National security

No matter how loudly Democrats deny it, the national security crisis on our southern border isn’t going away. In fact, it’s getting worse.

Just recently, several dozen Central American migrants tried to rush an international port of entry near Laredo, Texas — a move that forced U.S. authorities to shut down an entire bridge tp vehicle traffic for several hours.

The migrants occupied the vehicle lane and attempted to breach the border, apparently in hopes of claiming asylum, but were stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents who erected a temporary barrier across the bridge, highlighting the exact reason President Trump found it necessary to take executive action in order to fund the border wall.

The president’s most important duty is to protect and defend American citizens, but obstructionist Democrats in Congress have refused to provide the resources he needs to do so, leaving President Trump with no other option than to use his statutory authority to reallocate various funding necessary to construct a barrier on our border.

Though some of us have objected for years to bills that do not have enough specificity, the trouble is that Congresses have passed and recent presidents have signed into law various spending bills with a significant amount of discretion on how those dollars are spent. Presidents really have had a great deal of leeway in how dollars are spent. Another bill Congress passed back in the 1970’s with far too much discretion for the president was the National Emergency Act.

President Clinton used the National Emergency Act in aid of U.S. involvement in Bosnia. Now the Democrats get upset because the National Emergency Act is used to protect our OWN borders instead of those of foreign countries. Is that political hypocrisy, or just very poor judgment? Sometimes it is difficult to tell.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 22,000 minor children crossed our southern border illegally in December alone, with 25 percent of them unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. In February, the number of illegal crossings at the southern border hit an 11-year high, as Border Patrol agents interdicted more than 76,000 illegal immigrants.

While Congress played games and allowed the partial government shutdown to drag on for over a month, they ignored the fact that in 2017, more Americans died from illegal drugs — most of which are smuggled in through the southern border — than were killed during all the years of the entire Vietnam War.

More than 48,000 Americans died of opioid-related overdoses alone in 2017, the same year that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 900 pounds of heroin from smugglers trying to cross the border.

Meanwhile, thousands of the illegal immigrants currently incarcerated by ICE have been convicted of violent crimes, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and murder.

Despite these very real threats to our country, though, the U.S. House of Representatives has now passed legislation to overturn the President’s emergency declaration, and now the Senate seems poised to force him into issuing his first-ever veto.

The concerns expressed by some conservatives about expanding executive power sound genuine, but they’re also misplaced. The problem is not how President Trump is using his power to protect our sovereignty, but that Congress ever gave that much power to Presidents to begin with. President Obama vastly exceeded the powers he was given, as he himself even noted before creating the DACA program without ever passing a law. That was unlike President Trump’s emergency declaration because the Obama actions had absolutely no grounding in laws previously passed by Congress.

Meanwhile, open-borders Democrats are doing everything they can to prevent President Trump from protecting our country’s border as he attempts to seize control back from the drug cartels. The most discerning Americans are beginning to recoil from the radical obstructionist efforts by Democrats who seem to care less about their own constituents than they do about the border crisis.

Even suburban women, who are widely credited with helping Democrats secure their House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, are becoming increasingly supportive of the President’s actions. It is ironic that the most compassionate, caring action the U.S. could take to help those in Mexico and Central America would be to completely secure our southern border cutting off the tens of billions of dollars that flow across to the drug cartels every year. Securing our southern borders means ending the reign of terror by the cartels against our southern neighbors, which would allow them to develop thoroughly vibrant economies.

According to a new Zogby Analytics poll, the president’s recent executive actions to fund construction of the border wall are even more popular among suburban women than they are among likely voters in the broader population. A plurality of suburban women — 45 percent — support President Trump’s executive actions, and 50 percent back his decision to declare a state of emergency.

Keeping America safe shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but the Democrat Party has embraced a radical, open-borders agenda that is anathema to most Americans.

The threats and harm that are created by our porous southern border should be precisely the type of issue that brings all Americans together. After all, most Democrats in Congress have previously supported much of what our president is trying to do to secure our border. Unfortunately, too many Democrats are letting their President Trump Derangement Syndrome keep them from doing what is best for our nation’s people.

Louie Gohmert has represented Texas as a Republican in the House of Representatives since 2005.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Karl Notturno | Center for American Greatness

Hours after the horrific terrorist attack in New Zealand, a large number of articles asked the predictable question: shouldn’t tech companies do everything in their power to remove hate speech from their platforms and the internet as a whole?

On its face, the argument for purging hate speech from the internet is compelling: if festering hatred in dark corners of the internet spurs deranged people to commit senseless acts of violence, we should do everything in our power to expunge hate speech and hate groups from every platform we can.

This logic, however, is deeply misguided and will only lead to increased radicalization and unnecessary violence.

Even the most authoritarian and repressive regime cannot extinguish ideas and their very attempt to do so will often give the ideas newfound credibility. There is no reason to outlaw patently stupid ideas — they are easily rebuffed with argument. Forbidding the consideration of a certain thought is easily viewed as an admission that it is strong enough to be dangerous.

And this is why the attempt of many in the media, academia, and government to forbid the consideration of so many thoughts is exceedingly harmful. They have pushed certain assumptions as axiomatic truths and have effectively exiled anyone who dares question them.

If anyone asks whether large-scale immigration is a good thing, they are immediately labeled a xenophobic racist. If anyone questions whether the push to normalize transsexuality is wise, they are immediately denounced as a transphobic bigot. If anyone challenges the extensive push for globalization and the increased power of transnational institutions, they are immediately condemned as a nationalist and therefore as a white nationalist.

Censuring people does not make them agree with you. They won’t suddenly change their minds because you yelled at them. They may stop talking publicly about the issue, but they will continue thinking about it and having private conversations with anyone who will engage them. If anything, the severe condemnation will make them suspicious and wary and may even entrench their offending views.

And what happens when we have banished conversation of unpleasant topics and have exiled all the transgressors? They will naturally gravitate to the most extreme and radicalized groups, because those will be the only people who will be willing to have the types of conversations they want. And in that environment, the radicals will have the advantage, because there won’t be any reasonable people to fight back.

The more exiled the group, the more paranoid and prone to violence. And the growing push to purge them will make them feel even more hunted. Someone who feels hunted rarely stops to reexamine their beliefs — their fight or flight instinct kicks in, and all too often they will pick the former.

Many of our so-called public intellectuals have been sheltered from the uncomfortable questions that often start people down this path of radicalization. These questions have been deemed too “triggering” or offensive in and of themselves. Unfortunately, this means that these intellectuals do not have good answers to them. Instead of trying to come up with good answers, they try to shut up the questioners.

What many fail to grasp is that politics is a tool to avoid violence. Unpleasant speech is better than a mass shooting. Being triggered is better than someone pulling a trigger. And when we try to sanitize the public discourse and make the Overton window smaller and smaller to spare someone’s feelings, we simply push more people towards violence.

Isolation and ignorance drive radicalization. But you can’t cure someone of ignorance by simply shouting “you’re ignorant!” The black man who deconverted 200 Klansmen didn’t do it by telling them to go educate themselves. He talked to them — no matter how unpleasant their views were. That was the only way he could change their minds.

Instead of censoring the hate, we must engage the hate. That’s the only way we can avoid further violence.

Karl Notturno (@KarlNotturno) is a fellow at the Center for American Greatness. He also serves as director of A Soldier’s Home, a nonprofit that helps homeless veterans. He graduated from Yale University with degrees in philosophy and history.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Scott Morefield | Reporter

General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had harsh words for Google’s relationship with China during a Thursday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“The work that Google is doing in China is … indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Dunford told committee members during the defense budget hearing.

“Look, we’re the good guys. And the values that we represent, and the system that we represent is the one that will allow you, and has allowed you, to thrive,” he said in a paraphrase of how he describes the situation to “industry partners.”

Dunford characterized the work Google and other companies do in China as having “indirect benefit” before going even further.

We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit. And frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is. It’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a vocal opponent of some Big Tech practices, tweeted video of Dunford’s statement, calling it a “must watch video.” (RELATED: Half As Many Google Employees Protested Building Chinese Surveillance Tech As Protested Pentagon Project)

“We are in a struggle with the Chinese government over whether or not they’re going to become a regional or maybe global hegemon with values very different from ours, certainly values that do not favor freedom in the world, and we have an American company that does not want to do work with our Defense Department, which is one thing, but they’re happy to help the Chinese … military, at least indirectly,” said Hawley. “I think that’s just extraordinary.”

When asked by CNN, a Google spokesperson “declined to address Dunford’s comments that the company’s work was benefiting the Chinese military,” but did issue a statement to the network on work it does do with the Pentagon.

“We deeply respect the US military and we are working with them to solve problems in areas like cybersecurity, logistics, transportation and planning,” the spokesperson told CNN.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Mark Whittington | Contributor

President Trump has already signed the directive establishing the United States Space Force. For now, the Space Force will be a new branch of the military subordinate to the Air Force much as the Marine Corps is part of the United States Navy. The new organization will be relatively small and will include current space war-fighting assets of the United States military.

The first threat the Space Force must face is the United States Congress, which may or may not approve the new service branch. Presuming that the Space Force survives the legislative process, it will face several real threats to America’s space assets.

Tthe Defense Intelligence Agency released a non-classified report in February noting that Russia, a declining former super power, and China, an aspiring super power, are developing technologies to attack American space assets, including communications, navigation, and reconnaissance satellites. North Korea and Iran, both rogue states, are also considered possible threats.

In 2007, China tested a space weapon that blew up a defunct weather satellite. The test was successful but created a swarm of space debris. In a real war, the use of such weapons would render space inaccessible because of the amount of debris the destruction of satellites would cause. Even so, China’s arsenal of space weapons still includes kinetic energy missiles.

The DIA report suggests that China and to a certain extent Russia are developing a range of approaches to disrupt and even destroy American satellites. These technologies include electronic jamming, cyberattacks, directed energy weapons, such as lasers, designed to not so much destroy as to blind satellites, and orbital weapons that could capture or deorbit American satellites.

Not only the United States military but American society is dependent on space-based assets. An “orbital Pearl Harbor” could wreck both the American economy and the United States military’s ability to wage war against distant enemies. At the same time, Russia and China are developing their own satellite systems to enhance their militaries’ ability to conduct operations across the world.

The United States Space Force’s main mission will be to harden and defend American space assets against attack and to strike at enemy nations’ satellites in the event of war. Space is a new environment for war fighting, with its unique challenges that Space Force supporters note cry out for a branch of the military that can focus on conflict in that realm.

Going forward, as the United States expands its influence into space, including the moon’s surface, the Space Force’s mission will necessarily expand to protect deep space assets, as well. China especially will be a competitor in a new race to the moon and beyond. A Space Force presence on the moon would serve a peace-keeping function, ensuring that any unfriendly power such as China or Russia will not be tempted to interfere with NASA, allied, or commercial operations on Earth’s nearest neighbor.

Space debris remains a chronic problem and is only getting worse as satellites reach the end of their useful lives. One possible mission for the Space Force would be to help clean up this debris. The task would provide an excellent peacetime practice for orbital operations, honing skills that would be useful in time of war.

The Space Force could also have a missile defense role. The Trump administration is interested in reviving the Reagan-era SDI program and deploy anti-missile weapons in space.

Just as aviation’s development in the 20th century led to the establishment of a separate United States Air Force soon after World War II, space as a venue for exploration, commercial enterprise, and military operations inevitably leads to a separate Space Force. The ability to keep the peace and, failing that, wage war in space are vital to the continuation of the United States, not only as a super power, but also a sovereign nation.

Mark Whittington (@MarkWhittington) is the author of Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon? and The Moon, Mars and Beyond. He also operates his own blog, Curmudgeons Corner.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

After a weekend of unrest, U.S. leaders are engaging in a multilateral approach to deliver aid to the people of Venezuela as President Nicolas Maduro continues to race against the clock to maintain power.

On Monday, the U.S. ramped up pressure with a fresh round of sanctions to help the Venezuelan people and to recognize the man senior officials in the U.S. are now calling the interim president, Juan Guaido.

Sen. Marco Rubio took to Twitter, at times in Spanish, exposing the Maduro regime for allegedly killing at least one truck driver carrying supplies as well as other citizens. Rubio also shared a graphic image of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, his head bloodied, as an apparent warning of what happens to totalitarian leaders who mistreat their people and perhaps more importantly, cross swords with the United States of America. The image was taken from graphic video of Gaddafi’s final moments after being beaten, sodomized by a sword and then shot despite pleading for his life.

While some might view Rubio’s posts as graphic and perhaps a step too far toward the “nation-building” for which few Americans have tolerance in the post-George W. Bush world, Rubio is right: the 21st century is no place for dictators.

One doesn’t have to be a neoconservative to support intervention in Venezuela. Even the most skeptical non-interventionist can no longer ignore the human rights abuses that Maduro has committed — including starving one’s own people, physically blocking bridges so that aid is prohibited and physically beating back anyone who tries to break the blockade.

Unbelievably, even as the world watches Venezuela burn, Democratic candidates back in the United States continue to push a socialist agenda despite the Maduro regime serving as “exhibit a” for the many failures of socialism.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuelainitiated by former President Hugo Chavez in 2007, has been damaging the country since long before the latest crisis.

After its oil-dependent economy collapsed in 2014, Venezuela suffered. However, Maduro played a strong hand in exacerbating the suffering as he refused medicine and other aid shipments to the country, leaving his citizens withering on the vine.

Last fall, a health crisis swept through the country’s failing socialist healthcare system. Nearly 80 percent of hospitals had no water; nearly 13,000 doctors had fled the country; there was an 85 percent shortage of medicine; and a shortage of basic medical tests such as electrocardiograph (EKG) tests and in many hospitals, even a shortage of basic necessities such as soap.

A hunger crisis also struck. Food shortages arrived with the Chavista economic crisis and with Maduro subsequently refusing to accept aid, its citizens began to starve.

As of last fall, food supplies had dropped nearly 75 percent in socialist Venezuela, even though food prices skyrocketed more than 300 percent. As of this January, one in three Venezuelans were eating just one meal a day in order to ration their food supply.

With people literally starving, it makes one wonder why a young, socialist Bernie Sanders would have ever said that “lining up for food” is “a good thing.” Clearly, the events in Venezuela prove otherwise.

In fact, all of the various health, economic and humanitarian crises leave one wondering why anyone would choose socialism.

Even The New York Times recently admitted, “Yes, Venezuela is a Socialist Catastrophe.”

Whether the U.S. and the international community fully engage to save the people of Venezuela remains to be seen.

How anyone could think that socialism — which has killed 100 million people since its founding — is anything less than catastrophic also remains to be seen, and it is an urgent question that the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates will have to answer on the 2020 campaign trail.

Jen Kerns (@JenKernsUSA) served as spokeswoman for the California Republican Party; spokeswoman for California’s Proposition 8, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; and as a Fox News writer for the 2016 U.S. presidential debates.

 The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Denison E. Smith | Investment banker and former assistant attorney general for the state of Idaho

When President Trump entered office, America’s defenses were badly lagging after eight years of budget wrangling under President Obama, for whom national defense was not a top priority. That included the sequester, which cut defense and non-defense spending by equal amounts, even though the great majority of the budget is non-defense.

The 600-ship Navy attained under President Reagan dwindled to less than half its peak. America was on course for the smallest Air Force since before World War I as well, only about half of what retired generals say is needed to meet national defense commitments. America was building down to the smallest Army since before World War II, only about half of what would be required to support our national defense

We also lagged in missile-defense modernization. That included space-based lasers, which were originally perceived as the lynchpin to an impenetrable dome for America.

Even America’s nuclear deterrent was lagging. That was supposed to be based on the triad concept, which offered triple-protection nuclear deterrence, protecting America by land, air and sea. But land deterrence was crippled by aging land-based missiles dating to the 1950s.

Deterrence by air was crippled by outdated nuclear B-52 and B-2 bombers older than their pilots. Only 12 nuclear submarines (six more under construction), each carrying 10 nuclear missiles capable of splitting into 10 independently-targeted warheads, still carried America’s functional nuclear deterrent.

Anti-satellite weapons Russia and China already have orbiting in space threaten our own satellites — satellites our conventional military forces depend upon for their modern weapons to operate.

Some of this has been addressed by President Trump, especially with his proposed “space force.” But his budget increases so far have really only restocked needed military armaments.

America’s national defense apparatus needs to be rebuilt. Trump’s decision to appoint Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to replace Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a step in the right direction.

Shanahan previously served as an executive with Boeing. He understands the defense contracting business, which is exactly what it will take to rebuild America’s military as Reagan did nearly 40 years ago.

However, Shanahan’s work experience has prompted criticism. A January Politico report suggested Shanahan unfairly favored Boeing, citing two anonymous officials who accused him of “praising Boeing and trashing competitors such as Lockheed Martin during internal meetings.”

Yet even Politico acknowledged, “Under his ethics agreement, Mr. Shanahan has recused himself for the duration of his service in the Department of Defense from participating personally and substantially in matters in which the Boeing Company is a party.”

One source said, “He’s not talking about Boeing right now; he’s really speaking more to his experience, his leadership. His insight is, ‘I’ve seen this, I’ve done it,’” and another said “he’s agnostic toward Boeing at best. I think he’s extremely confident about his capability relative to sourcing and working with contractors.”

The Defense Department is additionally already investing $1 trillion in a long-term contract with Lockheed for its crown jewel, the $90-million F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet. Shanahan has given no indication that he is wavering on that long-term commitment to modernization.

Anonymous contractors should stop spreading unfounded rumors about Trump’s nominee to lead the department. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, Acting Secretary Shanahan will be able to do his job, and the department will continue granting defense contracts based on merit — not because of bullying by contractors in Washington’s swamp.

Denison Smith is a former assistant attorney general for the state of Idaho, staffer for Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho), and trustee of the Reason Foundation. He has over three decades of experience in investment banking, including as the former regional vice president of the Pioneer Fund of Boston, the fourth oldest mutual fund in the United States.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Curtis Ellis | America First Policies

A high stakes investigation with profound impact on the nation’s future delivered its report to the White House Sunday. The president has 90 days to decide whether or not to act on its recommendations.

Independent prosecutor Bob Mueller is not running this probe. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is.

Last May, President Trump ordered the Commerce Department to determine whether auto “imports are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security.” Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 the president has the authority to impose tariffs on national security grounds – tariffs on imported automobiles and/or auto parts.

The president’s critics scoffed when he ordered the investigation. They said the Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force do not depend on passenger cars, and besides, they could drive imports if necessary.

But the same critics who’ve gotten it wrong so many times before were wrong again.

They don’t understand that automobiles are a keystone industry crucial to any advanced industrial society. The automotive industry has the economy of scale to support other industries such steel, plastics, chemicals, foundry, machining and advanced materials with the know-how, technology and capacity our defense industries depend on.

As President Trump said, “core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a nation.”

That’s why every country that ever wanted to achieve first world status sought to develop an automobile industry. (See: Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia, China, Mexico.)

History is replete with examples of the connection between the automotive industry and national security. American automobile factories churned out machine guns, aircraft parts and other armaments during World War II. Mitsubishi manufactured the Japanese Zero fighter aircraft.

But we should look to the future rather than the past to understand the national security implications of the automobile industry.

The industry is in the midst of a fundamental changeover — from internal combustion to electric propulsion. Vehicles will incorporate artificial intelligence, advanced materials and electronics. Money from auto sales will support R & D in these crucial technologies that have military applications.

Electric cars are the future — and China wants to own the future. Analysts predict global sales of 30 million electric vehicles by 2030, with China making up half of those.

Now we have news that China is targeting Tesla with an electric car that sells for $15,000 and “may just redefine the commuter car,” Bloomberg reports.

The one-seater, three-wheeled electric vehicle is named the Solo. It can hit 80 mph, go 100 miles on a charge and be recharged at home overnight on a regular 110 volt wall socket.

Bloomberg erroneously implied the Solo is made in Canada. It’s actually made in China.

The Canadian company marketing it, Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corporation, “signed a volume production deal with China’s Zongshen Industrial Group, which will eventually produce 75,000 Solo battery-electric vehicles,” Automotive News Canada reported. “The agreement calls for Zongshen, based in Chongqing, to produce 5,000 of the three-wheeled single-seat commuter vehicles in this year, 20,000 in 2019 and 50,000 in 2020.”

Make no mistake. These vehicles are destined for the U.S., not Canada. China plans to use Canada as the bridgehead.

And this is not China’s first attempt to gain a foothold in the U.S., nor the first time it lied to break into the U.S. auto market.

Exhibit A is the “Coda” electric car that premiered at the L.A. auto show a few years back.

Billed as “All American,” this electric Trojan horse was actually made in China by the state-owned company that supplies weapons to China’s military and bloody regimes around the world.

China also has a history of using high-level political players in both parties as shills to wield its influence.

Private investors in Coda included former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty; Henry Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs CEO who served as Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush; and John Bryson, President Obama’s Commerce secretary.

But wait, there’s more: GreenTech, an electric car company founded by former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe and Hugh Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother. The company relied on Chinese investment and technology, raising $141.5 million from investors as part of the EB-5 visa program that offered foreign investors permanent U.S. residency in exchange for cash. GreenTech filed for bankruptcy amid numerous lawsuits without producing a single vehicle.

China understands the importance of the automotive industry. In the race for the next generation of vehicles, it will do anything it can to overtake the U.S. on the curve.

President Trump understands that too, even if his critics don’t.

Curtis Ellis is senior policy adviser with America First Policies. He was a senior policy adviser with the Donald J. Trump campaign.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

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