U.K. Says Fox News Isn’t Fair and Balanced

While student protesters on college campuses may not think so, the First Amendment is a beautiful, precious, and rare thing.

Look no further than one of our closest allies, the United Kingdom. This week, the U.K broadcasting regulation office, Ofcom, ruled that Fox News broadcasts violated laws regarding impartiality.

The ruling stems from episodes of Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight earlier this year regarding coverage of President Trump’s travel ban in January and the Manchester terrorist bombing in May.

Tucker Carlson’s May 25th episode attacked the U.K. government for engaging in politically correct policy rather than seriously combating the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism, the Guardian reported. The program included criticism of Prime Minister Theresa May, Manchester Mayor Beverly Hughes, as well as other local and law enforcement officials.

Ofcom’s ruling concluded there was “no reflection of the views of the UK government or any of the authorities or people criticised” and the presenter “did not challenge the views of his contributors; instead, he reinforced their views.”

Sean Hannity’s January 31st episode featured clips of public officials reacting negatively to the executive order banning travelers entering the United States from certain predominantly Muslim countries, followed by a rebuttal and dismissal from Hannity. In short, he did his usual opening monologue. Ofcom was not a fan.

Ofcom acknowledged that viewers were likely to expect Hannity to address controversial issues from a perspective that is generally more supportive of the US Republican party. However, the likely audience expectations did not provide sufficient contextual justification to outweigh the numerous highly critical statements made about people who had opposed the order, coupled with the clear support being expressed for the policies of President Trump.”

Consider for a moment that somewhere in London there is a government bureaucrat who goes to work every day with the sole purpose of watching the previous evening’s cable shows to determine whether critical coverage provided “sufficient contextual justification.” After writing up the report on Hannity this same bureaucrat, after a quick trip to the water cooler and looking in a mirror to check his comb-over, determines whether Tucker Carlson accurately reflected the views of the U.K. government.

These subjective determinations do not come with a mere slap on the wrist. Ofcom violations can result in substantial fines paid by media companies. Fortunately for Rupert Murdoch and Fox, they stopped broadcasting Fox News in Britain in August, so they will not be subject to fines for this activity. Sky, the British satellite broadcast company partially owned by Fox, paid an indirect price, with shares dipping 1.72% upon the announcement. Investors are worried that the announcement does not bode well for the government’s review of Fox’s attempt to purchase the remaining portion of Sky that it does not own.

While it is easy to shake our head at our friends across the ocean, it’s worth noting that such nonsense could easily happen here at home. Despite the First Amendment, the Supreme Court upheld the so-called “fairness doctrine” in 1969. The policy was created to ensure equal time among the conservatives and liberals on radio and television broadcasts. While the policy was repealed in 1987, liberals long sought to restore it under the guise that the federal government must ensure a fair and balanced media environment. For his part, President Trump has opined on Twitter that he would like to see something like the fairness doctrine reinstituted.

Of course, objective and professional journalism is important. Considering the amount of fake news and Russian propaganda which makes its way into our Facebook and Twitter feeds on a daily basis, everyone must be conscious of where they get their news.

None of this means that we need some centralized agency of imperfect and biased human beings making one big collective decision for all of us. No matter what the Supreme Court says (and the Warren Court was wrong a lot), regimes like Ofcom or the fairness doctrine violate the First Amendment’s right to a free press and free speech.

Anyone watching Hannity or Tucker Carlson Tonight for news are fooling themselves. Tucker and Sean do not hold themselves out to be objective broadcasters. They are not journalists. They provide commentary and analysis regarding the day’s events. In 2017, such shows are not a novel concept. Anyone tuning into Fox News at 8 or 9pm over the last 25 years understand this.

While Hannity and Carlson have their detractors across the political spectrum, all Americans should relish the fact that they are not being overseen by some Washington bureaucrat demanding that they play nice. Any opinion, as long there’s a large enough audience, is welcome on American airwaves.

Long live Sean Hannity. Long live Tucker Carlson. Long live Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow, for that matter.

Be thankful for the robust freedoms we enjoy, and how rare and precious the First Amendment is, even among Western democracies.

And be vigilant at future attempts to infringe upon it.

Puerto Rico’s Largest Airport Has Become a De Facto Refugee Camp

Puerto Rico’s largest airport has become a de facto refugee camp for hundreds of people attempting to leave the ravaged island.

According to the Daily Beast, Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is without radar, and much of its infrastructure remains damaged since Hurricane Maria blew through the island last week.

“We usually run around 200 flights a day and we are barely getting 16 flights right now,” Airport director Agustin Arelanno said.

These aviation challenges have stranded thousands of people. Some are simply trying to return from their visit to the island, while others are local residents simply looking for any destination where they can enjoy shelter, running water, and food. Airlines currently have wait lists numbering as high as 20,000.

“I’m tired of this. I just want to go home. Get me home!” a woman shouted in one of the terminals where people are seen sleeping on floors and claiming urgently for decent food.

Most sleep on the floor, and are limited to a small supply of food from the one open restaurant in the facility.

The worst moments, however, seem to be at night. With the airport only running on 21 generators, the complex is largely in the dark during nighttime hours. This leaves stranded passengers as easy prey to thieves and attackers.

“It’s a really scary situation during the night. There’s not a single pole lit and if something happens to you there’s no cellphone service to call for help,” Elena Rodriguez told The Daily Beast, adding one of her neighbors was carjacked in the middle of the night.

Obviously, times are dire at the airport in Carolina, Puerto Rico, as well as all over the island. You can read more about Resurgent’s ongoing coverage of the emerging humanitarian disaster here.

Should you desire to provide financial support to those affected by the disaster, I would humbly recommend giving through the North American Mission Board. You can allocate your donation among relief for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. And most importantly, 100% of your donation goes to help those in need.

Press Release: Fed Is Bullish On Economic Outlook

The Federal Reserve released a statement on Wednesday forecasting good news for the economy.

“Information received since…July indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year,” the Fed’s statement said. “Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low.” The statement also noted that household spending and business investment continues to grow.

The Fed is projecting median GDP growth of 2.4%, which is more optimistic than the 2.2% projection during the summer. This optimism is despite the devastation Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked on Houston, Florida, and the southeast.

Based on this information, the Fed will continue to normalize its balance sheet in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The organization will also go ahead with another planned interest rate increase before the year is out.

“We’re working down our balance sheet because we feel that is stimulus that in some sense is no longer needed,” Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen said. “The basic message here is that U.S. economic outlook has been good.”

All of this is positive news, given that the Fed exhausted all of its resources to prevent the economy from further crashing nine years ago. Since then, the economy was seen as too fragile to begin raising rates or normalizing the balance sheet. Still, the Fed will continue to cautiously return to normalcy as the economy continues to stand on its own two legs again.

Obama Calls GOP Attempts to Repeal Obamacare “Aggravating”

In a speech in New York City on Wednesday, Barack Obama admitted his aggravation with the GOP’s continued attempts to repeal Obamacare, the former president’s signature legislative achievement.

“Those of you who live in countries that already have universal health care are trying to figure out what’s the controversy here,” Obama told his audience at the Gates Foundation event.

“It is aggravating,” he continued, “And all of this being done without any demonstrable economic or actuarial or common sense rationale, it frustrates.” He condemned the “people trying to undo that progress for the 50th or 60th time.”

Of course, Obama makes no mention of the men and women who were dumped into Obamacare exchanges when their insurance was canceled, despite being promised repeatedly that their health insurance wouldn’t change.

Millions of Americans found that aggravating.

The former president makes no mention of how the law’s employer mandate pushed companies to replace full-time employees with part-time workers to avoid the extra cost of providing expensive health coverage.

American workers found that aggravating.

Obama seems to forget the scorched earth legal battle he fought to force all groups to cover contraception, including abortifacients, regardless of religious liberty objections.

Groups like Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor found it aggravating.

Americans in the Obamacare exchanges saw their premiums rise by an average of 25% last year.

That’s aggravating.

Those same Americans are also seeing their deductibles increase by double digits as well. For example, deductibles went up by about 17% for those with a silver plan.

That’s aggravating.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare will be one of the main factors increasing the national debt to $30 trillion over the next decade.

That’s aggravating to tax paying Americans. And their children. And their children’s children.

After all of this money and effort, only 12.2 million people signed up for Obamacare in 2017. Those numbers were slightly down from 2016, and way off of the 21 million predicted when the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. In all, 28.2 million Americans opt to pay the penalty for not having health insurance rather than paying for Obamacare. The stated goal of the legislation was to make sure every American had health insurance, and that goal is nowhere close to being achieve.

How aggravating.

If one wasn’t already used to hearing such audacity from the former president, it would be astonishing to hear this man attack Republicans for not being properly aware of the “economic” and “actuarial” realities of healthcare reform. Time has proven that Obama, despite his feigned certitude, was making it up as he went along.

Americans watched in powerless horror as Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid forced this monstrosity of a law on the country. They suffered the consequences as they were forced to buy plans they didn’t want at prices they couldn’t afford. And despite Obama’s assumptions to the contrary, they have never seen socialized medicine as “progress.”

American voters responded by sending more Republicans to Congress than at any time in the last 90 years, with a clear mandate to fix the mess Obama left of our healthcare system. Despite difficulty, they continue to try to achieve that objective.

For this, Obama is aggravated. Good. It’s his turn.

REVEALED: Obama Lectured Trump on Politics in Oval Office Letter

One of my favorite presidential traditions is how each president leaves a personal letter to their successor on the Resolute Desk on Inauguration Day. It punctuates the peaceful transfer of power, which is one of the most remarkable and precious rituals in our constitutional republic.

So, I was excited this weekend when CNN obtained a copy of the letter President Obama left for President Trump. While I have varying disagreements with all of our former Presidents, each letter is full of kindness, humility, and a fraternity of having led the same great nation.

Every transition letter, without question, swells me with patriotism. Every letter, that is, until I read Obama’s sermon to Trump. In the document, the former president comes off as lecturing and hypocritical.

Before jumping into his letter, it’s worth reviewing how former presidents have composed such correspondence. You can find all of them since 1993 here.

They are always brief. Usually no more than would fit in a greeting card. There is a congratulations, an acknowledgement of the weight of the office, a short piece of personal advice, and a promise of support and prayer. The letters never touch on politics.

There will be trying moments. The critics will rage. Your “friends” will disappoint you. But, you will have an Almighty God to comfort you, a family who loves you, and a country that is pulling for you, including me,” George W. Bush wrote to Obama in 2009.

You lead a proud, decent, and good people…I salute you and wish you success and much happiness. The burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated. The sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible. My prayers are with you and your family. Godspeed,” Bill Clinton wrote to George W. Bush in 2001.

Of course, George H. W. Bush, the last man to hold the office who came from a time when letter writing was an essential skill, composed the greatest note of all.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course. You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well,” Bush wrote to Clinton, who had just defeated the incumbent two months before.

Obama’s letter, despite being much longer than any before, struggles to achieve the dignity, class, and kindness of his predecessors. Obama never wishes Trump the unqualified success his predecessors expressed to each other. He simply wishes Trump an “expanded prosperity and security during your tenure” – an implicit characterization of Obama’s own administration.

Where Obama truly goes off the rails, however, is when he turns his attention to “a few reflections” from his two terms in office. What follows is an unprecedented comment on policy in a presidential transition letter.

On foreign policy, Obama lectures, “It is up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend.”

This, from the most dovish President since World War II. In his timidity, we watched a “reset” devolve into Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, the normalization of the use of chemical weapons for the first time in a century, the validation of Iran’s nuclear program, and the rise of ISIS

As for the President’s domestic duties, Obama has much more to say:

Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic inquisitions and traditions – like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties – that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instrument f our democracy at least as strong as we found them.”

One can hardly fathom the utter hypocrisy of Barack “Pen and Phone” Obama, who weaponized the administrative state to such an extent that people turned to a man like Donald Trump to save them. This is the man who declared “empathyas his judicial philosophy, granted Obamacare waivers on a whim, dispersed billions of tax dollars to left wing organizations, unilaterally re-wrote immigration law after he declared he didn’t have such authority without Congress, forced nuns to pay for contraception, secretly monitored the press, and seemingly picked which laws he wanted to enforce

President Obama should’ve steered clear from policy in his letter to President Trump. Not just because of his stunning hypocrisy which sheds light on his failures as President, but because it politicizes a tradition that should exemplify unity. To quote the late great show West Wing, “The things that unite us are far greater than those that divide us.”

Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can. Good luck and Godspeed,” President Obama concludes.

These sentiments are nice. There’s nothing so unequivocal as Bush 41’s “Your success is our success,” or references to the “proud, decent, good people” Clinton mentioned to Bush 43. Unlike former letters, Obama includes no prayer, nor does he ever allude to the great country he and Trump both serve.

I read Obama’s letter with the sincerest hope that it would continue a wonderful legacy among Presidents of both parties. Instead, he penned a politicized lecture which only serves to highlight the hypocrisy and condescension of it’s author.

I’ve considered the possibility that perhaps I am letting my dislike for Obama’s presidency taint my reading of his letter. One should certainly remember that he was writing this letter to Trump, an amateur who won the presidency despite (or because of?) his penchant for vulgarity aimed at Obama and others.

There have always been reasons for incumbents to harbor grudges or feel anxiety toward their successor. None of them, however, have let such reasons keep them from offering exceptional words of respect, kindness, and encouragement. I wish Obama could’ve found it in himself to live up to that legacy.

Jim Acosta Could Learn A Thing or Two From Ben Sasse




The Statue of Liberty has had a busy couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago there was the much-discussed debate between Stephen Miller and CNN’s Jim Acosta. The latter, in a fit of unprofessional outrage, exposed his ignorance of history by invoking “The New Colossus” (otherwise known as the Statue of Liberty poem) in defense of a liberal immigration policy.

“The Statue of Liberty says ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer,” Acosta argued from his chair in the White House Briefing Room.



As was pointed out here and elsewhere, the construction of the Statue of Liberty had nothing to do with immigration, and “The New Colossus” was added to the statue decades later. Moreover, poetry doesn’t set immigration policy. The poem shouldn’t set immigration policy any more than the legend of Johnny Appleseed should determine agricultural policy.

Perhaps lamenting the politicization of Lady Liberty, Ben Sasse seized the opportunity to produce a short video on some true history surrounding the monument. Friday was the 128th anniversary of Americans raising $100,000 dollars to build the pedestal on which the Statute of Liberty stands. Like most things Sasse produces, it is an inspirational and unifying lesson about America.

 

Raising such a massive amount of money “demonstrates the power of volunteerism, which is the foundation of our freedom,” Sasse says. It wasn’t the federal government, a SPLOST, or a couple rich donors who paid for the pedestal, but tens of thousands of ordinary Americans voluntarily giving their hard earned money to a worthy cause.

As long as she stands, Lady Liberty rests “on volunteerism, on love, [and] on persuasion. Not force. That’s not the center of freedom.”

“As we think about the future of freedom in this nation,” Sasse concludes, “may the legend of the Statute of Liberty inspire us today to be united in generosity and support no matter how small our ability or our individual contributions might be.”

It’s a wonderful story, and it’s beautifully told by Sasse. The senator’s story, perhaps inadvertently, raises an actual connection between the Statue of Liberty and immigration.

Much of the history Sasse recounts centers around Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the New York World who spearheaded the effort to raise the money.

Before growing his media empire and lending his name to the most prestigious award in journalism, music, and literature, Pulitzer was a Hungarian immigrant. He came from a successful family who provided him with a superior education, but Pulitzer sought opportunity in America after his father’s bankruptcy left his family in poverty. Arriving in Boston at the age of 17, he immediately joined the Union Army. He fought in a unit of mostly German immigrants under General Sheridan. After the war Pulitzer became an American citizen and sought opportunity in the West. In St. Louis he would begin to build his media empire.

Pulitzer is one of the great immigration success stories Americans have long admired. Both sides of the immigration debate could appropriate Pulitzer to serve their own ideological ends. Liberals could hold him up as an example of how mass immigration has served the country well. Pulitzer did not learn English until he’d been in the country a few years. Conservatives could point out that Pulitzer is a case study in why we should favor immigrants from Western countries who have the background and education that would lend to their success and assimilation in America.

What both sides should strive for, however, is to base their arguments on actual history. Remember the purpose of the Statute of Liberty. Remember Lady Liberty’s pedestal. Remember the story of Joseph Pulitzer. Remember “The New Colossus”.

Remember that history can inform, challenge, and inspire us as we struggle with the issues of the day.

Remember some sources, like a biased journalist or a Facebook meme, will twist history to serve their own emotional and ideological ends.

As Harry Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

France to End Fossil Fueled Cars By 2040 – I Bet My Hoverboard They Won’t

It’s 2017.

According to the 1989 classic, Back to the Future II, we should have flying cars by now – or at least hoverboards. And don’t forget power laces, which should be equipped on every pair of Nikes.

To borrow from another sci-fi classic, Star Trek, we should be emerging from the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s, and working closer toward speed of light travel.

According to a 2007 NBC News Report, we should all have an implant with health, financial, and identifying information stored conveniently under our skin.

Of course, pondering the future can be humorous or invoke a sense of wonder. What is important to remember, however, is that we have no idea what the future can bring. One should confront the prospect of the future with humility at how little we control events. We simply lack the foresight to see over the horizon and project what is going to happen. Humans aren’t predictable machines, and forces that drive history do not fit into some unified theory of everything.

France, of course, has never had a problem relying on the ultimate wisdom of humanity. The French have a long history of crafting policy on nothing more than good intentions and well wishes, dating back as far as the French Revolution. Bless their hearts, no amount of blood-soaked guillotines will ever change their minds.

So it’s no surprise that France announced this week that the country will completely eliminate fossil fuels by 2040. 

“We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040,” [Ecology Minister Nicolas] Hulot said, calling it a “veritable revolution”. 

That’s an awfully impressive goal. How will they achieve it? Well, those details haven’t really been hashed out yet.

Cyrille Cormier of Greenpeace France, a supporter of the measure but critic of the lack of concrete measures, admitted, “We still do not know how we will achieve these objectives and respect these ambitious promises.”

Minister Hulot gave only two hints on how France would meet the 2040 goal. First, by simply prohibiting French automakers from manufacturing gasoline or diesel vehicles by 2040.

(Such quick-fix measures are always a favorite of the Left. Do people not have health insurance? Simply pass a law requiring everyone to buy it! Are workers getting paid too little? Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour!)

Hulot acknowledged that reaching the goal would be “tough”, particularly for automakers, but said that French carmakers Peugeot-Citroen and Renault were well equipped to make the switch.”

That’s easily said by a government minister in 2017 and not, say, the CEO of Renault in 2036. Moreover, with the unexpected fracking boom consumers in America and Europe still overwhelmingly prefer vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel.

Motorists still continue to opt overwhelmingly for petrol and diesel models, usually substantially cheaper. In 2016, hybrid and electric cars accounted for only 3.6 percent of new cars registered in Western Europe, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA),” the Yahoo report says.

The only other measure Hulot indicated may help achieve the 2040 goal is to pay low-income households for their old fossil fuel vehicles, and require them to buy a new and improved electric one. This would essentially amount to a French version of Obama’s Cash for Clunkers program, which was notable for hurting both the environment and the economy at the same time

The fact of the matter is that this announcement, like much of the rhetoric we hear from the environmental left in America and Europe, is simply an empty gesture. It’s a promise based on the Paris Climate Accord, which was yet another toothless measure. Such grand announcements are more about virtue signaling to the rest of the world rather than crafting serious policy.

If France and other countries manage to find a viable alternative to fossil fuel automobiles by 2040, then good for them. But I’m willing to bet they won’t.

I’ll wager my jet pack to your hover boots. We should have both by 2040.

John Adams’ Rays of Ravishing Light and Glory

Independence Day is filled with lots of fun sights and rituals. Having a picnic, shooting off fireworks, attending a parade, and going out on the lake are the kinds of things every proud American does to celebrate.

What the vast majority of Americans don’t know, however, is that they are celebrating our independence exactly how one founding father intended.

Writing to his wife and best friend, Abigail, from the Continental Congress on July 3rd, 1776, John Adams informed her of the momentous news and contemplated the brand new nation that his and others’ efforts had just conceived.

(The delegates had formally approved the motion for independence on July 2nd, and Adams thought that would be the future Independence Day. Instead, we celebrate the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th.)

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

But Adams did not stop there. He recognized that independence brought great responsibility and risk to the new Americans.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

This Fourth of July, let us recall the “Toil and Blood and Treasure” that has been sacrificed to secure our freedom.

Let us rememeber that the cost “to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States” is never fully paid.

Let us look past the challenges and controversies of today, and forward to “see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory” that Adams saw in 1776.

And don’t forget to eat your fair share of hot dogs, shoot a roman candle, and watch a baseball game, just as one founder intended.