April 1, 2020

Maddow Called Trump’s Claim About Navy Medical Ships ‘Nonsense.’ Wrong Again

Last week, Rachel Maddow called Trump’s claim that Navy medical ships would be ready in a week ‘nonsense.’ The USNS Comfort arrived in NYC this morning.

Just over one week ago, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow called President Trump’s claim that two U.S. Navy medical ships would soon be operational “nonsense.” By Monday morning, both ships had arrived at their destinations in Los Angeles and New York City.

“There is no sign that the Navy hospital ships that the President made such a big deal of — the Comfort and the Mercy — there’s no sign that they’ll be anywhere on-site helping out anywhere in the country for weeks yet,” Maddow said during a March 20 broadcast of her show.

“The president said when he announced that those ships would be put into action against the COVID-19 epidemic. He said one of those ships would be operational in New York harbor by next week. That’s nonsense. It will not be there next week,” she claimed.

But on Monday morning, the USNS Comfort arrived in New York Harbor as crowds awaited, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

The ship houses roughly 1,000 beds and a dozen operating rooms and will be used to ease the strain that the virus outbreak has put on the city’s hospital system. Patients who have not contracted the virus but who urgently need care will be treated aboard the ship.

At its send-off from Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, President Trump called the ship “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York” amid the nation’s war with “an invisible enemy.”

In a news conference at its arrival in the city, Gov. Cuomo said the ship will act as a “relief valve for hospitals that are struggling now, that are over capacity all over this city.”

Mayor de Blasio called the ship’s entrance “absolutely extraordinary” and “inspiring.”

Actor Hugh Jackman captured the triumphant arrival on video and made sure to thank everyone involved in getting the ship ready to go.

“Wow, look at this — this is history. To all the doctors, all the nurses, and everyone involved with the Navy, thank you, thank you, thank you — you guys are amazing,” Jackman said.

Last Friday, the USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles and by Monday it was already treating patients, the Department of Defense reported.

By Phil Shiver


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5 Major Paradigm Shifts The Wuhan Flu Crisis Has Revealed Americans Need

Our first priority amid coronavirus must be neutralizing immediate threats to health and safety, but the disruption also provides a chance to engage in national reflection.

Crises have a way of revealing critical, unspoken truths. If we can recognize these truths, we can emerge from such crises significantly stronger. While America’s first priority in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus crisis must be neutralizing immediate threats to the health and safety of our people, the disruption of our lives also provides an opportunity to engage in national reflection.

If we do so, amid the pandemic hysteria, several critical signals emerge. Acknowledging those signals today and internalizing them tomorrow can help us prevent, or be better positioned to handle, such Black Swan shocks to our system in the years ahead.

1. Communist China Is a Global Menace

When the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic arose and began spreading, for weeks the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sought to cover it up, with deadly consequences for the world. When communist China was blamed, it not only refused to take responsibility, but slandered America for pointing the finger, to the point of calling the United States culpable as part of a disinformation campaign.

The CCP even threatened, via a state-backed publication, to cut off essential medical supplies should Americans continue speaking openly and honestly about the CCP’s role in creating the crisis. Then the CCP cynically tried to act as a savior for the crisis it created.

Every day this pandemic persists, and long after it is neutralized, we must remember the CCP bears by far the greatest responsibility of any party for this pandemic. If the CCP is not made to pay in a meaningful sense for the global catastrophe it caused, it will continue to act with impunity in its quest for hegemony, guaranteed.

This pandemic should represent the most tangible sign yet for all of America that we must decouple from communist China in every strategically significant sector. We cannot put our survival in the hands of a hostile adversary.

2. Coronavirus Starkly Illustrates Globalism’s Downsides

The Chinese coronavirus pandemic should serve as a figurative punch in the mouth to the Davoisie class. This pandemic spread as a result of human-to-human transmission beginning in a far-flung province in central China. As it metastasized, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations-based agency on which governments around the world rely, parroted the Chinese Communist Party’s chosen narratives, including that the Wuhan virus could not be passed from one human to another, and that it was “racist” to refer to the virus by its place of origin.

The chief praiser of China’s response, and propagator of its favored messages, was WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He won that position with Chinese backing and collaborated with China as Ethiopia’s health minister.

As the pandemic spread to the United States and criticism of the CCP grew, China again threatened to leverage its dominant position in the production of essential medical supplies to cut off Americans from vital equipment. It signaled that either we tow the CCP line or people will die.

This series of events perfectly illustrates the downsides to the globalist agenda of open borders, global political institutions, and global economic integration at all costs. It perfectly illustrates the merits of an America First, nationalist agenda, including a focus on border control, national sovereignty, and eschewing of global institutions, as well as an economic independence combined with truly free, fair, and reciprocal trade. Does anyone believe America would have been hit as hard by coronavirus if China were not so deeply integrated into our architecture?

3. We Must Establish Principles for Dealing with Crises

As a society, we must create some agreed-upon principles for dealing with a pandemic or analogous crisis. One of the most astounding aspects of the response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic has been the willingness of our leaders to call for societal shutdown based on shoddy data and flawed source models. Those leaders have definitively damaged our economy, stretched the limits of constitutional governmental power, and threatened to inflame and endanger civil society by forcing people to comply with draconian lockdowns while releasing criminals into the streets and ceasing policing — all on the basis of hypotheticals.

One need not be a medical doctor to understand the “garbage in, garbage out” issues inherent to projections in which the underlying data sets are incomplete, inconsistent, suffer from selection bias and correlation-versus-causation issues, or are just plain dubious — as in the case of data from China.

It is not surprising that politicians would err to the extreme side in seeking to avoid a public health catastrophe. But can a society long function by cutting off its nose to spite its face? And what kind of precedent is being set in the process? Going forward, it is incumbent upon our leaders to articulate and codify at minimum a general set of broadly agreed-upon principles for dealing with such crises.

4. The GOP Needs a Real Response for Democrats’ Games

For Democrats, politics trumps all else, and Republicans must have a response. In case the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process or the more than three years of anti-constitutional and unconstitutional resistance to President Donald Trump did not make it crystal clear, the Democrats’ brazen gambit to use the coronavirus crisis to impose their radical agenda on the country by holding hostage emergency relief legislation should have removed all doubt about their singular desire for power.

Simply put, for Democrats, the ends justify any and all means. The fact that Republicans were so blindsided and befuddled by this in the coronavirus context indicates the GOP still lacks an understanding of the nature of their political adversary.

Democrats will shamelessly use crises to cram their policies down our throats. Do Republicans have any answer to this? Do they understand that Democrats will seek to make any and all of their favored temporary measures that pass in coronavirus-tied legislation permanent after the crisis subsides? Have Republicans formulated a counter-response not only for that possibility, but for their own policies that cut in the opposite direction? Where is the GOP counter-agenda?

5. We Need to Get Our Fiscal House in Order

While a society-wide shutdown certainly represents the most extreme kind of financial shock, nevertheless, the devastating impact of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic accentuates the problem of our largely debt-based economy in both the public and private spheres.

At the governmental level, the fact that we are likely to completely blow out budgets that were already so bloated as to ensure interest payments on the national debt would soon swamp all spending besides entitlements shows the extent of our profligacy and misplaced confidence we can debt-finance the U.S. government forever. There appears to be zero national will to deal with runaway spending and the runaway deficits and debt it creates.

But the reality is that in the next major crisis, we will be in an even worse financial position. What will happen if multitrillion-dollar relief bills are simply not tenable at that point?

Everyone knows U.S. government spending is unsustainable. But the fact that no one is prepared to make the case to the public that we are better off making difficult financial trade-offs now to stop calamity later — while we are doing this precise thing in dealing with the pandemic — leads to the question: Are we simply comfortable as a nation guaranteeing future financial calamity? Should the cost and extent of this crisis not cause us to revisit this issue?

We find an analogous issue in the private sector. While the bailouts from the federal government fundamentally differ from those during the financial crisis — in this instance, government has effectively killed businesses — that in a humming system so few businesses could withstand such a shock indicates the problems again with our debt-based economy and short-term orientation.

There is likely little will among businesses, their shareholders, and their stakeholders to be more prudent, keeping substantial cash in reserve, and ensuring they can survive if their operations withstand a tremendous hit and capital markets are closed to them. But perhaps the Wuhan coronavirus should serve as a wakeup call that there ought to be. Prudence is as important for government and businesses as it is for households.

It is paramount that the American people get healthy and that our country gets back to the business of business. But we must not simply gloss over the truths this crisis has revealed. Recognizing them and incorporating them into future policies will ensure the long-term vitality of our country.


Ben Weingarten is a Federalist senior contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.


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It’s Time: Western Lands Must Be Returned to States

Although the federal government’s retention of Utah State lands is an extremely important and timely issue, let me be the first to admit that if we get too deep into the details and minutia of the legalities involved, eyes can easily begin to gloss over. In fact, all technical legal issues can have that effect on us—and I am no exception. The incalculable hours I’ve spent digging through piles of research that backs one legislative opinion or another cannot be esteemed as ‘golden.’ Yet, on this particular subject—the federal government’s failure to release the State lands temporarily ceded to it during the Western States’ admission to the Union—there is too much at stake to simply roll over and count it as a lesson learned at the hands of the neighborhood bully.

As we illustrated earlier, just a quick glance at the Federal Public Land Surface and Subsurface map on the back cover of this book tells a story of gross imbalance. All of that white area in the eastern two-thirds of the country is land that was restored to those States as Congress was obliged to do in its State Enabling Act Trust Compacts with those states. The State Enabling Act trust Compacts with the Western States, where you see all of that red land, retained by the federal government to this day, were exactly the same as those with the Eastern two-thirds of the States. So what is the difference in the way Congress fulfilled its obligations under the Enabling Acts between the Eastern States and the Western States?

ANSWER: The attitude of the federal government toward the States as the federal government grew and drew power to itself at the expense of the States.

This statement is easily proved by a look at the historical and legislative record. Those to the left on the political spectrum began to take power in the federal government, leaving an imbalance in Congress’ approach to its duties under the Constitution. Around the time the Western States had been admitted to the Union, and Congress was obliged under the State Enabling Act Trust Compacts to reincorporate their ceded lands to the States, as it had already done for the Eastern States, Congress simply decided to retain its own control over all of those lands, using them for members’ own political and social engineering purposes.

Today, when I attend debates about returning the Western States’ land to them, the opposition I encounter is still made up of the same kinds of people and organizations: ‘progressives’ who tell us how much better bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. can manage our land than we can; green extremists who want to keep humans off of as much land as possible; and anti-capitalists who incessantly fight to prevent us from extracting oil, gas, minerals and timber from the lands. We all realize that each of these groups to the left on the political spectrum has its political and social agenda, but their policies have an abhorrent effect on the balance of power between local people and federal bureaucracies, the balance of human harmony with nature, and the balance between using our natural resources to provide work and capital for our citizens and leaving our lands completely untouched. There is no balance, when extremist stances are given priority.

Don’t let my generalization of the types of people who oppose the Western States on this issue give you the wrong idea about me and my personal background. I grew up in a very conservation oriented family and hold strong conservation values. My father was a Forest Ranger for his entire career, spending 30 years in the U.S. Forest Service, obtaining his Master’s Degree in Range Management and devoting his professional life to the preservation of the Western forestlands. From the time I could walk I spent many of my days and years by his side, walking through the woods and scrub, learning firsthand about the ecology of our Western States and how we are stewards of nature. I learned all about the delicate balance between living with nature, and over-exploiting it to the point of destruction. I also watched as my father’s hopes and aspirations for the Western lands and wildlife were dashed on the rocks of federal mismanagement and incompetence at bureaucratic levels. The federal government’s simplistic, unenlightened, centralized, one-size-fits-all top-down bureaucratic policies allowed the bark beetle to devastate Utah’s forests. Due to the imbalance that has occurred between the federal government bureaucracies and the states, the federal government’s policies and incompetence have destroyed wildlife, forests and hundreds of thousands of acres of land, culminating in the closing of parks and recreation areas, and the abandonment of feral horse herds and other animals, and the locking out of millions of acres of land, and so on.

On Equal Footing

What’s wrong with the federal government retaining most of the land contained within the Western States? Under the Constitution, every new State was to be “admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.” The Doctrine of Equal Footing is based on Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which says:

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

Additionally, since the admission of Tennessee in 1796, Congress has included in each State’s act of admission a clause providing that the State enters the Union “on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.”

The doctrine of equal footing originated in the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which specifically addressed the issue of lands within the States. First, Article II is the equivalent of Articles IX and X of our current Bill of Rights:

ARTICLE II—“Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

By this Article, the States jealously guarded their independent sovereignty. There was no intent to give up to a central “union” any more power of jurisdiction than was thought absolutely necessary. (STATEHOOD, 23)

ARTICLE IX—“. . . no State shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States.”

Could it be any clearer? Under these Articles, no “forests,” for example, could be created within any State by the confederacy of States under the pretense of “national benefit,” nor could any national exigency be cited as justification for occupation of any land within any State without the consent of the affected State. (Ibid.)

At a debate on the subject, an opponent of States’ Land Rights will simply point to the Enabling Act clause where the State cedes its lands to the federal government, and tell you that’s the end of the discussion. I hear it from them every time. The problem with that argument is that nearly all State Enabling Compacts contain that same language, including the Eastern States, and a quick glance at the Federal Lands map on the back cover informs us that the transfer of lands to the federal government was only temporary, as a tool to clear all possible claims against the title of the land, to be followed by the release of those lands back to the States, or to private landholders who would then pay property taxes to the States.

George Washington wrote, “It rests with the states to determine the extent of territory over which the federal will exercise sovereign jurisdiction.” (The Writings of George Washington, 1745-1799, John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor, vol 32) Under the Enclave Clause, the federal government may indeed offer to purchase land from the various States for its own purposes, and if the State Legislature and Executive agree to the purchase, the federal government may establish a military base or other facility on that land. That land so purchased comes under the jurisdiction of the federal government, and Congress is given authority under the Constitution to deal with that land as it sees fit. Lands temporarily ceded to Congress as part of a State’s admission, however, never fall under the general Congressional authorizations under the Constitution, except to the extent that Congress must “dispose” of the lands as provided under the “trust” created by the Enabling Act Compact.

Breaking Trust

A trust is a legal device used to temporarily deposit property into the hands of a third party, who is charged with faithfully disposing of the property of the trust according to the written instructions of the person or entity establishing the trust. If you put your home title, stocks and bonds into a trust that will produce income for your children for the next 30 years, then be liquidated and the proceeds dispersed equally to your grandchildren, the trustee MUST do what you have instructed, or be found on the wrong end of a serious criminal statute. That is how trusts work—and because they are backed up by law, the “trust” aspect rarely comes into question—‘trust’ could be used interchangeably with ‘must.’ The trustee simply MUST follow the terms of the trust, or there are serious legal consequences, in which case the replacement trustee MUST fulfill the terms of the trust when the original trustee has been relieved of duties.

When the United States was first setting up its method of converting territories and other western lands into States, the Congress adopted the Resolution of October 10, 1780, thus committing itself to certain actions with respect to any lands that might be ceded to it by the various States:

(1) “Resolved, That the unappropriated lands that may be ceded or relinquished to the United States, by any particular states, pursuant to the recommendation of Congress of the 6 day of September last, shall be granted and disposed of for the common benefit of all the United States that shall be members of the federal union, (2) and be settled and formed into distinct republican states, (3) which shall become members of the federal union, and have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other states: that each state which shall be so formed shall contain a suitable extent of territory, not less than one hundred nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square, or as near thereto as circumstances will admit: and that upon such cession being made by any State and approved and accepted by Congress, (4) the United States shall guaranty the remaining territory of the said States respectively. . . . (5) That the said lands shall be granted and settled at such times and under such regulations as shall hereafter be agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled, or any nine or more of them . . . .

This was the first ironclad commitment of Congress to dispose of the lands ceded to it for the creation of future states. It is unambiguous that a) all land so ceded to the U.S. would be “disposed of” by Congress, and that 2) each future State created out of this ceded land would “have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other states.”

Therefore, all land being deposited into trust in the hands of the Congress was expected to be disposed of in the creation of new States, and Congress extinguishing the federal title therein, and each new State entering on an equal footing with the earlier States. In 1833, the Congress attempted to modify its duties under these trusts by passing The Land Bill. President Jackson vetoed the bill, and chastised Congress for attempting to usurp authority it did not possess, and abrogate its trustee duties to the States. President Jackson wrote:

These solemn compacts, invited by Congress in a resolution declaring the purposes to which the proceeds of these public lands should be applied, originating before the Constitution, and forming the basis on which it was made, bound the United States to a particular course of policy in relation to them by ties as strong as can be invented to secure the faith of nations.

In other words, President Jackson was telling Congress that it had no authority under the Constitution to abrogate its obligations arising under these Trust Compacts it had created to entice the People of States and Territories to cede land for the purposes of admission as States into the Union. President Jackson further explained:

The Constitution . . . did not delegate to Congress the power to abrogate these compacts, on the contrary, by declaring that nothing in it “shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United Sates, or of any particular State,” it virtually provides that these compacts, and the rights they secure, shall remain untouched by the Legislative power which shall make all “needful rules and regulations” for carrying them into effect. All beyond this would seem to be an assumption of undelegated power.

I invite everyone to read the entire text of President Jackson’s Land Bill Veto Message, of December 4, 1833, because it so thoroughly explains the issues involved in the federal government’s duties over temporarily ceded lands to the federal government. The entire text can be found online.

By the time the State of Utah was admitted into the Union in 1896, the specific language of its 1894 Enabling Act had been used and recycled for decades to admit several other states, including Ohio in 1802, Louisiana in 1811, Mississippi in 1817, Alabama in 1819, Michigan in 1836, Arkansas in 1836, Wisconsin in 1846, Minnesota in 1847, and California in 1850. Each Enabling Act Trust Compact required the proposed State to relinquish and “forever disclaim” all right and title to its land in favor of the United States, followed then by the duty of Congress to “dispose” of or “extinguish” its temporary title in that land as part of its trusteeship. Following is the exact Utah Enabling Act language:

Second. That the people inhabiting said proposed State to agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof; and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes; and that until the title thereto shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States, . . . [Relevant portions of the Utah Enabling Act are attached in the back of this work as Appendix A]

Again referring to the Federal Lands map, we can see that the Congress indeed fulfilled the terms of the Trust Compacts with all of those States in the eastern two-thirds of the country, including all of the states admitted in the Nineteenth Century enumerated above. The only exceptions are the Western States.

On January 4, 1896, President Cleveland executed the proclamation designating Utah as a State, on an equal footing with the other States of the Union.

Shortly thereafter, we began to see a change in the attitude of Congress regarding the lands temporarily ceded in Enabling Acts at the time of admission. In 1905, the National Forest Service was created by combining the General Land Office (the agency created for the purpose of disposing of the ‘public’ land) and the Division of Forestry. Federal agencies, e.g. the Forest Service and Bureau of Reclamation, were then established for the purposes of managing vast tracts of “federal land” and western water resources. Land disposal policies began to be replaced with policies that retained the public lands in federal ownership. In a short span of time, some 234 million acres of ‘federal’ land, or nearly an eighth of the entire United States, were withdrawn from private entry. (Report of Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act, H.B. 148, p. 16.)

Utah patiently awaited the actions of the Congress, to fulfill its Constitutional trust mandate and extinguish its temporary possession of the land in Utah. By 1915 it was becoming apparent that the Democratically controlled Congress and Woodrow Wilson’s White House were dragging their feet on many issues of States’ rights, as well as minority rights, and the Utah Legislature proposed a Joint Memorial to the President and both houses of Congress, politely requesting that they execute their Constitutional duties and extinguish the government’s temporary title to Utah’s land. The letter first pointed out the requirements placed upon the federal government and the benefits to the earlier states of fulfilling those requirements:

Rejoicing in the growth and development, the power and prestige of the older states of the union, and recognizing that their advancement was made possible through the beneficent operation of a wise and most generous public land policy on the part of the government, the people of Utah view with alarm and apprehension the national tendency toward the curtailment of the former liberal policies in handling the public domain and disposing of the natural resources, as evidenced in the vast land withdrawals and the pending legislation, calculated to make our coal, our mineral and our water power resources chattels for government exploitation through a system of leasing.

The letter then made a gracious petition to release the land to the State of Utah so that it could enjoy the same benefits of all previous States:

In harmony with the spirit and letter of the land grants to the National government, in perpetuation of a policy that has done more to promote the general welfare than any other policy in our national life, and in conformity with the terms of our Enabling Act, we, the members of the Legislature of the State of Utah, memorialize the President and the Congress of the United States for the speedy return of the former liberal National attitude toward the public domain, and we call attention to the fact that the burden of State and local government in Utah is borne by the taxation of less than one-third the lands of the State, which alone is vested in private or corporate ownership, and we hereby earnestly urge a policy that will afford an opportunity to settle our lands and make use of our resources on terms of equality with the older states, to the benefit and upbuilding of the State and to the strength of the nation.

Of course, those who had seized power in Washington, D.C. had no intention of honoring the terms of the Trust Compact with Utah, or any other Western State. The petition was ignored, and the federal government began tying up major blocks of Western lands by designating new national parks, then wilderness areas, while selling leases for some minerals and oil on the land. In the case of Utah, those leases netted the State only 46 percent of the revenues that the Eastern States were receiving for their gas, mineral, timber and oil leases, and the number of leases allowed by the federal bureaucrats on Utah land were highly restricted.

Separate, But Equal?

There was a time when the federal government made a tepid attempt to make a partial transference of some desert surface land within the State of Utah, but the Democratic Governor at the time, George Dern, went to Congress and told them that their policies and proposal were wholly inadequate. In February of 1932, Dern appeared before the U.S. House Committee on the Public Lands to testify regarding legislation that proposed “to grant vacant, unreserved, unappropriated, nonmineral lands to accepting States.” The legislation would allow the States a 10 year period to determine whether to accept or reject the transfer of these unproductive surface lands, leaving the valuable minerals, gas and oil reserved to the federal government’s use. The Democrat excoriated the federal government for treating Utah and other Western States like adolescents, and told them that Utah did not want the lands on the proposed basis with “everything else taken out that is worth anything at all, so that we will have nothing but the skin of a squeezed lemon.” Good for him!

Since that time things have only gotten much worse for the Western States, and the federal government has dug in its heels, refusing to extinguish its temporary title in our State lands as required by the State Enabling Act Trust Compacts and the Constitution. In the 1960s and 1970s, environmental groups increasingly objected to aspects of federal management of public lands in the West and challenged the financial support extended to Western States and local governments by the federal government and the use of public lands for traditional activities such as grazing, mining, oil and gas exploration and production and timber harvesting. Environmentalists were joined by some eastern state representatives in Congress who sought to protect eastern industry from the threat of growing Western economies and those favoring federal budget cuts. (Ibid. p. 20)

In other words, Eastern States liberal members of the U.S. House and Senate were purposefully limiting Western States’ political power by limiting their access to their own in-state resources—keeping them poor and powerless.

The environmentalists also began to challenge federal support for water and transportation projects. They further called for legislation for the protection and conservation of “public resources.” In 1964, the Wilderness Act was passed. The National Historic Preservation Act followed in 1966. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the National Trails System Act were enacted in 1968. The Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969, the Wild and Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act in1971 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973 provided for protections to certain endangered species and the promulgation of new regulations (CFR) with which to comply. (Ibid. p. 20-21)

The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), enacted in 1969, required the study of environmental impacts resulting from federal actions and the receipt and consideration of public comment on any and all such actions. These legislative enactments culminated with the enactment by Congress of the Federal Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, the National Forest Management Act of 1976 of the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act of 1976 (“FLPMA”). (Ibid. p. 21)

For those public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Congress’ FLPMA formally terminated the historic federal public lands policy of disposing of those lands pursuant to the Enabling Act Trust Compacts, in favor of a new formal federal land retention policy dictating that “the public lands be retained in Federal ownership.” The response of the Western States to the passage of FLPMA was a developing antagonism to federal actions, further fueled by the growing view of the federal government that Western needs had shifted away from traditional public land uses (farming, residential, harvesting, etc.), to purely recreation and environmental activities. (Ibid.)

Although Western States’ members of Congress have made various attempts to get the federal government to reverse its unilateral abandonment of its duty to divest itself of our Western lands, it has been to no avail. The federal courts have merely rubber-stamped Congress’ ability to extinguish title when it decides, not based on the precedents set in returning Eastern States’ land, and the expectations of the parties at the time of admission and creation of the Trust Compacts. So the clock ticks, and nothing is happening, and Utah and the other Western States suffer as a result.

Second-Class Citizens

Suffer, you ask? How do these states suffer? As we reviewed briefly above, the States in the Eastern two-thirds of the country utilize over 95 percent of their lands, collecting property taxes on privately owned lands and receiving 100 percent of the income from mineral, timber, gas and oil leases. This enables them to finance their public schools, among other things. Since Utah became a State she has continually struggled to fund public education. In fact, our state comes in dead last in the nation for per pupil educational funding. Our per pupil funding is $5,978 compared with the national average of $10,608, which averages in the other Western States, most of which are likewise strangled for funding for the same reason as Utah. States that enjoy the benefit of having received an extinguishment of federal title to their lands have much, much higher per pupil spending. New York, for instance, enjoys $19,552 per pupil spending. (States Spending the Most (and Least) on Education, Thomas C. Frohlich, 24/7 Wall Street, June 3, 2014)

Not only was Utah promised at the time of statehood—both expressly in its Enabling Act and impliedly by the historical federal policy of honoring its duty to dispose of the trust lands—that its lands would be returned to it or sold so Utah could collect property taxes on the land, the Utah Enabling Act specifically provided,

“That five per centum of the proceeds of the sales of public lands lying within said state, which shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said State into the Union . . . shall be paid to the said State, to be used as a permanent fund, the interest of which only shall be expended for the support of the common schools within said State.” (Section 9)

The land that the federal government was to dispose of by sale (“shall” according to the specific Enabling Act language) was to result in an educational trust fund, funded with 5 percent of the proceeds of the sales as the principle. Of course, as the federal government failed to follow up on its duties as the trustee of the temporarily ceded lands, no money for the educational trust fund was forthcoming, further damaging the children of the State of Utah.

As a result, the federal government came up with various revenue sharing schemes, payments in lieu of taxes (PILT), etc., amounting to a type of welfare handout system for those Western States relegated to the back of the federal bus, which only partially funds Utah’s educational system and county governments. The funds were considered less than half of what was needed in 1950, and there have been few annual, inflation, or cost-of-living increases in the fund since that time. In fact, PILT payments were removed from the main federal budget recently, and eventually attached to a Farm Bill and used as a negotiation pawn. Surely, no one can deny that Utah and most of the other Western States are treated as second-class citizens of the Union as a result of the federal failure to dispose of their lands as required.

Utah’s H.B. 148

To address the inequity of the federal government’s failure to extinguish title to two-thirds of the lands in the State of Utah, we in the Utah House of Representatives drafted House Bill 148, titled “Transfer of Public Lands Act” (TPLA), which I cosponsored with several other members of the House, and fully supported. The bill was passed by the State House and Senate, and signed by the governor, becoming law on March 23, 2012. The law sets out Utah’s demand that federal title in its land be extinguished pursuant to the U.S. Constitution and the Utah Enabling Act entered into by the State and the federal government at the time of Utah’s admission.

Of course, the TPLA proposes that all federally owned and managed parklands be permanently ceded to the federal government as National Parks. It also sets up a formal systematic transfer scheme, so that the transfers of land to the State are organized and the Utah State departments charged with relevant duties can adequately anticipate and meet the tasks. The TPLA also establishes the Utah Public Lands Commission to manage the multiple use and the sustainable yield of Utah’s abundant natural resources.

By receiving control of Utah’s lands, the State could solve all of its fiscal problems, especially the school funding problem, and greatly relieve the federal government of much of its burden with respect to managing Utah’s land. The federal departments and agencies charged with managing the State’s land, resources and wildlife find themselves constantly embroiled in horrendously costly litigation, which eats up most of their appropriated budgets—money that is not going toward managing the land and wildlife. This litigation is being churned out by the ream by the same groups we scrutinized earlier—environmentalists, anti-capitalists, and similar special interest groups who try to keep the land from being developed or even used by citizens, and who are opposed to using any natural resources like timber, minerals, oil or gas.

The fact that the federal government manages all of the Western States’ lands makes it an easy one-stop target for groups bent on getting their way through the filing of prolific litigation. If each of the States managed its own land, a special interest group would have to file 12 or 13 separate lawsuits per issue, at least one in each state court—possibly one in each affected county in every state. The cost of frivolous litigation would thereby switch to the special interest groups, greatly limiting the amount of damage they can do. As things stand, they simply file one lawsuit against the controlling federal agency, with the knowledge that federal agencies will cease all activity regarding the subject land until the litigated issues are finally resolved in the federal court system. Of course, federal courts are choked with this kind of litigation, and special interest groups know that each lawsuit will tie up the affected lands for several years, if not decades.

In other words, the very act of filing frivolous litigation nets the special interest groups what they seek, without the necessity of winning the litigation on the merits. The longer they string their frivolous cases along, the more they ‘win.’

If the control of these State lands was restored to the States, the financial burden of litigation would be placed on the special interest groups, who must battle their frivolous cases in state courts, with judges and jurors who are very close to the issues involved. The States’ costs of litigation would be much less than the federal government is paying because of the deterrence effect of placing the burdens of litigation where they belong—on the special interest groups.

Utah, like most of the affected Western States, is in a much better position to manage its resources than federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. The Bureaucratic method of top-down, one-size-fits-all management is destroying our lands and natural resources. What works in one area, does not necessarily work in another, but federal employees are restricted by the centralized regulations that have been promulgated by the truckload (CFR). If ever there were a clear example of why centralized government distanced from the problems of local people should be minimized, the management of Utah’s resources and wildlife is a perfect example. Employees of the various federal agencies tasked with managing Utah’s lands and resources have their hands tied not only by centralized, ineffective rules and regulations, but by constant budget shortfalls. The problem is not that the federal government does not allocate enough money, but that burgeoning federal bureaucracies and litigation costs rob the actual working employees of necessary personnel and resources.

As of this writing, our federal government is $18 trillion in debt, and 40 cents of every dollar it spends is borrowed, adding to the national debt every moment of every day and night. By the end of the current administration’s current term (December 2016), the national debt will be in excess of $20 trillion. Every day when Americans go to work, the first $1.4 billion they earn must go directly to the federal government just to pay the ‘interest’ on its debt. The federal government is so mismanaged that its continuation at its current pace is unsustainable. It WILL be crushed under its own bloated weight. It is not a question of if, but only when. The lands and resources of the State of Utah contain value in the trillions of dollars—one of our House members estimates minerals on federally retained lands in our state, Colorado and Wyoming at over $150 trillion, with a full one-third being located in Utah. See e.g., Knowledge and Courage: What the West Needs to Take Back Our Public Lands, Ken Ivory, Cascade Commentary. Those resources are being mismanaged and drained by the same government that is destroying our national economy and enslaving our children and their children with current overspending and debt. We do not need the federal government’s ‘help’ any longer in managing our own lands and resources.

States east of Colorado, which appropriately received a federal extinguishment of title in their lands, have resources and opportunities far beyond the reach of Utah and most similarly restricted Western States. We look around the country at states like North Dakota, where financial resources are abundant and educational spending has skyrocketed because they are free to utilize their land and natural resources, without the corruption and mismanagement that accompany federal management—of anything. The TPLA calls for a halt of the federal government’s mismanagement of Utah’s land and resources, and I want to continue working with Western States’ Governors and Legislative leaders until we obtain the lands and resources that are mandated by law and the Constitution to be released to us. The resources that are tied up and mismanaged by federal bureaucrats in the Western States are key to sparking local economies, and providing many billions of dollars in annual revenue to Washington, D.C.

Beyond just the financial reasons to return Western lands to the States, Americans have a very tangible health and environmental reason to do it sooner than later. Because the federal agencies are incapable of managing our forests, not only are we losing them to blight and wildfires, but millions of tons of carbon pollution are being pumped into our atmosphere when catastrophic fires annually light up the West. Where are the environmentalists when that happens? They’re driving their SUVs to protest rallies and ignoring the herculean damage to our lands and air quality created by their own policies.

Utah’s feral horse herds are likewise suffering under federal care. The wild horse problem in western Utah in Delta and Beaver Counties is devastating. The horses are neglected and wild, tearing up grazing land, and destroying livelihoods of local ranchers. The horses are starving to death, dying of disease. It is a horrific, inhumane mess, and those poor animals are suffering, because the feds have no budget to care for them.

In stark contrast, the State of Utah, as many other Western States, has done an exemplary job caring for its portions of the State’s forestlands and wildlife. Our deer, elk and bison populations have thrived under our care, and our state parks are second-to-none.

You may recall that the federal government has demonstrated that caring for our land and wildlife is less than a priority in its eyes. During the federal government impasse in 2013, the feds closed the national parks, to score political PR points in a budgetary saber-rattling contest, costing local businesses millions of dollars. We in State Government leadership reopened those parks with our own state funds—something the federal bureaucrats were unable to do.

The current administration has been legislating by executive fiat, and threatens to permanently tie up millions of acres of Western lands with the stroke of a pen, as other recent pro-centralized government administrations have done. All of this, of course, to further a political agenda—not to benefit the People of the Western States or the lands temporarily ceded to the federal government in State Enabling Act Trust Compacts.

Utah has been the model of excellence in utilizing what few resources we have available for responsible development as a State to provide for the care and welfare of our citizens, including our children. The fact that we have the least (approximately half) of the national average per pupil funding for children’s education, does not put us at the bottom of educational results. In fact, Utah’s children perform somewhere around the middle in most standard categories. Imagine what we could do with a normal per pupil spending budget—or a budget like an older State such as New York—nearly four times our per pupil budget. Utah currently ranks high in such areas as its high school graduation rate and parental employment, income and education levels. For example, last year Utah ranked 11th in the nation for children with at least one parent with a postsecondary degree, 1st in the nation for having the smallest difference in per pupil spending between the highest and lowest spending school districts, and 12th in the nation for its high school graduation rate. These results flow from our dedication to our State and its citizens, and our ability to roll up our sleeves and get a job done despite the obstacles placed before us by the federal government.

Utah’s TPLA is a comprehensive law that puts into place a sweeping mechanism for the State to receive the land that is still being held in trust by the U.S. Congress, and to transfer the management of the State’s lands and resources to local experts who have been educated, trained and prepared for the duties of self-management. I am hopeful that as American citizens become fed up with the disregard of States’ Rights and its incessant draw of power from the States to Washington, D.C., cooler heads will prevail and a more mainstream Congress (ideologically balanced) will execute its mandates under the Constitution and the State Enabling Act Trust Compacts and finally “dispose” of the State lands it is still holding in trust for the States, inuring to the benefit of the People of Utah, the Western States, and the entire nation.

By James Thompson. James holds a doctoral degree, and is a political commentator and professional ghostwriter.


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Weinstein Guilty!

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of third-degree rape, criminal sex act

Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty by a Manhattan jury Monday of two of five charges relating to sexual assaults and faces as many as 25 years in prison.

He was found guilty of criminal sex act for assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape of a woman in 2013. The jury found him not guilty on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, that could have resulted in a life sentence.

The verdict followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers who told of rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and that’s-Hollywood excuses from Weinstein about how the casting couch works.

The jury of seven men and five women handed down the on Monday after five days of deliberating.

Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual.

The case against the once-feared producer was essentially built on three allegations: that he raped an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013, that he forcibly performed oral sex on Haleyi and that he raped and forcibly performed oral sex on “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra in her apartment in the mid-1990s.

The case marks the only criminal trial to stem from the many accusations that came out about Weinstein following a bombshell expose written by Ronan Farrow in 2017 in which 13 women accused the now-disgraced movie mogul of sexual assault.

In this Oct. 24, 2017, file photo, Mimi Haleyi appears at a news conference in New York. Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sex act for assaulting the then-production assistant at his apartment in 2006. (AP)

As expected, Weinstein chose not to testify, avoiding the risk of having prosecutors grill him on cross-examination about the vile allegations. He confirmed the decision on Feb. 11 after returning to the courtroom from meeting with his lawyers behind closed doors for about a half-hour as speculation swirled that he was pushing to testify.

Asked as he left court if he was thinking of testifying, Weinstein said: “I wanted to.”

Defense lawyer Arthur Aidala added that Weinstein “was ready, willing, able and actually quite anxious to testify and clear his name” but didn’t do so because his lawyers felt prosecutors ”failed miserably” to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Six women out of the many who have accused Harvey Weinstein of vile sexual behavior testified at the trial. Their harrowing accounts were the centerpiece of a prosecution case. Other accusers were allowed to testify because prosecutors allege there was a practiced method to Weinstein’s attacks.

Lauren Marie Young, a model from suburban Philadelphia, testified that Weinstein invited her to his Beverly Hills hotel room, lured her to the bathroom, stripped off his clothes, pulled down her dress and groped her breast. Her allegation is part of a criminal case that was filed against Weinstein in California just as this trial was getting underway.

In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 file photo, actress Annabella Sciorra returns after a lunch break in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in New York. (AP)

Her testimony bookended that of the first accuser to testify, actress Annabella Sciorra, who alleges Weinstein barged into her apartment in the mid-1990s, threw her on a bed and raped her as she tried to fight him off by kicking and punching him.

In between, jurors heard similar stories of Weinstein ingratiating himself with much younger women, appearing to show interest in helping their careers before getting them into a hotel room or an apartment and violating them.

Most were aspiring actresses. Sciorra was a star on the rise. Another, the 2006 accuser Mimi Haleyi, was looking at the time to get more involved in behind-the-scenes aspects of the entertainment business.

The defense case, meanwhile, mainly relied on the testimony of three witnesses that Weinstein’s lawyers used to try to cast doubt on the accounts on two of the accusers.

Talita Maia, a former roommate of the woman Weinstein is charged with raping, told the jury the woman never gave any indication that he victimized her — in fact, she said, the woman spoke highly of him and once called him her “spiritual soulmate.”

“She seemed to really like him as a person,” Maia said. “She would only compliment him.”

Another friend of the woman testified that she seemed like “her everyday self” when they met up for breakfast with Weinstein just a short time after she alleges he assaulted her.

Thomas Richards, a Hollywood talent agent, testified the woman was friendly toward Weinstein during the breakfast and didn’t say or do anything to indicate she’d just been raped.

The third witness, Mexican model and actress Claudia Salinas, repudiated the testimony of Young, one of the women called by the prosecution to bolster the allegations of Weinstein’s main accusers.

Asked about Young’s claims that she stood by and did nothing while Weinstein groped her at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013, Salinas responded that it “never happened.”

Young had testified that Salinas closed the door behind her and Weinstein as they went into the bathroom, where she alleges he stripped off his clothes, grabbed her breast and masturbated. Once it was over, Young said she found Salinas standing outside the bathroom and shot her an evil look before leaving as quickly as she could.

“If I had done that, I would remember that,” Salinas testified. “I would never close the door on anybody.”

By Sasha Savitsky, Marta Dhanis |The Associated Press contributed to this report. You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.

By James Thompson. James holds a doctoral degree, and is a political commentator and professional ghostwriter.


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Presiding Bishopric: LDS Church Spends Nearly $1 Billion Annually On Humanitarian Efforts

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nears $1 billion a year in fast-growing humanitarian, welfare spending

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doubled its humanitarian spending over the past five years and now annually provides nearly $1 billion in combined humanitarian and welfare aid, the church’s Presiding Bishopric said this week in a rare interview.

But the church’s work and missions cannot be reduced to its humanitarian spending and charity efforts, said Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and his counselors, Bishop Dean M. Davies and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell. Those represent just one function of a sprawling global faith that funds 30,000 congregations, more than 200 temples and educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students while also providing food, clothing and shelter for hundreds of thousands of people a year.

“It’s no surprise we are talking about billions of dollars,” Bishop Caussé said. “Nobody should be surprised, given the number of members, millions of members, 16 million members in so many countries. This is a church that has become quite large, and so there’s a large budget, and we are grateful for that because that’s an opportunity to expand the reach of all the good that the church can do around the world.”

The bishopric gave a unique look at the breadth and depth of the financial dealings of the global faith in a sit-down interview with the Deseret News and Church News two weeks after the bishopric spoke to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) answering critics’ charges that the church is amassing wealth.

To the contrary, church leaders said it is fulfilling its mission to care for the poor, spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, strengthen the spiritual foundation of its members and live the principles of self-reliance it teaches to all.

The church’s investment arm, Ensign Peak Advisors, reportedly has grown to $100 billion, a figure claimed by the brother of a former worker at Ensign Peak. The members of the bishopric said they were aware that those reports drew both praise from some about the way church leaders are managing what they and members consider sacred donations as well as criticism and questions about what the church is doing with such a large amount of money.

They did not confirm whether that amount was accurate, but they said they expect leaner economic times will come in the future and also acknowledged that the church’s needs and expenditures are accelerating as the faith grows around the world. They also rejected the notion they are hoarding money for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Instead, they said, they are making prudent, diverse investments to protect against economic downturns and prepare for the future.

What follows is a look at the faith’s holdings through the eyes of the men tasked with receiving and distributing donations to the church.

‘We won’t have to stop’

Bishop Caussé said the size of the fund is a proper backstop for the church’s full breadth and depth of operation.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé

“Most of the growth, I have to say, is because we are right now in the longest period of prosperity in the United States that has ever been recorded, and this is creating that surge of financial markets,” he said. “We are just beneficiaries of it.”

In 2008, the credit crisis and related stock market plunge reportedly obliterated 21% of the value of Ensign Peak’s holdings, according to a document produced by the former employee’s brother. The Ensign Peak fund reportedly has more than doubled in the subsequent, ongoing economic upswing.

The bishopric did not confirm those reports, but did say the church froze budgets and hiring during the crisis. The only budget item that increased in that period was humanitarian and welfare spending, because church leaders knew more people would need help. “Most of the growth, I have to say, is because we are right now in the longest period of prosperity in the United States that has ever been recorded, and this is creating that surge of financial markets. We are just beneficiaries of it.” — Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé

“There will be future downturns,” Bishop Waddell said.How extensive, how dramatic we don’t know. But one of the comments we made to the Journal was that if that were to happen, because of the reserves being carefully watched over, protected and wisely handled, we won’t have to stop missionary work, we won’t have to stop maintaining buildings and building temples, we won’t have to stop humanitarian and welfare work, we won’t have to stop education work. What the journalist (wrote) was that we won’t have to stop missionary work, period. Well, there’s more than that.”

The Presiding Bishopric said a large reserve is necessary, specifically citing as reasons the church’s expansion into countries in which congregations are not self-sustaining, the construction of 50 more temples and the growing cost of providing educational opportunities for more and more students. The church is educating 880,500 students through its seminary and institutes program, universities and Pathway program.

FILE – BYU students participate in a campus devotional with Elder David A. Bednar in the Marriott Center on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018.

They said tithing and fast offerings are spiritual principles that benefit church members, shared more details about the church’s farms and educational expenses and described its humanitarian donations as precision-guided aid.

“It is a church,” Bishop Caussé said. “It’s not a financial institution … and because it is a church, the funds that are managed within the church are contributed by the members of the church and are really sacred. We really consider those funds as belonging to the Lord.

“It’s difficult to understand the church,” he added. “If you look at it as a financial institution, you will never understand it. You have to look at it as an organization of consecrated followers of Jesus Christ. This is what it is, with a mission assigned by the Lord.”

Humanitarian and welfare spending

The three bishops challenged some of what they’ve seen in previous reports.

“The people who say we’re not doing our part, that is just not true,” Bishop Waddell said. “We’re talking close to $1 billion in that welfare/humanitarian area on an annual basis. Yes, we are using our resources to bless the poor and the needy as well as all of the other responsibilities we have as a church.”

The figure includes all humanitarian and welfare expenditures, including fast offering aid.

The budget for humanitarian work “has gone up dramatically,” Bishop Waddell said.

Warehouse workers load supplies as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints send aid to China in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Respirator masks, protective googles and protective suits were sent.
Warehouse workers load supplies as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sends aid to China in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

In fact, Bishop Caussé added, humanitarian expenditures have doubled in the past five years.

“And we believe they are going to increase fast,” he said.

Increases in humanitarian and welfare spending are driven first by the contributions and volunteerism of church members, the bishops said. The other major factor is how quickly the church can ensure new avenues for precise giving. For example, Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. “The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,” Bishop Davies said. “So we have both missionaries and area staff on the ground, feet on the ground, who actually are there, they can see that food’s being distributed, or equipment, or schools are being built as part of our program.”

“We have an obligation to the members of the church who pay their tithes and offerings to make sure that is going to organizations or areas that will actually meet a need,” Bishop Waddell said. “The members of the church have a right to trust that it’s going to be managed and handled well and not just thrown at issues.”

The leaders said the church’s expansion into more countries is increasing its ability and opportunities to help others.

“As the church has been established in many more countries, we develop local relationships with nongovernmental organizations and governments, and as we develop those types of relationships, we become aware of more and more needs,” Bishop Caussé said. “In the past our humanitarian reach was done mostly either directly or through our partnerships with global organizations” the church trusts to ensure donations are effective. “We’re going to see more and more partnerships with local organizations, because we are there and we are present and we know the people.”

50 temples under construction

While humanitarian spending is increasing, so are all the other costs associated with operating the church.

“The (financial) needs of the church are increasing and accelerating,” Bishop Caussé said. For example, “There are 50 temples that have been announced that are either under construction or in preparation for construction right now, 50. That’s huge.”

The church has 167 operating temples, which come with operational and maintenance costs.

Provo City Center Temple dedication Sunday, March 20, 2016.
FILE – The Provo City Center Temple, which was built after a fire destroyed the Provo Tabernacle, is seen in March 2016.

Among the other missions of the church is missionary work, which includes funding 399 missions and the travel and health care expenses of 67,695 missionaries.

Education is another massive expenditure that must be backstopped. Bishop Caussé said the church’s five universities and colleges, which educate 90,000 students, operate at a cost of $1.5 billion a year paid for by tuition and tithing.

Previous statements by leaders show that tithing subsidizes well over half of the cost. That allows many students to graduate with little to no debt. Brigham Young University ranks No. 1 on the latest Forbes list of best value colleges.

Universities are only a portion of the church’s education costs. It pays for a Seminary and Institutes program that provides religious education to more than 800,000 teens and college students around the world. The effort includes 50,000 teachers, Bishop Caussé said.

The church operates 27 wheat storage facilities and funds nine refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It also operates more than 100 bishops’ storehouses full of food and commodities to help church members around the world.

Family history work is growing and the church allocates resources to obtain records and produce searchable records, Bishop Caussé said. There is urgency, because some of the records are deteriorating.

FILE – Steven Watrous scans a book at the FamilySearch free book scanning booth at the RootsTech conference on Feb. 6, 2016.

All those growing and varied missions of the church are part of what its leaders call preparing for Christ’s Second Coming.

“When we talk about preparing for the Second Coming, that doesn’t mean we’re hoarding money so that we have it when the Second Coming takes place,” Bishop Waddell said. “In preparing for the Second Coming, we’re talking about building temples and providing places of worship and temples where people can receive sacred and exalting ordinances so we can gather Israel, we can do the missionary work in preparation for that day. And so, when we talk about preparing for it, that means all the work that’s going on now.”

That work could be jeopardized by an economic disaster like the Great Depression, he said.

“There will come a time when all of these resources, reserves, will be necessary,” he said. “We don’t know when, we don’t know exactly in what form, but you think of the (Bible story of the) seven fat years and the seven lean years, there’s so many examples in the scriptures that we strive to follow, whether it’s the parable of the talents and not to bury the talent. We saw what the Lord did to that individual. We want to be ready for any contingency.”

Why tithe when there is a surplus?

In the Bible and Latter-day Saint scripture, Jesus Christ commands church members to “pay one-tenth of all their interest annually” as “a standing law forever.” Church members believe scriptural promises that tithing provides spiritual and temporal blessings.

The bishopric said the law of tithing is a principle that works and, in addition to being a commandment, called it an expression of gratitude to the Lord.

“It’s very valid and current in our world,” Bishop Caussé said, “and we see it over generations, how the gospel is blessing families and their lives.”

FILE – The Bishop’s Storehouse at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City in 2016.

Bishop Davies said paying tithing and fast offerings — the value of meals skipped during a 24-hour fast once a month — are spiritual commitments with promised blessings. Fast offering funds first stay within a ward or a branch to help people in the congregation. Excess funds are shared around the church.

He said the leaders of local congregations have the ability to obtain resources needed to help members of the church in their areas and reach out to strengthen others in their communities.

He and the other two bishops said they know it can be difficult for the poorest members to pay tithing, but all church leaders teach that all members should do so. They said no church member has to choose between eating and paying tithing.

Bishop Waddell said some are making an assumption that the church is bleeding the poor by having them pay tithing so it can amass reserves.

“It’s anything but,” he said. “They pay their tithing because it’s a commandment, and they are encouraged to, if they only have enough money to pay tithing or eat, ‘Pay your tithing and we’ll help with food,’ because the blessings that are associated with the payment of tithing will then be theirs, and they won’t go hungry, because we have the ability to assist them now.”

FILE – Volunteers slice and package loaves of bread at the Welfare Square bakery in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, May, 31, 2016.

Bishop Caussé called it an act of faith to pay tithing and receive fast offering aid from other members. There is great concern that members all over the world be treated equally and fairly.

“There’s always the church reaching out to those people, making sure that nobody will be set aside and everybody will benefit from the great blessing it is to be a member of the church,” he said.

Church leaders use tithing funds and fast offerings from established areas of the church to help finance less-established areas, the bishops said.

“In these emerging countries of the church, there is no way that the tithing, although members are very faithful … their tithing cannot cover all the expenditure, so it’s very important that members here in the United States and many other countries where the church has been established for a long time will contribute to it,” Bishop Caussé said. “There’s a great transfer of funds that happens, and it will be more and more in the future as the church develops in those countries.”

Bishop Caussé added, “In the center of everything that we do, is to care for those around us and to love our neighbor. And sometimes our neighbor can be in a faraway country.”

Bishop Davies said the number of church members who pay a full tithing is very close to the number who pay a fast offering.

Ensign Peaks Advisors

The church transfers surplus tithing each year to Ensign Peaks to invest for a rainy day.

“The church practices what it preaches in terms of setting aside and having budgets,” Bishop Davies said. “We never expend more than what we estimate will be coming in terms of tithes and offerings. And also by definition we set aside a certain amount every year in reserve for those times when there will be a need, and there will be a need in the future.”

Ensign Peak invests in a diverse portfolio. Some of the money is invested in U.S. equities, which are stocks and bonds. Previous filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission have shown that Ensign Peaks’ various funds hold stock in companies such as Apple, Home Depot and Alphabet.

But that is just a portion of the reserve fund.

“In addition to the reserves that are invested by Ensign Peak, we have reserves invested in real property and commercial real estate, residential real estate and in agriculture,” Bishop Waddell said. “The church practices what it preaches in terms of setting aside and having budgets.” — Bishop Dean M. Davies

That includes many large ranches and farms, which produce food to feed the hungry as well as provide long-term investment. The church recently bought a 15,000-acre, Dallas-area corn and sorghum farm with 10,000 head of cattle through one of its tax-paying agriculture companies, which include AgReserves Inc. and Farmland Reserve Inc. The property was listed for nearly $50 million, the Dallas Morning News reported on Thursday.

“They are one of the largest cattle ranch operators in the U.S.,” Icon Global founder Bernard Uechtritz told the newspaper.

The church’s ranch holdings are public.

For example, the church owns 670,000 acres of cattle ranches, farms and timberland in Florida. It started Deseret Ranches of Florida in 1950. It shared information about the ranch in a 1975 issue of the Ensign, one of the faith’s magazines, and on its Church Newsroom website in 2016. The Deseret News wrote about the ranches in 2013 and also covered the purchase of the timberland. It is public information that the church plans to develop some of the ranch property over the next 60 years.

The church invests in stocks so it can capture the value in economic boom times. It invests in agriculture, commercial real estate, residential real estate and other financial instruments to hedge against inflation during tougher times.

“The church has an attitude of being very conservative, very prudent,” Bishop Caussé said. “We really look in the long term. It’s not about having your reserves fluctuate all the time but looking into long-term care of those funds so they can be available to the church for accomplishing its mission. For example we have agricultural land that we look at with a 20- to 30-year perspective. It’s about how can we develop in a way that will be safe for the environment, that will be developing the land and the community, providing a great increase for the church or an interest of the church, but also preserving it for generations. That’s something that the church can do with its reserves that most businesses cannot do, because we are church. It’s a different way of reasoning.”

FILE – The Church Office Building in Salt Lake City.

Blessing the receiver and the giver

The church has not released financial reports since 1959, when it ran a deficit. The financial policies it now follows, never spending more than it takes in and setting aside some money in a reserve fund each year, were established in the 1970s, prior to the tenure of any of today’s church leaders. The late church leader President Gordon B. Hinckley explained the philosophy in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, which he called perilous times. “We cannot provide against every contingency,” he said, “but we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do.”

For the past four decades, media outlets have published newspaper series, magazine cover stories and books about the church’s property, investments and reserves. In the latest example two months ago, a man posted information online that he said contained documents his twin brother took from Ensign Peak before he resigned last year. The man filed a complaint with the IRS alleging the church should be forced to pay taxes on the returns earned by Ensign Peak because it is not spending its funds. The Washington Post later reported that the twins have had a falling out.

Independent tax experts have told multiple publications the IRS is unlikely to act on the man’s complaint because Ensign Peak is integral part of the church, legally known as an integrated auxiliary.

There have been no allegations of leaders enriching themselves, something noted in multiple reports on church finances. The church’s general authorities leave their professional careers to serve as church leaders full time often at significant financial sacrifice.

Bishop Caussé said the church’s work cannot be measured by dollars alone. He called the volunteer work of members an intangible, citing doctors and medical staff who train others and more.

“There are really two objectives of what we do,” he said. “The first one is to bless the receiver, and the other one is to bless the giver, and both are equally important. So, we always look at ‘Who is it that we can help,’ but also, ‘Can we provide enough opportunities for the members of the church to go and to reach out to others?’”

By Tad Walch@Tad_Walch


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Limbaugh: Radio and Political Genius

“I’m one of the luckiest people to be alive”

Rush Limbaugh receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

His ‘army of one,’ inspiring millions who’d been ignored, changed the political landscape.

Genius is often defined in myriad ways. One trusted criterion is the ability to do something extraordinary in a field where others could not — and doing something that perhaps will never be done again by anyone else.

By that measure, Rush Limbaugh certainly is the genius of talk radio, a genre in which he not merely excelled but that he also singlehandedly reinvented as something entirely different — and entirely more powerful and instrumental in American life — from what was imaginable pre-Limbaugh.

Even stranger still, his ascendance coincided with the presumed nadir of radio itself. It was supposedly a has-been, one-dimensional medium, long overshadowed by television. Even in the late 1980s, radio was about to be sentenced as obsolete in the ascendant cyber age of what would become Internet blogs, podcasts, streaming, and smartphone television.

Stranger still, Limbaugh has prospered through two generations and picked up millions of listeners who were not born when he first went national and who had no idea of why or how he had become a national presence.

He certainly did not capture new listeners by adjusting to the times. While tastes changed and the issues often metamorphosed, he did not. He remained conservative, commonsensical, and skeptical of Washington and those in it, as if he knew all the predictable thousand faces of the timeless progressive project, whose various manifestations reappear to mask a single ancient and predictable essence: the desire of a self-appointed group of elites to expand government in order to regiment the lives of ordinary people, allegedly to achieve greater mandated equality and social justice but more often to satisfy their own narcissistic will to power. It was Limbaugh who most prominently warned that lax immigration enforcement would soon lead to open calls for open borders, that worry about “global warming” would transform into calls to ban the internal combustion engine, and that the logical end of federal takeover of health care would be Medicare for All.

The Left — and many too who would later become the Never Trump Right — thought that Limbaugh’s worst moment finally came after Obama’s 2008 victory, during the post-election euphoria and just days before the January 2009 inauguration. It was a heady time, when the media would go on to declare soon-to-be Nobel laureate President Obama as, variously, a living “god” and “the smartest guy” ever to assume the presidency. His supporters often compared him to iconic wartime presidents such as FDR and Lincoln. Americans had been lectured on Obama’s divinity even as a candidate, and the evidence had ranged from the mundane of Platonically perfect creases in his trousers, to the telepathic ability to prompt spontaneous electrical impulses in the legs of cable television anchors.

In answer to Obama’s promise to fundamentally “transform America,” Limbaugh flat-out said he hoped that the new president would not succeed: “I hope Obama fails.” Outrage followed. Was Limbaugh rooting for the failure of America itself? In fact, he was worrying about how America might survive the first unabashedly progressive president in over 60 years, now empowered by an obsequious media, a House majority, a veto-proof Senate, and Supreme Court picks on the near horizon.

Limbaugh was the first voice to warn that what would soon follow the election was not the agenda that Obama sometimes disingenuously voiced on the campaign trail — Obama’s ruse of occasionally sounding concerned about illegal immigration, gay marriage, the spiraling debt, a rapid pullout from Iraq, and identity politics — but rather a move to the progressive hard-left.

What would ensue instead lined up with Obama’s senatorial voting record, his prior associations with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Father Pfleger, and his occasional slips on the campaign trail: “I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a knife,” and (in the pre-Netflix, pre–Martha Vineyard estate days), “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Once elected, Obama was unbound. He lectured the nation about the wages of the West’s sin: the Crusades, America’s prior role in the world, and its own domestic woes. He instructed Americans on when it was the time to profit and when it was not, the point at which people should concede they had made enough money. And he listed the various reasons that he could not, as some anti-constitutional “king,” grant unconstitutional amnesties by fiat — before he went on to do just that.

Prior to Limbaugh’s national prominence, radio talk-show hosts were not shapers of national culture or politics. Even the few local and regional celebrity radio hosts had little power to influence issues of the day. While local talk radio was more conservative than liberal, it was hardly seen as traditional conservatives’ answer to the liberal biases of the major national newspapers, network evening news, and public radio and TV, much less the aristocratic pretensions of the Republican Beltway hierarchy.

So, what was inconceivable in 1988 was not just that any one person could leap from local prominence to national dominance, but that he could empower (rather than replace) his legions of radio subordinates. Far from making them irrelevant, Limbaugh energized talk-radio hosts. Once he became a national force, hundreds of others became far more effective conservative local and regional voices, partly through the art of emulation, partly through scheduling to lead in to or follow Limbaugh’s daily three-hour show, partly in the general renewed public interest in talk radio itself.

Call that coattails, or force multiplication, but in essence, Limbaugh redefined the genre as something more entertaining, more political, and yet more serious — an “army of one” antidote to the New York and Washington media corridor. How strange that after progressives achieved a monopoly in network news, public television and radio, the Internet conglomerates, Hollywood, and network prime-time programing, they sought to emulate Limbaugh by creating their own leftist version of national talk radio, Air America. Millions of dollars, dozens of talk-radio hosts, and Chapter 11 later, the venture collapsed in abject failure.

I wager that more Democrats listened to Limbaugh than to Air America, in the fashion of my late Democratic father, who used to sneak into my office on the farm and listen with me to Rush during the 1991 Gulf War.

How did Limbaugh do it?

No one really knows because few have been able to duplicate his success, despite a number of gifted hosts who have tried. For all the criticism that Limbaugh was crass, over some 25,000 hours of the syndicated Limbaugh show, there were few embarrassments. And in cases where Limbaugh said something he regretted, he later apologized. He certainly could grow animated but seldom shouted and yelled. He talked about having talent “on loan from God” but could turn self-deprecatory and compliment callers for insights that he found original and noteworthy, saying, “I hadn’t thought of that.” He mocked identity politics but at work and in life often surrounded himself with talented people who were not white, and he seemed oblivious to any significance of that fact other than that he’d found friends and employees who were competent and whom he liked. He was a self-made multimillionaire many times over and proud of it, and yet felt and acted more comfortable with those of the Midwestern middle classes with whom he’d grown up.

Perhaps the best clue is that Limbaugh was never just a talk-show host at all. Or rather, he redefined the talk-radio three-hour format into something far more expansive than the critical arts of editorializing and answering impromptu listeners’ calls. In his prime role as unyielding conservative explicator of the daily news without the filters of the Washington and New York commentariat, he combined the jobs of entertainer, stand-up comedian, psychologist, impressionist, satirist, provocateur, therapist, and listener to the nation.

Yet ultimately his audience listened because he differentiated between two worlds. On one hand, he saw, with a skeptic’s eye, the cosmos of progressive and liberal translators who selectively edit the day’s events and massage their supposed importance to Americans, to present the news in line with liberals’ preconceived agendas — under the guise that such reporting was beyond reproach as professional, disinterested, and entirely based in facts. Limbaugh exploded all those pretenses.

But he also saw the other world that was never reported. He did not claim to be a traditional journalist or even an opinion journalist. Instead, he proudly assumed the mantle and collective voice of a conservative Everyman. Or maybe, more dramatically, his listeners saw him as an atoll of traditional sanity in a turbulent sea of postmodern madness. His forte was explaining why nominal conservatives were infected with a fatal virus of wanting to be liked by the “mainstream media” and the cultural elite — and thus often “grew” in office, moving leftward, as if they had become smarter and more sophisticated than those who had voted for them.

People tuned in because they knew in advance that Rush would not weaken or deviate, much less “transcend” them. There would be no faddish Limbaugh who renounced his prior personas and positions. So his listeners were reassured each day that they were not themselves crazy to express doubt about what the nation was told or instructed.

Rush Limbaugh speaks at the 2019 Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Fla., December 21, 2019. (Gage Skidmore)

The New York Times story picked up by their local paper, the NPR segment they heard in the car, and the commentary of the ABC, CBS, or NBC evening news anchors were rarely if at all the whole truth and anything but the truth. Limbaugh reminded them that what was purportedly the news was increasingly the output of a rather narrow slice of cocooned America between Washington, D.C., and New York City, offered up by affluent progressives (the “drive-bys”) who had come to believe that the media’s role was not to report events per se, but to do so in a way that would not only educate the otherwise blinkered American masses but would also improve them morally and make them redeemable spiritually.

Limbaugh did all that, day in and day out, without any sense of monotony or boredom, but with almost adolescent energy and excitement about just talking to America each day. He never dialed it in. And his audience knew it.

Limbaugh himself knew his listeners, not just by class or locale, but through a shared skepticism about the values of coastal America and its inability to show any correlation between proven excellence and an array of letters after one’s name or name-dropping on a résumé. Does anyone think that a professor of journalism, a Washington pundit, a network anchor, a Senate elder, a president, or even a late-night TV host could host 30 hours of the Limbaugh show without losing most of the audience?

He was the Midwestern college drop-out who had bounced around among jobs before he found his natural place. Through that experience, he posed an ancient Euripidean question, “What is wisdom?” The answer was found in many of his targets: academics, editorialists, celebrities, journalists, government functionaries, and politicos whose bromides Limbaugh made ridiculous, and he instructed millions on how and why their ideas made no sense in a real world beyond their enclaves. Rush was hated by the Left supposedly for his politically incorrect -isms and -ologies; in truth, it was because he so often made them look ridiculous.

Limbaugh sounded sane when giddy Stanford grad and Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow enthused about Robert Mueller’s daily walls-are-closing-in bombshells — much as farmer and Cal Poly graduate Devin Nunes wrote the truth in his House Intelligence Committee majority report while Harvard Law graduate Adam Schiff’s nose grew in his minority-report reply, and in the way that supposedly idiotic wheeler-dealer Donald Trump energized the economy after Ivy League sophisticate Barack Obama said it would require a magic wand.

In response to Rush Limbaugh’s announcement that he has advanced lung cancer, millions voiced sympathy, support — and shock. Last week, millions asked, “What are Rush’s chances?” The correct answer might be, “Not good — if it was anyone but Rush.”

Yet one who can create national talk radio ex nihilo can similarly beat toxic malignancy. His listeners seemed worried not just over Rush’s health but about their own equally ominous future of the day’s events without him.

May that day be far off.

By Victor Davis Hanson, NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Case for Trump. @vdhanson


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Trump Acquitted

Despite years of searching for, then manufacturing episodes of wrongdoing, the US Senate has overwhelmingly voted to acquit.
The Senate overwhelmingly acquitted President Trump on both articles of impeachment against him Wednesday afternoon following a brief trial, in a historic rejection of Democrats’ claims that the president’s Ukraine dealings and handling of congressional subpoenas merited his immediate removal from office.
All Democratic senators supported convicting the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, including swing-vote moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Doug Jones, D-Ala.

The only party defection was on the abuse of power charge from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who declared hours before the final vote that Trump had engaged in as “destructive an attack on the oath of office and our Constitution as I can imagine.” Romney voted not guilty on the obstruction charge.

By a final vote of 52-48 against conviction on the abuse of power charge and 53-47 on the obstruction charge, the Senate fell far short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict and remove the president. Swing-vote Republican senators — including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — voted to acquit on both counts.

The separate obstruction of Congress charge concerned the White House’s assertion of executive privilege and refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas. Romney explained he would acquit on the obstruction count, saying House Democrats had chosen not to respond to the White House’s legal arguments against the subpoenas.

Publius

Rush Limbaugh Stuns Nation — Announces He has Late Stage Lung Cancer

Just before the end of his radio broadcast today Rush Limbaugh announced to his audience that he has been diagnosed with late stage lung cancer.

Limbaugh has been a main staple in political discussion since the early 1080s. He is best known as the host of his longtime radio show The Rush Limbaugh Show, which entered national syndication on AM and FM radio stations in 1988.

Limbaugh stunned his audience with the announcement, and said they will hear him less in the months to come due to many treatments for the disease that are scheduled, and necessary to his survival.

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming in the program today,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself, and I don’t like making things about me … The one thing that I know that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that has developed between all of you and me.”

Some fans immediately began to recommend Dr. Dean Silver, of the Scottsdale Arizona Silver Cancer Institute, who has developed a highly successful treatment system for late stage cancer.

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming in the program today,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself, and I don’t like making things about me … The one thing that I know that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that has developed between all of you and me.”

Limbaugh, 69, added that his relationship to his listeners has felt like a “family” and that his job as a talk radio host has given him the “greatest satisfaction and happiness” in his life.

“So I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you,” he continued, pausing several times. “It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today.”

He finally said that “the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”

Limbaugh added that his diagnosis was confirmed by two medical institutions on Jan. 20; he said he first realized something was wrong on his Jan. 12 birthday weekend.

The longtime airwave host said he considered keeping his diagnosis under wraps but offered that “there are going to be days when I’m not going to be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment, or I’m reacting to treatment.” But he said that would lead to speculation and that it would be better if he simply said what was up.

“It is what it is,” he said, adding that he would appear on air and do the program as best and as often as he can.

Limbaugh also said he told his staff earlier in the day that he has a “deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about” and that he’s been focused intently on that spiritual relationship since his diagnosis.

He also said he’s experiencing “zero symptoms” related to his lung cancer diagnosis other than “shortness of breath” that he figured may have been asthma or something heart related. But Limbaugh noted that his heart has been “ticking away fine.”

Limbaugh also said he’d be gone for the next few days as his course of treatment is determined, and he gets further testing.

He added a thank you to his listeners: “I know you’re there in great numbers, and I know that you understand everything I say. The rest of the world may not when they hear it expressed in a different way, but I know that you do. You’ve been one of the greatest sources of confidence that I’ve had in my life.”

by James Thompson


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BREAKING: Senate Votes NO on Additional Impeachment Witnesses

51 to 49 Vote. Murkowski comes out against impeachment witnesses, putting Trump on path to acquittal

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski came out Friday against calling witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, all but assuring the Senate will move to wrap up proceedings with a likely acquittal in a matter of days, if not hours.

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” said Murkowski, R-Alaska, a key moderate senator who has been closely watched on the witness question.

The announcement came after Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who also had been on the fence on the issue, announced late Thursday that he would not support additional witnesses in Trump’s “shallow, hurried and wholly partisan” trial.

The Senate voted on the witness question later Friday. From there, proceedings could drag on through Friday night and into the weekend – and possibly beyond – but it takes a two-thirds super-majority to convict a president.

Few senators have publicly budged from party lines during the course of the trial, leaving impeachment managers far short of the votes needed to convict barring some extraordinary turn.

Murkowski, after keeping her views close to the vest, issued her statement just as what could be the final day of proceedings got underway. In it, she said she “carefully considered” the question of allowing witnesses and documents in the trial, “but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.”

She even seemed to take a swipe at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for a day earlier applying not-so-subtle pressure on Chief Justice John Roberts to side with those seeking witnesses. On the floor Thursday, Warren gave Roberts a question that asked if refusing to allow witnesses would “contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?”

Murkowski said in her statement: “It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.”

The statement also could have been a reference to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., clashing with Roberts over the last two days for the latter’s refusal to read aloud his question naming the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.

“We are sadly at a low point of division in this country,” Murkowski said.

Trump is accused of withholding aid to Ukraine as leverage to extract an investigation led by that country into Democrats including 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family. He denies it, but former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly has alleged, in his forthcoming book, that the president indeed linked the aid and the investigations.

This prompted a renewed scramble by Democrats to muster the votes to demand witness testimony, from Bolton and others. The New York Times reported Friday that Bolton also claims Trump told him to help with his Ukraine pressure campaign as early as May.

Trump denied the claim.

As it became clear that votes were lining up to block witnesses, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., alleged earlier Friday that Republicans were on the verge of participating in the “greatest cover-up since Watergate.”

“The president’s acquittal will be meaningless because it will be the result of a sham trial,” he declared.

Judson Berger

By Judson Berger


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Sea level Data ALTERED by Scientists to Falsify Rising Oceans Story

Shoreline levels in Hawaii have increased no more than 10 inches in past 70 years, and are due to a combination of sinking land and rising sea levels (steady pace since last ice age).

A scientific paper published by a team of Australian researchers has revealed a startling find: Scientists at the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) have been “adjusting” historical data regarding tide levels in the Indian Ocean. Their “highly questionable” activities have depicted rapidly rising seas — but the truth is that there is no reason to be alarmed at all. Scientists have found that sea levels are stable — and have been for the entirety of the 20th century.

To put it simply, these PSMSL “scientists” have been arbitrarily changing their data in order to create the illusion of a problem that doesn’t actually exist.

According to the Australian research team, sea levels in the Indian Ocean have remained stable for decades. Dr. Albert Parker and Dr. Clifford Ollier recently published their astounding research in the journal Earth Systems and Environment; their extensive research gives an in-depth look at how this massive deception was undertaken.

PSMSL “realigned” stable sea level trends

As the researchers report, there are multiple lines of evidence that show sea levels in the Indian Ocean are completely stable. Further, the scientific duo explains that the data-adjusters at PSMSL were taking “misaligned or incomplete” sea level data (which showed no rise in sea levels, or even decreasing sea levels) and “realigning” them.

As Parker and Ollier contend, “It is always highly questionable to shift data collected in the far past without any proven new supporting material.” But what makes the PSMSL’s data shifts even more questionable is the fact that older datasets were adjusted to look lower while all newer sets of sea level data were re-configured to appear higher. When these arbitrary adjustments are taken together, it creates the appearance of a significant and concerning rise in sea levels — one that is entirely artificial.

As reported:

The sea levels in India, including Mumbai, and in Karachi, Pakistan, have been recently analysed and discussed in Parker and Ollier (2015) and in Parker (2016). In both cases, it was shown that the latest positive trends in the PSMSL RLR [revised local reference, adjusted] data are only the result of arbitrary alignments, and alternative and more legitimate alignments reveal very stable sea-level conditions.

Further, the researchers state that there are even greater concerns regarding the PSMSL’s so-called findings. They wrote:

What are more dangerous are the corrections recently introduced to the past to magnify the sea-level trend or the acceleration. As shown in the prior section, the adjustments introduced by PSMSL to make the RLR [revised local reference, or adjusted data] are arbitrary in Aden, Karachi, and Mumbai.

In one instance, Parker and Ollier referenced a 1991 study which showed that sea levels in Mumbai were falling by an average of 0.3 millimeters per year between the years of 1930 and 1980. The duo states that in PSMSL’s latest report, they declare that sea levels in Mumbai were rising by 0.52 millimeters per year during the same time period.

In other words, PSMSL completely changed data collected decades ago to show an increase in sea levels, rather than the decrease that was actually reported at the time.

To sum it up, Ollier and Parker have found there is no reason to believe that sea levels are rising — and that PSMSL has been wantonly adjusting sea level data to create the appearance of a problem that doesn’t actually exist.

Scientists use real data to show sea levels are stable

The Australian researchers declared in their paper, “Contrary to the adjusted data from tide gauges and the unreliable satellite altimeter data, properly examined data from tide gauges and other sources such as coastal morphology, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, archaeological remains, and historical documentation indicate a lack of any alarming sea-level rise in recent decades for all the Indian Ocean.”

In other words, a non-biased look at the original data from the tide gauges indicates that there is nothing to be worried about; current sea levels are well within “normal” ranges. In fact, the pair states in the conclusion that sea levels across multiple sites of the Indian Ocean have been stable for “all of the 20th century.”

The pair of scientists also state in their paper that all key data collection points have shown a sea level rise of 0.0 millimeters for at least the last 50 years — which is an indicator of stability in ocean levels.

A recent report by NASA even showed that sea levels are actually taking a downward turn for the last few years — findings that lie in stark contrast to PSMSL’s alarmist report on sea level data.

There has been much controversy and fanfare over the alleged threat of rising sea levels, but it seems that much of this excitement is based on fiction rather than reality.

Ultimately, Parker and Ollier concluded that sea levels are, and have been, quite stable during the past century.

By Vicki Batts


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BREAKING: Americans Under Iranian Missile Fire in Iraq

American commanders in Iraq report that they are currently being fired on by missiles being fired from Iran.

Multiple American bases and facilities throughout the country are being targeted by Iranian forces. American commanders say they are defending, and the 5,000 American troops are standing by to retaliate.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Armed Church Members Stop Mass Shooting in 6 Seconds

The ex-FBI agent who jumped into action when a gunman opened fire on worshipers during a church service in Texas said Monday he was placed in a position he didn’t want to be in, but had to react because “evil exists.”

Two men were killed when the gunman opened fire at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement on Sunday morning as more than 240 parishioners were inside. Within seconds, he was shot to death by two congregants who fired back.

Jack Wilson, a Hood County resident running for commissioner for Precinct 3 who is the head of the church’s security team, shared some details on his campaign’s Facebook page as he gave thanks to “all who have sent their prayers and comments on the events of today.”

“The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church,” he wrote. “I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church.”

At a news conference Sunday night, White Settlement Police Department Chief J.P. Bevering told reporters the gunman – who has yet to be identified – had sat down in a pew before getting up, taking out a shotgun and firing at a parishioner, who was killed.

A livestream of the church service shows the gunman getting up from a pew and talking to someone at the back of the church before pulling out a gun and opening fire. Parishioners can then be heard screaming and seen ducking under pews or running as papers fly to the floor.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told reporters on Sunday the church’s team responded “quickly,” and within six seconds, the shooting was over.

“Two of the parishioners who were volunteers of the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives,” Patrick said.

On his Facebook page, Wilson lists his personal history as a small business owner for 30 years and who served in negotiating proposals and contracts for a major defense company. He said he also served as a Hood County Reserve Deputy Sheriff from 1980 to 1986. It was not immediately clear when he served as an FBI agent, but he said that he had taken the oath to support and defend the Constitution “multiple times” beginning in 1965, when he joined the National Guard, a reserve deputy for the Hood County Sheriff’s Department, and “multiple times” with the Department of Defense Security Clearances beginning in 1965 through 1995.

“I swore to the oath then and still live by the oath today,” he wrote.

In the Facebook post on her personal history, he added: “I continue to work with Federal, State and local levels of law enforcement.”

Wilson, who has previously posted on Facebook does “totally “stand” by President Trump, said his mission of running for the county office is to “be  accessible to serve the public with honesty and integrity, to help provide essential services through an efficient and effective use of the County’s resources and to be accountable to the citizens of Precinct 3 and all citizens of Hood County.”

The commissioner candidate says his wife of 51 years has raised his family in Granbury/Hood County for the last 42 years, and are the proud parents of three daughters and the “blessed grandparents” of 10, and 1 great-grandchild.

“I feel I have the knowledge and passion to move this growing county into a place all residents can be proud to call home,” he wrote.

While authorities have also not yet identified those killed in the shooting, Tiffany Wallace told Dallas TV station KXAS that her father, Anton “Tony” Wallace, was one of the victims in the attack. She said her father was a deacon at the church and had just passed out communion when the gunman approached him.

“I ran toward my dad and the last thing I remember is him asking for oxygen and I was just holding him, telling him I loved him and that he was going to make it,” Wallace said. Wallace said her father was rushed to a hospital but he did not survive.

The second parishioner who died in the shooting was identified to CBS News as Richard White.

“I am very sad in the loss of two dear friends and brothers in CHRIST, but evil does exist in this world and I and other members are not going to allow evil to succeed,” Wilson wrote early Monday. “Please pray for all the members and their families in this time. Thank you for your prayers and understanding.”

Gov. Greg Abbott asked the state to pray for the victims, their loved ones and the community of White Settlement, located about 8 miles west of Fort Worth.

“Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life,” Abbott said in a tweeted statement.

Travis Fedschun

By Travis Fedschun | Fox News

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Trump’s Thanksgiving Afghanistan Trip Kept Quiet Amid Extreme Security

President Trump serves Thanksgiving food to US soldiers serving in Afghanistan

President Trump surprised troops and news outlets on Thanksgiving morning when he appeared in Afghanistan to thank troops for their service to the country and help serve a turkey dinner — but doing so required extreme security measures to ensure both safety and to prevent the word from getting out.

“There’s nowhere I’d rather spend Thanksgiving than with the toughest, fiercest warriors,” Trump told troops on the ground. “I’m here to say Happy Thanksgiving and thank you very much. As president of the United States, I have no higher honor than serving as commander in chief.”

But in order to make the visit, intense security and a host of other measures were required to ensure the news didn’t leak. The journey began Wednesday, where Trump snuck out of Mar-a-Lago.

Many of the details of how he did so are a secret, but the president flew out of an undisclosed airport in Florida on a small, also undisclosed, plane Wednesday evening.

On that flight bound for Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland, there was only one Fox News journalist, who was serving as the pool reporter. The plane was bare-bones, except for four blue leather chairs and a port-a-potty that had been brought for the occasion.

As part of the security measures phones were taken from all onboard, including senior White House officials. Trump greeted the crew but remained in the cockpit for takeoff.

When the plane landed in Joint Base Andrews later Wednesday evening, Trump switched to Air Force One — which was not lit up on the tarmac, but was instead hidden in a hangar. It took off from JBA with all interior lights off and the windows drawn.

The plane landed in Afghanistan on a pitch-black runway, while the pool was only allowed to take pictures of Trump’s arrival from a nearby van. Accompanying Trump was White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Grisham said that only a tight circle of White House officials knew about the trip, and the White House even scheduled tweets to be sent out from the president’s account during the Internet blackout that he faced.

“It’s a dangerous area and he (the President) wants to support the troops,” Grisham said. “He and Mrs. Trump recognize that there is a lot of people who are away from their families during the holidays and we thought it would be a nice surprise.”

Watch Video

It certainly was a surprise to the troops, the public and the media — catching some outlets completely flat-footed. Newsweek had to overhaul an article that it had earlier posted that reported the president would spend the day tweeting and playing golf.

After serving and eventually sitting down for a Thanksgiving dinner — that included turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread, baked ham, mac and cheese, Cornish hen and candied yams — Trump took as many pictures as time would allow with troops.

He then met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Due to security concerns, the White House notified Ghani only “a few hours ago,” according to the White House.

Trump then finished his trip by addressing a few hundred cheering troops in the hangar on the airfield, bringing Ghani on the stage to also express his appreciation to the American troops. Trump told them that everyone was working hard to bring them back home.

“We will continue to work tirelessly for the day when all of you can go home to your families … and that day is coming very soon,” he said.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Andrew O’Reilly and Jenny Buchholz contributed to this report.Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.


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HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY, not Turkey Day

For many generations Americans have rightly paused on Thanksgiving Day to give thanks to a generous God, who is our Heavenly Father. America was founded on principles of Judeo-Christian ethics, and a shared faith in a personal God, who caringly watches over the affairs of humanity with a concerned eye–while leaving us to exercise our own free will.

As socialists have struggled to wrestle our personal liberties from us, one of their main tools has been to secularize our society. Indeed, the ACLU, Democratic Party and similar leftist organizations have led the fight to remove any mention of God, or His Son Jesus Christ, from the public’s vernacular.

As a result of this attempt to make God and Christ politically incorrect in our nation, we have recently been greeted with “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” and with “Happy Turkey Day” instead of “Happy Thanksgiving Day.”

We can see why the left would seek to take Christ out of Christmas, but why the shift from Thanksgiving Day to Turkey Day? Because “Thanksgiving” implies there is a reason to be thankful, and someone to whom we should give thanks–and that’s God.

I for one am careful to wish everyone I meet, at the store, at work, or in other public places, a hearty Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. As a child of our Heavenly Father, I would much rather offend an anti-American, than offend God.

Happy Thanksgiving Day America, and may God bless us.

By James Thompson


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Glenn Beck: Facebook Is Deleting Conservative Pages

‘This is solely because I support President Trump’

The Facebook page of conservative author David Harris Jr. was unpublished on Friday, according to an article in Reclaim the Net. The report says Harris’ page was taken down after warnings of community standards violations. Facebook’s decision coincides with its announcement on Friday that it would remove posts mentioning the name of the alleged whistleblower in the ongoing scandal involving President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Harris immediately took to Twitter to blast the social media giant and allege he was targeted for political reasons. “This is solely because I support President @realDonaldTrump!” said the author.

According to Reclaim the Net, the removal of Harris’ page came after he was informed on Wednesday that his page received 14 community standards violations. Harris was also accused of publishing two false articles concerning climate change. However, Harris says he received no explanation of how his posts violated Facebook’s rules.

Conservative Latina also targeted

In an unrelated case, another conservative targeted by Facebook on Friday was Erika Garcia, a young GOP leader in Central Florida. In an interview with TheBlaze, Garcia said she posted photos of the alleged whistleblower posing with Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her personal Facebook page, and within an hour the post was gone. She then shared them again in a post on the Florida Republicans United Facebook group that also disappeared.

Garcia, who serves as the Orange County chairwoman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, says she appealed the decision and was told by Facebook the post did not comply with its Community Standards, presumably the same ones that Harris was accused of violating.

She provided The Blaze with a screenshot of the message she received from the social media company:

The Orlando-area activist says this is not the first time she has been censored by Facebook. “They once removed a video I posted where I was being interviewed about why I love President Trump as a legal Mexican immigrant.”

She added, “Facebook has now removed two of my posts without any notice or any sort of communication. I think we have a freedom of speech crisis in America.”

What else?

The decisions came after Facebook said in a statement yesterday, “Any mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ‘outing of witness, informant, or activist. We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.”

YouTube then followed Facebook’s lead and issued a similar statement to CNN:

A YouTube spokesperson said videos mentioning the potential whistleblower’s name would also be removed. The spokesperson said the company would use a combination of machine learning and human review to scrub the content. The removals, the spokesperson added, would affect the titles and descriptions of videos as well as the video’s actual content.

Meanwhile, Twitter said it would permit references to the whistleblower who is said to be a career CIA analyst who worked in the National Security Council in the previous administration.

by Giancarlo Sopa, TheBlaze


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Mexican Cartel Massacre: 9 Americans, including 6 children

Americans killed in cartel shootout in Mexico
At least nine American citizens including children have been killed by a Mexican drug cartel after being ambushed on the road.

Rhonita Maria LeBaron (left), along with 4 children, Dawna Langford (center) and Christina Marie Langford (right) were among those killed. (Facebook)

At least six children and three women living in a faith-based community of U.S. citizens in Mexico were shot to death Monday in the northern part of the country, and six more children were wounded after their convoy came under fire during a brazen daylight ambush believed to have been carried out by gunmen affiliated with the cartels.

Alfonso Durazo, Mexico’s top security official, confirmed the six deaths, adding that six more children were wounded in the attack, with five transferred to hospitals in Phoenix, Ariz.

He had indicated that one child was still missing, although relatives later appeared to indicate that the girl, Mckenzie Langford, age 9, who had been grazed in the arm by a bullet and had gone for help only to get lost in the dark, was eventually found.

Relatives said the victims live in the La Mora religious community in northern Mexico, a decades-old settlement in Sonora state around 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona.

They said the group was attacked while traveling in a convoy of three SUVs. Durazo said the gunmen may have mistaken the SUV convoy for rival gangs.

The victims were all reportedly dual Mexican and U.S. citizens and were traveling back to the U.S. when they were ambushed, according to Utah’s KUTV.

Among those killed were Rhonita Maria LeBaron and her four children, including twin 6-month-old babies and two others, ages 8 and 10. Her burned-out bullet-ridden SUV was reportedly found outside the town of Bavispe, where the settlement is located. Relative Lafe Langford Jr. shared a video on Facebook that showed the SUV.

Relatives claim that cartel members kidnapped surviving church members after the initial shootout.

Rhonita’s young twins Titus and Tiana also died after the car caught fire (Instagram)

Langford Jr., who grew up in the settlement but now lives in the U.S., told the Salt Lake Tribune the bodies of the two other mothers in the group – 43-year-old Dawna Ray Langford and 31-year-old Christina Marie Langford – were found in a separate location later Monday. A third relative said a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy were also killed, bringing the death toll to at least nine.

Langford Jr. told Fox News: “It’s just huge. It’s just absolutely unimaginable. This is the absolute worst nightmare for our entire existence in Mexico…and we never thought it was possible.”

Jhon LeBaron, another relative, posted on his Facebook page that his aunt and another woman were dead. He also posted that six of his aunt’s children had been left abandoned, but alive, on a roadside.

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, President Trump hit out at the “monsters” who perpetrated the act.

“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing. If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

He added in a third tweet: “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!”

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refused that approach, saying at a Tuesday news conference, “The worst thing you can have is war.”

“We declared war, and it didn’t work,” Lopez Obrador said, referring to the policies of previous administrations. “That is not an option.”

Early reports indicated the tragedy could have been a case of mistaken identity, but recent history also raises the possibility the LeBaron family was the intended target: only a decade ago, two members of the family opposed to local drug trafficking groups were kidnapped and murdered, according to the Times.

Mexico’s federal Department of Security and Citizens’ Protection said security forces were reinforced with National Guard, army and state police troops in the area following “the reports about disappearance and aggression against several people.” The troops were searching for the missing community members, believed to include 11 children or more.

According to Langford Jr.’s Facebook post, one of the older boys in the group managed to escape with six of his siblings from the ongoing shootout and run back to his home at La Mora settlement, which is located about 70 miles south of Douglas, Ariz. He said he left other children who were injured hidden on the side of the road. It was unclear how many children were ultimately rescued as of Monday evening.

Many of the church’s members were born in Mexico and thus have dual U.S. citizenship. The three SUVs left Bavispe and were traveling on the outskirts of Sonora, near the neighboring state of Chihuahua, when they were reportedly attacked.

Claudia Pavlovich Arellano, the governor from Sonora, tweeted in Spanish her determination to find the killers.

“As a mother I feel courage, repudiation and deep pain for what cowards did in the mountains between Sonora and Chihuahua,” she wrote. “I don’t know what kind of monsters dare to hurt women and children. As Governor, I will do everything to make sure this does not go unpunished and those responsible pay.”

The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying, “The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad is among the Department of State’s top priorities. When a U.S. citizen is missing or passes away overseas, we engage with local officials at multiple levels and provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

Danielle Wallace

By Danielle Wallace

Caleb Parke and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Judge Rules for Covington Kids vs Washington Post and Reopens Case

Nicholas Sandmann will not be able to repair his reputation without proceeding with his lawsuits against The Washington Post and other media outlets, attorney Todd McMurtry said on Tuesday.

On Monday, a federal judge reversed his own ruling by partially reopening the Covington Catholic High School student’s $250 million defamation lawsuit over the media’s coverage of his confrontation with a Native American protester in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.

The new ruling, by District Judge William O. Bertelsman, is based on an amended complaint filed by Sandmann’s legal team. The decision permitted Sandmann to obtain documents from The Post during an upcoming discovery process, as his lawyers have sought to argue that the paper negligently reported on Sandmann’s interactions with a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, while the student wore a red “Make America Great Again” hat and stood outside the Lincoln Memorial in January.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” with host Ainsley Earhardt, McMurtry said that when the case was initially dismissed by Bertelsman, they had not provided all of the evidence that showed what “Phillips had done on the mall that day.”

Video

McMurtry said they believe the video evidence shows that “Nathan Phillips presented a false factual narrative when he described what happened” and the judge was “persuaded by the additional video evidence.”

The judge ruled that an amended complaint submitted by Sandmann’s attorneys “alleged in greater detail than the original complaint that Phillips deliberately lied concerning the events at issue, and that Phillips had “an unsavory reputation which, but for the defendant’s negligence or malice, would have alerted defendant to this fact.”

McMurtry tweeted that the ruling “bodes well for the NBC and CNN cases, as well.”

“The initial kind of unedited, unsourced viral video that The Post linked to its articles just showed a snippet of what happened,” said McMurtry.

He told Earhardt he believes that the new evidence shows that Phillips confronted Sandmann and in a statement to The Washington Times, McMurty said the ruling “preserves the heart of Nicholas Sandmann’s claims.”

“What we’re going to do is we’re going to present our case very aggressively against all of the defendants whom we have sued. And, the idea [is] to help Nicholas repair his reputation,” McMurtry said.

Video

“So, when you talk about the case being worth millions of dollars, think about how much money was spent. Or, the equivalent value of spending that much money to defame Nicholas Sandmann,” he explained.

“When you have the full weight of The Washington Post and other news sources all out against a young man like that, what’s the value of undoing all of that?” he asked Earhardt.

McMurtry said that 17-year-old Sandmann is doing well, but he is “not able – without the benefits of these lawsuits – to undo the damage to his reputation.”

Bertelsman has called a hearing for Dec. 3 to go over scheduling for Sandmann’s case.

By Julia Musto


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Can the President Say Lynching? Yes, and Here is Why

President Trump has recently asserted on his Twitter account:

So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!

The president has come under fire from Democrats for using the word “lynching” to describe how the Democrats are attempting to throw him out of office without an underlying crime or due process, because they claim it is a word loaded with history of white supremacy–and cannot be invoked generally, and never by a white citizen.

Let’s look at what Lynching is.

Lynching–Definition and History: Democrats in the south killed and hanged thousands of African-Americans and 1,300 white Republicans who helped them, without due process.

This is the reality. Democrats committed the lynchings. They lynched blacks and any white Republican who sought to assist them in the post-war South.

Does the president’s use of the word withstand the historical definition? Democrats are trying to destroy a white Republican whose only ‘sin’ is informing America’s minorities that the Democrats have done everything in their power to keep blacks and Hispanics in poverty, because Democrats’ power base relies on a permanent dependent underclass that feels helpless to rise above their status. The president’s classic free market economic policies have lifted many millions of American minorities out of poverty in just 2.5 years, and unemployment rates for blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women are at all time historic lows. This is why the Democrats are trying to lynch the president.

Just in case there are any doubters out there (heaven knows that teachers’ unions and media obscure America’s history from the public), let me share this horrific and sordid history here:

First, let me preface that I am a Constitutionalist, politically. That means that my personal feelings about politics start and end with the Constitution. I have a doctorate in Law, and have a good understanding of US history—especially as it relates to individual liberty.

The thing about America is that it was a British colony, and the dumping ground for every horrible practice of nations of the time. Slavery was an abomination that had been practiced for thousands of years, and nearly every nation at the time was involved—especially most of the nations of Europe, and those of Africa. Irish were being enslaved and shipped to America and the Ivory Coast, followed by the African slave trade. Warring African tribes were attacking one another, and the victor would sell off the survivors of the defeated tribes to international slave traders. Under British rule, slave labor and white indentured servants (closely akin to slavery) was promoted heavily in the American colonies, and Caribbean islands owned by European nations were utilized as clearing houses for the African slave trade.

Democratic Party Campaign Flyer

As the American colonists rebelled against European oppression, including oppression of most British subjects as well as those trapped in the slave life, a great division formed among the colonies—those who utilized slave labor (mainly in the South) and those who opposed it (mainly in the North). The attitudes were diametrically opposed, and we even find thousands of Southern black citizens owning African slaves and thousands of Northern black citizens using the wealth they had accumulated in living the American dream to help the liberation cause.

The American Revolution and the coming forth of the US Constitution cost a lot of American blood and wealth, and many compromises were necessary to get us to that point. Let me share an example of the compromises. The Southern slave holders afforded no rights to their slaves—yet, for the purposes of representation in the US Congress, they insisted that their hundreds of thousands of slaves be counted in the census, thereby providing several additional members of the House of Representatives to Southern congressional districts. Northern politicians, who felt that slavery was vile, objected, and insisted that the slaves not be counted at all, because counting them would actually give the South an unfair voting advantage in the Congress—which they would utilize to keep the slaves in bondage. An eventual compromise was reached, for the purpose of forming a national government, and slaves were eventually counted as 2/3 of a citizen—unfortunately, still resulting in too many Congressmen being appointed by Southern states. Here is the problem—now, over 200 years later, this horrible compromise is twisted into something else. It is pointed to by the Party that tried to get the slaves counted so they could keep slavery alive in the South, as the North’s attempt to block slaves from being counted as “humans.” History is stood on its head by modern propaganda and rewriting history.

Abraham Lincoln was the candidate of the Republican Party, which was formed on the platform of emancipation, and an end to slavery in the US. The Democratic Party did everything in their power to block Lincoln and the Republicans. Steven Spielberg (Democrat) made an excellent movie starring Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, accurately depicting the efforts of the Republicans to free the slaves and empower them as US citizens, and the Democrats’ many attempts to block those efforts. More than 600,000 Americans gave their lives in the fight for freedom, to emancipate the slaves of the South. Most families were horribly affected—black and white. America won, the Constitution won, and Southern Democrats were sent home licking their wounds. They continued to treat black Americans as second class citizens for generations, forming the KKK, lynching blacks and their Republican protectors for decades.

This went on until President Eisenhower. The Republicans were trying to pass civil rights and voting rights legislation, and Southern Democrats were filibustering. If you look at the voting records of the 1950s, you will be shocked at the names voting against the Republican Civil Rights legislation (Gore, Kennedy, Fulbright, etc.). At that same time, Southern Democrats were still legislating Jim Crow laws, and standing on university steps with the National Guard, keeping young black Americans out of “white” schools.

There came a time when certain Democratic politicians made a decision, that they could gain political power if they suddenly changed lanes and proclaimed that they, not the Republicans, were the benevolent protectors of American blacks. This was orchestrated during the presidency of JFK, and when he was murdered, President LB Johnson championed welfare state legislation, forever trapping American minorities in a permanent underclass, dependent on government handouts. His words when he signed the Great Society legislation were, “We’ll have those n____ers voting Democrat for the next 200 years.” Despicable.

Now, when I tell my children that what they are being taught at school is not historically accurate, they get this lecture. When I tell them that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father were Republicans, they are surprised. When I tell them that nearly all Black Americans were Republican until the Great Society legislation won them over to the Democratic Party, they are shocked. In fact, history has been so set on its ear by those seeking to rewrite it, that my children said they were told that Lincoln was a Democrat (as declared on a university plaque in Illinois), and that the KKK was started and manned by Republicans.

The Constitution is colorblind. American conservatives are colorblind. The Constitution is set in place to protect America’s citizens and the various states from federal encroachments. America’s minorities are being used as pawns by international leftists to accumulate power in the left, leaving minorities deeper in debt and more powerless with each passing year. Additionally, 3,500 minority babies are aborted in this nation every day. Who’s behind that? As Americans, we must recognize that this is a national disgrace, and I was pleased to hear Kanye West protest this fact during the election when he shouted out to American minorities to wake up to the reality of party politics and how the left is exploiting minorities without giving anything to them of value.

We live in a period of extreme political turmoil. The source of this turmoil is people and organizations who do not like America, and its personal liberties afforded by the US Constitution. They are doing everything they can to destroy America and seize its power and wealth. History will be on the side of those who stood by America and its ideals, enshrined in the US Constitution. Those ideals do not divide Americans into any groups—not by gender, religion, race, etc. The only people who want to emphasize those distinctions and divide the people into small groups pitted against one another are people and organizations seeking to accumulate political power at the expense of those divided groups. Divide and Conquer is how they do their damage.

Most of us are members of one minority group or another. We cannot allow enemies of liberty to persuade us to turn on one another, thereby promoting their purposes. We are all Americans, and we should say nothing more than “We Are All Americans, and we have individual liberty as our common goal.” There are extremists, yes, and they want nothing more than to suck us into their sick world by spewing hate. The world is and always has been full of them—Nazis in Germany, fascists in Italy, Socialists is Russia and China, Jihadists in the Middle East. All of these groups wish to wipe out all opposition to their world domination. Their main enemy is America, because American ideals and personal liberty make it impossible for them to succeed. Therefore, they seek to conquer America by dividing Americans. They are all represented by extremist groups here in America. They take advantage of the poor, and poorly educated, and to the extent possible, they do everything in their power to keep Americans poor and ignorant.

There are tremendous powers at work in America—and we are hearing a ton of propaganda every day. Translation—you cannot count on anything the press is reporting right now.

I share this because it is my hope that this brief explanation of race in American history serves to clarify the real issues at play in the press today. Everything we are hearing is about power, and the politics of the accumulation of power, at the expense of the citizens of the United States–with Americans who are told they are “minorities” being manipulated to that end. Don’t be fooled by a media and press that is part of the power grab.

James Thompson is a legal scholar and political writer, and a professional ghostwriter.


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FROM A LIBERAL: An Open Letter to the Democratic Party

The days of buffet-style politics are no longer allowed

This article is in The Spectator’s inaugural US edition.

Dear Democrats, I’m mad at you. I was raised a die-hard, bleeding-heart liberal. My grandmother was an Irish Catholic New Englander who worshiped JFK almost as much as Jesus. My dad and his nine siblings sang for the Kennedys at Hammersmith Farm.

For decades, I was a loyal regular at your bar until suddenly you started ignoring me. You took my support for granted and dismissed my concerns, focusing instead on courting the young city hipsters with their scooters and their designer weed and their craft beers. You began overlooking pragmatic moderates and catering to loud extremists who favor rewriting the Constitution and accelerating our lurch towards socialism.

So in 2016, feeling politically homeless, I dropped my party affiliation. How did this happen? How did I go from being a lifetime Democrat to a registered independent? I am far from alone: why don’t you Democrats seem to care?

Like most Americans, I developed my politics through osmosis. You absorb what you grow up around. I call this unexamined position ‘factory settings’. Factory settings are the default beliefs installed when you were a child. ‘I grew up in a conservative home and so I vote Republican.’ Or ‘I hate the Yankees because I’m from Boston.’

As a young person, I could spout Democratic party lines verbatim. I didn’t care all that much. Prior to 2015, I viewed politics as something that only affected the very rich and the very poor. I wasn’t dependent on the government and tax cuts didn’t benefit me. The winner of any election had very little influence on my life. I worked as a waitress. Too busy living paycheck to paycheck, I felt like just another cog in the wheel.

For most of the 20 years in which I have been able to vote, I’ve kept my head down and voted Democrat because I believed they were the ‘party of the people’. And I was told Republicans were evil my whole life.

I understood the importance of voting, but had fallen asleep at the wheel of a self-driving car and was happy to let the autopilot navigate. It was easier. And not in a lazy, ignorant or unmotivated way — I was simply too busy trying to survive, so I rested in the default settings I was born into and trusted the geniuses in charge could work on the details.

For a long time, politicians could count on the factory-settings crowd. People know the lever they’re supposed to pull and that’s about all they’re there to do. But social media and unprecedented amounts of interconnection have added new layers that disrupt the quiet majority of factory-settings voters like me.

Having been born and raised a liberal Democrat, I had only a vague sense of the truth behind America’s political divisions. This was because of the left’s firm domination of media, entertainment and education. I subscribed to what I now call ‘The Approved Message’, a sort of ‘right-think’ that meant you were one of the good guys: a Democrat. It made for a simpler life.

Then came Trumpism. The Approved Message grew louder and angrier. It coalesced into a progressive religion, ‘Wokeism’, which adopted increasingly complex rules. Suddenly, there was no limit on what someone might deem offensive. Certain opinions, words and ideas became unacceptable overnight. Citizens took to policing one another’s jokes, tone and internet histories.

It quickly became clear that anyone who supported Trump (to be clear, I am not a fan) should be shamed and ostracized. If they were a family member, disowned. In fact, coming out as anything other than anti-Trump could end your career, get you kicked out of your mommy group or land you on the wrong side of a virtual mob.

Like most Americans, I was suddenly playing catch-up. Speech is violence, capitalism and democracy are oppressive, critical thinking is ‘fence-sitting.’

If you try nuance or engage in ‘wrong-think’ on sacred issues, you won’t just get into a tiff with the neighbors; now there’s every chance you will have your personal life dragged into the public square in order to shame you into obscurity. The days of buffet-style politics are no longer allowed. You either check all the boxes of the ‘good’ party, or you belong to the ‘bad’ one. When I dared to push back by writing articles, I was struck by how quickly the left rejected me. Millions noticed this too: they watched in stunned silence as leftists demanded books be censored, scrutinized language and called anyone who disagreed a Nazi.

Flash forward three years into a Trump administration and instead of learning from mistakes, the loudest members of the party are heading for the same brick wall. At this point the 2020 Democratic platform feels like a barely veiled threat: ‘Vote for us or you’re racist.’

The progressive push to fully embody the promise made in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal’ used to feel aspirational and attainable. Now, the open-mindedness and tolerance that attracted me to the Democratic party seems like a thing of the past. Gone is the party that stood in direct opposition to the rigid moralizing of conservatism.

In its place is a movement that feels less about liberation and more about obedience. Progressivism is no longer interested in ideological diversity and instead demands rigid adherence to dogma. Dare to defy and risk being, as we say on Twitter, ‘canceled.’

When a movement is no longer open to dissent, the movement is dead. It is no longer a living, breathing dialogue. It’s a cult.

Like it or not, I’m a canary in the coal-mine. If I, a citizen of the Republic of California, have been abandoned in the center, how many people are there in Ohio? Or Florida? Or Wisconsin? I guarantee a lot more than the polls currently reflect, and a lot more than Democrats can perceive from their liberal bubble. You can’t bully people into voting the way you like and then when they push back imply they are racist and say good riddance — not if you want to survive.

So Democrats, please stop with this nonsense that people like me have left you, as you endlessly tell me on Twitter. You pushed us away. Offer us a compelling vision of the future based on the strength of your ideas and policies. If you can’t, maybe you don’t deserve to win.

by Bridget Phetasy


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Doomsdays That Didn’t Happen: Decades of Failed Climate Predictions

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently suggested Miami would disappear in “a few years” due to climate change. The United Nations is convening a “Climate Action Summit” next week. And climate activist Greta Thunberg is on Capitol Hill this week telling lawmakers they must act soon.

But while data from NASA and other top research agencies confirms global temperatures are indeed rising, a newly compiled retrospective indicates the doomsday rhetoric is perhaps more overheated.

The conservative-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute has put together a lengthy compilation of apocalyptic predictions dating back decades that did not come to pass, timed as Democratic presidential candidates and climate activists refocus attention on the issue.

The dire predictions, often repeated in the media, warned of a variety of impending disasters – famine, drought, an ice age, and even disappearing nations – if the world failed to act on climate change.

An Associated Press headline from 1989 read “Rising seas could obliterate nations: U.N. officials.” The article detailed a U.N. environmental official warning that entire nations would be eliminated if the world failed to reverse warming by 2000.

Then there were the fears that the world would experience a never-ending “cooling trend in the Northern Hemisphere.” That claim came from an “international team of specialists” cited by The New York Times in 1978.Video

Just years prior, Time magazine echoed other media outlets in suggesting that “another ice age” was imminent. “Telltale signs are everywhere — from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest,” the magazine warned in 1974. The Guardian similarly warned in 1974 that “Space satellites show new Ice Age coming fast.”

In 1970, The Boston Globe ran the headline, “Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century.” The Washington Post, for its part, published a Columbia University scientist’s claim that the world could be “as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age.”

Some of the more dire predictions came from Paul Ehrlich, a biologist who famously urged population control to mitigate the impacts of humans on the environment. Ehrlich, in 1969, warned that “everybody” would “disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years,” The New York Times reported.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Ehrlich, warning of a “disastrous” famine,” urged placing “sterilizing agents into staple foods and drinking water.”

Those predictions were made around the time former President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. Since then, the U.S. has adopted a series of environmental reforms aimed at limiting emissions.

Years after those initial predictions, media outlets and politicians continue to teem with claims of apocalyptic scenarios resulting from climate change.

Earlier this month, leading Democratic presidential candidates held a town hall on the issue and warned about the “existential” threat posed by a changing climate. Before the end of the month, 2020 candidates are expected to have another climate forum at Georgetown University.

CEI’s report came just before the U.N. Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23, an event that promises to “spark the transformation that is urgently needed and propel action that will benefit everyone.”

It also came a week after Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., warned that Miami would be gone in a “few years” because of climate change. She was responding to critics of her ambitious “Green New Deal,” which seeks to reach net-zero emissions within just decades.Video

Ocasio-Cortez, whose plan has been endorsed by leading presidential candidates, previously joked that the world would end in 12 years if it didn’t address climate change. But short-term predictions weren’t a laughing matter in the years following “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary produced by former Vice President Al Gore.

In 2008, ABC released an ominous video about what the world would look like in 2015. As the video warned about rising sea levels, a graphic showed significant portions of New York City engulfed by water. Gore himself famously predicted in the early 2000s that Arctic ice could be gone within seven years. At the end of seven years, Arctic ice had undergone a period of expansion, though recently it has been melting at a quicker pace.

Sam Dorman is a reporter with Fox News. You can follow him on Facebook here.


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