Don’t Fall for This Bullcrap Vacation Story About Sean Hannity

The latest bit of fake news smearing Sean Hannity comes from The Philadelphia Inquirer, which implied Hannity is taking an abrupt vacation after advertisers began pulling their ads from his Fox News program.

“Sean Hannity is taking a couple days off amid a growing advertiser boycott after pushing a conspiracy theory involving a slain Democratic National Committee staffer,” Rob Tornoe reported under the headline “Fox News host Sean Hannity takes abrupt vacation after losing more advertisers.” He compared Hannity’s vacation to former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s retreat to Italy before the cancellation of “The O’Reilly Factor.” The implication is that Sean Hannity could be the next to leave Fox.

Erick Erickson, writing for The Resurgent, says this story is “Bulls—t.

This story is patently false and I know so first hand. Why?

Because my radio show starts right after Sean’s show on WSB in Atlanta. On May 18th, my boss asked me to put on schedule for today and tomorrow to start my show at 3pm ET. Why? Because Hannity would be out for Memorial Day vacation with his family and they’d like me on locally instead of his guest hosts due to Atlanta traffic issues. Hannity’s television vacation days are always in conjunction with his radio vacation days.

Hannity’s vacation has been planned for weeks. It has nothing to do with the onslaught of leftist attacks on his show and his advertisers.

The Philadelphia Inquirer story was updated at 10:15 PM Thursday night and the headline was changed to “Fox News host Sean Hannity takes a vacation after losing more advertisers.” There is no editor’s note to explain the correction.

The left would love to expunge dissenting voices from TV, if it could. Sean Hannity won’t be the last to come under attack. (For more from the author of “Don’t Fall for This Bullcrap Vacation Story About Sean Hannity” please click HERE)

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Ethics Prof. Charged in Deadly-Weapons Assault of Trump Backers

Eric Clanton, an adjunct professor at Diablo Valley College (DVC) in Northern California, has been arrested on charges of assaulting numerous individuals with a bike lock at an April political rally-turned-riot spearheaded by the radical-left Antifa organization.

The East Bay Times reports Clanton was arrested Wednesday in Oakland, Calif., “on three counts of suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon that isn’t a firearm and assault causing great bodily injury.”

Clanton remains in a Berkeley jail on a $200,000 bond. He was arraigned Friday at an Oakland courthouse.

On April 15, a conglomerate of Trump supporters gathered in Berkeley for a “Patriots Day” event. Their event was crashed by far-left Antifa protesters, and soon thereafter, the two sides clashed. Twenty-one individuals were arrested, according to police, and six hospitalized for injury.

Clanton, 28, is thought to be the masked individual in the video below who smashed a Trump supporter in the head with a U-lock at the Patriots Day event, giving his victim a large gash.

CONTENT WARNING:

The Berkeley Police Department started investigating the allegations against Clanton in April, according to Golden Gate Xpress, the student paper for San Francisco State.

According to his Diablo Valley College faculty profile (which has since been taken down), Clanton began teaching at the school in 2015 and holds a master’s degree in philosophy. However, the community college district spokesman said that Clanton had not been working this spring semester.

The DVC course schedule shows that Clanton is slated to teach a “Logic and Critical Thinking” class as well as an “Introduction to Philosophy” course at DVC in summer. In the fall, he is slated to teach two “Introduction to Philosophy” classes.

Eric Clanton’s master’s thesis focused on the “intersection of virtue ethics and affective/emotional perception in the context of environmental philosophy,” according to Clanton’s website.

“I am also interested in feminist theory as well as critical and philosophical approaches to prisons and police enforcement,” he adds.

Clanton’s (former) bio at DVC read in part: “His primary research interests are ethics and politics. His work in political philosophy also centers on mass incarceration and the prison system. He is currently exploring restorative justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective.”

Before DVC, Clanton was a lecturer at Cal State, Sacramento, where he taught two classes on ethics. He was also a graduate teaching assistant in the philosophy department at San Francisco State for multiple semesters.

Clanton was allegedly identified as the bike-lock suspect thanks to the work of several dedicated 4chan users, a popular politics message board. Users there say they identified Clanton through a crowdsourced effort that focused on his clothing, skin markings, facial alignments, and other identifying markers. They then compared those criteria with the profile of the masked Antifa rioter.

In a comment to the Diablo Valley College student newspaper on April 20l, DVC spokeswoman Chrisanne Knox said the claims against Clanton were “based on an unsubstantiated allegation from unknown sources.”

Requests for information from various officials at Diablo Valley College were not returned. (For more from the author of “Ethics Prof. Charged in Deadly-Weapons Assault of Trump Backers” please click HERE)

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Insane Fourth Circuit: Muslims’ Feelings Trump National Security

Actual rights — such as life, liberty, property, and conscience — are denied by the courts. American Christians cannot run their own property in accordance with their conscience — the most sacred of all property rights. “Bake the damn cake,” they say!

Yet, these same courts have created an affirmative right to immigrate based on religious liberty for Muslims living in a shack on some Somali hilltop.

Now, the Fourth Circuit has taken this debauchery a step further and has created a right to not feel perceived stigma – to the point that such a grievance can overturn national security and, presumably, diplomatic and military policies. The sky is the limit, if we are to hold the Fourth Circuit to a consistent reading of its own ruling.

As I noted in my first piece analyzing the Fourth Circuit’s immigration ruling on Thursday, this case was not about letting a foreign national into the country. Indeed, none of the relatives of the plaintiffs were even denied entry. What the court did was nullify the intangible executive policy, rhetoric, and directive in general about fighting Islamic terror because the plaintiffs felt stigmatized.

This is the only way they were able to obtain standing and assert an injury-in-fact to satisfy an Establishment Clause violation. Thus, the court has now opened the door for any Muslim American or even Muslim LPR (legal permanent resident) to shoot directly at a national security policy in court — even beyond immigration — assert the injury of feeling a negative stereotype and a stigma, and have the court “overturn” that policy.

Take a look at this footnote from Page 60 of the opinion, whereby the courts essentially say the Justice Department can’t collect data on honor killings because it stigmatizes Muslims:

Plaintiffs suggest that EO-2 is not facially neutral, because by directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to collect data on “honor killings” committed in the United States by foreign nationals, EO-2 incorporates “a stereotype about Muslims that the President had invoked in the months preceding the Order.” Appellees’ Br. 5, 7; see J.A. 598 (reproducing Trump’s remarks in a September 2016 speech in Arizona in which he stated that applicants from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan would be “asked their views about honor killings,” because “a majority of residents [in those countries] say that the barbaric practice of honor killings against women are often or sometimes justified”). Numerous amici explain that invoking the specter of “honor killings” is a well-worn tactic for stigmatizing and demeaning Islam and painting the religion, and its men, as violent and barbaric.

Judge Thacker, in his concurrence, also cited the “stereotype” of honor killings as reason to make the president’s policy rise to the level of an Establishment Clause violation.

There are no words to describe the infinite and insane consequences that flow from this decision. By definition, almost all of our key diplomatic, military, homeland security, and national security policies are focused on the threat of Islamic terrorism. The consummate threat of our time will always involve, in some form, the recognition of a threat within the religion of Islam.

Any smart lawyer could now use the language of this ruling to strike down almost any foreign policy or homeland security policy on behalf of a Muslim by contending that such a policy violates the Establishment Clause because it stigmatizes Muslims.

What is to stop a Muslim LPR from suing our government for engaging in war almost exclusively in “Muslim” countries? Every major military engagement is against a Muslim-majority country or Muslim entity.

Plaintiffs could cite the same “data” and anecdotes suggesting that these policies cultivate an anti-Islam bias in this country and make them feel “anxious,” “stigmatized,” “stereotyped,” and “like an outsider.” This is the new threshold for determining whether a policy violates the Establishment Clause. And it could now apply to foreign policy and national security.

Most certainly, they could lodge lawsuits against any FBI policy of data collection and basic law enforcement actions because they are primarily focused on one religion as it relates to terrorism. Also, it’s quite clear from this decision that the DHS couldn’t ask basic questions to determine whether a visa applicant is a Sharia supremacist, practices honor killings, or believes in performing female genital mutilation. That is a prima facie violation of the Establishment Clause, according to these judges.

That means that the courts have now codified the Obama-era policies of willful blindness into law. And not only into law, but into the Constitution, thereby preventing even Congress from implementing basic protections.

Entry of aliens is just as much a part of foreign affairs as military and diplomacy

Lest you think my hypothetical case of a Muslim suing against military or diplomatic policy is an exaggeration or even an extrapolation of this case, think again. The decisions governing aliens entering this country are not only controlled by the delegated authority Congress has given over through statute to the president; it is also inherent in the president’s own Article II powers to conduct foreign affairs.

Here are a few quotes from past court decisions demonstrating this point:

The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty. The right to do so stems not alone from legislative power but is inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation. * * * When Congress prescribes a procedure concerning the admissibility of aliens, it is not dealing alone with a legislative power. It is implementing an inherent executive power.” [930 F. Supp. 1360, 1365 (N.D. Cal. 1996)]

“It is pertinent to observe that any policy toward aliens is vitally and intricately interwoven with contemporaneous policies in regard to the conduct of foreign relations, the war power, and the maintenance of a republican form of government. Such matters are so exclusively entrusted to the political branches of government as to be largely immune from judicial inquiry or interference.” (Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, (1952).

“When Congress prescribes a procedure concerning the admissibility of aliens, it is not dealing alone with a legislative power. It is implementing an inherent executive power.

“Thus, the decision to admit or to exclude an alien may be lawfully placed with the President, who may, in turn, delegate the carrying out of this function to a responsible executive officer of the sovereign, such as the Attorney General. The action of the executive officer under such authority is final and conclusive. Whatever the rule may be concerning deportation of persons who have gained entry into the United States, it is not within the province of any court, unless expressly authorized by law, to review the determination of the political branch of the Government to exclude a given alien.” (Knauff v. Shaughnessy, 1950)

Thus, to grant standing to a Muslim to shoot down an immigration policy under the pretense of an Establishment Clause violation is tantamount to granting standing to sue against any foreign policy. This would mean that an American Jew should be able to sue the State Department for promoting a Palestinian state — a policy that would uproot Jews from Judea and Samaria.

No other diplomatic policy directly targets a religion to the point that the outcome and purpose of such a policy is to make a land — the Jewish homeland of all places — Jew-free. The stigma of Israel as an occupier is directly responsible for the violence and persecution of Jews on college campuses. There is a much stronger case to be made for suing on these grounds, along with FBI hate-crime data on attacks against Jews, than the claim before the Fourth Circuit … once we accept their maniacal premise.

The precedent this decision sets on vetting immigrants is also breathtaking. What flows seamlessly from this opinion is that any American immigrant relative of someone who was denied a visa could sue and assert a religious liberty right.

Whereas for the first 200 years of our history we only admitted people who shared our values, now the courts are saying you can only deny entry to someone with absolute, unqualified known ties to terror. His values system is out of bounds. Support for honor killings or FGM, notwithstanding. As I note in Chapter 6 of “Stolen Sovereignty,” this not only violates the legalities of sovereignty, it violates the philosophy behind our immigration system since our founding of only bringing in “meritorious.”

In Federalist No. 69, when contrasting the role of a president from that of a king, Alexander Hamilton observed that “[T]he one [a president] can confer no privileges whatever; the other [a king] can make denizens of aliens.”

Now, unelected lower-court judges have more power than a king. (For more from the author of “Insane Fourth Circuit: Muslims’ Feelings Trump National Security” please click HERE)

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Appeals Court Deals Blow to Trump Administration Travel Ban

A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican’s administration from temporarily suspending new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised travel ban, which Trump’s administration had hoped would avoid the legal problems that the first version encountered. (Read more from “Appeals Court Deals Blow to Trump Administration Travel Ban” HERE)

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British Police Arrest New Suspect in Manchester Bombing, Tighten Security

British police investigating the Manchester Arena bombing made a new arrest Friday while continuing to search addresses associated with the attacker who killed 22 people.

Seven other men are in custody in connection with Monday’s blast, all are being held on suspicion of offenses violating the Terrorism Act. Their ages ranged from 18 to 38.

A 16-year-old boy and a 34-year-old woman who had been arrested were released without charge, police said. (Read more from “British Police Arrest New Suspect in Manchester Bombing, Tighten Security” HERE)

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Are Gays and Lesbians Throwing One of Their Own Under the Bus?

Gay and lesbian websites have jumped all over recent research supposedly showing that Dan Savage’s immensely popular “It Gets Better” anti-gay bullying campaign — strongly endorsed by everyone from Hollywood celebrities to then-President Obama and Vice President Biden — does more harm than good.

Two things stand out about this. First, gays, lesbians, and their allies have a history of battling science that doesn’t support their agenda. Their usual claim is that the research is “flawed.” (George Yancey wrote on this recently for The Stream.) For some reason they didn’t do that this time. Instead they’re practically throwing Savage under the bus.

Second, this research — unlike many other studies that gay activists have objected to — really is hopelessly flawed. Or at least there’s nothing in it to support the conclusion that “It Gets Better” is bad for young gays and lesbians.

Now, I’m no fan of Dan Savage. You’ll see why in a moment. But I find it odd that these gays and lesbians seem so willing to steamroll him. I can’t help wondering whether it’s because they know he’s wrong, and he’s embarrassing them besides.

The story has many twists. I’ll start with Dan Savage himself.

Dan Savage, The Anti-Bullying Bully Who Wants to Say “It Gets Better”

Savage is a gay sex columnist and (in his own words) “potty-mouthed political pundit” who founded “It Gets Better” to reduce anti-gay bullying. He’s a bully himself (potty mouth warning ), so it’s clear he’s okay with that sort of behavior, just as long as it isn’t directed against his people. The hypocrisy is absolutely staggering.

He launched “It Gets Better” in 2010 with one video he co-produced along with his “partner” Terry Miller. It grew into a website featuring thousands of like-minded videos. President Obama, Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden all contributed videos to the project, along with many celebrities.

Savage summarized “It Gets Better” in a 2011 interview with NPR: “A bullied gay teenager who ends his life is saying that he can’t picture a future with enough joy in it to compensate for the pain he’s in now.” That’s true enough, and well worth working on. There’s no need to say “gay” in there, though. It’s the same for any bullied teen.

He added,

Things didn’t just get better for me. All of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender adults I knew were leading rich and rewarding lives. … People pursue happiness in different ways — but we all had so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to. Our lives weren’t perfect; there was pain, heartbreak and struggle. But our lives were better. Our lives were joyful.

That’s doubtful. It might even be dreaming on his part. I don’t know all the people Dan Savage knows, but I do know that solid research reported last fall in The New Atlantis shows that LGBT people are, on average, more emotionally troubled than the rest of the population. Their distress can’t be explained just by their being an “embattled minority” or any such thing. There’s something inherently distressing about homosexuality. From a biblical and natural law perspective, that something is easy to identify: homosexuality runs contrary to the way God designed us.

Gay Media and the University of Arizona Research

So young LGBT people have a lot to cope with. Of course that includes bullying. Their coping mechanisms were the subject of the research in question here. Gay media jumped all over its purported finding on “It Gets Better.”

Queerty said, “But new research finds the project [“It Gets Better”] might actually be doing more harm than good.” (Link not included because of objectionable content on the page.) The Washington Blade’s headline read, “‘It Gets Better’ may be harmful: study.” NewNowNext came right out and called it “bad advice.”

What the Study Really Shows

But that’s not what the study says. It didn’t examine “It Gets Better” at all. It did look into the effects of “imagining a better future,” which is only distantly related to the whole “It Gets Better” idea. “Imagining a better future” was just one item on a questionnaire, lumped together with three others: “Spending more time by yourself to figure things out,” “Just trying to put it all out of your mind” and “Avoiding other people.”

Because it was combined with these other items, all of which have something to do with pulling away, withdrawing or escaping, “Imagining a better future” in this case had very little to do with the active hope promoted by the “It Gets Better” project. Most survey respondents probably thought of it in terms of daydreaming: imagining that they would somehow magically turn straight, for example, or imagining the U.S. had a gay president.

That sort of impossible imagining doesn’t help people who are hurting — which is no news, by the way: social scientists have known it for decades. It’s not, however, what “It Gets Better” promotes.

Granted, the study’s lead researcher, Russell Toomey of the University of Arizona, told NewNowNext, “Our findings question the ’It Gets Better’ narrative that’s been given to LGB youth.” Scientists speak that way all the time, and what they generally mean by it is that here’s something unknown there, a question that calls for further study. Nothing more: there are no conclusions to be drawn, just a question. The study was a small one, by the way, and limited to the San Francisco Bay area. The report’s authors noted that it wasn’t strong enough to draw sweeping new conclusions.

It’s a long leap from “questioning the narrative” to the conclusion, “it’s bad advice,” but that’s where these gay websites took it.

Do They Know It Doesn’t Get That Much Better?

Thus we have one of gay activism’s most heavily promoted projects coming under some slight question; it doesn’t even amount to criticism. Gay websites haven’t denounced it as they usually do. They’re promoting it instead. Why?

Two possible explanations come to mind. I can’t prove either one is true, so I have to frame them as questions.

First, have they decided Dan Savage has been wrong all along? Have they realized it really doesn’t get that much better? Bullying may decrease as gays and lesbians get older, with the world celebrating homosexuality more and more these days. But bullying isn’t their only problem. Homosexuality really is strongly associated with depression and other emotional stresses, not all of which can be blamed on other people’s anti-gay attitudes. So I wonder whether they’re losing hope, as they find they’re still not experiencing the “rich” and “joyful” life Savage promised them.

Maybe They’re Embarrassed

And then there’s Dan Savage’s potty mouth and his non-stop bullying. Have they perhaps noticed his extreme profanity and his blatant hypocrisy, along with his failed promises of life getting better? Are they embarrassed by Dan Savage? They certainly should be.

Throw him under the bus? I don’t know, but this might be the excuse some of them have been waiting for. (For more from the author of “Are Gays and Lesbians Throwing One of Their Own Under the Bus?” please click HERE)

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Memorial Day Is a Time to Teach Our Children About Real Heroes

During a recent drive home from school, my six-year-old daughter began to sing.

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free,” she sang. “And I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me.”

My little girl went on to explain that she was learning the words to the song (Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”) in preparation for her kindergarten graduation ceremony. During that special moment, I was filled with both patriotism and pride.

Monday marks the sixteenth Memorial Day since our military went to war after the 9/11 attacks. While the national media’s collective eyes have been largely transfixed on the White House and Kremlin for the past six months, U.S. troops have been killed in action during combat operations in five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

Five Fallen Heroes

U.S. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Kyle Milliken, 38, was one of those American heroes. Earlier this month, he was killed while fighting the al Shabaab terrorist group “in a remote area approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu,” Somalia, according to the Department of Defense. The Navy SEAL is the first U.S. service member killed in the African nation since the well-known “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993.

According to the Portland Press Herald in Milliken’s home state of Maine, the high school and University of Connecticut track star joined the Navy in 2002 before earning his place inside the now-legendary SEAL Team Six. He would go on to perform dangerous missions during deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and eventually Somalia.

“We were a nation at war when he enlisted,” U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command spokesman Jason Salata told the newspaper. “He has four Bronze Stars. You don’t get that from sitting at home.”

According to the Hartford Courant, Milliken is survived by his wife, Erin, and their two children.

“His sacrifice is a stark reminder that naval special operators are forward doing their job, confronting terrorism overseas to prevent evil from reaching our shores,” U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Timothy Szymanski said in a statement published by the Courant.

In April, our nation lost U.S. Army 1st Lt. Weston Lee, 25, who made the ultimate sacrifice in Mosul, Iraq, along with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, 37, Sgt. Joshua Rodgers, 22, and Sgt. Cameron Thomas, 23, all of whom were killed in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province. In the last six months, brave American troops have also died in Syria and Yemen.

All of these fallen heroes had families, friends, and long lists of awards and accomplishments. Despite all they had to live for, these patriots were still willing to trade their lives to protect not only the warrior standing next to them on the battlefield, but people back home who they had never met.

The genuine, astounding selflessness of those who make the ultimate sacrifice is the essence of Memorial Day. That’s why when my daughter finished singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” in the car that day, we had a discussion about both the dangers and heroes of war that I hope other parents will have with their kids as the school year ends and the summer begins.

“God Bless the U.S.A.”

On May 22 in Manchester, England, happy young girls not much older than my little girl were singing along with pop star Ariana Grande. Minutes after the concert ended, a crude, vicious bomb often found on Middle Eastern battlefields pierced the innocent lives of teenagers and children. ISIS claimed responsibility for the cowardly, sickening attack, which cannot be labeled as anything other than pure evil.

My daughter wandered in from another room and looked up at the television as I watched news coverage of the Manchester attack. I could see the confusion and fear in her eyes as they were briefly filled with the searing images of terror.

“That’s why those brave men and women we talked about go to war,” I told her. “They fight the bad people to keep them away from us.”

“I know, Daddy,” she said. “It’s just like the song says.”

A few days later, my little girl graduated from kindergarten while singing those same patriotic lyrics.

“And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today,” she sang. “Because there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God bless the U.S.A.”

Because of American heroes like Kyle Milliken, Weston Lee, Mark De Alencar, Joshua Rodgers, Cameron Thomas, and thousands more who have put service above self, our children grow up in a land that is not only free, but vigorously and righteously defended. For that, all Americans owe all fallen heroes and their Gold Star families our deepest thanks on Memorial Day – and every day. (For more from the author of “Memorial Day Is a Time to Teach Our Children About Real Heroes” please click HERE)

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Militants Attack Christians in Egypt, Killing at Least 28

Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group. The attack came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Islamic militants have for years been waging an insurgency mostly centered in the restive northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, although a growing number of attacks have recently also taken place on the mainland. (Read more from “Militants Attack Christians in Egypt, Killing at Least 28” HERE)

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The Possible Reasons Big Corporations Are So Eager for Trump to Break His Promise on Paris Climate Deal

European countries and major corporations are pressuring President Donald Trump to remain in the Paris climate agreement despite his promises on the campaign to withdraw the United States from the Obama-era deal that never gained congressional approval.

The Trump administration so far is sticking with being undecided—at least until Trump returns to the United States from his first foreign trip, where on Friday, he’s meeting with Group of Seven ally countries, which support the agreement.

Back home, the pressure is growing from multinational corporations, even the energy sector, which have opposed stricter limitations on carbon.

Exxon Mobil Corp., once run by Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP are urging the administration to remain in the agreement. Meanwhile, coal mining company Cloud Peak Energy urged the administration to remain.

European countries and major corporations are pressuring President Donald Trump to remain in the Paris climate agreement despite his promises on the campaign to withdraw the United States from the Obama-era deal that never gained congressional approval.

The Trump administration so far is sticking with being undecided—at least until Trump returns to the United States from his first foreign trip, where on Friday, he’s meeting with Group of Seven ally countries, which support the agreement.

Back home, the pressure is growing from multinational corporations, even the energy sector, which have opposed stricter limitations on carbon.

Exxon Mobil Corp., once run by Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP are urging the administration to remain in the agreement. Meanwhile, coal mining company Cloud Peak Energy urged the administration to remain.

“BP and Shell are European companies and it’s impossible to do business in Europe without towing the political line,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Signal. He added that for oil and gas companies, “the only way to get the price of gas back up is to kill coal. The Paris Agreement kills fossil fuels, but it kills coal first.”

Ebell was part of Trump’s transition team overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute sponsored an ad showing Trump during the campaign saying, “We are going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”

While corporate support might seem surprising, it’s very much the same old story for large companies seeking an advantage over smaller competitors, said Katie Tubb, a policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation.

“Big business and big government often go hand-in-hand. Big businesses generally can absorb and adapt to the costs of complying with burdensome regulation, of which Paris is a wellspring,” Tubb told The Daily Signal. “Smaller companies have a much harder time complying, which means less competition for big business. This is especially true if big business can influence the substance of regulations to favor themselves or freeze out competitors. I think in other cases; these large companies are just looking for PR points.”

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry led the United States into the Paris climate change agreement, along with 170 other countries. The agreement commits member countries to shift their energy industries away from fossil fuels and toward green energy.

Two dozen major U.S. companies—including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, the Hartford, Levi Strauss, PG&E, and Morgan Stanley—sent an open letter to Trump published in The New York Times and other newspapers across the country, urging him to remain in the deal. The letter says:

By requiring action by developed and developing countries alike, the agreement ensures a more balanced global effort, reducing the risk of competitive imbalances for U.S. companies … By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth. U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets.

U.S. business is best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response. The Paris Agreement provides such a framework. As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort.

Generally, larger energy companies have an advantage under the climate deal, said Fred Palmer, senior fellow for energy and climate at the Heartland Institute.

“Follow the money,” Palmer told The Daily Signal. “There are companies that want to game the system of using [carbon dioxide] as a currency to make money.”

After meetings at the Vatican earlier this week, Tillerson said, “The president indicated we’re still thinking about that, that he hasn’t made a final decision.”

Ahead of the G7 meeting, Trump chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, told a pool reporter Friday that the president is weighing both sides.

“I think he’s leaning to understand the European position. Look, as you know from the U.S., there’s very strong views on both sides,” Cohn said. “He also knows that Paris has important meaning to many of the European leaders. And he wants to clearly hear what the European leaders have to say.”

Ebell warned that if the administration seeks to make a deal to stay in the agreement, perhaps with a lower commitment than the Obama administration pledged, then a future president could simply increase the U.S. commitment. That’s why, Ebell said, it’s best for the United States to get out.

“Obviously foreign leaders don’t care what Trump promised voters in the campaign,” Ebell said.

To be sure, many U.S. business groups oppose the Paris Agreement, such as the Industrial Energy Consumers of America—which represents manufacturers and other larger energy-using businesses—that wrote an April 24 letter to administration officials. The letter said:

We are the ones who eventually bear the costs of government imposed [greenhouse gas] reduction schemes. At the same time, we are often already economically disadvantaged, as compared to global competitors who are subsidized or protected by their governments.

Given the above concerns, IECA fails to see the benefit of the Paris Climate Accord. And, the long-term implications of the Paris Climate Accord, which includes greater future [greenhouse gas] reduction requirements, raises serious competitiveness and job implications for [energy-intensive, trade-exposed] industries.

(For more from the author of “The Possible Reasons Big Corporations Are So Eager for Trump to Break His Promise on Paris Climate Deal” please click HERE)

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Trump Signals New US Approach to China With Tough Actions

Two developments in the past few weeks suggest that America’s China policy is on a cusp.

The more publicly discussed event involves the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Dewey, which conducted a freedom of navigation operation near Mischief Reef in the Spratlys island group.

This is the first freedom of navigation action conducted by the Trump administration. It is the first true freedom of navigation conducted since at least 2012.

By contrast, the Obama administration had undertaken a handful of “innocent passage” activities in the South China Sea, which failed to demonstrate the critical issues at stake.

The actions carried out in the previous administration were intended to argue that the U.S. did not need permission from China to enter the waters around its artificial islands—while ignoring the bigger question of whether China’s artificial islands exerted any sovereign claim to water at all.

Recommitting to Freedom of Navigation

The contrast is telling. With the Obama administration actions, there was an implicit endorsement that China’s artificial islands were, in fact, islands, because “innocent passage” involves rapid transit through the territorial waters of another nation.

Moreover, in an “innocent passage” operation, the transiting ship cannot conduct any kind of military activity, in deference to the idea that the waters being transited are not international in nature.

The Obama administration further muddied the waters by choosing features whose sovereignty was in dispute—and therefore could claim that it was not singling out Chinese-claimed features.

Even after the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that the various features in the South China Sea were not, in fact, islands and therefore could not lay claim to a 12-nautical mile territorial sea, the Obama administration nonetheless refused to reinforce the point by conducting a genuine freedom of navigation operation.

By contrast, the USS Dewey not only transited within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, but more importantly, conducted a “man overboard” drill. Such an action would contravene an “innocent passage” exercise, but is perfectly within the scope of a “freedom of navigation” operation. Indeed, it underscores the message that Mischief Reef is not an island, and therefore does not merit a claim to exerting territorial waters.

For the first time since at least 2012, the United States is signaling Beijing that its efforts to dominate the South China Sea will not be meekly accepted, but will be challenged.

Defending Human Rights

In the same period, the family of Chinese dissident lawyer Xie Yang was successfully smuggled out of a Thai prison, where they were being held for extradition to China. Xie is one of several lawyers and human rights activists who have been arrested as Beijing has cracked down on dissent.

The decisive American action stands in contrast to the fumbling by American embassy officials in the case of Chen Guancheng. When the blind human rights lawyer sought refuge in the American embassy in May 2012, American officials were diffident about his status. Chen himself indicated in contemporary interviews that he felt pressured to leave the embassy, as American officials were unable to offer guarantees of his wife’s safety.

It remains unclear what the Trump administration’s overall strategy is for Asia. North Korea continues to push development of longer range missiles able to reach the United States.

The People’s Republic of China, despite promises by President Xi Jinping to President Donald Trump to pressure Pyongyang, has demonstrated limited impact on North Korea; Chinese statistics even suggest that trade between China and North Korea has increased.

While the administration has suggested bilateral trade deals in the region in place of U.S. membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, whether there are any takers and what exactly its new trade strategy is remains unclear.

But for one Chinese dissident’s family, the United States has demonstrated that its commitment to basic principles can take concrete form. And in the middle of the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy appears to be back in the business of defending freedom of the seas. The auguries seem to be improving. (For more from the author of “Trump Signals New US Approach to China With Tough Actions” please click HERE)

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