Only in America’s Schools Could ‘Partying Like It’s 1776’ Be Offensive

Jarrett Stepman /

At the rate we are going, saying “good morning” might become offensive.

The principal of Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey issued an apology after some students deemed the public school’s prom theme, “Party Like It’s 1776,” to be insensitive.

“I am writing to apologize for the hurt feelings this reference caused for members of our school family,” Dennis Perry wrote Friday in a letter, according to the Cherry Hill Courier Post.

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” he said.

The principal announced that tickets would not be needed to get into the prom, a name would suffice, the tickets would be redesigned, and “safeguards” would be laid down in the future to make sure nobody is offended by anything the school does.

What is especially ridiculous about this whole situation is that the school is hosting the prom at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a building that pays tribute to the nation’s founding documents.

Every American, of any background, has a good reason to celebrate 1776.

While it is true that the promise of freedom imbued in the Declaration of Independence wasn’t extended to everyone initially, it nevertheless set the stage for an advancement of liberty in the future.

Nobody has better explained this than Frederick Douglass, a black man who had been a slave before freeing himself and becoming one of America’s leading abolitionists.

Douglass spoke about what 1776 and the Fourth of July meant to him in his 1852 speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.”

Slavery, at that time, was still practiced widely across the country. But as much as Douglass loathed this institution and railed against the hypocrisy of rallying around a creed that says “all men are created equal” while leaving other Americans in oppressive bondage, he did not turn on the ideal of 1776 or the forces unleashed at that moment.

Far from it.

“The Fourth of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history—the very ringbolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny,” Douglass said to his audience, adding:

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ringbolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

Douglass then turned and criticized Americans for not making the universal truths of the founding documents truly universal. He reminded them that it was hard to celebrate liberty when so many remained in abject slavery.

Importantly, Douglass didn’t tell his audience to reject the American founding, to reject Independence Day. He told them all to embrace it and create a new birth of freedom, as Abraham Lincoln would later call it in the Gettysburg Address.

An America that no longer can celebrate or recognize this triumph is hardly a nation at all. It is an America where the most fundamental chords of what we are have been severed, and our future is made gloomy by a lack of any discernible connective tissues besides the old fallbacks of race and tribe.

This would be a terrible fate for our experiment in liberty, now over two centuries old.

Peter C. Myers, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin and expert in American political thought, wrote in a paper for The Heritage Foundation that Douglass embraced America’s founding even as its promise still had not entirely reached people like him.

“The principles of natural human rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence, Douglass was convinced, represent a permanent, universal truth as well as the most practically powerful moral and political theory ever conceived,” Meyers wrote. “It was above all in America’s original and unforgettable dedication to those principles that Douglass found reason to love and identify with his country, despite the injustices that he and his people had suffered.”

1776 was a universal triumph, the essential first step to abolishing slavery in just four score and seven years.

If a man like Douglass, who had as good a right as any to reject America, instead fully embraced what it stood for, then surely we today can universally champion its creation.

There is nothing unusual about America being divided, as it often is today. The framers of our Constitution designed our institutions to create an acceptable consensus out of disagreement, while protecting our fundamental liberties from the whims of mobs and tyrants.

However, the one thing that we must adhere to as a nation is the foundational creed that derives from the Declaration of Independence and the republican institutions that the Founding Fathers gave us.

If even these cornerstone ideas can’t be shared by everyone, then we flirt with the kind of fracture that occurred in our great Civil War, in which the most fundamental elements of what we are were questioned and attacked.

It is sad and disturbing to think that modern Americans today cannot unite behind something as universal as the Spirit of ’76.

Episodes like these are making many Americans lose faith in their public schools, and demonstrate why the issue of school choice is so essential.

Education goes beyond test scores and angling to get into competitive colleges. It’s about preparing young people to live as free citizens in a constitutional republic.

If our schools are failing to do that, parents need the tools to pressure them to do a better job of teaching them American values and American history. At the very least, we must give parents the option to put their children in a school that will.

Americans face dire consequences if we allow this system of public education to go unfixed.

John Adams once said that Independence Day would be celebrated as one of the most important in history (though the nation’s second president mistakenly thought it would be celebrated July 2).

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival,” Adams wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail, adding:

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.

Let’s make sure that sort of partying continues.

In These Countries, Freedom to Choose What to Believe Is Under Threat - The Daily Signal

In These Countries, Freedom to Choose What to Believe Is Under Threat

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer /

For most people in the West, the decision to adopt a new faith is a serious one, made after thorough investigation of the truth claims of various religions. That weighty decision is also a free one.

Yet for many people around the world, that basic freedom is lacking. Too often, governments impose obstacles to block citizens from converting to another religion.

At a recent policy event on Capitol Hill, Balakrishnan Baskaran, who serves as a legal consultant to ADF International, shared about the obstacles faced by religious minorities in his native India. His family converted to Christianity from Hinduism. Such a decision would become illegal if the Hindu nationalist BJP party has its way.

Eight states in India already have anti-conversion laws in effect, including two states that adopted them in the past year. Laughably called “Freedom of Religion” acts, these laws aim to prevent Hindus from converting to Christianity or Islam. They purport to prohibit conversions that are based on force, fraud, or inducement, but these terms are vague. These laws essentially ban conversion whenever local authorities object.

Some laws require potential converts to notify local government officials, while others even mandate advance permission, which often is not granted. This violates a fundamental principle of international human rights—that a person may believe whatever he or she chooses to believe, and that no one may force him or her to adopt or renounce a particular belief.

Members of the lowest castes who convert away from Hinduism lose certain government benefits—an obvious attempt to keep them in their place. Conversely and unsurprisingly, if someone wants to convert to Hinduism, the majority religion, there are no hurdles. Mass Hindu conversion ceremonies take place with no consequences, even though some participants claim they are forced to take part.

Recent arrests include 32 Catholic seminarians singing Christmas carols, chaperones for a Christian summer camp, and a Christian handing out pamphlets. Extremists attack Christians as they worship in their churches and homes under the pretense of preventing fraudulent conversions. Lawyers like Baskaran represent Christians who have been attacked, but it can take years for victims to receive reparations, if they receive any at all.

As religious nationalism grows in the region, other countries have passed similar laws. In August 2017, Nepal criminalized religious conversions, bolstering a pre-existing constitutional provision. Myanmar passed an anti-conversion law in 2015 as part of a package of laws targeting minorities, especially the Muslim Rohingya. Bhutan’s penal code has banned conversions since 2011. Nepal is a majority-Hindu country. Myanmar and Bhutan are Buddhist.

The United Nations has failed to protect religious minorities in these countries, despite its creation as the primary champion of international human rights. Major human rights violators continue to be allowed on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, including Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, and Venezuela. India was on the council until last year.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which bills itself as the center of the U.N.’s human rights efforts, is too busy with its campaigns on so-called sexual and reproductive rights to focus on religious freedom.

A few countries have condemned anti-conversion laws through the Universal Periodic Review, a mechanism by which member states can make recommendations to other member states, but countries under review simply “note”—reject, in U.N. parlance—the recommendations they do not like, and that is that.

To effect change, states must demand accountability from U.N. entities charged with protecting and promoting human rights, including threatening to withhold funds from the U.N. until it prioritizes religious freedom and accordingly condemns anti-conversion laws.

Otherwise, the U.N. will continue to fail religious minorities in India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan, who will have no real freedom to believe what they choose to believe.

Why China Represents Such a Global Threat - The Daily Signal

Why China Represents Such a Global Threat

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton /


Just this year, the Chinese Communist Party held an election in the Great Hall of the People where Xi Jinping was voted “president for life.” The vote was 2,958 for and six against.

With this vote they proclaimed that China is now realizing its dream of national rejuvenation, and its grand strategy to restore its empire.

This move only adds to mounting evidence of Chinese economic and military ambitions that we’ve been learning about from Cambridge University professor Stefan Halper and Pat Mulloy, a longtime member of the bipartisan China Commission.

 The New Emperor

“There’s no opposition in communist China, that’s the first thing to understand. They can call it an election, but in effect it’s a coronation,” said Halper.

“And if you’re Chinese, and you’re in opposition, don’t you get swept up into Xi’s ‘anti-corruption’ regime?” I asked.

“Yes, that’s the best net he has. He’s arrested about 182,000 people, that’s a lot of people, and they’re frightened to death,” he said.

Mulloy explains, “We’re going back into a period that the Chinese were very afraid of getting into again, of having a permanent emperor ruler. I think this has really caught the attention of many in the West who thought China was not going back on this kind of road,” and that the Chinese explicitly moved away from having rulers for life following the brutalities of Mao Zedong’s rule.

Increased Repression

And just like Mao, Xi’s rule looks to be about accumulating power rather than making life better for his own people. In fact, the Chinese are ramping up East German-style surveillance of the public through “social credit scores.”

“In Beijing alone there are over 40,000 internet policemen, people who track the internet, what people are doing and saying,” said Halper.

“People now have cameras in their home, and of course on the streets, and they’re monitored 24/7. And if you have an infraction, like you’ve been crossing the street in the wrong place or against the light, that’s noted,” said Halper. “And if you get enough of these infractions, you begin to lose certain privileges and freedoms.”

“It’s 1984 writ large.”

Giant Economic Ambitions

While repressing its own people, China is busy using the money the United States pumps into its economy through a lopsided trade relationship to build its influence throughout the region and the world.

A major part of that endeavor is the One Belt, One Road policy, a project Halper calls “50 times the size of the Marshall Plan,” which was the U.S.-led rebuilding of Europe following World War II.

“One Belt, One Road is a concept that Xi Jinping advanced that would link China with India, the Near East, South Asia, Europe, and it would facilitate the movement of Chinese exports by road and rail all the way into Europe. It involves the construction of roads and bridges and railroads in order to move all of these exports, and it requires China to effect relationships with businesses across the Near East and South Asia,” said Halper.

China’s aggression leaves businesses and other nations feeling greater unease, but Beijing’s power and money leaves them with few practical options.

“So this lopsided economic relationship that we have with China is permitting them to expand their political influence through projects like this, and their economic influence, but also permitting them to strengthen themselves militarily,” said Mulloy. “Because when you transfer technology and industrial capacity to your opponent at your own expense, they can then pump money into their military capabilities, and they’ve been doing just that.”

Territorial Aggression and Trampling International Law

On the seas, China is pursuing the Maritime Silk Road, which seeks to connect ports—known as its “string of pearls”—throughout Asia and beyond in an effort to build autonomy for Chinese commerce.

But Chinese aggression on the seas goes much further, including the claiming of 100,000 square miles of the South China Sea and beyond. The United Nations ruled against China’s territorial claims, but those verdicts have been brazenly ignored.

“It is one of the most outrageous and egregious violations of international law and precedent that any of us have seen in a long while,” said Halper.

The Chinese say scraps of ancient pottery have been found in these places, proving they have a historical claim to those lands.

“If that were true, then the United States could claim the Gulf of Mexico, the French would own the Atlantic Ocean,” added Halper.

The Wake-Up Call

The U.S. and the rest of the world have been either asleep at the switch or happily complicit in the rise of Chinese power over the past 40 years.

Through rose-colored glasses, we believed that if we let China into the world trade system they’d become more liberal, democratic—more like us. We also believed that the internet was going to make China more liberal and open.

These things haven’t happened.

Instead, China now has a new emperor who is bent on becoming the dominant power on the world stage and is perfectly comfortable trampling the rights of nations and his own people.

And with Xi’s seizing of power for life, many serious leaders in the world are starting to pay serious attention to the growing behemoth it has failed to recognize and confront.

Note the word serious.

In America, the word serious doesn’t even begin to describe our media and political class. Instead, they rage on about a bankrupt Russia’s feeble attempt at election meddling—and Stormy Daniels. It would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous.

It’s about time we got serious.

Scott Pruitt’s Mission to Make EPA Operate More Efficiently - The Daily Signal

Scott Pruitt’s Mission to Make EPA Operate More Efficiently

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton / Rob Bluey /

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the creation of an Office of Continuous Improvement to implement a lean management system. It’s part of Administrator Scott Pruitt’s effort to make the EPA—a government agency known for its expansive reach—work more efficiently on behalf of American taxpayers.

EPA Chief of Operations Henry Darwin spoke exclusively to The Daily Signal about the new office and the work that its director, Serena McIlwain, would be doing. A lightly edited transcript of the interview is below.

Rob Bluey: Administrator Scott Pruitt recently announced a new Office of Continuous Improvement at the EPA. Can you tell us what it’s going to do and why it matters?

Henry Darwin: The Office of Continuous Improvement is a group of EPA staff that will be helping me, as the chief of operations, deploy a new management system based upon lean principles. Initially, the vast majority of their time will be spent on deploying the new system, but over time, their time will be spent more so on performing problem solving and process improvements as we identify opportunities under the new management system.

Bluey: Let’s take a step back. What is lean management and how exactly are you applying it at EPA?

Darwin: Lean management is a system that is specifically designed to help identify opportunities for improvement and then to monitor performance to see whether or not there are additional opportunities for improvement. And also to make sure that, as we make improvements, that they’re sustained over time.

Typically what happens with most lean organizations, or organizations who say they’re lean, is they do a series of projects that result in theoretical process improvements. Without a system that is specifically designed to make sure that those processes do in fact improve and that there’s measurement in place to make sure that those processes improve, it’s often the case that those projects are not as successful as they would have otherwise been, had there been a system in place to support them.

Bluey: So how would you say that this is making the EPA operate more efficiently?

Darwin: EPA has a long history of using lean to improve processes. What it was lacking, and what we’re trying to implement for the first time, is a system that helps us identify strategic opportunities for us to use lean to improve our processes.

So whereas the previous administration merely asked or required the programs to perform lean events, we’re actually setting very strategic goals and objectives with high targets and we’re asking the programs and regional offices to meet those targets using lean. And then through the management system, we’re monitoring whether or not those improvements are actually occurring.

If they’re not, then we have the group of people now, the Office of Continuous Improvement, that can come in and analyze as to why those improvements aren’t happening or if there’s additional process improvements using lean that are needed in order to get them to where we want them to be as the administrator that sets forth goals and objectives for the agency.

Bluey: Under the Trump administration, you’ve made it a priority to track permitting, meeting legal deadlines, and correcting environmental violations. What did you find when you first took the job and how have things changed since then?

Darwin: The EPA has a history of measuring very long-term outcomes—outcomes that aren’t measurable on a regular basis. And what they had failed to do and what we’re starting to do is to measure those things that we can measure on a more frequent basis, those things that are important to our customers.

“Just like businesses have investors, we have investors. And our investors expect a return on their investment, which is clean air, clean land, clean water, and safe chemicals.”

Now, there are a lot of people out there that suggest we shouldn’t be calling those who we regulate our customers, but I’m not one of them. I believe that we do and should recognize our regulated community as our customers so we can apply business-related principles to our work.

With that said, we always have to remember that we have investors. Just like businesses have investors, we have investors. And our investors expect a return on their investment, which is clean air, clean land, clean water, and safe chemicals.

We always have to be mindful of the fact that even though we want to be paying attention to our customers’ needs as they get permits or licenses, or we’re working with them to achieve compliance, we also have to remember that our taxpayer investors expect a return on our investment. So we also have to be measuring those outcomes, those mission-related outcome measures, related to clean air, clean land, and safe chemicals.

Bluey: Let’s take permitting, for example. I know it’s something that Administrator Pruitt has talked about. He says that he wants to get permitting down to a certain period of time because in past administrations there was an indefinite period where people just didn’t get an answer, a yes or a no. He wants you to be able to say yes or no. What are some of the goals that you’re trying to do with regard to permitting specifically?

Darwin: When we arrived here in this administration, what we found was that we had heard anecdotally, from our customers, that the permitting process was simply taking too long.

What we also found was that the EPA did not have a system for tracking the amount of time it took to issue permits. So we simply went to the programs that issue permits and asked them for the last six months, how long was it taking for us to issue permits? And what we found was fairly surprising, that in some areas they were as long as three years to issue permits, which is simply unacceptable.

In having conversations with the administrator and talking about what a reasonable target or goal would be initially we agreed, he set the standard, or the goal, for issuing permits within six months. So that’s our goal.

Our goal is to, for every permit that’s directly issued by EPA, our goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes from whatever it is right now, which could be upwards of three years, down to six months.

Henry Darwin, the EPA’s chief of operations, discusses the agency’s lean management system at the announcement of the Office of Continuous Improvement on May 14. (Photo courtesy of EPA)

Bluey: In an interview with The Daily Signal, Administrator Pruitt spoke about what you’re doing as the Darwin Effect, named after you. How did you come to embrace these management principles in your line of work?

Darwin: I’m a lifelong environmental professional. I have 18 years of experience working for a state environmental agency. I became the director of that state environmental agency in Arizona about seven years ago and was the director there for five years. Over the course of my experience there, I found an appreciation for lean and a system that could support lean efforts.

We were able to, in my agency, reduce permitting timeframes on the order of 70 percent, 80 percent, and in some instances, 90 percent using lean principles and as supported by a lean management system. I, after that experience, was asked by the governor of Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey, to do the same lean management system deployment for the entire state.

Over the course of two years, I was in the process of deploying a lean management system in 35 state agencies with 35,000 employees and we were seeing the same types of results. They continue to see those same types of results in Arizona using the same business processes and principles.

Bluey: Like Administrator Pruitt, who was prior to his appointment the attorney general of Oklahoma, you come from state government as well. How would you say that experience, both working in the environmental field and then working as Arizona’s chief of operations, prepared you for the job that you’re doing today?

Darwin: I hope that it did prepare me. But there are some significant differences between state government and the federal government. The federal government, rightly or wrongly so, is a much bigger bureaucracy. So the efforts that we had been undertaking at the state level, although not impossible, is actually more difficult now that we’re here doing this work at the federal level. But with that said, it’s more rewarding.

The zone of influence, or the impact that we are making here, it’s to the benefit of not just a single state but the entire country. So even though it may be more difficult, it’s more rewarding. And I can’t think of a better place to be right now.

Bluey: Can you talk about the reaction to the Office of Continuous Improvement within the agency? And also the lean management system.

Darwin: I’m very fortunate in the fact that before I arrived there was a pretty strong appreciation for what lean could be. With that said, EPA had not found a way of making lean all it could be.

I received a lot of support internally for this idea of bringing a system to EPA that could be used to realize, and bring to life, a lot of those improvement ideas that had been identified under previous administrations.

This is as much about carrying forward the work that had been done previously and bringing discipline to actually executing on the plans and the improvements that had been identified but not necessarily followed through on from previous administrations. It has received a lot of positive feedback, a lot of energy and positive energy around the work that we’re here to do.

Bluey: Who are you going to have directing the new office?

Darwin: The director of the Office of Continuous Improvement is a woman named Serena McIlwain. She comes most recently from a region in San Francisco, Region 9. She has a lot of experience, not only at EPA but also in the federal government. So she can help me navigate some of those bureaucracies.

She was the person at EPA who was probably the biggest proponent of lean. She was actually teaching lean tools and principles from Region 9 to the entire agency. She’s been a fantastic fit so far and I know that she’s going to do a great job.

Serena McIlwain, the EPA’s director of the Office of Continuous Improvement, explains her new role. (Photo courtesy of EPA)

Bluey: As a conservative, I have to ask this because any time government is creating a new office, you might have Americans out there who are skeptical and believe in smaller government. What’s your message to those who say, “How is this going to improve performance and not create more bureaucracy?”

Darwin: As a conservative myself, I would share those concerns or sentiments. What I will say is that even though this is a new office, this is not new employees.

We have not grown the size of the EPA. Those who are performing this work were already EPA employees. We have pulled these staff members and managers from within the agency, so we’re just redirecting them to what I believe to be higher value or more value-added work.

Instead of focusing their efforts on performing lean projects that had questionable or limited results, we’re focusing them on areas where we actually will see results. So they’re actually providing higher value, not only to the EPA but our taxpayer investors.

Bluey: And finally—I’ve posed this question to Administrator Pruitt as well—how do you ensure that the changes you’re making at EPA today last many, many years into the future?

Darwin: A lot of it is institutionalizing the work that I’m doing. And not to get too technical, but there are methods and means by which we can institutionalize the work.

It’s really connected back to your question about pulling people from within the agency. We’re not bringing in a bunch of new people, we’re not bringing in a bunch of consultants to do this work. We’re trying to learn from within EPA. We’re trying to use career staff that have a lot of experience at EPA and have a lot of influence at EPA in order to manage the office, in order to lead the office, but also to staff the office.

Because we want them to believe in the new system, we want them to carry this forward beyond our existence here.

Bluey: Henry, thanks so much for taking the time to speak to The Daily Signal.

Darwin: Thank you.

Social Justice Warrior Accuses Conservative Women of ‘Appropriating’ Feminism—but We’re Not Having It - The Daily Signal

Social Justice Warrior Accuses Conservative Women of ‘Appropriating’ Feminism—but We’re Not Having It

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harkness /

Fake news, move over—there’s a new con (wo)man in town. It’s called fake feminism, and according to a woman on the left, conservative women are the culprits.

Liberal feminist writer Jessica Valenti, author of books such as “Sex Object: A Memoir,” and “Why Have Kids?”, took to The New York Times Sunday to argue Republicans are “appropriating” feminist rhetoric in their use of the term. How dare they not ask for permission?

In her article, “The Myth of Conservative Feminism,” Valenti writes:

Conservatives appropriating feminist rhetoric despite their abysmal record on women’s rights is, in part, a product of the president’s notorious sexism. Now more than ever, conservatives need to paint themselves as woman-friendly to rehab their image with female voters.

In an attempt to justify the hypocrisy of feminists refusing to celebrate historic achievements such as Gina Haspel becoming the first female to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Valenti argues, “Feminism isn’t about blind support for any woman who rises to power.”

Pay no mind to the many faces of the Democratic Party who have long argued women should vote based on their reproductive body parts.

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” feminist icon Gloria Steinem infamously said on the 2016 campaign trail.

Women supporting President Donald Trump are “publicly disrespecting themselves,” woman-splained Hillary Clinton.


“Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” said Michelle Obama just last year.

So which way is it—does feminism champion individuality and free thought, or is it “my way or the highway”?

Conservative women have long been divided on whether they identify as a feminist. Speaking on a 2018 women’s panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference, I publicly embraced the term to acknowledge that women throughout history were not always equal, and to honor all the work of the first-wave feminists who came before us.

Others argue the term was so badly hijacked to mean supporting an anti-male, pro-abortion without limits agenda, that it’s a lost cause to use the term.

“It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in a classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male, and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion,” White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said at CPAC in 2017. “I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances.”

Disagreement among right-leaning women about the feminist identity exemplifies a healthy debate seldom seen or allowed on the left. As the world witnessed at the inaugural Women’s March, unless you unequivocally support abortion, you’re not welcome to be one of them.

In response to the threat posed by right-leaning women who identify as feminist, Valenti said:

Now we have a different task: protecting the movement against conservative appropriation. We’ve come too far to allow the right to water down a well-defined movement for its own cynical gains. Because if feminism means applauding ‘anything a woman does’—even hurting other women—then it means nothing.

In truth, Valenti is right to feel threatened by those of us who’ve embraced the term “feminism.”

We’re reaching out to young women and explaining that disagreement is OK, and we’re showing that standing up for women can also mean standing up for issues such as tax reform, and a strong national defense.

After all, the Trump administration has one of the most pro-women foreign policy agendas we’ve seen in decades. Instead of sending planes filled with cash to regimes such as Iran who arrest women for taking off their hijabs, we’ve exited the Iran deal, sending the message that we stand in solidarity with women and no longer excuse violations of their most fundamental human rights.

Woman Arrested For Removing Hijab in Tehran Refuses to Repent Despite Facing 10 Years in Prison https://t.co/W1MxJNOrY6 #GirlsOfRevolutionStreet

— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) February 6, 2018

And despite being pariahs within the culture, conservative women have played a healthy role in the #MeToo movement, proving that feminism can accomplish so much more when everyone’s involved.

Feminism has evolved, and it appears we’ve reached a breaking point. Lined with Planned Parenthood’s pocketbook, the left’s goal is to define it based on the single issue of abortion.

Conservatives, on the other hand, argue it’s time for a more inclusive version of feminism that focuses on the plights of women worldwide—not just here in the United States.

Valenti and her allies can work overtime trying to discredit our perspective and accuse us of “appropriating” the term. But those of us who embrace it aren’t backing down to her school girl bully approach.

Instead, we’ll use the attack as an opportunity to have a conversation, not just with America but the entire world, about why feminism is about so much more than the single issue of abortion.

We’ll show that real feminism is about furthering equality for all women around the world. And how selecting Gina Haspel as the first woman to lead the CIA was a great first step.

Podcast: GOP Lawmakers Are Trying to Force a Vote on Amnesty Bill - The Daily Signal

Podcast: GOP Lawmakers Are Trying to Force a Vote on Amnesty Bill

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harkness / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis /

Against the wishes of House GOP leadership, some Republican lawmakers are working with Democrats to force a vote on controversial immigration legislation. The Heritage Foundation’s Tommy Binion explains. Plus: Classical music can change people’s behavior—and public spaces are taking advantage of this.

Media Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Clash Is Built on a Myth - The Daily Signal

Media Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Clash Is Built on a Myth

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harkness / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / David Harsanyi /

No matter how often Hamas tells us that rioters on the Israel-Gaza border are armed, the media keeps referring to them as “protesters” and “demonstrators.”

No matter how often Hamas concedes that those rioters are part of a broader “war,” the media simply won’t report it as such. And even though rioters assure reporters they have a desire to kill and burn Jews, left-wing journalists and pundits continue to frame Israel as the aggressor.

Last week, a senior Hamas official bragged that 50 of the nearly 60 people killed by the Israeli Defense Forces at the Israel-Gaza border were members of Hamas. Israel has identified around 24 of those killed during the riots as Hamas members—10 of them reportedly members of the internal security apparatus. All of this is an amazing coincidence considering how the clashes have been portraying as a massacre of innocent civilians and children.

Hamas, of course, has no problem boasting about these deaths, but it’s the goal. If you’re going to embed armed terrorists in a ginned-up mob that has been propagandized, paid, coerced, and then sent toward military installations and civilian centers across the border, you are counting on causalities. Because martyrdom is the point.

Instead of taking them at their word, Hamas apologists continue arguing that Gaza is an open-air prison. This is only true if you consider people who lock themselves up as prisoners.

The controlling government, which took power through a violent coup against “moderates” after the Israelis gave Gaza autonomy, won’t accept any international laws or any set of rules that would allow peaceful interaction with its neighbors. Hamas runs a proto-terror state. And Iran, a fully formed terror state, has continued to send arms to the military wing of Hamas.

Now, it’s true that this entity isn’t nearly as powerful or as advanced as its neighbors, economically or morally. But al-Qaeda and ISIS and the Taliban are not as sophisticated as the United States. No one would frame those groups as victims. The idea that Israel, and Israel alone, should afford its enemies free reign over an adjacent territory does not comport with the practices or ideals of any other free nation in the world.

And although it’s rarely mentioned, Egypt has also had the border it shares with the Palestinians closed for the better part of a decade, not only because Hamas is funded by its enemy Iran, but also because Hamas is aligned with numerous other groups that embrace violent theocratic methods to further its cause.

And despite what you may have heard, the United States Embassy being moved to the western part of Jerusalem is not the cause of the unrest. Hamas itself didn’t recognize the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, or anywhere else. It doesn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over any territory. It is not alone.

The precursor to Fatah, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, was formed before the 1967 unification of the Jewish capital. Since then there has not been a single Palestinian leader who has conceded that Israel should have sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

Then again, Palestinians have never defaulted to moderation on the status of Jerusalem or anything else. Their far-flung fantasies regarding the right to return (hitched to the historical myth of Nakba) consume them. This is what stands in the way of an agreement.

Fatah, the moderate Holocaust-denying wing of Palestinian governance, still runs a martyr fund that pays cash stipends to the families of those killed or imprisoned for carrying out terrorist attacks against Jews. Thanks to the help of international aid, it has been able to make those payments increasingly generous.

Now imagine what the extremist wing of that movement looks like. These riots are not driven by economic destitution but rather the frustration of Hamas, whose attempts at suicide bombing have been thwarted and whose attempts to fire missiles into Israel have been stymied by the Iron Dome defense system.

If this were about food and shelter, the Palestinian rioters would be headed to the government building in Gaza City rather than turning away Israeli trucks bringing them humanitarian aid. At this point, everyone knows that Israel has repeatedly shown a willingness to make peace with anyone who desires it.

The fact that those of Hamas are willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of their citizens) doesn’t suggest they aren’t the instigators or the guilty party.

There’s an obsession in the media with the disproportionate number of Palestinians who die in these conflicts. Some can’t escape the hackneyed oppressor-oppressed news template. Others allow their obsession with Donald Trump to cloud their view of the situation—not to mention their morality.

The fact is that if Hamas were to drop its claim on Israel proper and stop using every opening provided to instigate violence, not a single Palestinian would ever have to die in this war.

‘Party Like It’s 1776’ Theme Too Offensive for New Jersey School Prom - The Daily Signal

‘Party Like It’s 1776’ Theme Too Offensive for New Jersey School Prom

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harkness / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / David Harsanyi / Rob Shimshock /

A New Jersey high school principal apologized Friday for a “Party Like It’s 1776” theme at prom.

Dennis Perry, principal of Cherry Hill High School East, posted on his Twitter feed an apology for the theme printed on prom tickets, calling the decision “insensitive and irresponsible,” reported Fox News.

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“I especially apologize to our African-American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” Perry wrote in a statement.

To make up for what he deemed an indiscretion, the principal said students would not need to bring their prom tickets in order to get into the event—they would instead only need to state their names to be matched up with a list of who bought tickets. Cherry Hill High School would also give every student attendee a “commemorative” ticket displaying a new design at the prom. Perry stated that a “diverse group of people” would review information distributed by the school prior to its dissemination in the future.

Lloyd Henderson, president of the Camden County NAACP East Chapter, saw the incident indicative of a school culture “where African-American students’ needs are not considered along with the rest of the school,” but mentioned that he appreciated Perry’s speedy response.

Cherry Hill High School made headlines in February when it suspended social studies teacher Timothy Locke after Locke told students to remember him if he died defending them during a school shooting.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email [email protected].

Pompeo Warns Iran to Face ‘Strongest Sanctions in History’ - The Daily Signal

Pompeo Warns Iran to Face ‘Strongest Sanctions in History’

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harkness / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / David Harsanyi / Rob Shimshock / Fred Lucas /

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave Iran’s government an ultimatum and its people an assurance Monday in laying out the Trump administration’s agenda after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamist regime.

“The Iranian wave of destruction in just the last few years is proof that Iran’s nuclear aspirations cannot be separated from the overall security picture,” @SecPompeo says.

“The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations,” Pompeo, shy of a full month on the job, said at The Heritage Foundation, warning Iran’s leaders that the “strongest sanctions in history” are coming.

“The regime has been fighting all over the Middle East for years. After our sanctions come in force, it will be battling to keep its economy alive,” said Pompeo, a former Army officer and congressman from Kansas who the Senate confirmed April 26 as the nation’s chief diplomat after he served more than a year as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

“Iran will be forced to make a choice: Either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. It won’t have the resources to do both,” Pompeo said.

The United States will work to deter Iranian aggression and to stop the regime’s funding of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the secretary of state said during his remarks at Heritage’s Capitol Hill headquarters.

“Iran will not have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East,” Pompeo said.

On May 8, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the multilateral Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The other partners in the 2015 agreement crafted by President Barack Obama’s administration were the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: Britain, France, China, and Russia. Since Germany was also part of the deal, the group of nations was known as P5+1.

Pompeo noted that Obama and his second secretary of state, John Kerry, argued in 2015 that the nuclear deal would stabilize the Middle East.

But, he said, “Iran continues to be, during the JCPOA, the world’s largest sponsor of terror.”

Since the agreement went into effect, Iran has continued funding terrorism in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan, among other areas, Pompeo said.

“The Iranian wave of destruction in just the last few years is proof that Iran’s nuclear aspirations cannot be separated from the overall security picture,” he said.

Pompeo also said the United States would “tirelessly advocate” for the Iranian people, pointing to the protest last winter:

Iranians are angry at a regime elite that commits hundreds of millions to military operations and terrorist groups abroad, while the Iranian people cry out for jobs, opportunity, and liberty. The Iranian regime’s response to the protests has only exposed that the country’s leadership is running scared. Thousands have been jailed arbitrarily, and at least dozens have been killed.

The 2015 agreement gave the Islamist regime the opportunity to “boost the economic fortunes of a struggling people,” Pompeo said.

“Instead, the government spent its new-found treasure fueling proxy wars across the Middle East and lining the pockets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hezbollah, and Hamas,” Pompeo said. “Iran advanced its march across the Middle East during the JCPOA.”

Under the Iran deal, the United States unfroze $150 billion in Iranian assets in 2015. The following year, the Obama administration transported $1.7 billion in cash to Iran, describing it as a settlement over an arms control agreement. The sanctions relief allowed additional money to flow into the country.

Pompeo said the United States is open to future diplomatic and economic ties with Iran, but first said it must comply with specific demands, among them:

“What we are pursuing was the global consensus before the JCPOA,” Pompeo said.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, led by the Obama administration, lifted sanctions in exchange for Iran’s delaying development of a nuclear arsenal for 10 years.

If the Trump administration can reach a new agreement with Iran, it will include Congress, unlike what the Obama administration did, Pompeo said.

“In contrast to the previous administration, we want to include Congress as a partner in this process,” Pompeo said. “We want our efforts to have broad support with the American people and endure beyond the Trump administration. A treaty is our preferred way to go.”

During a brief question-and-answer session afterward, Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James asked Pompeo how to avoid hurting European allies with sanctions on Iran.

“Any time sanctions are in place, countries have to give up economic activity,” he said. “So, Americans have given up economic activity now for an awfully long time.”

“I’ll concede, there are American companies who would love to do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran. There is a huge market there. It’s a big, vibrant, wonderful people. But everyone is going to have to participate in this. Every country is going to have to understand that we cannot continue to create wealth for Qasem Soleimani,” Pompeo said, referring to a dominant Iranian military leader.

For a transcript of Pompeo’s appearance at Heritage, go here.

Fact Check: Has Trump Appointed 1 in Every 8 Circuit Court Judges? - The Daily Signal

Fact Check: Has Trump Appointed 1 in Every 8 Circuit Court Judges?

Jarrett Stepman / Megan Fischer / Bill Walton / Rob Bluey / Kelsey Harkness / Katrina Trinko / Daniel Davis / David Harsanyi / Rob Shimshock / Fred Lucas / David Sivak /

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed that one-eighth of all circuit court judges have been appointed by President Donald Trump.

Verdict: True

Of the 165 active circuit court judges, 21—or 13 percent—have been appointed by Trump.

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Fact Check:

Senate Republicans emerged from a weekly luncheon Tuesday to speak with reporters about their party’s recent accomplishments.

“We were all in a celebratory mood as a result of having approved the 21st circuit judge just a few moments ago. That means that one-eighth—one-eighth—of the circuit judges in America have been appointed by Donald Trump and confirmed by this Republican Senate. So we think we’re making dramatic progress,” said McConnell, R-Ky.

The Senate had confirmed a string of circuit court judges—six in a single week.

These judges will serve lifetime appointments on the U.S. courts of appeals, which are divided into 13 circuits. All told, Congress has authorized 179 judgeships over the years, of which 14 seats are vacant, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

With 21 Trump nominees now confirmed by the Senate, one out of every eight circuit court judges has been appointed by the president.

Appeals courts possess a considerable amount of power. They can overturn the ruling of a district court, and while the Supreme Court has the final say, it only hears about 80 cases a year.

The public often overlooks the mark presidents have on the judiciary. President Barack Obama appointed over one-third of all federal judges by the end of his presidency.

More importantly, he flipped the composition of most circuit courts. Only one out of 13 appeals courts had a majority of Democratic-appointed judges when Obama assumed office in 2009. That number rose to nine by the end of his second term.

Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, says that appointments under Trump haven’t been as sweeping. “So far, most of the appointments have been low-hanging fruit,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Seventy-one percent of all Trump appointments have been to circuit courts that already had a majority of Republican-appointed judges.

The composition will begin to change as the Senate considers more judges. “The 11th Circuit looks to be the one that will be the first to flip,” says Shapiro.

Although it’s early in the Trump presidency, the Senate has approved circuit judges at a record clip. It confirmed 12 judges during Trump’s first year in office, beating a record previously held by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

The Senate approved a record low number of district court judges, however.

Democrats have used a Senate procedure called cloture to delay most of the judges put forward by Trump, leading Republicans to prioritize circuit court judges instead. Under Senate rules, Democrats can force 30 hours of debate for each and every nominee. “There’s only so much floor time,” Shapiro told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republicans could amend the rules to limit debate to eight hours on most nominees and two hours for district court judges—as Democrats temporarily did in the 113th Congress—but it’s unlikely Republicans have the necessary votes.

The use of cloture as a delay tactic is a byproduct of how partisan politics has become. After Democrats resorted to the “nuclear option” in 2013, lowering the number of votes needed to end a filibuster, Republicans forced cloture votes 85 times over the next 13 months.

Republicans must also consider the Senate tradition of “blue slips,” which gives a nominee’s home state senators the opportunity to raise objections. The Senate Judiciary Committee weighs heavily whether a senator disapproves, and under some chairmanships, the blue slip process can torpedo a nomination entirely.

The Senate confirmed a federal judge earlier this month despite objections from Democrat Tammy Baldwin, one of his home state senators. “I will not allow the blue slip to be used as a tool of obstruction,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in an op-ed shortly after the confirmation. “It is not meant to give a single senator unilateral veto power over nominees for political or ideological reasons.”

In total, Trump has appointed 39 federal judges to date, including 17 district court judges and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Obama had 27 nominees approved at this point in his presidency, while President George W. Bush had 57 confirmed.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email [email protected].