• It’s Time for Congress to Defend Free Speech on Campus

    It’s Time for Congress to Defend Free Speech on Campus

    As an undergraduate student during the ‘60s, the Vietnam War was often on our minds and in our conversations.

    I vividly remember the discussions. Students were debating professors and each another. Ideas were being exchanged, opinions formed, and unique perspectives shared.

    I saw firsthand how college campuses across the nation were hubs of free speech—and some of that speech I vehemently disagreed with, in all honesty. Yet as a soldier years later, I would fight to protect and defend this right to free speech. As a country, we were best served by allowing all sides to passionately argue their views. READ MORE...

  • Pelosi's Shameful Decision to Place Rep. Omar on Foreign Affairs Committee

    Pelosi’s Shameful Decision to Place Rep. Omar on Foreign Affairs Committee

    Rep. Ilhan Omar argues that American “democracy is built on debate,” tweeting, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.” I’m sure no decent person disagrees with her comment. Also, every sane person understands this is merely a deflection from Omar’s many anti-Semitic comments.

    No one asked her—or anyone else—to pledge allegiance to a foreign nation. It’s her belief that supporting the Jewish state, a longtime ideological and geopolitical ally of the United States, is an act of dual loyalty—either by Jews or by others who, as Omar might say, have been “hypnotized” to do “evil.” She is the one who accuses Jewish Americans, a group that has played a robust role in the nation’s civic life for a long time, of doing the bidding of a foreign power to the detriment of their own. READ MORE...

  • Ilhan Omar’s Impoverished View of Religious Freedom

    Ilhan Omar’s Impoverished View of Religious Freedom

    The House of Representatives voted on Thursday on a resolution condemning bigotry and hate. The resolution was spurred by the recent remarks of freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, which questioned the loyalty of Jews to the United States.

    Both her anti-Semitic statements and broader views of religious freedom deserve examination.

    The Center for American Progress recently called Omar “a champion of religious freedom.” At an event entitled “Reclaiming Religious Freedom,” Omar urged the need for “freedom, liberty, and justice for all” and bemoaned the fact that some groups in America don’t fully experience these. READ MORE...

  • New Cases of Armed Citizens Stopping Criminals in February

    New Cases of Armed Citizens Stopping Criminals in February

    Last month, we documented some extraordinary examples from January of armed citizens relying on their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and others.

    We pointed out that these were average, everyday Americans who were just going about their lives. They did not go looking for evil but were nonetheless prepared to deal with the evil that found them.

    February has produced even more evidence that the fundamental right to keep and bear arms is not an anachronism that no longer deserves constitutional protection, but a vital tool safeguarding individual liberty. READ MORE...

  • New Trade Deficit Numbers Remind Us Why They Don’t Matter

    New Trade Deficit Numbers Remind Us Why They Don’t Matter

    The numbers are in, and the U.S. trade deficit in 2018 was roughly $621 billion, a 10-year high. That number doesn’t mean much by itself, however.

    The trade deficit is simply a calculation of how much Americans buy from abroad versus how much they sell.

    Each month, the U.S. Census Bureau releases data on the flow of goods and services. Those numbers include things such as the value of cars exported from the BMW plant in Greenville, South Carolina, and the value of airline and hotel purchases made by visitors to America. READ MORE...

  • February Jobs Report Underwhelms, but Economy Remains Strong

    February Jobs Report Underwhelms, but Economy Remains Strong

    On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers added 20,000 jobs in February, falling well below expert predictions that estimated 180,000 jobs added.

    While this number can and should be higher, the report also reflects that the job market in general is still strong; posting 101 consecutive months of job creation, showing a steady increase of wages for Americans.

    More Americans are employed than ever before.

    The report showed that the unemployment rate fell from 4 percent in January to 3.8 percent in February, and the labor force participation rate was essentially unchanged. In addition, the U-6 unemployment number, which measured both discouraged workers who aren’t currently looking for work as well as those holding jobs part time for economic reasons, fell to a five-month low from 8.1 percent to 7.3 percent.

    This signals that those who want to find job, can easily find one. In addition, upward revisions from December and January added 12,000 jobs to the workforce.

    Among the major worker groups: The unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), whites (3.3percent), and Hispanics (4.3 percent) decreased in February. The jobless rates for adult women (3.4 percent), teenagers (13.4 percent), and Asians (3.1 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

    While African-American unemployment did increase slightly, climbing from 6.8 percent in January to 7 percent in February, the unemployment rate for disabled Americans dropped to a low of 8 percent in 2018.

    Digging deeper into the jobs numbers: We saw gains in professional and business services (+42,000), health care (+21,000 jobs), wholesale trade (+11,000), and manufacturing (+4,000). We did, however, see losses in construction (-31,000 jobs) and mining (-5,000 jobs).

    One of the more positive aspects of the report showed the continuation of a steady increase in wages, as average hourly earnings for all employees rose by 11 cents to $27.66. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.4 percent—far outpacing the rate of inflation, and continuing to show that employers are serious about filling the now 7.3 million open jobs in America.

    But we can do better, and policy matters.

    Manufacturers, farmers, and business owners all around the country are trying to plan for the future, and it’s difficult to do that when uncertainty exists. The president and Congress were right to lower taxes and reduce regulation for all Americans.

    However, imposing new taxes in the form of tariffs is throwing cold water on the fire.

    In addition, any boost tax cuts and regulatory reform given to the economy continues to be gobbled up by out-of-control spending by the federal government—driven by both sides of the aisle.

    The jobs report is just one of many signals of the health of our economy.

    While the total number of jobs created in February was lower than predicted, the economy continues to show many signs that we are headed in the right direction.

    It’s time for both sides of the aisle to come together and enact policy that will ensure this month is an outlier.

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  • Socialism Cares About the Ruling Class, Not the Middle Class

    Socialism Cares About the Ruling Class, Not the Middle Class

    Q: What did socialists use before candles?

    A: Electricity.

    It’s an old joke, sure. But it’s no laughing matter. Just ask the people of Venezuela.

    The socialist regime there nationalized the electricity sector a dozen years ago. Today, blackouts in the once-prosperous Latin American nation have become routine.

    Electricity isn’t all that’s in short supply. Gasoline is scarce in the oil-rich nation, as are food and medicine.

    Meanwhile, the regime concentrates on violently repressing protests and burning humanitarian aid as it approaches its borders.

    After 20 years of socialism, Venezuela is a failed state.

    And that should surprise no one. Socialism is a rigid ideology that always ends in tyranny.

    The prime example is the Soviet Union. Lenin and Stalin’s iron rule brought death to 20-25 million victims. “Enemies of the state” were executed by firing squads, sent to forced labor camps in the Gulag, perished in country wide forced famines, experimented on in “psychiatric” hospitals, and summarily deported from their homes to the distant steppes of Russia.

    No less totalitarian in their practices were the Castro brothers, who promised freedom and democracy when they came to power in Cuba. Six decades later, the Cuban people are still waiting for the first free election.

    Socialism always promises progress, but it inevitably delivers scarcity, corruption, and decay.

    Eastern Europe under communism became a monument to bureaucratic inefficiency and waste. Throughout the Soviet bloc, life expectancy declined dramatically and infant mortality soared.

    Upon gaining independence, India trod a socialist path for 40 years. It led to a never-ending cycle of poverty and economic deterioration. Finally, Indian leaders began looking to Adam Smith rather than Karl Marx to guide their economy. Today, it boasts the largest middle class in the free world.

    Socialism has little regard for the middle class. It’s all about securing and maintaining power for the ruling class.

    Consider the People’s Republic of China. Mired in Maoist revolutionary rhetoric, it was one of the world’s poorest countries for its first three decades. Then, Deng Xiaoping introduced “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

    Forty years later, the People’s Republic of China boasts the world’s second largest economy, but its citizens remain deprived of basic human rights and civil liberties.

    The Communist Party does not allow a free press or free speech, competitive elections, an independent judiciary, free travel, or a representative parliament. Instead, President Xi Jinping has instituted a cult of personality that rivals the one-time worship of the so-called Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong.

    Nicaragua’s Marxist leader Daniel Ortega is another example of the lust for power and control that characterizes socialism. His underreported reign of terror has resulted in the deaths of more than 300 dissidents in just the last few years.

    All of these horrors are inevitable because socialism is built on a fatal conceit.

    Modern socialists believe that the world has become so complicated, so complex, so globalized, that regular citizens just can’t manage things. We, and only we (say the socialists), are equipped to run things.

    Hence, for example, it’s imperative to nationalize health care, since “the little people” can’t be trusted to make intelligent, informed decisions about their health care.

    Rather than empower the common man, socialists believe in empowering bureaucracy. In their minds, bureaucrats will always make decisions based on science and dispassionate reason—and make sure those decisions are implemented and enforced efficiently.

    It’s an elitist, intellectually arrogant belief, and it’s dangerous. As Ronald Reagan noted in a long-ago campaign speech for Barry Goldwater: “Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual [elite] in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

    In “The Road to Serfdom,” the Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek dismissed the utopian dream of “democratic socialism” as “unachievable.” Why? Because it is based on the fatal conceit that a galaxy of bureaucrats can collect, analyze, and direct the individual actions of 300 million Americans.

    “America will never be a socialist country!” So President Donald Trump declared last month in his rousing State of the Union speech. That should be the fervent prayer of all Americans who prize liberty and wish to live our lives our way.

    Originally published by Fox News

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  • America Doesn’t Need Automatic Voter Registration. Just Look to California.

    America Doesn’t Need Automatic Voter Registration. Just Look to California.

    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have held up California’s new, error-plagued automatic voter registration program as a model for the nation, and are now pushing for a nationalized version of the program in a bill called the For the People Act.

    The bill would require all states to implement automatic voter registration systems, which advocates claim would improve the accuracy of voter registration rolls, prevent ineligible people from registering, help election officials do less work to keep voter registration records accurate, and make it easier for eligible voters to register or update their registration records.

    Yet since California started its own automatic voter registration program last April, exactly the opposite has happened.

    California enacted its law back in 2015 and officially launched the voter registration system in April 2018. That three-year gap should have been plenty of time for state officials to develop a smooth rollout.

    Apparently, it was not.

    A ‘Software Error’

    In 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that “[n]o one who is eligible will be registered to vote without their knowledge,” and that noncitizens would not be able to register to vote under the new system. Secretary of State Alex Padilla claimed, “We’ve built the protocols and the firewalls to not register people that aren’t eligible.”

    Then, the program launched in April 2018.

    By May, a “software error” had affected 77,000 registration records for voters who were already registered, and for many it generated duplicate records. The new system also created confusion for many people at the DMV by posing voter registration questions to everyone automatically even those who weren’t ready to register or were already registered.

    The Los Angeles Times reported at the time that registration errors were being resolved “one at a time in each county’s elections office.” Kammi Foote, Inyo County registrar of voters, said her office did not “have the time to be researching this, but we have to.”

    So the new system that was supposed to make local election officials’ jobs easier made them harder during a busy pre-election season, and created problems for voters who were already registered to vote.

    Human Errors

    Throughout the summer, the DMV experienced long lines and mounting public pressure due to long wait times. Part of the reason for the longer lines was undoubtedly the new automatic voter registration program.

    In September, the DMV admitted to having incorrectly registered or entered errors into 23,000 voter registration records. These errors included incorrect party affiliation, language preference, and requests to vote by mail.

    Around 4,600 of the errors were people who were registered but who did not want to register to vote and did not complete the required voter registration affidavit. DMV officials blamed an “administrative processing error” caused by DMV workers who did not fully clear their screens before serving the next customer.

    What can those 23,000 people do to correct those errors? They will receive a postcard in the mail and have to correct the errors themselves.

    So much for making voter registration easier and for leaving alone those who don’t wish to be registered.

    Registering Noncitizens

    In October, the DMV admitted that an additional 1,500 people who should not have been registered to vote were registered—including noncitizens. The DMV blamed this on employees making data entry errors.

    This error only came to light when a Canadian citizen with a green card reported to the Los Angeles Times that he had received a voter registration card after a visit to the DMV to update his driver’s license.

    This error was discovered as mail ballots for the November election were starting to be sent. A barcode on the ballots would supposedly prevent any ineligible vote from being counted. But the secretary of state could not confirm whether any ineligible voters had already voted in the June primary. Election officials had to cancel the ineligible registrations.

    So not only did the new system make election officials’ jobs harder, but law abiding people with green cards were given voter registration cards. And if they voted, they would have been breaking the law, which would make any effort to become citizens more difficult.

    On the whole, more than 100,000 errors were found to have been created by the automatic voter registration system in the span of just a few months, creating headaches for everyone—for voters who were already registered, for ineligible persons who did not wish to register, and for local election officials.

    Potentially Altered Outcomes

    Headlines have touted the rise of independents in the current political climate. While there is certainly a trend toward not affiliating with a party, registrations through the automatic voter registration program have shown an “unusual spike” in people registering as “no party preference.”

    Political scientists say this is likely because people are not thinking about voter registration and political parties when they are at the DMV—they simply want to finish their transaction and leave.

    After visiting the DMV, one Santa Clara County voter received three mail ballots for the November election, even though election officials confirmed he only had one voter registration record.

    And now, the secretary of state is investigating whether the DMV’s delay in processing 589 voter registrations shortly before the November election resulted in valid votes being rejected or election outcomes being changed.

    A Bad, Unnecessary Idea

    As other states and the Congress consider whether to implement automatic voter registration, California’s experience presents a cautionary tale for what can happen when voter registration is shifted away from election officials, who are the experts in this area, to government bureaucrats, who have other responsibilities.

    While the California secretary of state has tried to shift blame for all these errors, his office is the one with responsibility for voter registration in California. It was his obligation to ensure, in the two-and-a-half years California officials spent planning the new system, that it would work correctly, protect the accuracy of California’s voter registration records, and not register ineligible persons.

    He even admitted he considered halting the automatic voter registration system he helped set up.

    Any state or national effort to consider automatic voter registration should consider the problems California is experiencing before trying to attempt what is an unneeded, very expensive “reform.”

    After all, it is easier than ever for eligible Americans to register to vote if they want to. They do not need to be forced to register by government bureaucrats.

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  • What We Can Learn From the Turbulence of 1969

    What We Can Learn From the Turbulence of 1969

    Fifty years ago, the United States was facing crises and unrest on multiple fronts. Some predicted that internal chaos and revolution would unravel the nation.

    The 1969 Vietnam War protests on the UC Berkeley campus turned so violent that National Guard helicopters indiscriminately sprayed tear gas on student demonstrators. Later that year, hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of major cities as part of the “Moratorium to the End the War in Vietnam.” In Washington, D.C., about a half-million protesters marched to the White House. READ MORE...

  • Democratic Congresswomen Want to Lower Federal Voting Age to 16

    Democratic Congresswomen Want to Lower Federal Voting Age to 16

    Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Tuesday evening introduced legislation to lower the federal voting age from 18 to 16.

    Pressley cited teen activists pushing for gun control as a reason for giving 16-year-olds the right to vote, which the congresswoman compared to having a driver’s license.

    “Young people are at the forefront of some of our most existential crises,” Pressley added. “The time has come. Our young people deserve to have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

    Two other Democratic congresswomen, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and New York Rep. Grace Meng, offered their support for Pressley’s legislation.

    “I’m committed to making sure we empower young people to build our future together. Giving them the power to vote will help build a more equitable and just future,” Meng said in a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday.

    Tonight I’m testifying before @RulesDemocrats to argue why it is important to lower the voting age to 16 with @RepPressley! Our young people can work and pay taxes. Let’s also make sure they can make their voices heard by voting in all elections. 1/2

    — Grace Meng (@RepGraceMeng) March 6, 2019

    I’m committed to making sure we empower young people to build our future together. Giving them the power to vote will help build a more equitable and just future. I urge my colleagues to include the Meng/Pressley amendment to lower the voting age to 16 in #HR1! #ForthePeople 2/2 https://t.co/o4tdqW3ON9 READ MORE...