July 8, 2020

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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Jussie Smollett Indicted on 6 Counts for Lying to Police

Judge upholds decision to appoint special prosecutor in Jussie Smollett case.
A Chicago judge denied requests from Jussie Smollett’s legal team to block the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury on six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about his claims of a racist and homophobic attack against him in January 2019, a special prosecutor announced on Tuesday.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb issued a statement announcing the indictment against the 37-year-old former “Empire” star. He is due in court on Feb. 24, Fox 32 reported citing a source.

Smollett, who is black and gay, originally was charged last year with disorderly conduct for allegedly staging the attack and lying about it to investigators. The charges were dropped in March 2019 with little explanation, angering police officials and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin in August appointed Webb, a former U.S. attorney, as a special prosecutor to look into why the charges were dropped. Webb was also charged with looking into whether Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s calls with a Smollett relative and an ex-aide of former first lady Michelle Obama unduly influenced the decision to drop charges. Foxx recused herself from the case but continued to weigh in.

In January 2019, Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at approximately 2 a.m. The actor alleged that the masked men taunted him with homophobic and racial slurs, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing.

He said his attackers, at least one of whom he said was white, told him he was in “MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Several weeks later, investigators alleged that Smollett had paid two friends $3,500 to help him stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary as an actor on “Empire” and wanted to drum up publicity for his career.

By Mariah Haas. Fox News’ Matt Finn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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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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Supreme Court Hands Pres Trump Another Border Win

The Supreme Court has green-lit a rule pushed by the Trump administration to restrict immigration to the U.S. for those who are unlikely to support themselves without using government welfare programs.

In a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines Monday, the nation’s highest court cleared the way for the Trump administration to begin enforcing the so-called “public charge” rule while its merits are argued in lower courts, CBS News reports.

Under the rule, federal officials will now have more authority to deny entry to the U.S. or legal status to people who the government determines will likely rely on public assistance.

The rule updated current regulations, which determined whether or not an applicant would become a public charge based on their presumed need for cash benefits. Now, in addition to that, the criteria for determining whether or not an applicant will become a public charge will be based on non-cash benefits, as well, such as housing assistance and food stamps.

Monday’s ruling sets aside a nationwide injunction placed on the rule by a federal judge in New York last summer.

The Trump administration had blasted the injunction before asking the Supreme Court to remove the hold on the rule’s implementation. “It is extremely disappointing that yet another judicial ruling has blocked — on a nationwide basis — this Administration’s efforts to restore integrity to the immigration system, consistent with the plain meaning and clear intent of the law,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, according to the Hill.

Critics of the rule have argued that it closes the door to low-income immigrants and people of color looking for a brighter future in America. But proponents say that is an exaggeration since the rule does not apply to those seeking asylum or refugee status or escaping from human trafficking or domestic violence situations.

Arguing in favor of the rule, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli added that this type of assessment has long been a mainstay of America’s immigration policy.

“For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation’s immigration laws,” he stated. “Throughout our history. Self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream. Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States ever since.”

by Phil Shiver


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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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US Attorney Durham Confirms He Will Prosecute Dems in Russia Criminal Probe

The U.S. attorney who is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe released a rare statement Monday saying he disagrees with conclusions of the so-called FISA report — after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz found in that review that the probe’s launch largely complied with DOJ and FBI policies.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” U.S. Attorney John Durham said in a statement.

Horowitz released his report Monday saying his investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to launch that 2016 probe and to seek a highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the investigation. Still, it found that there were “significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised.”

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,” Durham said. “However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

As Horowitz has conducted his review of DOJ actions during the Russia probe, Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, has also been conducting a wider inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Fox News reported in October that Durham’s ongoing probe has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr ripped the FBI’s “intrusive” investigation after the release of Horowitz’s review, saying it was launched based on the “thinnest of suspicions.”

“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said in a statement.

Barr expressed frustration that the FBI continued investigating the Trump campaign, even as “exculpatory” information came to the light.Video

“It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory,” Barr said. “Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration.”

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller acknowledged in his report that investigators did not find evidence of a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and the Russians in 2016 – which the FBI probed extensively.

Barr said the FISA report shows a “clear abuse” of the surveillance process.

“In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source,” Barr said.

He added, “The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.”

Monday’s FISA report dealing with the investigation into Trump’s campaign has long been expected. Horowitz in September submitted a draft of the report to Barr and the FBI so they could identify any classified information. But it had not been publicly released until now.

The release comes as Washington has been consumed with an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee is holding the inquiry’s latest hearing Monday, days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are moving forward with plans to bring articles of impeachment against the president over his dealings with Ukraine.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a senior politics editor at FoxNews.com. 


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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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Bombshell – Obama FBI Anti-Trump Crimes Result in Criminal Charges

Horowitz finds FBI lawyer falsified FISA doc; WaPo stealth-deletes Strzok connection

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found evidence that an FBI lawyer manipulated a key investigative document related to the FBI’s secretive surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser — enough to change the substantive meaning of the document, according to multiple reports.

The show-stopping development comes as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News that Horowitz’s comprehensive report on allegations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant abuse against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page will be released on Dec. 9. “That’s locked,” Graham said.

The new evidence concerning the altered document, which was related to the FBI’s FISA court warrant application to surveil Page, is expected to be outlined in Horowitz’s upcoming report. CNN first reported the news, which was largely confirmed by The Washington Post.

The Post, hours after publishing its story, conspicuously removed the portion of its reporting that the FBI employee involved was underneath Peter Strzok, the FBI’s since-fired head of counterintelligence. The Post did not offer an explanation for the change, which occurred shortly after midnight. Earlier this week, the DOJ highlighted a slew of anti-Trump text messages sent by Strzok when he was leading the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the probe into the Trump campaign.

Horowitz reportedly found that the FBI employee who modified the FISA document falsely stated that he had “documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis” for the FISA warrant application, the Post reported. Then, the FBI employee allegedly “altered an email” to substantiate his inaccurate version of events. The employee has since been forced out of the bureau.

Sources told Fox News last month that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s separate, ongoing probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election through the spring of 2017 has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation — and that Horowitz’s report will shed light on why Durham’s probe has become a criminal inquiry.

Durham has reportedly taken up Horowitz’s findings concerning the falsified FISA document, meaning the ex-FBI lawyer who made the changes is now under criminal investigation. The Post indicated, however, that the document was not central to the legality of the FISA warrant obtained against Page.

One-time advisor of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin - RC165B503FF0
One-time advisor of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin – RC165B503FF0

Republicans have long argued that the FBI’s alleged FISA abuses, which came as the bureau aggressively pursued ultimately unsubstantiated claims of criminal links between the Trump team and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, were politically motivated. In recent months, a slew of unearthed documents have strengthened those claims.

Just nine days before the FBI applied for its FISA warrant to surveil Page, bureau officials were battling with a senior Justice Department official who had “continued concerns” about the “possible bias” of a source pivotal to the application, according to internal text messages previously obtained by Fox News.

The 2016 messages, sent between Lisa Page and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, also revealed that bureau brass circulated at least two anti-Trump blog articles, including a Lawfare blog post sent shortly after Election Day that called Trump possibly “among the major threats to the security of the country.”

Fox News is told the texts were connected to the ultimately successful Page application, which relied in part on information from British ex-spy Christopher Steele – whose anti-Trump views are now well-documented – and cited Page’s suspected Russia ties. In its warrant application, the FBI inaccurately assured the FISA court on numerous occasions that media sources independently corroborated Steele’s claims, and did not clearly state that Steele worked for a firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

FILE - In this July 10, 2018, file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
FILE – In this July 10, 2018, file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Page has not been charged with any wrongdoing despite more than a year of federal surveillance, and he has since sued numerous actors — including the DNC — for defamation related to claims that he worked with Russia.

“OI [Office of Intelligence] now has a robust explanation re any possible bias of the chs [confidential human source] in the package,” Lisa Page wrote to McCabe on Oct. 12, 2016. “Don’t know what the holdup is now, other than Stu’s continued concerns.”

It’s unclear whether the confidential source in question was Steele or another individual. “Stu” was an apparent reference to Stuart Evans, then the DOJ’s National Security Division deputy assistant attorney general. In one previously unearthed and since-unredacted text message, Strzok texted Page that he was “Currently fighting with Stu for this FISA” in late 2016.

Page is not the only Trump official to allege misconduct by the FBI. Last month, an explosive court filing from Michael Flynn’s legal team alleged that FBI agents manipulated official records of the former national security adviser’s 2017 interview that led to him being charged with lying to investigators. Flynn’s attorneys demanded the FBI search its internal “Sentinel” system to find more evidence of allegedly doctored files.

Video

Newly released text messages involving text messages between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page revealed that Page — who was not present for the Flynn interview — had apparently made “edits” to the so-called “302” witness report in the case, which was key to Flynn’s prosecution on a false statements charge. Page told Strzok on February 10, 2017 that she “gave my edits to Bill to put on your desk.”

Horowitz told congressional lawmakers in an October letter that his investigation and ensuing report were nearing their conclusion.

The “lengthy” draft report “concerns sensitive national security and law enforcement matters,” Horowitz wrote in the letter, adding that he anticipated “the final report will be released publicly with few redactions.”

Horowitz noted that he did not anticipate a need to prepare or issue “separate classified and public versions of the report.”

“After we receive the final classification markings from the Department and the FBI, we will then proceed with our usual process for preparing a final report, including ensuring that appropriate reviews occur for accuracy and comment purposes,” Horowitz wrote in the letter. “Once begun, we do not anticipate the time for that review to be lengthy.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Charles Crietz contributed to this report. Gregg Re is a lawyer and editor based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re or email him at gregory.re@foxnews.com.


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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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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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DOJ Inquiry into Russian Probe Origin is Now a Criminal Investigation

‘Those who… broke the law to spread this hoax are about to face accountability’

The Department of Justice inquiry into the origins of the Russian probe into election interference and collusion has become a criminal investigation.

The escalation was reported by the New York Times on Thursday.

Shifting the inquiry into a criminal investigation would allow prosecutor John H. Durham to subpoena documents and witnesses, and also to convene a grand jury.

The Times reported that it was unclear what specific crime would be investigated.

Allies of the president have accused Democrats of illegally using the powers of government to surveil members of the Trump campaign in 2016 for political purposes. Those defending the investigation say it was an appropriate response to suspicions that the Trump campaign might have colluded with the Russian government.

“Spying on a campaign is a big deal,”Attorney General William Barr said to lawmakers in April. “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated.”

President Donald Trump has called the accusations and investigation a “witch hunt.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) responded positively to the development via his social media account.

“NYT report: DOJ opening a criminal investigation into the spreading of the Russian collusion conspiracy,” he tweeted. “If true, this shows Bill Barr is doing EXACTLY his job: following the facts.”

“Those who damaged America and broke the law to spread this hoax are about to face accountability,” he added.

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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Unemployment Falls to Lowest Level Since 1969

The U.S. economy created 136,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent.

Economists had expected the economy to between 120,000 and 179,000 with the consensus number at 145,000, according to Econoday. Unemployment was expected to remain unchanged at last month’s 3.7 percent.

The jobs data for the two previous months were also revised upward, indicating that the labor market was stronger over the summer than previously indicated. Employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from 159,000 to 166,000, and August was revised up by 38,000 from 130,000 to 168,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 45,000 more than previously reported.

The stronger numbers for July and August may also explain the slightly-below expectations figure for September since some of the growth in employment forecast for last month had already occurred.

The last time the rate was this low was in December 1969, when it also was 3.5 percent.

Economic data has been intensely scrutinized this week for signs of economic sluggishness after the Institute for Supply Management’s survey of manufacturing companies suggested the manufacturing sector had unexpectedly contracted for a second consecutive month. Survey data of non-manufacturing companies, however, showed that the services sector continued to expand in September. Similarly, data on private payrolls and unemployment claims suggested that the U.S. economy had cooled but was not near a recession.

September’s hiring may have been weighed down by the strike by General Motors workers, which has sidelined GM plants and likely prevented GM suppliers from hiring new workers. The latest data suggests that manufacturing held its job count near steady, shedding just 2,000 jobs during the month.

Wage growth was weak in the month. In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $28.09, were down 1 cent, after rising by 11 cents in August. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 4 cents to $23.65.

By John Carney


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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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