Why the Left Loves Islam — and an Even Stranger Contradiction

For all the craziness in the world, there isn’t much that can match the sheer lunacy of liberals standing for both homosexuality and Islam at the same time. Islamic law calls for death for gays. How can we explain why the left loves Islam they way they do?

The best I can come up with is that gays and Muslims share one thing in common: they’re both minorities in the Western world, and the left is all for standing up for minorities.

It’s a reason. I’m not saying it’s a good one. It’s filled with contradictions. A closer look at it, though, reveals an even worse paradox within liberalism.

Liberals and Power

The reasoning begins with the left’s standard opposition to established power, and to whoever or whatever group is seen as holding that power.

As Jeffrey Hart wrote in 1972, and National Review just recently re-published, the liberal educated class

views history as a series of recurring moral melodramas in which villains or oppressors are continually defeated by their victims. One after another, kings, religious establishments, slave-owners, malefactors of great wealth and tyrants of various kinds, have been brought to earth by those whom they have wronged. It is a secularized version of “the last shall be first.”

This way of looking at the world, says Hart,

“tends habitually to structure reality in terms of what [Kenneth R.] Minogue calls “suffering situations.” As a matter of settled moral habit this sensibility instantly structures events in the political realm in terms of suffering, in terms of oppressor and victim.

The oppressor is bad, the victim is good. Thus a professor blogging at the American Mathematical Society can say that all “cis white men” should quit their jobs or take a demotion just for being members of that group.

No Human Motivation Is All Bad

This isn’t all bad. There was, after all, a day when people of color had no voice, not even a vote. There was a day (I’m old enough to recall it myself) when most people thought a young woman had just four decent career options to choose from: secretary, nurse, teacher or waitress.

There was a day, in other words, when liberals arguably stood for true freedom and justice for those who lacked power in society. But the left lost track of the fact that the problem was never power, but abuse of power. No social system can work without some structure, which means some people must have more power than others. It’s unavoidable. It’s even good: a society without order will quickly collapse.

Power Isn’t All Bad — Unless You Ask a Liberal

And power can be used for others’ good. Jesus explained it in just three sentences:

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:25-28)

Blind to this, though, liberals see power as one leg of a triad, linked inseparably with oppression, the second leg. The third leg is whichever group is guilty of holding that power. Wherever one leg of that triad exists, the other two are there along with it. Thus if there’s a dominant culture, it has power, and it’s bad. In fact it’s pretty much all bad. Other people don’t have power and they’re not bad. It’s just that easy.

If that sounds too simple to be true, consider the claim that all whites are racist and no non-whites can be.

And that’s how Islam, being a minority group, is granted such favor from the left. It’s a minority group, therefore it’s an oppressed group, and thus it’s not bad — even though it was founded in blood, conquest and rape, and continues to mandate death to gays.

The Greater Contradiction on the Left

But the left has committed itself to an even greater contradiction along the way. Over the past few decades, liberals have gained positions of enormous power in education, media, publishing and the arts. Seeing themselves as champions of the weak against the power of straight “cis” white males, they’ve blinded themselves to the fact that they’ve become the Western world’s dominant culture, holders of tremendous power.

And now the left has become a group united in throwing its weight around in order to stop (what they see as) a powerful group throwing its weight around. If they were truly consistent with their own values, they’d be casting themselves out of their own positions of power.

I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. Consistency isn’t the left’s strong point — which is why liberals can support Islam.

I said at the beginning I might be able to suggest a reason they do that. I didn’t promise it would be a good one. (For more from the author of “Why the Left Loves Islam — and an Even Stranger Contradiction” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Ben & Jerry’s Proves Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Is Not Marriage

It certainly wasn’t their intent, but Ben and Jerry’s, the famous, specialty ice cream company, has given us further evidence that same-sex “marriage” is not marriage. How so?

The company, which has long been known for its left-wing activism, went one step further this week. As a headline in the Daily Mail announced, “Ben & Jerry’s BAN customers from ordering two scoops of the same ice cream until Australia legalises gay marriage.”

That’s right. If you want two scoops of New York Super Fudge Chocolate on your ice cream cone, you can’t have it. You’ll have to settle for just one scoop or mix in another flavor.

This is Ben and Jerry’s way of sending a message: “We believe love comes in all flavours.”

As they explained on their website: “Imagine heading down to your local Scoop Shop to order your favourite two scoops of Cookie Dough in a waffle cone,” the company wrote on its website.

But you find out you are not allowed … you’d be furious!

This doesn’t even begin to compare to how furious you would be if you were told you were not allowed to marry the person you love.

So we are banning two scoops of the same flavour and encouraging our fans to contact their MPs to tell them that the time has come make same sex marriage legal! Love comes in all flavours!
Regulating Scoops is a Slippery Slope

You might say, “Well, this sounds somewhat stupid, but how does it prove that same-sex marriage is not marriage?”

I’ll explain in a moment. But first, Ben and Jerry’s should realize they’re heading down a slippery slope.

After all, will they ban three-scoop cones of any flavor until Australia legalizes throuples? And will they ban one scoop of one flavor plus two scoops of another flavor until Australia legalizes polygamy? Hey, love is love, right? And if I have the right to marry the one I love, how about the ones I love? Why not?

The absurdities go on and on.

As my assistant Dylan asked after reading the Daily Mail article,

And perhaps there’s a current loophole (and bigotry) to their current position. What if some chocolate ice cream identifies as vanilla? (I mean, who are they to be so primitive as to label all chocolate ice cream chocolate just because that’s what society has done through the ages.) Can you then go ahead and get a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of trans-flavored (chocolate to vanilla) ice cream?

In all seriousness, I understand that Ben and Jerry’s is not comparing human beings to scoops of ice cream. The company is making a point and showing solidarity. They believe they are standing up for justice and equality. I get all that.

Still, the nature of their protest is self-refuting, demonstrating the point that same-sex “marriage” is not marriage at all.

Let me explain.

Mars + Mars

Let’s say that chocolate represents men and vanilla represents women. You take one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of vanilla and what do you get? Something new. Something distinct. A unique blend of the two flavors. Two entities that are different and yet similar now become one.

That is a picture of marriage, which is the unique blend of male and female, the unique union of two different and yet similar entities. Borrowing imagery from John Gray, marriage is the union of Mars + Venus.

Going back to ice cream, what happens if you get two scoops of chocolate or two scoops of vanilla? What do you end up with? More of the same. The same multiplied. No change in color or flavor. Nothing new created out of the union. You simply have Mars + Mars or Venus + Venus, which does not equal Mars + Venus.

Do you see the point?

I’m sure gay couples will say that their union brings together very different parts and make them into one new, harmonious whole. But marriage is more than that (otherwise every friendship would be a marriage of sorts).

Marriage has always served the purpose of bringing together the uniquely different-but-same entities of male and female. Through the two of them becoming one, a new entity is created: a paired couple. And by design, that paired couple, biologically made for one another, can produce brand new life.

No same-sex couple in the world, however loving or committed they may be, can produce new life in this way. Nor can any same-sex couple demonstrate the fullness of marriage because it is missing the essential components of marriage: Not just two people, but one male and one female.

Quite unintentionally, Ben and Jerry’s has just reminded us of this reality. And while I do appreciate their zeal for cultural causes, maybe they should turn their attention to other pressing issues, like the health risks of obesity.

On second thought, they might not want to tackle that one at all. (For more from the author of “Ben & Jerry’s Proves Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Is Not Marriage” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Why We Must Name, Identify, and Combat the Ideology of Radical Islam

The tragic terrorist bombing in Manchester, England this week reminds us that we cannot just combat radical Muslims, seeking to make our borders secure and fighting them overseas. We must also combat the ideology of radical Islam.

Homegrown Radicals

In 2005, after the horrific London train bombings, many Brits were shocked to learn that three of the four terrorists were born in England. The fourth, born in Jamaica, was raised in England from the age of 5.

These four men potentially had access to the best England had to offer. They were raised in an environment of religious freedom. Yet they ended up murdering children, women, and men in cold blood. And they did it in the name of Allah. Why?

We now know that the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, was also born and raised in England after his parents fled to the UK from Gaddafi’s Libya. Abedi’s family was reportedly “devout and well-known to be against Isis and Islamism. Abedi’s father, known as Abu Ismael, was described in glowing terms at the Didsbury Mosque where he and the family worshipped.”

According to a family friend, Abedi’s father used to lead early morning prayer calls. “And his boys learned the Qur’an by heart.”

But, according to this friend, the father, Abu Ismael, “will be terribly distraught. He was always very confrontational with jihadi ideology, and this Isis thing isn’t even jihad, it’s criminality. The family will be devastated.”

If this report is accurate, these were devout Muslims who repudiated violent Islamic theology. How, then, did the son come to embrace it? Or was his embrace of radical Islam the direct result of him memorizing the Quran as a child?

We Have to Verbally Identify ‘Radical Islam’

There are some who argue that there is no such thing as radical Islam, only Islam. Islam itself is evil and, by nature, a violent religion. Others argue that violent Islam is not Islam at all, and that Islam, by nature, is a peaceful religion.

My position has been that both the peaceful and violent expressions of the faith can be found within Islam. That’s why I use the qualifying term “radical Islam.”

Let’s put that debate aside for a moment. We can all agree that there is a barbaric and violent ideology that justifies its actions using Islamic texts, traditions, and history. That is the ideology commonly called “radical Islam.” That ideology that must be combated.

The Obama administration argued that this terrorist ideology had nothing to do with Islam. He said to associate it with Islam was to offend the Muslim world. But that strategy was doomed to fail.

First, it paralyzed intelligence and law enforcement agencies, since they had to purge any references to “Islam” from their manuals. How can you combat something you cannot name?

Second, since we were not allowed to identify radical Islam, we could not identity its roots and its appeal. How could we stop people from being radicalized by Islam if Islam (in any form) is not the problem?

For eight years our government avoided offending the Muslim world by refusing to say “Islamic terrorism.” How did that strategy pay off in terms of intelligence dividends? Did Muslims across America come forward in large numbers to help uproot radical Islamic terrorism? Not to my knowledge.

Questions to Ask

What we need to do now is what we should have been doing all along.

We need to ask who is getting radicalized. We need to ask how they are getting radicalized.

What ideology appeals to them? What type of individual is likely to get recruited? Why do they hate us so deeply?

Let us profile in the best sense of the word, the way Israeli airline security profiles passengers and the way behavioral analysis units profile criminals. (Think Criminal Minds.)

But the goal is not to profile Muslims. The goal is to profile people who are likely to be radicalized. If 99 percent of them are Muslims, then that is part of the profile. How do we identify that small percentage of the Muslim population likely to be recruited for terror? Peace-loving Muslims should lead the way in helping expose and uproot these dangerous weeds growing in their midst.

We need to ask who is doing the recruiting and how they are succeeding. Which leaders or groups are doing the work? How are they doing it? To what extent is it happening in mosques or Islamic centers or prisons or online?

Muslim Leaders Must Condemn All Terror

And we need to call on Muslim leaders across the world to denounce Islamic terror and to combat it, without caveat or qualification. That means that if a Muslim suicide bomber blows up people in Israel or England or France, the action must be condemned unequivocally.

Islamic theologians and political leaders must unite and say, “That is not Islam, and that is a hell-bound murderer, not a martyr.”

While some Muslim leaders have done this with consistency (although, more rarely when it comes to attacks against Israelis), all too many others have not.

In his book 111 Questions on Islam, Samir Kahlil Samir pointed to “the final document released at the end of the summit held in Beirut in January 2002, in which more than two hundred Sunni and Shiite ᷾ulemā’ [Islamic scholars], coming from thirty-five countries, participated.” They were discussing suicide attacks in Israel and whether those could be justified in the name of Islam, which otherwise opposes suicide.

The document stated this: “The actions of martyrdom of the mujāhidīn are legitimate and have their foundation in the Qur’ān and in the prophet’s tradition. They represent the most sublime of martyrdoms because the mujāhidīn accomplish them in full conscience and freedom of choice.”

This is heinous and despicable, yet it was the verdict of a wide range of multi-national Islamic scholars.

In 2001, another prominent Muslim leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi of Egypt, claimed that “nobody can declare that it is unlawful to fight with all means against the [Israeli] occupation.” He wrote that “jihād on the way to God and in the defense of the country, of homeland, and of sacred things is today an obligation for all Muslims more than in any other period in the past.” And this did not only apply in “Palestine.” It also applied “in Kashmir, and in other hot spots in the world.”

Mainstream Muslims, We Need You

Only Muslim leaders can end this debate. If Islam is not, by nature, a violent religion, then the top Muslim voices across the world must denounce it and combat it. And they must help the West combat it. Is this too much to ask?

When a demented Christian kills an abortion doctor, Christian leaders immediately denounce the act, calling it murder. We disassociate ourselves from the crime. We rightly state that it is has no basis in our faith. We re-affirm that we are pro-life (not pro-murder). That’s why these violent “Christian” acts are so few and far between, despite our passionate stand against abortion.

And what if, God forbid, there was a wave of violent attacks in the name of Jesus and the New Testament? We would speak out all the more and do our best to expose the false, murderous, unbiblical ideology. “This has nothing to do with Jesus!”

Why shouldn’t Muslims do this around the world when it comes to their faith? And why shouldn’t they join forces with non-Islamic governments to combat Islamic terror? (This is what President Donald Trump called for in his speech in Riyadh.)

If, in fact, real Islam is violent Islam, then it is Islam we must combat. If, to the contrary, radical Islam is a deviant form of Islam, then mainstream Muslims must work with us to uproot it.

Either way, the time for pussyfooting around the obvious is over. The blood of slaughtered British children is crying out from the ground. (For more from the author of “Why We Must Name, Identify, and Combat the Ideology of Radical Islam” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Why Notre Dame’s Graduates Should Have Listened to Vice President Pence

Vice President Mike Pence gave the Commencement address at Notre Dame this past Sunday in his home state of Indiana. He praised Notre Dame as a “vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas.” But the Vice-President criticized the political correctness that has become common elsewhere.

Ironically, a group of graduates took the opportunity to walk out during the Vice-President’s speech. This was a planned demonstration on the part of 50-100 students, less than 5 percent of the 2,100 graduates gathered.

Some demonstrators had the rainbow colors associated with gay rights advocacy draped around their necks. One said she hoped the protest would “send a message” to the Notre Dame administration that someone “more inclusive” would have been preferred. Aside from his current role, when Mr. Pence was governor of Indiana, he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Critics claimed this Act would have violated the civil rights of the gay community. The Act was soon amended.

Honor the University, Respect the Invited Speaker

The Notre Dame students are entitled to disagree with Pence. To their credit, they walked out silently and respectfully. But boycotting the Vice President’s address makes little sense. As University President John I. Jenkins said in his introduction to Pence, “political leaders are necessary for society, and we must strive with them to serve the common good.” That was also true in 2009 when President Jenkins and his staff invited the new President Barack Obama to give the commencement address.

If Pence has supported policies that are unpopular with some Notre Dame constituents, that was certainly true of President Obama as well. I don’t recall if Notre Dame students walked out on President Obama in 2009. But if they did, they were wrong to do so.

Sitting respectfully while an invited guest addresses you — even a guest you dislike or disagree with — is something expected of adults. It’s something I’ve done many times, both as a student at liberal bastion U.C. Berkeley and in more recent years.

All of the Notre Dame faculty were presumably required to attend commencement in 2009 and 2017. No doubt some of them did not vote for either the Obama-Biden or Trump-Pence tickets. On commencement day, it doesn’t matter. The distinguished speaker chosen by the university (their employer) is addressing the audience. The respectful thing to do is to honor the university and the speaker by remaining in your seat.

I understand that students tend to view themselves as paying customers. And the customer is always right. But after graduation, they are students no longer. Why not take that last day to put into practice the civility and tolerance that will be expected of them in society? (For more from the author of “Why Notre Dame’s Graduates Should Have Listened to Vice President Pence” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

The Education Budget Has a Lot to Love and a Little to Critique

The Trump administration’s full budget for education for fiscal year 2018 would make some long-overdue cuts at the Department of Education.

The proposal targets reductions in spending totaling $9 billion–a 13 percent cut in the agency’s current $68 billion annual budget. That type of reduction signals a serious commitment to reducing federal intervention in education–a necessary condition to make space for a restoration of state and local control.

Program Eliminations and Spending Reductions

The budget proposal includes actual reductions in spending and program count. As Andrew Ujifusa at EdWeek reported, it would be the largest single-year percentage cut in the department’s discretionary budget since President Ronald Reagan’s 1983 budget proposal.

In recognition that many federal education programs are better supported–and appropriately supported–by state and local as well as private funds, the budget would eliminate several competitive grant programs. It would cut the Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, and International Education programs. It would also eliminate some larger programs that are overdue for re-examination.

Eliminates 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The budget would eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC), which appropriates federal taxpayer funding to after school programs during non-school hours.

Not only is this not an appropriate activity in which the federal government should engage, but there is no evidence that the program, started in 1994, is improving outcomes for participants.

Rigorous scientific evaluations of the program have found that the 21stCCLC program failed to improve homework outcomes for participants and had harmful impacts on academic and behavioral outcomes.

As my colleague David Muhlhausen has written, “advocates of evidence-based policy should applaud the president’s fiscally responsible decision” to eliminate this ineffective and inappropriate federal program.

Zeroes-out Title IV funding. The budget would eliminate a new program created under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the successor to No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

The program, known as the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant, authorized at up to $1.6 billion (appropriated at $400 million last year), is designed to bolster technology and student health efforts, among other purposes. The budget correctly identifies new programs added under ESSA as growing, rather than reducing, federal intervention in education, and eliminates funding.

Eliminates Title IIA grants. The budget also eliminates Title IIA of the Every Student Succeeds Act–the Supporting Effective Instruction program, which appropriates some $2.4 billion in federal taxpayer dollars to teacher professional development programs and for class size reduction.

As with the other programs this budget zeroes-out funding for, teacher professional development programs are not the purview of the federal government. And evidence suggests there is little return on investment from teacher professional development programs or class size reduction as a means of improving student academic achievement.

Federal Funding for New School Choice Programs

The budget would establish two new federal forays into funding school choice–an effort that should be reserved for state and local governments.

Additional money for Title I. The budget would establish a new grant program under Title I totaling $1 billion, with the goal of allowing students to take this new funding to public schools of choice.

Title I is the largest federal K-12 education program, and is designed to provide additional federal funds to low-income school districts. Spending on Title I has grown significantly in recent years.

The additional $1 billion Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) program would take Title I spending up to nearly $16 billion ($15.9 billion), up from $12.8 billion just a decade ago. Instead of giving states an option on Title I portability within the existing confines and spending of the program (a worthwhile policy goal), enabling students to use funds at a school of choice, this appears to be a new sub-program established under Title I.

Launching yet another new program at the federal level moves in the wrong direction, growing–rather than reducing–federal intervention in K-12 education.

New funding for research grants and voucher programs. The budget also increases spending under the Education Innovation and Research Fund, from $100 million to $370 million, in order to study the impact of school choice, and potentially to expand school choice.

The federal government is not the appropriate vehicle for studying state-based school choice programs. Scholars across the country conduct high-quality, rigorous assessments of state-based school choice programs, and those individuals and teams should remain at the forefront of that work.

The $370 million would also be available to advance private school of choice. Although choice is worthwhile policy, it should be done at the state and local level, not through new federal spending via a program designed for research and evaluation.

The Trump administration has outlined a budget that rightly downsizes spending and program count at the Department of Education–a long-overdue step that can pave the way for a restoration of state and local control of education.

And in that spirit, school choice should also remain a state and local endeavor, save for federal spending related to military-connected children, children attending Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools, and children residing in the District of Columbia. One balance, reductions in spending and program count show an education budget that moves in the right direction. (For more from the author of “The Education Budget Has a Lot to Love and a Little to Critique” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Roger Ailes, Donald Trump and Spiritual Warfare

Last weekend Donald Trump spoke at Liberty University, which is the largest Christian university in the world. Not long after that, he found himself facing the greatest crisis he’s faced since entering the election. I do not think this is a coincidence. I think that there are forces in play in our world that are not from our world. Powers, principalities, dominions. They are forces of accusation and expulsion. They play us, and they play for keeps.

Spiritual Attacks Don’t Absolve Responsibility

I think the attacks on Fox News are part of this pattern of spiritual warfare as well.

Now, when I say things like that, hard core Fox and Trump supporters want to stand up and yell, “Amen!” as if I’m blaming their problems on the devil. If that’s your reaction, then you are misunderstanding me. Spiritual warfare may involve an attack of the dark forces, but it almost always involves a failure on the part of those who are attacked. The Accuser is clever: he attacks where his targets are weak. He enters where he is permitted to enter.

I argued in my masters-level thesis that the spiritual warfare against Adam and his wife was successful because of the first failure of Adam in the Garden of Eden: Adam allowed the serpent into the garden in the first place. Adam failed to protect his wife from an act of spiritual warfare. The eating of the forbidden fruit was the result of earlier failure to protect and defend. The serpent should not ever have been in the garden!

It seems fairly clear that Fox’s top management, like Adam before, failed to protect “the woman” from predation. Fox rode culture war outrage about the War on Christmas … picked fights about coffee cups … built its market dominance on outrage about Bill Clinton’s pattern of sexual harassment — and most of that was delivered by pretty girls in very short cocktail dresses.

Like the DNC, Fox learned to avert its gaze away from sexual dissolution and abuse because the predator was a “winner.” Many Trump apologists did the same.

Is Fox a victim of spiritual warfare? Yes, I think it is. But that fact does not absolve Fox from responsibility. Adam and his bride were the victims of spiritual warfare from the serpent, but that did not absolve them of responsibility.

‘He Who Guards His Lips Guards His Life’

I see the same with Donald Trump. He could have spent his life learning to grow as a leader. Not a deal-maker, not a “winner,” but a leader. He could have mastered the book of Proverbs. My friend James Robison said (almost prophetically) before Trump’s latest scandal, that he wished Trump would Tweet Proverbs rather than his usual zingers. I think that James is right to focus on Proverbs.

During the election when Christians would tell me how much they like Trump because ‘He speaks his mind,” I would ask them if they’d ever read the Book of Proverbs. “He who guards his lips guards his life.” Trump is often the very opposite of the wise son in Proverbs. Speaking your mind is the habit of fools.

It is precisely this character flaw which has now left him open to assault. He is unable to guard his tongue. His long history of blurting things out has now come back to haunt him. For many early Trump supporters his lack of verbal discipline was refreshing, even cathartic. He was their primal scream. This was true for many evangelical Christians, which tells me that the state of Biblical ignorance among evangelicals in this nation is at crisis levels.

Now, I have friends — good friends — who endorsed Trump. I gave them no grief then, or now. I understand that he was the less bad of the two viable candidates. They knew his problems, admitted them, and cast an unenthusiastic vote for him.

I’m not talking about people like that. I’m talking about Christian leaders who helped him win the primary. I’m also talking about Christian leaders who had spent years banging on about Clinton’s sexual harassment, about the “death of outrage” and how “if his wife can’t trust him, how can America?” and “character matters,” who then were mute about Trump and O’Reilly’s history of predation.

In the Face of Spiritual Attack, Repent

Evangelical Christianity has become deeply intertwined with both Trump and Fox. That means we have pulled God’s name and His honor into this mess. Did we think He would just stand by and let these institutions, which cynically used His name and His people for wealth and power, continue to sully Him and us?

What’s the answer? Repent. I’m not talking about caving in to the forces of leftism: I’m talking about depriving them of ammunition. The Trump Administration needs to adopt a culture of wisdom, of verbal self-control, of humility.

Our conservative institutions need to repent of Don Draper conservatism, give women the respect and protection conservatism and Christianity demand. We need to repent of celebrity idolatry and stop defending the indefensible.

Repentance is a strong defense against spiritual warfare. I think it’s St. Theresa who said that you cannot be accused of that which you have already confessed to and repented of. (For more from the author of “Roger Ailes, Donald Trump and Spiritual Warfare” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

The Double Standard for Muslims and Christians

I’m sure you’ve already seen the unfolding controversy. It seems that country singer Toby Keith agreed to sing for a gathering of the Christian group Promise Keepers. It’s an all-male group. In the name of fostering “comradeship,” the organization planned to restrict attendance to men. That’s what sparked the outrage.

Major articles appeared in Vanity Fair and the New York Times. They denounced the concert as “misogynist” and “transphobic.” Feminist groups condemned Promise-Keepers as “patriarchal woman-haters” who “use the rhetoric of theocracy and male control over women’s bodies.” The National Organization for Women threatened to launch a boycott of the state of Alabama.

Leading Alabama legislators asked state regulators to look into prohibiting the conference. The state’s Chamber of Commerce chimed in to support a ban. It warned of the need to “protect the business atmosphere here for future jobs and investment.”

Priests from the local Jesuit college, Springhill, sponsored a campus-wide “teach-in.” The topic? Female empowerment and the need for more headline female country singers, plus women in the Catholic priesthood.

Spin magazine ran a piece by the head of Toby Keith’s record label. It warned of canceling Keith’s upcoming album.

At last, within 48 hours of the concert being announced, Keith pulled out and apologized. Organizers might cancel the conference itself. Antifa protestors from colleges across the country and leaders of Black Lives Matter warned on social media that they would show up and “disrupt Promise Keepers, disrupt Trump!” Several prominent business leaders on the board of Promise Keepers have withdrawn from membership. Social media protests had targeted their companies’ shareholders and customers.

Okay, Kidding!

Now, strictly speaking, none of the above is true. Not a word.

But did you find it implausible? Or didn’t it seem exactly the way that cultural coercion plays out in today’s America — when conservatives or Christians are involved?

In fact what is happening is this: Mr. Keith is performing at an all-male concert, all right. But it is in Saudi Arabia. The concert coincides with Donald Trump’s state visit to that theocratic absolute monarchy. CNN reported on the concert. It didn’t even mention that women can’t attend. Excluded. CBS News did note the ban on both women and beer. But it didn’t seem to consider either exclusion controversial. It just noted the female ban deadpan, as if reporting on the weather. Spin magazine weighed in, but only to snark about Keith’s apparent fondness for Donald Trump.

I was only able to find one prominent voice criticizing the concert for keeping out women. Washington Post blogger Alyssa Rosenberg wrote a piece. She complained that the concert is “segregated.” She noted briefly that the Saudi government oppresses women. But even she spent more than half her column sniping at Keith for his right-leaning views.

Strict Scrutiny for Westerners, Whites, and Christians

Isn’t that funny? Why are mostly white, Western or Christian institutions subject to the strictest scrutiny? Progressives weigh their every policy against the latest list of tender sensibilities. Their every choice goes under a microscope. Does it offend one of an ever-expanding (updated hourly) list of “marginalized” groups? Any violation will be punished with maximum savagery, innocent bystanders be damned.

Muslim Autocracies Are Just Exotic and Cool

But whole countries like Saudi Arabia get a pass. Meanwhile, their record of abusing women is staggering and inhuman. Rape victims in Saudi Arabia can be flogged for committing adultery. The only loophole? If they can produce four adult male witnesses to testify that the sex was non-consensual. There is no law forbidding marital or statutory rape.

Saudi women miss out on a lot more than Toby Keith concerts. They cannot drive cars. The reasons I’ve seen listed for that vary according to the Islamic cleric cited. They range from dangers to women’s reproductive systems, to that well-known side-effect of riding over bumpy roads: insatiable sexual arousal.

Saudi Arabia regularly executes homosexuals. And Muslims who announce they are leaving Islam. Indeed, that country is one of the most aggressive on earth in employing the death penalty for a wide variety of offenses. Child marriage is common. Likewise forced marriages imposed on women by their fathers and brothers.

Christian churches, bibles, and symbols are totally prohibited. They’re even denied to the thousands of enserfed foreign workers who toil in Saudi households. Even embassies (technically foreign soil) come under the ban. Female genital mutilation is widespread in parts of the country.

None of this stopped Hillary Clinton from recruiting Huma Abedin as her “body woman” and likely chief of staff (had she won). Abedin worked with her family on a Saudi-founded and funded journal promoting Saudi-style sharia around the world. None of this stopped Georgetown University from accepting $20 million from a Saudi prince in 2008 to fund its Islamic studies program. Flashback to 1978: Would Georgetown have taken that kind of money from the Republic of South Africa, for a program on race relations?

Treating Muslims Like Mischievous Pets

There’s a powerful double standard at work. It comes to us via multiculturalism. We only hold white, Western, and especially Christian institutions to fully human standards. We treat Muslims in particular as if they were lovable, mischievous pets. The same progressives who denounce Christian churches as “patriarchal” damn critics of Islam as “Islamophobes.” That’s deeply degrading to Muslims as human beings. Much more importantly, it is dangerous to us.

Since I believe that Muslims and country singers are equally human, I’ll say it: I don’t think Toby Keith should sing in Saudi Arabia. I don’t think President Trump should visit that hell on earth, or that the U.S. should pretend that the country is an ally. Instead it is the Comintern for the new face of totalitarianism — a country that exports jihad and jihadists, that accepted zero refugees from Syria but spent millions building them mosques in Germany and Sweden, that keeps a fragile peace in its unjust society by projecting discontent outward: into the West, where we are the victims. (For more from the author of “The Double Standard for Muslims and Christians” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Is Trump Under Spiritual Attack?

Do I wish that President Trump would exercise more self-restraint in what he says? Yes, indeed. Just so, as a student I wished that my garrulous mailman dad wouldn’t insist on telling “hilarious” ethnic jokes at Yale parent nights.

Republicans are burning up massive energy defending, explaining, or even mastering the facts about Trump’s free-wheeling statements. It could be better used on almost anything else. Think of all the crucial points of policy that are going unaddressed.

The Trump White House came up with a fine executive order defending religious liberty. Then it apparently caved under pressure, and gave us the leaf without the fig.

Trump promised to back the First Amendment Defense Act, which would have written those same protections into law. No sign of the White House pushing for it in Congress.

Replacing Obamacare with something that’s actually better deserves many hours of time on the part of the president and his staffers. It didn’t get it.

Defunding Planned Parenthood might happen, or it might not, depending on some backroom legislative noodling.

The wall he promised on our country’s chaotic southern border. Will it get built? It’s anybody’s guess.

The president could use his bully pulpit and majority in two houses of Congress to make real progress on all these fronts. But he’s too busy right now disputing overblown charges that he obstructed justice by hinting that General Michael Flynn shouldn’t be prosecuted for making a harmless phone call to a Russian diplomat, then firing FBI director James Comey for a weird and changing list of reasons — all of them valid, but he really should have settled on one.

Hate Housefires? Stop Drinking Flaming Shots.

Let’s say you need to rewire your house and install a new heating system. It’s hard to focus on that when you’re too busy rushing back and forth pouring water on little housefires. But you just seem to keep on setting them, because of your habit of drinking flaming tequila shots on the couch. Aw, shucks, it happened again.

Never-Trump Republican John Podhoretz wrote a fine column in the New York Post. In it, he warns President Trump that he needs to zip his mouth and gird his loins. Or else he’ll face a presidency that history will mock as a sputtering failure. It’s written in the spirit of a boxing coach. Think of Burgess Meredith in Sly Stallone’s corner in Rocky. He’d berate the bull-headed boxer not to drop his guard or lead with his chin. Rocky didn’t see that kind of advice as hostile, and neither should Trump.

Given his real business successes, I cannot really believe that Trump is the kind of onion-skinned narcissist who demands that his fans back even his self-defeating mistakes. That’s the kind of uncritical, unconditional love that liberal Christians demand from God. They will surely be disappointed. So will any politician. This isn’t North Korea, and conservatism isn’t a cult.

Trump Is Under Attack. And Not Just By Humans.

Given the profound evils that Trump has promised to confront, from Islamic terrorism to Planned Parenthood, from the persecution of Christians to the chaos on our country’s borders, we should not be surprised that he is being assaulted. No, I don’t mean by liberals, misguided people whose policies are poorly reasoned or based in raw emotion.

I mean by principalities and powers. By the spirits who (in the words of the prayer to St. Michael the archangel) “roam the earth, seeking the ruin of souls.” If you think (and you’d better) that your soul matters enough to Satan that he will bother to send you a tempter, just imagine the horde he dispatches to batter the president. They goad him to say foolish things, make rash decisions, and most of all to cave on his core principles — then fight like a tiger over trivialities.

Our president has too much power. As conservatives, we know that. But here we are. One man has the authority to:

Launch a nuclear holocaust;

Invade foreign countries without Congress’s say-so;

Issue executive edicts that distort the meaning of laws; and

Direct an army of unaccountable bureaucrats to skew their reading of tens of thousands of regulations, crippling businesses or citizens who disagree with him.

That’s a ludicrous pile of power for one man’s shoulders. And power is what the Enemy sniffs after like a jackal who scents some bacon.

America on the Knife Edge

This is a crucial watershed in American culture and history. We are teetering on the knife edge between a normal, functioning country where the Church is permitted to preach, and something much darker and uglier: a post- and anti-Christian Leviathan.

Look at the profane hysteria, the toxic boiling hatred that Trump and his voters provoked among progressives. That’s true even when they support policies to the left of President Bill Clinton’s on most crucial issues. That tells us just how far the “mainstream” has slid down the hill toward madness. You also know how divided our nation is. How fragile is public order?

Centrist speakers can’t even take a microphone at major universities, for fear that hooded militants will attack them and their audience with flagpoles. Police and firefighters get shot by racist extremists. Academic feminists sue to use the federal government to silence their colleagues on campus. College students alternate, schizophrenically, between ultra-fragile snowflakes who will crumble at untoward opinions — and hordes of brick-throwing, outraged insurgents.

Just Because the Media are Biased Doesn’t Mean Trump Isn’t Making Mistakes

Journalistic standards, never immune to liberal bias, have virtually collapsed. So we really shouldn’t be shocked when newspapers grossly distort and exaggerate the president’s behavior. When they cast him as a lawbreaker who needs to be impeached — for behaving in just the same ways that Barack Obama did (in between penning yet another auto-hagiography, and collecting a Nobel Prize simply for showing up). When they act as if normal back-and-forth and influence trading in the White House is evidence of “chaos at the top.”

We should also avoid the temptation of dismissing any criticism of the president, simply because so much of it is foolish, overheated, or grounded in evil motives. The fact that liberals will lie, or distort the truth, to harm President Trump, doesn’t mean he isn’t making some real mistakes.

Trump, Find Your Inner Coolidge

His greatest mistake, I think, is giving so much credence to people who clearly despise him. Not just him, but the millions of “deplorable” voters who put him in office. He keeps trying to beat the media and political elites at their own game by being clever on Twitter, or tweaking them in speeches. What he needs to do is find his inner Calvin Coolidge and ignore them.

He should drill down on the issues that drove voters to put him in office, and doggedly push them forward. That means building a wall, protecting religious liberty, promoting more pro-life policies, and a long list of other things that would outrage our nation’s elites, while actually accomplishing something. That means listening to people like Steve Bannon, who helped him get elected, rather than Jared Kushner, whose sister is selling U.S. visas in China.

Yes, the left will wail and gnash their teeth, but they’re doing that already. They couldn’t hate Trump any more than they already do. He needs to see how liberating that is.

What we need to do is step back from panicking over the president, or desperately defending him in futile Tweets and Facebook posts. Instead we should see the deeper stakes of the battle at hand. And that should drive us daily to pray for the president: that God grant him the virtues of temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude, for the toughest job on earth. That’s the only real power we have. It’s quite enough. (For more from the author of “Is Trump Under Spiritual Attack?” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.