Biden Not Certain How Many Americans Stranded in Afghanistan

Hannity: Biden clearly lied

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Biden Not Certain How Many Americans Stranded in Afghanistan

Fred Lucas  @FredLucasWH / August 20, 2021

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“I cannot promise what the final outcome will be, or that it will be without risk or loss,” says President Joe Biden, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, as he talks Friday about the evacuation from Afghanistan of American citizens and Afghan allies and their families. (Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden vowed Friday to evacuate every American in Afghanistan who wants to go home, but seconds later said he can’t promise a “final outcome.” 

Biden made the contradictory points in scripted remarks, before he took a few questions on the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan as the U.S. hastily withdrew forces. It was the first time that the president took live questions from news reporters since the botched U.S. withdrawal.

Biden said administration officials “don’t have the exact number of people who are Americans” remaining in Afghanistan, but that he is counting on the Taliban to ensure safe passage for those who want to leave.

Estimates of the number of Americans still in Afghanistan vary from under 5,000 to as many as 40,000, according to published reports.

In his opening comments, Biden said:

Let me be clear. Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home. 

Make no mistake, this evacuation mission is dangerous. It involves risks to armed forces and it is being conducted under difficult circumstances. I cannot promise what the final outcome will be, or that it will be without risk or loss. As commander in chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary.

While speaking and taking a few questions from reporters in the East Room of the White House, Biden was flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

The president at times seemed unclear regarding the evacuation flights out of the U.S.-controlled international airport in Kabul. 

He said that the administration didn’t know how many Americans are in Afghanistan and that the Taliban—long designated a terrorist group—wants international legitimacy.

And after repeating that “the buck stops with me,” Biden said the U.S. withdrawal was based on a “consensus” of his advisers, without specifically addressing the chaotic nature of that exit.

Biden’s appearance lasted just under 30 minutes, and he took questions from only five reporters—from Associated Press, National Public Radio, Bloomberg News, “PBS NewsHour,” and ABC News—after his scripted remarks. Many others called out questions as he walked out.

Reporters pressed Biden about whether Americans were having difficulty getting to the airport in Kabul for flights out of Afghanistan. The president said Americans will be able to board outbound planes based on a deal with the Taliban to allow safe passage to the airport. 

“To the best of our knowledge, the Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports,” Biden said, adding: “We have an agreement that they will let pass through the checkpoints that they, the Taliban, control. Let Americans through.”

The U.S. gave up its own heavily fortified air base at Bagram in the sudden exit.

Biden spoke recently with the leaders of Germany, Britain, and France about convening a discussion among G-7 leaders next week to address what is happening in Afghanistan. 

Biden, answering a question, predicted that the Taliban, an armed terrorist group with a history of horrific violence, will want to have international legitimacy as it runs Afghanistan. 

“Secretary Blinken and I am going to be working with our allies to see to it that we can bring international pressure on the Taliban,” Biden said, adding:

 They are looking to gain some legitimacy. They are going to have to figure out how they maintain that country. There are going to be harsh conditions, strong conditions, we are going to apply. And it will depend on whether they get help based on whether or not how and well [sic] they treat women and girls, how they treat their citizens.

However, foreign policy experts have predicted that Chinese investment in Afghanistan could insulate the Taliban government from international pressure on human rights. 

Biden tried to swat away a question that the hasty exit would cause the United States to lose credibility with global allies. 

“I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the world. I’ve spoken with our NATO allies,” Biden said, noting that Blinken and Austin also spoke with counterparts in allied countries. 

“The fact of the matter is, I have not seen that,” the president said on whether American credibility had been hurt. “As a matter of fact, the exact opposite I’ve got.”

Biden also posed his own question during the press conference: “What interest do we have in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda gone?” 

But Voice of America reported the Taliban has put senior members of the Haqqani Network, with close ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist network that executed the 9/11 attacks, in charge of security in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul. 

During his opening remarks, Biden said the U.S. has evacuated a total of 13,000 since Aug. 14, but seemed to indicate the administration is uncertain how many Americans remain in Afghanistan, saying:

Even with the pause, we’ve moved out 5,700 evacuees yesterday and we are working on a variety [sic] to verify that number of the Americans still in the country as we work on this, because we’re not—don’t have the exact number of people who are Americans are there [sic]. And those who may have come home to the United States, we want to get a strong number as to exactly how many are there.

The Biden administration faces harsh and bipartisan criticism for how it executed the U.S. withdrawal. 

The president, who has sent about 6,000 troops back into Afghanistan to help in the evacuation, repeatedly has defended his earlier decision to pull out what was about 2,500 remaining troops. 

Biden made two other public speeches earlier this week, but did not take questions from reporters. He did, however, sit down for a one-on-one interview on ABC News with anchor George Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to President Bill Clinton. 

In a problematic story for Biden, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that a State Department cable July 13 warned that the Taliban would overrun Kabul and take over the Afghan government faster than expected if the United States withdrew. 

The cable came five days after Biden had assured reporters during a July 8 press conference that Afghanistan would not fall to the Taliban. 

Asked about the State Department warning Friday, Biden said, “We got all kinds of cables. All kinds of advice.” 

He added that some were “saying it would fall to others, saying it wouldn’t happen for a long time, and they [Afghan forces] would be able to sustain themselves through the end of the year.”

“I made the decision. The buck stops with me. I took the consensus opinion,” Biden said. “The consensus opinion was that in fact it would not occur, if it occurred, until later in the year.”

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

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Heritage Scholars Sound Off on Biden’s Address to Congress

Christian Mysliwiec  @cmysliwiec / April 28, 2021

Biden Joint Session Congress Address

President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of congress as Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi look on in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol on April 28. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

COMMENTARY BY

Christian Mysliwiec@cmysliwiec

Christian Mysliwiec is commentary editor of The Daily Signal.

President Joe Biden is addressing a joint session of Congress this evening, and experts from The Heritage Foundation are weighing in. Here’s what they have to say.

>>> The Daily Signal is the multimedia news and commentary outlet of The Heritage Foundation.

Economy

Infrastructure

Biden’s speech began with a discussion of the so-called “infrastructure package” the administration released several weeks ago, which is based on outdated and long-repudiated ideas of having the federal government centrally plan the economy.

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From the speech: “These are the investments we make together, as one country, and that only government can make.”

Here, Biden is falsely saying that only governments create transformative investments. The value of private infrastructure—such as buildings, utilities, and production hardware—far exceeds the value of public infrastructure. That private infrastructure investment has in turn created far more jobs and value for American families than government spending ever could.

Private investments have made America the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. Unfortunately, Biden’s tax-and-spend agenda would kneecap the post-pandemic recovery by putting bureaucrats ahead of businesses when it comes to deciding how and where to invest.

From the speech: “The American Jobs Plan will create millions of good paying jobs.”

On the contrary, the plan would destroy good paying jobs by taking trillions of dollars from the economy with tax hikes. It would remove incentives for businesses and investors to take risks in hiring workers and starting or expanding operations. Instead of letting businesses respond to consumer demand and create value for everyone, the Biden agenda would respond to left-wing political demands and create value only for narrow interest groups.

The federal government has tried the tax-and-spend approach to job creation many times, and the results have always been dismal. Most recently, the stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 utterly failed to create the number of promised “shovel-ready jobs” due to fundamental flaws of red tape and choosing the wrong priorities.

The Biden plan doubles down on these flaws, which would dramatically reduce the value of the spending he proposes. And since every dollar the government spends must be taken from the private economy, those bad investments would leave us poorer as a result. Congress must reject this approach.

-David Ditch is a research associate at the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget

Economic Policies 

“Unions built the middle class.”  Unions played an important historical role in helping workers achieve safety protections and just compensation, but unions did not build the middle class and their failure to update their model beyond the 1950s industrial is the source of their increasing irrelevance. The fact that only 6% of private sector workers belong to labor unions—and that even among union members, fully 94% never actually voted in favor of a union—is evidence that unions aren’t providing services that workers value.

The good middle-class union jobs that the president refers to were—at least in part—unsustainable allusions. For starters, unions driving compensation to uncompetitive levels dragged down entire industries such as U.S. automaking which is now only one-third the level it was three decades ago.

And unions’ allegedly secure pension benefits now look more like Ponzi schemes as union pension set aside only 42 cents for every dollar in promised benefits and accumulated $673 billion in unfunded pension promises.

Were it not for taxpayers already being forced to bail out over $90 billion of unions’ broken pension promises, millions of union members would be on course to receive mere pennies on the dollar in promised pension benefits.

Two million women have dropped out of the workforce during this pandemic.”  It appears the president may have mixed up men’s and women’s labor force participation levels. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of men in the labor force declined by 2.0 million between February 2020 and March 2021 while the number of women in the labor force declined by a slightly smaller 1.9 million. Easing lockdowns and reopening schools—not permanent new government child care and Pre-K programs—was the solution to reversing disproportionate employment losses for women.

“Pay your fair share.” Biden should begin by paying his own fair share, including more than $500,000 worth of Medicare and Obamacare taxes that the Biden’s avoided by attributing $13.3 million in income from speaking fees and book royalties as profits to their S-corporation instead of income.

“Trickle down economics has never worked.”The president claimed that corporate executives reaped all the benefits of the tax cuts, rather than passing them on to workers. In addition to large income gains, including the largest gains for the lowest 10th percentile of workers, companies used the resources from the tax cuts to provide an unprecedented increase in paid family and medical leave benefits.

Over just four years, from 2016 to 2020, the percentage of companies offering paid parental leave more than doubled (to 55% offering paid maternity leave and 45% providing paid paternity leave.

“The American Families Plan will provide access to quality, affordable childcare.” The best thing the government could do to lower childcare costs is eliminate unnecessary childcare regulations and invite more small family providers into the market. The president’s plan does the opposite. By adding costly new regulations that will make it harder for smaller and more flexible providers to exist, the president’s plans will drive up the cost of child care and further limit its supply.

Forcing workers and families—including families that choose to have one parent stay home with children—to pay for other families childcare costs is not only unfair, but redistribution is not the same as reducing costs.

Policymakers should not place more value on wages parents earn, the taxes they pay, and their contribution to gross domestic product than on their contribution to raising children. There is huge value to parents staying home to raise children as well as unintended consequences of government programs that try to push all parents into the workforce.

One such example is Quebec’s $5-a-day government childcare program, which did increase young mother’s labor force participation by 14.5%, but also resulted in researchers finding“striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to moto-social skills to illness.

Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.” Teens exposed to the program also had significantly higher rates of crime and anxiety, and lower levels of health and life satisfaction.

Rachel Greszler is a research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, of the Institute for Economic Freedom

Education

Critical Race Theory and Identity Politics

Biden mentioned the word “equity” twice in his address and the term “systemic racism” also twice. In a speech that was over 6,000 words, given how Biden started his presidency three months ago, this is something of a victory.

We don’t know what internal polls are telling the White House, but for an administration that has promoted critical race theory since day one, these meager mentions may signal something of a retreat.

In his first act in office, on the day of his inauguration, Biden signed his “Executive ­Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” It called for “an ­ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda” that smacked of a Great Society for identity politics.

In that first order, the word “equity” appeared 21 times, while that old American mainstay of “equality” didn’t even rate one mention. In his joint address to Congress, however, Biden mentioned equality once, but not in the way Americans understand the term. It was to plug the “Equality Act,” which The Heritage Foundation’s Emilie Kao, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said, “placed feelings at the center of academia, displacing empirical knowledge.”

Kao says the act would mean “the triumph of cancel culture over facts, reason, and empirical knowledge.”

As we have explained, equity has now come to mean the functional opposite of equality. The latter means equal treatment to all citizens, such as the Constitution calls for in the clause of the 14th Amendment that deals with equal protection of laws. Equity means treating Americans unequally to ensure that outcomes are equalized—the old tried (and failed) Marxist standard.

Meanwhile, systemic racism is the lynchpin of the critical race theory ideology that believes that racism is so structural and institutional in our society that, to remove it from our lives, we must radically alter all structures, institutions and the American system itself. According to this ideology, parents and children must depend on federal programs like his “American Families Plan” to succeed because families cannot reach the American Dream on their own.

This breathtakingly presumptive idea implies that individuals and community members from ethnic minority backgrounds are not capable of reaching their goals.

Americans do not want this taught to children. A nationally representative survey finds that 70% of parents of school aged children want educators to teach that “slavery was a tragedy that harmed the nation, but our freedom and prosperity represent who we are as a nation, offering a beacon to those wanting to immigrate here.”

Biden’s verbal acknowledgement of “systemic racism” in his address introduces the American public to critical race theory’s patronizing dogma. Americans who do not want to replay the sacrifices that were necessary to remove racism from American law and cultural institutions must understand that “systemic racism” and its underlying philosophy will revert this nation back to a time where people were not judged by the content of their character but by the color of their skin. No American should want to return to such an era.

That it was mentioned but twice may mean that the Biden administration may be beginning to understand how unpopular this agenda will be.

-Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy and the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum fellow, and Jonathan Butcher is the Will Skillman fellow in education at the Center for Education Policy

‘Free’ Community College and Massive New College Subsidies

Biden pitched unprecedented new higher education subsidies, particularly in the community college realm. The administration’s American Families Plan includes an unprecedented $109 billion proposal to finance two years of “free” community college, available to first-time students and “workers wanting to reskill.” 

Yet, just 20% of students who begin community college each year complete their program within 150% of the standard time, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Even after factoring in transfers to four-year colleges, the completion for stands at just 34% for community college students. 

The proposal seeks to improve these statistics by sending an additional $62 billion to community colleges to increase retention and completion. After decades of lackluster outcomes, more federal spending is unlikely to improve performance. 

The plan would also spend more than $80 billion on the federal Pell Grant program (nearly tripling spending which currently stands at $29 billion). This would increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $1,400 per student, from $6,495 to $7,895. (Pell Grants are grants to income-eligible students to offset the cost of tuition and do not have to be repaid.) 

It would also spend $46 billion in additional funding on historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions such as Hispanic-serving institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions. 

Through all of the proposed higher education subsidies, from “free” community college to increases in Pell funding, the Biden administration is pursuing initiatives that would subsidize rising costs, rather than pursuing policies that would actually address the driver of college cost increases. 

-Lindsey M. Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy and the Mark A. Kolokotrones Fellow in Education at the Heritage Foundation

Universal Preschool

Biden announced his push for “free” universal preschool for all three- and four-year-old children. In addition to being an massive federal expenditure that is not the appropriate role of Washington, the rigorous research suggests universal preschool programs do not live up to the promises often made by proponents.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University, for example, evaluated Tennessee’s oft-referenced “model” Pre-K program for low-income children found that the program failed to produce any sustained benefits for children and actually had some negative effects.

As the authors of this rigorous randomized control trial evaluation found, “First grade teachers rated the TN-VPK children as less well prepared for school, having poorer work skills in the classrooms, and feeling more negative about school. It is notable that these ratings preceded the downward achievement trend we found for VPK children in second and third grades.”

Indeed, the Biden plan, through structure and delivery, is more likely to resemble—and indeed, bolster—the failing Head Start program, a Lyndon Johnson-era relic that is likely the closest analog to any new or expanded federal preschool program.

In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services released a?scientifically rigorous evaluation of Head Start, tracking five thousand three- and four-year-old children through the end of third grade. It found that the program had little to no impact on parenting practices. Additionally, it did not have much impact on the cognitive, social-emotional, and health outcomes of participants. 

Instead of spending billions in taxpayer money at ineffective federal programs like universal preschool, parents should be empowered with more options for childcare and education through portability of existing dollars.

-Lindsey M. Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy and the Mark A. Kolokotrones Fellow in Education at the Heritage Foundation

Foreign Policy

Russia

In his speech, Biden referenced the U.S.’s recent sanctioning of Russia for its election interference and cyber hacking of SolarWinds. He rightly said that this was a “direct and proportionate” way to respond. However, his administration should have also imposed sanctions on Russia for committing human rights abuses against Alexei Navalny, especially since human rights are supposedly a priority of the administration. 

Biden also mentioned that Russia and the U.S. should cooperate “when it’s in our mutual interests.” But that’s just the problem—as long as Vladimir Putin is in charge, the U.S. cannot have a viable partnership with Russia because Putin has proven that he cannot be trusted, time and time again.

-Alexis Mrachek is a research associate focusing on Russia and Eurasia at the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy

Health Care

Expanding Obamacare

The president called on Congress to expand Obamacare permanently, suggesting it would help lower the costs American families face. As Heritage scholars Ed Haislmaier and Abigail Slagle demonstrate, Obamacare’s costs have doubled thanks to government mandates and other problems.

Pouring more taxpayer money only puts put Band-Aids on broken government program. That is not the right way to lower health costs.

Rather than improve America’s health care, Biden’s plan expands government control of the health care system. His proposals don’t address American’s top health care concerns of reducing health care costs, improving coverage options and expanding access to quality health care. 

The American Families Plan would put even more bureaucrats between patients and their doctors. And it would give more money to insurance companies in ways that decrease choicesincrease costs, and offer limited access to doctors (as Obamacare currently does).

We need real reforms that remove barriers between patients and doctors. Congress could start by replacing failed government health care programs with one that sends dollars to individuals so they can buy health coverage of their choice, eliminating cost-increasing federal mandates, and directing funds to the states to help the sick.

-Marie Fishpaw is the director of Domestic Policy Studies

Price Controls on Pharmaceuticals

Biden tonight called on Congress to impose price controls on prescription drugs. Democrats’ price control bill, HR 3, would direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a “maximum fair price” for drugs based on prices set by foreign governments.

The secretary would then attempt to negotiate that price down with the product’s manufacturer. This negotiated price would be imposed on all drugs. Failure to negotiate would subject manufacturers to confiscatory tax penalties.

That’s the wrong direction for America’s families, who will be hurt by this proposal. A December 2019 report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors estimated that price controls of this nature would result in 100 fewer new drugs coming to market over the next decade. It would also reduce economic output by $1 trillion, 30 times the federal savings that price controls might deliver.

To understand the impact of lost innovation, imagine our society if pharmaceutical companies had not developed COVID-19 vaccines. Unlike lockdowns, mask mandates, and extended school closures, those vaccines have dramatically reduced pandemic-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Pharmaceutical companies were able to develop the vaccines in record time because they were willing to invest in years of experimentation that did not yield immediate results.

Congress should not adopt proposals that will reduce pharmaceutical research and development. For more on what Congress should do instead, read: “How Congress Can Make Real Progress on Prescription Drug Prices” and “Pharmeceutical Innovation is Winning the War on COVID-19; Biden Shouldn’t Disarm.”

-Doug Badger is a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation

Vaccinations

How to encourage Americans to get vaccinated? Educate, not indoctrinate, as Doug Badger and Ed Haislmaier’s outline in their op-ed, “What it Took For A Group of Republicans to Overcome Their Vaccine Hesitancy.”

-Marguerite Bowling is a senior communications manager at the Institute for Family, Community and Opportunity

Law

Gun Control

Biden called for stricter gun control by touting some of the same mischaracterizations of the issue that gun control activists have used for years to muddy the waters of national debate. This was, of course, not unexpected. What was unusual was the president’s planned use of objectively false statements—statements that can already fairly be characterized as lies.

He began by asserting that “gun violence has become an epidemic in America,” which is odd description, given that gun homicide and gun crime rates remain far lower today than in the early 1990s. While there is certainly more work than can and should be done to continue reducing rates of gun violence (especially gun suicides, which account for about 60% of gun deaths every year), it’s difficult to see how the nation is experiencing an epidemic based on the actual data.

The president also supported his push for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” by claiming that gun violence rates declined during the 1990s when the ban was in place. Gun violence certainly did decline significantly during the 1990s, as did overall violence. But it had absolutely nothing to do with a decade-long ban on the purchase of so-called assault weapons.

In fact, the official report on the ban noted that these weapons “were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban,” and that “should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

It’s little wonder that gun homicide and gun crime rates have remained consistently lower after the ban expired than before the ban was put into place, despite the facts that millions of Americans have purchased these guns in the last 15 years.

There are mischaracterizations, and then there are lies. Biden lied when he said high-capacity magazines enable semi-automatic firearms to fire 100 rounds in mere “seconds.” Semi-automatic firearms, unlike their fully automatic counterparts, have a rate of fire between 45 and 65 rounds per minute.

On top of this, the president lied when he said the majority of gun owners support bans on “assault weapons”—and it isn’t the first time he’s been caught telling this lie.

Biden is correct that there’s much more we can do to address gun violence in this country. But until he and other politicians put aside the blatant mischaracterizations and falsehoods, it’s unlikely that the national conversation progresses.

-Amy Swearer is a legal fellow at the Institute for Constitutional Government

Election Reform

Biden apparently didn’t realize the contradiction inherent in what he said about voting and elections in his speech tonight. He urged Congress to pass H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, two bills that would lead to a federal takeover of the election process, destroy the integrity and security of our elections, and give partisan federal bureaucrats and the party in power in Washington, D.C., the ability to manipulate election results.  

Yet, he admitted that “more people voted in the last presidential election than ever before in our history—in the middle of one of the worst pandemics ever.” If that is true, why is there any need for any federal legislation at all? That record turnout demonstrates that Americans are having no problems registering and voting, contrary to the false claims of “voter suppression” being made by the sponsors of these two unwise, dangerous bills. 

The president said at the beginning of his speech that he would be talking about “crisis and opportunity.” When it comes to our elections and the two ill-advised bills he is supporting, it is clear that Democrats want to manufacture a nonexistent “crisis” about voting in the eyes of the public, which will give fraudsters a greater “opportunity” to cheat when it comes to our elections.

– Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and senior legal fellow at the Institute for Constitutional Government

The Equality Act, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, and the Violence Against Women Act

In her invitation to the president to address the joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gushed, “Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help is on the way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, help is here!”

But during his national address, Biden made clear that the kind of help he is offering isn’t intended for women, children, or the religiously faithful, regardless of how his proffered “American Family Plan” is titled. As a candidate, Biden had declared during his campaign, “Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time,” making passage of the Equality Act within the first 100 days of his presidency a pledge to Americans.

Tonight, Biden reiterated his prior promises on the Equality Act which, after passing the House in a vote of 224-206 in March, is stalled in the upper chamber and lacks bipartisan support due to its many failings. Biden urged, “I also hope Congress can get to my desk the Equality Act to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans,” adding, “To all the transgender Americans watching at home – especially the young people who are so brave—I want you to know that your president has your back.”

But the Equality Act is not about equality. It not only decimates religious liberty in a first-of-its-kind open repudiation of the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and represents one’s subjective view of their gender identity as equivalent to biological reality. It is a Trojan horse for the abortion lobby, while threatening to nationalize sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum regardless of religious objections.

If ever there has been a perfect progressive weapon on Capitol Hill, the Equality Act is it.

Biden also thanked the Senate “for voting 94-1 to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to protect Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from … vicious hate crimes,” though the bill contained head-scratching provisions on sexual orientation and gender identity and duplicates state and federal protections already on the books.  

He called for reauthorization of the “Violence Against Women Act, which has been law in this country for 27 years” since Biden first wrote it. If only that law was now as it was when Biden wrote it. But its current iteration not only makes vast increases in gun control provisions for misdemeanor offenses, it—like the Equality Act and COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act—places the new sexual orthodoxy at the heart of an otherwise bipartisan bill.

This trio of bad bills would result in loss of many of the legal protections women have under current federal law, would crush their opportunities in scholastic sport, would eliminate privacy in intimate spaces, and would risk the safety and security of women in prisons, domestic abuse shelters, and more.

Biden’s remarks tonight mirrored the stylings of his big-government model, perhaps in an effort to channel Presidents Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. A chief difference, however, is that his Big Government administration plays sexual politics in a way Roosevelt or Johnson would never have dreamed.  

– Sarah Parshall Perry is a legal fellow at the Institute for Constitutional Government

Legal Reform

Tonight, Biden outlined an aggressive agenda much of which will be impossible to achieve democratically with a closely divided House and an evenly divided Senate that is, at least for now, committed to preserving the filibuster. How then will he achieve this agenda? By turning to administrative state to achieve by bureaucratic diktat what he cannot achieve through the democratic process.

Biden has issued far more executive orders and memoranda in his first 100 days than any president in the nation’s history. These have been sweeping actions that will require the administrative state to effectively rewrite scores of laws.

For example, Biden has ordered every administrative agency in the country to rewrite all laws under their purview that forbid discrimination “on the basis of sex” so that the laws also apply to transgender status and sexual preference.

He has also ordered a halt to a program that leases land to natural gas and oil drillers even though the program is required by law.

And he has directed all branches of the government to give racial minorities special treatment in many areas including COVID-19 reliefenvironmental policieshousing, and all other areas where the government might advance an “equity agenda” to remedy “systemic racism.” This is just a smokescreen for government mandated racial inequality, which is forbidden by law.

No matter; who needs laws when you have an administrative state?

The good news is people who care about the rule of law can fight back. The Supreme Court has taken a few steps towards reining in the a vast and undemocratic administrative state.

Moreover, two recent decisions by the Supreme Court that were intended to trip-up President Donald Trump’s agenda, will apply with equal force to trip-up Biden’s.

In Department of Homeland Security v. Regentsand Department of Commerce v. New York, the Supreme Court prohibited President Trump’s administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and from adding a citizenship question to the census.  The court reached those outcomes by significantly increasing the amount of work an agency must do to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (a law that lays out the requirements agencies must meet before they can do almost anything).

The cases were not well-reasoned or consistent with prior law; Justice Clarence Thomas called them “administration specific.” But the lower courts are bound by them, nonetheless. That means that unless the Supreme Court changes them, their heightened requirements apply to Biden just as much as they did to Trump. 

Lawyers and litigants should make full use those cases to gum-up the works of Biden’s administrative juggernaut.

– GianCarlo Canaparo is a legal fellow at the Institute for Constitutional Government

Police Reform

Police reform in the United States has become a contentious topic recently, with little agreement on the best path forward.

Unfortunately, Biden did not help matters with his endorsement of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act during his speech

As I have previously written, the act, which passed the House of Representatives in March along a party-line vote, would make it more difficult and dangerous for police officers to do their jobs.

Imagine a Ferguson Effect on steroids at a time when our nation can least afford it because violent crime rates—especially the homicide rates—in some cities are soaring.    

Biden said, “We need to work together to find a consensus” on this issue because the “country supports this reform.”

That may be true for pieces of the bill, but certainly not for all of it.

If Biden is serious about working together, he should encourage passage of the non-controversial aspects of the bill, divorced from the more controversial aspects, so that immediate action can be taken. 

These uncontroversial aspects include the bill’s requirement that the attorney general establish a national task force on law enforcement oversight staffed by various Justice Department officials, a push for uniformed officers to wear body cameras, and for marked police cruisers be equipped with dashboard cameras. 

He could likely also garner broad bipartisan support for the bill’s provision that would make it a federal crime for a law enforcement officer to engage in sexual contact with someone in his or her custody.

But he should urge supporters of the bill to abandon the piece of it that would force police departments to consider an individual’s protected characteristics, such as race or gender, when engaging in many routine law enforcement activities—which would be in plain contravention of the bill’s goal of ending racial profiling.

He should also take pains to make sure that law enforcement officers aren’t deprived of crucial tools used for their own safety.

As my colleague John Malcolm has written, “it is often the police who suffer the greatest backlash, both in threats to their own physical safety and in growing distrust from some in the communities they are sworn to serve and protect,” whenever tragic events such as George Floyd’s death occur.

This bill would not enhance officer safety nor would help repair the growing distrust from some in the communities they serve.

-Zack Smith is legal fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

Systematic Raciscm in the Criminal Justice System

Twice during his speech, Biden referred to “systematic racism” in our criminal justice system. That is a canard. 

Did the president identify what constitutes “systemic racism”?  No, he did not—and he has not done so throughout his time on the campaign trail or his time in office. 

Biden repeats the phrase “systemic racism” incessantly without backing it up. He does not sound like a man who is looking out for all Americans, black and white, especially when they are victims of a crime.

What are the facts?

  • No state has separate criminal codes for blacks and whites.
  • No state has more serious penalties for black offenders than white ones.
  • No state prosecutes only black offenders.

Here is what we do have:

  • There are black politicians in numerous state and local offices throughout the nation, including mayors, district attorneys, and chiefs of police.
  • America is not the Birmingham, Alabama, of the Bull Connor days. Those days are long gone.
  • Take Chicago. The mayor and chief prosecutor are both black, yet Chicago has a tragically high rate of homicides.  That is not—not—due to white politicians letting white offenders rampage through black communities. On the contrary, black offenders victimize other blacks more often than we see interracial crimes.
  • Any and every defendant who believes that he has been treated unfairly because of his race can raise that claim in court and get a fair hearing.

The president claims that he wants to unite Americans, not divide them.

Well, that is a lie. A “lie” is an ugly term, but it is the only one that applies. He is pandering to the worst angels of our nature, and to the furthest left wing of the Democratic party, by incessantly claiming that blacks have been victimized by “systematic racism” without offering any evidence or argument to support it.

-Paul Larkin, Jr., is the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel senior legal research fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. 

Welfare

American Families Plan

The American Families Plan undermines welfare reform with new cash payments (referred to as refundable tax credits by Biden) and will discourage work and marriage, thwart upward mobility, and trap families in long-term dependence on government welfare. Disconnecting government benefits from work reverses decades of successful welfare reform. If enacted permanently, this would be the second largest expansion of the welfare state in U.S. history.

Under the plan, a family that chooses not to work at all would receive almost three times as much in new benefits as a median-income working family. The Biden plan adds new cash grants on top of extensive unconditional benefits already provided to non-working single parents. A single mother with two school-aged children would typically receive a combined $59,000 in free welfare, medical and education benefits even if she doesn’t work or prepare for work.

The Biden plan rewards households lacking work and marriage compared with those married and working. For the first time in a quarter century, it increases unconditional cash aid to young teen mothers. This is not an effective or compassionate strategy for reducing long-term poverty or improving the well-being of the poor.

Policymakers who care about helping American families who need financial help should  reform—not expand—the existing 89 welfare programs costing $1.1 trillion a year, starting by removing the substantial penalties against marriage within the welfare system. 

-Leslie Ford, visiting fellow in Domestic Policy Studies, and Robert Rector, senior research fellow at the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we will consider publishing your remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature.  

April 28, 2021

Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066

Dear President Obama,

I wrote you over 700 letters while you were President and I mailed them to the White House and also published them on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org .I received several letters back from your staff and I wanted to thank you for those letters. 

I have been reading your autobiography A PROMISED LAND and I have been enjoying it. 

Let me make a few comments on it, and here is the first quote of yours I want to comment on:

But with that came a corollary lesson: an awareness of what we risked when our actions failed to live up to our image and our ideals, the anger and resentment this could breed, the damage that was done. When I heard Indonesians talk about the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in a coup—widely believed to have CIA backing—that had brought a military dictatorship to power in 1967, or listened to Latin American environmental activists detailing how U.S. companies were befouling their countryside, or commiserated with Indian American or Pakistani American friends as they chronicled the countless times that they’d been pulled aside for “random” searches at airports since 9/11, I felt America’s defenses weakening, saw chinks in the armor that I was sure over time made our country less safe.
     That dual vision, as much as my skin color, distinguished me from previous presidents. For my supporters, it was a defining foreign policy strength, enabling me to amplify America’s influence around the world and anticipate problems that might arise from ill-considered policies. For my detractors, it was evidence of weakness, raising the possibility that I might hesitate to advance American interests because of a lack of conviction, or even divided loyalties. For some of my fellow citizens, it was far worse than that. Having the son of a black African with a Muslim name and socialist ideas ensconced in the White House with the full force of the U.S. government under his command was precisely the thing they wanted to be defended against.

Barack Obama’s Top 10 Apologies: How the President Has Humiliated a Superpower

By Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. and Morgan Lorraine Roach
June 2, 2009

A common theme that runs through President Obama’s statements is the idea the United States must atone for its past policies, whether it is America’s application of the war against Islamist terrorism or its overall foreign policy. At the core of this message is the concept that the U.S. is a flawed nation that must seek redemption by apologizing for its past “sins.”

On several occasions, President Obama has sought to apologize for the actions of his own country when addressing a foreign audience–including seven of the 10 apologies listed below. The President has already apologized for his country to nearly 3 billion people across Europe, the Muslim world, and the Americas.

The Obama Administration’s strategy of unconditional engagement with America’s enemies combined with a relentless penchant for apology-making is a dangerous recipe for failure. The overall effect of this approach has been to weaken American power on the world stage rather than strengthen it.

President Obama’s personal approval ratings across much of the world may be sky high, but that has not translated into greater support for U.S.-led initiatives, such as the NATO mission in Afghanistan, which is heavily dependent on American and British troops. The U.S. is increasingly viewed as a soft touch internationally, which has encouraged rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran to accelerate their nuclear and missile programs.

As President Obama embarks this week on his second major overseas tour, which will take him to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany, and France, the world does not need yet another apology from the President. Rather, it is looking for strong and principled leadership from the most powerful nation on the face of the earth. American leadership is not a popularity contest, nor should it be an exercise in self-loathing. Rather, it is about taking tough positions that will be met with hostility in many parts of the globe. Above all, it demands the assertive projection of American power, both to secure the homeland and to protect America’s allies.

The following is a list of the 10 most significant apologies by the President of the United States in his first four months of office as they relate to foreign policy and national security issues.

1. Apology to France and Europe (“America Has Shown Arrogance”)

Speech by President Obama, Rhenus Sports Arena, Strasbourg, France, April 3, 2009.[1]

So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years we’ve allowed our Alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there’s something more that has crept into our relationship. In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

2. Apology to the Muslim World (“We Have Not Been Perfect”)

President Obama, interview with Al Arabiya, January 27, 2009.[2]

My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that.

3. Apology to the Summit of the Americas (“At Times We Sought to Dictate Our Terms”)

President Obama, address to the Summit of the Americas opening ceremony, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, April 17, 2009.[3]

All of us must now renew the common stake that we have in one another. I know that promises of partnership have gone unfulfilled in the past, and that trust has to be earned over time. While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations; there is simply engagement based on mutual respect and common interests and shared values. So I’m here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration.

The United States will be willing to acknowledge past errors where those errors have been made.

4. Apology at the G-20 Summit of World Leaders (“Some Restoration of America’s Standing in the World”)

News conference by President Obama, ExCel Center, London, United Kingdom, April 2, 2009.[4]

I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we’ve made, that you’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world. And although, as you know, I always mistrust polls, international polls seem to indicate that you’re seeing people more hopeful about America’s leadership.

I just think in a world that is as complex as it is, that it is very important for us to be able to forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions. Just to try to crystallize the example, there’s been a lot of comparison here about Bretton Woods. “Oh, well, last time you saw the entire international architecture being remade.” Well, if there’s just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy, that’s an easier negotiation. But that’s not the world we live in, and it shouldn’t be the world that we live in.

5. Apology for the War on Terror (“We Went off Course”)

President Obama, speech at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2009.[5]

Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. I believe that many of these decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people. But I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And during this season of fear, too many of us–Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists, and citizens–fell silent.

In other words, we went off course. And this is not my assessment alone. It was an assessment that was shared by the American people who nominated candidates for President from both major parties who, despite our many differences, called for a new approach–one that rejected torture and one that recognized the imperative of closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

6. Apology for Guantanamo in France (“Sacrificing Your Values”)

Speech by President Obama, Rhenus Sports Arena, Strasbourg, France, April 3, 2009.[6]

Our two republics were founded in service of these ideals. In America, it is written into our founding documents as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In France: “Liberté”–absolutely–“egalité, fraternité.” Our moral authority is derived from the fact that generations of our citizens have fought and bled to uphold these values in our nations and others. And that’s why we can never sacrifice them for expedience’s sake. That’s why I’ve ordered the closing of the detention center in Guantanamo Bay. That’s why I can stand here today and say without equivocation or exception that the United States of America does not and will not torture.

In dealing with terrorism, we can’t lose sight of our values and who we are. That’s why I closed Guantanamo. That’s why I made very clear that we will not engage in certain interrogation practices. I don’t believe that there is a contradiction between our security and our values. And when you start sacrificing your values, when you lose yourself, then over the long term that will make you less secure.

7. Apology before the Turkish Parliament (“Our Own Darker Periods in Our History”)

Speech by President Obama to the Turkish Parliament, Ankara, Turkey, April 6, 2009.[7]

Every challenge that we face is more easily met if we tend to our own democratic foundation. This work is never over. That’s why, in the United States, we recently ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. That’s why we prohibited–without exception or equivocation–the use of torture. All of us have to change. And sometimes change is hard.

Another issue that confronts all democracies as they move to the future is how we deal with the past. The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history. Facing the Washington Monument that I spoke of is a memorial of Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed those who were enslaved even after Washington led our Revolution. Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans.

Human endeavor is by its nature imperfect. History is often tragic, but unresolved, it can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future.

8. Apology for U.S. Policy toward the Americas (“The United States Has Not Pursued and Sustained Engagement with Our Neighbors”)

Opinion editorial by President Obama: “Choosing a Better Future in the Americas,” April 16, 2009.[8]

Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities, and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas. My Administration is committed to the promise of a new day. We will renew and sustain a broader partnership between the United States and the hemisphere on behalf of our common prosperity and our common security.

9. Apology for the Mistakes of the CIA (“Potentially We’ve Made Some Mistakes”)

Remarks by the President to CIA employees, CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, April 20, 2009.[9] The remarks followed the controversial decision to release Office of Legal Counsel memoranda detailing CIA enhanced interrogation techniques used against terrorist suspects.

So don’t be discouraged by what’s happened in the last few weeks. Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we’ve made some mistakes. That’s how we learn. But the fact that we are willing to acknowledge them and then move forward, that is precisely why I am proud to be President of the United States, and that’s why you should be proud to be members of the CIA.

10. Apology for Guantanamo in Washington (“A Rallying Cry for Our Enemies”)

President Obama, speech at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2009.[10]

There is also no question that Guantanamo set back the moral authority that is America’s strongest currency in the world. Instead of building a durable framework for the struggle against al Qaeda that drew upon our deeply held values and traditions, our government was defending positions that undermined the rule of law. In fact, part of the rationale for establishing Guantanamo in the first place was the misplaced notion that a prison there would be beyond the law–a proposition that the Supreme Court soundly rejected. Meanwhile, instead of serving as a tool to counter terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.

So the record is clear: Rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies.

Nile Gardiner is the Director of, and Morgan Roach is Research Assistant in, the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

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