At President’s Synagogue Speech, American Jews Defend Obama’s Support to Israel

Josh Siegel /

In a step to reassure American Jews that he supports Israel, President Obama today became the fourth president to speak before an audience at a U.S. synagogue.

Wearing a white kippah, Obama stood on the bimah of Washington’s Adas Israel—a prominent synagogue of conservative Judaism—and declared that he, and the United States, indeed has Israel’s back despite divisions between the two countries’ governments.

After the remarks, in which he called himself  “an honorary member of the [Jewish] tribe,” a crowdful of American Jews asserted they were happy to have him.

“He’s got Israel’s back and appreciates Jewish values,” said one attendee, Ruthanne Miller, of Obama. “He’s a cool president. He gets a bad rap because he sometimes disagrees with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. But that’s what friends do. Friends are honest and are going to disagree.”

At the synagogue, Obama “forcefully” objected to criticism that his disagreements with Netanyahu shows a lack of support for Israel. Echoing those words, American Jews who watched the president speak insisted in interviews with The Daily Signal that defending Jews means criticizing Israel when necessary.

“It was a very positive and reassuring address,” said Howard Marks, as he clutched two bags of challah bread. “This president has helped Israel’s security more than any other. The poor relationship he has with Netanyahu has hurt Obama’s image. But there’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides.”

“Of course, allies disagree,” Marks added. “Just like we disagree with the French, and the British. Even within families, people disagree. At the end of the day, the alliance is strong and we have shared values that strongly bind us.”

The American Jewish attendees felt that Obama didn’t use the speech to convince them to back his Middle East policies—though all who spoke with The Daily Signal support the president’s push for a nuclear deal with Iran and for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Rather, they believe the president tried to strike a personal, emotional connection with his Jewish listeners.

“It is precisely because I care so deeply about the state of Israel,” Obama said, “that I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about what I think would lead to long-term security and to the preservation of a true democracy in the Jewish homeland, and I believe that’s two states for two peoples, Israel and Palestine living side-by-side peacefully.”

Miller, a lifelong Adas Israel congregant, agrees.

“For Israel to thrive as a democracy, it has to be a two-state solution,” Miller said. “But it’s hard. This is a dangerous neighborhood we are walking into.”

Patricia Levy, another attendee of the speech, cares “deeply” about Israel and the Jewish community.

She has family, including a brother, who live in Israel, and when they talk, they rarely speak about the politics of Obama and Netanyahu.

“The image of Israel is getting so torn apart in the world’s view and it’s upsetting,” Levy said. “But [Obama] understands that fundamentally we are a good people. He knows that Jews value all human life and that we have Israel’s back when it comes to their existence.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Marc Sellem/Newscom)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Marc Sellem/Newscom)

Like the others, Levy believes there’s room for disagreement in the U.S.-Israeli alliance. For instance, she believes that Israel should back off its settlement building in the West Bank.

“It’s a tricky, delicate issue,” Levy said. “I feel that too many people say that because he [Obama] disagrees with Netanyahu, he is not a friend of Israel. I don’t go that far. I think Netanyahu sometimes has been a bit of a d***. There’s no clear solution.”

Nowhere is that unclarity more true than over the best way to handle Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

For American Jews, hanging above the optimism surrounding Obama’s commitment to them is a persistent worry regarding the unresolved Iran deal.

Obama sought to allay the anxiety.

“I will not accept a bad deal,” Obama said. “[Because] this deal will have my name on it.”

Meanwhile, Marks acknowledged he’s “very concerned” about the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon under the deal, though he’s encouraged that Congress will have the authority to hold off on removing some sanctions.

Samara Langsam, a student at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., who attended Obama’s speech with her grandmother, realizes that the result of the Iran nuclear deal will be especially relevant for her generation.

“Diplomacy needs to be tried before war,” Langsam said. “I’m happy that Congress had a chance to debate it. A policy this important needs to be debated by many and not decided by one person.”

Levy, who wears a Star of David necklace, doubts she can trust Iran’s anti-semitic regime.

Her worries are especially profound considering the resurgence of anti-semitism in Europe.

But she trusts Obama and believes that if there were any other way, he would pursue it.

“In theory, diplomacy is the right track,” Levy said. “Maybe he is being naive and idealistic. But I don’t think anyone can do better.”

Hillary Clinton Announces Support for Export-Import Bank Reauthorization - The Daily Signal

Hillary Clinton Announces Support for Export-Import Bank Reauthorization

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn /

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton joined the debate over the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization today and came out in support of the embattled 80-year-old agency.

Clinton is the latest 2016 candidate to take a stance publicly on the Export-Import Bank, and she reaffirmed her backing of the bank at a campaign stop with residents and small business owners in Hampton, N.H.

While speaking at the Smuttynose Brewery, Clinton criticized the GOP for jeopardizing 164,000 jobs supported by Ex-Im. Clinton also touted the millions of dollars in exports from New Hampshire small businesses that Ex-Im has supported over the years.

“They should know better,” she said of the Republicans opposing the bank. “It’s embarrassing.”

Clinton previously spoke of her support for the bank at an event in November, where she said Ex-Im helps the United States remain competitive in the global market.

>>> A Key Conservative Group Is Opposing the Export-Import Bank. But Some of Its Members Continue to Support It.

Many of the bank’s backers, including Clinton’s fellow Democratic 2016 candidate Martin O’Malley, argue Ex-Im supports jobs in the United States. But, the argument is often a point of contention for those who believe the bank’s life should end.

A 2011 report from the American Action Forum contended that while Ex-Im creates jobs in specific industries, it “redistributes” jobs across the economy. Additionally, a 2013 report from the Government Accountability Office found that Ex-Im’s methodology for calculating job creation makes it difficult to determine how the bank’s financing affects employment.

The agency’s charter expires June 30, and the issue has become the topic of discussion not only on Capitol Hill, but also on the campaign trail, where a number of Republican and Democratic prospective presidential candidates are addressing Ex-Im’s future.

On Capitol Hill, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas is one of Ex-Im’s staunchest opponents. Hensarling, whose committee has jurisdiction over the bank, spoke out against Clinton’s defense of Ex-Im.

“Hillary Clinton is a natural cheerleader for the Export-Import Bank,” he said in a statement. “After all, Ex-Im’s biggest beneficiaries are foreign governments and giant corporations. Conveniently, these just happen to be among the biggest donors to the Clinton Foundation as well as major underwriters of the speaking fees that added millions of dollars to the Clinton bank account.”

ExIm_2016_v5

Obamacare Abortion Drug Accommodation: A Bit of Paperwork or Complicity in Sin? - The Daily Signal

Obamacare Abortion Drug Accommodation: A Bit of Paperwork or Complicity in Sin?

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery /

The Obamacare mandate requiring non-profit religious employers to facilitate health care coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices for employees may be heading to the Supreme Court soon.

This mandate—which exempts formal houses of worship and their integrated auxiliaries like church-run soup kitchens—requires non-profit religious employers to provide this coverage or notify the Department of Health and Human Services that they have a religious objection.

This notification initiates the process of the government forcing insurers and third-party administrators to provide the mandated coverage to employees. Federal law, however, prohibits the government from substantially burdening the free exercise of religion unless it can show that the burden is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest.

Since the Obama administration issued the abortion drug mandate in 2011, employers such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, Geneva College and Ave Maria University have attacked it in court. They argue that the causal link between notifying the government and the resulting provision of objectionable drugs and devices substantially burdens their religious exercise.

You don’t have to agree with the Little Sisters (and many others) or share their views on abortion to recognize that the government should not be able to force Americans to choose between their religious beliefs and the law.

Likewise, what may seem trivial to one person may give rise to a serious religious dilemma for another. Though one judge called the accommodation process “a bit of paperwork,” the Little Sisters and others challenging the accommodation view it as complicity in a grave moral wrong.

And the Supreme Court has held that even an indirect burden may substantially infringe on free exercise rights. In Thomas v. Review Board (1981), the Supreme Court stated, “[I]t is not within the judicial function and judicial competence to inquire whether [someone] correctly perceived the commands of [his] faith. Courts are not arbiters of scriptural interpretation.” Thus, courts should not be in the business of line-drawing when it comes to theological questions.

But this type of line-drawing is just what two federal appellate courts have been up to this week. In Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Priests for Life, which sought a preliminary injunction from the Obamacare mandate and accommodation. They asked the full D.C. Circuit to rehear the case, but on Wednesday, the court rejected that request over the protest of two judges. Judge Janice Rogers Brown (who would have granted the request to rehear the case) explained why the 3-judge panel got it wrong:

“What amounts to ‘facilitating immoral conduct’ … or ‘impermissible cooperation with evil’ … are inherently theological questions which objective legal analysis cannot resolve and which ‘federal courts have no business addressing.’”

Though the government (and a majority of judges on the D.C. Circuit) may believe this accommodation is sufficient to distance these religious employers from acts they find morally objectionable, Priests for Life and many others clearly do not agree. As Judge Brown pointed out, “Pontius Pilate, too, washed his hands, but perhaps he perceived the stain of complicity remained.”

In another case, University of Notre Dame v. Burwell, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit found that, like Priests for Life, the university was not entitled to a preliminary injunction from the Obamacare mandate and accommodation.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court instructed the appeals court to reconsider its ruling, which was issued before the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014). Earlier this week, the panel again ruled against the university in a 2-1 decision. The majority claimed that it is federal law—not the university’s signing of a form—that triggers provision of the objectionable drugs and devices. But as Judge Joel Flaum noted in his dissent, the majority “in effect tell[s] the plaintiff[ ] that [its] beliefs are flawed.”

Priests for Life and Notre Dame may now take their cases to the Supreme Court.

North Korea Claims Miniaturized Nuclear Weapons - The Daily Signal

North Korea Claims Miniaturized Nuclear Weapons

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery / Bruce Klingner /

Pyongyang claimed on Wednesday that it already has developed nuclear weapons small enough to fit on missiles. The powerful National Defense Commission declared “it is long since [North Korea’s] nuclear striking means have entered the stage of producing smaller nukes and diversifying them.” It also highlighted its ability to put miniaturized nuclear warheads on short-range, medium-range, and long-range missiles. The term “diversified” may refer to the regime possessing both plutonium-based and uranium-based nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang’s proclamation occurred shortly after its successful first underwater ejection test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), refocusing attention on the regime’s growing nuclear and missile threats to the United States and its Asian allies.

Though some Western media tout this as North Korea’s first such claim, Pyongyang has been making the assertion since at least its third nuclear test two years ago. In March 2013, Kim Jong-un declared, “The United States is now most fearful of our miniaturized, reduced-weight, and diversified nuclear deterrent.” The Korea People’s Army Supreme Command also bragged of its “lighter and smaller nuclear weapons [able to] attack the US with diversified precision nuclear strikes.”

In recent years, U.S. and South Korean officials have increasingly concluded that North Korea has achieved warhead miniaturization. This year, the four-star U.S. commanders of U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command, and NORAD have all publicly stated their assessment that Pyongyang possesses nuclear weapon–equipped missiles.

As The Heritage Foundation concluded in a research study last year,

[A]vailable unclassified evidence indicates North Korea has likely already achieved warhead miniaturization, the ability to place nuclear weapons on its medium-range missiles, and a preliminary ability to reach the continental United States with a missile. As such, the United States and its allies face a greater threat today than is widely construed.

Some experts, however, continue to downplay North Korea’s nuclear warhead capabilities, asserting that Pyongyang is still “several years” away. Ironically, they have been asserting this for several years. In the past, experts frequently underestimated North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs due to ideologically driven analysis, political expediency, and the belief that a technologically and economically backward nation could not achieve the necessary breakthroughs.

Skeptics initially dismissed evidence of North Korea’s plutonium-based nuclear weapons, highly enriched uranium program, involvement in constructing a Syrian nuclear reactor, and ability to develop long-range missiles. U.S. intelligence estimates of these programs were dismissed as politically motivated, until they were proven indisputably correct. North Korea’s latest nuclear claims generated analytic debate over whether the SLBM had been from a submarine or a submerged test barge, missing the more important point that the test confirmed Pyongyang’s intent to expand its nuclear arsenal with new threat capabilities.

Recent U.S. expert studies assess a higher North Korean arsenal than previously predicted. Dr. Siegfried Hecker, former Director of the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, concluded that North Korea could have 20 nuclear weapons by 2016. The Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) predicted a worst-case scenario of Pyongyang having 100 nuclear weapons by 2020.

Given Pyongyang’s repeated rejections of U.S., South Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian attempts at engagement, Washington and its allies should take the necessary steps to defend themselves against the growing North Korean nuclear threat, such as deploying the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense missile defense system to South Korea.

U.S. Should Support Media Freedom in Africa - The Daily Signal

U.S. Should Support Media Freedom in Africa

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery / Bruce Klingner / Helle Dale /

The state of media freedom in Africa is “grim,” according to the media freedom group Reporters Without Borders, which took stock of the situation recently on World Press Freedom Day. Outside the traditional bastions of democracy—North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan— the media in much of the world are increasingly troubled.

In the Middle East and North Africa, destabilization and the rise of radical insurgencies after the Arab Spring present imminent danger to the media. Journalists in sub-Saharan Africa also face numerous hardships, including imprisonment, censorship, and harassment. In sub-Saharan Africa, some governments fighting terrorist insurgencies ensnare journalists in their legal machinery. According to the human rights organization Freedom House,

Recent years have seen backsliding among both the top performers, such as South Africa, and the more repressive countries, such as The Gambia and Ethiopia. Lack of adherence to the rule of law, infringements on the freedoms of expression and association, widespread corruption, and discrimination against women and the LGBT community remain serious problems in many countries.

Freedom House rates sub-Saharan Africa as 12 percent free with a media that is just 3 percent free. In sub-Saharan countries, where conflict is tearing apart the fabric of society in the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and South Sudan, free media have declined steeply as the issue of security and the fight against terrorism has given governments a new excuse to crack down on media.

In Ethiopia, six bloggers and three journalists have been in prison for over a year. In Cameroon, anti-terrorism laws allow journalists to be tried under military jurisdiction. In Burundi, Radio Publique Africaine (African Public Radio) was closed down by the government in order to keep the radio station from reporting on anti-government demonstrations.

A further challenge, though also an important opportunity, is offered by social media. Citizen journalists communicating through social media constitute a budding trend in Africa. However, according to the nonprofit organization Intermedia, which assists the growth of independent media in developing countries, the key challenge regarding social media is to curtail the rampant spread of rumors, and help empower journalists to sort fact from myth.

There is some good news, though, regarding the media in sub-Saharan Africa, as measured by Freedom House. In Russia and China, where the full weight of the government is brought to bear on the media, media is simply “not free.” In sub-Saharan Africa, the state of media freedom is at least more mixed. Some countries are allowing free media to develop, while in others, laws that suppress the media are not airtight.

The bottom line is that journalists throughout Africa, struggling to cover everything from terrorism to civil wars and Ebola, need all the help the United States can provide, from training in journalistic practices to equipment and material support.

Don’t Believe Voter Fraud Happens? Here’s Some Examples - The Daily Signal

Don’t Believe Voter Fraud Happens? Here’s Some Examples

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery / Bruce Klingner / Helle Dale / Hans von Spakovsky /

In the interest of helping out the editorial writers and pundits of media outlets who don’t think voter fraud occurs, I wanted to note just a few recent cases (and readers interested in seeing almost 200 more such cases can do so here.):

This case of the Peruvian woman is just another example of how easy it is for noncitizens to vote in our elections. And there are apparently some politicians who want to ensure that they can continue to do so without getting caught.

One recommendation I have made to state legislatures is to implement legislation that requires court clerks to notify state election officials when individuals called for jury duty are excused because they are not U.S. citizens. Courts get their jury lists from voter registration rolls, and it is a requirement that those who register to vote affirm under oath they are U.S. citizens. Individuals called for jury duty also have to affirm, again under oath, that they are U.S. citizens. And yet in a 2005 study, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that 3 percent of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls over a two-year period in just one U.S. district court were not U.S. citizens.

The Virginia legislature recently passed a common-sense election reform bill (HB 1315), which would have required county jury commissioners to provide local election officials with the names of individuals called for jury duty who turned out to not be U.S. citizens. Local registrars could then remove those illegally registered voters and provide information to local law enforcement and the U.S. Justice Department for investigation and possible prosecution.

We know this is a problem in Virginia, where I formerly served on a local county electoral board. As I have explained previously, we fortuitously discovered in 2011 that 278 individuals who were not U.S. citizens had registered to vote in Fairfax County, 117 of whom had voted in state and federal elections. After removing them from the voter rolls, we notified both the U.S. Justice Department and the local district attorney about the problem. Neither did anything about it.

Yet Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a former fundraiser for the Clintons, vetoed this bill on April 30. There is not a single public policy reason for vetoing such simple, straightforward legislation—unless you want to ensure that noncitizens can continue to register and vote illegally in Virginia elections with little fear of being discovered, particularly if you believe that a majority of these individuals will support your party’s candidates. Virginia is, after all, now a purple state and every vote will count in the 2016 presidential election.

Cartoon: Remembering the Greatest Gift - The Daily Signal

Cartoon: Remembering the Greatest Gift

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery / Bruce Klingner / Helle Dale / Hans von Spakovsky / Glenn Foden /

Remembering their sacrifice this Memorial Day …
522cartoon

Obama Releases Agenda for More Regulations, Just Before Holiday Weekend - The Daily Signal

Obama Releases Agenda for More Regulations, Just Before Holiday Weekend

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery / Bruce Klingner / Helle Dale / Hans von Spakovsky / Glenn Foden / James Gattuso /

It’s the day before the Memorial Day holiday, and that can only mean one thing: It is time for President Obama to unveil his agenda for new rules he wants to impose on the American people.

Required by law to release plans for new regulations twice a year, the administration has consistently chosen to do so immediately before major holidays.

This is no coincidence: It’s well-known in Washington that if you want to bury some untoward news, you release it before a holiday, when few are paying attention. As shown in the table below, the Obama administration’s red tape spoolers have taken this to heart, with each of the past six regulatory agendas released just before a major holiday.

Obama’s Politically Timed Agenda Releases

Agenda           Release Date

Fall 2012         Dec. 21 (Friday before Christmas)

Spring 2013     July 3 (day before Independence Day)

Fall 2013         Nov. 27 (day before Thanksgiving)

Spring 2014     May 23 (Friday of Memorial Day weekend)

Fall 2014         Dec. 22 (three days before Christmas)

Spring 2015    May 21 (Thursday before Memorial Day weekend)

And they have good reason to hide. This agenda shows 136 economically significant rules in the pipeline—an all-time record.

These include an Environmental Protection Agency rule tightening already-tight carbon emission regulations for power plants, Food and Drug Administration regulations for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars, and new Consumer Product Safety Commission safety standards for off-road vehicles.

This agenda provides yet more evidence that the red tape entangling Americans and strangling the U.S. economy is continuing to grow without constraint. As outlined in our recent “Red Tape Rising,” report, Congress should take immediate steps to control this excessive regulation.

This article has been modified.

 

Obama’s Dangerous Thinking About Climate Change and National Security - The Daily Signal

Obama’s Dangerous Thinking About Climate Change and National Security

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery / Bruce Klingner / Helle Dale / Hans von Spakovsky / Glenn Foden / James Gattuso / Dakota Wood /

The White House has released a new report entitled “The National Security Implications of a Changing Climate,” essentially a summary of the administration’s view that climate change is a primary threat to the nation’s security.

President Obama made the issue a central feature of his commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security,” he stated. “And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country.  And so we need to act—and we need to act now.”

The president went on to tell the graduating cadets that failure to address the threat of climate change and its implications would constitute “negligence” and would be “a dereliction of duty,” and that “denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security” and would undermine “the readiness of our forces.”

Essentially, the president has made the case that climate change is not only indisputable but such a grave threat to the security of the United States and the world that the U.S. must take immediate action to counter it, mitigate its effects and be prepared to respond to their implications.

This would include increased conflict and humanitarian crises, destruction of critical national infrastructure, and disruption of the global economy … all of which will place increased demands on the military forces of the U.S. to support civil authorities, intervene to resolve foreign conflicts and respond to more and larger humanitarian disasters brought about by a more turbulent and destructive global environmental condition.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the fears of the president and his fellow climate change worriers are valid (a questionable leap but let’s run with it).

If so, then we should be planning for the dramatic expansion of the military services to include doubling or perhaps tripling the number of people and assets most useful to respond to these types of crises. The military will need more helicopters, cargo aircraft, amphibious ships and all sorts of critical skills to include engineers, communicators, transportation specialists, medical, and supply personnel (and their associated units).

And our conventional combat/security forces should rightly expand if increased conflict is expected too. Of course, a U.S. military two to three times its current size would require a proportional increase in its annual base budget, perhaps upwards to a level of $1.5 trillion dollars.

It takes time to grow and equip such a force able to operate globally in multiple places, responding to not only the flooded coastal zones of the U.S. and the general environmentally-caused mayhem inland (more numerous and several tornadoes, catastrophic storms and civil disorder caused by drought-parched farmlands in the midwest, etc.) but also to more conflicts in other countries brought about by competitions over water, farmland and the mass migration of millions of people driven from their submerged cities currently located on the world’s coastal plains.

Yes, if the prognostications of global warming theorists are to be taken as accurate, then the only responsible thing to do is start making the necessary investments.

But of course all of this is nonsense as is characterizing climate change as “an urgent and growing threat to our national security.”

It is misguided and even harmful in the confusion it creates and the opportunity cost it imposes on national security, muddles thinking about what national security really is, and establishes a flawed context for allocating resources.

Unaddressed in such policy pronouncements is any reality-based discussion of what can actually be accomplished relative to the magnitude of the problem (presuming there is one), the time needed to achieve desired results, the level of effort required (in scope and scale) and ultimately the monetary cost to do what advocates think must be done.

If the implication of climate change truly is one of the most important national security threats facing the country—on par with nuclear-armed competitors, terrorism, and the conventional military challenge posed by major states—then one should expect a correspondingly dramatic shift in prioritization of planning for such within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

Perhaps the real issue is not understanding what “national security” actually is. To solve that problem, one need look no further than Dr. Kim Holmes’ essay on the topic found in The Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength. In “What is National Security?”, Holmes explains not only what it is but also what it is not.

Holmes states that “national security should be guided not only by a sensible understanding of what is truly vital to a nation’s security, but also by what the nation can practically expect the government to do and not to do.” Further, “An ‘all of the above’ definition [that would include environmental security] … which primarily suits political constituencies, will only lead to confusion, waste, distractions, and possibly even military failures as the U.S. government is asked to do things that are either beyond its capacity or, worse, tangential to the real mission of protecting the country from harm.”

Holmes continued:

It is clear that policymakers need a sharper focus as to what is and is not national security. It cannot be all things to all people; if it were, it would be meaningless. The definition of national security must be limited … This is especially true because of budget restraints. While it is proper to task the U.S. government with protecting a spectrum of national security interests—from the financial and economic system to access to natural resources—the lion’s share of the government’s interest and thus budgetary resources should be dedicated to safeguarding the country and its interests from foreign aggression.

The White House designation of climate change as a national security threat violates every common sense principle related to national security. It confuses the entire notion of national security and wastefully misdirects limited national security and defense resources to solve purported problems that are far beyond the capacity or even the responsibility of the federal government.

It would be far more useful to the United States and the American public for the White House to focus its attentions and the nation’s resources on actual security threats, of which there are plenty. Just read the news.

House Committee Affirms Bipartisan Support for Broadcast Reform - The Daily Signal

House Committee Affirms Bipartisan Support for Broadcast Reform

Josh Siegel / Melissa Quinn / Elizabeth Slattery / Bruce Klingner / Helle Dale / Hans von Spakovsky / Glenn Foden / James Gattuso / Dakota Wood / Helle Dale /

Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) voted unanimously in favor of reforming U.S. International Broadcasting (USIB). It is the second time the Committee has marked up the United States International Communications Act, H.R. 2323 in its new incarnation, which was first introduced by Chairman Ed Royce (R–CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D–NY) last summer. The new bill will now go to the full House and potentially to the Senate, which last year failed to introduce its own companion bill and therefore stalled reform efforts.

It is surely a sign of the urgency and frustration felt by Members of Congress over the multiple-front propaganda wars waged against the United States and its allies that broadcasting reform again has won unanimous approval. Recent congressional hearings have highlighted the threat from ISIS social media propaganda and recruitment, as well as Russia’s “weaponization of information” in its efforts to destabilize Ukraine after annexing Crimea in 2014.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke for many when she told HFAC on January 23, 2013, that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) “is practically a defunct agency in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world. So we’re abdicating the ideological arena and need to get back into it.” Yet, since the end of the Cold War, the BBG appeared to have lost its way and has only recently started to regain a firmer sense of its mission as the challenges from abroad have grown.

The major change to the current state of affairs introduced in H.R. 2323 will be the separation of U.S. broadcasters into two distinct types, each with its own full-time CEO and advisory board:

Broadcast reform must be seen in the broader context of the intensifying fight for the global information space in the war of ideas. USIB as a whole is one of the most important tools of U.S. public diplomacy and serves communities around the world “by presenting accurate, objective, and comprehensive news and information, which is the foundation for democratic governance, to societies that lack free media” in the language of the legislation. That mission is as critical today as it ever was during the Cold War.