10 Thoughts on the President and the ‘S—hole Countries’

Here are 10 thoughts on the president’s alleged use of the word “s—hole” in describing Haiti, a Central American country, and African countries:

1. There are few filters between President Donald Trump’s mind and mouth. That is his appeal and his weakness. It is very common that a person’s strengths are also weaknesses. I wish Trump’s tweets and comments were as forthright—as un-P.C.—as they are now but stated in a sophisticated way. I also wish that cheesecake were not fattening. But just as cheesecake comes with sugar, Trump comes with unsophisticated rhetoric. People are packages, not a la carte menus.

2. As a rule, a president of the United States should not label countries, let alone continents, “s—holes.” I don’t know what word the president actually used, but had he used the word “dysfunctional” instead of “s—hole,” that actually might have been a service to the people of many of these countries. I have been to 20 African countries. Corruption is Africa’s greatest single problem. That’s why those who truly care about Africans, many of whom are terrific people, need to honestly describe the moral state of many or most African countries.

What benefit is it to honest, hardworking Africans or Latin Americans or others to deny the endemic corruption of these societies? As Guatemalan columnist Claudia Nunez wrote on Trump in the Guatemalan newspaper Siglio 21:

The epithets he uses to describe certain groups are unfortunate and exemplify the decadence of the current political scene. But he has also said things that are true, for example, that it is we citizens of migration countries who have accommodated ourselves to the need to export people, as we have calmly allowed excessive levels of corruption to grow for decades.

3. Though many wonderful immigrants come from the world’s worst places, there is some connection between the moral state of an immigrant’s country and the immigrant’s contribution to America. According to data from the Center for Immigration Studies, 73 percent of households headed by Central American and Mexican immigrants use one or more welfare programs, as do 51 percent of Caribbean immigrants and 48 percent of African immigrants. Contrast that with 32 percent of East Asians and 26 percent of Europeans.

4. The press’s constant description of Trump as a racist, a white supremacist, a fascist, and an anti-Semite has been a big lie. It is meant to hurt the president, but it mostly damages the country and the media. To cite the most often provided “evidence” for the president’s racism, the president never said or implied that the neo-Nazis at the infamous Charlottesville, Virginia, demonstrations were “fine people.” The “fine people” he referred to were the pro- and anti-statue removal demonstrators.

5. Why are the left’s repeated descriptions of America as “systemically racist” not the moral equivalent of the word “s—hole”? The left’s descriptions of America and its white majority are at least as offensive, less true, and not made in private or semi-private conversations but in the open (in most college classes, for example).

6. The poor choice of language notwithstanding, can any countries be legitimately described as “s—holes”? As Ben Shapiro, a never-Trumper, wrote, “The argument that Trump is wrong to call some countries s—holes comes down to nicety, not truth—which is why Rich Lowry of National Review took Joan Walsh of CNN to the woodshed over whether she’d rather live in Haiti or Norway.” Walsh refused to respond, giving the specious response that she hasn’t been to either country.

7. That the president allows himself to speak openly to Democrats—whose overriding ambition is to undo his election—is testament to his self-confidence, if not his hubris. And his naiveté.

8. What people say in private is neither my business nor my concern. That’s why I wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal in the 1990s defending Hillary Clinton against charges of anti-Semitism for allegedly directing expletive-filled anti-Jewish comments in private against a Jewish campaign official she felt was responsible for Bill Clinton’s lost congressional race. Former President Harry Truman’s private use of the word “kike” was also mentioned.

In the Age of Non-Wisdom in which we live, many well-educated people (and, therefore, often the least wise among us) think private speech reveals all you need to know about someone. But in truth, private speech may reveal nothing about people. If everything you or I said in private were revealed to the world, we could all be made to look awful.

9. The Washington Post reports that the president also said he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries. That would seem to invalidate the racism charge. Had he just met with the prime minister of Singapore, as he had with the prime minister of Norway, he may well have said we need more immigrants from Singapore. As the never-Trump editors of National Review editorialized, “What he was almost certainly trying to get at, in his typically confused way, is that we’d be better off with immigrants with higher skills.”

10. The left has lost all credibility in using the term “racist.” The University of California lists as an example of a “microaggression” the statement “There is only one race, the human race.” The left labels anyone who opposes race-based quotas, or all-black college dorms, or the Black Lives Matter movement “racist.” And it labeled Trump’s Warsaw-speech call to preserve Western civilization a call to preserve white supremacy. On race the left has cried wolf so often that if real wolves ever show up, few will believe it.

The post 10 Thoughts on the President and the ‘S—hole Countries’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

There Are 633 Key Administration Positions. Trump Hasn’t Appointed Nominees for 252 of Them.

As of Jan. 12, Trump hasn’t nominated people to fill key positions at the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, State Department, and other bureaucracies, some of which he had stressed a desire to make major changes in. In many cases, that means career government employees from the Obama administration are filling the mid-level positions on an interim basis.

Trump has no nominee for 252 of the 633 key positions requiring Senate confirmation, according to the Partnership for Public Service, which tracks presidential appointments. That’s well behind every predecessor going back to at least President George H.W. Bush, each of whom had the bulk of nominees confirmed by this point in their administration, according to the organization.

The Senate, where the Democratic minority has held up many nominees, has confirmed 241 Trump nominees, while another 136 nominations are pending.

“President Trump has yet to fill key political policy and management jobs across the government, ranging from the IRS, to the Census Bureau and the Drug Enforcement Administration, to important diplomatic positions such as the ambassador to South Korea,” Max Stier, CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, told The Daily Signal in a statement.

“This administration is about to enter the second quarter of the game, and many crucial players are either in the locker room or waiting to be recruited,” Stier continued. “The absence of these political appointees certainly could handicap the president’s ability to provide effective services to the American people.”

In December, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question about the lack of appointments.

Look, we’ve been focused on filling positions as quickly as possible. But at the same time, the president has said before he doesn’t think that every single position in the government needs to be filled. He’s going to cut back on some of those positions. We’ve been focused on some of the top priority places and we’re going to continue filling out individuals. But, we’ve also seen a massive slowdown and obstruction by the Democrats. Hopefully, they’ll continue to push our people through, particularly in individuals that were held up, whether it’s in the judiciary or something that falls under the national defense profile.

Trump nominated 559 overall positions, with 301 confirmations. As of Jan. 12, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated 658 and had 452 confirmations. President George W. Bush had 493 confirmations out of 741 nominees as of Jan. 12, 2002. President Bill Clinton had 471 confirmations out of 633 nominees as of Jan. 12, 1994. President George H.W. Bush had 405 confirmations out of 478 nominations.

The Partnership for Public Service’s tracker counts of Trump appointees are a subset of a broader set related to Trump’s historic counts. The numbers vary since some presidents had more open positions, while some had more holdovers. The tracker includes announcements, but historical and comparative numbers only include positions submitted to the Senate. Both measures exclude judiciary or holdover positions.

The only way to control the federal bureaucracy filled with career government employees is to name political appointees to set policy, said Robert Moffitt, senior fellow of domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.

“It’s a complete disaster,” Moffitt told The Daily Signal. “If you are going to drain the swamp, you need the people to do it. You either control the federal bureaucracy or the federal bureaucracy controls you.”

Looking at the positions with no nominee, Moffit noted how many directly affect the president’s policy agenda. Trump hasn’t appointed a new IRS commissioner since the controversial John Koskinen’s term expired last November. Further, Trump could appoint nine spots to the IRS Oversight Board, which is an internal watchdog of the tax collection agency, but the posts are still vacant.

Trump has not named an assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, which could tie in with his jobs agenda, Moffit noted. Meanwhile, as Trump talks about addressing the opioid crisis, there is no nominee for either the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration or a director of National Drug Control Policy.

A president risks giving up some of his leadership by not filling political positions, said Martha Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project.

“Trump has as one of his goals from the campaign the reduction of the size of government, so, for him, cutting back on the number of people there are in the campaign is a positive, no matter what those positions are,” Kumar told The Daily Signal.

“You need people in positions at the top of departments and agencies because career people are going to follow the lead of the politicals,” Kumar said. “That’s why you want to have the political positions filled and why you want to have them filled early so that you can make the most use you have in office of that four years. You don’t want to wait and start leading a department or agency two years in.”

The post There Are 633 Key Administration Positions. Trump Hasn’t Appointed Nominees for 252 of Them. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Washington Post: We Didn’t Attack The Daily Caller, and Don’t Know Why Google Is

Google’s relatively new “fact check” feature proves there’s something fundamentally wrong with at least some of its highly influential algorithms, after an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation found that the widget is both blatantly biased and tremendously faulty.

The most powerful search engine in the world and a massive arbiter of online information, Google has been displaying fact checks for conservative publications in its results, while no prominent liberal site receives the same treatment. But even setting aside the exhibition of partisanship, there are other critical and profound problems with the feature.

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One of the “fact checks” on The Daily Caller, which Google alleges was conducted by The Washington Post, was flagrantly misattributed and wrong. The purported “claim” was that in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, “The people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters … ”

Screenshot from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Daily Caller’s article makes no such claim. The quoted language doesn’t even appear in the piece. Worse yet, there was no language attempting to portray that the investigation is entirely comprised of Clinton donors. The story simply contained the nuts and bolts: Mueller hired a Clinton donor to help with the election probe.

But after further inquiry, the Post says while the fact check did in fact occur, it never once referenced The Daily Caller in any way, raising the question: Why was this fact check attributed to The Daily Caller and how did it end up on the sidebar, which is the first Google-offered resource for information of the publication?

A digital receipt of The Washington Post’s submission to Google’s fact-checking feature shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We went back and double-checked the story and the information submitted to Google, and The Daily Caller was not mentioned at all, even in links,” Kristine Coratti, vice president of communications at the Post, said. “We clearly labeled the source, so I cannot speak to how The Daily Caller ended up being erroneously listed as the source of the fact-checked quote in this case.”

Google has since removed that single “fact check” from The Daily Caller’s “Reviewed Claims” section, while several other erroneous ones remain and are supposedly being reassessed. The Post’s article is still accessible on Google’s search platform, but only now is the claim ascribed to its rightful owner.

Screenshot from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Coratti said they are making their own inquiries into the matter because Google’s sloppily concocted project apparently made the Post’s fact-checking column look unduly flawed, at least in this instance.

Other publications with conservative audiences were also unfairly targeted. The Federalist, for example, says it has also been essentially victimized by the feature, calling it “partisan garbage.”

“The revelation that Google is peddling demonstrably fake news, disguised as so-called ‘fact-checking,’ unfortunately comes as no surprise,” Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, said. “In the case of The Federalist, Google declared as ‘incorrect’ the indisputably accurate claim that global temperatures have not risen as quickly as predicted by nearly all climate models.”

He continued:

And it did so by citing as debunked a claim never made by The Federalist and using a fact check that never even mentioned The Federalist. Instead, the so-called ‘fact-checker’ used by Google to smear The Federalist specifically addressed a separate claim made by a CNN contributor nearly three years after The Federalist’s article at issue was published. Google’s new algorithmic smear operation targeted at conservative publications is a pathetic disgrace and everyone associated with it should be ashamed.

The Daily Wire, the flagship news and opinion website of conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro, was also given a “Reviewed Claims” section.

“This is absurd, insulting, and biased beyond belief,” Shapiro said. “To treat Vox.com as an utterly unimpeachable source while targeting conservative equivalents using left-wing fact-checking organizations like Snopes and FactCheck.org demonstrates a shocking level of political corruption.”

Outlets and organizations spared the scrutiny along with Vox include: Slate, ThinkProgress, The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Mother Jones, Vice, and Salon—all undoubtedly on the other end of the political spectrum.

Occupy Democrats was the only popular blog to be subjected to the fact-check program, but that is less of a bonafide news source and more a content provider with often misleading or incorrect messaging.

“This feature was introduced to help people quickly learn more about publications. Google itself does not fact check stories. Third parties do,” a top Google spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

But if what The Washington Post is saying is true, then someone (or perhaps something) at some point in the process may have maliciously included The Daily Caller in a fact check that had nothing to do with the publication. It’s either that, or Google’s involved algorithms are very defective and biased—something that seems very possible. After all, as Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky wrote in a recent column, “If Google Is Biased, So Are Its Algorithms.”

“We have seen a few instances where our system for associating claims with articles has some issues that will be addressed,” the Google spokeswoman continued. “Fact checks are not designed to show up more often for sites based on any political leanings.”

When asked what the criteria was for originally accepting fact-checkers when the program was first being assembled and established, Google was unable to answer. It did say that other organizations are able to join, and cited how the conservative Weekly Standard is one of the newest members of the International Fact-Checking Network, a unit of the Poynter Institute.

The Weekly Standard’s fact check “went through a vetting process” in order to be a verified signatory of the network, something that Google says it’s not a part of.

Google’s choice of the International Fact-Checking Network as its go-to source for fact-checking shows that it delegates enormous amounts of power, but wants little to none of the responsibility.

Perhaps most importantly, Google’s design of its algorithms shows how imperfect and reckless such a large company could be, even as it explores or invests in highly ambitious and futuristic projects.

Google refused to discuss the details behind the relevant algorithms, citing company policy.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

The post Washington Post: We Didn’t Attack The Daily Caller, and Don’t Know Why Google Is appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Twitter Says Employees Were Openly Speaking of Censorship ‘in a Personal Capacity,’ Not for Company

Twitter says that individuals shown in an undercover video casually talking about how they plan on censoring certain viewpoints on the social media platform were speaking only “in a personal capacity.”

They “do not represent or speak for Twitter,” a company spokeswoman said.

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The video in question, secretly recorded by Project Veritas, shows eight current or former Twitter employees explaining how they will employ algorithms and “shadow banning,” the act of blocking certain unsuspecting users from accessing an online forum, according to the conservative activist organization. The ultimate goal, according to the people with alleged inside information on Twitter, is to squash political beliefs that aren’t acceptable to employees.

“One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control,” said Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter software engineer. “The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting and no one sees their content. So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.”

Twitter as a company denies the veracity of such statements, saying it “does not shadow ban accounts,” but does “take actions to downrank accounts that are abusive, and mark them accordingly so people can still to click through (sic) and see these information if they so choose.”

Providing further detail, the spokeswoman says this means that if such content is marked as abusive, or flagged as inappropriate otherwise, it makes it “less visible on Twitter, in search results, replies, and on timelines.”

“Limiting tweet visibility depends on a number of signals about the nature of the interaction and the quality of the content,” she continued.

What these signals specifically are, however, is not perfectly clear. The overall process, while ostensibly automated, seems liable to subjectivity and the personal whims of a Twitter employee or engineer, as algorithms are designed by humans and thus susceptible to any biases of the creator.

“Yeah, you look for Trump, or America, and you have like 5,000 keywords to describe a redneck,” Pranay Singh, Twitter’s direct messaging engineer, explained on camera. “Then you look and parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then you look for stuff that matches that stuff,” he continued while describing how shadow ban algorithms could be engineered to specifically target right-leaning content.

“I would say majority of it are for Republicans,” he said.

The video has stoked already-impassioned concerns from those not on the left side of the political spectrum, many of whom have long said that tech companies like Twitter, Google, Facebook, and others in Silicon Valley are partisan and deceptive.

“We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative,” said the Twitter spokeswoman. “Twitter is committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

The post Twitter Says Employees Were Openly Speaking of Censorship ‘in a Personal Capacity,’ Not for Company appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Podcast: What the 25th Amendment Is Actually For (Hint: It’s Not For Ditching Presidents Who Tweet a Lot)

Jarrett Stepman joins us on today’s podcast to talk about the history and original purpose of the 25th amendment, and the long history in the United States of fake news — and what the Founders thought about it. Plus: we talk about how a new sugar tax in Seattle has people fuming at Costco and  a beautiful moment where hundreds of men showed up to be “dads” for kids who needed one.

The post Podcast: What the 25th Amendment Is Actually For (Hint: It’s Not For Ditching Presidents Who Tweet a Lot) appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Here’s the History of the 25th Amendment

After failing to gather any real momentum to impeach President Donald Trump, some Democrats are now floating the idea of using the 25th Amendment to oust him.

This little-known constitutional amendment serves as an escape-hatch measure for removing the president if he is incapacitated. It is quite different from impeachment.

Impeachment is the method that the Founders set up to prosecute cases of presidential criminality. It requires members of Congress to bring specific charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

But absent these charges, some of Trump’s detractors are now embracing other methods to overthrow him.

>>> The Right Side of History: Here’s What You Need to Know About the Impeachment Debate

Anti-Trump commentators and the few Democrats now suggesting use of the 25th Amendment have suggested that the president is mentally unstable.

“The judgment [about the president’s mental state] is not mine to make,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said to reporters after proposing a commission to examine Trump’s mental health, according to Politico.

“The judgment constitutionally is to be made by the vice president and the Cabinet, or the vice president and a new body. We have an institutional responsibility to set that body up.”

Pulling out the 25th Amendment is the logical next step for those who have been looking for a way to depose Trump since he entered office, though it’s a serious departure from the intent of those who passed the amendment.

Democrats have trotted out psychologists on Capitol Hill to prove that Trump is unstable and should be removed from office.

This alone seriously flirts with violating the “Goldwater Rule,” which prevents psychologists from offering a “professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”

The American Psychiatric Association created this rule after Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater successfully sued a magazine that had published a survey of psychologists deeming him unfit for office.

The survey was misleading, clearly partisan, and damaged the reputation of psychologists as a profession. Moreover, the idea of removing a president based on the whims of an elite group of supposedly neutral neutral psychologists is an affront to democracy.

This is not to say the 25th Amendment doesn’t serve a valuable purpose. If a president suffers a disability that would make him unable to perform his duties, this tool is an emergency stopgap to solve the problem.

It was never conceived of as a partisan tool to depose a hated president.

‘We Stumbled Along’

Perhaps been the most obvious case where the 25th Amendment was needed occurred a generation before it was actually passed.

On Sept. 25, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a collapse and a massive stroke while campaigning in Colorado for the U.S. to enter the League of Nations.

The League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations, had been Wilson’s pet project, and despite warnings from doctors he had pushed himself to the limit on its behalf.

After the stroke, Wilson went blind in one eye, was paralyzed on the left side, and lay unconscious. While he eventually awoke from the coma, he was never the same. For the most part, he was a barely-functioning invalid.

Incredibly, Wilson’s wife practically ran the White House for the two remaining years of his term, only leaving the most serious acts of policy and politics to her husband, which by that point he was barely able to perform.

“This is the worst instance of presidential disability we’ve ever had,” said historian John Milton Cooper. “We stumbled along [for eighteen months] … without a fully functioning president.”

Few around the country even knew that the West Wing was in such bad shape, as both the press corps and the White House carefully kept the truth of the president’s condition from coming out.

Wilson even considered running for what would then be an unprecedented third term, but Democratic Party leaders carefully selected a compromise candidate who would run instead.

While Wilson’s Cabinet and the Washington political establishment were wary about forcing the president out of office, many fretted about what could be done if a president couldn’t perform his duties in an emergency.

The debate went more or less dormant for half a century until the assassination of a president forced the nation to seriously reconsider legal ways of replacing—either temporarily or permanently—a president for health-related reasons.

A Re-Evaluation

While health scares for President Dwight Eisenhower led to some informal agreements about transmitting the duties of the president in a time of crisis, nothing was enacted until the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The line of succession had been laid out by the Presidential Succession Act, but some began a push to clearly define these ambiguous rules in the Constitution while also addressing what could be done if the president was alive but experiencing a sudden health crisis.

The idea of being without a functioning president, particularly in the rapid-response world of instant communication and the Cold War, concerned Americans in a way that it hadn’t in earlier times.

“In an age of nuclear weaponry—and now, global terrorism—America can ill afford to be leaderless for long, or to have unclear rules about who is in charge,” wrote constitutional scholars Akhil Reed Amar and Vikram David Amar.

“The 25th Amendment, proposed and ratified after JFK’s assassination, fills many of the gaps left open by the Founders.

>>> Read the Heritage Guide to the Constitution’s Explanation of the 25th Amendment

The 25th Amendment, enacted in 1967, set up a clear line of succession in case the president or vice president died, and included the section that some anti-Trumpers are now looking to: the method for removing, or putting a pause on, the official powers of a debilitated president.

The crucial Section 4 states:

Whenever the vice president and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president.

Congress then has 21 days to determine if the president is able to continue performing his duties and can remove him from office with a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Since its passage, the 25th Amendment has been used several times, but never for the purpose of removing the president from office.

Some have alleged that officials wanted to remove President Ronald Reagan from office using the 25th Amendment after his attempted assassination—but those allegations have been debunked.

The amendment has only been used to temporarily transfer power from presidents to vice presidents during medical operations that would leave them incapable of responding to an urgent crisis.

Reagan himself did invoke Section 3 of the amendment on himself during a routine medical procedure in 1985, in which Vice President George H.W. Bush assumed the powers of the presidency for several hours.

And President George W. Bush also used the law to transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during a couple of operations, again for only a few hours.

Dangerous Precedent

While some are now itching to use Section 4 of the 25th Amendment on Trump, many have urged caution or outright blasted the move as nothing but naked partisanship.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway suggested that this overheated effort to boot the president with the 25th Amendment is akin to a “coup.”

“Talk of mental health and a 25th Amendment removal, ‘by force if necessary,’ is talk of a coup,” Hemingway wrote. “Responsible parties should consider how this is perceived by the part of the electorate they rarely speak to and cease.

Harvard Law School professor emeritus and lifelong Democrat, Alan Dershowitz, also denounced the movement as “dangerous” and a “fool’s errand.”

“Now that they couldn’t criminalize political differences, they’re trying to psychiatrize political differences,” Dershowitz said on Fox News.

Right now, this push is little more than creative fanfiction, since impeachment would require a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove the president, while the 25th Amendment would require a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Yet this won’t stop left-wing activists from trying to wield this amendment as a weapon against the Trump presidency.

At least they’re arguing from the Constitution. If only they cared for its intent.

The post Here’s the History of the 25th Amendment appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Unions Gave More Than $1.1 Billion to Democrats, Liberal Groups

From 2010 to 2016 alone, unions sent more than $1.1 billion in member dues to anti-Republican advocacy groups, a nonprofit union transparency organization says.

“For decades, union officials have betrayed working Americans by spending their dues dollars to advance a left-wing political agenda—without prior approval,” Luka Ladan, communications director for the Center for Union Facts, said in a statement.

“Big Labor is now the ATM of the Democratic Party, whether employees agree or not. The Employee Rights Act would hold union officials accountable to their members, not Democratic elites.”

The Center said that the funds were sent to liberal and anti-Republican groups without members’ approval, to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the Clinton Foundation, and the Democratic Governors Association.

Planned Parenthood received $805,100 and the Democratic Governors Association received $14,126,000. The Center for American Progress, a policy organization known for its liberal stance, received $6,279,591.

The Center for Union Facts says such use of member dues is inappropriate, since “40 percent of union household members vote Republican in any given election cycle.”

Currently, union authorities can spend funds from dues on political advocacy groups without receiving prior approval from members, and the Center says Congress needs to pass the Employee Rights Act, which would require union chiefs to procure permission from members before spending dues on  political organizations and causes.

“Roughly 80 percent of Americans—including those in union households—support the paycheck-protection provision and other [Employee Rights Act] reforms,” the  Center for Union Facts says.

More than $8,000 in union dues also went to left-leaning media organizations, including the Progressive and the American Prospect.

“The rights of American workers were under attack during the Obama presidency, and it is time to restore those rights and work to foster a pro-growth, pro-employee environment,” Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said May 25 in a statement when the Employee Rights Act legislation was introduced, adding:

This legislation will ensure individuals’ rights are upheld when considering whether or not they wish to join a union. The Employee Rights Act isn’t pro- or anti-union, it’s a commonsense measure to ensure a transparent and fair workplace.

 

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Podcast: Worried About FBI, Dossier, 2 Conservative Lawmakers Suggest Sessions Should Go

On today’s podcast, we discuss how Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, suggested in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner today it might be time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, due to his inability to stop leaks to the media as well as the FBI’s lack of cooperation with a congressional investigation of the dossier. And The Heritage Foundation’s Jim Phillips joins us to discuss whether this time the protests in Iran can overthrow the current regime. Plus: the latest on President Donald Trump’s fight against an upcoming book about his administration, and Sessions’ move that’s concerning marijuana advocates.

The post Podcast: Worried About FBI, Dossier, 2 Conservative Lawmakers Suggest Sessions Should Go appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Trump Ends His Voter Fraud Commission, Asks Homeland Security to ‘Review the Issues’

President Donald Trump decided to dissolve his commission on voter fraud Wednesday, citing refusal from states to cooperate with the commission.

Trump, who created the commission in order to investigate possible instances of voter fraud in the 2016 election, is instead asking the Department of Homeland Security to review the matter, the White House said in a statement.

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“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

Trump created the commission in May because he believed millions of people had voted in the election illegally. Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach led the commission, which previously requested the 50 states turn over pertinent information from state voter rolls, among other things.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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The GOP’s Work Has Just Begun. Here’s What Should Top the Agenda in 2018.

Conservatives, we have our work cut out for us this year.

Mind you, 2017 definitely had its ups. Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court. The war on terrorism moved in the right direction, with the prime minister of Iraq declaring victory over ISIS.

The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate-change agreement and is working to reduce regulations. We also have a much-needed tax cut in place.

On a more personal note, we welcomed a new president at The Heritage Foundation: the immensely talented Kay Coles James. Director of the Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush, and a senior member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, James was the Heritage board of trustees’ unanimous choice after an extensive search.

The nation’s leading think tank couldn’t be in better hands.

Good thing, too, because there’s plenty to do in 2018—and beyond.

Take health care. Despite Trump’s claim to the contrary, repealing the individual mandate does not “essentially” repeal Obamacare. Key provisions, such as the expansion of Medicaid, remain in place.

“Repeal of the individual mandate is certainly a significant victory for congressional Republicans,” writes David Sivak in the Daily Signal. “Yet the change is modest compared to prior Republican attempts at repeal.”

Indeed, he points out, “Some predict that repeal of the individual mandate may actually lead Republicans to shore up the Obamacare exchanges.”

Or take spending—please. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Budget expert Romina Boccia, in a review of federal spending in 2017, notes that the deficit reached $666 billion (how appropriate), the debt hit $20 trillion, and Social Security spending topped $1 trillion.

This is unsustainable. No wonder we’re always told we can’t “afford” tax cuts. The money we send to Washington flows out at such a prodigious rate that policymakers naturally howl at the thought of even a modest reduction.

The problem is that freedom requires constant work and vigilance. There are no permanent victories or defeats. It’s like weeding a garden. Policymaking is never a “one and done” situation. There will always be something to do tomorrow. And the next day.

With that in mind, here’s a six-question test that I introduced in my 2006 book “Getting America Right.” My co-author Doug Wilson and I wrote that, if followed, “it could well become the bypass operation that restores Washington’s failing political heart to normal functioning.”

The questions we should ask of any policy prescription:

  • Is it the government’s business? Relatively few things really need federal intervention. Many can and should be handled at the state and local level, where accountability, knowledge, and oversight is naturally better.
  • Does it promote self-reliance? Liberal policy proposals usually promote dependence on government, but nothing could be more un-American. We should, for example, measure a welfare program’s success not by how many people are signed up for it, but by how many who are on it have managed to find work.
  • Is it responsible? Should we spend more than take in? Should we tolerate waste, fraud, and abuse? Of course not.
  • Does it make America more prosperous? That’s a key question to pose when it comes to trade barriers and business regulations. Yet we seldom do.
  • Does it make us safer? The way we’ve been underfunding the military, to the point where current readiness levels are seriously compromised, suggests that we need to ask this more often.
  • Does it unify us? We used to welcome immigrants as new Americans. Yet our current policies encourage balkanization. This needs to change—and soon.

We should certainly be optimistic about 2018. We have the tools we need to make things better. The question is, will we have the courage to act?

Originally published by the Washington Times.

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