VIDEO: Trump Brawls Face-To-Face With Pelosi, Schumer Over Wall Funding

President Donald Trump sparred with House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in an extraordinary Oval Office session before TV cameras.

Schumer and Pelosi visited The White House on Tuesday to negotiate with Trump over border wall funding in the next spending bill. The pair offered Trump approximately 1.3 billion dollars in funding for the wall, while the president demanded 5 billion dollars. The impasse could lead to a partial government shutdown.

Pelosi set the tone for the discussion at the beginning of her statement noting that any shutdown would be known as “The Trump Shutdown,” prompting the president to immediately interrupt her. The two continued to spar over whether Trump had the votes for proposed border wall funding in the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.

“If we thought we would get it passed in the Senate, Nancy, we would do it immediately,” Trump declared, adding, “It doesn’t matter, though, because you can’t get it passed in the Senate because we need ten Democrats’ vote.”

Pelosi then questioned why TV camera’s were present during budget negotiations prompting Trump to declare, “It’s called transparency, Nancy.”

Trump then turned the floor over to Schumer, who also castigated the president for declaring that he would rather shut the government down than accept the Democrats’ proposals. Trump angrily turned to Schumer and said, “you want to know something? Yes, if we don’t get what we want whether its through you, one way or the other, I will shut down the government.”

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” he continued. “People in this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it. The last time, you shut it down. It didn’t work.”

The pair of lawmakers said after the meeting that they had no intention of meeting Trump’s demands and told him they would only offer him the option of passing existing levels of funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Schumer and Pelosi both said Trump would be to blame for any potential government shutdown.

The deadline for spending occurs Dec. 21, with no current breakthroughs on negotiations.

TranscriptThe President’s conversation with Sen. Schumer and Rep. Pelosi

COLUMN BY

Saagar Enjeti

White House Correspondent

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with video and images is republished with permission. Video courtesy of the White House.

‘Borderline Impossible’: Noted Scientist Tackles Sea Level Rise Alarmism

When it comes to alarming projections of global warming-induced sea level rise, veteran climate scientist Judith Curry says people need to cool it.

“Projections of extreme, alarming impacts are very weakly justified to borderline impossible,” Curry told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Curry’s latest research, put together for clients of her consulting company near the end of November, looks in detail at projections of sea level rise. Curry’s ultimate conclusion: “Some of the worst-case scenarios strain credulity.”

“With regards to 21st century climate projections, we are dealing with deep uncertainty, and we should not be basing our policies based on the assumption that the climate will actually evolve as per predicted,” Curry told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Climate variability and change is a lot more complex than ‘CO2 as control knob,’” Curry said. “No one wants to hear this, or actually spend time understanding things,” Curry said.

That’s really the opposite message of what we usually hear from prominent scientists in the media. Much of the worry over sea level rise has centered on the western Antarctic ice melt, which studies say has accelerated in recent years.

The global average sea level has risen about 7 inches since 1900. For perspective, sea level rise has averaged about the thickness of two pennies every year.

But if warmer temperatures substantially increase melt from the world’s glaciers and ice sheets, some scientists and activists say sea level rise could be devastating. Warming also increases thermal expansion of the ocean, scientists warn.

Former NASA head climate scientist James Hansen warned in 1988 that New York City’s West Side Highway would be underwater in 20 to 40 years. More recently, Hansen warned “the planet could become practically ungovernable” from sea level rise due to melting ice forcing millions of people to flee coastal cities.

Pacific islands national leaders went before the United Nations in 2015 to warn that unchecked global warming would overwhelm them, forcing thousands to emigrate to the continents—so far, there’s little evidence of island nations being engulfed by the sea.

“Now if you ask us, we have to say maybe closer to 6 to 8 feet,” Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann warned at a debate in June. Curry also participated in the debate in Charleston, West Virginia.

Mann said that was the “best estimate” of sea level rise by the end of the century, which is considerably higher than he said it was just five years earlier.

“We’re talking about literally giving up on our coastal cities of the world and moving inland,” Mann warned in September 2017.

Curry, however, sees estimates of sea level rise above 2 feet by the end of the century as “weakly justified,” even at high levels of warming. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change puts the likely range of sea level rise at 10 to 32 inches.

Alarming sea level rise predictions are based on “a cascade of extremely unlikely-to-impossible events using overly simplistic models of poorly understood processes,” Curry wrote in her report.

Current sea level rise is well within natural variability of the past few thousand years, according to Curry. Curry said coastal communities should base their future flood plans on likely scenarios, such as 1 to 2 feet, rather than high-end scenarios.

“There is not yet any convincing evidence of a human fingerprint on global sea level rise, because of the large changes driven by natural variability,” Curry wrote. “An increase in the rate of global sea level rise since 1995 is being caused by ice loss from Greenland.”

However, the “Greenlandic ice loss was larger during the 1930s, which was also associated with the warm phase of the Atlantic Ocean circulation pattern,” Curry wrote.

COLUMN BY

VIDEO: The Living Wage Makes It Harder to Make a Living

We take big risks with people’s livelihoods when we make demands about what people should be paid.

The reality is, people don’t necessarily need a “living wage” to make a living.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with video is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

VIDEO: Will Seasteading Create the First Non-Violent Nations?

An ocean-platform community voluntarily funded and organized, if successful, is a monumental event in human anthropology.


Why do the nations rage?

I don’t know. Maybe because they’re out of ammo culturally. As Joe Quirk, president of The Seasteading Institute calls them, “the 193 monopolies on government that control 7.6 billion people right now” could benefit from some peace-loving competition. More importantly, the existence of his planned seasteads, floating platform-based ocean communities, could benefit the ostensible customers of monopoly governments by modeling nonviolent, voluntary community-making.

interviewed Quirk because I am interested in the cause of liberty and nonviolence from an anthropological perspective. I am curious about why humans group together and assent to monopolies of violence called states. I want to know how humans came to morally condone and even consecrate the violence such entities employ against nonviolent people for disagreeing with majoritarian, might-makes-right rules.

Watch the interview below:

In the news today, we are hearing reports that an elderly pundit, Dr. Jerome Corsi, is likely facing prison time for getting tripped up in a perjury trap during psychologically abusive grillings by grand inquisitor Robert Mueller. Corsi’s actions, whatever the specifics, did not produce a victim. (Robert Mueller did when he helped mislead the nation into the Iraq War, as tens of thousands of wounded or killed soldiers prove.)

Regardless of what you think of his politics, Corsi is facing the prospect of being locked in a cage merely for the impotently cathartic game of DC blood sport. Nearly half the country seems to be foaming at the mouth at the sight of a political writer being caged in his last years just because he favored their rivals’ presidential pick. Who wants to live in a society where its law and liberty are decided by these violent bouts of scapegoat ping-pong?

The Origins of Monopolized Violence

Centralized monopolies that demand the right to initiate violence against any nonviolent misfit are devolving into anarchic schisms of mad groupthink. Where do we get off this ride?

To exit the vehicle safely, we must know how we got on it and why it’s breaking down—making us sick on its way out of commission.

The enigmatic Jewish prophet Habakkuk once wrote, “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice!”

He wrote it at a time in which evidence suggests the world was filled with societies founded and mediated by controlled acts of bloodshed. Today, we call it ritual human sacrifice and tribal war campaigns for glory. As sophisticated moderns, we are embarrassed to address the seeming fluke of sacrifice so ubiquitous to human history, so we awkwardly shuffle it off to the corners of our museums. At best, the fashionable answer is that sacrifice was a quirk of religion, agriculture, proto-patriarchy, or some other such cultural institution that soiled our primal nobility.

In reality, sacrifice was a safety valve ancient communities used to channel pent-up resentment, fear, and conflict into misfit human vessels of destruction. These scapegoats were marked out from the masses by some arbitrary difference that made them unbearably peculiar to suspicious crowds looking to avert famine, disease, or other harbingers of social in-fighting and disorder. Eventually, the governing authorities streamlined the process of sacrifice to include foreign-captured slaves who first received orgies and feasts to make them tainted enough with the local spirit of the community in tension.

We think we educated ourselves out of human sacrifice, but this is a convenient myth we tell ourselves to justify its continual residue in our daily lives. Every culture that sends state agents to lock up a woman selling unlicensed tamales, a political dissident, an addict, or an Amish herbal salve seller is still very much enthralled by the one-for-all logic underlying our generative sacrificial origins.

Today, we hide our consent for coercion against misfits by telling ourselves it is for the protection of victims and children. As if, for example, another Amish farmer thrown into a violent prison cage would cause the nation to perish if he were left alone to sell his raw milk.

Beyond domestic sacrificial violence in the name of victims, it is difficult to find a single country in existence today that did not have its founding determined by self-justifying war. As another remnant of sacred ritual, war has been a socially binding agent for societies—a means of uniting restless neighbors in righteous self-sacrifice of life and wealth for the defeat of a less-than-human foreign foe. Yet recent years have shown that as the public is more frequently exposed to images of constant intervention in countries like Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, whatever unifying high war has long held is rapidly dissipating.

Our increasing sensitivity to the plight of the other, be it drug-war-ravaged families or drone strike victims abroad, make the governance models built on the initiation of physical violence against nonviolent people increasingly ineffective. No wonder criminal justice reform and ending wars are now the few areas of overwhelming political unity. Yet political systems, always in a lag from cultural trajectories because of structural incentives to maintain the status quo, are dramatically slow to decisively satisfy such popular demands.

A command-and-control economy where medical innovation and scientific reform are bugs to be blocked by bureaucracies simply has too much inertia built on the foundation of sacrificial wars and regulations to change its ways any time soon.

Sovereignty through Seasteading

That’s why Joe Quirk and the seasteading project are such a fascinating case to consider. As sacrificial forms of governance continue to leave their citizens in disunity and internal resentment over who gets what spoils in a supposedly zero-sum economy, we have a real chance to see the first sovereign societies develop free from bloodshed.

An ocean-platform community voluntarily funded and organized, if successful, is a monumental event in human anthropology.

Just having a place where problem solvers and innovators can develop potential breakthroughs in science, medicine, and innovation free from deeply captured regulatory apparatuses could be a tremendous leap forward for mankind. And if these societies can maintain a thriving, non-monopoly state-managed existence, the rest of the world’s governments will be on notice to wean off of sacrificial violence or perish through increased social unrest and decline.

Competition may be a sin to John D. Rockefeller, but when it comes to bloated bureaucracies buoyed by outdated ways of treating human beings, it looks like a big beautiful blue ocean to me.

COLUMN BY

David Gornoski

David Gornoski

David Gornoski is your neighbor – as well as an entrepreneur, speaker and writer. He recently launched a project called A Neighbor’s Choice, which seeks to introduce Jesus’ culture of nonviolence to both Christians and the broader public. A Neighbor’s Choice is also the name of his weekly radio show on state violence and alternative solutions to it. Email him here.

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

What the Fake History of America’s Gun Culture Teaches Us

Though one dishonest academic was exposed and reprimanded for promoting fabricated, politicized history, academia at large remains riddled with ideological biases.


In 2000, Emory University history professor Michael Bellesiles published the book Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture. The central argument of the book was that the culture of American gun ownership does not date back to the colonial era and, instead, emerged in the middle of the 19th century when technological advances made firearms more affordable.

Among the academic left, the book was wildly popular. Scholars gave glowing reviews of the book, and Columbia University awarded Bellesiles one of the most coveted prizes in the history profession: The Bancroft. Enhancing his newfound academic fame were the enemies he made, namely the National Rifle Association. Charlton Heston, to the glee of anti-gun academics, vocally criticized the book. Bellesiles reveled in the attention, telling Heston he should earn his PhD before criticizing anybody who has one.

Leftist scholars were thrilled to have an academic book that appeared to thoroughly demolish the notion, so cherished by American gun owners, that the country was founded on a culture of widespread gun ownership. They even admitted as much, with the publisher saying it was “ecstatic” about publishing it “because the book knocked the gun lobby.”

But even amid the ideological bias that plagues academia, there are still many scholars who value honesty and good scholarship more than politically appealing arguments. Even before the book was published, several historians were questioning the data upon which Bellesiles made his argument, which was originally published in a 1996 article for the Journal of American History. Trying to follow his calculations, nobody had been able to reproduce his results. The data was vague, the calculations of percentages seemed incorrect, and he left out relevant quantitative information, such as the base number of cases.

As praise turned to criticism, more historians began to look into his research. Bellesiles was now on the defensive, not just from people like the NRA, whose enmity only enhanced his academic celebreté, but also from sympathetic academics who would have liked nothing more than for his argument to be true. So Bellesiles started offering excuses for the problems critics kept discovering. He didn’t keep a record of his visits to the archives so he couldn’t point critics to the appropriate sources. The notes he took on yellow legal pads were destroyed in an office flood. But when the paperback edition of the book came out in 2001, Bellesiles apparently found the flood-destroyed data again to add new numbers to the tables, only to (apparently) lose them once more. They’d just have to trust him, as he was unable to replicate his own research.

Finally, Emory University hired a committee to investigate their rising star. Confirming what critics had already said, the investigating scholars were unable to duplicate his data tables, and they found significant evidence of ethical violations, including the outright fabrication of data. This included the citation of data that didn’t exist (such as wills that were never actually left behind or probate records that had been destroyed a century before in a fire), and even the records that he did use were grossly misrepresented. He also disingenuously quoted historical figures, including George Washington, that so egregiously took statements out of historical context that nobody was willing to argue it was unintentional.

In short, Bellesiles had committed fraud. Columbia University rescinded the Bancroft Prize (the only time that has been done to date), and under the mounting criticism, Bellesiles resigned from his position at Emory University.

The lessons about academia from this story are mixed. On the one hand, as many people quickly point out, it is encouraging to note that there are still many legitimate scholars who, even though they may agree with Bellesiles’s political positions, were willing to bring scholarly fraud to light. This is, of course, exactly how academia should operate.

However, the initial praise of the book still indicates the problems of academia’s political biases. It would be one thing if historians simply praised a book whose data and methods were not carefully scrutinized —something that is, frankly, unavoidable in book reviews, as such levels of scrutiny cannot realistically be conducted by every reviewer for every book. But even after the scandal was exposed, some of the reviewers who praised him indicated that their disappointment in his dishonesty was political. Roger Lane, who gave the book high praise in his review for the Journal of American History, said after the scandal that he “betrayed the cause.”

Jon Weiner, author of the 2005 book Historian’s Trouble: Plagiarism, Fraud and Politics in the Ivory Toweracknowledges that Bellesiles’s book is an example of academic fraud, but he argues that this and other left-biased cases of fraud only come about when historians come under attack by right-wing interest groups. With Nancy McLean’s recent book Democracy in Chains, which is essentially a hatchet job against libertarians, Weiner’s roundabout defense of Bellesiles and other fraudulent scholars effectively provides a ready-made (if laughably partisan) defense of her own scholarly dishonesty.

The question, then, is how this kind of dishonesty is supported by the confirmation bias of left-liberal academics. The Bellesiles case genuinely does demonstrate that there are honest scholars, as do the pranksters responsible for the “grievance studies” scandals, in which they are publishing hoax papers in order to expose the ability to get intellectually vapid research published by appealing to current political trends. But these academics, who are clearly trying to combat the very environment that allowed Bellesiles work to be published in the first place, are being treated as pariahs. Bellesiles is considered an outlier—an embarrassment to the profession but potentially less because of his fraud, per se, and more because he conducted his dishonesty so blatantly that he couldn’t avoid exposure. The academic trends since Arming America was published give some indication for optimism, such as the “grievance studies” professors and the legitimate critics of Bellesiles, but they also demonstrate just how far academia has fallen (or, alternatively, how bad it has always been) in the name of fashionable political agendas.

This article was reprinted from the Mises Institute.

COLUMN BY

Chris Calton

Chris Calton

Chris Calton is a graduate student of history at Marshall University.

RELATED ARTICLE: Pro-gun control Dick’s Sporting Goods sales down, will close 35 stores

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

Major Concerns with Florida’s Marjory Douglas Stoneman HS Public Safety Law (SB 7026)

Florida Senator Kelli Stargel

Winter Haven 912 is meeting with Florida Senator Kelli Stargel on December 17th, 2018 and to say the least, we feel the same way as she does.  We citizens feel totally betrayed by the passage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act.  We all feel strongly about this law, but personally I am now and have been outraged since this law was even brought out of committee.

I am providing a pre-meeting discussion sheet (below), which may interest you. 

You are welcome to post it and or send it to your Florida state legislators and other activists to use as they see fit in order to trigger grassroots activism. It is imperative that legislators feel the ire of Floridians who support the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment and make serious changes to this law or better yet, scrap it and start over.


Concerns with (SB 7026) Marjory Douglas Stoneman HS Public Safety Law

The citizens of the Winter Haven 912 are extremely concerned about SB7026. We have openly expressed our concerns about this law since it was introduced. This law directly violates the Constitutional rights of citizens and we are frankly amazed that legislators who we knew to be conservatives, voted yes without serious scrutiny/work to make corrections before voting.  When SB 7026 was introduced, we (foolishly) assumed such a blatantly offensive law would never be considered in a strong Republican-led legislature.

The Constitutional rights that have now been compromised for law abiding citizens due to the paid-for riots of high school youth allowed to take over the Capitol in Florida is unimaginable. We now have $400,000,000 added to the Florida budget, ANOTHER bureaucracy that now saddles Florida taxpayers, bad law that will likely be struck down in court, and waste money and time after a law-abiding citizen’s rights are blatantly violated by law enforcement thanks to legislators that were once trustworthy in our eyes.

It has been obvious that something needed to be done about school security and ensuring that law enforcement, school boards and lawmakers do their jobs. The Parkland massacre although unimaginably tragic, provided an excellent opportunity to create a sensible piece of legislation that could TRULY make Florida kids safe in school. Politicians threw this opportunity away like trash.

An organized “movement”, driven and paid for by left-wing activists manipulated and used the children of Florida to move us a step closer to the socialist dream of gun control. The Left had a field day and used our children as tools to achieve their end – to the everlasting shame of Florida. The leftists who paid for this outrage could care less about those kids. They do not care about the children who died or were injured during the Parkland event. They have a political agenda and that is all they care about.

The left demonstrated that organized rioting works with weak politicians in the State of Florida.  Rather than taking charge of the situation and leading, Republicans in Tallahassee bent to the will of socialists focused on the destruction of a Free American Society. It is rumored that the bill was already written by leftists anticipating a horrific event, that educational policies put in place by leftists led to this incident, and the Parkland Shooting triggered the filing of this bill. Republican politicians in Florida bent to the will of socialism.

We are aware that most democrats voted against this legislation. Their reasoning was the bill was not restrictive enough. We were horrified to see this bill even make it out of committee. Law abiding citizens across Florida are now being punished for the failures of government in the egregiously corrupt Broward county. A republican legislature passed SB7026 and a Republican Governor signed it.

Republican legislators correctly assuming they would win the November election, betrayed supporters that believed in them and trusted their judgment but as it turns out conservatives were sadly mistaken. Florida lawmakers could have called a special session to deal specifically with this law and created a model for the nation, instead they abused our trust and failed the citizens of Florida.

It is our contention that this legislation caused the near destruction of the Florida elections in November.  There is no doubt that if Florida Republican lawmakers had voted this law down solidly, taken leadership in this situation and come out with a SERIOUS BILL in special session that would ACTUALLY SOLVE PROBLEMS rather than exacerbate them, Republican support across Florida would have been overwhelming and we would have seen a very different election season.

One can assume that Florida Republican leaders are not truly interested in protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens in Florida given consistent failures of a Republican led legislature to put in place SOLID safety measures for children, failure to expand 2nd Amendment rights in Florida and habitually put people in key leadership positions who block 2nd Amendment measures from reaching the floor.

Florida conservatives are looking for leaders, thinkers, problem solvers with a spine, not politicians who bend to the political will of socialists who have nothing but the destruction of Florida and the nation on their mind. The excuse that the “pressure” was serious to “do something” is simply that – an excuse. Legislators are LEADERS and expected to do their job on behalf of citizens-not work against them because they are “under pressure”.  Politicians that voted yes on this bill had no problem listening to rioting children acting like wild animals, but there was NO legislative request for input from conservative voters, the driving force for putting them into office. Passing this law was a betrayal to conservative citizens, the backbone of support for the Republican party.

Our concerns with this law are as follows:

  1. We are not aware of statistics on the practice of this law although it is quite clear that seizures are taking place especially in Broward and Polk Counties. We would like to know the following:
  • How many RPO seizures to date have occurred across the state?
  • How many seizures have proven unfounded?
  • How many unfounded RPO’s came about as the result of false allegations?
  • How many engaged a lawyer?
  • Did damage occur to defendant’s property during seizure process?
  • How long before weapons were returned?
  • Did they lose work time or experience other damage to reputation, etc?
  • In what condition were weapons returned?

Sheriff Judd provided the 912 group a series of six cases where he saw seizure of weapons as necessary, however there have been 152 seizures to date since this law was enacted in Polk County alone. Polk is outpaced only by Broward County. For the purposes of transparency FDLE website statistics regarding RPO seizures should be available.

  1. We have not heard any updates on progress of the ongoing investigation into the Parkland shooting. We would like to know when the investigation is expected to end, how much it has cost tax payers to this point and who is being investigated.
  2. How has the $400,000,000 been spent thus far and what are plans for this money and the new bureaucracy that is now in place. Citizens apparently have no say so in how this bureaucracy will be conducted.
  3. We are concerned about the Constitutional Violations that are blatant in this bill, including infringing the rights of individuals otherwise considered adults to purchase long guns, privacy rights and due process rights of every gun owner in Florida. We would like to know what plans are in the works for the 2019 Legislative Season to make corrections to these violations.
  4. Who authored this bill? Who introduced it for consideration? Who sponsored it?
  5. Was there discussion regarding the flagrant violation of Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens during discussion of this bill before voting? How many legislators read this bill before voting for it?
  6. How many County or City entities across Florida have their Policy and Procedure in place for the practice of this law as required by 1/1/2019? Are these entities including measures that protect the rights of citizens who are subject to this law?
  7. In RPO situations, why, if this is a civil action as described by Sheriff Judd, do targets of seizure have their information registered on a national criminal database? How are targets then assured that name has been removed from this database post RPO? It is well known that the federal government collects/ retains information that it is not legally allowed to possess.
  8. Is there opportunity given to targets for a hearing prior to seizure unless the target is openly acting in a threatening manner, has violated injunctions, etc.

We recommend that this law be repealed and re-instituted in a way that will truly protect the children who attend school in the State of Florida, protect the rights of law-abiding citizens and deal effectively with people who suffer from mental illness/become a threat to society. Each of these concerns is better dealt with individually.

Suggested solutions from our group.

  1. The law is written much too ambiguously leaving room for abuse by law enforcement personnel, lawyers, politicians with a grudge against a citizen or political enemy, exes angry with an ex, neighbors who don’t like the politics of their neighbor, etc. The RPO law should be completely re-written with complete protective measures in place for innocent/law abiding citizens.
  2. There should be no seizure of weapons for anyone who has no law violation record without evidence presented by a complainant, an attachment presented to the judge showing absence of any prior law violations on the part of the defendant, statements by requesting officer and supervisor stating why they believe a seizure is necessary in this case and a full hearing before the seizure hearing to determine whether the seizure hearing is necessary, and whether other remedies could be taken into consideration.
  3. There should be penalties in place that are equitable for both complainants and defendants. The law states at this time that a false accusation by a complainant can result in a 1st degree misdemeanor. A violation of a seizure order by a defendant will result in a 3rd degree felony, effectively ruining the defendant’s life. This is NOT equal treatment under the law and another violation of Constitutional rights.
  4. Complainants who provide false accusation, should receive stiff punishment. Complainants including LEO, politicians, and anyone who files false information for RPO seizure should receive a felony charge, up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. The complainant may also be subject to paying reparations should the defendant lose his/her job, hire an attorney, or otherwise incur damages. The State of Florida should provide settlements for making victims of law-abiding citizens who have their weapons wrongly removed. If a defendant has weapons seized and it is found later that the weapons were wrongly seized, the seizing agents did damage to the location the weapons were seized from or weapons returned are damaged or not properly cared for, the State of Florida should make reparations to the defendant.
  5. There are currently no guidelines in place for jurisdictions throughout Florida to create policy/procedure for the seizure process. This is another ambiguous problem with SB7026 that will create trouble for law-abiding citizens across the state. Policy between jurisdictions should be reasonably similar to prevent unnecessary seizures or the courts will soon be laden with cases of suits by people who had weapons seized when they believed they were exhibiting reasonable behavior. These cases will waste time and resources in overcrowded courtrooms and damage Florida citizens.

Law enforcement now has the ability to create whatever RPO procedures they wish without informing citizens of nearby jurisdictions. We can be sure that this problem will mushroom and become a very effective deterrent for law-abiding citizens who have followed every letter of the law in carrying and transporting their weapons. A solution will be to provide guidelines as to what actions different jurisdictions are RESTRICTED to concerning the RPO process. The Polk county process laid out by Sheriff Judd would be a good basis for these guidelines. The process to be Constitutionally based, should provide the highest level of protection for law abiding citizens and place necessary restrictions on LE, Lawmakers and officials to deter them from attempting to use the law as a personal or political weapon, or to further infringe on the rights of citizens because of the personal beliefs of the person/people authoring the policy/procedure.

  1. If RPO is a civil action, then information should not be entered into a federal criminal database. There can be no assurance from the State of Florida that this information is removed from federal databases when requested. RPO information should not be entered into a federal system unless a person having had weapons seized is clearly shown to be a threat to him/herself and/or others. The State of Florida can hold information at the State/FDLE for cases that are resolved within 30 days with no further action necessary. Those who are determined to be a threat after 30 days can have their information entered into a national database until they are deemed safe to operate in society again.
  2. Measures that will truly protect children as they attend school should be enacted into law and NOT left up to School Boards. Specific guidelines on how and what schools will do to provide adequate security should be in writing and enforced by FDLE. School boards that fail to meet these standards should be removed from their seats and/or brought up on charges should a child or school employee be injured or killed because standards set by FDLE were not being practiced as outlined by Florida law.
  3. Teachers and other school personnel should be allowed to be highly trained and armed as they wish. Security guards should be hired at every school in the state and funds should be provided by the FL DOE to pay these guards. Highly trained/armed school personnel in schools during operational hours and hired security teams present during key times, such as opening and closing hours, will minimize the chance of another Parkland type incident.
  4. Money from the $400,000,000 should be dedicated to physical security including fences, locked gates, security measures for classrooms such as bulletproof barriers that can be quickly erected by classroom attendees and training for students including reacting to volatile situations in a calm manner to save lives, effective self defense and reacting to terrorist incidents.
  5. There should be NO students in public schools who have dropped out/are attempting to obtain GED, committed a felony, become a parent, or bullied others. Such students should be relegated to tightly controlled classrooms where parents are required to be heavily involved in the education, discipline and life skills training of their child. Parents should also be required to stand with their child at disciplinary hearings and subject to arrest/prosecution if they are found to have neglected the educational requirements of their child. All students in this environment should undergo periodical mental health evaluations provided by the school system to determine mental state. They should be required to undergo regular drug tests as should their parents. There should, under any circumstances, be NO students in Florida schools who cannot prove citizenship.

Students who engage in problem behavior should be moved from the main population of the school and sent to an environment within the school heavily monitored by security personnel and/or SRO and subject to arrest if they cause problems in class. Parents should accompany them to and from school and stand with them during disciplinary hearings. Should unacceptable behavior continue, the student should be relegated to the environment stated above. Discipline in schools should be reinstated in an effective manner and the rules for such discipline should be outlined by the State Dept of Education NOT local school boards.

  1. Sheriff Judd stated that most of the cases of weapons seizures he encounters could also be considered Baker Act Material. Most of these cases have long histories of mental health problems and long histories of improper attention from authorities. In the Parkland Case, the school system and law enforcement failed at every level to react to a credible threat. Other law enforcement agencies and education systems should be put on notice, in writing that they will be held accountable if they fail these children and the citizens of Florida. Procedures should be put in place for dealing with these cases up to the point where it becomes necessary for procedures such as the RPO to be put in place. If this happens, we will have very few cases become necessary for Baker Act and/or RPO in the future. If we create truly safe and secure learning environments, we will never have another Parkland type incident in Florida.

Those who do not like these standards put in place to protect Florida Citizens who wish to live under the law and provide a safe, good and effective education for their children are welcome to leave the state and go to a State that does not care about these things and REPUBLICAN/CONSERVATIVE lawmakers should be proclaiming this publicly and loudly while they right this wrong they have done to Florida citizens.

For conservative voters across Florida the answers to these questions and attention given to this law in the upcoming legislative session will give considerable weight to who wins primaries and who retains or gains seats in offices that come up for election.  It is a tragedy that citizens in a nation like ours are forced to keep a watchful eye on a government that cannot be trusted to defend our rights. We faithfully elect Republicans because we believe that they will protect our Constitutional rights. We understand inherently that democrats have little to no interest in protecting citizen rights unless the exercise of those rights will cause destruction i.e. paid rioters in the Capitol, destroying property and causing bodily harm, which is the reason they are not in power in the State of Florida.

PODCAST: The New Conservative Media Empire

Jon Miller, the White House correspondent for the new Blaze Media, joins us to discuss the new venture’s reach and goals, as well as what it’s like covering the Trump White House as a conservative reporter. Plus: Daily Signal and Heritage producer Thaleigha Rampersad joins us to explain why she doesn’t think “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a good Christmas movie.

We also cover these stories:

  • Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California who is expected to be the next chair of the House Intelligence Committee, says he could see “jail time” in President Donald Trump’s future.
  • Trump is brushing off claims that an alleged hush money payment made by his lawyer violated campaign finance laws.
  • The Trump administration is taking action to promote scientific research that doesn’t come at the expense of unborn babies lives.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle 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!

PODCAST BY

Portrait of Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko

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

Portrait of Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis

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


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EDITORS NOTE: This podcast with images is republished with permission. Photo: World History Archive/Newscom.

We Hear You: How to ‘Wield the Most Effective Weapon Against Tyranny’

Editor’s note: We begin selections from the mailbag this week with a letter from a reader in Georgia that gets at why The Daily Signal exists. See for yourself. Be sure to write us at letters@dailysignal.com.—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: Thanks to The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation for presenting articles such as Rob Bluey’s podcast interview with Sebastian Gorka on the threats, both foreign and domestic, to our great country (“Sebastian Gorka on the Biggest Threat Facing America and What Trump Is Doing About It”).

I have supported and will continue to support The Heritage Foundation in its efforts to wield the most effective weapon against tyranny—a well-informed electorate through education and protection of basic freedoms of speech, expression, and the press.

My dad landed on Red Beach on the Pacific atoll of Iwo Jima as a 19-year-old Marine in February 1945. Though he was wounded twice and survived for 30 days of combat before being medically evacuated, he never talked about his experience until his later days, when he realized the importance of sharing.

One day as we sat in the yard swing trying to stay comfortable in the stifling heat of a west central Georgia summer, just out of the blue, he felt compelled to share something with his 25-year-old son that I will never forget. No, it wasn’t specifically about his combat experience. It was about modern-day warfare, the combat we find ourselves locked in today.

He said: “Son, the very freedoms I risked my life to defend will slowly disappear in your lifetime.” I had no clue why he said that and what he meant by what he said. He said it most emphatically and with a tone of regret.

My dad was not the type you questioned or asked to repeat things. Even though it completely went over my head, I did not dare ask him to explain. I am 70 now and we lost dad at 88 in 2013. Yet I still hear those fateful words. Now, 50 years later, I see very clearly what he was trying to warn me about as I was engaged to be married.

Though I now see clearly the motive of his warning, he left me the tools to resist, to persevere, to triumph over the tyranny that would steal freedom from my heritage: “Pray, work hard, work honest, never give up the fight, never give in to evil. Remember that truth and good will prevail in the end.”

Thanks, Dad.—Phillip Lee White, Warm Springs, Ga.

Dear Daily Signal: Sebastian Gorka, speaking with Rob Bluey on your podcast, is absolutely correct: China is plotting to take down the U.S. economy by replacing the dollar as the international currency of trade with its own.

As part of this, the Chinese are attempting to steal technology from others to accelerate their way to worldwide hegemony. Thank God we now have a president who loves this country and is unafraid to push back against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

However, we have an equally sinister enemy within this country—the radical left. They too seek to destroy the country so they can rebuild (transform) it to enable their tyrannical control.

The extreme hatred spouted by their leadership has driven their base insane and allowed them to be taken over by evil. Yes, evil. It is why they promote and engage in violent behavior without regard to the damage they cause to either people or property.

Our government will deal with China, but the rest of us are going to have to be the tip of the spear in the battle against leftist tyranny. Our primary weapon should be the power of the ballot to drive leftists and their cohorts in the Washington establishment, which does contain Republicans, out of power.

I found it amazing that Sen. Lindsey Graham came out of his shell after the death of Sen. John McCain and during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings taught the GOP what it means to have a spine.

I for one have been getting tired of all of the milquetoasts in the GOP who appear to fear their shadows. We desperately need a few good men and women to lead the battle.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas

***

China and other nations may pose problems for the U.S. from time to time, as will random acts of terrorism, but we can deal with these. The real threat to America will come from within, from our own people who want to “fundamentally transform America” into something it never was and was never meant to be.

The appeal of “free stuff” is a powerful attractant. It comes from some people who come from poor or low-income families who are envious of what others have.

It also comes from some people who have been given everything they needed and wanted who believe they are entitled to things they don’t earn and now face the prospect of having to earn the things they see other people have that they want. (Oh, the horror!)

Real life scares them, and frightened people will grab on to promises of salvation (socialism) like a drowning man will grasp at a straw.

This is the real “clear and present danger” to our republic and our way of life. Socialism doesn’t bring the equality of prosperity to everyone, only the equality of misery.—Drew Page

***

Gorka says of a recent poll: “They find 42 percent of millennials would like to live in a socialist or communist America.”

Well, let’s give them the opportunity to do so, in another country. Perhaps they could observe firsthand the way I did, through military service. This has got to be the result of our failed education system and its extreme liberal bias.—Herman Mueller

Standing Firm Amid the Blows of Gender Politics

Dear Daily Signal: God bless Isabella Chow for standing for righteousness, as Rachel del Guidice reports (“Why This California College Student Is Choosing to Stand Up for Her Beliefs on Gender”). If they kick you out of your seat as a senator, Isabella, consider yourself blessed.

You shouldn’t keep casting pearls before swine. They don’t know what to do with them.—Jim Dandi

***

The left officially has become the largest hate group in U.S. history. There is no debate on this.

The “left” comprises about 25 percent of the population, and all people who do not support their (often radical) views are harassed, intimidated, and excluded.

They have become the very hate groups that they claim to have always disdained. So now we will get to see what it felt like for the Jews in Germany and for blacks in the U.S., as they confronted hate. Progressives are the new Nazis and KKK.—Anthony Alafero

***

Isabella Chow is very brave. I thank her for taking a stand for Christianity. I am sure it has cost her a great deal. Her courage is inspiring.—Helen Hunt, Columbia, Miss.

***

I am always puzzled by the decision of Christian young people and their parents to attend liberal indoctrination centers posing as institutions of higher learning.

That their core beliefs and worldview will be viciously attacked is a given constantly, until they agree to surrender them and embrace the degradation of the mob. So many better alternatives for real learning will build up faith in God and equip one for a life of service to him.—Michael Waters

***

Isabella Chow, you are an inspiration! You hang in there, and I will be praying for you.—Tonya Acre Merrill

Calling Out the Progressive Agenda

Dear Daily Signal: It is amazing that most leftists cannot explain what socialistic and democratic forms of government are, as Jarrett Stepman’s commentary suggests, nor do they realize the long-term effects of those systems (“Progressives Want to Burn Down Any Institution That Doesn’t Favor Them at the Moment”).

In conjunction with that, leftists do not understand America’s constitutional republican form of government, why it was created, how it works, the protections it offers the entire populace, and how it enhances philanthropy while supporting capitalism.

However, like any organization, it can be corrupted—when those at the higher and highest levels of our government stop working for its citizenry (the foundational mandate of our Constitution), and instead work to support their personal motives. Religion and politics should be kept out of government.

The executive branch leads. The legislative branch creates laws. The judicial branch judges, according to the Constitution. Together they govern of, for, and by the will of the people—not vice versa.—Dan Dean

***

Jarrett Stepman, you are amazing. Your journalistic viewpoints are always spot on.

The left are idiots. Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true. They are crybabies and brats who act out every time they don’t get their own way. Why anyone pays any attention to Joy Behar or Whoopi Goldberg at all is beyond my ability to comprehend.—Tonya Acre Merrill

***

Since this is not your America, lefties, then you are welcome to leave it. I prefer the old days of law and order, which your kind is attempting to change. Don’t like the rules? Please, go find yourselves a better place to be and leave my country alone!—Donald Leegh, Augusta, Ga.

***

The left is a treasonous movement. The Democrats became a treasonous organization when they fell under the sway of a movement that rejects our system of government, its laws, and its elections.

Now their treason is coming to a head. They are engaged in a struggle for power against the government. That’s not protest. It’s not activism. The old treason of the ’60s has come of age. A civil war has begun.

This is a primal conflict between a totalitarian system and a democratic system. Its outcome will determine whether we will be a free nation or a nation of slaves.—Wes Potts

***

The sign “This is not our America” is unfortunately correct. In that light, I think that they, and all other progressives, should leave. May I suggest Wakanda? Just go to Kenya and walk west. I’m sure you’ll find it.—John Palmer

***

Just move to a country where illegal immigrants come from, leftists. Or Venezuela is up and running; go there. Leave your citizenship behind. We don’t want you back.—Suzy Jules

Defending the Peace Cross 

Dear Daily Signal: Despite the words from residents who’ve joined the suit against the Peace Cross, as Troy Worden reports, the word “offensive” is not listed in the lawsuit at all (“What Veterans Say About Effort at Supreme Court to Remove Peace Cross War Memorial”).

The issue is maintenance and upkeep of a religious symbol on public property using taxpayer dollars in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This has nothing to do with rewriting history, forgetting the past, or dishonoring veterans.

The American Humanist Association has stated that they are in favor of a memorial to honor vets as long as it doesn’t involve religious imagery. Quoting veterans is disingenuous and particularly ironic when they invoke the First Amendment.

Next time quote lawyers and constitutional scholars, people who are qualified to discuss the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause therein, for that’s the main argument against this memorial.—James Webb

***

I’d like to point out to the Supreme Court a 1892 case known as Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, which I learned about in the book “The Rebirth of America,” edited by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and published by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation.

The court decided then that we were emphatically a Christian-based nation. Therefore, removing this 120-year-old cross monument in Bladensburg, Maryland, would be a destruction of our historical values.

The attorneys in defense of that World War I memorial would be wise to review this book, specifically the chapter titled “One Nation Under God.” It is full of quotes by Founding Fathers and others who envisioned a nation not run by religion, but one that held the Christian faith in deep respect.—Dail F. Melton, Braselton, Ga.

***

Public property is what it says; it belongs to the republic, to everyone. Monuments should not be threatened by the someones who just want to be noticed as crusaders for something they and a few others want to force on the majority.—Henry Vance, Waynesboro, Va.

***

Look at the courthouse where the Supreme Court makes its decisions. There is a lot of symbolism there for Christianity. We have forgotten why this country was founded as people come here to live, even with different value systems.

We as a culture need to remind children of their gift of living in this county. Please let us protect our culture so that we may maintain our freedoms and worship the Lord thy God.—Barbara A. Drabek, Fort Myers, Fla.

***

Nothing in our Constitution mentions God or the Bible or Jesus Christ.

There is only one clause in our Constitution that is similar to what is written in the Bible (Article IV, Section 2). Everything else in our Constitution is not at all like anything in the Bible, and some of it directly contradicts what is in the Bible.—Alan Turner

***

Even though atheists are an increasing percentage of the population, they shouldn’t be allowed to impose their views on the rest of us.

According to a recent World Values Survey, 4.4 percent of Americans self-identified as atheists. So why should this small segment of the population have a right to take away religious symbols, when 70 percent of the population claim to hold to some form of Christianity?—Wes Potts

Democrats’ King of Election Recounts

Dear Daily Signal: Having Democratic lawyer Marc Elias anywhere near the vote gathering and counting centers is akin to allowing the fox to live in the hen house (“6 Big Election Hits by Marc Elias, Democrats’ Recount King”).

Where is the Republican lawyer who knows how to fight bare-knuckle style? We must get in the gutter where the Democrats have always stolen elections, to keep Elias and similar slimeballs at bay.—Terry Dwyer

***

One illegal vote will disenfranchise a single legal vote. Disenfranchise! One of the favorite words of Democrats everywhere.

Here’s my take: Either Democrats are too stupid to know how to vote correctly or they’re too stupid to know how to properly take custody of ballots once they are posted or received. Which is it?

If you’re this stupid, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you take a test and can’t color in the box properly, your answer doesn’t count. Neither should your vote.—David Lisk

***

It has become perfectly normal since the 1990s that elections are lost and then manipulated so a recount is necessary, so the winner (almost always a conservative) becomes the loser.

This year alone, within a week, election fraud or vote manipulation has been cited in very similar circumstances in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Illinois.

There are other potential cases, but the closeness of those races cannot merit the same scrutiny that these do.—Ken McDonald

***

Widespread voter fraud is a lie to inspire a fear-and-outrage narrative. How many have taken even one minute to consider what the logistics of pulling it off would be, let alone no one getting caught?

Certainly among individuals caught who’re facing real prison time, many would sing like a bird for a plea deal providing proof and hard evidence.

Any actual research shows it a lie. Even The Heritage Foundation’s own data show it to be a rare occurrence and usually committed through ignorance and the occasional idiots trying manipulate some local seat.—William Robert

***

One idea to eliminate a lot of these shenanigans is to separate the accounting for the ballots from the counting of the ballots.

After all ballots are received and accounted for, then and only then does the counting begin. Sure, it will delay the process for a few days, but I’d rather wait a couple of days. We’ve already endured a year or more of campaigning, what’s a few more days?

Once all parties agree that all the ballots are in, any recount will only count those ballots, not “found” ones.—Roger Zegers

***

If you’ve watched, researched, and compared as long as I have, you know the gangsters admitted they’ve always done what needed doing for the Democrat Party. They, and movie stars, mostly donated money to the Dems.

The immoral beat goes on and on. All things are seen and known … and have their consequences. Those in charge of voting need to follow the law, and our government needs to see that they do.—Bonnie McGuire

***

Fraud, deception, activist judges, political cowardice, and failures of law enforcement. It’s all pretty disgusting and does not bode well for our once-revered republic.—Steve Fowler

The Origins of Birthright Citizenship

Dear Daily Signal: I would agree with Ed Feulner’s commentary on birthright citizenship that the intent of the authors of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment was clear in their minds and in their debates (“If Trump Ended Birthright Citizenship by Executive Order, He’d Be Enforcing Existing Law”).

Unfortunately, the language they used when they wrote the amendment does not clearly express their intentions. The Supreme Court came to that conclusion in 1898 in the case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.

It doesn’t matter what Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan noted in the 19th century. It doesn’t matter what “constitutional scholar” Edward Erler said. There are lots of constitutional scholars, with lots of varying opinions.

It doesn’t matter what Matthew Spalding of Hillsdale College opined, and it does not matter what President Trump thinks, or what you or I think. It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court justices thought in the decisions prior to that of 1898.

What does matter is the last high court decision on birthright citizenship (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark). This decision set the precedent for determining that anyone, with a few limited exceptions, born on U.S. soil (or soil under the jurisdiction of the U.S.) is a citizen of the United States.

Was the language used in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment misinterpreted by the Supreme Court in its 6-2 decision? Possibly. Certainly the two dissenting justices thought so.

Lots of people—including current justices, former justices, constitutional scholars, and law professors—who believe that many of the court’s decisions were wrong due to “misinterpretation” of the written law.

As I see it, there are but two remedies:

1. Pass another amendment to the Constitution that more clearly defines “birthright citizenship,” and to whom it does and does not apply.

2. Let anyone born on U.S. soil who was denied birthright citizenship file suit in federal court and, if denied in court, file an appeal with the Supreme Court, which can render a decision.—Drew Page

***

We have to understand what that phrase—”subject to the jurisdiction of”—meant in 1868.—Kate Ratigan

***

I don’t believe it’s up to Congress to clarify this law. The Supreme Court should be the final say. And if the court determines that the president is right, it’s up to Congress to change it. President Trump is correct in enforcing the laws.—Wayne Mayer

Learning About the First Thanksgiving

Dear Daily Signal: What is missing from your podcast discussion of the Mayflower Compact with historian Robert Tracy McKenzie is that the compact set up a commune in which all would give whatever they raised into communal storage, from which each person had an equal draw on the resources (“Podcast: The Surprising Story of the First Thanksgiving”).

As human nature would dictate, many did not work very hard because it offered no individual reward. Some worked little at all; why work if you are to be given everything you needed?

That caused the colony to fail in spite of help from the Indians. They nearly starved to death. William Bradford then originated a new compact that gave each family a plot of land that they could work on and keep the fruits of their labor.

This was basically a case of capitalism replacing socialism/communism. It stimulated trade within the colony and with the Indians. The colony thrived under the new system and had a major banquet to honor and thank God for delivering prosperity. That was the original Thanksgiving.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas

***

Early American history is absolutely grand. It’s relatively recent, so in many cases we can understand with some certainty who did what when.

Today I’m grateful to be born in the U.S. and to have attended school before major and negative revisions set in. Your podcast guest, historian Robert Tracy McKenzie, might be surprised that we nonelites were taught generally right along the lines of his interpretations.

Our dinner table was filled with historical discussions about major figures and events in American history: the black, the white, and the gray. Both parents enjoyed history and read endlessly in that context. We were taught not to apply today’s mindless cultural perspectives against yesterday’s occurrences.—Samuel Mazzuchelli

***

Not to be a stickler for details, but the first Thanksgiving was in 1619 at Berkeley, Virginia. Next year will be the 400th anniversary of that Thanksgiving—Greg Knapp

***

I’m not falling for this version of the first Thanksgiving for one second. Is Robert Tracy McKenzie such a genius that all of America’s historians for the past couple-plus centuries got it wrong until he came along?

This is utter hogwash and reflects the hubris of those in academia. To me, this version is just one more effort to rewrite American history, but coming from an institution that our side, and The Daily Signal, would trust.

My suspicions were highly raised when Dr. McKenzie enlightened us with his version of why the Pilgrims came.

Could any sensible person with a modicum of wisdom believe that such puddle-deep motivations as those proposed by Dr. McKenzie prompted a band of sober-minded and grounded Christians to embark on such an arduous, perilous journey, putting themselves and their children at risk? A boat full of 16th-century adrenaline junkies, whooping it up to the New World …

This is another attempt at rewriting our magnificent history by some young punk who thinks history began at his birth. I’ll have none of it.—Jane Blacksmith

This and That

Dear Daily Signal: I am a longtime reader. I greatly appreciate the quality journalism, reporting, and commentary that The Daily Signal provides.

However, I am writing to express grave concern regarding your practice of releasing the names of suspects in mass-casualty incidents, such as in the articles “11 Dead in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting; Gunman Faces Hate Crime Charges” and “Multiple Men Were ‘Ready to Take a Bullet for Any Single One of Us,’ Says Woman Who Survived California Shooting.”

Each time your editors allow these names to be included, they actively make the decision to contribute to the frenzy of media attention that draws other unstable individuals into committing these types of atrocities. While I expect nothing better from the mainstream media, The Daily Signal has demonstrated a commitment to a higher standard, and this practice seems a grave violation of that standard.

Perhaps there is a rationale in this decision that I am overlooking. If so, I’d appreciate an explanation.—Timothy de Laveaga, Philadelphia

Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s policy generally is not to use a photo of the gunman or other perpetrator in such a crime, and to minimize use of his or her name in our coverage. We picked up both of the cited articles from The Daily Caller News Foundation, however, and our agreement with that organization doesn’t allow us to delete such facts. 

***

I hope President Trump will open up the report on the Steele dossier by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. This would clear up a lot of material that seems to be always in question about how it was designed.—Adam Schwartz, Honesdale, Pa.

***

Why would businessman Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, not give that $1.8 billion to pay down the national debt instead of giving it to Johns Hopkins University? Or give it to the migrants to help them settle in Mexico. Start a fund for medical care. A college will support only the left’s agenda.—Windle White

Sarah Sleem and Troy Worden helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ken McIntyre

Ken McIntyre, a 30-year veteran of national and local newspapers, serves as senior editor at The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation’s Marilyn and Fred Guardabassi Fellow in Media and Public Policy Studies. Send an email to Ken. Twitter: .


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

How 1 State Fared After Enacting the Criminal Justice Reforms Trump Wants to Implement Nationally

Mississippi implemented its second round of criminal justice reforms this year after touting the successes of a previous package in 2014.

The first installment focused on sentencing, addiction and mental health treatment, and job skills for when inmates leave prison. State officials point to lower crime, fewer inmates, and savings for taxpayers as signs of success.

The new law, which Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed in May, focuses on re-entry to society and cutting recidivism. President Donald Trump, visiting the state last month, praised the reforms.

Mississippi’s prison population fell from 23,000 to 19,400 after the Legislature passed House Bill 585 in 2014. The state has saved $40 million, officials say, and is on track to save $264 million over the next 10 years.

In 2012, Mississippi had the second-highest incarceration rate in the United States, behind only Louisiana. The rate had surged 300 percent from 1983 to 2013.

Of those released after serving their sentences, 1 in 3 nonviolent offenders returned to prison. As a result, in 2013 the state assembled a Corrections and Criminal Justice Task Force that produced a framework for House Bill 585.

“Criminal justice reform is the No. 1 issue of our time,” state Rep. Joel Bomgar, a Republican representing the Madison area, told The Daily Signal.

Bomgar was a co-sponsor of House Bill 387, the Re-entry and Affordability Reforms Act. The bipartisan legislation, which went into effect in July, follows the state’s sweeping 2014 sentencing reforms.

‘An Economic Benefit’

Under the new reform, judges must determine a person’s ability to pay a fine before sending him or her to jail. And if the person’s income is at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty line, a court must grant him time to pay or allow community service in place of a fine.

The idea is that no one can earn enough money to pay a fine if he is locked up, Bomgar said.

The new law outlaws “debtors’ prison,” or incarceration for inability to pay legal and court fees. Bomgar said the focus is on making sure inmates who return to society are employable.

“It’s an economic benefit and the more people who are working, the fewer people who are in prison,” he said. “If someone isn’t employable, it’s more difficult to live a lifestyle to stay out of prison.”

The new law also reduces the likelihood of parolees going back to prison for minor or technical violations by prohibiting a judge from “stacking” technical parole to send someone back behind bars. A technical violation could be not showing up for a parole hearing, or showing up late, as opposed to an actual violation such as committing a crime.

Trump held a roundtable discussion on criminal justice reform Nov. 26 in Tupelo, Mississippi, since he is promoting national legislation now before Congress.

The president hopes the current Congress will pass the bipartisan bill during the lame-duck session before the Christmas break, after which the new Congress—with a Democrat majority in the House—will convene.

Co-sponsored by Reps. Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the legislation is called the FIRST STEP Act (an acronym for the unwieldy Formerly Incarcerated Re-enter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person).

The bill would allow inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes, if they complete certain education and training programs, to earn credits toward spending more of their sentences in supervision outside prison, in a halfway house or home confinement. The hope is that they would get a job and more easily transition back into society.

‘Smart on Crime’

Trump praised those in Mississippi “who have worked so hard on legislation, and this legislation in particular.”

The president laid out the goal: “Enact reasonable sentencing reforms to ensure fairness while keeping dangerous criminals off the street—so important—and revitalize our criminal justice system to be tough on crime, but also smart on crime.”

Pelicia E. Hall, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, said at the roundtable that the state is focused on re-entry, including vocational training for inmates being released, such as learning to get a manufacturing job or gain a commercial driver’s license.

Besides Trump, Bryant, and Hall, those attending the roundtable event included Vice President Mike Pence, the president’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, and Miss Mississippi Asya Branch, wearing a gown and crown. Branch has made criminal justice reform one of her causes.

“We know that anywhere from 90 to 95 percent of the people in our system are coming back to our communities,” Hall, the commissioner of corrections, said. “So we want to make sure that they’re coming back better than they were when they were in our system. So we’re making sure that they get that vocational training that they need.”

Having seen passage of two major bills, Bomgar said he anticipates additional legislation in Mississippi.

“Criminal justice reform is an ongoing issue,” the state lawmaker said. “We still have a long way to go. I don’t think there is any state that is yet past the 50-yard line.”

States Set the Tone

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi has noted that the state still ranks third in overall incarceration. The ACLU also asserted that black males make up almost two-thirds of those incarcerated, but only one-third of the state’s population.

“There was a significant decrease in incarceration in Mississippi, but also a significant decrease nationwide because of criminal justice reform policies,” Bomgar said. “So Mississippi still ranks high.”

Various states are tackling the matter differently, said John-Michael Seibler, a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

“There are all kinds of bills at the state level. Some states will do omnibus bills to get everything in one package,” Seibler told The Daily Signal. “Other states do one or two initiatives at a time. Other states do a few things one year and then a few years later take another bite of the apple, like Mississippi.”

States have set the tone for the national discussion, he said.

“We could look at a few states to call national examples. There were successful reforms in Texas and Georgia and other states,” Seibler said. “Mississippi has done things on the sentencing side that are the kinds of things Congress could do.”

The latest rounds of reforms in Mississippi, under HB 387, also make it easier for former inmates to keep their jobs if they can get them, said John Koufos, national director for re-entry initiatives for Right on Crime, a conservative prison reform advocacy group.

“If you’re lucky enough to get a job, but have to leave the job to meet with a parole officer, it will make it tougher to keep the job. This bill allows parole checks to be done by Skype,” Koufos told The Daily Signal.

A Governor Who Gets It

Under the new reforms, instead of incarceration for failure to pay a court fine, a hearing is held to determine the former inmate’s ability to pay. If the person is not able to pay the full fine, a gradual payment system is worked out.

“Who is protected? People on parole ordered to pay restitution to victims’ family will be more likely to do so,” Koufos said. “Also, more people will pay child support. Mississippi would spend more incarcerating the person who owes $300 or $400 before they even get their first meal. That math doesn’t add up, and it’s not going to scare anyone into paying because you can’t get blood from a stone.”

Koufos said Bryant’s experience in law enforcement has given the Republican governor strength on this issue.

“Gov. Bryant gets it from his time in law enforcement,” Koufos said. “Mississippi is a great model and Gov. Bryant is a great leader in taking the bull by the horns in restoring public safety.”

Bryant is a former deputy sheriff who worked undercover in narcotics. Later, as state auditor, he helped put white collar criminals and corrupt state officials behind bars.

During a previous roundtable on criminal justice reform last August at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Bryant spoke about the successes in his state following passage of the 2014 law.

“We used all the things that Georgia has been successful with, and Texas. I called both of these governors and said, ‘Tell me how you did it,’” Bryant said at the New Jersey event.

Bryant said Mississippi focuses heavily on workforce training, addiction services, mental health treatment, and cracking down on drugs inside prisons.

He said that bringing in faith-based communities has been a major help.

“It takes a change of heart,” Bryant said at the New Jersey forum. “I’ve been around a lot of people who are in jail, and if their hearts aren’t changed, their lives will not be changed. So prison ministries—all of those things that government doesn’t like to admit to that works—works.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.


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


EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Newscom.

VIDEO: Who Are the Most Powerful People in America?

The genius of America is that it was set up as a representative government, but increasingly, Americans are ruled over by leaders who are unelected, and very powerful. Columbia Law Professor Philip Hamburger unmasks the people who are really ruling our lives.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with video is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Alex Iby on Unsplash.

Why Most Academics Tilt Left

There’s no denying that an overwhelming majority of academics in universities across the country are liberal, progressive, socialist, or otherwise Left-wing.


There’s little disputing the fact that an overwhelming majority of university professors in America are on the political Left. A common response from leftists circulating to this reality is that “academics are liberal because that is the way intelligent people think.”

It’s easy to dismiss such a response, as it reflects nothing more than an “all smart people think like me” assumption held by people who insulate themselves in an ideological bubble.

It does, however, make one to ponder why such a disproportionate share of academics are Left-wing.

In his 1949 essay “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” Friedrich Hayek explored this topic with observations still very much alive today.

The Problem with Intellectuals

Intellectuals, according to Hayek, are drawn to utopian visions. First and foremost among those visions is the creation of a new social order, specifically one designed by “experts.” They also have the hubris to anoint themselves as the experts to design this new order. Hayek wrote:

The intellectual, by his whole disposition, is uninterested in technical details or practical difficulties. What appeal to him are broad visions, the spacious comprehension of the social order as a whole which a planned system promises.

Socialist intellectuals often misapply observations from the hard sciences as inspiration for designing a new society. Hayek noted that such intellectuals observed engineering techniques that enabled man to organize the forces of nature (natural resources) and convert them into useful technology. These observations have “contributed a great deal toward the creation of the belief that a similar control of the forces of society would bring comparable improvements in human conditions.”

In short, progressive intellectuals fancy themselves as radicals, desiring to overturn capitalism and traditional Western culture, with themselves at the helm. But what are the best means for them to achieve their goals? For the ambitious among them, an academic career provides a rosy opportunity. For those radicals, “an intellectual career is the most promising path to both influence and the power to contribute to the achievement of his ideals,” Hayek explained.

Like most humans, Leftist intellectuals desire to exert influence and, in turn, feel important. Their desires to re-make society can only realistically be brought about through the existence of a massive government; a government in which these academics will be able to influence, under the guise of academic “expertise.” There is an inherent liberal bias favoring greater social control by the state among academics in part because it’s the only avenue academics have to become the social reformists they desire to be.

Hayek also pointed out that the young are especially receptive to idealist theories aimed at transforming the world. He explained:

(S)ocialist thought owes its appeal to the young largely to its visionary character; the very courage to indulge in utopian thought is in this respect a source of strength to the socialists which traditional liberalism sadly lacks.

The allure of advancing a utopian vision combined with classrooms full of highly amendable students proves to be a powerful magnet attracting Leftist intellectuals to academic positions. And once a majority of academics are progressives, then confirmation bias connects the dots for some to conclude that is the case because “that is how intelligent people think.”

As Hayek put it, “The socialist will, of course, see in this merely a proof that the more intelligent person is today bound to become a socialist.”

Arrogance and Selfishness

Meanwhile, those wishing to largely preserve traditional systems find other avenues to pursue personal success. Even those who fight for freedom and to roll back government are perceived, as Hayek described, as being merely “those who aim at a piecemeal improvement of the existing order.” Such an approach does not excite the imagination of many young intellectuals.

Finally, there is the role played by naked self-interest. Government subsidies and student financial aid make up a significant share of revenue for universities. Furthermore, government grants dominate funding for academic research. Academics reap financial benefits from government largesse. What a tidy coincidence that most academics favor big government.

There’s no denying that an overwhelming majority of academics in universities across the country are liberal, progressive, socialist, or otherwise Left-wing. To dismiss this fact with the thoughtless trope that “this is the way intelligent people think” displays a lack of genuine intellectual curiosity.

Academic research and intellectuals continue to exert influence on public policy and public opinion. We at least owe it to ourselves to have a serious discussion about why there is such a lack of intellectual diversity on our college campuses.

COLUMN BY

Brian Balfour

Brian Balfour

Brian Balfour is Executive Vice President for the Civitas Institute, a free-market advocacy organization in Raleigh, NC. He is the author of the high school economics iBook Economics in Action, creator of the Austrian Economics educational app, and has served as an adjunct economics instructor at Mount Olive University.

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

Harvard Study: Gender Wage Gap Explained Entirely by Work Choices of Men and Women

The “gender wage gap” is as real as unicorns and has been killed more times than Michael Myers.


“Gender pay gap is worse than thought: Study shows women actually earn half the income of men,” NBC announced recently in reference to a report titled “Still a Man’s Labor Market” by the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which found that women’s income was 51 percent less than men’s earnings.

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “gender pay gap”? Perhaps you think of a man and woman who work exactly the same job at exactly the same place, but he gets paid more than she does. This sort of discrimination has been illegal in the United States since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

But that is not what is generally meant by the phrase “gender wage gap.” Instead, the commonly reported figure—that a woman earns 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man—is derived by taking the total annual earnings of men in the American economy in a given year and dividing that by the number of male workers. This gives you the average annual earnings of an American man. Then you do the same thing but for women. The average annual women’s earnings come in at about 80 percent of the average annual man’s earnings. Presto, you have a gender wage gap.

That’s it, honestly. It isn’t much above back-of-a-cigarette-box stuff. This methodology takes no account whatsoever of a whole host of factors that might explain this discrepancy. It ignores the fact that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2017, men worked an average of 8.05 hours in an average day compared to 7.24 hours for women.

True, women are more likely to be raising children, taking care of elderly family members, or doing housework, leaving them with fewer hours in the day for paid employment. But this does not alter the essential fact: that people working fewer hours, on average, can be expected to earn lower incomes, on average.

And there are differences in the type of work men and women do, which bears on their earnings. BLS data shows that, in 2017, 94 percent of child day care services workers were female, the highest percentage of any category, and that the mean annual wage of childcare workers was $23,760. By contrast, just 2.9 percent of workers in logging were women, the lowest share of any category, and the mean annual wage here was $42,310.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research study fails to account for these differences. Indeed, its authors are airily dismissive of analysis that takes into account “occupational differences or so-called ‘women’s choices.’”

Its headline claim is that the 80 cents figure is wrong; in fact, women earn more like 49 cents for each dollar a man earns. The authors, Stephen J. Rose and Heidi I. Hartmann—listed in that order because that is how it is presented on the cover of their report, not because of sexism—arrive at this conclusion by taking a longitudinal dataset from 2001-2015 and measuring average annual earnings across the period for people who worked any amount during any of these years, and then comparing the overall averages for male and female workers, as well as for different subsets of men and women. Workers who were employed full-time for the entire 15-year period are lumped in with those who worked only part-time or occasionally.

Rather than starting with an observation (that 80-cent statistic) and examining possible causes, Hartmann and Rose have simply assumed a cause (rampant sexism) and carried out a slightly grander version of the back-of-a-cigarette-box calculation to support it. This isn’t how social science research should be done. It is exactly the wrong way round.

Remember, if we truly want to measure the impact of sexism on male and female relative earnings, we want to look at men and women doing exactly the same job at exactly the same place. Fortunately, a new study by Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel of Harvard University—again, listed in that order because that is how they are presented in their paper—does just this.

They look at data from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). This is a union shop with uniform hourly wages where men and women adhere to the same rules and receive the same benefits. Workers are promoted on the basis of seniority rather than performance, and male and female workers of the same seniority have the same choices for scheduling, routes, vacation, and overtime. There is almost no scope here for a sexist boss to favor men over women.

And yet, even here, Emanuel and Bolotnyy find that female train and bus operators earn less than their male counterparts. From this observation, they go looking for possible causes, examining time cards and scheduling from 2011 to 2017 and factoring in sex, age, date of hire, tenure, and whether an employee was married or had dependents.

They find that male train and bus drivers worked about 83 percent more overtime than their female colleagues and were twice as likely to accept an overtime shift—which pays time-and-a-half—on short notice and that around twice as many women as men never took overtime. The male workers took 48 percent fewer unpaid hours off under the Family Medical Leave Act each year. Female workers were more likely to take less desirable routes if it meant working fewer nights, weekends, and holidays. Parenthood turns out to be an important factor. Fathers were more likely than childless men to want the extra cash from overtime, and mothers were more likely to want time off than childless women.

In other words, the difference in male and female earnings at the MBTA was explained by those “so-called ‘women’s choices,’” which Hartmann and Rose so easily dismissed.

“The gap of $0.89 in our setting,” the authors concluded, “can be explained entirely by the fact that, while having the same choice sets in the workplace, women and men make different choices.”

The “gender wage gap” is as real as unicorns and has been killed more times than Michael Myers. Yet politicians feel the need to genuflect before this phantom figure. President Obama’s White House was obsessed with that ridiculous 80-cent number. Let us substitute the quest for phantoms with serious research into the causes of relative incomes.

COLUMN BY

John Phelan

John Phelan

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment and fellow of The Cobden Centre.

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

Did Judge and Prosecutor Shield Criminal Illegal Alien From ICE?

My article today is predicated on the December 2, 2018 Boston Globe report, “ICE agent was in courthouse. Did judge and others help man flee?”

Incredibly, a district court judge is now being investigated by a federal grand jury into her actions earlier this year, when she is believed to have acted, in concert with a prosecutor, to enable an illegal alien from the Dominican Republic to escape justice. As it turned out, the alien was using a false name, had falsely claimed to be a United States citizen at the time of his arrest and had been previously twice deported from the United States.

A detainer had been lodged by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and, at the time, an ICE agent was present in the courthouse waiting to take the alien into custody.

We will get into the details of this outrageous case but first I want to remind you how we have gotten to this point, to set the stage for this latest example of immigration anarchy.

The globalists have worked long and hard to convince politicians from both political parties and judges alike that it is somehow heroic to obstruct the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws that were enacted to protect national security, public safety, public health and the jobs of American workers.

Furthermore, the 9/11 Commission made it crystal clear that first and foremost, multiple failures of the immigration system not only permitted the 19 hijacker-terrorists who launched the savage attacks on September 11, 2001, but other terrorists the Commission studied as well, to enter the United States and embed themselves.

In spite of this, a growing list of so-called “Sanctuary Cities” and even “Sanctuary States” have openly declared their opposition to the enforcement of our immigration laws.

Members of the Democratic Party have even called for disbanding ICE and have even vilified ICE agents. New York’s Governor Cuomo has publicly referred to ICE agents as “thugs”!

There has been no shortage of reports of judges overstepping their authority and, as has come to be known, have “legislated from the bench” particularly where the enforcement of our immigration laws are concerned.

Since his election, President Trump has had his efforts to enforce our immigration laws stymied and blocked by a number of federal judges, particularly regarding DACA and the supposed “Travel Ban.”

I addressed these examples of judicial overreach in a number of my recent articles:

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Asylum Ban On Illegal Aliens  

Judge’s ruling ignores Constitution, 9/11 Commission Report and common-sense.

DACA Ruling:  Judicial Travesty Obstructs Presidential Authority

Fed. Judge Bates’ ruling ignores facts and national security.

Courting Disaster: Supreme Court Decides Against Homeland Security

Court guts presidential authority to prevent the entry of terrorists.

Incredibly, some judges have also attempted to prevent ICE agents from making arrests in courthouses.  The safest place to take an individual into custody is often in a courthouse because all who enter there are carefully screened to make certain that they are unarmed. This protects the public, the agents and even the alien who is to be arrested. I speak from direct experience; when I was an INS agent I frequently arrested aliens in courthouses.

Let us remember that our immigration laws were duly enacted the very same way that all federal laws were enacted. Judges are supposed to enforce our laws dispassionately and objectively.

Our laws are not to be regarded the way a patron of a restaurant peruses the menu of offerings picking and choosing the items that appeal to that patron.

Time and again the globalist immigration/anarchists fatuously claim that our immigration laws are “Unconstitutional.”

They need to read Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Now we come to the case that prompted me to write this article.

The newspaper report I cited above began by describing the conversation purportedly conducted at the sidebar among Newton District Court District Judge Shelley M. Joseph, the defense attorney representing Jose Medina-Perez an illegal alien from the Dominican Republic and Middlesex County prosecutor Shannon Jurgens.

Their conversation focused on how they should deal with the fact that Medina-Perez was facing deportation from the United States, a detainer had been lodged by ICE and, in fact, an ICE agent was in the courthouse waiting to take the defendant into custody.

Medina-Perez was arrested by Newton Police on drug charges and he also faced a fugitive warrant incidental to having been previously stopped for drunk driving in Pennsylvania.

Here is an excerpt from the news article:

“ICE is going to get him,” the judge told the attorneys during the April 2 sidebar conversation. “What if we continue [the case]?” she suggested, before instructing a clerk to turn off the courtroom’s audio recorder. Whatever was said during the next 58 seconds went unrecorded.

Minutes later, Medina-Perez was escorted downstairs, released from custody, and allowed out a back door, according to two people briefed on the episode. He scaled a fence and took off, leaving the immigration agent behind, the people said.

The following excerpt from the news report that includes the conversation among the judge the defense attorney and the prosecutor is particularly disturbing.

Their conversation — only occasionally audible on the recording — focused on the defendant’s immigration issue and whether he was the same person wanted on the fugitive warrant from Pennsylvania.

“ICE is convinced that this guy . . .” his lawyer, Jellinek said, his voice trailing off. “ICE will pick him up if he walks out the front door. But I think the best thing for us to do is clear the fugitive issue and release him . . . ”

The prosecutor chimed in: “There is a detainer attached to my paperwork, but I felt like that’s separate and apart from what my role is.”

“ICE is going to get him,” the judge said, before asking the clerk to go off the record, and halting the courtroom recording.

The defendant in this case, Jose Medina-Perez, was identified as a fugitive who had failed to appear for a court appearance previously, demonstrating that he was a flight risk a risk that was demonstrably increased when it was discovered that he had allegedly used two false names and had reportedly made a false claim to U.S. citizenship at the time of his arrest.

Making a false claim to U.S. citizenship is a felony under federal law (18 U.S. Code § 911) that carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

The judge, with the apparent assistance of the prosecutor, both of whom were so determined to shield him from deportation that they apparently decided to postpone his criminal case and found a way to dispose of a fugitive warrant issued by authorities in Pennsylvania. He was then surreptitiously hustled out of the courthouse and freedom, short-lived as it turned out to be.

Shortly after Medina-Perez made his “great escape,” with the apparent assistance of the judge and the prosecutor, he was arrested again in Roslindale in April but was once again released on bond by an immigration judge despite the fact that he was reportedly deported in January 2003 and June 2007 and had used a false name. According to immigration records his real name is Oscar Manuel Peguero.

Additionally, he had reportedly claimed to be a U.S. citizen when he was arrested and charged with possession of drugs. Finally, at the time of his arrest, the federal database showed that he had used an additional false alias, Julio Alexis Rios.

There is absolutely nothing sympathetic about this individual. He has shown utter contempt for the borders and the laws of the United States of the United States, yet a judge and a prosecutor are alleged to have committed potential felonies to assist him in evading immigration law enforcement.  Such actions not only may constitute obstruction of justice but a violation of

8 U.S. Code § 1324 which, in part states:

(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation

The newspaper report also noted that this is not an isolated case but that there have been previous instances where illegal aliens have been shielded from detention by ICE by other judges.

Consider this excerpt from the article:

Last year, the court’s presiding judge, Mary Beth Heffernan, freed a previously deported immigrant from the Dominican Republic accused of raping a Boston College student. The man, Luis Baez, drove for Uber using a fake name. Heffernan rejected prosecutors’ request for $100,000 bail, setting a bail of $2,500, which the accused paid, and then fled.

Each and every such case must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law possible, with serious jail time imposed.

Obstructing immigration law enforcement undermines national security and public safety and the punishment must fit the crime.

RELATED ARTICLE: Supreme Court Rejects Environmentalists, Gives Border Wall the Green Light

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine. It is republished with permission. Photo Courtesy of ICE

VIDEO: Am I a “White Supremacist?”

Red Ice TV published the following commentary and video on YouTube:

If you agree with any of these points, you might be a White supremacist.

ABOUT LANA LOKTEFF

Lana was born of Russian American ancestry. She is the host of Radio 3Fourteen and contributes political/social commentary in the form of articles and videos. Additionally, she offers her view on current news & entertainment in Red Ice TV’s livestream show on Saturdays. Lana also owns her own organic clothing line called Lana’s Llama. She is passionate about European identity politics, ancestral traditions and health. She lives with her husband in Sweden and part time in America.

Thomas Jefferson And His “Wall of Separation Between Church And State.”

During the years following the ratification of the Constitution, the new government embraced religion.  George Washington, at his first inauguration, placed his hand on the Bible and spontaneously added the words, “So help me God,” to the oath of office. Congress hired chaplains to attend to the religious needs of the members and led them in daily prayers.  The first two presidents declared national days of fasting and prayer for various purposes, not the least of which was to show the nation’s appreciation to its Creator for the favorable outcome of the Revolutionary War and the freedoms that sprang from it.  Even the Thanksgiving observance was undertaken, not as a standing tradition as is done presently, but at the behest of a presidential order calling for the national observance.

In 1801, Jefferson became the nation’s third president, bringing with him views regarding religion that were quite distinct from those of his predecessors.  Jefferson did not benefit from the nation’s formative debates on religion.  During the Virginia Convention of 1776, when the Virginia Bill of Rights was drafted, Jefferson was serving in Congress. During the Constitutional Convention, Jefferson was in France.  And during the First Amendment debates, Jefferson was serving as Secretary of State. Of all the major public discussions taking place during the country’s founding regarding religion, Jefferson was only present for the Madison-Henry debates in the Virginia Assembly.

Despite this, history would hand Jefferson an opportunity to formally present a position on church and state by way of a letter.

At the time of the nation’s establishment, the Congregationalist Church was Connecticut’s official church, a title that continued after the Constitution’s ratification.  Other churches residing in Connecticut, such as the Baptist church, were therefore subject to substantial disadvantages, including unequal taxation and fees, merely because of their religious positions.

Frustrated with their persistently unequal treatment despite the ratification of the new federal Constitution, the leaders of the Danbury Baptist Association wrote a letter to the President of the United States, then Thomas Jefferson, sharing with him the difficulties they were facing. Their letter, dated October 7, 1801, read as follows:

SIR,

Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your Election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoy’d in our collective capacity, since your Inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief Magistracy in the United States: And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompious than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, Sir to believe, that none are more sincere.

Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty—That Religion is at all times and places a Matter between God and Individuals—That no man aught to suffer in Name, person or effects on account of his religious Opinions—That the legetimate Power of civil Goverment extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbour: But Sir, our constitution of goverment is not specific. Our antient charter, together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted as the Basis of our goverment. At the time of our revolution; and such had been our Laws & usages, & such still are; that religion is consider’d as the first object of Legislation; & therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expence of such degrading acknowledgements as are inconsistant with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondred at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretence of goverment & Religion should reproach their fellow men—should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the President of the united States, is not the national Legislator, & also sensible that the national goverment cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial Effect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine & prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. Sir when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America’s God has raised you up to fill the chair of State out of that good will which he bears to the Millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence & the voice of the people have cal’d you to sustain and support you in your Administration against all the predetermin’d opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth & importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.

And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom throug Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.

Signed in behalf of the Association

NEHH. DODGE
EPHM. ROBBINS             The Committee
STEPHEN S NELSON

Interestingly, although the letter had been written in October, 1801, there is no evidence Jefferson received it until December 30, 1801.

At the time he received the letter, Jefferson was facing some political turmoil. Jefferson and his Republicans had just survived a very tumultuous election against Adams and his Federalists.  Not the least of Jefferson’s difficulties was the problems he had developed from his strict views on the separation of church and state dating back to his days in the Virginia State Assembly.

Among other charges, Jefferson was accused of being an atheist, no small charge in that day.  Evidence to that claim was his refusal to proclaim times of thanksgiving and national fasts in contrast to the habits of Washington and Adams. Having faced such ardent and continuous attacks regarding the role of government in religious worship and of his personal convictions, Jefferson saw the Danbury letter as an opportunity to discuss his views on religious worship and freedom.[1]  So anxious was Jefferson to respond that he immediately crafted a draft and submitted it to Postmaster General Gildeon Granger and Attorney General Levi Lincoln. By December 31, Granger had responded to Jefferson.  The next day, Jefferson sent the letter with a cover note to Lincoln who also immediately responded. Jefferson, despite a busy New Years day, finalized his answer and sent it on January 1, 1802.  His final letter read as follows:

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.  Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson, Jan. 1. 1802.[2]

It is important to clarify what Jefferson said and what he didn’t say in his letter.  First, Jefferson agreed with the Baptists that religion is strictly a matter between Man & his God.  As a matter of fact, says Jefferson, “the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions. . . ”

But, he clarifies, his job as President was to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  And as such, he acknowledged that the legislature could make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus “building a wall of separation of Church and State.” Therefore, Jefferson said, he would continue to pursue “those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

Jefferson’s subsequent actions speak volumes of the intent and meaning of his letter.  First, Jefferson did nothing to undo the Connecticut statute making the Congregationalists its official church.  Unquestionably, he agreed that this was wrong; he said it in his letter.  But he took no action because his greater duty at that time was to the Constitution, and although not expressed in the letter, the Constitution did not allow the President or Congress to keep a state from enacting the legislation that Connecticut had passed.

Instead, Jefferson engaged in a host of activities broaching his “wall of separation between Church and State,” implying that his “wall” was actually quite porous.  On the same day that he finalized his letter to the Danbury Baptist Associations, Jefferson publicly met with John Leland, a Baptist minister whom he had invited to deliver a sermon at the House of Representatives.  In a public demonstration of friendship, Leland presented Jefferson with a 1,250-pound cheese produced by his parishioners.[3] That Sunday, January 3, 1802, Jefferson personally attended the sermon at the House of Representatives that his friend delivered. How many of these actions were specifically due to political expediency will never be answered. However, it is said that subsequent to this letter Jefferson ‘constantly’ attended House services.[4]

Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association had some limited, initial and regional play largely due to the actions of the Association itself.  The letter, as well as Jefferson wall would disappear from the national conscience for more than seventy years, until it reappeared in the writings of a Supreme Court Justice.

But that is the topic of another Sunday Thought.

RELATED ARTICLE: Christian groups win Obamacare birth control battle

REFERENCES:

[1] James Hutson, “‘A Wall of Separation’ FBI Helps Restore Jefferson’s Obliterated Draft,” (Library of Congress: June 1998) accessed Aug. 21, 2015, http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danbury.html.
[2] The various incarnations of the language of his drafts have been reconstructed as follows: “confining myself therefore to the duties of my station, which are merely temporal, be assured that your religious rights shall never be infringed by any act of mine and that. . .” (There now appear some crossed out lines followed by:) “concurring with”; (which he also crossed out, then continued) “Adhering to this great act of national legislation in behalf of the rights of conscience” (he crossed out these words and then wrote) “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience I shall see with friendly dispositions the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced that he has no natural rights in opposition to his social duties.” [“Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists; The Draft and Recently Discovered Text” (Library of Congress: June 1998) accessed Aug. 21, 2015, http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpost.html]
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages. The featured photo is by Kyaw Tun on Unsplash.