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President Trump Issues Executive Order



Making It Easier To Fire ‘Poorly Performing’ Government Workers

President Donald Trump signed an executive order late Wednesday making it easier to hire and fire certain government employees who work in important policy-making positions within the federal government and who previously were guarded from removal by civil service protections.

Under the order, which creates a new classification for federal employees, called “Schedule F,” federal agencies will have more flexibility to hire and fire “employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions” who perform poorly.

Employees in these positions are normally not subjected to change as a result of a presidential transition and, as the Daily Signal noted, are consequently able to “make and design policy details and rules with little or no public accountability.”

The Daily Signal added in its report that “the order is intended to address what Trump administration officials say is a concern about the growth of the federal bureaucracy and about an increasing willingness by Congress to delegate policymaking authority to executive branch agencies.”

In a statement released along with the order, the White House noted that, previously, removing career federal employees who perform poorly, even from critical positions, was “time-consuming and difficult” — typically taking between six months and a year.

As part of an effort to hold America’s bureaucratic officials accountable, the order states that “agencies need the flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees from these positions without facing extensive delays or litigation.”

Federal agency heads now have until Jan. 20, 2021, to determine which staff positions they will move into Schedule F designations.

Allies of the president are heralding the order as a strong move in the right direction toward reining in the burgeoning federal bureaucracy.

“President Trump is delivering on his promise to make Washington accountable again to the citizens it’s meant to serve,” Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought told the Daily Signal. “This much-needed reform will increase accountability in essential policymaking positions within the government.”

Rachel Greszler, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, called the order a “commonsense change to insert some much-needed accountability.”

“Imagine if a CEO was prevented from disciplining or dismissing managers who refused to carry out her directives or who took actions to thwart her initiatives,” she added. “That’s the case right now within the federal government, where it’s extremely difficult — sometimes seemingly impossible — to fire federal employees.”

But not all are praising the new order. One prominent federal union leader told the New York Times that the order is “the most profound undermining of the Civil Service in our lifetimes.”

Critics are also characterizing it as an egregious attempt by the president to fill the federal government with lackeys and yes men.

“The president has doubled down on his effort to politicize and corrupt the professional service,” Everett Kelley, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told the Wall Street Journal in a statement. “This executive order strips due-process rights and protections from perhaps hundreds of thousands of federal employees and will enable political appointees and other officials to hire and fire these workers at will.”

Author : Phil Shiver

Source : The Blaze : President Trump issues executive order making it easier to fire ‘poorly performing’ government workers


Dozens Of Police Barricade Church Parking Lot To Keep Worshippers Out



The Church of God at Steinbach in Manitoba, Canada, received a $5,000 fine for violating COVID restrictions by meeting in person on Nov. 22. But the churchgoers decided that they would not be deterred from coming together, and on Sunday they held a drive-in service.

But the police wouldn’t let churchgoers into the parking lot — even though would-be attendees had been instructed to stay in their car with the windows up, the Christian Post reported. So the faithful lined the highway in front of the church.

After receiving the maximum fine allowed for holding an in-person service that violated Manitoba’s ban on groups larger than five people, the Church of God in rural Steinbach, Manitoba, said it would not stop offering worship gatherings for the faithful.

In a Nov. 23 press release posted to Facebook, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt said that churches “have been singled out” in the COVID lockdowns and not given the same treatment as pot shops, liquor stores, and fast-food joints that have been considered “essential.” This violation of the churchgoers’ “right to religious freedom and peaceful assembly in the Canadian Constitution” is not something Christians follow in “blind obedience,” the pastor said.

We are not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment,” Hildebrandt wrote. “Christians have always believed that their faith and the reasonable expression of that faith is essential to their mental health and well-being and that being arbitrarily separated from each other is detrimental to them.”

“On Sunday morning, people in this province interacted at Walmart, Costco, and other retailers,” the pastor continued. “The same thing happened at the local liquor store, cannabis dispensaries, and the list goes on. Yet, it is our faith community that is singled out for public criticism, media attention, and visits by the RCMP, Manitoba Public Health and local bylaw enforcement. There must be an allowable expression of faith that is deemed essential while we are allowing the sale of products at establishments that exist solely for the sale of alcohol, coffee, donuts, cannabis, and fast food.

In light of the government’s crackdown on in-person gathering inside the church building, the church announced it would be holding a drive-in service in its parking lot on Nov. 29 — as did other churches in Manitoba.
Not content with stopping indoor services, the provincial government declared that even drive-in services were verboten.

But the Church of God at Steinbech was not to be deterred. In a Saturday morning Facebook post, the church announced that the planned drive-in service was still on. The church instructed those who planned to attend to stay in their cars with the windows up. A subsequent post told worshippers to tune to 88.5 FM to listen to the service.

“Tomorrow morning we will have the safest parking lot in Manitoba,” the post said. “Keep your windows rolled up and stay in your vehicles. This won’t be like the parking lots of Costco, Walmart, and the government-owned liquor stores where people freely mingle. Make no mistake, this is not about a virus.”

On Sunday morning, parishioners found dozens of police vehicles lined up along the highway outside the church and blocking the entrance to the parking lot.

A video shot as police barricaded the church entrance showed a growing line of cars along the highway being prevented from entering the parking lot.

The church later posted photos showing the highway jammed with cars of people taking part in the drive-in service while parked along the side of the road.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, told the CBC that the government has several tools it can use to enforce public health restrictions.

“If somebody was undertaking activity that we felt put the health of the public at risk, we could issue a health hazard order that would require an organization to close,” Roussin said, according to the CBC. “There could be continued fines, there could be prosecution under the Public Health Act. So those are just the various options available to to enforce things.”

According to Roussin, people just need to stay home because even drive-in services can be dangerous.

“We know there are a lot of things that are very important to people, but we’ve heard from our health care providers, we’ve seen the numbers, so we are asking Manitobans for a relatively short period of time to take these steps to stay home and limit any type of gatherings,” Roussin said Monday, according to Canada’s Global News.

“Are people going to be in their car? Is that all household people in there? Does anyone need to use their washroom during this time? There are risks involved with it,” Roussin added.

Author : Chris Field

Source : The Blaze : Dozens of police barricade Canadian church parking lot to keep worshippers out of drive-in service. So they line the highway instead.

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Obscure Law Could Be Trump’s Last Bid To Challenge Election Results



President Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge the election results could come down to him pressing congressional Republicans to step in and help.

Politico noted that Congress has to certify the results of the election after the Electoral College casts the official vote for president on Dec. 14. An 1887 law mandates that Congress must meet on Jan. 6 to take action.

The law says that the House and Senate must meet in joint session that day to certify the results. But if a House member and senator team together, they are able to object to entire slates of presidential electors. And there are multiple opportunities for lengthy delays in the process since each state’s electors must be certified separately, Politico said.

If a slate of electors is challenged, the House and Senate must go back to their chambers and debate the outcome before voting.

And if the Senate upholds a challenge to some presidential electors, it would almost certainly put the chamber at odds with the Democrat-run House victory.

Still, several Republican lawmakers in then House acknowledge they are considering the option to challenge, Politico said.

“Nothing is off the table,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

And Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, said potential challenges are seriously being considered by some members and they’re “studying” up on it.

Meanwhile Jenna Ellis, who is part of the Trump campaign’s legal team, cautioned: “Until the Electoral College actually votes on Dec. 14, we don’t have a president-elect.”

Author : Jeffrey Rodack

Source : News Max : Obscure Law Could Be Trump’s Last Bid to Challenge Election Results

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Identity Politics Ushers In Guilt Without Vice and Innocence Without Virtue



Georgetown University political theorist Joshua Mitchell has written that rare book that captures the state of our souls and describes our situation with clarity, astuteness, and spiritual depth.

American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time” (Encounter) is a book that expertly combines classical political philosophy with penetrating cultural diagnosis in a manner that holds up a revealing mirror to the great afflictions of our time. At the same time, Mitchell admirably avoids narrow partisanship and undue polemics.

His book deserves to be compared to such memorable achievements as Raymond Aron’s “The Opium of the Intellectuals” (1955), Philip Rieff’s “The Triumph of the Therapeutic” (1966), and Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind” (1987)—enduring works that combined theoretical penetration with analyses of our civilizational crisis.

Mitchell’s subject is, in the words of his subtitle, “identity politics and other afflictions of our time.” Readers expecting either accommodation to the regnant civil religion of “transgression and innocence” or an angry ideological screed should look elsewhere. Mitchell aims higher.

With impressive lucidity, he painstakingly examines a new secular religion that is profoundly indebted to Christianity while having “no place for the God who judges or the God who forgives.” Such an approach, he shows, is necessarily cruel, dogmatic, indiscriminate, and unforgiving.

The partisans of identity politics reject both the Christian understanding of original sin—the observable fact that no human beings are born without sin and all stand in need of forgiveness and redemption—as well as what Mitchell suggestively calls “liberal competence.”

This is the confidence that individuals endowed with free will and conscience are moral agents who, with the appropriate education and encouragement, can make their way responsibly in the world.

The theoreticians of identity politics derive from Christianity a belief in an “invisible spiritual economy,” but they understand that economy through a doctrinaire conception of transgression and innocence tied to visible groups who are guilty or innocent not because of what they have done but because of who they are.

White, heterosexual men, even “the least among” them, to echo the language of Scripture—the poor, the addicted—are said to be essentially, ontologically guilty. Blacks, women, and persons who identify with the ever-expanding ideological construction called LGBTQ+ are by definition innocent, and forever so, or so it is claimed.

As Mitchell shows, the permanently guilty must resort to “virtue signaling” of the most demeaning sort if they are to avoid “cancellation” or other rituals associated with public humiliation. Not only God but also forgiveness and the whole economy of mutual reconciliation and accountability are thus absent from this “identity-politics accounting scheme.”

Identity politics claims to be egalitarian, but in truth it radically separates human beings in a manner only previously seen in the totalitarian ideologies and regimes of the 20th century.

Identity politics sees no struggle between good and evil in every human heart, as in the classical and Christian understanding of free will, conscience, and moral responsibility. It has no place for the drama of human existence.

Like the totalitarians of old, in numerous institutions in civil society, especially our universities, the new ideologues pronounce who is absolutely guilty—and who is innocent and pure—with a monstrous self-assurance based on the visible signs of evil and injustice (e.g., whiteness and “heteronormativity”).

Such a world—at once racialist and ideological—becomes a perverse spiritual despotism dominated by tyrannical ideological clichés that allow the woke to dispense with “the guilty” with remarkable impunity and cruelty.

The old Christian anthropology cohered naturally with the requirements of liberal competence and civic responsibility since in a “mixed world of purity and stain,” imperfect human beings had to strive to “build a world together,” doing their best to respect one another as persons made in God’s image.

Identity politics inexorably leads to soft or not-so-soft despotism, as the ontologically guilty are swept away and those who “cover themselves with the fig leaf of innocence” become the beneficiaries of an omnicompetent (and arbitrary) state that “allocate[s] resources to the innocents and to their causes.”

Civic responsibility and moral accountability thus have no place in the ideological schemes put forward by the denizens of identity politics. Such a regime—and we are indeed in the process of creating a radically new political order—is at once anti-Christian (or anti-biblical) and profoundly anti-liberal. And it wars with every aspect of our moral and civic inheritance.

Mitchell thus intimates that religious believers, partisans of liberal competence, and conservative defenders of our moral and cultural inheritance put aside their differences and come together to defend the conception of liberty and responsibility, under God, that properly undergirds a free society.

This is the old American synthesis, and it remains eminently worth defending. It is open to men and women of all races since it alone affirms “common humanity.” There is in truth no viable alternative that can sustain liberty and human dignity in a free republic.

Identity politics creates an atmosphere of division and disdain with more than its share of Orwell’s ritualistic “Two Minutes Hate” from his novel “1984.” No one is truly protected from new rounds of repudiation and cancellation. New purge trials undoubtedly await those who play with ideological fire since the innocent can become transgressors at the drop of a pin.

Mitchell shows with great sensitivity that black Americans are among the principal victims of this new ideological dispensation: The “innocent” are always to be treated as “victims,” as persons bereft of moral and political agency.

Drawing on the insights of the Christian and conservative intellectual and community activist Robert Woodson, who is black, Mitchell demonstrates how this newly dominant narrative hurts the most vulnerable by erasing all the “remarkable models of self-help” in black communities.

Gone is the example of those “accomplishments of black entrepreneurs and mutual aid societies during the most brutal racial repression and slavery.”

Black intellectuals such as Woodson are treated as the enemy precisely because they defend a Christian view of sin and responsibility, an authentically liberal notion of civic competence and self-help, and proper pride in the capacity of black Americans to be self-governing citizens in the most capacious sense of that term.

Look, Mitchell says, at what has happened to Booker T. Washington, whose message of determination and self-help is central to the restoration of liberal competence in communities wracked by crime, violence, and despair.

Washington, once a hero to black and white Americans alike, has become more or less a non-person, dismissed out of hand by the guardians of ideological correctness. This, too, hurts “the least among us” and substitutes permanent grievance for the faith in one’s God-given gifts that allows a common world to be built and to flourish.

There is no shortage of memorable gems in Mitchell’s inviting and challenging book. He has choice words to say about the “bipolarity” of the young, torn between unreasonable expectations that they can change the world and fear of the most humanizing face-to-face encounters with other human beings.

He ably chronicles the numerous “substitutes,” as he calls them, that we late moderns turn to—drugs of all sorts, among them—to find happiness divorced from competence and responsibility.

In doing so, Mitchell redeems political philosophy as the truly “architectonic science,” as Aristotle famously called it, the one that knows the city and soul in the most comprehensive way.

In the final words of “American Awakening,” Mitchell reminds us, in light of the coronavirus, that the “prudent wish to protect” lives has nothing to do with creating “a world freed from the curse of death,” an essentially utopian aim that infantilizes free men and women by aiming to create a world without risk or responsibility, with no higher or nobler goal than self-preservation.

It is a world where we defer in a supine way to self-described “experts” and prohibit public worship while permitting allegedly “essential” pursuits.

Mitchell has written an anti-totalitarian classic in the guise of a critique of identity politics (although his book very powerfully provides that service, too).

The essential lesson is clear: There is no liberty, human dignity, or moral and civic responsibility without a clear recognition that “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being,” in the inestimable worlds of the Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

To deny that elementary moral fact is to negate the foundations of a free society—and to succumb to the ideological lie at the heart of every totalitarian regime and ideology. Mitchell’s welcome book shows us precisely what is at stake, and not a minute too soon.

Author : Daniel J. Mahoney

Source : Daily Signal : Identity Politics Ushers in Guilt Without Vice, Innocence Without Virtue

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