years now.

COMMENTARY BY

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the new book, “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.” Twitter: .

RELATED VIDEO: THE TRUTH!!!! BY @PAINSANGELS

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A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

VIDEOS: Joe Biden accuser Alexandra Tara Reade speaks out about Biden’s ‘inappropriate touching’!

Alexandra Tara Reade, J.D. in an article titled Powerful Men and The Women They Choose to Destroy wrote:

Then came Washington DC. I worked for a prominent congressman and was hired later by Senator Joe Biden. Joe Biden was my political hero. The following months and events crushed my spirit in a way that is hard to express. I reported Joe Biden’s sexual harassment of me at a time when no one listened and supervisors looked at me like I was the one with the problem. Some women even suggested, I comply with serving drinks to those male donors as suggested, to advance my career and winked they would like his attention or to be in the room with some of those men. This was my life, I wondered, to parade in front of men hoping I am worthy of their attention?

 Yet, this was the message in the 1990s and even 2000’s. Play along to get along. Then, something happened that changed me forever.

I just did not want to be an object. I wanted to start a political career not sleep with powerful men. I dated boys my own age in their 20’s and even then, married, powerful men were to be feared and steered clear from, not entertained. I learned what men with power could do to women in Hollywood. [Emphasis added]

Read more.

The Hill reported:

Former staffer for Joe Biden Tara Reade recounts her experience from the 1990s with then-Senator Joe Biden including inappropriate touching, and her denial of legal resources from the #MeToo organization Time’s Up.

The Hill posted this following video Rising TV report on its YouTube site:

Video courtesy of Rising.

Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day’s political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen. It also sets the day’s political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country’s most important political newsmakers.

Joe Biden’s accuser finally tells her full story – Katie Halper’s interview with Tara Reade

© All rights reserved.

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VIDEO: Coronavirus and Anti-Semitism

While the world is dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, some see it as an opportunity to attack Israel with lies and anti-Semitic slurs.

Watch BDS activists and white supremacists share shockingly similar conspiracy theories about the global crisis, including that Israel and Jews are behind or are exploiting the virus. Meanwhile, Israel is working hand-in-hand with Palestinians to combat the virus!

WATCH AND SHARE!

Have you seen any other examples of this? Share your answers in a comment on Twitter

Watch the video on Twitter 

Watch the video on Facebook  

Watch the video on Youtube

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EDITORS NOTE: This Canary  Mission video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Cause and Infect: China’s Legacy of Lies

Some people won’t know the name Li Wenliang. Nor will they have a chance to thank him. He died in China on February 7th of the plague he warned was coming. The Wuhan ophthalmologist was just 34 when his heart stopped, a husband and father — with another baby on the way. “He wasn’t an idealistic whistleblower. He was not a dissident. He wasn’t even political,” one reporter mourned. “He was simply a doctor doing his job.” And for that, China silenced him. Permanently.

Dr. Wenliang was treating patients when Chinese officials arrested him. Furious that he’d sounded the alarm over the mysterious virus exploding through the region, they made him sign a statement to keep quiet. “We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice — is that understood?” It was the beginning of a massive, regime-wide cover-up that’s claimed 19,000 lives and sent the global economy spiraling out of control.

Now, with the world in utter chaos and people dying faster than countries can bury them, the fury over China’s deadly conspiracy is white hot. Leaders like Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who are watching with horror as the infections ravage America, are determined to hold the Chinese Communist Party responsible. “Since day one, [they] intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic.” He talked about the orders for laboratories to destroy samples and the persecution of doctors like Li. “It is time for an international investigation,” Hawley insisted. “…The Chinese Communist Party must be held to account for what the world is now suffering.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose agency is getting frantic calls from Americans trying to get home, understands better than anyone the human toll of China’s actions. “Every day, every week matters in terms of how this information is transmitted around the world. That is, when you share this information, the best scientists around the world can begin to work on it. You can start all the processes, not only vaccines and things that mitigate, but you can begin to put in place the things that will cause the spread to be decreased. And it’s multiplicative — so every day that the Chinese Communist Party sat on this information and didn’t do the right thing… [they] increased the number of people who would be exposed, and thereby put all of us all around the world — the Chinese people as well — at unnecessary risk.”

Even now, he said on “Washington Watch” Tuesday, the disinformation campaign continues — not just in China but in Russia and Iran as well. “They’re talking about it coming from the U.S. Army, and they’re saying maybe it began in Italy — all things to deflect responsibility.” And yes, countries have more urgent problems on their hands right now, but “the world needs to understand what’s really going on,” the secretary insisted, “because it’s still important.”

If nothing is done, this culture of lies will continue to cost the world innocent human lives. “It’s still important to have transparency even today. This is an ongoing global crisis, and we need to make sure that every country today is being transparent sharing what’s really going on, so that the global community, the global health care, infectious disease community can begin to work on this in a holistic way. My concern,” Mike said frankly, “is that this cover-up, this disinformation that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in, is still denying the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or something like this from recurring again.”

In Iran, where the government ignored the virus to keep turnout high for the February elections, the casualties have been astronomical. Now, of course, they’re lying to their people and trying to turn them against America because they know their grip on their regime is very tentative. If they can shift their focus away from themselves, the Iranians can hide what they knew and when they knew it. But, as Secretary Pompeo points out, “the people most harmed by the absence of transparency and good governance are the people of their own country.” And as much as Iran and China try to deceive them, the people know it.

So maybe, the secretary said, one of the best outcomes we can hope for in this catastrophe is that they see a country like America treating people with dignity and respect. “Those are the things that fundamentally separate us from regimes like… Iran and the Chinese Communist Party. And it’s why, when we move our way through this… as I know we will, the people all around the world will see that is our system — a republic where we have freedom and liberty and we know that our rights come from our Creator — these are the systems that will ultimately prove to be most effective at delivering good outcomes for every human being.”


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


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action podcast and column are republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Are We Seeing The Emergence Of Greatness In A Crisis?

Watching the evening press conferences that President Trump and his team are holding nightly during this crisis, I am seeing something I was not expecting — and now understand why some Democrats and many media members are pushing networks to cut the live coverage and make sure they get to” filter” everything.

The media calls to cut the mic made no sense after they had fits when Trump had stopped the daily press availabilities (because some media members had turned it into opportunities to grandstand.) Now I get it. It’s not hypocrisy. It’s because it works. And it works in a way that the intransigent never Trumpers could not have imagined possible.

These nightly press conferences are not only very effective, they are revealing how Trump has changed to deal with this crisis — something that many did not think possible. Trump looks downright presidential in the way all his critics claim he should be, but don’t really want him to be because they fear that would be good for his presidency.

He has an almost charming relationship with Dr. Deborah Birx and has her or Dr. Anthony Fauci handle most of the medical questions. He has a Navy Admiral explaining the efforts in the supply chain; Attorney General William Barr explaining the law for new rules; Vice President Mike Pence heading the federal task force to explain overall steps; and different specialists each night to answer questions.

Trump speaks, rarely invoking politics, then steps aside and has experts in each area explain from their respective areas of expertise.

Despite the socially distanced media clearly pushing him to make political statements in search of tomorrow’s headline, my goodness that is glaringly obvious, he stays very non-political for about two hours. That is a new Trump.

And the best Trump for this moment. Most great presidents, great leaders, are made during a crisis and their handling of it. Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, FDR (a very strong leader, just too often in the wrong direction) Reagan, even George W. Bush in his initial response to 9/11. Yes, there is some rarified company in that list. But we may be seeing that happening right now. After a slow start (minus blocking the flights from China in late January, which obviously bought us some time) and some missteps over seriousness, Trump has allowed his strengths to overcome his weaknesses.

This crisis has revealed his organizational abilities, intelligence, imagination, personal charisma and, very importantly, his boundless optimism for America. It also showed he does not have to be the center of attention. He spends a lot of time standing off to the side. But he directs the entire press conference like a maestro, from beginning to end.

He’s become what Dr. Sheldon Roth calls a “leader-follower” — which is just what the country needs at this critical moment.

The media is too far gone to allow that to come through directly to American people. They want to be the censors of Presidential speech, so they can cherry-pick and twist for their own, partisan agenda. That has not changed in this crisis. Neither apparently have many Democrats with their willingness to lard up the coronavirus bill with add-ons for pay equity, voting, private board representation, green initiatives, permanent paid leave, student loan bailouts and so much more. The crisis is an opportunity for them to get some goodies. (Notably, Democrats outside D.C., such as California Gov. Newsome and New York Gov. Coumo, have praised Trump’s responses.)

The media and the Democratic leadership seem not to have changed during this. Trump has, at least for the moment. And the American people are liking what they are seeing. The approval polls are showing it, with Trump soaring up to 54 percent on his handling of this, which is pretty phenomenal. And for the media and Democrats, that’s why the mic must be cut.

We may be seeing the emergence of a great U.S. President during a time of crisis. I honestly never thought Trump would be “great.” But what I see at these evening press conferences is something altogether unexpected — a Trump version of Roosevelt’s popular fireside chats.

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

New York Imam Finds the Key: Coronavirus Comes from Women Showing Too Much Ankle

My latest in PJ Media:

Amid all the controversy over where the coronavirus comes from (don’t you dare call it the “Chinese Virus,” a la “Spanish Flu,” that would be racist, and to be racist is worse than the virus itself) and what should be done about it, a Muslim cleric in Syracuse, NY., has found the key; thousands of people are being infected, many are dying, and America is teetering on the edge of economic collapse because American women are showing too much ankle.

Don’t laugh. Laughing would be “Islamophobic,” and Khadar Bin Muhammad, the imam of the Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah in Syracuse, is not making a joke. In a video [below] posted on YouTube last week and reposted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the learned imam explains it all for us. Offering us a revelation that the Center for Disease Control and everyone else who is working on the coronavirus crisis have overlooked, the imam explained that “safety comes through tauhid,” that is, Islam’s concept of monotheism. So if you don’t want to contract the coronavirus, turn to Allah. Khadar Bin Muhammad says: “Every destruction and every harm comes through shirk” – that is, having other gods besides Allah – “and through worshipping other than Allah, believing in other than Allah, and thinking that [anything] other than Allah can harm you or have an effect on you. All harm comes through that. That is why you see the kuffar [infidels] are the scaredest people.”

The infidels aren’t just scared when they should be trusting in Allah. They are also the cause of all the trouble in the first place – specifically infidel women. According to Khadar Bin Muhammad, the coronavirus is a manifestation of Allah’s wrath against their outrageous immodesty. “How many women do we see,” he asked, “may Allah guide them and protect them, who walk around and show their ankles? Is this not part of her awra [private parts]?”

Yes, that’s right. Khadar Bin Muhammad said that women’s ankles were part of her private parts. As strange as it may seem, this is not an eccentric view in Islam. A hadith depicts Muhammad saying to a woman, “‘O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this,’ and he pointed to her face and hands” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4092).

Many Muslims believe that by saying this, Muhammad proclaimed every part of a woman except her face and hands to be her private parts, never to be seen in public.

There is much more. Read the rest here.

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

America Needs a Formula for Reopening

This week, President Donald Trump began openly considering at what point the American government ought to take steps to reopen the American economy.

He explained: “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. America will again and soon be open for business,” suggesting that the timeline will be weeks instead of months.

“If it were up to the doctors,” Trump said, “they’d say, ‘Let’s shut down the entire world.’ This could create a much bigger problem than the problem that you started with.”

Later, Trump optimistically proclaimed that he “would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”


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


Trump’s projections drew fire—as do all of his statements. These statements, however, caused inordinate faux heartburn among commentators, who shouted that Trump was weighing dollars against lives and deciding in favor of dollars.

The hashtag #NotDyingForWallStreet began trending on Twitter, followed by the hashtag #DieForTheDow.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted: “My mother is not expendable. Your mother is not expendable. We will not put a dollar figure on human life. … No one should be talking about social darwinism for the sake of the stock market.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden said, “I don’t agree with the notion that somehow it’s OK … to let people die.”

That, of course, was not Trump’s suggestion. Trump was merely pointing out—quite correctly—that since the federal government has now taken the unprecedented and justifiable action of completely shutting down the American economy, to the tune of millions of lost jobs and the greatest quarterly economic decline in recorded history, we must also have a plan to end this situation.

The economy cannot remain shuttered indefinitely; the federal government cannot engage in endless cash expenditures on the basis of treasuries nobody is buying. Nor is the economy merely Wall Street. The vast majority of those who will lose their jobs are not day traders but workers. Small companies are more likely to go under than large ones.

The economy isn’t an abstraction. It’s the real lives of hundreds of millions of American citizens, and costs to those Americans must be weighed in the balance.

That’s not controversial. That’s a simple fact. Public policy is the craft of weighing risks and rewards, and policymakers do it every day. It’s just that this time, the stakes are the highest they have ever been.

So, when do we reopen, and how?

The biggest problem is that we lack the data to answer the question.

How many lives will be lost if we take heavy social measures after how many weeks? Moderate social measures? What will be the concomitant economic gain or loss? How many additional ICU beds and ventilators will we need to make available in order to clear the flattened curve such that we do not experience excess deaths due to lack of equipment, a la Italy?

Our goal should be to move from the Chinese model—total lockdown—to the South Korean model—heavy testing, contact investigations, and social distancing. In order to accomplish that, we need to flatten the curve and stop the spread, allowing us to reset. How long will that take?

We’re not going to have answers until some time passes—until we test more, until the outcomes of cases are made certain. But we can certainly construct the formulas that should allow us to calculate possible outcomes as new data comes in, and that should allow us to collectively commit to actions directed at certain outcomes.

We require a formula from the government. That’s the transparency the markets need, that the American people need. And that, at least, should be attainable over the next two weeks.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Ben Shapiro is host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is The New York Times best-selling author of “Bullies.” He is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, and lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles. Twitter: .

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

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

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

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

PODCAST: What We Can Expect After The Wuhan Flu Virus

By the time the Wuhan flu, coronavirus (COVID-19) has run its course, what can we expect from the fall-out? Hopefully, we will learn from this episode and make changes to address future epidemics, and believe me, this will not be the end of it as the media has discovered such disasters are bigger business than mere politics. What can we expect though from this episode and what awaits us in the months ahead?

First, this will be on everyone’s mind as we head to the voting booths in November. As of now, President Trump has been getting favorable poll ratings for his handling of the problem, so this shouldn’t effect him in a negative way. However, the key will be to see how the economy bounces back. It will undoubtedly take a dip in the Spring, but when the panic is over and life begins to return to normal, will another bull market emerge? If not, this could present a serious problem for the Republicans. As of now, the American public doesn’t blame President Trump for the declining stock markets, but when this is over, they will want to see it come roaring back.

Now that stocks are down, shrewd investors will be picking up some bargain stocks and making a killing. Transportations may be slow to rebound, but others should come back faster, such as electronics and food related companies. One of the biggest surprises during the panic was our attachment to paper products. Who would have thought toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues would be so much in demand? Companies such as Scott Paper, Kimberly-Clark, and Procter & Gamble should be sitting pretty following the panic.

Likewise, pharmacies have taken a noticeable upturn and will continue to grow.

Supply chains will need to be re-evaluated and improved in order to prevent another product shortage in the future. Freight truck sales are booming and will continue to do so to help in this regard. Freight trains should also do well.

People have learned the need for maintaining emergency supplies on hand. Look for increased sales in refrigerators and freezers to accommodate this. Shelving, storage and security items should also do well.

The service industry should prosper substantially; “Sit down” restaurants will eventually recover but there will be an explosion in “To Go” ordering, something people have become used to during the panic and has altered our eating habits. Look for a revolution in home delivery. Walmart, Amazon, and the major Supermarkets have been moving in this direction for a long time, but the panic clearly demonstrated its viability.

The tobacco industry will take a hit as we were once again reminded of the ill-effects of tobacco. Not surprising, liquor sales held strong as people got together in impromptu groups and enjoyed libations to pass the time of day.

As much as we hate the politically correct expression, “Social Distancing,” it will become a part of life from now on as it has become a habit. There will be fewer handshakes and hugs, people will keep their distance, and there will still be fewer group activities, including nonprofits and church meetings. Also watch for surgical masks to become more commonplace, as well as the re-introduction of gloves at group events.

Perhaps the most noticeable coming attraction will be a baby boom in December. As people went into hibernation during the panic, as requested by government, they had to find ways to entertain themselves. Hence, we are on the verge of a major baby boom, the likes of which will make the old New York blackouts seem pale by comparison. Inevitably, even more paper products will be needed to accommodate the influx of infants.

Should there be another virus like this, it is hoped we will be better prepared. Personally, I would like to see someone take the news media to task, but this will likely never happen. And I certainly hope a panic such as this never happens again during an election year. This was too much of a coincidence for my liking.

By the way, Rod Serling couldn’t have written a better script than what the coronavirus politicians and media did.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

Apocalyptic Fear and Authentic Faith

Just four days after going under coronavirus shutdown, Magna, Utah, was at the epicenter of a 5.7 earthquake on March 18. Greg Schulz, a Magna municipal administrator quipped, “I have a standing order: if we have another Horseman of the Apocalypse ride over the hill, I’m shooting him.”

A sense of humor can be a potent antidote to what ails us. A sense of the sacred can also help.

Heightened uncertainty, anxiety, and fear abound during this global pandemic. There is only so much comfort that can be obtained from an ample supply of food, water, toilet paper, and online entertainment.

With all due respect to Netflix and Disney+, creature comforts fail to fill all the holes in our souls.

Religious gatherings often bring a sense of peace and safety, but in this case religious gatherings can spread the very virus everyone hopes they and their loved ones will avoid. Whether you believe that houses of worship should remain open during this trying time, or that they should close, our research has found that meaningful religious practice at home is both possible and beautiful.

Those for whom regular attendance at religious gatherings is a meaningful part of life may find that the peace, joy, and fellowship typically obtained at religious services is an especially acute vacancy or loss. Many find that gathering with fellow adherents to sing, pray, worship, and celebrate is a meaningful contribution to mental and social health—that also serves as a source for help regarding problems and concerns, including COVID-19.

During COVID spring, we all are facing a powerful invisible enemy that strikes without regard, except that it seems that it preys on some of our most vulnerable.

One counter to this invisible enemy is faith. Indeed, there now exists a large and growing body of empirical evidence that has demonstrated that faith in God and meaningful engagement in a faith community both provide tangible, measurable benefits to mental, relational, and physical health—including years of longevity.

For nearly 20 years, as part of the American Families of Faith project, we have been fortunate to hear the stories of more than 600 Americans who take their faith seriously. Those we have interviewed are from 33 states, and more than 20 denominations of Abrahamic faiths (Christian, Jewish, Muslim). About half are from racial or ethnic minorities and nearly 20 percent are first generation Americans. Many described home-based religious practices that were profoundly meaningful to them during very difficult times.

A large body of research has shown that meaningful rituals help individuals and families cope with stress, change, and anxiety. Recent studies show that a healthy combination of regular religious practice and functional family relationships may be ideal.

The diverse families of faith we have interviewed practiced a wide range of religious rituals and activities at home. These practices reportedly deepened their faith in God and strengthened their sense of connection with their family members. Such patterns of home-based worship take on pointed relevance in our current COVID-19 context where houses of worship have been closed.

Some practices reported by the families we have interviewed may provide inspiration or spark ideas for home-based worship. We have been inspired by many specific examples including Catholic families praying the Rosary, Novenas, or other prayers; or Evangelical Christian families holding Bible study (sometimes combined with Christian rock jam sessions).

We think of observant Jewish families who reverently welcome in the Shabbat (Sabbath) together each Friday evening—and share a familial experience one Jewish mother described as helping you “feel a connection across generations.”

We think of a Muslim father who calls his family for salat (prayer), telling them that it is time to “turn off the TV” in order to turn to the sacred.

We think of a teenage Latter-day Saint daughter who told us that her family’s ritual of doing weekly Family Home Evenings “brings you away from all of the stuff of the world” and “gives you a chance to realize that they’re your family.”

Prayer, studying scripture, singing hymns, lighting candles, discussing spiritual topics, storytelling, a shared meal—all of these can be elements of family worship. And service to others in the human family comprises yet another form of family worship.

One of the more memorable accounts shared with us during our interviews was from a Mainline Protestant who explained that her husband and son go each Saturday morning to serve together at a local soup kitchen.

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique service opportunity for many of us, regardless of faith, to similarly reach out to provide shopping assistance and food provision for the elderly and needy within our circle of influence. (See www.justserve.org and “Meals on Wheels” for local opportunities).

Further, a number of parents that we interviewed mentioned the importance of being authentic in their faith. This includes building authentically warm relationships with family members and acting in authentic ways while engaging in family religious practices such as family prayer that reportedly builds feelings of unity and love.

In the fight against the coronavirus, small actions such as wisely washing hands and surfaces well and often can make a big difference. Likewise, in bringing the benefits of a faithful family home, small means can bring about great things. Significant blessings and benefits can occur from small but sincere actions such as gathering regularly for prayer; spending just a few minutes reading from and discussing sacred texts each day; listening to each other’s thoughts, feelings, and concerns with an open mind and a compassionate heart; and serving others.

In the present extremities, we have an unprecedented opportunity to draw closer and to literally come home to faith and family.

And, if you happen to see another Horseman of the Apocalypse, fear not, he is probably just looking for some toilet paper.

COLUMN BY

David Dollahite and Loren Marks

David C. Dollahite, PhD, is Camilla Eyring Kimball Professor of Family Life at Brigham Young University and co-director of the American Families of Faith project. Loren D. Marks, PhD, is Professor of Family Life at Brigham Young University and co-director of the American Families of Faith project.

Their views are their own.

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

PODCAST: How to Do Homeschooling — Practical Advice From an Expert

Choosing to homeschool your child is a big decision, but many Americans just had the choice made for them. Schools all over the country have closed their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic—with some states, such as Virginia, announcing that schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, a homeschooling curriculum focused on classical education, joins The Daily Signal Podcast to offer practical advice and resources to parents who suddenly find themselves overseeing their child’s education. Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.

We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump says he’d like to “reopen” the economy by Easter, despite the spread of COVID-19.
  • Vice President Mike Pence says the White House isn’t considering a nationwide lockdown.
  • The International Olympic Committee and Japan agree to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Daily Signal Podcast is available on Ricochet, Apple PodcastsPippaGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!


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


Virginia Allen: I am joined by Leigh Bortins, founder of the homeschool curriculum Classical Conversations. Leigh, thank you so much for being here.

Leigh Bortins: Thank you for having me. It’s very nice to get to speak with you, Virginia.

Allen: Yes, we’re all speaking from a distance right now, maintaining that social distancing. But right now, because of social distancing and the Coronavirus, so many parents are finding themselves homeschooling their children and they’re looking for support, they’re looking for resources. I want to pick your brain a little bit and find out what some of those resources are. But first, let’s just talk a little bit about why you chose to homeschool.

Bortins: I chose to homeschool … How much time do we have, you want the whole story or the short version?

Allen: A shorter version maybe for the sake of time.

Bortins: My husband’s 10 years older than I am and when we got married and then I got pregnant with my first born I saw a TV show about homeschooling and those folks struck me as quite weird and I knew I wanted to join them. We didn’t have a TV, I was walking through the mall and saw it on TV at “The Phil Donahue Show,” if anybody remembers that.

And then when I got home I told my husband about it and him being 10 years older, he had been very discouraged by students in our college program or at the University of Michigan getting our aerospace engineering degrees.

He just said, “I’m so happy to hear there’s this way to do this because there’s no way our kids were going to go to school if they’re going to be as unintelligent as you freshmen seem to be to me.”

So he was just relieved for the academic side of it and then eventually we both became Christians and, of course, we stopped wanting to emphasize having our children in college and instead said, “Let’s make sure that they’re in Christ.”

So now I would say we homeschool for the best of reasons so that we can constantly model our love for the Lord and hope that our children will do the same.

Allen: Yeah, I love that. That’s beautiful. But it’s one thing to say, “I want to homeschool my child.” It’s an entirely different thing to decide that you’re going to create a homeschool curriculum. Tell me a little bit about the reasoning behind Classical Conversations and what really drove you to create it.

Bortins: When our eldest, Robert, who’s now the CEO of Classical Conversations, was in middle school, … like so many other homeschooling parents, I thought, “Oh no, can I do high school?”

So I started reading more books on higher level academics and looking around for programs, speaking with our friends, and a lot of them were very nervous also about it.

Just after doing a lot of research, and again, working with my husband, we really came to the conclusion that we were still the best solution for our children. But one thing we really wanted to have was a classical education for them, which very much requires a community.

So my husband and I decided that we would once a week have people into the house, adults and children, and we would work together on rigorous academics that were hard to do on your own, not just because they were rigorous, but sometimes you want other people to do a Shakespeare play with or discuss a chemistry lab or you need debate partners.

So we came up with a curriculum where the families could do the majority of their work at home and then just get together once a week and polish it off and finish in community.

It’s kind of like a weekly PTA meeting for the parents, a weekly training for them to do better in classical Christian education. And, of course, the socialization, which has nothing to do with the children, it’s the mothers who all want to have friends, the kids will naturally.

So it just came out of a lot of different needs and within doing it in the first three years, we had 300 people on the waiting list to get into the program. So my husband quit his job and we worked with some of our friends and that’s kind of how the story all began.

Twenty years later, we’re in 20-some countries and in the United States alone we have over 120,000 children enrolled in our curriculum.

The greatest joy I have is to see how many homeschooling parents just dig in and really want to learn and are so glad for weekly support as well as recommendations and curating of the actual academics.

Allen: Obviously, right now, you all aren’t able to get together and do those larger group meetings. So is a lot of that taking place online or how are you continuing to maintain that connection that you mentioned being so vitally important?

Bortins: Right. A couple of ways, some of our communities are online temporarily for this end of year. But because we always homeschool within the parameters of safety, it’s not a big issue for us because we have a less than 12-to-1 … tutor to family ratio or to student ratio and so we’re in small groups anyways, most of the time.

Now, we do have programs that are in churches and much larger and so those have disband to personal homes, and if they can’t do that, then they do it online right now.

So we’re making do, as all homeschoolers do all the time, we just get the resources the Lord gives you and you just gratefully move forward and so that’s how we’re doing it.

Allen: Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, let’s get practical and talk about what were some of those challenges that you had when you first started homeschooling and how did you overcome them?

Bortins: I would say the one that we all have is, I have never had this day before with the children I have at the ages they are before. His mercies are new every morning for a reason because you don’t know what the day’s going to ever hold for you, and so you can react in fear or you can react in wonder.

During those middle school years where I was talking about where we were trying to explore what would we do with our high school students, we continued through in fear and trembling with the confidence the Lord would help us day by day. And, of course, after getting through your first child, and then your second, and then your third, and so on, you end up realizing that there really was nothing to be afraid of.

Most people I think quit homeschooling in the high school years because of the lack of confidence, not lack of ability. Because, remember, they’re still children and there’s so many good resources out there, parents are quite capable of homeschooling through the high school years.

So we just had to learn that because being the first generation of homeschoolers, I didn’t get to see that. So it’s hard to believe what you don’t see, but then, of course, as Christians, that’s what we’re called to do, is walk in faith and so our faith was strengthened through that. So, practically, it really is trusting the Lord even though that might sound like a platitude at this point.

Allen: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit more about that because I know so many of our parents out there listening, they do have kids in [high school] that are now at home or even in middle school and they’re looking at the math assignments that they’re supposed to be doing or the science assignments and they’re thinking, “I do not remember this.” So, practically, how can they be helping their kids right now in subjects that they honestly don’t even remember how to do?

Bortins: You have a couple of different ways. If somebody is homeschooling right now because of a short-term reason with the virus, and most homeschoolers actually only homeschool for a short amount of time. They do it because they’re military, or a job loss, or they moved, or a child’s sick for the year, or something sets the majority of folks who homeschool.

So if people are listening to this thinking that all of us have this lifetime commitment like I do, that would not be true. Most homeschoolers are going to do it to get through … a bad situation or maybe a really delightful, great situation. They’ve been traveling, or dad’s home for the year working from home and they want more time with them.

A lot of people homeschool not because of academic reasons but just because of family reasons and here we are one more time having a lot of different family issues to deal with.

So there’s two groups, there’s the folks that are trying to get through this temporary situation and they tend to rely a lot on resources like we have at Classical Conversations. A lot of new people will begin with Classical Conversations also. And as people get more confident in what they’re doing, they start to be able to branch out and figure out a myriad of resources that are … available for homeschoolers.

For those that are just kind of jumping in, a resource I would turn you to for now to finish off this school year is one that we’ve put together called homeschoolingjourney.com. It’s a site where people can download what we call our survival kit and find all kinds of resources from our partners and more.

We’ve put together … a lot of things that are commercially viable that are now free for a short amount of time or highly discounted as well as YouTube videos. Then we have games and we have some of our own products that are for free.

We have one thing that a lot of people don’t know about is this service called Right Now Media, it’s like the Netflix for Christians and that’s free on our website, homeschoolingjourney.com as well as science activities.

There’s even a fitness program. … [If you] can’t get outside, which, it is spring, I would think you’d go outside, but if you want to stay inside and get your kids moving, we even have a fitness program on there.

So there’s a lot of things that we’re doing and I know other homeschooling resources are doing the same. Just trying to pull together things people can do to help their children and stay active for the next three to eight weeks or maybe even finish off the school year.

Of course, what we’re hoping for is people will see those resources and maybe consider homeschooling permanently or for at least another year and then, of course, we would ask them to look at classicalconversations.com.

Allen: That’s so great. That’s such a practical resource to have, That kind of emergency kit package that parents can literally go to right now and start utilizing.

Bortins: Yeah. Because we’re not the only one, right? A lot of people don’t know that there’s thousands of homeschoolers who have curriculum and materials that are for people, they can use it any time and, of course, there’s YouTube. They’ve had a lot of ads lately about how you can go on YouTube and learn anything, so people aren’t without resources.

But all of these I’m talking about right now are online resources, they really are our weakest resources because when you’re working with children, your best resource is a pat on the back and a smile or a word of encouragement. Looking them in the eye and helping them consider why they’re struggling or what they’re interested in or … what kind of homework help they might need.

So we really believe that the idea of social distancing is probably not the best word to describe what’s going on now, we are all social creatures who need a hug. So in this time when we’re trying to not hug our neighbor because we’re worried about passing on various viruses, really a better word is physical distancing because you and I right now are being social together, aren’t we?

Allen: Correct. Yeah, absolutely.

Bortins: Yes. One of the things that we just love about homeschooling is five or six of us can flop on a couch and just read a book together. In fact, we have a new series called “New World Echoes” and it’s a collection of stories that are very short read alouds that are appropriate for the entire family, whether you have a 17 year old or a 7-year-old, they’ll just lay on the couch or flop on the floor and read together.

If you’re able to throw a blanket outside and have a picnic, it would be appropriate to bring them too because they’re small books you can hold in your hand. I really would encourage parents to use as little online resources as possible right now and to just spend time with their children talking face to face and getting to know them in a different way than they had before.

Allen: But what about the parents who are listening and thinking, “Oh, I would love to do that, but I have a full-time job that I’m trying to do online right now”? About how much time should parents who do have full-time jobs and are working online be building into their schedules in order to keep educating their children and making sure that they’re still continuing to learn and get the attention that they need?

Bortins: Yeah. I know one time a grandfather told me he wished his daughter would homeschool, but since she had four children and they’re six subjects, he didn’t see how she could homeschool 24 hours a day. I just kind of looked at him and said, “Nobody does that.”

In general, I think homeschoolers through about eighth grade might spend three hours, five days a week at the most where it’s kind of a sit-down academic situation.

And then once your children are in high school, if you include those three hours, plus, they have, of course, a much more extensive reading time—which a lot of times they’ll do before they get out of bed in the morning and as they’re going to sleep at night. I mean, it’s really rare to have a six-hour day of academics, no matter how many children you have.

One thing homeschooling teaches you to do is to be efficient and picking the best things to do and not being robbed by somebody else’s lists, but being able to look at your children and say, “These are the things that we want to do together.” And make them your priority.

So when it comes to time, this is a quick schedule just to give someone who maybe has to work and still has the kids at home, get up in the morning and do your reading or a Bible study and devotion together and have breakfast and then go off to do what you need to do for the day.

At lunchtime, break and do a math or science lesson, go outside and look at the plants and maybe do a little bit of journaling and writing. Then when you go to bed in the evening, I suggest that you, again, you have like what they used to call the children’s hour and just spend an hour playing board games and doing read alouds, and if you want, watch a movie … something that’s for the whole family.

But break it up into segments that fit into your day and don’t feel like it’s something where you just sit down and work for three hours straight or six hours straight, whatever you think you would need to do.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been in a room doing more than probably two hours straight of academics with my four children. But that doesn’t mean that in their high school years there weren’t days where we did spend five or six hours, but it wasn’t every day by any means.

One of the things that we’ve become accustomed to with the public school system and institutional schools is just having 50 minutes with five or six different people each day. That’s just not how homeschooling works. Mom or dad, whoever’s doing the educating, just spends time with the whole family.

Studies have shown that the average child only gets about 30 minutes of academic instruction in a classroom situation that’s personal. So you really can do it and I suggested everyone find a friend who homeschools and just learn more about what it’s really like rather than probably what you imagine it’s like.

There’s no reason to bring school home, you actually can just have a family life together. And just think about it, if you love your children and there was no such thing as any school, wouldn’t you still teach them basic skills and how to read and do math … how to serve their community and how to take care of their home?

The things that you just do in your average life and then like now helping with homework after school take up about the same amount of time we homeschoolers devote to academics.

The better part of our day is spent with our children doing things we just all enjoy doing. So we travel more, and we have field trips more, and we get together with friends more, and we can work at the community centers and service with seniors and things like that because service is a big part of homeschooling with children.

A lot of people are so worried about the math and science where there’s so much help like we offer and YouTube offers, when really what we’re trying to do is teach our children to be good citizens and have a constant civics lesson of how to behave appropriately in any situation you find yourself in. There’s a lot more to it than I think people think of and it’s a lot easier than they think.

Allen: Yeah. No, that’s really interesting to hear. Because I’m sort of thinking, all right, if you’re a parent who has maybe four kids, they’re all different ages, you’re saying you don’t have to kind of have these individual specific full days worth of work for each child. You maybe have like a little bit of time for each of giving them their own assignments, but then you’re able to actually do a lot together and have more group activities even despite the age differences.

Bortins: If you think about it, they said, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic forever” for really good reasons. You need a child on your lap when you’re teaching them phonics, they need some individual time then, you need your middle schoolers sitting next to you while they’re struggling with difficult material, which is the same as taking them through phonics when they were younger.

So there’s some personal time that’s needed and then there’s quiet time that’s needed. Each of your children should be able to go off and on their own, whether it’s playing Legos or writing an essay, they shouldn’t have to have mom or dad next to them all the time.

On the other hand, some of my favorite things to do was write papers with my children or build Lego castles with them, right? As a parent, it was just my job to assess their needs and our family’s needs and each day do my best to work it out because, again, His mercies are new every morning and who knows if the dishwasher’s going to leak that day or someone’s going to come down with the flu, whatever it is, you just have to learn to roll with the punches.

For those of us who’ve been regulated our whole lives, we’d go to school from day care through college and then we’re at work, … sometimes it’s really difficult to retrench and just say, “Hey, I’m in charge for a little bit. What is it we want to do as a family?”

Allen: Oh, this is so good, I feel like it’s just kind of taking the pressure off, this is great. But are there maybe some do’s and don’ts of homeschooling that you can offer us? Just things that you’ve learned over the year through trial and error.

Bortins: The biggest don’t is to not worry that you’re not doing enough. Because here’s the thing, none of us are doing enough and all of us are doing too much and it depends on what field or area you’re talking about. Not one of us is perfect, so we’re going to have our strengths and our weaknesses.

On those days where you just feel like you are so weak in a certain area, just stop and don’t say, “I failed” or “I quit” or “I’m a bad mom.” Stop and say, “You know what? I might not have done this so well, but I did do this other thing really well and the children are going to get a lot of different experiences from me as an adult and all of them have some sort of value.”

So to not make light of the things that maybe seem unschoolish, they may be where the best teachable moments occur or where your kids are really listening.

So the one thing that I shared a little bit about … earlier was to learn to not be afraid and to just be really joyful and grateful. And then when you just want to kick the kids out of the house or put your husband’s face in the mud, whatever it is, you just have to say to yourself, “OK, this too shall pass and we’re going to start over tomorrow and we’ll have a great day.”

I used to, at the end of the day when I had all four of them home, if I knew I’d opened up with Bible reading with them, did a math lesson, and then read to them at night, my kids were well-educated, that was enough.

Allen: Let’s go back and talk a little bit more about Classical Conversations. You all have come a long way since you first started in the early 2000s, what do you think really led to that success? What was kind of that switch that just people were so hungry and really wanted to learn more and find out more about Classical Conversations that has allowed it to do so well?

Bortins: It surprised me, the answer to that question. About six, seven years into it, I realized that a high percentage of our families were military and that’s what was making us grow because once the families were bought into homeschooling and classical education and saw how easy and approachable our program was—they, of course, get deployed every three years somewhere else—then their attitude was like, “Well, there’s not a CCD here, so I’ll start one and I’ll get together with my military friends there.”

So, of course, that’s why we’re in bases all across the world. And then, of course, the families who’ve started the bases across the world have started to find natural citizens in those countries to take over for them. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if … a third of our families are in the military.

So think what we do for them, and what we do for them they recognize is important. But people need to remember one-third of children move year-round, no matter what situation their families are in, we don’t really have community schools anymore because of all the moving that occurs.

So by being in Classical Conversations, the military families had two things. They had, one, they knew exactly what the curriculum was that they were going to be doing in the following week, no matter how far away they moved. So that was a strain off the parent trying to decide what to do about curriculum.

Then the second one was that they instantly had friends for their children when they moved because of our small communities that we needed.

Again, the moms want the friends as much as the children do. So that’s why they kept starting everywhere because they wanted to have [the] academic community as well as the military community that they were in and enjoying the travel opportunities they had being military families. That was really quite a surprise to me, and now I’m super grateful to all of them.

Allen: Yeah. Well, it’s just incredible to see the success that you have had. I mean, you’ve been in this movement for such a long time. How do you think that it’s changing as we’re hitting a second generation? For instance, there’s now homeschool kids, they homeschooled themselves, their parents homeschooled them, and now they’re turning around and homeschooling their own children. So how has the movement really changed over the years?

Bortins: Yeah, probably my happiest stories are how many grandmothers, mothers, and their children are in Classical Conversations. In other words, I got three generations all working on the material.

So think of the connectivity that we have in the sense of not just laterally with other families, the legacy with the families that stay generation after generation. That’s been really neat to see happen.

For those of you that aren’t aware, we’ve been around for 20-some years now and so if folks came in, you don’t have to start at kindergarten, right? People might have started at high school and been with us for four years and then got married a few years later. So that’s why we’re able to do that in a single generation. That’s just been fun to see.

The thing that I would say would be different is, it’s almost a whole ‘nother conversation. My eldest two children who are in their 30s had a more similar education to my grandmother than … compared to their two brothers.

What I mean is this, they didn’t have technology, the internet was not something in our house, we didn’t have computers when they were going through school. So they learned [with] pencils and paper and books and then going outside and playing and the various things that my grandma and my mom and myself all did.

Versus the second two, we have a 10-year gap between our two sets of kids. The second two were very computer literate and expected a lot of things to be done quickly and didn’t have necessarily the same level of patience as the older two because things were pretty snappy once you’re in the computer age.

So helping them deal with the fact that they don’t always get to have electricity and technology and the things they see in front of them, that it’s important to be outside and to be playing, and writing your own stories and reading books with something hard in your hand that’s not a Kindle was a battle for us, just like it is for all parents—trying to get the Nintendo off and determining whether you’re going to have a TV in your household or not.

I got sort of both worlds there, one where it was kind of easy to homeschool because all families were used to playing together and working together to the place where now everybody can be in their own little silo and not even know what their siblings doing. So it’s something to overcome.

Allen: We want to make sure that all of our parents listening know how they can find out more about Classical Conversations and start utilizing those resources today, so where can they go?

Bortins: Go, again, if you’re a short-term homeschooler who’s just looking into all this, go to homeschoolingjourney.com, and that’s where we have our survival kit. And if those kinds of items interest you, go on to classicalconversations.com and you’ll see the whole universe of what we offer for kindergarten through 12th grade.

We sell books and curriculum as well as information on the communities and the philosophy.

We are a Christian company and so you’ll see things like what we believe in, our statement of faith, and anybody’s welcome to participate in our curriculum, so we encourage everyone to look at it.

I wanted to let you know that we are looking to make a really big announcement on March 28th. We are going to be offering some new services and I’m not allowed to tell you what they are, but I want our listeners to go [on] our website on that day, I’m pretty excited.

Classical Conversations is about to change the face of homeschooling again, and it’s not what any of you would think of. So please go look at it.

Allen: All right, great. That’s Saturday. We’ll mark the calendar. Leigh, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

Bortins: Thank you, Virginia. I hope that I was helpful and I pray blessings on everybody and that they will just be healthier and wiser than they ever knew possible when we come up the other side of this.

Allen: Yes, I agree and I echo that. Thank you.

Bortins: You’re so welcome.

COLUMN BY

Virginia Allen

Virginia Allen is a news producer for The Daily Signal. She is the co-host of The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Send an email to Virginia. Twitter: @Virginia_Allen5.

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A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

‘Open by Easter’? Trump Wants Nation Shut by Coronavirus ‘Raring to Go’ [Video]

EXCLUSIVE: Trump, Coronavirus task force participate in Fox News town hall.


President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants the U.S. economy back up and running by Easter Sunday on April 12, as the economy has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are opening up this incredible country. I would love to have it open by Easter,” Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall in the Rose Garden, sitting alongside host Bill Hemmer and taking questions remotely from Fox News host Harris Faulkner.

“I would love to have it open by Easter. I will tell you that right now. I would love to have that,” Trump said, repeating himself. “It’s such an important day for other reasons. But I’ll make it an important day for this, too. I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”

Asked whether that was in fact possible, Trump said, “Absolutely.”


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


While the federal government has provided assistance to state and local governments and has issued guidelines about public health and social distancing, it has been state and local governments that have ordered lockdowns or restrictions on businesses and the closing of schools, businesses, and other public facilities.

However, as president, Trump has a bully pulpit to encourage businesses and state and local governments to reopen.

Trump stressed the consequences for keeping the economy shuttered are more dire than the present circumstances under the coronavirus.

“You are going to have suicides by the thousands” if the economy remains closed, Trump said, noting predictions of a 25% drop in gross domestic product would mean massive job losses, closed businesses, and personal depression resulting from personal isolation.

Trump said that doesn’t mean it will be the same as before when Americans do return to work.

“We can socially distance ourselves and go to work,” he said.

The president discussed how experts told him about the need to take strong action.

“They came in, and they said, ‘Sir, we’re going to have to close the country,’” Trump said. “Are you serious about this?”

He noted that the economy has never shut down to this degree for prior disease outbreaks.

“We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don’t turn the country off,” the president said. “We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn’t call up the automobile companies and say, ‘Stop making cars.’ … We have to get back to work.”

Earlier in the day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the state where almost half of all U.S. coronavirus cases are located, complained about not getting enough ventilators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I look at actions, not words … FEMA says, ‘We’re sending 400 ventilators.’ Really?” Cuomo said. “What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000? You pick the 26,000 who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”

Early in the town hall event, Vice President Mike Pence addressed Cuomo’s remarks, saying that more ventilators are going out.

“We’re doing just that. We’re in the process of literally sending the entire national stockpile out. I want the people of New York to know we’re putting a priority on the state,” Pence said.

Trump responded later, somewhat differently. He said Cuomo had the chance to order 16,000 ventilators in 2015 for a pandemic response in the future, but declined to do so.

“We’re building them hospitals. We’re building them medical centers, and he was complaining about it,” the president said “We’re doing definitely more for them than anyone else. He was talking about the ventilators. But he should have ordered the ventilators.”

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

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

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My Husband Is a First Responder. COVID-19 Hits Home for the Kids and Me.


A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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