• Linda Sarsour Attacks ‘White Feminist’ Nancy Pelosi

    Linda Sarsour Attacks ‘White Feminist’ Nancy Pelosi

    Women’s March Co-Chair Linda Sarsour on Monday night attacked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as a “typical white feminist upholding the patriarchy doing the dirty work of powerful white men,” in response to a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

    House Democrats announced the resolution on Monday after Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s latest anti-Israel comments, which critics—including other Democrats—have denounced as anti-Semitic.

    “This is why we wanted Congresswoman Barbara Lee to be the Speaker of the House and ‘progressives’ were like nah, Pelosi is a leader and omg you should see how she claps. What a clap!” Sarsour wrote in a lengthy Facebook post. READ MORE...

  • Ocasio-Cortez and Her Chief of Staff ‘Could Be Facing Jail Time’

    Ocasio-Cortez and Her Chief of Staff ‘Could Be Facing Jail Time’

    Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti obtained majority control of Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, according to archived copies of the group’s website, and the two appear to retain their control of the group, according to corporate filings obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

    If the Federal Election Commission finds that the New York Democrat’s campaign operated in affiliation with the PAC, which had raised more than $1.8 million before her June 2018 primary, it would open them up to “massive reporting violations, probably at least some illegal contribution violations exceeding the lawful limits,” former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith said. READ MORE...

  • House Democrats Eye Ditching Procedure That Gives Republicans a Voice

    House Democrats Eye Ditching Procedure That Gives Republicans a Voice

    House Republicans’ use of a century-old legislative procedure that helps the minority party alter or oppose measures advanced by the majority has exposed significant divisions among Democrats.

    Now some House Democrats want to do away with the procedure, called a motion to recommit. It allows a lawmaker in the minority to move that a bill be sent back to a committee for a particular reason.

    In a letter to Pelosi and three other Democrat leaders, 17 freshman Democrats ask them to “end abuse of the MTR,” referring to the motion to recommit. READ MORE...

  • Illegal Border Crossings Hit 10-Year High

    Illegal Border Crossings Hit 10-Year High

    The U.S. border with Mexico is at a “breaking point,” Trump administration officials say, with arrests of illegal immigrants surging to record levels.

    In February, border agents arrested more than 66,400 people for entering the country illegally, the highest number recorded since 2008.

    “This situation is not sustainable,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a press conference Monday. “The system is well beyond capacity and remains at the breaking point.”

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen outlined the latest numbers in an appearance Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee, now controlled by Democrats. READ MORE...

  • Google’s Internal Audit Bucks the Narrative on Gender Pay Gap

    Google’s Internal Audit Bucks the Narrative on Gender Pay Gap

    Whether it’s the result of political pressure or wanting to stay ahead of progressive trends, a number of larger companies are conducting internal audits to investigate whether they could be accused of having a so-called pay gap between men and women.

    Google conducts such an audit every year, and this year produced a surprising result. According to The New York Times, Google’s analysis found that more men than women were being underpaid.

    As a result, Google will award $9.7 million out of a compensation fund, the majority of it going to men. The fund was established to remedy compensation gaps revealed by the annual study. READ MORE...

  • 'People Are Starting to Realize Just How Dangerous the Socialist Agenda Really Is,' Says Former NY Lawmaker

    ‘People Are Starting to Realize Just How Dangerous the Socialist Agenda Really Is,’ Says Former NY Lawmaker

    Former Rep. Claudia Tenney, who represented New York’s 22nd Congressional District in the 115th Congress, spoke to The Daily Signal at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. Tenney narrowly lost re-election to Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., last November. An edited transcript of the interview is below.

    Rob Bluey: Looking back on your time in Congress with President Donald Trump in the White House, what stands out most to you?

    Claudia Tenney: History will prove the 115th Congress was one of the most successful Congresses in many decades. The president drove through a very strong agenda, and we delivered on nearly all of the Trump agenda except for a few items.

    In the House, sadly, we couldn’t get all those things through the Senate, but I think it was very successful when you look at tax reform. I was the only freshman member of the House Financial Services Committee to have two of my bills added to the Senate’s partial repeal of Dodd-Frank, protecting our community institutions, community banks, community credit unions, small institutions, and small businesses.

    A number of initiatives—whether it was on opioid funding, protecting our small business community, the tax cuts—there’s so many things that we did for the 22nd District. We secured record funding for the Air Force Research Lab [in Rome, New York], which is a really important institution, including a $14 million allocation for the perimeter fence that was mandated by the secretary of the Air Force 10 years ago.

    It was a very successful year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t outmatch my opponent’s super PACs. We did pretty well with fundraising, but they had a lot of money, a lot of resources, and they had the energy. The socialists were out in full force, even in our community.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people weren’t paying attention. I got more votes in 2016 than my opponent got in 2018. We had a harder time with turnout. And I think Republicans should be looking at 2020 as a dire wake-up call as to what they let happen in 2018 and how we lost the House and who is taking over.

    Bluey: You mentioned some of the accomplishments. What stands out in your mind during your service in Congress that you’re most proud of?

    Tenney: Tax reform in my district was really important. It helped our small business community. They produce almost 70 percent of the new jobs or more, especially in our area. I visited over 100 businesses, heard from many more, did numerous business roundtables, and the No. 1 thing they were praising was the tax reform.

    Our citizens have been victims of Albany’s tax-and-spend regime. That’s really chased record numbers of people and businesses out of New York, especially in New York’s 22nd District. Some of the most dramatic declines are in the Utica, Rome, and Binghamton area, and everything in between. We did provide funding to restore some of that, but standing up for our defense installations, like Rome Lab, was really important.

    Bluey: Last year was the first time a U.S. president visited the Utica area in decades.

    Tenney: It was the first time a sitting U.S. president has been to Utica, New York, since 1948, so it was 70 years. In 1952, my grandfather, Robert Roberts, brought candidate Dwight Eisenhower to Hamilton, New York. He was a candidate for president. Did you know that 75 percent of the students polled at the time supported Eisenhower at Colgate University. I would say that would probably be 5 percent today, but I thought it was just interesting. I found the article in our family newspaper, which my grandfather founded in 1946, and it was interesting to see the column and how things have changed.

    Bluey: What was it about your own life that inspired you to run for Congress and seek public office? Certainly it’s not always glamorous and a lot of hard work goes into it.

    Tenney: It’s not glamorous. A lot of people think it is. There’s a lot of myths out there about Congress and what people get. It’s a privilege and an honor to serve our country, also to represent the 22nd District in our capital and be able to fight for what we have been through.

    Our region in New York is where the Industrial Revolution started along the Erie Canal, and the first shovel was put in the ground in Rome, New York. As a small business owner, this is important to me.

    Paul Revere started his business here, Remington Arms was started here, IBM was founded in my district—all kinds of small businesses that rose to really worldwide acclaim and worldwide recognition. But the entrepreneurial spirit of our region needed to be revived, and I’m a small business owner—my business was started by my grandfather. First we had a newspaper and printing operation; now we specialize in pharmaceutical packaging.

    I could see it on a day-to-day basis most of my customers on the newspaper side were small business owners and they were getting hurt by crushing regulations, high taxes, and just really not having a chance to compete with the national chains or the big box stores and the big companies who were getting all these subsidies, and all these benefits from government.

    You’re seeing a lot of this playing out in New York today with billions of dollars being spent by Andrew Cuomo to lure these big companies, and it’s now one of the worst places to do business in the nation, one of the worst economies in the nation.

    From my experience in the New York State Assembly, I thought that as a minority member it would be an opportunity to jump onboard and go to Congress and try to help our small business community. I’ve always maintained a 100 rating from the National Federation of Independent Business, and I’ve been a member for almost 30 years. They’ve been tremendous advocates to help the small businesses, which is really the heart of America.

    This is how our country was made great—it’s because of entrepreneurship, small businesses, freedom, and the ability to really create a life for yourself and create a product and a service, and also help your community. And that’s what I saw as my opportunity in Congress.

    Bluey: You mention some of the economic challenges that New York faces, and of course with all-Democrat rule, they’re not the policies the conservatives like to see implemented. One of the things that has caught the nation’s attention is the abortion law that Gov. Cuomo signed. We’ve seen significant shifts in public opinion since that happened, particularly among people under the age of 45 and those of who are Democrats. There was a 17 point swing overall in people who are now saying they are now pro-life. What does this mean and do you think those shifts in public opinion are a result of the left’s overreach?

    Tenney: That’s part of it. In New York City, all these things that we’re seeing coming out of the famous [Rep.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the things that she stands for, they have been battered around in the New York State Assembly, they’ve been voted on numerous times.

    This abortion bill has been sitting around for a long time, and my opponent in 2018 was a co-sponsor and voted for it four times. It’s on the floor all the time. The Medicare for All bill has been on the menu many years in New York, but you don’t hear any coverage of that in my region or any other parts of the state.

    Socialism has been going on for a long time in New York and it’s very dangerous. Gov. Cuomo unwittingly brought all of this to the forefront and now people are starting to realize just how dangerous this socialist agenda really is.

    Socialism is a mild word for what this is. It’s a form of extremism and government control that will take over our lives. A lot of people didn’t realize it. And I think the governor’s cheering, and everybody making such a big deal about this late-term abortion bill really shocked the conscious of people and said, “Wait a minute, now that’s a step too far for me.”

    People have been moving more and more toward the pro-life stance because of science and because they’re starting to realize the moral nature of it and how important it is to be pro-life.

    Bluey: So what does the future hold for Claudia Tenney?

    Tenney: I have a lot of opportunities. I’ve served in public office for eight years. I’m obviously disappointed to lose because I feel like we just had an amazing two years, and I wish we could have made that more clear to the voters.

    I’m not ruling out the possibility of running again. I’m looking at every option. There are a lot of options out there. Whatever I do, I’m going to always advocate for my community and always advocate for our nation.

    It’s so important to preserve our constitutional republic, and make sure people understand that we need to preserve it. Whatever I can do to help in the cause, that’s what I’m going to continue to do.

    Bluey: Thank you for your service, and best wishes in the future.

    Tenney: Thank you.

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  • North Carolina Election Fraud Should Be a Wake-Up Call for the Left

    North Carolina Election Fraud Should Be a Wake-Up Call for the Left

    Widespread fraud by a political operative working for a Republican is forcing a redo of the 2018 midterm race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

    The news confirms just how vulnerable our elections are to voter fraud, and how profound the consequences can be.

    That should be the takeaway. Yet many on the left and in the media seem far more interested in spinning the situation for partisan gain than finding genuine solutions to the election insecurities that enabled this fraud in the first place.

    They focus on the fact that this is “Republican” voter fraud, and accuse conservatives of “deafening” and hypocritical silence. They even refuse to call it “voter fraud” to avoid embarrassment after years of denying that voter fraud is a problem.

    These claims debase the political process. They are cynical, politically motivated, and miss the point entirely. Election integrity is about much more than partisan politics—it is about preserving faith in the democratic process itself.

    That’s why Heritage Foundation analysts were quick to condemn this instance of “Republican” voter fraud and called for an investigation, writing: “It is incumbent on conservatives and Republicans to resist the urge to circle the wagons or reflexively support the outcome in North Carolina as it stands today merely because of who won.”

    While some on the left were busy arguing over whether to call it “election fraud” or “voter fraud,” we made no distinction: Securing elections isn’t a semantic game, it’s about taking voter fraud seriously, adopting election integrity reforms, and holding responsible parties accountable—regardless of their political persuasion.

    That holds true in North Carolina, where four days of dramatic testimony and the recent indictment of the operative in question, Leslie McCRae Dowless—made clear the 9th District race was tainted by deliberate, coordinated fraud.

    The hearing by the State Board of Elections probed the nature of Republican candidate Mark Harris’ relationship with Dowless, the man at the center of an apparent absentee ballot fraud ring that intercepted, altered, or destroyed large numbers of ballots, and who had been retained by the Harris campaign in 2018. Harris has maintained he perceived no red flags about Dowless or his alleged illegal activities.

    Yet Harris’ own son, John, warned him that Dowless had likely been involved in prior absentee ballot malfeasance. Indeed, the State Board of Elections had referred Dowless to federal prosecutors for alleged fraud in the 2016 election, but no action was taken at that time.

    Absentee ballot collection by anyone other than a family member is a felony under North Carolina law, and this case clearly demonstrates why.

    Harris should have heeded his son’s advice. In 2018, two counties targeted by Dowless—Bladen and Robeson—saw an abnormally high percentage of absentee ballots go unreturned. While 24 percent of ballots were not returned district-wide, that figure shot up to 40 percent in Bladen County and 64 percent in Robeson County.

    Dowless refused to testify at the hearing unless granted immunity, which the elections board refused to do. He was later indicted on three felony counts of obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and two counts of possession of absentee ballots.

    Dowless’ stepdaughter, Lisa Britt, did testify, however, indicating that she filled out blank or incomplete ballots for Republicans.

    Additional evidence collected by the board indicated that Dowless and his co-workers gathered unsealed and unwitnessed ballots directly from voters. Blank or incomplete ballots were then filled out in Dowless’ office, whereupon they were taken in small batches to the post office nearest to the voters’ addresses to avoid the typical warning signs that indicate a harvesting operation.

    Ultimately, the Board of Elections unanimously voted to hold new elections for the U.S. House and for two local offices in Bladen County.

    The Democratic governor of North Carolina thanked the board for overturning the election, saying that people need “confidence that their vote matters” and that “this action sends a strong message that election fraud must not be tolerated.” The state Democratic Party also stated that this attempt to “steal an election” undermines people’s faith in democracy.

    It’s almost as though Democrats have been reading The Heritage Foundation’s website.

    Unfortunately, if that is the case, they have missed one important point we make time and time again: Election integrity is a nonpartisan issue. The perpetrator’s politics should not dictate the level of our commitment to securing free and fair elections.

    As proof of that, Heritage’s voter fraud database counts among its 1,177 proven instances of fraud, cases from people on both sides of the political aisle, including many cases of Republican-orchestrated voter fraud.

    In 2000, for instance, a massive ballot-buying scheme was uncovered in Alabama involving the county sheriff and other municipal employees who rigged the Republican primary with bribes of cash, beer, and liquor.

    In 2006, two Republican petition gatherers were sentenced to three years’ probation after it was discovered that more than 100 people who thought they were signing petitions to cure breast cancer and punish child molesters were instead registering as Republicans in an elaborate vote flipping scheme.

    And in 2013 and 2016, Toni Hill Newland of Colorado voted in her deceased father’s name both in the general election and again in the Republican primary.

    Heritage will now add the 2018 9th District midterm as an example of an election that had to be redone because of fraud. Any eventual criminal convictions will be added as well.

    These cases make one thing clear: Some people on both sides of the aisle are plainly willing to exploit electoral vulnerabilities, or turn a blind eye to nefarious tactics, in order to win. In fact, Dowless himself has consulted for both Republicans and Democrats.

    Whenever someone exploits electoral vulnerabilities, the integrity of the electoral process is compromised, and voters’ faith in the ballot box is undermined.

    That’s why it is crucial for states to adopt election integrity measures, and in particular to address the vulnerabilities and other problems associated with absentee and mail-in voting.

    Amazingly, the tactic which Dowless and his cronies used to commit their alleged crimes—known as ballot harvesting, or the practice of taking possession of someone else’s ballot—was just made legal in California.

    It is difficult to take liberal activists seriously when the very activities they are outraged by on the one hand are being legalized and touted by liberal politicians on the other.

    This incident also shows why prosecutors must take voter fraud allegations seriously, and investigate and prosecute them where warranted. Dowless’ activities were flagged to prosecutors in 2016, yet no action was apparently taken. Had it been, this entire incident may have been avoided.

    Voter fraud requires effective bipartisan solutions, but first, we must candidly acknowledge that the problem exists—and not only when it is politically expedient to do so.

    The Heritage Foundation has always and will continue to report on cases of voter fraud regardless of the political ideology of those who perpetrate it. One hopes that groups on the left will do the same.

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  • Colorado Drops Second Case Against Christian Baker

    Colorado Drops Second Case Against Christian Baker

    Colorado baker Jack Phillips is 2-0 now after state officials dropped their second attempt to coerce him into baking products that violate his beliefs.

    Phillips, in turn, dropped a federal lawsuit.

    “I have and will always serve everyone who comes into my shop; I simply can’t celebrate events or express messages that conflict with my religious beliefs,” Phillips said in a statement Tuesday.

    “Today is a win for freedom,” he added. “I’m very grateful and looking forward to serving my customers as I always have: with love and respect.”

    On the same day Phillips won a 7-2 decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, that he did not have to bake and design a cake for a same-sex wedding, a lawyer asked Masterpiece Cakeshop to bake a gender transition cake that was pink on the inside and blue on the outside.

    The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which had previously targeted Phillips for fines regarding the same-sex wedding cake, again found probable cause that state law required him to bake and design the gender-transition cake.

    Phillips, in turn, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

    “Colorado was relentless in seeking to crush me and my shop for living consistently with my deeply held religious beliefs,” Phillips said.

    On Tuesday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, announced the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was dropping its action and Phillips would drop his federal lawsuit.

    “After careful consideration of the facts, both sides agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases,” Weiser said in a statement. “The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them. Equal justice for all will continue to be a core value that we will uphold as we enforce our state’s and nation’s civil rights laws.”

    The members of the state’s commission could have been held “personally liable” for harassment if the matter continued, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

    “It’s probably because they may have finally gotten scared that they were going to get hit with sanctions for, in essence, directly thumbing their nose at the Supreme Court and the court’s decision in this issue,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “It could make them personally liable for damages if they abuse their positions to try to harass an individual.”

    In the 7-2 majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: “The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated [Phillips’] objection,”

    Colorado Civil Rights Commissioner Diann Rice compared Phillips to those who supported slavery and the Holocaust. She said in 2014:

    I would also like to reiterate what we said in … the last meeting [concerning Jack Phillips]. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust … I mean, we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination.

    Phillips, the son of a World War II veteran, shared with The Daily Signal in 2017 how he felt about Rice’s comparison:

    After the high court ruling, Jessica Pocock, a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, later called Phillips a “hater.” Commission members Rita Lewis and Carol Fabrizio agreed with the Rice comparison in 2018, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.

    This concludes the state’s six-and-half years of hostility toward Phillips’ Christian beliefs, said Kristen Waggoner, the senior vice president of U.S. legal division for Alliance Defending Freedom, who argued his case before the high court.

    “This is the second time the state has launched a failed effort to prosecute him,” Waggoner said in a statement. “While it finally appears to be getting the message that its anti-religious hostility has no place in our country, the state’s decision to target Jack has cost him more than six-and-a-half years of his life, forcing him to spend that time tied up in legal proceedings.”

    The seven-member Civil Rights Commission is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. The commission’s duties include “conduct[ing] hearings regarding illegal discriminatory practices” and “advis[ing] the governor and general assembly regarding policies and legislation that address illegal discrimination.”

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  • Why the Peace Cross Case Represents the Best of America

    Why the Peace Cross Case Represents the Best of America

    One of the most profound differences between the American and French views of religious freedom is our treatment of religious symbols in the public square.

    America’s Founders envisioned a public square that is neither secular nor sacred. In contrast, France has enacted policies that advance radical secularism.

    French law has erased religious symbols from public view under a policy of secularism known as laïcité. In 2004, the French government banned students from wearing religious symbols such as yarmulkes, crosses, and hijabs (Muslim headscarves) in classrooms.

    Last year, the French government relocated a statue of Pope John Paul II, which included a cross, from public to private land after a humanist organization sued.

    The goal of laïcité was to foster social harmony between different groups in a multicultural, multifaith society. But in practice, the policy failed. Empowering the government to investigate and suppress religious expression has only exacerbated religious division.

    Now the U.S. Supreme Court is faced with the same issue–whether to allow a cross-shaped memorial to World War I soldiers to survive on property that is maintained by an agency created by the state of Maryland.

    In 1923, The American Legion worked with Gold Star mothers to erect the Peace Cross memorial with private funds on private property in Bladensburg, Maryland. The memorial bears the American Legion’s symbol, a plaque with the names of 49 local soldiers who gave their lives, and the words “Valor, Endurance, Courage, Devotion.”

    Over the years, as the town of Bladensburg developed, the Peace Cross ended up in the middle of a traffic circle in Veterans Memorial Park alongside other commemorative symbols.

    Then, the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit in 2014 on behalf of three plaintiffs who regularly drove by the Peace Cross and said they were psychologically offended by its presence. A lower court granted “standing” to the humanists, despite Supreme Court precedent that rejected the “offended observer” test.

    During oral argument Feb. 27 at the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also highlighted the potential for the Peace Cross to “offend” those of other faiths. She pointed out that Americans are different now than we were during World War I, noting that at least 30 percent of Americans are now non-Christians.

    The American Humanist Association’s lawyer described the Peace Cross as “too loud” and “too offensive,” stating that when Jews, Muslims, and humanists saw the war memorial, they “processed” it as a message that they are inferior and that their military service is not valued.

    But when Chief Justice John Roberts reminded the lawyer that one of the fundraisers for the Peace Cross was Jewish, she dismissed his view as that of only one person.

    Justices Stephen Breyer and Neil Gorsuch both reminded the courtroom of America’s legacy of religious pluralism.

    “All our liberties come from freedom of religion,” Breyer said. “You have your religion. I have mine. We are not going to kill each other.”

    Gorsuch noted that in America other people’s views must be tolerated, and
    people must learn to deal with offense. He warned that involving the government in censoring offensive speech would be to “dictate taste.”

    Roberts pointed out the existence of diverse religious symbols on public property throughout the country, describing Native American totem poles with spiritual meaning on public lands.

    In New York City, public schools display both the Jewish menorah and the Muslim crescent. And of public schools’ observance of Muslim religious holidays, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “a commonsense change and one that recognizes our growing Muslim community and honors its contributions to our city.”

    Other cases invoking the Constitution’s Establishment Clause have involved Jewish eruvs on public utility poles. An eruv demarcates an area where an adherent of Judaism may walk on the Sabbath to get to synagogue and is allowed to carry certain objects.

    Additionally, public servants have won the right to wear religious dress as they carry out their duties. Recently, the House of Representatives changed its rules on head coverings to accommodate Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who wears a hijab.  Similarly, Sikh soldiers have won the right to wear a turban.

    As the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty noted, when the government allows offense to limit the public presence of religious symbols, religious minorities are the most likely to suffer. The public’s unfamiliarity with the symbols of religious minorities are more likely to feed “distrust, suspicion, and even hostility” toward them.

    The totem pole, the eruv, the crescent moon: Each of these symbols could cause offense to someone. According to the historic American understanding of freedom, however, the government doesn’t take anything away from anyone by allowing a symbol (secular or religious) merely to exist in the public square.

    But when the government censors symbols just because they are religious, pluralism necessarily suffers.

    The Founders recognized that we are not a country of irreligious people. Nor are we a people who follow one religion. We are a people who follow many religions.

    And although the Establishment Clause prevents the government from elevating one religion above all others through coercion or exclusion, that’s not what the Peace Cross in Bladensburg does.

    Our history, our pluralistic identity, and the future of both majority and minority faiths are at stake in this case. America’s unique path has enabled peaceful pluralism to flourish as our country has become more religiously diverse.

    The Supreme Court should honor our constitutional tradition by allowing the public square to be full of symbols that reflect our diversity.

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  • Trump’s Cuba Sanctions Are a Solid Step in Cracking Down on Maduro Regime’s Enablers

    Trump’s Cuba Sanctions Are a Solid Step in Cracking Down on Maduro Regime’s Enablers

    The Trump administration on Monday took the historic step of implementing Cuba sanctions.

    Specifically, the administration is temporarily permitting U.S. citizens whose property was stolen by the Castro regime to pursue legal action.

    From March 19 to April 17, Americans will be able to sue 205 Cuban companies that are owned and/or operated by the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.

    Penalizing the Cuban regime serves two purposes right now. It addresses the longstanding issue of uncompensated claims, and it also punishes the regime for the destabilizing role it has long played in Venezuela.

    The Cuba sanctions were originally codified in 1996 under the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, but since its enactment, U.S. administrations have suspended enforcement of the sanctions component of the law, known as Title III.

    Full enforcement of the law would permit Americans whose property was seized without compensation by the Castro regime to bring legal action against any foreign company operating inside of Cuba.

    Monday’s actions constitute a partial enforcement, as legal action can only be brought against Cuban regime companies on the U.S.’ Cuba Restricted List.

    According to the State Department, every one of these companies is “under the control of, or acting for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit such services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.”

    Valued at nearly $8 billion, Cuba’s illegal confiscation of American property and assets is considered to be the “largest uncompensated taking of American property by a foreign government in history.”

    The total value of assets stolen by the regime is even higher, as those figures don’t include American citizens who were Cuban nationals at the time their property was taken.

    The timing of Monday’s announcement should send a strong message to the regimes in Cuba and Venezuela, and to the international community working to resolve Venezuela’s crisis.

    Havana has played a key role in Venezuela’s collapse. In exchange for oil and other resources, Cuba has provided Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Caracas with a world-class police state.

    Throughout Venezuela, Cuba has protected Maduro with a network of intelligence officers, political advisers, and security officials. The Cubans have shared their “best practices,” which have enabled their own regime’s longevity.

    Some falsely believe that the slow trickle of defections from the Venezuelan military indicates continuing strong support for Maduro. The more probable explanation is rooted in Cuba’s extensive counterintelligence system within Venezuela.

    Defections and betrayals come at a high cost, not only to the military officials, but to the families left behind. Venezuela currently has the most political prisoners of any country in the Western Hemisphere—even more than Cuba itself.

    Despite the danger in doing so, nearly 600 soldiers and 11 diplomats have defected. They now publicly recognize the legitimacy of interim President Juan Guaido.

    Getting Maduro to step aside requires making it more costly for Cuba to continue enabling his dictatorship.

    The recent U.S. actions demonstrate U.S. policy is correct in linking both issues. It’s now time for international partners and allies to ratchet up the pressure as well.

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