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Milo Yiannopoulos Apologizes for Remarks, Quits Breitbart

Polarizing writer Milo Yiannopoulos resigned as an editor at Breitbart News on Tuesday and apologized for comments he had made about sexual relationships between boys and men . . .

He said he was resigning from Breitbart, which helped make him a star, because it would be “wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting.”

The apology followed days of criticism from fellow conservatives after the release of video clips in which Yiannopoulos appeared to defend sexual relationships between men and boys as young as 13. (Read more from “Milo Yiannopoulos Apologizes for Remarks, Quits Breitbart” HERE)

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Trump Targets Criminals, Late Arrivals in Immigration Enforcement

The Department of Homeland Security will make prioritization key in its beefed-up enforcement of the border and the interior of the country—removing criminals first, while more recent arrivals will also face expedited removal.

However, critics call it “mass deportation” that will face a legal challenge.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly released implementation memos to agencies to enforce President Donald Trump’s executive orders he signed in January. A key new policy is expanding the number of illegal immigrants subject to “expedited removal” procedures if an illegal immigrant can’t provide evidence they have been in the country for more than two years.

Among other matters, the memos call for moving forward on building a border wall, hiring more Customs and Border Protection agents to stop illegal border crossings, and adding more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to police the interior. Also, the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office was established within ICE.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the actions Tuesday demonstrate the administration is serious about making the country safer.

“The message from this White House and from DHS is that those people who are in this country and pose a threat to our public safety and committed a crime will be the first to go and we will aggressively be making sure that occurs,” Spicer said during the White House press briefing.

The DHS actions are a welcome change from the Obama administration that interfered with immigration enforcement, said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a pro-enforcement group. But, Mehlman added, the emphasis on prioritizing dangerous illegal immigrants is “a lot like the Obama administration.”

“The past administration put a priority on criminals and those that just entered the United States,” Mehlman told The Daily Signal. “The difference is that the Obama administration just focused on recent arrivals at the border, and sent them back. That’s important, but we also need serious interior enforcement.”

The policies won’t survive a court challenge, said Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

“These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyperaggressive mass deportation policy,” Jadwat said in a public statement. “However, President Trump does not have the last word here—the courts and the public will not allow this un-American dream to become reality.”

More than likely, the implementation orders have solid legal ground, said Josh Blackman, an associate professor at South Texas College of Law Houston.

“There is probably not a strong challenge to the order Secretary Kelly signed, but a question of due process could come up regarding expedited removal,” Blackman told The Daily Signal. “If you’re picked up at the border and turned around there usually is no question. Expanding that to being picked up at the interior, that could arguably imply a stronger connection to the U.S. and require due process for removal.”

A legal challenge would have little merit, but doesn’t necessarily mean the administration will prevail, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

“It is well within the administration’s authority, but anyone can file a lawsuit, and that won’t stop errant judges from acting,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.

Spicer stressed that the administration is only enforcing immigration law as it would any other law.

Our job, especially here at the White House, isn’t to call balls and strikes and say this person only violated part of the law. If this was any other subject, if this was tax evasion and we said, ‘Well, they really only cheated on their taxes a little,’ you wouldn’t be saying should they be going to prison or should they be getting a fine. At some point laws are laws. If people have a problem with the law, whether it’s at the local, state, or federal, then we should petition our lawmakers and executives to change it. Our job should not be should this individual not have to abide by the law, should this individual get a pass?

(For more from the author of “Trump Targets Criminals, Late Arrivals in Immigration Enforcement” please click HERE)

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Trump’s Stellar Pick for National Security Adviser

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is a perfect fit for the position of national security adviser, and it is no surprise that his selection by President Donald Trump has delighted many in the defense and national security community.

Trump announced Monday night that McMaster will replace Michael Flynn, the retired Army general who resigned a week ago after he admitted misleading the vice president about the content of a December phone call with the Russian ambassador.

McMaster is a scholar-warrior, much like two fellow flag officers serving in Trump’s Cabinet—retired Marine generals James Mattis and John Kelly.

McMaster is a brilliant strategist who has devoted his Army career to understanding military history and helping America’s armed forces learn from the mistakes of the past in order to fight more effectively in the future. One of us, Thomas Spoehr, can say this with confidence, having known him for many years.

Notably, McMaster wrote a 1997 book, “Dereliction of Duty,” which criticized top military leaders during the Vietnam War for failing to give their candid advice to the president and secretary of defense. As national security adviser, one of McMaster’s key roles will be to provide unvarnished advice to the president.

More recently, as commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment during the Iraq War, McMaster led U.S. forces in beating back an insurgency that was running rampant in the western Iraqi city of Tal Afar, where al-Qaeda had taken control.

In an interview with National Geographic, he described the situation his troops, and the Iraqi people, faced in Tal Afar:

All the schools were closed because of violence, all the marketplaces were closed. There was no power. There was no water. The city was lifeless. People lived in abject fear.

What McMaster did next changed the course not only of one city, but the entire U.S. military strategy in Iraq. He invested in working directly with the Iraqi people and building trust in the U.S. military’s capability to eliminate terrorists threatening their livelihoods. He moved his troops off large bases and brought them in contact with local residents.

In so doing, McMaster contributed to laying the groundwork for a new counterinsurgency strategy implemented by Army Gen. David Petraeus that ultimately would lead to the neutralization of al-Qaeda in Iraq and increased stability throughout the nation.

This strategy was not popular at the time, yet McMaster recognized its potential and was unwavering in his drive to try a new approach. Remaining willing to re-examine strategies and plans is a key attribute for the national security adviser.

McMaster is also just as much a warrior as he is a scholar and brilliant intellectual. He served in the first Persian Gulf War, receiving a Silver Star for his leadership and bravery in the 1991 Battle of 73 Easting, the largest tank-on-tank battle since World War II.

In this 23-minute battle, McMaster’s company destroyed 28 Iraqi tanks, 16 personnel transports, and more than 30 trucks.

These accomplishments speak volumes about McMaster’s professionalism, leadership, and passion for defending America. He is an extraordinary choice to be national security adviser, and Trump was wise to select him.

Going forward, Americans can rest assured knowing that H.R. McMaster will be the man providing national security advice and options to the leader of the free world. (For more from the author of “Trump’s Stellar Pick for National Security Adviser” please click HERE)

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7 Statutes That CLEARLY Support Trump’s Immigration Executive Order

While nullifying Trump’s immigration order, the so-called “judges” were conniving in their omission of any statute. As I noted last week, every part of Trump’s order is covered by multiple statutes. This week, I found two more portions of the Immigration and Nationality Act that support his actions.

Let’s review:

1. INA 212(f) [8 U.S.C. §1182(f)]

Gives the president at-will and absolute power to shut off any immigrant and non-immigrant visa category for any period of time if he determines — subject to nobody else’s review — that it’s in the national interests.

This single statute covers every aspect of the order.

2. INA 215(a)(1)[8 U.S.C. §1185(a)(1)]

Conditions entry or exit of any alien (immigrant and nonimmigrant) to “reasonable rules, regulations, and orders, and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may prescribe.”

No limitations are placed on this power, and it was used by Jimmy Carter during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

3. 8 U.S.C. §1184(a)(1)

Conditions the “admission to the United States of any alien as a nonimmigrant” to “such time and under such conditions as the Attorney General may by regulations prescribe.”

4. 8 U.S. Code §1735

Passed unanimously by Congress in 2002, requires the president to cut off visas to state sponsors of terrorism, which at the time of passage, included five of the seven countries included in Trump’s travel ban.

Trump could easily add Somalia and Yemen to the terror state list and reinstate Iraq and Libya – and it would all be covered under this statute.

5. 8 U.S.C. §1157(a)(2)

Grants the president full authority to set the cap and geographic intake of refugees. Obama used it to the detriment of the country; Trump can use it to protect our security.

After further researching the INA, I found two more applicable provisions:

6. 8 U.S. Code §1201(h)(i)

Makes it clear that the issuance of a visa does not “entitle any alien” to be “admitted [into] the United States, if, upon arrival at a port of entry in the United States, he is found to be inadmissible under this chapter, or any other provision of law.”

Thus if the president, using the other authorities and his war powers, chooses to suspend particular visas, those individuals are inadmissible under law. Furthermore, the statute continues by giving plenary power to customs officials to revoke visas at any time.

[T]he consular officer or the Secretary of State may at any time, in his discretion, revoke such visa or other documentation.
What’s more, this provision of law, which passed the Senate 96-2 in 2004, explicitly stripped the courts of any jurisdiction to adjudicate the revocation of visas for anyone seeking entry into the country (as opposed to someone living here who is being deported).

The jurisdiction-stripping provision includes even a basic habeas corpus petition. How in the world can the courts be allowed to get involved in this matter? It is unconstitutional. I’m glad to see that the state of Texas has made this argument in its amicus brief against the liberal states suing the Trump administration.

7. 8 U.S. Code §1253(d)

Requires the secretary of State to cut off both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to foreign nationals of countries that refuse to repatriate their illegal or criminal aliens. According to the Immigration Reform Law Institute, as reported by The Washington Times, 27 countries qualify for a visa cutoff, including five of the seven countries targeted under Trump’s order (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan).

Accordingly, not only is Trump triple and quadruple covered by statute for every aspect of his immigration order (not to mention his own foreign affairs powers), he is actually required to cut off visas pursuant to several laws. Moreover, the courts have absolutely no authority to even adjudicate a case second-guessing a president’s action with regards to foreign nationals seeking entry into this country. Politics aside, the law is the law.

Yet where is Congress? Where are GOP leaders rushing to join Steve King in condemning the courts even in a non-binding resolution for their display of civil disobedience?

Make no mistake about it. There is not one morsel of legitimacy to these court opinions. They are engaging in civil disobedience and nullification against our most foundational laws governing security and sovereignty of the entire federal union.

As Robert Bork observed during a time when the courts weren’t nearly as rogue as they are today: “To the objection that a rejection of a court’s authority would be civil disobedience, the answer is that a court that issues orders without authority engages in an equally dangerous form of civil disobedience.” (For more from the author of “7 Statutes That CLEARLY Support Trump’s Immigration Executive Order” please click HERE)

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The President Trump Should Be Looking up to (and It’s Not Reagan)

If President Donald Trump is looking for a conservative to model his presidency after, it should be Calvin Coolidge — our 30th (and most underrated) president. Ronald Reagan receives much (deserved) attention from the conservative movement, but even “The Gipper” recognized how principled Coolidge was. So much so that Reagan brought Coolidge’s portrait back into the White House.

As we celebrate Presidents Day, it is fitting to remember Calvin Coolidge. Born on the 4th of July, Coolidge became a lawyer at his father’s urging and quickly rose through the ranks of Massachusetts politics. He served as President Warren Harding’s vice president, and upon Harding’s sudden death in 1923, Coolidge assumed the commander in chief role. The next year, he was elected president in his own right.

During his tenure as president, from 1923 to 1929, taxes were lowered, the economy boomed, and the presidency was relatively scandal-free — a welcome departure from the scandal-ridden Harding years. Coolidge was one of the most and best conservative presidents of the 20th century.

Here are three things you may not know about “Silent Cal.”

He reduced the federal debt

During World War I, U.S. federal debt increased from $1.5 billion to $24 billion in just three years, from 1916-1919. Harding started the process of reducing the debt, and Coolidge carried on after Harding’s death.

Furthermore, total federal spending was reduced by an enormous 43 percent with Coolidge as VP and president from 1921-1924, and the federal debt shrank from $22 billion in 1923 to just south of $17 billion in 1929, when Coolidge left office.

He reduced income taxes

As Conn Carroll writes at Townhall.com, the top income tax rate was lowered from 73 percent to 24 percent from 1921 to 1926 — a 49 percent reduction. In 1925, the tax rate for the lowest tax bracket was reduced to 1.5 percent for people making $4,000 to $8,000 a year, which is the equivalent of around $55,000 to $110,000 in 2016 dollars.

He was a man of his word

Coolidge retained the services of Harding’s “literary clerk” — a precursor to the modern speechwriter — only till 1925. His son, John, long insisted that his father wrote his own speeches, and Coolidge published volumes of his speeches. They include pieces about the importance of religious liberty, the Boy Scouts, civil rights, and patriotism, among many other topics. Coolidge also held the most press conferences of any other president (outside of FDR’s three-term presidency.

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What we need now, more than ever, is for a president who is a man of his word, and one who will reduce the federal debt, reduce taxes, and stand up for religious liberty. President Trump, like Reagan, should look to Calvin Coolidge as an example.

(For more from the author of “The President Trump Should Be Looking up to (and It’s Not Reagan)” please click HERE)

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Rainbow Jihad Case of Barronelle Stutzman Proves: The Courts Own Us

There is no god but the state, and the courts are its messenger.

That was apparent when the Ninth Circuit ran roughshod more than a week ago over an entirely lawful, if not particularly elegant, execution of immigration sanity by President Trump. And on Thursday, emboldened by each and every unchecked usurpation of the legislative process they contrive, the courts stuck a dagger in the back of American sovereignty once again.

This time it was the Washington State Supreme Court that did the dirty work, telling florist Barronelle Stutzman that the true meaning of liberty is to swear undying allegiance to the Rainbow Jihad — First Amendment be (literally) damned.

How much longer can the Constitution take it up the tail pipe before somebody looks these black-robed bullies in the eye and tells them enough is enough?

Why on earth does a sweet old lady like Stutzman, whom I have met, have to do the heavy lifting on this instead of judges, lawyers, and politicians who have sworn an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States?

Your mind is a puddle of mush concerning the definition of marriage? Fine. You are overcome by a ‘nicer than God’ complex concerning immigration? Ok, whatever. While I’m used to the ease with which very smart people have bought into such frauds, I’m also confident that truth can and will win the day on those issues and many other issues if the playing field I am competing on is evenly remotely fair.

Put another way, I still like my odds even with one hand tied behind my back. But what I can’t see is cause for victory on any issue at all if the courts can and will simply veto the result of every scoreboard whose outcome isn’t deemed progressive enough. The living, breathing Constitution is this country’s Kobayashi Maru scenario. It can’t be defeated, because it makes nailing Jell-O to the wall look like a sure thing by comparison.

For if non-citizens have more rights than citizens do — as it seems based on the juxtaposition of these two rulings — the Constitution is actually dead as a door nail.

That’s not remotely how the Founding Fathers viewed its inherent purpose as a check and balance. Which means we have nothing short of a moral, ethical and intellectual coup on our hands. And the fact that the court ruled unanimously to punish Stutzman only makes such a cruel truth all the clearer. The Bill of Rights are simply a dead letter to the fake justice sweeping our land.

But what is a rock sold truth you can bet your house on, according to the Washington State Supreme Court?

That providing flowers to a fake wedding would not serve as an endorsement of that shame because “providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism.”

That’s an actual legal opinion, folks. In a sane world, it should lead to impeachment. But we are not sane. We are the people who claim to worship science, but then deny it when we look between our legs.

For what these hackneyed theologians, not-so-cleverly disguised as judges, are telling you is that the dictates of your moral conscience are null and void if they draw distinctions that grown-ups are expected and encouraged to make all the time. You may have read about that once in a dusty old document that talked about freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly among other things. Our very identities are tied into who and what we choose to be associated with on any given day, just as progressives are screaming from every rooftop about right now concerning whether Trump’s America is a place they want to live.

You know, like fashion designers who decide that the best course of business for their brand is to not dress First Lady Melania Trump, or department stores who decide not to carry the clothing line of First Daughter Ivanka Trump.

Can’t wait until those travesties of justice hit the courts.

The fact that the above legal rendering actually relies on the phrase “does not necessarily constitute” when discussing the endorsement of belief or behavior gets it exactly wrong. What’s in question isn’t how other people might see the same or any other analogous circumstance, but how Barronelle Stutzman sees the particular application of her Christian worldview.

It’s her conscience, not the state’s, and our country was founded on the principle she has a right to it.

A proper understanding of liberty should make that painfully obvious. Yet even if we had such a proper understanding, it would be worthless, too. For we wouldn’t act on it. Oh, we’ll sit there and wax poetic all over conservative media about God-given rights and such. But when faced with a clear and present threat to our ideals, like this one, we’ll suddenly become impotent. Lamenting how terrible things really are while pretending the Founders left us no machinery by which to do something about it.

Progressives use unelected judges to declare war on reality, and as long as fill-in-the-blank fake conservative sticks it to the media in some viral video that provides today’s bread and circus we’re satisfied. We want the click-bait. We want the show.

Are you not entertained?

We don’t seem to want the hard work of self-governing, cleaning house, and standing up for what we believe in. Otherwise what’s happening to Stutzman would be a battle cry to mobilize a movement, instead of barely eliciting yawns.

So the courts own us. Enjoy the abyss. (For more from the author of “Rainbow Jihad Case of Barronelle Stutzman Proves: The Courts Own Us” please click HERE)

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Baltimore Mosque Celebrates the Murderer of a ‘Blasphemer’

Last Sunday a mosque outside Baltimore reportedly honored the assassin of a Pakistani statesman who criticized his country’s blasphemy law.

According to Ehsan Rehan in the Rabwah Times, an online Pakistani newspaper often specializing in religious persecution reporting, here is what happened:

The Gulzar E Madina Mosque in Pikesville, Maryland hosted an “Urs” in honor of the infamous killer on February 12th. Urs is a traditional commemoration usually given to Saints and Holy personages. The Mosque also advertised the event in the February 9th edition of Urdu Times, America’s most widely distributed Urdu language newspaper.

Salman Taseer was governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province when he was killed in 2011 by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri for criticizing Pakistan’s law prohibiting blasphemy against Islam. Specifically Taseer had defended Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman under death sentence since 2009 for supposedly insulting Islam. Another senior Pakistani statesman, Shahbaz Bhati, was also assassinated in 2011 for publicly defending her.

The killer, who shot Taseer 27 times, was unrepentant and was widely supported by protests until his execution under Pakistani law last year. His grave has become a pilgrimage site, and a popular mosque in Islamabad is named in his honor. (Read more from “Baltimore Mosque Celebrates the Murderer of a ‘Blasphemer'” HERE)

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Does Trump’s New Pick for Labor Secretary Have a Cozy Relationship With Fringe Islamic Groups?

R. Alexander Acosta, President Donald Trump’s new nominee for secretary of labor, has a troubling history when it comes to standing up to Islamic supremacist groups in America.

President Trump announced Acosta’s nomination Thursday during a press conference at the White House. Acosta previously served as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the George W. Bush administration. The labor secretary nominee comes with an impressive resume.

A Harvard Law School graduate and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Acosta became dean of Florida International University law school in 2009. He also previously served on the National Labor Relations Board.

During his tenure in the Bush administration, however, Acosta became a celebrated brand amongst fringe Islamic advocacy groups.

In 2005, he received the annual “Friend in Government Award” from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, an extremist anti-Israel group that has made supportive statements toward the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups in the past.

In accepting the award, Acosta stated: “We’re all in this together and we’re all Americans. September 11th was not an attack by one people or one religion against another, but it was really an attack by a few desperate radicals against all of us.” After ignoring the fact that all of the hijackers were Arab Muslims, Acosta went on to showcase how Muslims, too, were killed and victims of the World Trade Center attack.

In 2006, the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) specifically thanked Acosta for refusing to note the Muslim identity of al-Qaeda linked suspects of terror arrests in Miami.

“Given that the reported beliefs of this bizarre group have nothing to do with Islam, we ask members of the media to refrain from calling them ‘Muslims,’” CAIR spokesman Ahmed Bedier said, thanking Acosta for saying that “today’s indictment … is not against a particular group or a particular faith” in his role as U.S. attorney.

In 2011, Alex Acosta testified in a “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims” hearing, in which Democrats argued that police should stop conducting surveillance on potentially radical communities. Instead of discussing the threats promulgating from radicalized communities throughout the country, Trump’s labor secretary nominee lectured Americans about their supposed anti-Muslim tendencies.

He testified:

“As we approach the 10th Anniversary of 9-11, I feel obligated to state the obvious. As a nation, we have not forgotten the events of ten years ago. Emotions remain charged, and the desire to blame remains high. Now is good time to remember that no community has a monopoly on any particular type of crime.”

Acosta is a product of the disastrous policies put in place by the Bush administration to engage already-radicalized elements of the Islamic community in America. This approach led Bush to declare a politically correct “War on Terrorism” in which the administration refused to identify the religiously motivated enemy America was facing, for fear it would somehow upset moderate Islamic communities.

In reality, the Bush policies dutifully carried out by Alex Acosta hindered American efforts to fight global jihadism, and continued to be put into effect throughout President Obama’s unfortunate tenure. (For more from the author of “Does Trump’s New Pick for Labor Secretary Have a Cozy Relationship With Fringe Islamic Groups?” please click HERE)

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The Trump Administration Must Tame the Federal Bureaucracy

In business, whether oil or wheat, Coke or Pepsi, sportswear or auto parts, all firms are known for a relative handful of things. In contrast, the federal government has so many “products” that there’s not a soul in the country who has a grasp on all of them.

Too Much to Keep Track Of

There are 15 Cabinet departments. One of them, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HHS, has 11 “operating divisions.” Doesn’t sound too overwhelming, does it? Eleven is manageable, right?

Let’s pick one of these divisions that most of us value: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Within the CDC are the following: Eleven national “Centers” (for example, the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases), “Offices” for Infectious Diseases, Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health, Public Health Preparedness and Response, and Public Health Scientific Services, and one for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. This last is distinct from the HHS Indian Health Service, which itself has seven offices aside from the office of the director.

Then, of course, there is another prestigious and valuable division of HHS, the National Institutes of Health, composed of 27 distinct institutes and centers that perform research on all manner of diseases, health conditions, and potential treatments.

HHS has a proposed 2017 budget of $1.145 trillion. Were the Department a country, it would be one of the largest, in terms of net worth, in the world.

There is also the maddening fact that there are multiple federal agencies, bureaus, etc. doing exactly the same thing. In a series of reports beginning in 2011, the General Accountability Office has found hundreds of “areas where federal programs or activities are fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative.” While Congress and the Executive Branch have taken productive action in many of the departments reviewed by the GAO, much more remains to be done.

Yet the GAO analyses, important as they are, do not go far enough.

Why does the U.S. Department of Agriculture have a “Rural Housing Service” distinct from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development?

Why is there a Bureau of Economic Analysis in the Department of Commerce, a Division of Research and Statistics within the Federal Reserve System, and an Office of Economic Policy in the Treasury Department? All likely do fine research and analysis, but do they coordinate or integrate their work with one another?

Since all 50 states have departments of education, what’s the point of a U.S. Department of Education? Are states that incompetent or uncaring about their children that they need some unique, otherwise unavailable wisdom that only Washington can provide? Are they so inept that the state education secretaries cannot develop whatever coordination they might need outside the finger-wagging authority of the federal government?

When Loyalty Becomes Territoriality

My purpose is not to disparage the serious work being done in the complex of “corporations” consolidated under the banner of Uncle Sam. Rather, it is to point to an undeniable reality: organizations of this size and expense cannot possibly be monitored and held accountable by either Congress or the public.

The great majority of those working in the federal bureaucracy are diligent and serious professionals. Like any firm, private or public, for-profit or not-for-profit, government has its share of slackers and paycheck-cashers who take advantage of the dedicated efforts of their colleagues.

However, the vast scale of the federal government prohibits public understanding. Of course, not everyone needs to understand what the National Institute of Standards and Technology or the Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders Initiative do.

At the same time, federal programs of any size take on lives of their own. Self-preservation becomes their highest priority. Their common cry becomes, “We’ve been in existence for more than seven decades — how can you possibly think of streamlining us or consolidating our work with another office?!” Loyalty becomes territoriality. Employment becomes entitlement. Pride of authorship becomes defense of territory.

Still, this should not deter a focused, dedicated Chief Executive from moving ahead with his priorities. Ronald Reagan did this. He wanted to defeat Soviet communism, let the engine of the American economy run at top speed, restore America’s military and constrain and, where possible, shrink the size and expense of the federal government. He mostly succeeded in the first three of these and, as to the last two, at least convinced a majority of Americans that Uncle Sam needed a diet.

Divisive Leadership: Not Popular, But Necessary

We’re more divided now than we were in 1981, and even more in need of decisive leadership. Such leadership must be based as much on persuasion as on vision, clear and consistent explanation as well as prudent action.

Persuading and inspiring are more difficult when there are so many competing needs and wants from so many quarters. I once worked for a senior political leader who in his daily speeches hither and yon would talk about the importance of a given audience’s need and interests and assure them he was “passionate” about their issues. Their work, he would say regularly, was a priority for him.

I think he meant what he said when he said it. But if everything is a priority, nothing is. And in the United States today, so many people want so many different things. Now, and without cost, and without government’s intrusions.

These are among the challenges facing our new Chief Executive, a man whose professional life has been composed of potent, even dynamic business leadership. As he contemplates how to foster long-term, non-inflationary growth, thinking about how to streamline, improve, reduce the spending of and bring greater coherence to the federal government must be part of his overall plan. (For more from the author of “The Trump Administration Must Tame the Federal Bureaucracy” please click HERE)

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Decline of Unions Under Right-To-Work Laws Levels Playing Field for Trump

Donald Trump prevailed where other Republican presidential candidates failed in Midwestern states in part because of new right-to-work laws that have diminished the power and influence of the teachers’ unions, according to labor policy analysts.

Final election results have Trump narrowly winning Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by a margin of 47.9 to 46.9 percent over Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. Trump had 1,409,467 votes to Clinton’s 1,382,210.

In Michigan, the margins were even closer with Trump winning that state’s 16 electoral votes with 47.6 percent against Clinton who had 47.3 percent of the vote. Trump had 2,279,805 votes to Clinton’s 2,268,193.

“Did the labor reforms enacted in Wisconsin and neighboring Michigan help Donald Trump win those states?” Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “No question in my mind. Hard to fight when your bazooka’s been replaced by a squirt gun.”

Two teachers’ unions, the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association, both experienced a significant drop in membership since those states passed right-to-work legislation. Such laws prohibit employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment.

Wisconsin became a right-to-work state in 2015, Michigan in 2013. Since then, government figures show, the teachers’ unions in both states have lost thousands of dues-paying members.

The drop has been particularly precipitous in Wisconsin, where in 2011 Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that reformed the state’s collective bargaining process. In fact, the Wisconsin Education Association Council has lost about 60 percent of its members since Walker’s reforms were implemented, an analysis of public records by the Education Intelligence Agency shows.

Under Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, most of Wisconsin’s government workers, including public school teachers, are now required to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits.

Act 10 also limits collective bargaining to wage negotiations, requires annual union recertification, ends the automatic deduction of union dues, and allows for public sector employees to decide whether they want to join a union and pay dues.

Wisconsin’s right-to-work law gives private sector employees the same right to decline union membership and payment of dues.

Diminished Union Clout

The Wisconsin Education Association Council had about 100,000 members before Act 10 passed; the latest figures show the union with 36,074. The decline reflects what has happened nationwide, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Wisconsin, reported.

The Wisconsin and Michigan unions are both affiliates of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union for workers in public schools.

The 3 million-strong NEA lost more than 300,000 members in affiliated state teachers’ unions from 2010 to 2015, according to the analysis by the Education Intelligence Agency cited by the MacIver Institute. That’s a membership decrease of 10 percent.

So what is the political fallout?

“There’s no doubt that with the decline in union membership here in Wisconsin, the political clout of the union bosses and their ability to automatically turn out members for Democrats has declined dramatically,” Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, told The Daily Signal, adding:

When we look at the decline in union membership and compare it to the recent political fortunes of the Democratic Party, you can clearly see that when people are given the ability to choose whether or not they want to join a union we are seeing less people voting for Democrats.

After the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s loss of tens of thousands of paying members, it has become evident that the teachers’ union’s ability to influence the outcomes of elections and public policy decisions has waned in the past few years, Healy added.

“The Wisconsin Education Association [Council] was the single biggest political player in the capital, but after the passage of Act 10 and right-to-work, their membership, which is where they derive their political power, has declined,” he said. “A majority of teachers in Wisconsin have decided that their money is better spent in other ways rather than turning it over to union bosses.”

Trump’s Union Vote

Act 10 has been transformative not just politically, but financially.

A MacIver Institute analysis of the legislation’s budgetary impact found that it saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $5 billion. Most of these savings were generated by requiring government employees to contribute more for their retirement, according to the analysis.

“Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature not only saved Wisconsinites an incomprehensible amount of money but they also fundamentally changed government in Wisconsin forever,” Healy said a year ago.

Trump benefited politically from right-to-work changes in Michigan just as he did in Wisconsin.

But the billionaire developer’s personal appeal with blue-collar union workers gave him an advantage other Republican candidates have not had recently, Vinnie Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank in Michigan, said in an interview.

“The Michigan teachers’ unions, which have led the charge politically in the state, have been weakened in recent years and that certainly helped Trump,” Vernuccio said. “But don’t underestimate the union vote for Trump in key swing states. Exit polls show he did surprisingly well.”

Among union households (where at least one person is a union member), Trump’s margins improved significantly over those of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.

When Michigan passed its right-to-work law in 2013, the Michigan Education Association had 113,147 members, the Mackinac Center reported. By 2016, the union had 90,609 members, a decline of about 20 percent.

‘Knocked Silly’

The Daily Signal sought comment from both the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association on the right-to-work laws in their states and the impact on their membership rolls and political activism. Neither union responded.

“Unions have been knocked silly in Wisconsin, thanks to the one-two punch of Act 10 and right to work,” Patterson, of the Center for Worker Freedom, a Washington-based nonprofit affiliated with Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Signal:

Give people the chance to leave their union, it turns out, and lo and behold there’s a stampede for the door. And these fleeing workers take their money with them, money that unions can no longer use to buy politicians.

John Mozena, vice president of marketing and communications for the Mackinac Center, said in an email that he sees a growing separation between rank-and-file union members and union leaders that worked to Trump’s advantage:

In labor strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri, union leaders have failed to turn out enough voters to create notable electoral consequences for politicians who introduced, supported, or voted for right to work or other worker freedom legislation.

That’s in part because union members have largely come to realize that these laws don’t actually hurt them or their unions. In fact, [the laws] give them as individuals more options than they had before.

Many union members also are voting against candidates that receive the lion’s share of their leaders’ support.

The contrast was most stark in the 2016 election, where almost all union leaders endorsed and used their members’ money to support Clinton. Yet in key states like Ohio, almost half of union members voted for Trump.

The only states to register significant increases in active membership in NEA-affiliated teachers’ unions over five years, according to the Education Intelligence Agency analysis, are Delaware (5 percent), Vermont (8 percent), Montana (16 percent), and North Dakota (19 percent).

Clinton won Delaware and Vermont, but Trump won Montana and North Dakota.

‘Unfortunate Situation’

After spending several months combing through the U.S. Department of Labor’s LM-2 financial disclosure forms, researchers with the Center for Union Facts found that unions directed about $530 million in membership dues to the Democratic Party and to left-leaning special interest groups from 2012 to 2015.

The Center for Union Facts is a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates transparency and accountability on the part of organized labor. Every labor organization that falls under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act must file an LM-2.

Recipients of union donations identified by the Center for Union Facts include Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Governors Association. These donations fall within labor’s political advocacy budgets, which are funded by dues and “disguised as worker advocacy related to collective bargaining—separate from direct campaign contributions,” the center said in a release.

“I do believe a very unfortunate situation has developed where the unions are more focused on politics than they are on collective bargaining or workplace issues,” Richard Berman, the center’s executive director, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Since surveys show that about 40 percent of union households vote Republican, this means the dues of a substantial number of union members are directed toward political causes they do not support, Berman said.

But he said he sees a strong potential for the growing right-to-work movement to level the political playing field in future election cycles, as it did in 2016.

In the meantime, Berman said, the new chairman of the National Labor Relations Board should use the board’s regulatory powers “to provide enough transparency in the area of labor finances” to inform union members of leadership’s activities. (For more from the author of “Decline of Unions Under Right-To-Work Laws Levels Playing Field for Trump” please click HERE)

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