Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Biggest Gain Ever!
Here's more good economic news: Retail sales posted their biggest gain everin May, up 17.7%, more than double the predicted 8% increase. That points to strong consumer demand after months of pandemic restrictions finally began easing last month.
Reforming Law Enforcement
This afternoon, President Trump held a Rose Garden ceremony to announce a new executive order encouraging the "highest professional standards" for law enforcement. Police departments that meet these new standards will receive additional federal resources.
The order bans the use of chokeholds except in the most extreme circumstances. It also establishes a database to track misconduct complaints against officers so that the "bad apples" are not simply transferred from one department to the next.
Prior to the event, President Trump met with the members of nine families who have lost loved ones in interactions with the police. During his Rose Garden remarks, the president spoke to these families, saying:
"All Americans mourn by your side. Your loved ones will not have died in vain. . . We are one nation. We grieve together and we heal together. I can never imagine your pain or the depth of your anguish. But I promise to fight for justice for all of our people."
The president was also clear that these reforms are not intended to undermine the overwhelming majority of good and decent law enforcement officers. Trump said:
"I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments. Without police there is chaos, without law there is anarchy and without safety there is a catastrophe. When you remove the police, you hurt those who have the least, the most."
The Progressive Alternative
And what might the progressive alternative look like? Well, we don't have to guess. Several cities dominated by the left are pushing their own ideas and policies. Here's what they're doing.
New York City just announced that it is disbanding the NYPD's undercover anti-crime unit. The main purpose of the 600-officer unit was to track potential gun crime and stop it before something worse happened.
Burglaries in the Big Apple are up 34% this year. Murders are up 94%. As Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, put it, "Our city leaders have clearly decided that proactive policing isn't a priority anymore. They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences."
By the way, this was an elite force. The officers accepted into this unit were among the NYPD's finest. Now it's gone.
In Minneapolis, there are mounting police resignations as left-wing politicians demand that the police department be defunded and replaced with an army of social workers.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is once again directing all her vitriol at President Trump rather than the gang of anarchists who seized a police precinct and six city blocks. She's also suggesting that what Seattle really needs is "demilitarizing our police force [and] rethinking who responds to 9-1-1 calls."
Rioting and looting broke out again last night in Portland, where progressive city officials have long tolerated Antifa and other far-left radicals.
How bad is the anti-police atmosphere being stoked daily by dozens of prominent liberals?
Yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared chokeholds to lynchings. And Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) compared the Fraternal Order of Police to the KKK.
How's that for stoking anti-police hatred?!
A Supreme Civil Wrong
Yesterday's decision by the Supreme Court rewriting the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to recognize homosexuality and transgenderism was deeply disappointing and disturbing.
Chief Justice Roberts, who once again joined the court's four liberals, is clearly shifting to the left and rapidly becoming as unpredictable and unreliable as former Justice Anthony Kennedy. Yesterday's opinion is a stunning reversal for Roberts, who authored a brilliant dissent five years ago in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage.
But the most surprising aspect of the decision was that Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote it. For his first year on the high court, Gorsuch ruled 100% of the timewith Clarence Thomas. But he and Thomas could not have been further aparton this case.
No one in 1964, when Congress banned sex discrimination, thought they were voting on homosexuality or transgender rights. It is shocking that Gorsuch would find such rights in the "penumbras and emanations" of our civil rights laws and legislate from the bench in such an egregious way.
As Justice Kavanaugh put it in his dissenting opinion, "Under the Constitution's separation of powers, I believe that it was Congress's role, not this Court's, to amend Title VII."
Confronting Communist China
As you may know, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has again cited communist China as one of the world's worst violators of religious liberty.
During the first few months of 2020, Chinese authorities reportedly shut down at least 48 churches and removed more than 250 crosses. What made this most recent crackdown unusual is that the churches were part of the state-affiliated Three-Self Patriotic Movement. These are venues nominally approved by the government, but even they are not immune to the Communist Party's war on faith.
Read more in this opinion piece, co-authored by me and fellow USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel.
You can also watch my latest appearance on EWTN's "Nightly News"discussing communist China's war on faith.