TALLINN, Estonia—The night of Friday, Feb. 10, was frigid and snowy in Estonia’s capital city. The kind of winter weather one expects in this Baltic country, which lies at roughly the same geographic latitude as southern Alaska.
Inside the lobby bar of Tallinn’s Swissotel, however, the temperature was warm and the atmosphere bustled with people enjoying drinks and conversation—presumably the typical Friday night scene at this fashionable, modern hotel in the city center.
Yet, if you knew what to look for, subtle clues proliferated as to the ongoing shadow war between Russia and the West.
At the lobby bar on this night, a group of off-duty U.S. Air National Guard F-16 pilots sipped on draft beers at one end of the bar counter. Their demeanor was casual, yet guarded.
The men spoke among each other in voices inaudible over the background din of other conversations. Their haircuts, of course, were all neat and short. However, there was nothing that overtly identified these men as American fighter pilots deployed to Estonia as part of an ongoing mission to deter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.
Down the bar from the pilots, a group of four men in business suits spoke loudly in Russian. They told the woman working behind the bar they were “businessmen” from Moscow.
At a nearby table, four men—also speaking Russian—sat with glasses of beer and spirits spread before them. From time to time, they subtly yet curiously regarded the Americans at the bar.
“We are definitely cognizant of what we say and where we...
DENVER—School shootings are nothing new to Patrick Neville. While a student at Columbine High School, Neville watched 12 of his classmates and one teacher lose their lives. “From that point on, I kind of wanted to make a difference,” Neville said. After joining the U.S. Army, Neville ran for the Colorado House of Representatives, where he currently serves as the minority leader of the House.
In the video above, Neville shares his story of surviving Columbine, and how he says we can prevent more mass shootings.
The post He Survived a School Shooting. Now He’s Fighting to Allow Guns in Schools. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
A school district in Minnesota is defending a principal who removed a student from public school grounds for holding an unapproved sign that read, “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” during a nationwide school walkout demonstration against gun rights.
The incident was captured on a video that was posted on Facebook by Kenny MacDonald, a student at the high school. It has since then been viewed 2.7 million times.
In the video, Lonnie Seifert, the New Prague High School principal in New Prague, Minnesota, is seen confronting the student holding the sign and telling him he needed permission from the school 24 hours in advance to carry the sign.
When the unidentified student refused to let the principal take his sign, citing basic free speech rights, he decided to walk away from the scene and was promptly followed and escorted by the principal off school grounds.
According to MacDonald, the principal threatened to have the police throw the student in the back of a police car. But according to a press release from the school district in response to the viral video, law enforcement was not involved with any of the students present during the walkout.
MacDonald claims in his Facebook post that there were two other signs that said “Arm Teachers.”
March is Women’s History Month and while the mainstream media tends to ignore the contributions that conservative women make to society, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, spoke to The Daily Signal on camera about the legacies of female conservative leaders and how conservative policies can empower women across the country. An edited transcript of the video is below.
Rachel del Guidice: So, March is Women’s History Month and what are some ways that you see, you’re working in Congress all the time on various issues, that women are empowered through conservative policy?
McMorris Rodgers: Right. Every day we are working on policies that are empowering women and during Women’s History Month I think it’s fun to reflect on some of the trailblazers that have gone before us. Celebrate Susan B. Anthony, who was a pro-life Republican who was really the one that helped bring the women’s right to vote, celebrating the first woman who ever served in Congress, Jeannette Rankin, who was also a Republican. So there’s a great history there and it’s fun to celebrate the trailblazers, but also look at some of the policies that we are promoting right now.
First, I would go directly to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and what it means to everyone, including women. I just recently visited a women’s shelter in Spokane. It’s called Hope House. It was heartbreaking to talk to these women. Now, they’re just so grateful...
Katy Perry’s problematic #MeToo moment, Washington Post writer says Down syndrome babies don’t deserve to be born, and Republican Congresswoman Mia Love’s daughter explains why she “walked up” rather than “walked out” during the national high school protests this week. All that and more in this week’s edition of “Problematic Women,” co-hosted with Bre Payton of The Federalist. Watch in the video above, or listen in the podcast below.
The Heritage Foundation’s Steve Moore joins us today to talk about the announcement that his friend Larry Kudlow, who worked in the Reagan administration and on CNBC, will become director of the National Economic Council. Moore and Kudlow served together on the Trump campaign, and Moore shares what he thinks President Donald Trump and Kudlow do (and don’t) have in common. Plus: We talk about the movie star moving out of the U.S. because of Trump and the school that gave detention to students who participated in the walkout yesterday.
The post Podcast: What Larry Kudlow Will Do for the Nation’s Economy appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party swept all 58 seats up for grabs in recent Senate elections.
The electoral sweep was unsurprising, given that democracy in the country has been on a downward spiral since the July 2013 elections, and in even more precipitous decline since the arrest of the main opposition leader, Kem Sokha, last September.
The U.S. and the international community must closely watch Cambodia’s descent from democracy and put in place measures to hold Cambodia’s leader, Hun Sen, and the Cambodian People’s Party accountable.
Several events have occurred over the past six months that cleared the way for yet another ruling-party victory.
On Oct. 6, the Cambodian Interior Ministry filed a lawsuit to dissolve the opposition party, claiming that the Cambodia National Rescue Party colluded with the U.S. government to overthrow the current Cambodian leadership.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party was officially dissolved by the Cambodian Supreme Court on Nov. 16.
In addition to dissolving the opposition, Hun Sen began a significant crackdown on civil society, shutting down the main English-language newspaper, The Cambodia Daily; threatening and subsequently expelling election-monitoring agencies, such as the National Democratic Institute; and shutting down nongovernmental anti-trafficking organizations, such as Agape International Missions.
This is taken right out of Hun Sen’s pre-election playbook, in which he typically cracks down on potential opposing voices ahead of elections—even seemingly innocuous groups, such as Agape International Missions, that are simply promoting human rights in the country.
The U.S. government’s response to democratic backsliding in Cambodia is getting stronger.
Immediately following the dissolution of...
March 15 marks the sixth anniversary of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
The United States and South Korea have been close economic partners for decades. Since March 2012, however, this free trade agreement has allowed economic interaction between the two countries to become more comprehensive and institutionalized.
It is still premature to weigh the full, comprehensive impact of the agreement, particularly as tariffs on certain products continue to phase out and other provisions are yet to take effect. But one point is quite clear: The South Korea-U.S. free trade deal is not broken.
U.S. protectionists have long complained that the deal has resulted in more imports to the U.S. from South Korea. That’s true, but it has also resulted in more exports from the U.S. to South Korea. In fact, the U.S. reached record levels of exports to South Korea in 2017.
Encouraging more trade is the whole point—to increase specialization and exchange so that both countries have access to more goods and services at better prices, creating more opportunities for workers and producers as well as beneficial choices for consumers.
That increased trade happens naturally when governments get out of the way and reduce their interference in international trade relations.
The bottom line was put succinctly by The Wall Street Journal editorial board: “The agreement, which reduced 95 percent of the tariffs on goods and opened the market for U.S. services, has been an economic boon to both countries.”
In July 2017, at the direction of President Donald Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer initiated talks with South Korea regarding the trade deal and its current operation, and discussed some possible...
Students and teachers at Utah schools have access to an app that allows users to report threats of violence and seek help from crisis counselors.
The software application, designed to promote school safety and student well-being, has flagged 86 credible threats of school violence over two years, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.
“‘Credible’ ranges on a scale from imminent to yes, we think there are some means, motive, and ability to accomplish the threat,” Reyes said. “It can range anywhere from a hand-held weapon to a bomb or other types of threat.”
Called SafeUT and initiated in 2016, the app is downloaded to smartphones and other mobile devices. It allows students, teachers, or other users to start a chat with a crisis counselor by phone or electronic text, or to submit a tip about a possible threat.
“The powerful part of this is that on the other end of the line, it’s not a voice answering machine, it’s not a calling tree, it is someone who will text back immediately who’s a trained professional,” Reyes said.
The professionals, trained in behavioral and mental health, are experts from the University of Utah’s University Neuropsychiatric Institute who “work staffing the SafeUT lines 24/7,” he said. “And we work with them on funding, they are part of our state system.”
The Utah Legislature funded the app for use in public and private schools, kindergarten through 12th grade, in collaboration with the University Neuropsychiatric Institute, the Utah State Office...
Republicans campaigned for roughly a decade, promising voters they would dismantle former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation; but one of their own senators is trying to keep it alive through the 2018 election cycle.
Leadership has nine days to whip representatives and senators behind an appropriations bill that will keep the government funded through 2018. Congressmen are notorious for using must-pass legislation to add on last-minute features they favor or use the hard deadline to force leadership’s hands on a policy issue.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., along with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is using the deadline to sway leadership to include a proposal that would fund politically contentious Obamacare subsidies through 2019. The proposal would provide $10 billion a year for three years for these subsidies.
Additionally, the proposal would give states greater Obamacare waiver flexibility and would broaden consumer eligibility for “copper” plans. Abortion-covering health insurance plans would not receive subsidies under the proposal.
Alexander laid out the potential compromise for his colleagues across the aisle in September during the numerous GOP attempts to repeal Obamacare: Republicans would put forth a bill to continue paying insurance companies Obamacare subsidy payments—cost-sharing reductions—that help cover the cost of deductibles for low-income consumers on the exchanges. In return, Alexander asked Democrats to allow for the expansion of state waivers—commonly known as 1332 waivers—that allow states to...
When Congress enacted President Donald Trump’s landmark tax reform plan in December, one media outlet proclaimed: “The GOP Tax Bill Kills Obamacare’s Individual Mandate.”
Turns out, the headline was wrong. The individual mandate—the unconstitutional requirement that most Americans buy health insurance—remains in the law.
The headline should have proclaimed that the tax bill repealed the tax penalty associated with the mandate, thereby rendering every single word of Obamacare unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s reasoning.
Back in 2012, the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare in a 5-4 decision. Although the five justices in the majority searched the entire Constitution, the deciding vote—Chief Justice John Roberts—found only one basis for Congress’ authority to enact the individual mandate: the power to levy taxes.
In his opinion, Roberts said that while Obamacare’s mandate is best read as an unconstitutional requirement on Americans—which Congress has no authority to enact—its constitutionality could be salvaged as a “tax” because the mandate’s associated tax penalties raise “at least some revenue.” Roberts cited this raising of “some revenue” as being “the essential feature of any tax.”
Last year, Congress repealed the individual mandate tax penalty, leaving only the unconstitutional mandate. This change rendered the individual mandate unconstitutional under Roberts’ reasoning. After all, the mandate no longer raises “some revenue.”
And without the mandate, the rest of the law falls.
President Barack Obama and the leaders of Congress made it very clear at the time that the individual mandate is the core of Obamacare. Without it, Obamacare cannot function as Congress and the...
President Donald Trump hosted an event in the Oval Office in November to honor three Navajo code talkers who served during World War II. Characteristically, he made news when he referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as “Pocahontas” because of her contested claim of Native American ancestry.
Also raising eyebrows was the fact that a portrait of President Andrew Jackson was prominently displayed during the ceremony. Commentators expressed indignation at this, given Jackson’s history with Native Americans, which culminated in the infamous Indian Removal of 1830.
Arizona state Rep. Wenona Benally, a member of a Navajo Nation, compared Jackson to Adolf Hitler, implying that for Trump to display Jackson’s portrait at a Native American event was equivalent to displaying a portrait of Hitler during a Hanukkah celebration.
Also well-known is Trump’s own affinity for Jackson—which some see as a link in the long history of American populism.
I will admit Jackson, whose 251st birthday is on March 15, is one of my least favorite American presidents. When studying his life, one finds much to scrutinize. He seems to be one of our most thin-skinned and least magnanimous presidents, who rarely rose above petty grudges.
His personal contempt for political opponents, such as John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Nicholas Biddle, spilled into the affairs of state and divided the nation. To many, his destruction of the Biddle’s National Bank was based on spurious economic thinking.
His long career fighting and confiscating the land of the Creek/Seminole peoples is well known. As the...
A pair of longtime journalists announced last week the launch of “NewsGuard,” an initiative intended to combat “fake news” online.
Steve Brill and Gordon Crovitz say NewsGuard will be hiring dozens of trained journalists to review 7,500 news and information websites widely read in the United States.
Its primary goal will be to provide reliability ratings and what Brill and Crovitz are calling “nutrition labels” for each news website. This comes five months after Facebook, Google, and Twitter committed to using “trust indicators” to help users better understand the reliability of content on their news feeds.
News outlets will receive stoplight-style ratings of green, yellow, or red—with green being the best rating and red being the worst.
The “nutrition labels” will take the form of write-ups to allow readers to learn more about why websites received their green, yellow, or red rating. The labels will explain the history of the site, who owns it, and who edits it, and make transparent other relevant factors, such as financing.
All sites receiving yellow or red ratings will be asked to comment on their ratings. The responses will be included in their respective “nutrition labels.”
The ratings and “nutrition labels” will be subject to change.
“In addition to alerting people to fake news,” Crovitz said, “one of our key goals is to help consumers, including young people, know when to take news from certain sites with a grain...
A new bill introduced in Congress last week would provide more educational choice for military families. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., allows military families to open an education savings account for funding a child’s education expenses. The money could be used for private school tuition, textbooks, online classes, private tutoring, and college tuition. Banks spoke to The Daily Signal about his proposal. An edited transcript is below.
Rob Bluey: You’re the most recently deployed member of Congress after your service in Afghanistan. Can you tell us about growing up in Indiana and why you decided to join the Navy Reserve?
Banks: Both of my grandfathers served in the Army. My brother served for 10 years in the Air Force. My story, even related to the military, is fairly unique because it was a little bit later in life when I decided that I needed to get serious about serving in the military. I always had a desperate interest and desire to serve, but I was about 30, 31-years-old when I was commissioned as a Navy Reserve officer.
At the time, though, I was already a sitting Indiana state senator, so it was a juggling act. I was married and my wife and I had young children at the time, but my desire to serve grew the older I got. But the older I got, the more closer I realized I was to the date when I wasn’t eligible anymore, which would have been 35-years-old.
I joined the Navy Reserves, was commissioned,...
Little more than 600 votes out of more than 227,000 cast separate the top two candidates in the special election for a House seat in Pennsylvania, as Democrat Conor Lamb maintained a slim lead over Republican Rick Saccone, with no official winner.
— KDKA (@CBSPittsburgh) March 14, 2018
Lamb, 33, is a Marine and former federal prosecutor. Saccone, 60, an Air Force veteran, is a Pennsylvania state representative and expert on North Korea.
Here are seven key takeaways from the outcome of the election Tuesday and what to expect next in a congressional district President Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points.
1. The Recount Question
Lamb delivered a victory speech late Tuesday night and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called him the victor.
But Saccone said he wouldn’t concede and wants every legal vote counted.
The Associated Press had yet to call the race as of late Wednesday.
The AP reported that at least 200 absentee ballots had not been counted by early Wednesday, and an unknown number of provisional ballots also exist.
The four counties that make up the 18th Congressional District in the Pittsburgh area have seven days to count the provisional ballots.
CONGRATULATIONS are in order for @ConorLambPA and Pennsylvania Democrats — they just made history and FLIPPED...
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., introduced a proposal on Monday that would create well-deserved educational opportunities for military families.
The Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 would allow military families to choose education options that are the right fit for their children instead of having to attend the public schools nearest to base.
The proposal would provide education savings accounts to eligible children from military families derived from the funds that would have been sent to a public school on the child’s behalf through the federal Impact Aid program, enabling families to instead direct those dollars to options that work for them.
Under the proposal, education savings accounts could be used to pay for private school tuition, online learning, special education services and therapies, private tutoring, and a host of other education-related products, providers, and services. Families could roll over any unused funds from year to year and even roll them into college savings accounts for when their children complete high school.
Indeed, many military families are unhappy with their present school situations. In a survey conducted by the Military Times, more than a third of readers (who are military personnel) said decisions about whether to remain in the military hinged in large part on dissatisfaction with their children’s education.
Moreover, 80 percent of children from military families currently attend public schools, but only 34 percent of those surveyed said they would choose public schools as their first option.
Besides the fact that military families deserve better, the entire country...
Here is my homework assignment for all the fist-clenching, gun control-demanding teenagers walking out of classrooms this week (and next week and next month) to protest school shootings:
Ask not what the rest of the country can do for your local school’s safety; ask what your local school boards and superintendents have been failing to do for you.
Chances are, the adults closest to you—those most directly responsible for your security—have been shirking their primary duties, squandering scarce resources, and deflecting blame.
Yes, it’s glamorous and exciting to appear on “The Ellen Show,” rub elbows with Eminem at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, pal around with Anderson Cooper, and soak up praise and donations from George Clooney and Oprah for shouting at the NRA, Republicans, and President Donald Trump.
Sure, it’s fun to ditch your homework, parade around in “March For Our Lives” swag, and watch your Twitter mentions explode like SpaceX launches every time you indignantly accuse gun-owning moms of hating their own children.
It’s lit like Bic to be the Democrats’ new junior lobbyists, fundraisers, and voter registration captains.
But when the media whirlwind dies down and the Everytown buses ship you back home, mundane realities will set in.
Negligence, incompetence, and inattention to the core mission of education and ensuring students’ safety don’t just spring out of nowhere. They are not alien invaders descending upon your neighborhoods from thousands of miles of away to impose chaos and misery upon your erstwhile Edenic existence.
Take Broward County, Florida. The current superintendent, Robert Runcie, was hired to...
“Why would any law-abiding citizen need an AR-15?”
This question has been a favorite talking point of gun control activists in recent months, grating the ears of many lawful owners of the popular semi-automatic rifle.
Never mind that rifles of any kind account for only a fraction of gun deaths every year, or that some of the worst public mass shootings in American history have taken place with nothing more than handguns.
Never mind that the gun has been readily available to civilians since 1963, and yet has only recently been considered a serious public safety threat worthy of a complete ban.
Never mind that the AR-15 is not an automatic rifle, that it is not particularly powerful compared to other “less scary looking” rifles, or that prohibitions on it have shown no correlation to a drop in gun violence.
The reality is that law-abiding citizens purchase millions of AR-15s (and similar rifles) for one very important overriding reason—the same reason, in fact, that law enforcement officers often use them: They are great for self-defense.
In the words of Andrew Napolitano, the Second Amendment is an extension of the natural right of self-defense that “protects the right to shoot tyrants, and it protects the right to shoot at them effectively, with the same instruments they would use upon us.”
The AR-15 is a preferred weapon of law-abiding citizens because it does precisely that: It effectively confronts the violent threats from tyrants, oppressors, and—most often in post-Revolution America—criminals.
Unlike handguns, the AR-15 is...
Writing last week about the opioid crisis, I suggested that, as we consider policy options for dealing with the problem, we consider that at least some part of it may reflect a spiritual, moral crisis in the country.
I noted that casualties from opioids show that they are disproportionately men, disproportionately divorced or never married, and disproportionately individuals with no more than a high school education.
We can look beyond the opioid crisis and see a broad, disturbing picture pointing to a social and spiritual crisis among our young men.
In 2016, Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., published a book called “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis.”
He discusses what he calls a “flight from work” in which droves of our male population have disappeared from the work force.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics just issued its new jobs report, and the results were heartening. Data shows a return to growth in jobs in the American economy and return to the work force of many who dropped out during the years following the recent recession.
The labor force participation rate of prime-age working men ages 25-54, that is, the percentage working or actively seeking work, was 89.3 percent in February 2018.
Given that this rate was down to 88.4 late in 2011, we see progress here—good news.
However, Eberstadt points out that average labor force participation rate of these prime-age working men in 1965 was 96.6 percent.
“Expressed another way,” says Eberstadt, “the proportion of economically inactive American...
Perhaps as soon as next week, the House Agriculture Committee will release its farm bill, and it looks now as if the end result likely will be a system that funnels even more money to agricultural producers.
Here are seven signs the taxpayer-funded “safety net” in the legislation is a disaster:
1. The bill would maintain or expand federal assistance to agricultural producers.
This is the bottom line indication that the House Agriculture Committee’s safety net is a complete disaster and should be treated as “dead on arrival.” If this turns out to be the case, the committee will demonstrate that it has completely ignored the harms caused by subsidies.
The safety net programs cost taxpayers about $15 billion a year, but the costs of subsidies go beyond the fiscal costs. Subsidies can, for example, discourage innovation and private risk management, distort planting decisions so farmers don’t meet the needs of consumers, create barriers to entry for new farmers, and have negative environmental impacts.
2. The bill assumes the market and competition are harmful.
The current farm handout system is designed primarily to insulate farmers from competing in the marketplace and insults them by treating them as incapable of managing ordinary business risks.
If revenue targets are not met or prices are lower than hoped, taxpayers are forced to come to the rescue. The system doesn’t even require crop losses, drought, hurricanes, or other risks that most people think of as the reason for the safety net. Instead, the market itself is seen as...