Public Policy

City of Berkeley Bans Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’ and ‘Manpower’ From Code Book

Heritage Foundation - 1 hour 48 min ago

One of California’s most liberal cities voted Tuesday to revamp its city code book by replacing terms like “manhole” and “manpower” with gender-neutral terms.

The Berkeley City Council voted to replace around three dozen terms found in the municipal code. Terms like “policeman,” “policewoman,” “chairwoman,” and “chairman” will be changed, as will “he,” “she,” “him,” and “her.”

Rigel Robinson, the Democratic city council member who wrote the ordinance, said the change is necessary because a “male-centric” city code is “inaccurate and not reflective of our reality.”

“Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation. Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that,” Robinson told CNN.

The measure passed without debate Tuesday night. It will cost the city $600 to implement the ordinance.

Berkeley City Council’s proposed changes to gendered terms in municipal code are pictured. (Photo: City of Berkeley)

“Ombudsman” will become “ombuds,” while “manhole” will be replaced in the code book with “maintenance hole.”

“Human effort” will take the place of “manpower.”

Cities and companies across the U.S., as well as the U.S. military, have in recent years adopted gender-neutral language amid a larger debate about transgender rights. The Canadian government in March 2018 also ordered government agencies to stop using gendered terms like “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” and “mother.”

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The post City of Berkeley Bans Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’ and ‘Manpower’ From Code Book appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump Wins Big in Emoluments Lawsuits: 2 Down and 1 to Go

Heritage Foundation - 3 hours 10 min ago

President Donald Trump has won the second of three lawsuits alleging he violated the Constitution because foreigners and state officials patronize his businesses, such as the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the claim by Maryland and the District of Columbia that Trump was violating the Constitution’s domestic and foreign emoluments clauses.

The foreign emoluments clause reads:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

The domestic emoluments clause reads:

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

In throwing out this latest suit, the 4th Circuit chastised the plaintiffs for wasting the court’s time with a plainly meritless case.

The court also scolded federal Judge Peter Messitte, a Clinton appointee, for not throwing out the case sooner and for refusing to let the president appeal his erroneous rulings.

Messitte’s faulty reasoning “blinks reality,” the court said, and his actions “amounted to a clear abuse of discretion.”

Messitte’s rulings were so erroneous that the 4th Circuit didn’t even wait for an appeal. It accepted the president’s request for writ of mandamus—a rarely granted procedural tool that allows early review of an otherwise nonappealable issue—to take the case away from Messitte, reverse his rulings, and force him to throw the case out for good, without the possibility of further appeal.

The lawsuit alleged that, because government employees and foreign officials pay for services they receive from Trump’s businesses, payment produces a constitutionally forbidden “present” to the president.

The court held that Maryland and the District’s interest in the case was “abstract” and “simply too attenuated” for the case to proceed.

Maryland and the District argued that they are harmed by the alleged constitutional violation because the Trump Hotel “competes” with conference centers and hotels they own. Which, of course, brings up a question not dealt with in the lawsuit: Why are Maryland and D.C. involved in the conference and hospitality industry to begin with and competing with private industry?

Their claims rested on the speculation (accepted at face value by Messitte) that government officials patronize the Trump Hotel because it distributes profits to the president and not for any other reason.

But there are, of course, two equally plausible competing speculations: that some government officials avoid the Trump Hotel because of its association with the president, and that some government officials stay at the Trump Hotel because it’s a nice place to stay.

Regardless, courts don’t decide cases based on speculations.

What’s more, Maryland and the District couldn’t explain how prohibiting the president from earning money from the hotel would stop government officials from going there. In other words, even if they had a viable legal claim, there is no possible remedy.

Assuming that foreign officials were trying to curry the president’s favor by staying at his hotel, the hotel is associated with him and would financially benefit his family even if it didn’t benefit him—and the emoluments clauses have no application to the family members of a federal official.

The 4th Circuit found this a fatal flaw in the plaintiffs’ argument and noted that the lawyer for Maryland and the District was “repeatedly unable to articulate the terms of the injunction” that was being sought to remedy the supposed violation of the Constitution.

As the court expostulated, “when plaintiffs before a court are unable to specify the relief they seek, one must wonder why they came to the court for relief in the first place.”

The only other interest that Maryland or the District had in the case was “a general interest in having the law followed.” And a plaintiff “raising only a generally available grievance about government” has no right to do so in court.

So ended the second of three emoluments clauses cases. The president won the first case in 2017 when a federal court in New York tossed out an almost identical lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal advocacy organization.

One emoluments case remains, this one before federal Judge Emmet Sullivan in the District of Columbia. In that case, Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., personally sued the president for allegedly violating the foreign emoluments clause.

In an order reminiscent of Messitte’s “clearly erroneous” orders, Sullivan simply accepted the speculation—with no supporting evidence—that foreign officials are staying at the Trump Hotel only because it pays the president part of its profits.

Sullivan then went on to say that congressional Democrats have a personal interest in the case because—and now hang on, because this is wild ride—the president, by accepting the alleged foreign payments, has denied Congress, as an institution, the right to vote on these payments.

You might wonder how Sullivan made the logical leap from the Democrats’ personal interest to Congress’ institutional interest. Sullivan answers that question by calling that distinction “relevant … but not dispositive.”

That case is ongoing, and Sullivan is letting the congressional Democrats subpoena the president’s financial information. Additionally, Sullivan recently denied the president’s request to delay the case while he appeals.

Political fights belong in the political arena. As the 4th Circuit said here, the claims made by Maryland and the District were “so attenuated and abstract that the prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts.”

It isn’t. And in light of the 4th Circuit’s opinion, perhaps the president should seek another writ of mandamus in the D.C. Circuit to overrule what is clearly an erroneous decision by Sullivan.

Originally published in National Review

The post Trump Wins Big in Emoluments Lawsuits: 2 Down and 1 to Go appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

On alcohol reform, state lawmakers have finally started to listen

John Locke Foundation - 11 hours 49 min ago

State lawmakers, to their credit, have started to listen.

The loudest proponents of alcohol reform in North Carolina — lawmakers such as Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, and Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance — now have their colleagues’ unwavering attention.


Breweries and wineries are now free of the long-time restrictive and tired rules from an overbearing parent, that being the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Brewers and vintners have prospered as a result. They are, in fact, thriving.

Now, Gunn recently told a legislative committee, it’s time for us to do the same thing for N.C. craft distilleries.

At the risk of muddling the separation of church and state: Amen.

Prohibitionists and those worried about giving up what’s become a local entitlement — revenue generated by a proliferation of politically motivated ABC boards — remain, but their voices are now soft, their arguments mostly inaudible.

Too much is at stake — tourism, jobs, the economy, duh — to maintain the state’s chokehold on N.C. craft distillers.

We think it’s time the state rid itself of the cumbersome ABC board system. That it’s time, rather, turn to a licensure model, for instance, as McGrady has proposed. Or even a centralized system, such as Virginia’s. Dissolution of the boards may well happen. Someday.

As the state’s distillers have often said: Baby steps. Problem is, our neighbors have broken into, if not a full sprint, then a pretty decent jog when it comes to modernizing liquor sales.

Nationally, the mood is changing, too.

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Tennessee law that prevented new residents from getting a license to sell liquor. The law had required people to live in the state for two years before they could apply for the license.

A Utah couple, Doug and Mary Ketchum, challenged the law. As The New York Times wrote, the family moved to Memphis in the hope that the weather there would be better for their disabled daughter, and by Total Wine, a large retailer. A federal appeals court struck down the two-year residency requirement, saying it violated the Constitution by discriminating against new residents.

The question in Tennessee Wine And Spirits Retailers Assn. v. Thomas was whether the 21st Amendment gave states the authority to pass laws in violation of the Commerce Clause. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority in the 7-to-2 decision, the Times wrote, said the amendment failed to authorize states to discriminate against new residents. ‘“Because Tennessee’s two-year residency requirement for retail license applicants blatantly favors the state’s residents,’ the Times reporting says, ‘and has little relationship to public health and safety, it is unconstitutional.’”

Yaël Ossowski is deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, which advocates for consumer choice and freedom. He’s speaking in general, but, clearly, North Carolina may well be the unavoidable target for his comments.

“In many southern states and beyond, alcohol-control laws are some of the most byzantine and backward on the books. Indeed, many have not changed in the 86 years since the end of Prohibition.

“These laws treat adults like children, stunt economic growth, deprive consumers of better choices, and drastically increase costs for everyday people who just want a drink at the end of a hard day’s work.”

McGrady takes that argument a step further. His district includes the sprawling Sierra Nevada brewery in Mills River.

“A lot of times it’s much older legislators, who will freely admit either they don’t drink any alcoholic beverages or don’t … buy beer or wine or haven’t been any of the new facilities,” McGrady said.

They would do well to take a look, if only for the sake of N.C. craft distillers, as well as the state’s consumers.

“Really, in four or five years we’ve gotten a lot of movement. A few more retirements over the years and, more importantly, more exposure, as these little small businesses — distilleries, breweries, cideries, wineries  — become part of the community, those legislators are going to recognize that,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of lot at stake, and these things bring people into the area. I think I think we’re winning the battle.”

It’s a battle, though, that’s still far from over.

Categories: Public Policy

The True, Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Kavanaugh Confirmation

Heritage Foundation - 12 hours 48 min ago

Did the confirmation battle of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh help or hurt the #MeToo movement? How did the mainstream media miss so many red flags regarding his multiple accusers? And what was the horrific media storm like for the Kavanaugh family? Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino, authors of the best-selling new book “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court” share what really happened during the hearings, and what that means for the future of the court and all Americans. Read the transcript, posted below, or listen on the podcast:

Also in today’s “Problematic Women” podcast:

The head of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, is being forced out of the organization for reportedly not emphasizing abortion enough.

—Pop singer Miley Cyrus says she doesn’t want to have kids because “the Earth can’t handle it,” and her “complex, and modern, and new” marriage with actor Liam Hemsworth.

—“The Bachelorette” featuresfeud between Luke Parker and Hannah Brown over Christians having sex before marriage.

Kelsey Bolar: Mollie and Carrie, thank you so much for making time to join the show today.

Carrie Severino: We’re happy to be here.

Mollie Hemingway: It’s great to be here.

Bolar: I just had the privilege of attending your book launch at The Heritage Foundation and after walking out I noticed that there were Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and, I have to say, that is a sign that you have officially made it in this world when Heritage upgrades your sandwich options at your book event from the regular Heritage sandwiches to Chick-Fil-A.

Hemingway: That’s fantastic. I love it. Chick-Fil-A is such a wonderful place that makes me cry when I go there because everybody is so nice.

Bolar: I know, and you always hear those stories about employees helping others, like saving lives. I think an employee saved a kid’s life who was choking the other day.

Hemingway: Jumped out of the drive-thru window to save a life. … I’ve been there with kids and they take such good care of my family, just when you need someone to show you a bit of kindness, so I’m very grateful to them.

Bolar: All right. Well, we do have some important things to talk about today, so let’s get to it.

Your new book really reads like a novel because of all the details. I want to know, how did you collect all these details in such a relatively short time since the confirmation?

Severino: Yeah, it was so exciting working on this book because both Mollie and I knew this is like one of the most important things that happened last year.

It was not just about “Is Brett Kavanaugh going to be confirmed?” But justice really was on trial. We’re looking at all these notions of due process and the rule of law. We knew there were so many great stories that hadn’t been fully explored.

We knew we had great access. So we talked to over a hundred different people, from the president, the vice president, people in the White House working on this project. They were a lot of people in the Senate from dozens of senators and their staffers, many members of the Supreme Court, people who knew the Kavanaughs, people who knew Christine Blasey Ford.

So we really spent the first part of this process just doing intensive amounts of interviewing because we needed to know what the story was … It was a wild rush of trying to tell and not forget all the great storylines that we had learned in this process.

Hemingway: Right. Carrie and I began actually by reading a ton of history on Supreme Court nominations. She actually knew a lot of this already. She was a clerk on the Supreme Court for Clarence Thomas. She went to Harvard Law School. She had a bit of an advantage on that.

But we spent a lot of time reading the history, seeing other books, then doing all these interviews, and then figuring out how to put everything together.

There was one day where we interviewed a senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee. We met him while it was still dark out. It was that early in the morning. Then we ran from there to interview someone high level at the White House for several hours. Went from there to interviewing a Supreme Court Justice for several hours.

So it wasn’t just that we were interviewing people, sometimes these interviews were lasting like five hours. I mean, just unbelievable.

Severino: Multiple interviews, going back with the same person because it was a really intense process. Sometimes you’d sit there for hours and you’d realize, “Oh my gosh, we’re only to the end of August. We’ve got to get through October here.” …

Hemingway: Right, or you talked to other people and you realize, “I have more questions for that person that I didn’t get through,” but it was exhilarating.

Bolar: Mollie, most of these interviews were conducted on background, which not all of our listeners might not know what that means.

So first off, can you talk about that decision to publish this book with on background interviews and how you thought through that decision as one of the nation’s most prominent media critics?

Hemingway: Well, I am happy to deal with sources who need to be on background or anonymous. I think the question is what you’re willing to do with that information.

So in our case, we did have access to people who are not in a practice of speaking with journalists, who for them, the only condition upon which they gave us this access was that we would not identify them.

The fact that they spoke with us didn’t mean that we just ran with it though. We would take their stories. Then we would also make sure that we checked it with other people who were witnesses or privy to that same information.

So, we wanted to just write the definitive account. That doesn’t mean just going with what one person says, but when they say that’s how a conversation went down, you talk to the other person who was in the conversation or other people that were in the conversation or people that those people spoke to or you look for corroborating evidence.

There were times when we actually did not use information that we got and sometimes it was just the most exciting stuff.

So we did speak with a lot of people who knew Christine Blasey Ford. We had unbelievable stories. Well, just very salacious stories, and I would have loved to have put them in the book, and I think Carrie would have, too.

We felt because of the nature of those stories, they needed to be on the record and people were understandably scared to do that.

They would say, “I have a kid going to college. I don’t want to be out here and have the media destroy me while my kid’s trying to get into college.” Or, you know, “I live in this community.”

So we thought, “Well, if that’s their decision, that’s fine, but we’re not going to put those stories in there.” So you just have to make a decision about about how to handle each piece of information.

Bolar: On that note, media bias was a major and consistent theme throughout the book in the confirmation process. The press certainly didn’t hold back in investigating Kavanaugh’s past, but hardly made any attempt to dig up inconsistencies regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s past or inconsistencies in her stories.

In one case, which you really walk through in the book, well, for readers who didn’t follow that closely, The Washington Post actually covered up some of these inconsistencies.

So looking back, how one-sided was the coverage and what were some of the major details that you think the press really had an obligation and an ability to dig up at the time, but either turned a blind eye or proactively covered up?

Hemingway: I think the big problems with media coverage of this were the overarching problems, the narrative push.

They’d sort of decided early on that they were hostile to Brett Kavanaugh, in the same way that they decided early on that they’re pretty much hostile to anything that’s coming out of the Trump administration.

That colored all of their editorial choices from that point forward. Sometimes that was displayed in what they were elevating and what they were not elevating. There is no question that everything, no matter how small or tangential, that was in the high school yearbook of Brett Kavanaugh was considered fair game.

Allegations that were not well sourced were considered fair to publish in nationwide magazines. You weren’t seeing the similar level of scrutiny or really any scrutiny of accusers. There is an example, too, of NBC News knew that.

Well, to back up, Michael Avenatti put forth a claim of serial gang rape perpetrated by Brett Kavanaugh and he said he had a witness. She had a sworn affidavit and he said he had a second witness.

NBC News actually knew that that supposed second witness was denying what his claims were. They sat on that until after he was confirmed, until weeks after he was confirmed, even though they had it before the confirmation vote.

This is not appropriate journalistic behavior.

What’s unfortunate is we didn’t see much of a reckoning with the poor decisions that were made. People were giving themselves awards for how they handled this coverage, even though by any objective standard they’ve fell down on the job.

Bolar: Carrie, I know you both cite a couple examples that you did feel comfortable publishing about Ford that were previously unknown to the public. Is there one or two examples that stand out to you that you can share with our listeners?

Severino: One thing that we heard repeatedly from the people who knew her at the time—and many of whom were and some continue to be friends of hers—was that the image that was being portrayed was of someone who … was saying, “Well, I went to this party. I only had one beer.”

We learned that she actually was a very heavy drinker, or this is what everyone is reporting, right? They’re saying that she was a heavy drinker at the time. They were saying that she was actually very aggressive with boys at the time.

So all of this is at odds with the public image as well as she was being portrayed as someone who was marginally political, if political at all.

That was significant because we also spoke to people familiar with her social media presence before it was scrubbed. Because, of course, before her story came out, all of that was scrubbed from the internet. Not even just right in September when it happened, but actually earlier than that.

So we learned that in fact on Facebook, one person described her as crazy liberal. We all know the kind of people who have the wild Facebook feeds on either extreme. That’s the kind of person that she was.

So people who were saying, “Well, she’s not even political. She could have no possible motive here to not want Kavanaugh on the court, ” well, that’s really belied by the information that is out there.

It was information that was intentionally kept quiet and hidden, and it’s something that, unfortunately, not enough people dug to find out whether that was true or not or they just kind of accepted the claims of, “Oh no, no, she’s not political at all,” and just went with that.

Bolar: Right. She pretty clearly scrubbed her social media accounts, and as a journalist, no matter what side you’re on, that should be a pretty glaring red flag.

Severino: Well, there might’ve been legitimate reasons. You know, you can understand that someone would say, “Oh, I was about to go public with a pretty big story. I didn’t want people going through my records.”

There’s a reasonable approach to it, but to not mention it, to not address the issue or even to not address the fact that that explanation would be at odds with her own claims of not wanting her name to be public.

There are things that we have from her letters [that] she didn’t want to be public. We also know that she called The Washington Post tip line, which is not normally something you do when you’re trying to keep information from getting out publicly.

Bolar: Speaking of one of the more salacious allegations, Michael Avenatti, who represented Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, who also, by the way, has been arrested in New York on federal fraud, embezzlement, and extortion charges, is disputing some of the details in the book about his client, and actually invited you both on national TV to talk about it.

He tweeted at Mollie and your co-author saying you have “fabricated a number of facts for your recent book relating to Kavanaugh, including relating to Miss Swetnick. I am calling her on it. Mollie, pick any network, even your beloved Fox, and let’s discuss what really happened. Time to step up.”

Are you going to take him up on this offer?

Hemingway: I got a note from someone that said, “How much are you paying Michael Avenatti to promote your book?” I think that is a surreal moment. We were kind of enjoying that.

It is interesting to note that Michael Avenatti went on MSNBC and CNN, I think it was like 250 times last year. He was a welcome guest by these networks who were happy to hear whatever he had to say.

Carrie and I have a book that is topping the best-seller lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is doing incredibly well. It breaks news. It is an inside look at an institution that very few people get an inside look at and we have not been welcomed by MSNBC and CNN.

So I think it’s funny that he wants to get back on those networks, but I do not think he rises to the level of who we want to be discussing.

Bolar: Would you say that these sorts of dubious allegations, big picture damaged the #MeToo movement?

Severino: Oh yeah, absolutely. And that’s one of the frustrations of this whole process and it was kind of going on the coattails of a movement that was making some important and serious points about men who were in positions of power-abusing their roles.

But when you have allegations like this, which were, first of all, not even in that same category, this is talking about something between two high schoolers, but more importantly, one that had no cooperation, no support.

In fact, a lot of all the evidence we have come to find out afterward has cast doubt on the allegations. That actually brings all of the rest of the #MeToo movement kind of down with it.

I think a lot of people who got caught on a bandwagon and just started saying … “Believe all women.” No, believe women who actually have claims that are backed up by facts because it’s important to not allow a crying wolf phenomenon to distract us from the really serious problems that need to be dealt with in our society.

Bolar: Right. Then we saw one allegation with no cooperation lead to the snowball effect of these other allegations.

Severino: Yeah, increasingly bizarre. Some of them just crazy on their face and many of which the people admitted almost as soon as they made the allegations that they were false. So … people who are admitted liars to the committee, that is not going to be good for anyone. Least of all women who are victims of sexual assault.

Bolar: There’s many reasons to actually go pick up this book, “Justice on Trial,” and read it for yourself.

But I think if you are interested in the #MeToo movement, it is really important to understand the context of this because we’re not just talking about the allegations that you mostly heard about in the mainstream media. There were other ones brought forward that didn’t even fully make it to the media that you all discussed being brought to the committees.

Hemingway: Exactly, just the general climate. It’s called “Justice on Trial” because it’s not just about Justice Brett Kavanaugh being on trial, but the very notion of justice, of due process, of rule of law, of presumption of innocence.

I think that’s what really gripped the country last year and probably why it’s having such reaction.

Why the book is having such a reaction is it is terrifying to see people and institutions that should know better casting that principle of innocence being a presumption. That when you make an allegation that it does need to be treated respectfully and it needs to have corroborating evidence in order to be taken seriously and to make a case. An allegation is not sufficient for conviction.

It was so disappointing to see people who should know better not holding to that which should be a common value among all Americans.

Bolar: “Justice on Trial” talks about a number of key Republicans who were pivotal in pushing forward Kavanaugh’s nomination. This clip from Sen. Lindsey Graham that we’ll listen to is one of them.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy. Are you a gang rapist?

Judge Brett Kavanaugh: No.

Graham: I cannot imagine what you and your family [have] been going through. Boy, y’all want power, God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She’s as much of a victim as you are.

God, I hate to say that because these had been my friends, but let me tell you, when it comes to this, you’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend. Do you consider this a job?

Bolar: There were a number of breakout, memorable sound bites from this confirmation process. That one really comes to mind. Also, just the general fact that we had President Trump, who did not buckle under pressure to withdraw Cabinet nomination.

Do you think this was a unique political environment and would this happen again? What can we learn from this moment?

Hemingway: They think that was a very powerful moment because it showed the frustration amongst the Republican senators with the game playing and the politicization here.

I think also because he spoke for a lot of Americans in that moment … and he’s right, the American people do not want to see those games played.

Our concern is that many of those same people have not yet been held accountable. If we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we need to make sure that people don’t view this as a successful technique.

Now we know that they weren’t able to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation with this means and that is a good thing. It’s wonderful that Kavanaugh was strong through the process. That President Trump stuck with him because a lot of people we talked to, they speculated not every Republican president would have stood by a nominee under these kinds of circumstances. President Trump did consistently throughout, even when some people around him were suggesting otherwise.

Severino: And a few key senators, Sen. [Chuck] Grassley, Sen. [Mitch] McConnell, were absolutely steadfast.

What is perhaps troubling is that not every Republican senator was so steadfast. We go through some of those tails in “Justice on Trial.”

Going forward, I do think it’s incumbent upon people to understand the need to fight. That this is one of the themes we look at in the book is how now Justice Kavanaugh is getting different advice about how to handle the smearing of his reputation and some, I guess you might call them like older, old school Republicans, are telling him to just emphasize his wonderful treatment of women over the years and talk about the courage and bravery of Blasey Ford and just to be nice and deferential and to keep those values at high.

Other people are saying, “Are you kidding? They’re trying to destroy you as a person. You have to fight for your name and honor and reputation.”

That struggle that he goes through where he’s transitioning from … he was longtime Bush White House employee. He was nominated by President Bush for his federal court that he served on for 12 years. He’s close family friends with the Bush family and his evolution from that way of being into understanding that they are coming to destroy everything he holds dear and that he needs to fight for it is a similar evolution to what I think many people in the country have gone through in recent years.

Bolar: I sped through this book in, I think, less than a week, and I have to say, coming from the perspective of someone who only covered it as a conservative journalist and really just as a public bystander, it was kind of traumatizing to relive it.

I want to know what it was like for both of you to pour your hearts and souls into this book for months and then now be reliving it.

Severino: Yeah. Going through some of many of those interviews, it was like having to relive it, sometimes multiple times in a day as it goes through this drama with each person.

You know, they were over and over and over and the people we interview are going … I think some of them thought both it kind of was sparking PTSD after the crazy experience they went through, but also it was almost like therapy. They’re kind of talking through all of those emotions. So it was really actually challenging.

Hemingway: I don’t know if we talked about this, Carrie, but when we were reading the audiobook, there were parts where I was reading where I was getting emotional and I’m thinking, “OK, we wrote this, we went through this, why is it still affecting me after going through a dozens or hundreds of times?”

Bolar: Why was it ultimately worth it to go through all this?

Severino: Coming from my perspective, as someone who clerked for Justice [Clarence] Thomas, I feel like what we’re seeing here is just a repeat of many things we saw in his confirmation process, not just the attempts to defeat him and the use of unverified allegations to do so, etc. But when Thomas was confirmed, 2-to-1 Americans believed him over Anita Hill. Black, white men, women.

The people who watched and lived through those hearings believed Justice Thomas. But they weren’t content to just pack up and go home after kind of being defeated and Thomas was confirmed and he’s in the court for life.

The other side then instituted a campaign to discredit everything that he did in the court. In doing so, they tried to continue to smear his name.

I think if you took that survey today, you would see that many Americans either weren’t paying attention, have forgotten, or many people weren’t around and old enough to appreciate what happened to him.

We wanted to make sure that we got ahead of the revisionist history in this case until the very thorough and accurate account of what really happened. So that campaign of discrediting a justice can’t happen again. So that people understand what to expect the next time.

Because this is what happened, when we were placed a swing vote on the court with a conservative nominee by President Trump. What happens if President Trump gets to appoint a nominee to replace a liberal justice who might retire? That, I think, could frighteningly be even worse.

We need Americans to have their eyes wide open now to know what they’re getting into in the hopes that we can prevent it from happening to another person.

Bolar: Right. And Mollie, just from a journalism perspective, given the horrific coverage of this confirmation process, how important was it to set the record straight in this book?

Hemingway:  It wasn’t just about setting the record straight, although, obviously, that was important.

On that note, that is something that really motivated me during the confirmation battle, I became privy to some stories showing just really bad behavior and thoughtless and cruel behavior by some reporters to cause problems between friends, between Kavanaugh friends. It just seemed, again, more cruel than the normal things you’re dealing with of journalistic bad behavior.

But it’s about setting the record straight. But also just as a journalist, I knew we had a good story. We both, Carrie and I both went through it. We knew some of the stories. We knew we had good stories. We knew it would just be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk about something exciting.

That also enabled us to talk about deeper and more important issues and you just can’t pass up an opportunity like that. So I’m so glad that we teamed together to do it.

Bolar: What lessons should we be taking away for the conservative movement specifically when it comes to the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice?

Severino: … We’ve learned something from every nomination battle, I hope, especially the ones that have been hard like the Bork or the Thomas battle.

We’ve learned to make sure we had people with solid traditional philosophies, not to appoint people with a blank slate kind of record, who have an actual solid record.

We learned to appoint people who have courage and are willing to stand by their difficult decisions on the court so they aren’t going to flinch in the face of public pressure.

Then from this nomination, I think we really learned that you have to be ready for anything and that you have to stand up and fight and can’t just hope that the truth will just become obvious in and of itself.

You have to make sure that you are out there fighting, sometimes against a public information campaign coming from the other side that’s not always going to be playing fair.

Hemingway: I think there is a naivete that we’ve seen on the right sometimes and sometimes, unfortunately, from the right’s leaders of thinking that the political situation has not broken down as significantly as it has. And the Kavanaugh confirmation battle should have been a wake-up call about how seriously the progressive left is taking the battle for institutions and what lengths they will go to to control those institutions and that, we hope, as Americans we never lose our good virtues and our civility and whatnot.

We need to also just be aware of the seriousness of the fight and how it requires thinking very smartly, strategically about how to combat.

Bolar: Every week here on “Problematic Women,” we honor a strong woman as the Problematic Woman of the Week. This week we want to highlight Ashley Kavanaugh, who, according to this amazing new book, “Justice on Trial,” was a rock throughout this pretty horrific confirmation process.

Mollie or Carrie, can one of you tell us more about Ashley?

Hemingway: This was one of the more fun people to learn about as part of our reporting. Ashley Kavanaugh, the wife of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a woman who in her own right has had quite the career.

She was a secretary to Gov. George W. Bush, worked on his initial campaign, and comes to work in the White House as his personal secretary seated right outside the oval office, being a witness to so many events in history—including the terror attacks on 9/11—and goes on to work on setting up the George W. Bush Presidential Library, becomes town manager of Chevy Chase.

When her husband is being considered for the nomination, she actually prays that he will not receive the nomination. They’d already gone through two very difficult confirmation battles and she did not particularly want to go through it again.

When we started reporting the story, we were talking to people close to the Kavanaughs who kept telling us that Ashley had been a source of strength for them, as they were going through the battle, like they were upset at what was happening to their friend and they were getting support from Ashley, words of encouragement, songs to listen to, scripture verses.

So we knew when we were dealing with something, an interesting situation that someone who’s going through what has to be the worst episode in her life, is so strong in her faith and in her marriage that she is able to support other people.

We tell stories in “Justice on Trial” about how they share what’s going on with their young daughters. I don’t know if people have really thought about that, had thought about when you’re making these allegations against someone without evidence and when the media are running wild with them, that has to be explained to children who are relatively young.

We learned a lot about her that we liked. I don’t know if you want to add to that, Carrie.

Severino: Yeah, I think it was fascinating, even just some of the fun stories of how the press is camping out in front of their house and we remembered stories where they’re like, “OK, we’ve got some people in front of the Barretts’ house and got people in front of the Kavanaughs’ house, who’s it going to be?”

They didn’t want to to be giving away who the nominee was. So even before it was maybe fully decided, certainly before they knew whether Brett Kavanaugh would be the nominee, they decided they should just get out of the house so no one can be figuring out anything based on them.

So they ended up having to sneak out the backyard. They had to stash their clothes in a treehouse of a neighbor’s, so no one sees them leaving with things. They go out to dinner to make sure no one’s trailing them before they head to their undisclosed location where they’re hiding out at a friend’s house.

So it was really just fun to see that … excitement part of it. But then, of course, the challenge of how does she go through the difficult process?

But it was also great to see the support that she had from friends around her and from her neighbors, many of whom didn’t share their political approach, perhaps.

But, for example, right at the very end of this process, as town manager, she has to host a neighborhood barbecue and she’s hosting it at her house—remember that the press are camping out in front—and managed to ask the press like, “Please, we promise we’re not going to try to sneak out and do anything. Can you just give us one day?”

So she was able to have people over and she was nervous. How are my neighbors going to respond? But everyone was so gracious and so supportive and thoughtful and just seeing that side of how some of these good things and good moments of courage can come out of such a horrible process.

Bolar: Yeah, I loved the way you both weaved in these very vivid little stories that are so relatable. I think that’s why she’s such a compelling character in this narrative because I would imagine even some of Kavanaugh’s strongest opponents could possibly feel for him or feel for her in this regard and what she went through.

Hemingway: We did talk to people who were in the hearing room when the hearing is reopened and you have Blasey Ford testifying and Judge Kavanaugh testifying and they were saying that it was such an emotional experience, frankly, for all people involved, whether you were watching the first set of hearings or the second that I think it was a very intimate setting by that point.

It’s a much smaller hearing room where that’s happening and people who are on one side or the other sitting right next to each other, they’re all emotional and moved by, again, by both sets of testimony.

Bolar: Kavanaugh’s two daughters were also a source of quiet strength behind him in this process and, I think, a big reason why he wouldn’t back down. Let’s take a walk back and listen to this quick soundbite from the hearing, when Judge Kavanaugh talks about their little girls.

Kavanaugh: Not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I have never done this to her or to anyone. That’s not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family.

The other night, Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers and little Liza, all 10 years old, said to Ashley, “We should pray for the woman.” It’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. We mean no ill will.

Bolar: I know this is a podcast so you can’t see, but Mollie is sitting here almost in tears.

Hemingway: It’s just horrific to listen to. This is a judge who served for 12 years by that point, had a stellar reputation cultivated over decades, and you can just hear the brokenness there, but also learn a little bit about the Kavanaugh family, that they are operating in such a way that they are praying with their children, that they know to care about other people.

Severino: We did learn stories about the children that moved us, including that before this reopened set of hearings, there were crazy hearings that lasted for four days where there were protests and people being dragged out and getting arrested and shouts and whatnot.

The children were actually there for part of that time. It was really unfortunate for them to have to witness how some senators were treating him and how the protesters were treating him. But they were critiquing the protest signs, including the chants and the protest signs. They did not like that they did not rhyme, for instance. I just thought that was funny.

… That they’re able to see, even in the midst of all this chaos, … that’s ridiculous. Those chants don’t even rhyme. So they did have a really good spirit about it. That moment in the hearing room … I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the country at that point.

We talked to so many people, in particular, men who were in that room or who were watching and who, we’re talking about how moving it was, and said, “No, just whatever you do, don’t put this in the book, but I have to say I did tear up a little bit at that point.”

And we heard that from so many different men that we thought it’s really funny. They’re all very concerned, but they don’t know that everyone was crying.

And you know, we had people in the room who were telling us that even people on the other side of the room were crying. So you had the people who were there for Christine Blasey Ford who were just moved by the power of that testimony as well.

Bolar: Well, the question I want to end on comes perfectly after this because, Mollie, you have two little girls, and Carrie, you have six children.

I’m wondering, first off, you both have full-time jobs and then some, and did this book on top of that and are also pretty incredible mothers. How the heck do you do this all?

Hemingway: I have been giggling when people ask us like, “Why did you decide to do this or how did this come about?” Because I have no idea of what we were thinking.

We are two of the busiest people I know and [have] so many responsibilities and we kept coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t write the book and they just kept getting knocked down.

Lack of time was a huge one for both of us, particularly because we’d both been through several years of quite busy activity that takes a toll on the family.

I’ll go ahead and speak for myself, I guess, even though this applies to both of us, but I’m blessed with an incredibly supportive husband, very loving children, and could not have done my part without my husband Mark’s complete support from start to finish.

Both of our husbands actually helped us with just thinking through the project and finishing the project and I firmly believe that neither of us could have done it without the support of our husbands and families.

But, I felt bad sometimes. My children were sleeping on the floor of my office sometimes just so that they could get time with me, which is not how I want it to be. But that’s one of the blessings of us finishing this project so quickly, no more office floor sleeping for the kids.

Severino: You can go back. It’s a discrete period of time and it’s like, “OK, this is going to be a sprint.” Although it was a marathon-linked sprint, we knew there was an end to it.

Hemingway: Before you talk, Carrie, I do want to mention there is something so amazing about seeing Carrie in action. She has six kids. She is an incredible mother and she would sometimes be holding her baby in her lap while she’s typing and working on this and just seeing that love that she has for her family and also our project was really wonderful.

Severino: Thank you so much for that. … I remember saying when Justice [Anthony] Kennedy retired like, “OK, this is going to be a really busy summer, but it’s going to be done. It’ll be done by October. We’ll be good.” And I had all these things, like I had signed up for carpooling to volleyball starting first week of October because it’s all going to be over and things kept on getting crazy.

I remember my 8-year-old being like, “Mom, I thought you said this [was] going to be done last week?” Like, “Oh my gosh, it’s going to be done. Maybe this week, maybe next week.” And explaining to her at one point, “I know you’re not going to understand this right now, but the reason that this is so important to me,”—and I know, I’m sure Mollie would say the same thing—”is because we want to have a country that our children can grow up in that does have that respect for the rule of law.”

That’s something that is worth fighting for. … Justice Kavanaugh is going to be a justice on the court through much of our children’s adult lives and the next nominee and the next one. All of those people are going to be confirmed in the shadow of what happened here.

In the moment, it meant definitely some later nights. I know at the end, my craziest time going through this last read-through, we were trying to catch all the typos and the kids are like, “We want a bedtime story.” And I said, “OK, the bedtime story is ‘Justice on Trial.'”

So there are some times when you can kind of make it all happen simultaneously. … They actually were definitely helpful and found a couple of little wording changes they suggested. So they have been wonderfully good sports on it.

Now my oldest one, for our library summer reading challenge, has to read a book by a local author as one of the things to check off her list. So she can read the local list of authors, the one that lives in her house, and I hope that one day they’ll all be able to look back on it and be thankful that they’re living, hopefully, in an America where we’ve learned some of the lessons of this crazy confirmation.

Bolar: I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones or what, but you guys are making me emotional now.

Thank you both so much for joining us on the podcast today. You both are inspiration to me, everybody, all of our listeners at “Problematic Women.” We are so grateful for your efforts in writing this book.

Again, it is “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court.” Please go out and buy it. Support these two incredible women and all they’re doing to save this country.

Hemingway: Thank you very much, Kelsey.

The post The True, Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Kavanaugh Confirmation appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

A Time for Trade Schools

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 19:38

Solving the huge debt incurred by young adults who took out loans to attend college has become a key policy debate.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for example, recently announced proposed legislation to eliminate student loan debt by taxing bonds and stocks.

By the beginning of 2019, student loan debt was at an all-time high: Over 44 million borrowers owed a total of $1.6 trillion. Student debt now is the second-highest consumer debt category, after mortgage debt.

Behind Sanders’ motivation for pushing legislation to forgive student loans is a belief that education is a human right. Those students who find themselves in exorbitant debt are being unjustly punished for wanting to do “the right thing,” Sanders said, “and that is going out and getting a higher education.”

But the importance of getting an education doesn’t necessarily correlate with a college education, especially considering the current state of higher education institutions across the country.

Many colleges have demonstrated a commitment to limiting intellectual diversity on campuses, as we have seen with the absurd instances of protest against free speech on campus. More importantly, many students who graduate from college struggle to find a job immediately,  as they lack a practical skill set to market beyond their education.

“When I am looking to hire you, I don’t care about where you went to school. I want to see what experience you have … what can you do for me?” Jose Sanchez, a senior mechanical engineer, said.

Sanchez is of the opinion that what matters in the job market shouldn’t be who you know or where you come from, but your ability to demonstrate skills and a willingness to grow those skills.

Loan forgiveness might be one solution that politicians will contemplate. But to truly fix the rising wave of student debt, we must begin to reconsider the value of college education for all young adults.

Although college might be a road that some students enjoy, higher education is not an infallible route toward financial stability, nor is it the sole route toward a meaningful and profitable career. 

Other opportunities exist. Technical and trade schools provide a rich alternative to higher education that allows students to gauge what they want to get from their post-secondary education according to their own abilities and life goals. What stands in the way is a prejudice against trade schools as places that are inferior to university.

An article in Popular Mechanics reports: “Over the past year, media from the The Wall Street Journal to PBS have hailed technology schools and programs as harbingers of a new economy and reformers of a postsecondary education system that’s become over-priced, over-valued, and often irrelevant.”

Compared to most community colleges, vocational schools have a higher graduation rate, and the demand for careers in different trades has increased. For students who view college as a step toward a job and don’t focus so much on a liberal arts education, trade school is a quicker, hands-on option, as several industries that provide a wealth of jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree.

Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the organization Career Education Colleges and Universities noted that while 7.8 million Americans were listed as being unemployed in 2016, about 5.8 million jobs went unfilled because employers couldn’t find candidates with the necessary skills for these technical jobs, many of them in the construction industry.

Erwin Tejada, 24, entered the trucking industry because he knew that college was not a viable option for him. His experience working in nontrade jobs proved to him that wages were too low if you don’t know a skill.

Tejada realized that what he needed for his economic stability was to take up a trade with a strong market in the United States. Obtaining a commercial driver’s license was his solution, and he got it within six months and found work almost immediately after.

Finding ways to get millions of Americans out of debt through a forgiveness program will not educate rising generations of college students to truly consider all of their options and to weigh all of the consequences and benefits that might come from attending college at a high cost that does not guarantee a job right out of school.

The future for vocational schools looks bright, since jobs in the trades are a vital part of any economy.

A 2013 study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce concluded that “middle-skill jobs,” which require education and training beyond high school but not college, are always necessary: Of the 55 million job openings created by 2020, about 30 percent will require some college or a two-year associate degree.

A summary of a 2018 report by the Association for Career and Technical Education notes how technical education can improve state economies:

Communities across the nation benefit from [career and technical education]. Oklahoma’s economy reaps a net benefit of $3.5 billion annually from graduates of the CareerTech System. Wisconsin taxpayers receive $12.20 in benefits for every dollar invested in the technical college system. Students who attended Iowa Community Colleges in Fiscal Year 2014-15 are expected to grow the state’s economy by almost $15 billion over the course of their working lives.

Trade schools are regaining popularity. This fact is something that we should applaud as more Americans become disenchanted in a world of cubicles and debt. They’re finding greater reward in learning a trade.

The post A Time for Trade Schools appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Nominee for Joint Chiefs Chairman Holds Forward-Looking Vision for Military

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 19:33

The chief of staff of the Army, poised for the ultimate military promotion, says he will bring a forward-looking, high-tech vision to the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Army Gen. Mark Milley has been nominated to replace Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who will be retiring upon the completion of his second term as the president’s foremost military adviser and highest-ranking member of the armed forces.

When asked what his priorities would be as chairman, Milley made clear he wanted to focus on modernizing the nuclear capabilities of the nation and developing President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force.

Milley also supports investment in artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapon capabilities.

An alumnus of both Princeton and Columbia universities, Milley has had a long and distinguished career. He has served in notable units, such as the Green Berets, the 10th Mountain Division, and the 101st Airborne. Prior to his current role, Milley commanded the U.S. Army Forces Command.

He has earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Legion of Merit, and numerous other commendations. During his tenure as chief of staff of the Army, Milley has overseen the integration of women into combat roles and worked to eliminate recruitment shortfalls.

At his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing July 11, Milley vowed to provide candid advice to the president, no matter the consequences. A combat veteran, Milley said he would “not be intimidated into making stupid decisions” by the president or other civilian leader.

Milley asserted that he wouldn’t follow any orders that were “illegal, unethical, or immoral,” although he also drew a distinction between orders that met those criteria and those that were ill-advised. In doing so, he emphasized the importance of civilian command over the military, even regarding decisions he personally disagreed with.

Milley is the first chairman nominated to a single four-year term. Previous chairmen have served a two-year term, after which they are eligible for renomination. That change, enacted in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, was designed to ensure continuity through presidential administrations in the face of the numerous challenges presented to our nation.

Milley concurs with the Pentagon’s current focus on China and Russia as strategic rivals. However, he also acknowledged regional powers, such as Iran and North Korea, which will continue to threaten American interests and allies.

If confirmed, Milley will face many challenges. He will have to deal with hostile nations that are closing the gap on our technological advantages, the future of space, and the difficulties of rebuilding a military that has experienced years of underfunding, thus eroding its overall capability.

The U.S. armed forces will require strong leadership to guide it through a period of transition from counterterrorism to an era of great-power competition. Milley’s record suggests he is more than up to the challenge.

The post Nominee for Joint Chiefs Chairman Holds Forward-Looking Vision for Military appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Washing Machine Tariffs Are Still Putting Consumers Through the Wringers

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 19:27

While tariffs are forcing American families to pay 12% more for their washing machines, 12 members of Congress from Ohio—from both sides of the political aisle—are urging President Donald Trump to maintain tariffs on washers.

These tariffs, which range from 20% to 50%, were imposed back in January 2018 after an investigation that determined the domestic washer industry was being injured by imports, when the primary domestic manufacturer affected was just one firm; namely, Whirlpool.

Since that decision, washer tariffs and additional duties on washing machine parts have resulted in minimal job creation for Whirlpool.

These tariffs are on top of the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed in 2018, both of which are vital inputs for washer manufacturing. Marc Bitzer, the company’s CEO, stated that “the net impact of all remedies and tariffs has turned into a headwind for us.”

Results from Whirlpool’s recent first-quarter statement show a significant decrease in units sold, from 8 million to 6 million, and a loss of about $500 million in revenues. That’s no doubt a reaction from American families to the increased prices.

Recent studies indicate that washing machine prices have increased $86 per unit since the tariffs were introduced. Despite having had no tariffs placed on them, commercial clothes dryers have increased in price by $92 per unit.

Instead of opting to raise prices significantly just on washers, companies have instead chosen to raise both washer and dryer prices, given that most people buy them together.

Therefore, businesses such as Whirlpool have chosen to pass on the high cost burden directly to American families. “There is just not enough margin in our business to just absorb it. So, we had to pass on that cost,” Bitzer conceded this year.

The American people have felt the full effect of the cost of these tariffs, roughly $1.5 billion in new taxes paid to the federal government.

Whirlpool—along with foreign manufacturers, such as Samsung and LG—have added a total of 1,800 jobs in the United States since then. Since Samsung and LG already had plans to add new jobs in America before the tariffs, it’s doubtful that those jobs were related to the tariffs at all.

In total, that means American families have paid more than $800,000 to create each new job. That’s not exactly a fair deal for the American people.

Tariffs have not made companies like Whirlpool more competitive to foreign rivals. Instead, the company is selling fewer products and growth is slow at best, thereby harming its employees, customers, and the economy as a whole.

American families should not be forced to continue to pay higher prices due to failed tariffs. Trump should remove the tariffs immediately.

The post Washing Machine Tariffs Are Still Putting Consumers Through the Wringers appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The High Cost of ‘Free’ College Tuition

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 19:14

In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, we’ve heard several proposals offering free college tuition for all, and loan forgiveness for those still carrying debt.

While proponents call these proposals “investments in our future,” the reality is they would be a suffocating financial burden on every taxpayer, but especially on middle- and lower-income citizens.

There’s an inherent unfairness to forcing many working-class Americans who couldn’t afford to go to college themselves to pay off the loans of those who could.

Requiring a family making $50,000 a year to pay off the college debts of doctors, lawyers, engineers, and even some members of Congress who make $174,000 a year is unconscionable.

Moreover, how fair is it for those who did go to college and worked hard to pay off their loans to then be forced to pay off everyone else’s?

What would the American people be paying for with all this “investment”? As a former university dean, someone who has been involved in education policy for decades, and as a parent and grandparent, I’ve seen firsthand everything from the decline in educational quality to the toll of massive college debt on students and their families.

American colleges and universities are failing in one of their most basic missions: to equip students with the tools they need for a career. Many students graduate ill-prepared to earn a living and pay off the enormous debt they accumulated getting their degrees.

Forty percent of those who start college don’t even finish within six years.

Despite these systemic issues, colleges continue to raise tuition. Because federal loan money is handed out with little scrutiny as to the student’s ability to pay it back, colleges have had free rein to raise prices at rates often double the inflation rate.

Flush with all that money, their first spending priority often isn’t the classroom but the bureaucracy. From 1987 to 2012, America’s higher education system added more than half a million administrators, doubling the number of administrators relative to the number of faculty.

With federal loans accounting for much of the $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and more than a million people defaulting on their loans each year, taxpayers are already picking up much of the tab for this broken system.

“Free” college tuition would only make things worse, creating an inflationary spiral: As more taxpayer dollars were funneled to schools with even less discretion than exists today, schools would keep raising costs.

So, what’s a real solution to student debt?

Rather than throw more money at the problem, the surest way to stop the sharp rise in both college tuition and student debt would be to get the federal government out of the student loan business. That would cut off the open spigot of money that has allowed colleges to increase costs virtually without limit.

Restoring private lending would require both the lenders and the borrowers to be more responsible with loan amounts and would cause colleges to rein in costs to create more affordable choices for students.

Private lending would also limit taxpayers’ exposure to billions of dollars in loan defaults.

One emerging lending solution is income share agreements, where students obtain financing through the schools themselves and pay it back based on a fixed percentage of their income after graduation. That means when their income is lower, their monthly loan payments are, too. As their income grows, their payments go up proportionally.

Income share agreements aren’t a blanket solution for every student, but they are one new innovation. They allow students to see—before they take on debt or choose a major—what types of careers will allow them to pay off their loans quicker and what kind of future they are investing in for themselves.

They also incentivize colleges to ensure their students graduate and enter careers that enable them to pay off their debt.

Cost-saving and more transparent solutions like these can be a win for both students and taxpayers. Moreover, getting the government out of the student loan business, rather than deeper into it, would also eliminate much of the politics in higher education.

Wouldn’t that be a good thing for everyone?

Originally published in The Washington Times.

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Categories: Public Policy

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 19:05

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called out a Google vice president Tuesday afternoon for the tech giant’s decision to dissolve an advisory council on artificial intelligence after inviting Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James to join the panel. 

Cruz asked Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, about the worldwide internet company’s disbanding of the advisory council after Google employees objected to including the head of the leading conservative think tank. 

“You worked at The Heritage Foundation, I believe you said,” Cruz told Bhatia during a hearing held by the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. “Do you consider The Heritage Foundation to be some fringe organization?” 

Bhatia replied that he considered Heritage to be a conservative organization. 

“So 2,500 Google employees signed a petition to have Ms. James removed from the council and they said, quote, ‘By appointing James to the ATEAC, Google elevates and endorses her views implying that hers is a valid perspective worthy of its inclusion in this decision making, this is unacceptable,’” Cruz said.

The formal name of Google’s short-lived panel was the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council.

The petition accused James of being “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant,” and said, “In selecting James, Google is making clear that its version of ‘ethics’ values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants.”

“Google, in response to this, dissolved the entire committee,” Cruz said to Bhatia. “Do you understand when you see that kind of bias, saying, ‘A conservative African-American woman’s views are not valid and not worthy of inclusion,’ that the American people would say, ‘These guys are silencing voices they disagree with’?”

James, who is black, overcame racial discrimination in Virginia as a girl and eventually became an educator and top state and federal government official before being named president of The Heritage Foundation, where she had been a trustee for more than a decade.

Bhatia told Cruz, chairman of the subcommittee, that the 2,500 employees who objected to James did not make up a large percentage of the Google workforce.

“Senator, the 2,500 amounts to something around 2% of the Google employees,” Bhatia said. 

“But Google acted on their recommendation. You dissolved the committee,” Cruz replied. 

>>> Commentary: Google Caves to the Intolerant Left, Betraying Its Own Ideals

Bhatia disagreed. 

“No, Senator, we did not,” he said. “What happened in that situation is that it’s a committee that consisted of a number of members; as time progressed, a number of members of the committee other than Ms. James decided to fall off the committee, to withdraw from the committee.”

Cruz continued to press the issue.

“Is this your testimony, Mr. Bhatia? Because I’m finding this difficult to credit. Is it your testimony that Google did not dissolve the committee because your employees were mad that anyone right of center was included?” 

The Google vice president answered Cruz by saying the company pulled the plug on the advisory council because executives didn’t see it going anywhere. 

“We dissolved the committee, Senator. I think we were clear at the end of the day that it was not going to be viable to continue the council given what we were seeing happen with other members of the committee,” Bhatia said.

Heritage’s James discussed the experience in an April op-ed for The Washington Post, writing that “the Google employees didn’t just attempt to remove me; they greeted the news of my appointment to the council with name-calling and character assassination.”

“They called me anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ and a bigot. That was an odd one, because I’m a 69-year-old black woman who grew up fighting segregation,” James added.

Referring to Google’s decision to end the panel, James wrote, “The company has given in to the mentality of a rage mob.”

The post Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

50 Years Ago, the Eagle Landed

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 18:41

Let us pause to celebrate the 50th anniversary this Saturday of a mission once thought impossible: the landing of a man on the moon.

Let us proclaim, without embarrassment, that America, and only America, had the requisite leadership, scientific community, and resources to make it possible for Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong to take that giant leap for mankind.

Let us freely admit we needed a kick to get started. That happened when the Soviet Union put the first satellite known as Sputnik in orbit and pushed ahead of the United States in the space race. The Cold War was red hot, and everything was measured on how it affected that global conflict. 

As one commentator wrote, “the United States could not afford [a] slight to its technical expertise and economic strength.”    

In a dramatic address in May 1961, President John F. Kennedy tasked NASA with the goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” and to do so before the end of the decade. The following year, Kennedy raised the stakes of the Apollo program by calling space “a new frontier” and declaring: “We choose to go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because [it is] hard.”

It was far beyond hard, requiring the skill and dedication of 32 astronauts, including Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee, who died in a tragic 1967 accident, $25 billion in federal funds—an estimated $115 billion in today’s dollars—and the everyday commitment of the 400,000 workers, military and civilian, of the space program.

Ironically, America got critical help from a German rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, who designed the V-2 rockets that rained down on Britain during World War II.

Von Braun moved to the U.S. and became an American citizen. He and his American team built a U.S. rocket, the Saturn, capable of a lunar landing mission while the Soviets could not.

Russia’s Sputnik was a walk in the park compared to Apollo 11’s unprecedented lunar landing mission.

“I consider a trip to the moon and back,” said Michael Collins, the third member of the Apollo 11 crew, “to be a long and very fragile daisy chain of events.” Twenty-three critical things had to occur “perfectly,” recalled engineer JoAnn Morgan at the Kennedy Space Center.      

From the beginning, the moon landing enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress although some members argued that the civilian space program might weaken support of the military budget.

When Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, immediately made the Apollo mission a priority and transformed it into a Kennedy memorial that captured the imagination of Americans. 

When Armstrong took his first step on the lunar surface on July 24, 1969—broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience of an estimated 500 million people—he described it, memorably, as “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

He had barely finished speaking and welcoming fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin to the surface when President Richard Nixon reached them by telephone from the White House.

Nixon emphasized the universal pride in the astronauts’ accomplishment: “For one priceless moment in the whole history of man,” he said, “all the people of this Earth are truly one: one in their pride in what you have done, and one in our prayers that you will return safely to earth.”

The American people greeted the historic flight with an extraordinary outpouring of pride and patriotism. The 1960s had been a tragic decade, marked by the assassination of Kennedy, the murders of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy, the quagmire known as the Vietnam War, racial riots, and mass anti-war demonstrations.

Now, at last, Americans had something to cheer about. Only an exceptional nation like America could have conceived, planned, and executed successfully the lunar landing and safe return of the three crew members of Apollo 11.

The post-landing celebration began at a California banquet hosted by Nixon and California Gov. Ronald Reagan, who recalled thinking that the men and women of NASA had changed forever “our concept of the universe.” Fifteen years later, President Reagan returned to that theme at a White House ceremony on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

“The Apollo program,” the president said, “was a noble achievement of the mind, the heart, and spirit—and the most ambitious and complex program ever undertaken in peacetime.”

Of the astronauts, he said, “How our astronauts with their quiet confidence, superb professionalism, and inner strength, lifted our feelings, our spirits, and our feeling of good will.”

He pointed out that the Apollo project had “spawned communications, weather, navigation, and Earth resource satellites, and many new industries like solid-state electronics, medical electronics, and computer sciences.” 

Although Apollo was a project of peace, it had a profound effect on the Cold War. In 1970, a few months after the lunar landing, Soviet dissident and Nobel Laureate Andrei Sakharov wrote in an open letter to the Kremlin that America’s ability to put a man on the moon proved the superiority of a democracy.

That the Kremlin agreed with Sakharov can be seen by their ready acceptance of the Strategic Defense Initiative as something that the United States had the technical ability and economic wherewithal to launch.

In the words of the lunar geologist Paul Spudis, “Here is Apollo’s legacy. Any technological challenge American undertakes, it can accomplish.” That includes everyday things such as freeze-dried food, Velcro, scratch-resistant coatings on eye glasses, and the insoles that make sneakers comfortable. 

The Apollo astronauts went where no one had gone before and did what no one had done before, changing forever, as Reagan said, our concept of the universe.

Is a man on Mars the next leap? Why not? After all, we are Americans.

The post 50 Years Ago, the Eagle Landed appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Broad Skepticism of Big Government Is Good for Federalism, Mulvaney Says

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 18:31

As polarized as politics might seem to have become, both sides seem to agree on one thing that advantages conservatives, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says.

“You’ve got an audience of people who say, ‘OK, [the federal] government doesn’t work,’” Mulvaney said Wednesday at a Heritage Foundation forum on federalism. 

The event, “Restoring Federalism: Giving Power Back to the States,” featured Mulvaney and other Trump administration officials. Federalism is a system of government in which the states form a unity, but remain independent in their own affairs.

“One of the benefits … of this politicization of the culture is that young people are paying a lot more attention to government than they used to, at a much earlier age than they used to,” Mulvaney said in a question-and-answer-format discussion with Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James.

Mulvaney said most agree the federal government doesn’t work. 

“Some will say it doesn’t work, and it favors the rich,” Mulvaney continued. “But if you ask young people, ‘Give me a list of things that government, writ large, does extraordinarily well,’ it’s a fairly short list. 

“We can defend the nation. There’s a couple of other things we can do. But it’s not why they know about government. They know about government for why it doesn’t work,” he said.

The left and the right could potentially unite around a distrust of government, Mulvaney said.  

“Why are you asking for more government involvement in your health care? Why are you asking for more involvement in your education? Why are you asking for more government involvement in even your environment?” Mulvaney asked rhetorically. “If we’re not good at it—and it’s the one thing even the hardcore left thinks—why are you asking for more of it?

“Once you can bridge that gap, and explain to people there is another way, there’s an alternative to big government, I think they would be open-minded to it, because the government they have, so many people are disappointed with,” he said.

Mulvaney said President Donald Trump’s approach to federalism “is the best kind, because it’s real.” 

He acknowledged the president supports giving more power to the states, not based on an academic theory rooted in conservative ideology, but because of firsthand experience struggling with federal red tape as a businessman prior to running for president. 

But states can also pose federalism issues, noted Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration. 

California has higher fuel efficiency standards than the rest of the nation, which has a national impact for automakers and the consumer price of vehicles nationally. Last year, the Trump administration proposed stripping California of the ability to impose its tougher fuel efficiency standards.

“We are moving forward with a 50-state solution to [corporate average fuel economy] standards, which is what we should be doing, that will be out later this summer or early fall. It will be out this year,” Wheeler said.

The EPA announced last week it would issue new rules to reverse the 2016 Obama administration regulations that doubled penalties on automakers not meeting the corporate average fuel economy—or CAFE—standards. 

Wheeler quoted Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who said, “CAFE does not stand for ‘California Assumes Federal Empowerment.’” 

Wheeler also cited New York. 

A section of the Clean Water Act allows a state to veto certain interstate projects that could affect that state’s water quality. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is blocking a pipeline through New York that was meant to deliver natural gas to New England. 

“He doesn’t want the fossil fuels to be used. What he’s doing, though, is subjecting New England to use further imports of Russian natural gas,” Wheeler said. 

He noted that the United States “produces our natural gas in a more environmentally conscious manner than anywhere else in the world.” 

“Russia is not trying to reduce their methane emissions, and they do not use environmentally sound practices in producing their natural gas,” the EPA chief said. “If you are concerned about what Gov. Cuomo says he’s concerned about, on climate change, then you have to look at the carbon footprint and transporting natural gas from Russia to New England.”

Trump has promoted federalism in his budget proposals, by seeking $2.7 trillion in spending reductions and reining in the federal government, noted Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. 

“When we talk about Washington having a spending problem—and it does, $22 trillion in debt, trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see,” Vought said, “We all know … our revenues are at historical averages. Our spending is not. We have a spending problem in Washington, D.C., but it’s a federalism problem.”

By that, Vought meant that much of the federal spending goes toward programs better handled at the state and local level, adding:

What happens is that the federal government is doing things outside what the Constitution would have us be doing. That means that states, in some respects, don’t have the need to figure out whether they should be doing something more effectively, with their knowledge of their voters, their constituents.

Sometimes, that can lead to poor incentives, where Washington uses the hook of federal spending to change behaviors that the people of that state or locality would otherwise not be supportive of.

The post Broad Skepticism of Big Government Is Good for Federalism, Mulvaney Says appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Leader McCarthy: House Democrats Dead Set on Erasing Economic Gains

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 18:18

Over the last 18 months, the American economy has grown at a record-breaking rate, and the results have had a far-reaching positive impact on communities nationwide.

Since January 2017, 5.6 million jobs have been created with the help of Republican-led tax reform, deregulation, and other pro-growth reforms. The unemployment rate is near a 50-year low with 224,000 jobs added to the economy last month, surpassing economists’ expectations.

At the same time, wages have risen over 3% for an astounding 11 consecutive months. Even The New York Times has admitted that wage growth is in a “higher gear” and is “going to those who need it most.”

Our nation is in the midst of enjoying the best economy we have seen in a generation.

These results did not occur by accident. They transpired because policymakers made an intentional choice to allow free enterprise to flourish and remove unnecessary burdens on families and businesses.

But our economic progress can, and will, be overturned if Congress tries to control the economy from within its bubble in Washington, D.C., as Democrats are attempting to do today.

Their latest Washington-centric proposal is the Raise the Wage Act, legislation that would artificially raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour—over twice its current amount.

This bill is another misguided attempt by Democrats to impose one-size-fits-all policy on the American people. It is backward-looking and proves that Democrats are dead set on erasing the progress our economy has made since President Donald Trump took office.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently released a study that indicates a $15 minimum wage could result in jobs lost and hurt the very people Democrats claim to want to help.

According to the study, a $15 minimum wage could lead to the loss of as many as 3.7 million jobs. Those losses would fall disproportionately on entry-level workers. Younger workers could account for 46% of the job losses.

Individuals without high school degrees could account for 38%. This means that our most economically disadvantaged population will find it even more difficult to break into the job market, hindering their ability to achieve financial independence.

This disastrous policy would also hurt our working families. About 42% of families with a minimum-wage earner would see a net reduction to their family income. The same Congressional Budget Office report estimates that total real family income could be reduced by $9 billion. That means less money for things that matter: bills, essential expenses, or perhaps the occasional meal out. 

There are already real-life cases of local economies being hurt by minimum wage increases.

In Oakland, child care providers, restaurants, and grocery stores either scaled back on staff or closed entirely after the city’s minimum wage went from $9 to $12.25 an hour in 2015. Likewise, after Seattle passed a $15 minimum wage, higher labor costs for child care led to increased tuition costs for families and fewer hours for employees.

As the residents of cities like these know, when government raises the minimum wage, the harms are not just estimations, but carry demoralizing consequences.

I had the privilege of starting my own deli business when I was younger. One of the most important things being a small business owner taught me was that you are the first to work, last to leave, and the last to get paid. I also know how thin the margins are, which makes it easier to understand firsthand how unnecessary regulations, taxes, and mandates can prevent businesses from hiring and expanding.

Throughout our nation’s history, financial independence has been the essence of the American dream. As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to ensure government does not impose economic barriers that interfere with that independence.

History tells us that heavy-handed Washington policies, for all the good intentions of their advocates, only limit opportunities for the individuals who need them most.

Even Alan Krueger, the former chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, has warned that “a $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences.”

Why risk “undesirable” consequences when we already know the positive economic trends of the last 18 months have brought greater prosperity for all Americans?

The Raise the Wage Act would jeopardize those incredible gains by increasing the costs for businesses and consumers. Ultimately, it would mean the difference between a few individuals getting a modest pay raise while others are left with no paycheck at all.

The most effective way to continue to unleash our country’s economic potential is by keeping Washington bureaucrats out of Americans’ paychecks.

The post Leader McCarthy: House Democrats Dead Set on Erasing Economic Gains appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Top Trump Administration Officials Discuss How to Fight Anti-Semitism

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 17:55

A Justice Department summit on fighting anti-Semitism brought together Trump administration leaders such as Attorney General William Barr and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with prominent figures in the Jewish community.

“I am deeply concerned about the rise in hate crimes and political violence that we have seen over the past decade,”  Barr said in his opening remarks Monday. “This trend has included a marked increase in reported instances of anti-Semitic hate crimes.”

The attorney general cited the divisive role “identity politics” is playing.  

“My concern today is that under the banner of identity politics, some political factions are seeking to obtain power by dividing Americans, and they undermine the values that draw us together, such as a shared commitment to our country’s success,” Barr said. “This is the breeding ground for hatred and we must reject it.”

The summit included panel discussions with titles such as “Combating Anti-Semitism While Respecting the First Amendment,” “Anti-Semitism on Campus,” and “Prosecuting Hate Crimes.”

DeVos shared her remarks just ahead of the discussion on anti-Semitism on college campuses. 

“One of the most pernicious and prevalent examples of anti-Semitism on campus is the campaign known as BDS,” DeVos said. “These campus bullies claim they stand for human rights, but we all know BDS stands for anti-Semitism.”  

The BDS movement, for “boycott, divestment, sanctions,” describes itself on its website as a “Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality.” 

“We recently made clear at Williams College that these kinds of efforts are unacceptable,” DeVos said. “Students there tried to register a pro-Israel group, but after much anti-Semitic uproar, the college council denied the group recognition.” 

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the student council voted against the pro-Israel group on “political grounds” because student activists “expressed concerns about its support for Israeli policies regarding Palestinians.” 

“We negotiated [an] agreement with the college that affords the pro-Israel group the same rights and privileges as any other student group,” DeVos said. 

In a separate matter, DeVos called for an investigation of a conference held by the Duke-University of North Carolina Consortium for Middle East Studies, after accusations that part of the conference was anti-Semitic. 

According to The Chronicle, Duke’s news organization, “the conference drew a firestorm of controversy after a video was posted online, showing rapper Tamer Nafar of the music group DAM, a guest performer at this year’s conference, talking about singing his ‘anti-Semitic’ song, as he called it.” 

“These are just two examples of what the Department of Education is doing to protect students from discrimination, and we are intent on ensuring protection for students across the country,” DeVos said. “This administration is and always will be committed to ensuring all believers can live and practice their faith without fear.”

During the panel on Trump administration leadership’s efforts to oppose anti-Semitism, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin noted the importance of education about the Holocaust.

“I am proud that we use our economic authorities, including sanctions, to disrupt funding and isolate human rights abusers,” Mnuchin said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray laid out three ways the FBI is combating anti-Semitic threats:

First, we’re coordinating with our state and local law enforcement partners even when we’re not pursuing federal charges, because we learn more when we work these cases together. Second, we’re working with civil rights and minority groups and with faith communities to build trusted relationships as they say, ‘The best time to patch the roof is when the sun is shining, not when the bad weather comes,’ and we shouldn’t be meeting for the first time in the wake of a crisis. Third, we’re training our partners, both in law enforcement and the communities we serve, so that everyone’s got a better understanding of what hate crime is and how we can help them.

Wray noted that through joint terrorism task forces, the FBI gains a local perspective of what is happening on the local level.

 “We have community outreach specialists who work with members of the Jewish community to talk about what we’re seeing and to explore how we can help even better,” Wray said. 

“Just last month, we hosted a faith-based summit at FBI headquarters for representatives of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other religious groups,” Wray added. “That kind of communication, those kinds of relationships, are so important to the work we do.”

He also mentioned that some FBI field offices have held “active shooter exercises” and presentations on “protecting houses of worship” with local synagogues to raise awareness. 

“When we can’t prevent a hate crime, our agents and analysts will move heaven and earth to find those responsible. We’re going to keep doing everything we can to help, for the people who need it the most,” Wray said.

 “Because the way we look at it, we’re not just law enforcement, we’re part of the community and we’re in this together.” 

The post Top Trump Administration Officials Discuss How to Fight Anti-Semitism appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Dennis Prager Blames Google for YouTube’s Unexplained Bans of PragerU Videos

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 17:09

Google denies viewers access to educational content on its YouTube subsidiary without explanation, radio host and commentator Dennis Prager testified Tuesday at a Senate hearing. 

“Google, which owns YouTube, has restricted access to 56 of our 320 five-minute videos and other videos we produce,” Prager, co-founder of Prager University, told the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution.

In prepared testimony, Prager said his video-producing organization, known as PragerU, never got an explanation for why YouTube restricted the videos.

“‘Restricted’ means that families that have a filter to avoid pornography and violence cannot see that video,” Prager told senators. “It also means that no school or library can show that video.”

“Google has even restricted access to a video on the Ten Commandments. Yes, the Ten Commandments,” he said. “We have repeatedly asked Google why our videos are restricted. No explanation is ever given.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, subcommittee chairman, held the hearing to look into the issue of the global internet giant and censorship, especially of conservative organizations, individuals, and ideas.   

Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, pushed against the notion that the tech company is partisan. 

“Google is not politically biased,” Bhatia said in his prepared remarks, adding:

Indeed, we go to extraordinary lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in an analytically objective, apolitical way. We do so because we want to create tools that are useful to all Americans. Our search engine and our platforms reflect the online world that is out there.

The Daily Signal sought comment Wednesday from Google on Prager’s account; the company acknowledged the request, but had yet to respond at publication time.

Cruz previously held a hearing in April with officials from Facebook and Twitter, where he raised concerns over social media bias and censorship.

YouTube says it restricts videos that contain content such as dangerous or threatening pranks, violent events, creation or use of hard drugs, and instructions to kill or harm

What it calls “age-restricted content” is not available to logged-out users, those under 18, or those who have activated “restricted” mode, YouTube says.

“A video that is not available in Restricted Mode is not necessarily age-restricted,” YouTube says on its site.

Cruz appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” early on the day of the hearing to discuss Google and censorship. 

“Google is a monopoly,” Cruz said, adding:

Google may well be the most powerful company on the face of the planet because they have a monopoly on information, on what you know and what I know. And not only that, but Google owns YouTube, which is the second most popular website on the face of the planet. And the problem is, they use monopoly powers to silence voices they don’t like.

On the Fox show, the Texas Republican also mentioned YouTube’s censorship of PragerU.

“Listen, Dennis Prager is a brilliant thinker, but nobody with any sense would describe Dennis Prager as some sort of dangerous voice that must be muzzled,” Cruz said. “But if you’re a leftist, he is a very dangerous voice because he responds with facts and reason, and the left is terrified of facts and reason.”

Also speaking at the hearing were other representatives from the technology and academic fields, including Jason Kint, chief executive officer of Digital Content Next; Francesca Tripodi, assistant professor of sociology at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.; Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist for the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology; and Andy Parker, a gun control advocate and father of Alison Parker, a local TV reporter who was shot and killed during a live TV interview in 2015. 

The post Dennis Prager Blames Google for YouTube’s Unexplained Bans of PragerU Videos appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Rep. Al Green Introduces Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 13:59

Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Tuesday, paving the way for the first vote on the measure since Democrats took control of the House.

Green introduced the resolution after the House voted to condemn Trump over his weekend remarks about four freshmen House Democrats.

Trump tweeted that Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” over their criticism of the U.S. Three of the four were born in the U.S.

Reading from the articles of impeachment, Green said Trump “is unfit to be president, unfit to represent the American values of decency and morality, respectability and civility, honesty and propriety, reputability and integrity.”

This is the third time Green has introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, but the first since Democrats have had control of the House of Representatives.

Democrats now have two days to consider Green’s resolution, and can vote either to debate it, send it for a committee vote, or table it.

The GOP-controlled House tabled Green’s first two resolutions, in December 2017 and January 2018, by votes of 364-58 and 355-66, respectively.

"Donald John Trump, president of the United States, is unfit to be president." – Rep. Al Green (D-TX) filing articles of impeachment against President Trump for the third time.

— CSPAN (@cspan) July 16, 2019

Green’s impeachment push poses a problem for Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She and other party leaders have pushed back against calls for impeachment, saying that doing so will play into Trump’s hands. Of 235 Democrats in office, only around 80 have come out in favor of impeachment.

Many Democrats have avoided announcing their position on impeachment by saying they want to wait for former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify about the Russia probe. Mueller’s testimony was delayed until July 24.

Mueller’s team was unable to establish that Trump or his campaign conspired with Russia. Mueller also declined to make a decision on whether Trump obstructed the Russia probe. But some Democrats have said that Mueller’s 448-page report on the Russia probe provided enough evidence to support impeachment hearings against Trump.

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Categories: Public Policy

The Legacy of the Moon Landing

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 13:36

As a young reporter for a local TV station in Houston, I frequently visited NASA (“the space base,” we dubbed it), met many of the astronauts, and reported on their exploits.

Along with people from around the world, I watched the lunar landing on television, July 20, 1969, fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of that decade.

A new, three-part PBS documentary, “Chasing the Moon,” recalls the American space program, which followed the Russian launch of the first satellite in 1957.

It is a brilliant film, created and directed by Robert Stone, and a useful reminder for the two generations born since then of what a united America can achieve.

CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite made that point when he said, “It shows what the richest nation in history can do when it puts its mind to it.”

If you missed the broadcast, you can find the series at

About Apollo 11, a reporter says, “It is like seeing Columbus sail out of port.”

Jack Lousma, one of the astronauts who followed the original seven, later became a close friend. Lousma was the CAPCOM recipient of the “Houston, we’ve had a problem here” message from Apollo 13 and the pilot for Skylab 3 in 1973. He also commanded the third space shuttle mission in 1982.

I asked for his remembrances of that time and about the legacy of America’s most famous spaceflight.

Lousma said: “Apollo was a bright light, a ray of hope, a force for ‘good’ during the Vietnam War controversy with its riots, civil unrest, demonstrations, violence, turmoil, burning draft cards …

“Unpredictably, Apollo unified the world for a short time. I recall photographs of people in many nations watching TV during the landing … a worldwide sense of ‘oneness.’ They were not just ‘watching.’ They seemed part of our team, as if this were a victory for all earthlings, not just for the U.S.

“We were vicariously representing each one of them. There was a similar response to the drama of Apollo 13.

“It made us proud to be Americans. It set a standard for excellence. It established a baseline for advanced exploration and discovery.”

It wasn’t all “The Right Stuff,” as Tom Wolfe wrote. NASA covered up the extramarital affairs and excessive drinking by many of the earlier astronauts for fear of hurting public confidence in the program.

In her review of Lily Koppel’s book “The Astronaut Wives Club,” Susannah Cahalan writes in The New York Post: “Out of the 30 astro-marriages—spanning from the first American launched into space in 1961 to the moon landing in 1969—only seven couples would stay married. …

“To the outside world, they were perfectly coiffed, apple-pie baking housewives. But with their sisters—the ‘AWC’—they allowed their armor to fall, the tears to drop, and the truth to come out.”

The debate then, as it has been with other flawed humans who achieved great things, is whether the goal—beating the Russians to the moon—eclipsed those personal flaws.

Probably not to the wives, but to the nation, ignorant of their frailties, it did.

One story adds to the many illustrations of the power of fame the astronauts had.

On a commercial flight, I sat across the aisle from Annie and John Glenn, he the first American to orbit the Earth and at the time a Democratic senator from Ohio.

“Apollo 13” was shown. At the end of the film, passengers approached Glenn for his autograph. I said, “John, you know they don’t want your signature because you’re a senator, right?” He laughed and said, “Don’t I know it?”

In today’s divided nation, it should be more than an exercise in nostalgia to revisit those exciting years when space really was “the final frontier” and America came to lead the way in exploring it.

Copyright 2019 Tribune Content Agency LLC.

The post The Legacy of the Moon Landing appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Dies at 99

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 12:52

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the war hero and Republican corporate lawyer who became the leader of the court’s liberal wing, died Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 99.

The Supreme Court’s public information office said Stevens died from complications of a stroke suffered earlier in the day.

“A son of the Midwest heartland and a veteran of World War II, Justice Stevens devoted his long life to public service, including 35 years on the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom and independence. His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation.”

“We extend our deepest condolences to his children Elizabeth and Susan, and to his extended family,” the chief added.

The justice’s 35-year tenure is the third-longest in the court’s history. When he retired in 2010 at age 90, he was the second-oldest justice ever to sit on the high court.

Steven’s signature bowties reflected his singularity. A Republican of moderate, midcentury vintage, he emerged as an unlikely progressive hero during the ascendancy of the conservative legal movement, an indefatigable figure who bridged the 70s-era court of liberal social activism with the latter-day conservative counter-reaction.

At the twilight of his career, Stevens was decisive in Bush-era disputes over the rights of detainees in the War on Terror. He delivered the court’s 2004 opinion in Rasul v. Bush, declaring that inmates in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could challenge their detention in the federal courts.

Two years later in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, he led a five-justice majority in striking down the military commission system the Bush administration erected to try enemy combatants.

He brought particular indignation to bear in the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, writing a scathing dissent that produced the dispute’s most resonant line.

“Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear,” Stevens wrote. “It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

Yet Stevens defied easy ideological characterization, sometimes earning the much-abused “maverick” label.

He joined his right-leaning colleagues in dissent from the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision striking down a state law that prohibited desecration of the American flag.

“The creation of a federal right to post bulletin boards and graffiti on the Washington Monument might enlarge the market for free expression, but at a cost I would not pay,” Stevens wrote. “Similarly, in my considered judgment, sanctioning the public desecration of the flag will tarnish its value—both for those who cherish the ideas for which it waves and for those who desire to don the robes of martyrdom by burning it.”

Confirmed amid the social chaos of white flight and urban decay, Stevens obliged law and order efforts early in his tenure, furnishing the fifth vote to reinstate capital punishment in the 1976 Gregg v. Georgia decision.

The justices had barred criminal executions just four years earlier in Georgia v. Furman. But with the passage of time, Stevens became something like a death penalty abolitionist.

He wrote the court’s opinion barring execution of the mentally disabled on constitutional grounds in 2003. By 2008, he condemned “state-sanctioned killing” altogether, saying it was “becoming more and more anachronistic.”

For decades Stevens cultivated a low profile, even as some of his colleagues became fixtures of the culture war or the capital’s social circles.

However, he could not avoid the intense scrutiny that followed his 2006 opinion in Kelo v. New London, in which the court said government could use eminent domain to seize private property for economic development.

The case arose when a city agency took Susette Kelo’s home to build a plant for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The justice dutifully accepted the popular outcry that followed his decision.

“My opinion for the Court in Kelo v. City of New London is the most unpopular opinion that I wrote during my more than thirty-four years on the Supreme Court. Indeed, I think it is the most unpopular opinion that any member of the Court wrote during that period,” Stevens said in his 2019 memoir “The Making of a Justice.” Unmoved by the appraisals of critics, he defended his decision over the ensuing 10 pages.

The 2010 Citizen’s United v. FEC decision augured the end of Stevens’ tenure. Though he was deeply aggrieved with the court’s decision, the justice struggled to read his dissent from the bench, invariably slurring and mispronouncing his words.

Stevens had suffered a minor stroke. He resolved to retire shortly thereafter, and Justice Elena Kagan would succeed him later that year.

All told, Stevens produced a staggering volume of legal opinions, touching presidential power, the First Amendment, property rights, and campaign finance. Yet the newly entrenched conservative majority on the high court could make quick work of his legacy.

Just last month, the conservative justices signaled that a landmark Stevens decision on agency power should be reconsidered.

After leaving judicial service, Stevens occasionally attracted headlines for his political interventions. He wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times in 2018 urging a total repeal of the Second Amendment after the “March for Our Lives” demonstrations.

One of Stevens’ last major writings on the court was his 2008 dissent in D.C. v. Heller, which announced a constitutional right to keep firearms in the home for self defense. That dissent was significant because it argued on originalist terms, showing a legal method favored by conservatives could produce liberal outcomes.

Another political foray was more surprising still. Stevens criticized Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s demeanor during the Senate hearings that followed Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual misconduct.

The retired justice said Kavanaugh’s sharp rhetoric undermined his temperament and impartiality. Members of the court do not comment on pending nominations as a cardinal rule.

The scion of a wealthy Chicago family, Stevens moved in rarified circles as a child. His father was an accomplished hotelier, who owned and operated the La Salle and Stevens Hotels, the latter of which sat on Michigan Avenue near the city’s famed Magnificent Mile.

The future justice met the defining figures of the era like Amelia Earhart, saw Franklin Delano Roosevelt accept the Democratic nomination for president in 1932, and watched baseball slugger Babe Ruth call his home run shot at Wrigley Field during the fifth inning of game three in the 1932 World Series.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, Stevens joined the Navy at the outbreak of World War II.

Serving in Hawaii as an intelligence officer, he received a commendation for his work decoding the enemy transmissions that led American forces to shoot down Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto’s plane.

He went on to the Northwestern University School of Law and a clerkship on the Supreme Court for Justice Wiley Rutledge after his military service.

Following brief stints as an attorney adviser to a congressional panel and the Eisenhower administration, Stevens entered private practice as an antitrust specialist.

He emerged as a national legal figure in the late 1960s when he led an investigatory commission pursuing corruption cases in Illinois.

President Richard Nixon appointed Stevens to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1970. President Gerald Ford selected Stevens to succeed Justice William Douglas on the Supreme Court in 1975.

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Categories: Public Policy

Mr. President, It’s Time to Meet With Ukraine’s New Leader

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 10:35

There is an old saying that I made up: “Nobody wants to be a suburb of Moscow.”

That’s the sum of decades of experience witnessing how the Soviet Union abused captive nations, now only to watch history repeat itself through Russian President Vladimir Putin’s destabilizing foreign policy.

Put Ukraine at the top of the list of free people who are so over Moscow’s bullying. There is no better time for President Donald Trump to make common cause with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s new president. Seeing them stand side by side in the Oval Office would send Putin and the free world the right message.

Such a meeting also would be an opportunity for Trump to send some important messages to Zelensky amid concerning reports that the Ukrainian president is pushing a radical “lustration” policy. Zelensky’s aim reportedly is to purge officials who held power after the Maidan uprising in February 2014 that ousted Ukraine’s pro-Moscow government.

The ambassadors to Ukraine from G-7 countries issued a public statement July 12 on this matter. If reports of a purge are true, this is cause for concern and makes a meeting between Trump and Zelensky even more important.

No nation on the planet has suffered more unwanted meddling in its internal affairs than Ukraine. Not content with illegally seizing Crimea, Putin continues to underwrite both hot and cold wars to undermine Ukraine’s democracy. 

Of course, the monster in Moscow has strategic reasons for wanting to press his thumb on Ukraine. An even more important political message: “If you live in the Kremlin’s shadow, you are their creature to do with as they will.”

Putin practices the most regressive style of authoritarian rule imaginable, with the kind of killer instincts that ought to have gone out with Attila the Hun. 

As the “exceptional nation,” America, of course, ought to stand with any people who stand against a bully, any people who share our creed that the people are sovereign and that government governs by our consent, on our behalf.

That was certainly the message Ukraine voters sent when they overwhelmingly elected Zelensky, picking a leader who vowed to fight corruption and root his country even more deeply in the West.

There are also practical reasons why a Ukrainian-American partnership makes sense. In an era of great power competition, small powers such as Ukraine matter a good deal.

First, geography matters. In geopolitics—as in real estate—a critical consideration is location, location, location. To a major power, another country’s greatest asset might be its map coordinates rather than the size of its arsenal or bank account.

Part of the reason why the U.S. must insist that NATO continue to keep its membership door open is because including some nonmember nations would enhance collective security due to their geographic location. Ukraine is one of those countries.

Second, freedom matters. Like-minded nations make better partners. NATO works in part because the alliance is a partnership of free nation-states. The foundational rationale of the transatlantic alliance is that free and independent states have the right to associate for the purpose of collective security.

To close NATO’s door to new members would undermine what NATO stands for: the right of free peoples to choose their future. Again, keeping Ukraine on the list of candidates is a plus for the collective security of Europe.

Third, contribution matters. Small nations can be net contributors to peace, security, and economic development. We have seen that repeatedly. Ukraine has potential to be a net contributor.

Here is maybe the most important reason of all for Trump to stand with Zelensky. The best way to keep Putin from making a mess of the West is to make clear to Moscow that they don’t get a veto on how any free nation chooses to address its collective security, domestic politics, and economic future.

Now is exactly the time for Trump to send this strong message to Putin.

Ukraine is heading into parliamentarian elections Sunday. Zelensky is hoping for a big win to further solidify his mandate. However, regardless of the outcome, the U.S. must be prepared to work with Ukraine to advance common interests. Make no mistake: Russia will be meddling in the election process.

A fourth reason for Trump to welcome Zelensky to the White House is that, in the long term, it will support the president’s policy of figuring out how to get Putin on the off-ramp from trying to compete with and destabilize Western Europe.

As with every major competition, the essence of the Trump doctrine is to show a tough face to the competitor; force the competitor to respect your interests; and then offer opportunities for cooperation rather than competition.

From Day One, Trump has consistently made that offer to Putin. Putin has consistently rejected it. He is not getting the message.

The more Trump shows that the freedom of Ukraine is not on the table for compromise or negotiation, that Putin’s brutal tactics are unwelcome, unjustified, and intolerable, the sooner Putin may get the message and back off.

My guess is Trump and Zelensky are two leaders who have a lot in common. They are both unconventional businessmen and statesmen with a passionate love for their countries, who want only the best for their people and are willing to suffer any calumny and hardship to deliver.

If Trump welcomes Zelensky, likely all Washington will be behind him because of broad, bipartisan support for Ukraine. 

And if Trump green-lights even closer U.S.-Ukraine ties, both sides could take many practical additional steps to make Ukraine, Europe, and the transatlantic community more safe, more free, and more prosperous.

The post Mr. President, It’s Time to Meet With Ukraine’s New Leader appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Things Haven’t Always Been This Way

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 03:02

Here’s a suggestion. How about setting up some high school rifle clubs? Students would bring their own rifles to school, store them with the team coach and, after classes, collect them for practice.

You say: “Williams, you must be crazy! To prevent gun violence, we must do all we can to keep guns out of the hands of kids.”

There’s a problem with this reasoning. Prior to the 1960s, many public high schools had shooting clubs.

In New York City, shooting clubs were started at Boys, Curtis, Commercial, Manual Training, and Stuyvesant high schools. Students carried their rifles to school on the subway and turned them over to their homeroom or gym teacher. Rifles were retrieved after school for target practice.

In some rural areas across the nation, there was a long tradition of high school students hunting before classes and storing their rifles in the trunks of their cars, parked on school grounds, during the school day.

Today, any school principal permitting rifles clubs or allowing rifles on school grounds would be fired, possibly imprisoned.

Here’s my question: Have .30-30 caliber Winchesters and .22 caliber rifles changed to become more violent? If indeed rifles have become more violent, what can be done to pacify them? Will rifle psychiatric counseling help to stop these weapons from committing gun violence?

You say: “Williams, that’s lunacy! Guns are inanimate objects and as such cannot act.”

You’re right. Only people can act. That means that we ought to abandon the phrase “gun violence” because guns cannot act and hence cannot be violent.

If guns haven’t changed, it must be that people, and what’s considered acceptable behavior, have changed. Violence with guns is just a tiny example.

What explains a lot of what we see today is growing cultural deviancy.

Twenty-nine percent of white children, 53% of Hispanic children, and 73% of black children are born to unmarried women. The absence of a husband and father in the home is a strong contributing factor to poverty, school failure, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance, and a host of other social problems.

By the way, the low marriage rate among blacks is relatively new. Census data shows that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults from 1890 to 1940. According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year only 11% of black children and 3% of white children were born to unwed mothers.

In 1954, I graduated from Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School, the city’s poorest school. During those days, there were no school policemen. Today, close to 400 police patrol Philadelphia schools.

According to federal education data, in the 2015-16 school year, 5.8% of the nation’s 3.8 million teachers were physically attacked by a student. Almost 10% were threatened with injury.

Other forms of cultural deviancy are found in the music accepted today that advocates murder, rape, and other vile acts. In previous generations, people were held responsible for their behavior. Today, society at large pays for irresponsible behavior.

Years ago, there was little tolerance for the crude behavior and language that are accepted today.

To see men sitting while a woman was standing on a public conveyance was once unthinkable. Children addressing adults by their first name, and their use of foul language in the presence of, and often to, teachers and other adults was unacceptable.

A society’s first line of defense is not the law or the criminal justice system, but customs, traditions, and moral values. These behavioral norms, mostly imparted by example, word-of-mouth, and religious teachings, represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error.

Police and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society.

Today’s true tragedy is that most people think what we see today has always been so. As such, today’s Americans accept behavior that our parents and grandparents never would have accepted.


The post Things Haven’t Always Been This Way appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Hiking the Minimum Wage Will Hurt, Not Help, Low-Income Americans

Heritage Foundation - Wed, 2019-07-17 03:01

Democrats in Congress have again brought the minimum wage to the national political stage.

Legislation moving forward in the House, H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act, would increase the national minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour in increments spanning the next five years.

The minimum wage is a highly partisan issue, reflecting the very different ways the two parties view economic reality.

When the Pew Research Center surveyed voters during the 2016 presidential campaign, 82% of supporters of Hillary Clinton favored raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, while only 21% of supporters of Donald Trump favored the idea.

What drives the difference between the parties?

Some would like to say it’s because Republicans are pro-business and Democrats are pro-worker. Some would like to say it’s because Republicans are for the wealthy and Democrats are for those with low incomes.

But I reject this take on things.

The thrust of all my work focuses on improving the lot of low-income Americans. And I think the minimum wage is a terrible idea.

I operate a business, albeit a nonprofit business. 

How do I decide how much to pay employees? I determine what I can afford, and then try to get the best people I can at that wage.  

Suppose what I decide I can afford is not enough to attract the kind of person I am looking for. I won’t get any applicants. I’ve got to figure out how I can pay more, or if it is viable to hire people less qualified and hope they will learn on the job, and then not quit if their salary does not grow with their performance.

In short, these are dynamic and highly personalized calculations between a business owner, workers, and the marketplace.

How can it possibly work if the government gets involved, telling me what I should pay people? It can’t work, and it doesn’t work.

Minimum wage advocates want to claim that it’s different on the lowest rung of the pay scale. But no, it’s not different.

Every employer pays as much as he or she can to get the best possible workforce. 

If the government sets a floor on what can be paid for a certain kind of job, either the job won’t be filled, someone overqualified will do it, or automation will substitute.

There are tons of research on the minimum wage, but the bottom line is common sense. All employers will hire the best workforce they can afford. If government limits what they can afford, the workforce will be constrained.

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office confirms that commonsense conclusion. Although a $15-an-hour minimum wage would lift some 1.3 million out of poverty, at the same time, 1.3 million jobs would be lost in the mid-range scenario, and 3.7 million jobs would be lost in the worst-case scenario.

This is even giving Democrats pause.

But what is missing from this analysis is how many would benefit from minimizing government interference in the marketplace altogether, rather than government stepping in and manipulating and distorting the marketplace.

The bread and butter of Democratic politicians is persuading voters that they can make their lives better by expanding government and getting it more involved in private lives. 

But data convincingly shows that the most prosperous nations are the ones with the freest economies.

Democrats also cause collateral damage by getting many Americans to believe what isn’t true; namely, that politicians can make their lives better.

The headline of a Wall Street Journal report on July 10  read: “A Record Expansion’s Surprise Winners: The Low-Skilled.” The subheadline read: “As unemployment remains at near generation lows, the fortunes of low-wage workers have improved markedly.”

Want to help those struggling at the bottom? Reduce regulations. Cut taxes. Minimize government interference. And unleash the creative human potential of the free market.

Copyright 2019

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Categories: Public Policy