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Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Wyoming Oil Lease Sale Over ‘Climate Change’

Thu, 2019-03-21 12:44

A federal judge temporarily blocked new oil lease auctions in Wyoming on Tuesday after finding the Department of the Interior “did not sufficiently consider climate change” when proposing the lease sales, The Washington Post reports.

Washington, D.C., District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled the government violated federal law and did not fully study the environmental impact of oil development on 300,000 acres of federal land.

Contreras did not void leases already sold, but he ordered the Bureau of Land Management to redo the environmental reviews used to approve the leases. The BLM must include in the redone reviews the effects of each new oil well on overall emissions in the U.S., including the pumped oil’s downstream effects, Contreras’ ruling said.

“Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling,” he wrote, according to the Post.

Former President Barack Obama appointed Contreras to the federal bench in March 2012.

Contreras’ ruling came after the activist groups WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility sued the federal government over the lease sale in 2016.

“In spite of the President’s commitment to US leadership in moving towards a clean energy future … Federal Defendants continue to authorize the sale and issuance of hundreds of federal oil and gas leases on public lands across the Interior West without meaningfully acknowledging or evaluating the climate change implications of their actions,” the two groups wrote in their lawsuit, according to Ars Technica.

The BLM’s original environmental assessments included information on Wyoming’s climate and how climate change might factor into its future. The assessments granted that oil drilling in the area would increase the effects of climate change but declined to say by how much. Accurately predicting how many oil wells would eventually be dug is too difficult for any meaningful analysis, the BLM said, according to Ars.

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The post Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Wyoming Oil Lease Sale Over ‘Climate Change’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Pentagon’s $80 Billion in Unspent Funds Shows Need for a Better Budget Process

Thu, 2019-03-21 12:13

Inside Defense magazine recently reported that the Department of Defense returned $80 billion to the Treasury in canceled funds over the past six years. That has drawn charges from some corners of Congress that the Pentagon has more money than it knows what to do with.

If only.

While $80 billion is indeed a startling number, the return of canceled funds is more indicative of the byzantine nature of our federal budget than evidence of mismanagement, waste, or excessive appropriations.

Article I of the Constitution states that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” That places Congress, the appropriating branch of government, squarely in the driver’s seat regarding the use of taxpayer dollars.

Congress, therefore, makes rules to ensure that the money it appropriates will be spent on a certain thing during a certain time frame. But while these rules facilitate oversight, they do not ensure efficiency.

The result is that the defense funds are spread through multiple accounts, each with differing expiration dates and rules. For example, operations and maintenance funds must be obligated in the same year as they are appropriated, whereas military construction funds can be obligated over a five-year period.

After the initial period for all obligating funds, the Defense Department has an additional five years in which it can adjust expenditures and outlays of those funds, but it cannot incur any new obligations.

What the heck does that mean?

Well, suppose that over the five-year period, a project needed less personnel than expected. The Pentagon can’t just take those “savings” and spend it on something else. At the end of the five years, the unspent funds are “canceled” and must be returned to the Treasury.

Those canceled funds, reportedly totaling $80 billion between 2013 and 2018, are the ones that have so recently captured the attention of Congress in news reports.

(Photo: Defense Acquisition University)

Naturally, since this is government, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Further complicating the Defense Department’s efforts to budget and spend efficiently is Congress’ all-too-frequent failure to enact appropriations when it’s supposed to.

Too often, lawmakers fail to agree on appropriations by the start of a new fiscal year, leaving government to operate on continuing resolutions—i.e., last year’s budget.

The longer lawmakers dither over appropriations, the less time the Pentagon has to obligate the new fiscal year’s funds. Instead of one year, there might be a little under five months, as was the case in 2017, or nine and a half months, as in 2015.

Adding up all the days spent under a continuing resolution in between 2013 and 2018, the Defense Department lost, on average, four and a half months of every fiscal year.

Considering the reduced time available, it’s impressive that the Defense Department was able to obligate most of one year’s worth of resources in under eight months.

That raises the question of how much does the $80 billion represent of the defense budget. According to the data available, the Department of Defense returned an average of $13.5 billion per year. Over the past six years, the base defense budget (excluding war funding) has averaged $509 billion. Thus, on average, the department had 2.6 percent of its budget canceled.

When you consider that the planning process for the defense budget, under ideal circumstances, starts close to three years before the start of the fiscal year and ends eight months before, getting it 97 percent right is an amazing accomplishment.

If you were budgeting your lunch money for three years from today, you would probably be delighted to get it 90 percent right.

It becomes even more impressive when you consider the volatile and uncertain environments in which the Pentagon operates—namely, war zones, contingency operations, and evolving technologies.

Another important caveat is the “use it or lose it” pressure that exists at every level of every government agency. Washington is littered with stories of financial managers who reach the final months of the fiscal year with leftover money and rush to spend before they have to hand it back.

Economists Jeffrey Liebman and Neale Mahoney have determined that, in the area of information technology, projects approved near the end of the fiscal year have substantially lower quality ratings.

If the choice is between returning the money to the Treasury or making a bad-quality decision with taxpayer dollars, the preference should always be to return the money.

The $80 billion returned to the Treasury is not a sign of waste, mismanagement, or budget padding. Rather, it is a symptom of a budget process that optimizes oversight, not efficiency.

The constraints and limitations that Congress imposes on the Pentagon will inevitably lead to a fraction of the resources being returned to the Treasury. Until we change our current convoluted system, it’s an unfortunate part of the cost of doing business.F

The post Pentagon’s $80 Billion in Unspent Funds Shows Need for a Better Budget Process appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Instead of Criticizing McCain, Trump Should Embrace Kindness, Humility

Thu, 2019-03-21 11:23

President Donald Trump made a rare appearance at a church last Sunday. It’s a safe bet the sermon was not based on Proverbs 15:1—”A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If it was, it didn’t appear to have much effect.

Before and after church, the president engaged in a tweet storm that insulted several people, including the late Sen. John McCain.

Trump accuses McCain of being complicit in the leak of the Steele dossier, a private intelligence report compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele for the political research firm Fusion GPS, which, among other things, alleges that in Moscow Donald Trump booked ” … the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew President and Michelle Obama (whom he hated) had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia,” and, while in the company of prostitutes, defiled the bed.

According to Newsweek, ” … major parts of the dossier have been verified by subsequent investigations into Russian election meddling.” Trump’s behavior at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow, however, remains unverified.

The president referred to McCain as “last in his class at Annapolis.” This was too much for McCain’s daughter, Meghan, who said on “The View” that the president is leading “a pathetic life,” adding, “He spends his weekend obsessing over great men, because he knows it, and I know it, and all of you know it, he will never be a great man.”

This is the problem with insults and anger. They invite similar responses. Nothing is affected by harshness, except a general degrading of the office and of the people who shoot rhetorical arrows at others.

Are such things a cause of our deep decline into the cesspool of decadence, or are they a reflection of much of the country’s mood? I fear it is the latter, but good examples can set a higher tone.

It is why we instruct our children not to call other people names. Don’t we? If we do, why do so many tolerate it with Trump?

Among the many problems with the president’s behavior is that it is unnecessary. It is also offensive. It is unnecessary because he is keeping most of his promises, including the naming of constitutionalists to the courts and presiding over a roaring economy that has lifted many boats previously thought to have sunk forever.

According to a new CNN poll, seven out of 10 respondents say the economy is in “good shape,” a prerequisite for any president seeking re-election.

One can favor the policies of the president while criticizing his behavior.

“Uncouth” is one word that comes to mind. It was used in an email to me by a prominent conservative talk show host (not Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, in case you are wondering), who is also tired of the president’s insults. Uncouth is defined as “lacking good manners, refinement, or grace.” Does this not accurately describe this president?

He threatens to sue “Saturday Night Live” for Alec Baldwin’s satirical portrayal of him. He should go on the show, as Sarah Palin did, and demonstrate he can take it as well as dish it out. It might boost his likability.

Kindness, grace, and humility go a long way, and accomplish more than perpetual anger and demeaning people with whom one disagrees. The president should try it, not in a manipulative way, but seriously.

My grandmother—and I suspect many other grandmothers—used to remind me of an old saying: “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” It means you can accomplish more with being polite and kind than with vitriol and hate.

Perhaps at church Sunday there was a Bible in the pew. The president should have opened it to Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Try it, Mr. President. It works. This advice is offered by one who wishes you success.

The post Instead of Criticizing McCain, Trump Should Embrace Kindness, Humility appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Katrina Trinko Named Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Signal

Thu, 2019-03-21 03:02

Katrina Trinko, managing editor of The Daily Signal since the 2014 debut of The Heritage Foundation’s multimedia news organization, has been named editor-in-chief.

Rob Bluey, formerly editor-in-chief, announced Trinko’s promotion Wednesday to Heritage’s communications team.

Bluey assumes the title of executive editor of The Daily Signal while remaining The Heritage Foundation’s vice president for communications. Trinko retains the title of director.

“Five years ago, Heritage embarked on an ambitious project to launch our own news outlet. One of our first decisions was to hire Kate,” Bluey said of Trinko, adding:

It’s because of her leadership and commitment to outstanding journalism that The Daily Signal is a must-read source of news and commentary. I congratulate her on this promotion and look forward to working with her to continue growing our reach and influence.

Trinko, 31, will continue to co-host The Daily Signal Podcast, which delivers news, analysis, and interviews from a conservative perspective five days a week. She may have a little more trouble making time to write hard-hitting commentary, as she has for nearly five years on everything from religious freedom and the media pack to gender identity and the “Me Too” movement.

She remains a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors, writing columns on topics ranging from education and culture to immigration and technology.

“I’m honored to become the editor-in-chief of an outlet focused on illustrating how Washington’s policy decisions affect the lives of everyday Americans, as well as producing robust, data-driven op-eds that highlight the conservative perspective,” Trinko said.

The Daily Signal’s growth in influence is reflected in 26.8 million site visits in 2018 and 400,000 subscribers to the “Morning Bell” email that arrives in inboxes weekdays.

In addition to news stories, podcasts, and video reports on key issues, The Daily Signal is known for timely commentary and analysis, much of it provided by more than 100 policy experts at The Heritage Foundation.

The Daily Signal launched in June 2014, although Trinko was hired as managing editor six months earlier. The former National Review reporter joined Bluey and Heritage’s communications team in envisioning and setting up a digital news and opinion site zeroing in on public policy and policy debates that affect the lives of Americans.

As director and managing editor, Bluey said, she has led the day-to-day operations of The Daily Signal by setting the primary news and commentary focus; assigning news stories and commentary pieces; managing editors, reporters, and contributors; and pushing the team to stay competitive in a crowded, evolving media landscape.

In her new role as editor-in-chief, he said, Trinko will be responsible for directing The Daily Signal’s editorial content with the goal of “persuading and activating audiences needed to achieve conservative policy victories.”

As The Daily Signal approaches its fifth anniversary in June, he said, Trinko will continue to be responsible for ensuring that it adheres to high editorial standards, covers and explains Heritage’s key policy goals, and innovates to achieve future growth.

Before joining Heritage and The Daily Signal in January 2014, Trinko was a reporter for National Review and National Review Online for four years. She covered Congress, political campaigns, and state governments.

A California native, Trinko holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and philosophy from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California. She interned in the newsroom of The Bulletin in Philadelphia and later at National Review before becoming a staff member there.

The post Katrina Trinko Named Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Signal appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Founder of Black Guns Matter Speaks Out: ‘Gun Control Is About People Control’

Thu, 2019-03-21 03:01

Maj Toure, founder of Black Guns Matter, comes from inner-city Philadelphia, where he teaches black youth about their Second Amendment rights. Read the interview posted below, or listen to the podcast.

We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump is in favor of the public having access to special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer has announced that he will soon introduce a measure to re-name a Senate office building after the late Sen. John McCain.
  • A new poll shows what Americans really think of the political humor on “Saturday Night Live.”

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

Daniel Davis: We’re joined now by Maj Toure. He is the founder of a group called Black Guns Matter. Maj, thanks for joining us.

Maj Toure: Thanks for having me.

Davis: So Maj, I want to ask you about your organization. But first I want to ask you about how you got involved in defending the Second Amendment.

Toure: I’m from North Philly. And where I’m from, a lot of times the conversation about firearms is spoken in hush tones. The left has made a very good job of convincing urban America that firearms aren’t for them. The Second Amendment doesn’t relate to them.

So in seeing that, my friends across the country are catching firearms charges. It’s not because they robbed somebody, but because they didn’t know you have to fill out this paperwork because you bought the firearm legally, but here are the carry laws in your particular city or state.

That’s something that we can educate people … turning people into felons for things of missing information. That’s something that we can inform people about. We started Black Guns Matter to do just that, to inform people in urban America while cutting down on a conflict.

We deal with conflict resolution, de-escalation, and things of that nature, but it started to turn into a whole political situation. Now we’re informing people about the Second Amendment from urban America, expressing or exposing them to conflict resolution and de-escalation as well as getting them politically involved. If you are not politically involved, all of this is for naught.

Davis: Yeah. So tell me about how people think about their own rights when in the inner city, when they think about guns. Obviously, you mentioned, guns are spoken about differently because of their association with crime. How do people understand their own rights?

Toure: They understand their own rights by being presented with the information. A lot of times what’s happening in certain urban demographics is the information, civics are removed from the schools. So from a very beginning space where we had a young impressionable mind that we could identify with conservative ideology and liberty and freedom-based ideology, to be perfectly honest, that information is switched in certain demographics. So that’s the first one, education.

The second thing is getting involved—going to a range, understanding the mechanics and the safety components that go along with firearms, and then seeing if it’s for you.

We’re not an organization that says you have to have a gun right now. What we want you to do is be well informed and educated. And if you decide to have a firearm as a means of protection for yourself, your loved ones, and your family, then you do so.

Doing that and making that choice from a well-informed, responsible, and safe perspective is really the key. Especially in the spot where all of the demographics are saying, “gun control, gun control, gun control, gun control.” On top of that, it’s “homicide, homicide, homicide, homicide.”

Gun control is about people control. It’s not about safety. It’s not about making Americans safer. It’s not about respecting our freedoms. It’s about taking large percentages of American populations—urban centers; urban metropolises; New York City, 8.5, sometimes 9 million people—and telling them they do not have the right as stated in the Second Amendment to defend their lives. Our organization is there to push that back and the education and the understanding is how we do it.

Davis: Just to zoom out a little bit, just from the Second Amendment. Speaking in general, conservatives engaging urban communities. … I’m hearing a lot more interest here at The Heritage Foundation. [Heritage Foundation President] Kay Coles James has talked a lot about that. What are … some strategies for expanding the movement into urban communities?

Toure: The first thing is, you have to understand that most of urban America is conservative in their values, they just don’t know what the conservative movement is. That’s one.

Two, you have to have liaisons. We’ve been doing this work for three years already. The left has done a much better job at presenting conservative ideology than the right has. And then presenting it in a negative fashion. So because of that, urban environments do not trust you. They do not trust the conservative movement for the most part. You have to have liaisons.

It’s just like the mob, and I hate to use the crude reference. If we don’t know you, are you co-signing for this person? If we don’t know him, we’re not even talking to them. Even if I and you are saying the exact same thing, if that demographic, my demographic does not know you, they do not trust you.

What happens a lot of times is our ego says, “Well, I have the truth, I’m right. I’m factually accurate.” You’re not factoring in the PR that’s been put on a demographic that you want to reach to, even if the information that you have is accurate, and what help that demographic and in turn help America.

What the conservative movement can do is link up with organizations like Black Guns Matter that are already in and we have a trust system. I’m from the place. It’s breathing to me. Other than that, you’re going to be spinning your wheels, you know what I mean? So you got to get behind it.

And my demographic supports people that go, “Hey, we’re supporting and getting behind this work.” And my demographic goes, “Oh, this is cool?” “Yeah. They got a lot of information that you should be on.” You have to have liaisons. That’s true in any scenario. So I think that’s what the conservative movement can do a lot more to get a lot better at that, a lot better.

Davis: If that happens, are you optimistic that you can cut around some of the indoctrination in public schools to really engage? Are you optimistic about what can happen?

Toure: Absolutely optimistic, absolutely optimistic. The reason why there’s optimism is because of the fact that it’s what we’ve already done. You go to our classes, it’s not just at the range and just teaching somebody about stance, grip, sight alignment, and things of that nature. A firearm is a tool, a tool to defend freedom.

Everybody from urban America understands the want and desire for freedom. Period. Everybody in urban America for the most part isn’t rich. So they understand being fiscally responsible and conservative. Everybody in urban America—whether they black, white, Spanish, Asian—doesn’t matter. They like Wakanda. They like Black Panther. What more conservative nation could you use, even in fiction land?

My point there is there’s an identification with the concept. It’s just the people that are there to present the information before we started doing this work were far and few in between. So there’s hope because … when we present our classes, we’re presenting information that is legit, that we can go, “Yo, hop on your phone right now and don’t believe me, research it.”

When you tie those dots and connect those dots and cross those T’s and dot those I’s, my hood, all hoods across America go, “I understand this, I relate to it. Now I have a label for it.”

It’s just that we need more responsible conservatives that may not be from urban America to understand that we need urban America. And that’s how we get this W in this fight, to be perfectly honest.

Davis: Maj Toure, I really appreciate you coming on. Where can folks find your website?

Toure: For one, people can come get at me on all social media at @MajToure. And if something that I’ve said to the people that are listening right now, if there’s something that you agree with and if you want to support, our classes are free, based on everyone paying it forward.

If you want to go to GoFundMe.com/blackgunsmatter, donate $5, donate $50. If you one of these super-rich guys and women walking around here donate $50,000, it’ll help a whole lot to do the work that’s necessary for us to preserve our liberties and our freedoms.

Davis: All right. Maj Toure, thanks so much for joining us.

Toure: Thank you for having me.

The post Founder of Black Guns Matter Speaks Out: ‘Gun Control Is About People Control’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Arizona Lawmaker Calls National Debt an ‘Existential Threat’ to the Country

Wed, 2019-03-20 18:48

A House Freedom Caucus member is working to help Congress and America realize the urgency of the country’s national debt, which hit $22 trillion last month.

“Our tremendous national debt, our annual structural deficit, is really …  an existential threat to the United States of America,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said on the third installment of the House Freedom Caucus’ new podcast, which will be released Thursday.

“We have to address it in Congress and in my opinion, we spend so much time on other bills that we don’t get to the nub of our real crisis,” Biggs added on the podcast, which is hosted by Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga.

Biggs said his resolution, which was introduced Feb. 26, is meant to recognize the severity of the national debt.

Specifically, the resolution calls for a focus on the debt and says that the national debt is a threat to the United States’ national security. It also advocates changing how Congress budgets.

“First of all, you have to elevate the discourse to see change in society and this would elevate the discourse,” Biggs said.

The Arizona lawmaker also said he hopes his resolution will restore regular order in Congress.

In the congressional tradition known as regular order, the House Appropriations Committee passes 12 spending bills covering different aspects of government from transportation and social services to foreign policy and defense. Then the full House does the same, and the Senate follows suit. Finally, the president signs the 12 appropriations bills into law.

Congress hasn’t followed this process for more than 20 years, as The Daily Signal previously reported.

“We’re supposed to pass 12 bills that appropriate our money or spend our money and we would have full debate on it,” Biggs said. “We would have amendments come from the floor, we would start acting again like a legislative body.”

Hice, who is a co-sponsor of the resolution, says it’s time that Congress have to adhere to a budget the same way most American families have to.

“All families in America have to balance their own budget they have,” Hice said. “But that’s just not the case up here in Washington.”

To help streamline the process, Biggs said he would do away with the budget committee.

“The American people, I think, would love their representatives in Congress to be open and transparent and to balance a budget,” Biggs said, adding:

That’s why my resolution’s out there, is to try to get our leaders to restore the method we’re supposed to, where we actually have committee hearings. You have 12 bills, you get them done on time, you allow people like you and me and anybody else that wants to go down to offer amendments either to reduce spending, save a program, whatever it is—it’s what they think is important to their constituency, and for this country, …  and you have that debate on the floor.

Until you start doing that, we’re not going to ever change.

The post Arizona Lawmaker Calls National Debt an ‘Existential Threat’ to the Country appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

How Trump’s Tariffs Hiked Taxes on Americans by $14.4 Billion in 2018

Wed, 2019-03-20 18:42

Each year, the Council of Economic Advisers releases the “Economic Report of the President,” which assesses the state of the U.S. economy and the impact of the current administration’s policies.

The 2019 report was published this week, and it contains valuable information on the economic effects of the Trump administration’s approach to trade.

According to the report, “the tariffs implemented in 2018 raised the U.S. average applied tariff by 1.1 percentage points, from 1.5 percent in January 2018 to 2.6 percent in November 2018.”

Oftentimes, this statistic is misunderstood as a tax on foreigners. That isn’t accurate. The U.S. average applied-tariff rate is the average rate that it costs for Americans to purchase things from abroad.

When this data point increases, it means that it’s more expensive for Americans to import.

The simplest way to measure the cost increase for Americans is to look at government tariff revenue. In 2018, the Council of Economic Advisers reports, $14.4 billion in revenue was collected from goods subject to new tariffs. Put another way, the Trump administration increased taxes on Americans by $14.4 billion last year.

Tariffs typically benefit a small group of people, leaving these costs to be dispersed across the economy. For example, the tariffs on steel and aluminum—vital inputs for many U.S. manufacturers—caused both the imported and domestic prices of those products to rise.

As a result, the report notes, “employment in alumina and aluminum production rose by 100 jobs … [and] iron and steel mills and ferroalloy production employment [increased] by 6,200” between March and December 2018.

On the other hand, manufacturers that use these inputs had to modify supply chains or apply for exclusion from the tariffs to avoid paying higher tariffs. Many companies were unsuccessful in those efforts and instead found ways to offset the higher prices, such as through cutting investment or decreasing labor costs.

Sometimes, the real impact on individuals is hidden because businesses work to absorb as much of the increased costs as they can. Despite these factors, the Council of Economic Advisers did not assess the negative effects of the steel and aluminum tariffs.

The report does acknowledge that the tariffs imposed on washing machines in January 2018 had mixed effects.

Domestic production “increased by 2 percent between December 2017 and [December] 2018,” but the consumer price index “for washers and laundry equipment increased by 12 percent.”

The cost increases for the industry could also be related to the tariffs on steel and aluminum, but the Council of Economic Advisers did not take that into account.

Imposing new tariffs on imports has been a cornerstone of trade policy for the administration. The council argues that the tariffs “are designed to protect American workers, firms, and national security.”

However, those objectives are being addressed by imposing new taxes on American families and businesses.

The better—indeed, the best—way to achieve the Trump administration’s economic policy goals is to embrace the conservative principles of greater freedom and smaller government.

In the context of trade, that means focusing on opening new markets for U.S. exports, rather than making it more expensive for Americans to purchase from abroad.

The post How Trump’s Tariffs Hiked Taxes on Americans by $14.4 Billion in 2018 appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

South Carolina Democrats Fight Against University Constitution Course

Wed, 2019-03-20 18:23

South Carolina Democrats argued for more than an hour to prevent legislation that would require state universities to teach a “Constitution 101” course Tuesday.

The Republican-proposed bill would update an existing 1924 requirement to teach the course, which the University of South Carolina has hitherto ignored. The legislation has already passed in the Senate, but Democrats in a Tuesday House subcommittee hearing argued the update would be too burdensome on students both financially and academically.

The bill would require students to take a three-credit, semester-long class covering America’s founding documents, including the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers.

Democratic South Carolina state Reps. Ivory Thigpen and Wendy Brawley argued the cost of the course, which Thigpen referred to as “Constitution 101,” may be transferred onto students. They also pointed to a representative from the university who argued against the bill’s requirement that students pass a comprehensive exam covering the course material to graduate.

Republican South Carolina state Rep. Garry Smith, R-27th District, who is sponsoring the bill in the House, pointed to several classes not required by law that the university could stop offering if it wanted to cut costs, such as a class on “Global Citizenship.”

“I would argue that if you can’t pass a comprehensive exam on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then maybe you shouldn’t graduate,” Smith said.

The bill is the latest attempt from South Carolina Republicans to get the university to require a class that is already mandated by law. The first push came in 2014, which University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides rebuffed with a letter listing several reasons the university would offer, but not require, the class. The primary reason was a mandate to test students for “loyalty to the United States.”

“It appears that an update of these statutes is necessary to strike the balance between compliance and application,” Pastides wrote at the time. “The University of South Carolina is committed to working with members of the General Assembly on a favorable solution.”

The updated legislation appears to address each of Pastides’ concerns, putting the university in a difficult situation should it again insist on not requiring the class.

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

The post South Carolina Democrats Fight Against University Constitution Course appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

GOP Lawmaker to Introduce Bill to Keep Supreme Court Justices at 9

Wed, 2019-03-20 18:16

A lawmaker from Tennessee plans to introduce a bill in Congress to keep the Supreme Court at nine justices amid efforts by some Democrats to increase the number to as many as 15.

“This Thursday, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment that would limit the number of Supreme Court justices to 9—the number of seats since 1869,” Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., tweeted Tuesday. “The Supreme Court must remain a fair and impartial branch of government, not beholden to party.”

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told Politico that they would consider increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

“We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court,” Harris said. “We have to take this challenge head-on, and everything is on the table to do that.”

President Donald Trump pushed back on the idea, however, at a joint press conference Tuesday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the White House.

“We would have no interest in that whatsoever. It will never happen,” Trump vowed, at least not for as long as he’s in office. “It won’t happen. I guarantee, it won’t happen for six years.”

Since 1869, the number of Supreme Court justices has been held at nine.

The number of justices was originally set at six with the Judiciary Act of 1789, then raised to seven in 1807, and bumped up to nine in 1837 before rising to 10 justices in 1863.

It dropped back to seven in 1866, when Congress passed the Judicial Circuits Act and kept President Andrew Johnson from adding new justices to the court, and in 1869, the number was set at nine, where it has remained since.

In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt sought to pack the Supreme Court to protect programs in the Democrat’s New Deal that were challenged, and often overturned, by the high court, but his push was rejected by Congress.

Even Roosevelt’s fellow Democrats in Congress rejected his call for what came to be known as his “court-packing” scheme, as did his own vice president, John Nance Garner.

>>> The Left Is Doubling Down on Schemes to Pack the Supreme Court

Green said he views Democrats’ efforts to add justices to the court as a threat to American democracy.

“Schemes to pack the court are dangerous to the Founders’ vision of an independent judiciary that serves as a check on both the executive and legislative branches of government,” the freshman lawmaker said.

On the Senate side, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a constitutional amendment Tuesday night to “prevent this court-packing scheme.”

Ironically same people always preaching about our “constitutional norms” want to change the ones they find inconvenient.

In addition to getting rid of #ElectoralCollege they also want to pack #SCOTUS.

I will soon file a bill to prevent this court packing scheme.

2/2

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 19, 2019

Thomas Jipping, deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that Democrats’ efforts to add justices to the Supreme Court is a bad idea.

“The federal courts have been politicized too much already, and the recent, reckless talk about ‘court-packing’ is irresponsible,” Jipping said. “The real issue is what judges are supposed to do in our system of government, not the number of judges on a particular court.”  

Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, told The Daily Signal in an email that the effort to pack the court is a partisan push.

“Democrats are so, so desperate to turn the courts into a rubber stamp for their political agenda that they are now talking openly about packing the Supreme Court,” Severino said. “This is a thinly disguised effort to bully and intimidate the court’s justices into serving as a rubber stamp for a liberal political agenda, and it threatens to destroy the independence of the judicial branch.”

The post GOP Lawmaker to Introduce Bill to Keep Supreme Court Justices at 9 appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Our ‘Inclusive’ Society Wants to Erase Down Syndrome Kids Like My Son

Wed, 2019-03-20 18:11

We live in a society that pretends to value tolerance above all else. Yet there are entire people groups in America that can be exploited, discriminated against, and even killed—and no national outrage ensues.

Take pregnant women. There is an entire industry set up to market abortions to pregnant women on the basis that they are not capable of parenting, and that giving up their child for adoption is somehow a deficient option. The pre-born child, for his part, can be killed for simply being “unwanted”—or, in cases like that of my son, for having a diagnosis that makes him disposable in the eyes of many Americans.

Sam was born with Down syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality that causes those with it to often look and act differently than “typical” people. Unlike many children with his diagnosis who are discriminatorily aborted before they’re ever born, Sam’s birth mother chose to carry him to term and place him for adoption.

My wife and I adopted Sam, and we were ready to contend with the medical issues that sometimes accompany Down syndrome. Every child deserves this, and it is discrimination to think or behave otherwise.

Sam was born weighing 4 pounds and 12 ounces at 34 weeks. He was a twin. But while his twin was physically healthy, Sam had some major challenges.

During pregnancy, his mother used cocaine and drank—not in excess, but enough to affect her child. Along with that, one major effect of Down syndrome was that Sam was born with two holes in his heart, and one of those was very large.

The large hole, called a ventricular septal defect, was about a third the size of his heart. This caused blood to flow back and forth between the chambers of his heart, limiting the amount of blood being pumped out to feed the body. This causes the heart to have to work harder than it should, resulting in enlargement over time. That’s what you’d expect from any muscle that works hard, but the heart needs to remain supple in order to work effectively.

To too many in our society, people like my son are disposable.

Another side effect of this condition is that fluid begins to fill around the heart and can fill the lungs. If left unchecked, this will eventually suffocate the person.

To counteract this, Sam was put on diuretics to help his body flush the extra fluid, and he was put on fluid restrictions to keep too much fluid from coming into his body.

Open-heart surgery was the solution to all of this.

But in order to have the surgery, we had to get Sam’s weight up to 10 pounds so that he could be placed on the heart-lung bypass. This also would give the surgeon just enough room to get his hands inside that tiny chest and do his work.

We did everything we could to get calories into Sam to help him grow without giving him more fluid than he was allowed. At times, we put straight canola oil into his bottle to try to beef him up. There were some powders that added calories without liquid, but you could only use one at a time or it would thicken the formula too much.

We did everything we could to ensure Sam could have that lifesaving surgery.

But Sam’s heart was enlarging too quickly, and his weight was plateauing. He wasn’t going to make it to 10 pounds.

At this time, he was just below 8 pounds. Our cardiologist agreed that things were dire, so we convinced her to call the surgeon so that we could try to convince him to do the surgery now. Sam was going to die if he didn’t have this surgery—there was no more time to get him to 10 pounds. If we did the surgery, at least he would have a chance at survival.

The surgeon agreed to try.

Sam was going to die if he didn’t have this surgery—there was no more time to get him to 10 pounds.

Sam had never known life outside the womb without oxygen tubes, apnea monitors, heart monitors, and all the wires that go with them. For four months, our home had been filled with a constant symphony of bells and beeps and the hissing of oxygen. We prepared ourselves and said goodbye to Sam, then handed him over for surgery, not knowing if we would see him again.

Four days later, Sam came home with no wires, no monitors, no oxygen. It was incredible. By God’s grace, the surgery worked.

Today, Sam is a strong, healthy 16-year-old. He is funny and stubborn. He can be the kindest, most sincere brother to his siblings, and he can also be a complete pain in the neck to them.

He loves books and basketball, riding his bike, and swimming in the pool. He always wants to be with other people, and he’s never met a stranger he didn’t like. His smile lights up a room and he can make anyone feel loved.

Sam. (Photo: Sean Martin)

But to too many in our society, people like my son are disposable. Rather than experiencing human affection and parents who fight for them, a staggering number of children diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are wiped off the face of the earth through abortion.

A staggering number of children diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are wiped off the face of the earth through abortion.

Iceland boasts of having virtually “eliminated” Down syndrome. It didn’t eliminate it—it simply aborts every child who has it.

Closer to home, Texas has succeeded in outlawing abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation—exceptin cases of “fetal anomaly.” People like Sam, according to the Texas Legislature, require a legal loophole guaranteeing the right to kill them before birth.

But Sam isn’t an anomaly—he is a human being. On this World Down Syndrome Day, I celebrate Sam. I am grateful for him. He’s a young man that I am thankful for and proud to call my son, and I look forward to continuing to see what God has for him.

The post Our ‘Inclusive’ Society Wants to Erase Down Syndrome Kids Like My Son appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Left’s Identity Politics Rejects the Vision of Martin Luther King Jr.

Wed, 2019-03-20 17:48

I recently joined the board of the Leadership Institute, which sponsors Campus Reform, an important website for college news. Campus Reform is a “watchdog to the nation’s higher education system,” exposing bias and abuse on college campuses.

American universities have too often dangerously devolved into institutions of political indoctrination rather than institutions of higher learning. According to one recent study of the 60 highest-rated liberal arts colleges in the nation, more than 10 professors are registered Democrats for every registered Republican.

Campus Reform monitors universities in hopes of keeping speech free and maintaining vestiges of the pursuit of truth.

Politicization of universities is indicative of a nation that has lost a sense that there is truth and that it is incumbent upon man to seek it, grasp it, live by it, and use it to improve our world.

Students now show up at universities already armed with what they have accepted uncritically as true–gleaned from the internet, Hollywood, and other fertile corners of popular culture. Universities simply serve as platforms for them to advance their political agendas and get official stamps of approval for their careers.

A recent example is the pathetic display of two New York University students who cornered Chelsea Clinton at a vigil noting the tragedy of the murder of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

They stuck accusing fingers in Clinton’s face, claiming that her condemnation of the anti-Semitism of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., somehow fueled anti-Muslim bigotry and contributed to what resulted in the massacre of innocent Muslims in New Zealand.

According to these ignorant young accusers, Clinton’s criticism of Omar was about being anti-Muslim, anti-black, and misogynist.

Back in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his most famous speech, in which he shared, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

In a very strange turn of history, after that great struggle to fix what was broken in America and make this a greater, more just country, we have gone backward.

The color of one’s skin, one’s sex, one’s ethnicity, one’s religious heritage, and the kind of sexual partners one chooses have become the only things that matter in today’s popular left-wing culture.

Content of character and quality of thought–core requirements of a responsible citizen in a free country–no longer matter in our bizarre world gone crazy.

Clinton said nothing about Omar’s race, sex, or religion. She only criticized, very legitimately, Omar’s slanted and distorted take on Israel and the source of its support in America.

Somehow today, appreciating that America is a uniquely great nation invites the label from this same left-wing crowd, “white supremacist” which–as a black woman, I find amusing.

The retreat into labels, identity politics, is the lazy man’s formula for justice. To study, work, learn, understand, and be humble is hard work. Resorting to politics and slogans–pointing responsibility everywhere except upon oneself–is so easy. It has become so popular because it appeals to the worst in man.

The blessing of America is the Judeo-Christian principles on which it was founded.

There is no freedom without personal responsibility, without humility, without reverence for the sanctity of life and without knowledge that every human being is unique and created in the image of God.

The Ten Commandments prohibit theft and envy, the pillars of socialism–using political power to seize and redistribute private property–which the highly politicized left-wing crowd so loves.

Despite the wide success in burying the truth in today’s popular culture, it still shines in many corners of America.

Keeping that light shining defines America’s great struggle going forward.

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

The post The Left’s Identity Politics Rejects the Vision of Martin Luther King Jr. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

How State and Federal Lawmakers Can Promote Ethical Options for the Terminally Ill

Wed, 2019-03-20 17:14

During the emotionally charged debate recently over physician-assisted suicide in Maryland, one legislator told the story of a former state senator who was comatose.  He was given a mere 1 percent chance of survival, but today that senator has recovered and is alive and well.

Unlike alternative treatment options, there is no “do over” with physician-assisted suicide.

As lawmakers in several other states weigh physician-assisted suicide, the stakes could not be higher. While champions of assisted suicide often cite the futility of continuing treatment for patients believed to be terminally ill, medical prognoses are never completely certain.

By legalizing physician-assisted suicide, state lawmakers repudiate traditional medical ethics. The Hippocratic oath, which has governed Western medical ethics for over 2,000 years, says:  “I will keep [the sick] from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

If state lawmakers refuse to preserve this ancient pledge of medical morality, not only will they legalize medical killing, but they will also normalize the practice as socially acceptable. This endangers the most vulnerable members of society–the poor, the marginalized, and the mentally and physically disabled.   

Some proponents of physician-assisted suicide insist it is a humane practice, claiming it allows patients an opportunity to end their lives with dignity and on their own terms. 

Others justify assisted suicide as a “compassionate” option because they believe it prevents human suffering. Still others claim it saves families and taxpayers from the crushing burden of big medical bills.

For seniors, the rhetoric of cost control in government entitlements should be worrisome. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over 20 percent of the United States will be age 65 and over in 2030, compared to just 13 percent in 2010.

Some proponents of physician-assisted suicide insist it is a humane practice, claiming it allows patients an opportunity to end their lives with dignity and on their own terms. Others justify it as a “compassionate” option because they believe it prevents human suffering. Still others claim it saves families and taxpayers from the crushing burden of big medical bills.

For seniors, the rhetoric of cost control in government entitlements should be worrisome. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over 20 percent of the United States will be age 65 and over in 2030, compared to just 13 percent in 2010.

Medicare recipients account for approximately eight out of 10 American deaths; end-of-life care consumes about one-fourth of all Medicare spending.  

Because dying relatives are eligible for hospice benefits under Medicare and Medicaid, most families no longer face the full range of medical costs for the terminally ill.

Still, given the mounting financial pressures on federal health care entitlements, it is easy to imagine future politicians embracing some sort of utilitarian “quality of life” ethic down the road:  that some lives are, and some are not, worth living. Such an ethic would become an existential threat to the frail elderly.

Echoing the position of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine, medical professionals and senior policy specialists on a recent Heritage Foundation panel issued somber warnings and sketched a positive path forward for the care of the terminally ill.  

Farr Curlin, a physician who is a professor at Duke University, noted that patients must no longer automatically expect physicians to operate by the traditional standards of the Hippocratic oath, because the oath is no longer the reigning standard in modern medical education.   

G. Kevin Donovan, a medical practitioner from Georgetown University, told the Heritage audience that a major distinction exists between medical care at the end of life that is proportionate and disproportionate.

Disproportionate care, keeping patients alive by artificial means, is not ethically necessary or appropriate. At the same time, modern medicine has offered new avenues for palliative care options to protect patients from pain and suffering at the end of their lives.

Curlin added that justifying physician-assisted suicide to spare patients suffering is invalid.

“I can tell you that we now have measures to effectively treat pain, breathlessness, and other difficult symptoms more than we have ever had before,” he said. “And we can do that while respecting ethical guidelines that have guided the profession of medicine for centuries.”     

Debates over physician-assisted suicide present all policymakers, regardless of partisan affiliation, with an opportunity to promote positive policies on end-of-life care. For example:

1. Publicize the option of advance directives for patients’ end-of-life care. Such directives, to be carried out by family members or trusted persons, can identify the patient’s wishes, particularly when the patient is no longer able to communicate those wishes. Federal officials can educate patients on the value of such directives through Medicare and Medicaid, but they should reflect the person’s ethical, moral, and religious convictions on life.

2. Promote palliative care for the seriously ill by improving Medicare payment for team-based services.Today, that care is fragmented, and the Medicare fee-for-service payment system is disjointed. Federal policymakers should publicize palliative care as an option for the seriously ill, and rationalize Medicare payment system for palliative care episodes.   

3. Expand patient choice in hospice care beyond traditional Medicare. Open it up to Medicare patients who wish to get such care in Medicare Advantage, the popular and successful program of competing private health plans.

As for general health policy, Heritage Foundation analysts long have argued that all patients should have the right to choose health plans and providers that respect their moral and religious convictions concerning medical care, particularly at the beginning and the end of life.

Health policy is more than dollars and cents. It is also a matter of knowing and choosing what is morally right and avoiding what is morally wrong.

The post How State and Federal Lawmakers Can Promote Ethical Options for the Terminally Ill appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Equality Act’ Would Be Disastrous. Here Are 5 Likely Victim Groups.

Wed, 2019-03-20 17:13

Equality is a central value that unites us as Americans, and is enshrined in our nation’s legal motto, “Equal justice under law.”

It is egregious, then, to misuse that term, to use it to divide us and further inequality. But that’s what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has done in naming her new proposal the “Equality Act.” Far from advancing equality, the bill would rob Americans of some of their most cherished liberties.

The “Equality Act” would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law. But whereas the original Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthered equality by ensuring that African-Americans had equal access to public accommodations and material goods, the Equality Act would further penalize everyday Americans for their beliefs about marriage and biological sex.

Similar sexual orientation and gender identity laws at the state and local level have already been used in this way.

Here are five groups who would be harmed if the Equality Act were to become law.

1. Employers and Workers

The Equality Act would force employers and workers to conform to new sexual norms or else lose their businesses and jobs.

The most high-profile example involves Colorado baker Jack Phillips, whose case went all the way to the Supreme Court after the Colorado Civil Rights Commission accused him of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when he declined to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding.

Baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, manages his shop in Lakewood, Colorado. (Photo: Hyoung Chang/Getty Images)

He’s not the only victim. Other cases involving disagreement over the meaning of marriage have involved florists, bakers, photographers, wedding-venue owners, videographers, web designers, calligraphers, and public servants.

Now, Americans are being punished for their views on biological sex as well.

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, Phillips found himself in court again after an activist lawyer who identifies as transgender requested that his Masterpiece Cakeshop create a “gender transition celebration” cake.

After the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found probable cause that Phillips had discriminated on the basis of gender identity, he sued the commission for targeting him for his Christian beliefs.

Ultimately, the commission dropped the case, and Phillips agreed to drop his lawsuit against the agency.

>>> ‘A Win for Freedom’: Colorado Drops Second Case Against Christian Baker

Even when victims like Phillips win legal battles, conflicts like these have a chilling effect. They discourage people from opening new businesses or entering into certain fields entirely.

A federal sexual-orientation and gender-identity law would preclude compromise of any kind on disagreements about marriage and sexuality.

Far from advancing equality, the bill would rob Americans of some of their most cherished liberties.

Take Peter Vlaming. This high school French teacher in Virginia was dismissed under the school’s anti-discrimination policy after he refused to comply with administrators’ orders to use a female student’s preferred masculine pronouns.

Vlaming had tried to accommodate the student by avoiding pronouns altogether and by using the student’s preferred masculine name, but this was deemed insufficient by the school board.

The Equality Act would increase conflicts like these and put people out of work for their beliefs.

2. Medical Professionals

The Equality Act would force hospitals and insurers to provide—and pay for—these therapies against any moral or medical objections.

It would politicize medicine by forcing professionals to act against their best medical judgment and provide transition-affirming therapies.

That fight is already here. Catholic hospitals in California and New Jersey have been sued for declining to perform hysterectomies on otherwise healthy women who want to become male.

>>> Pelosi’s Top Legislative Priority Would Punish Dissenters on LGBT Issues?

A third Catholic hospital in Washington state settled out of court when the ACLU sued it for declining to perform a double mastectomy on a gender-dysphoric 16-year-old girl.

These cases would multiply under the Equality Act.

The bill would politicize medicine by forcing doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to offer drastic procedures—not in view of new scientific discoveries, but by ideological fiat.

3. Parents and Children

This politicization of medicine would ultimately harm families by normalizing hormonal and surgical interventions for gender-dysphoric children, as well as ideological “education” in schools and other public venues.

Some 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria no longer feel distressed by their bodies after puberty. Yet activists continue to push their own radical protocol: social transition as young as 4, puberty-blocking drugs as young as 9, cross-sex hormones as young as 14, and surgery by 18 (or, in some cases, even younger).

This protocol could become mandatory in the future.

The latest issue of the American Journal of Bioethics includes an article arguing that the state should overrule the parents of gender-dysphoric children who do not consent to giving them puberty-blocking drugs.

Mia Lemay of Melrose, Massachusetts, began transitioning to male at the age of four, taking on the name Jacob. She told her parents, “It is a mistake, I am not a girl, I am a boy.” (Photo: Jewel Samad/Getty Images)


By silencing the scientific debate on transgender-affirming therapies through the politicization of medicine, the Equality Act would further normalize this radical protocol—and create an expectation that parents comply.

The Equality Act would put at risk parental rights to make decisions about their own children’s medical treatment and education.

In fact, parents in Ohio lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter because they declined to put her on testosterone supplements.

It’s no secret that radical gender ideology has found its way into our schools (see here and here). This bill would stigmatize any and all opposition to such indoctrination.

The Equality Act would put at risk parental rights to make decisions about their own children’s medical treatment and education.  

4. Women

The Equality Act would ultimately lead to the erasure of women by dismantling sex-specific facilities, sports, and other female-only spaces.

Sexual-orientation and gender-identity laws that open up sex-specific facilities, like bathrooms locker rooms, to members of the opposite sex enable sexual assault.

For example, Pascha Thomas was forced to remove her child from school after a male classmate assaulted her five-year-old daughter in the girls’ restroom.  

The concern with these policies is that predators will take advantage of the law to gain access to victims.

The boy had access to the girls’ restroom because the school’s policy that grants students access to private facilities on the basis of self-identified gender identity.

Administrators refused to change the policy despite Thomas’ complaints. Federal authorities are now investigating the incident.

The concern with these policies is that predators will take advantage of the law to gain access to victims. Policies like these make women less likely to report incidents and law enforcement less likely to get involved, for fear of being accused of discrimination.

These policies also leave women at a disadvantage in sex-specific sports and other activities.

Two biological males who identify and compete as women easily took first and second place at the Connecticut State Track Championships last June. Selina Soule, a female runner, lost the race—and the chance to be scouted by college coaches and selected for athletic scholarships.

The Equality Act would defeat the entire purpose of Title IX, which was meant to ensure that women would have the same opportunities as men.

“We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts,” she said. “It’s demoralizing.”

Women can expect to lose more and more opportunities like these to biological males who have a natural advantage in sports and physical activities.

The Equality Act would defeat the entire purpose of Title IX, which was meant to ensure that women would have the same opportunities as men, including in sports, and would leave women vulnerable to sexual assault.

5. Nonprofits and Volunteers

The Equality Act would also hurt charities, volunteers, and the populations they serve.

State and local sexual-orientation and gender-identity laws have shut down numerous faith-based adoption and foster care agencies across the country—in Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, California, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

These states wrongly treated the belief that children do best with both a mother and a father as discriminatory—and kids are the ones who are paying the price.

With 428,000 children languishing in foster care nationwide, we need more agencies working to help kids find homes, not fewer.

Charities that hold to the reality of biological sex are under attack, too.

In Anchorage, Alaska, a biological male twice tried to gain access to the city’s Downtown Hope Center, a shelter for homeless, abused, and trafficked women.

With 428,000 children languishing in foster care nationwide, we need more agencies working to help kids find homes, not fewer.

In response, the individual sued the center for alleged “gender-identity discrimination.”

A federal sexual-orientation and gender-identity law could force any charity to open up private facilities—including sex-specific bathrooms, showers, and sleeping areas—to members of the opposite sex.

The Equality Act would cost our country countless charitable organizations, which means fewer institutions would be available to serve populations in need.

In reality, the Equality Act would further inequality—especially for women and girls—by punishing anyone who does not affirm a single viewpoint of marriage and biological sex.

A federal sexual-orientation and gender-identity law would empower the government to interfere in how regular Americans think, speak, and act at home, at school, at work, and at play.

Any bill promoting such authoritarianism is a danger to our freedoms.

The post Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Equality Act’ Would Be Disastrous. Here Are 5 Likely Victim Groups. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Ditch the Electoral College, and Small States Will Suffer

Wed, 2019-03-20 16:42

“As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.”

That’s what Franklin D. Roosevelt’s campaign manager famously joked in 1936 after Roosevelt, a Democrat, won re-election as president in a massive landslide.

It was a catchy line, oft-repeated—but it was also a joke. It referenced Maine’s long-standing reputation at the time for accurately predicting presidential elections based on its own governor’s races, which had given rise to the widely used phrase “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

Vermont may have voted the same way as Maine, but no one really thought Vermont would blindly follow Maine’s lead and trust it to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many on the left are proposing should happen. An anti-Electoral College effort working its way through state legislatures would ensure that some states would never be allowed to think for themselves.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would require signatory states to award their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote—regardless of which candidate won within their own borders.

This plan is gaining support on the left. Just this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced at a CNN town hall event that she supports abolishing the Electoral College. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has also openly opposed the Electoral College, calling it “a shadow of slavery’s power.” (She’s completely wrong about that.)

It is well past time we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic. https://t.co/00HZN3MI6F

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 6, 2018

Twelve states plus the District of Columbia (with a combined total of 181 electors) have already agreed to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. That number includes Colorado, which just joined the effort on March 15. Two additional states—New Mexico and Delaware—are gubernatorial signatures away from joining the effort.

The compact would go into effect when 270 electors—enough to win the presidency—are committed to its terms.

At its heart, the National Popular Vote proposal is as strange as expecting Vermont to concede its votes to Maine. The organization claims that voters across America should be able to dictate who Delaware electors cast their Electoral College votes for—even if Delaware voters vehemently oppose the candidate who won the popular vote.

How odd. Would Delaware allow Texas voters to select its two senators? Would such an abdication of responsibility even be legal? Could California voters choose New Mexico’s governor? Would it be permissible for Florida voters to cast ballots for all statewide officers in Colorado? What if Delaware’s U.S. senators were somehow bound to vote on the border wall exactly as Texas’ senators do?

These examples are ridiculous, but no more so than the National Popular Vote compact. Votes cast in California should have no bearing on how Delaware’s electors vote. Those individuals hold statewide office in Delaware. Their single constitutional duty—and their public trust—is to represent their own state in the presidential election.

>>> See Tara Ross’ book “The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders’ Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule”

Worse yet, the compact could even force Delaware to award its electoral votes to a presidential candidate who doesn’t qualify for the ballot in Delaware. Each state, after all, has its own rules for ballot qualification.

What if a candidate chose to ignore small states like Delaware and purposefully catered to other regions like the South or the West? Under the compact, Delaware would have to award its own electors to such a candidate if he or she wins the national popular vote, even after ignoring the interests of Delaware.

Why should Texas and California voters get to boss Delaware around like that? No one would dream of allowing it in any other statewide election.

The answer, of course, is that National Popular Vote supporters are desperate. They want to eliminate the Electoral College, but they know they cannot meet the supermajority requirements in the Article V constitutional amendment process. 

They hope to get their way—albeit, indirectly at first. In honest moments, they also concede their real goal: They believe that a formal amendment eliminating the Electoral College would be the logical consequence of the compact.

“We’re just trying to get past the initial inertia,” John Koza, the founder of National Popular Vote, told a reporter in 2008.

How far the country has fallen. In 1787, Delaware never would have considered such a meek submission to the preferences of large state voters.

“I do not, gentlemen, trust you,” Delaware Delegate Gunning Bedford memorably blasted at the large-state delegates during the Constitutional Convention. “If you possess the power, the abuse of it could not be checked; and what then would prevent you from exercising it to our destruction?”

He’d surely be puzzled to find that Delaware legislators today have turned that principle on its head: They now meekly follow and trust, hoping that “As California goes, so goes Delaware” will work out well.

It won’t.

The post Ditch the Electoral College, and Small States Will Suffer appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Americans Vote With Their Feet on High Taxes, Report Shows

Wed, 2019-03-20 16:41

An index on the economic state of the states reveals a narrative that is being overlooked or ignored, says one of the report’s authors.  

“This is the big story in America that nobody is talking about, which is that blue states are getting crushed by red states, and it’s a big source of embarrassment for the liberals because they don’t have a very good explanation for that,” Stephen Moore, a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said Monday.

Moore spoke as part of a panel hosted by The Heritage Foundation and focused on the report, “Rich States, Poor States: the ALEC-Laffer State Competitiveness Index.”

Moore is a co-author of the report’s 11th edition, which examines trends last year in states’ economic performance. The report ranks the economic outlook for each state based on 15 equally weighted policy variables such as tax rates, regulations, and labor policies. 

The latest report ranks Utah at No. 1 in economic outlook for the 11th year in a row. New York landed at the bottom of the list at No. 50.

Residents in states such as New York and Connecticut, ranked at No. 40, are beginning to notice ballooning tax rates, Moore said. Every day in America, he said, 1,000 people flee states with high tax rates and migrate to states with lower tax rates.

Just because one state spends more taxpayer dollars doesn’t mean residents get more for their money, he said:

New York spends twice as much per capita as Utah does, and yet, by every objective measure, public services are better in Utah than they are in New York. It would be one thing if they were buying great schools and great roads, and they don’t. They have high crime and terrible schools.

Panelists contended that the rankings can have significant implications for a state’s future economic growth.

North Carolina, for example, jumped from a ranking in the mid-20s to the top 10 after its corporate tax rate was lowered to 2.5 percent, resulting in boosted economic prosperity, panelist Jonathan Williams said.

Williams, one of the authors of the report, is chief economist and vice president of the Center for State Fiscal Reform at the American Legislative Exchange Council, which publishes the index.

“When you compare [migration rates] against states like New York and some of the others that we’ve mentioned at the bottom of this list,” Williams said, “it’s no surprise business and people are voting with their feet, voting with their pocketbook, [and] going to states like North Carolina [as they] become more competitive and more profitable.”

The third author of the report is economist Arthur B. Laffer, a White House adviser.

Also on the panel was Adam Michel, a senior policy analyst specializing in taxes at Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget. Michel highlighted the capping of the state and local tax deduction, or SALT, at $10,000 as a pro-growth reform in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The deduction allowed residents of high-tax states such as New York and California (ranked at No. 47) to write off state and local taxes on their federal tax return. Michel said the new policy creates a $180,000 difference in taxes paid by residents of a low-tax state and taxes paid by residents of a high-tax state.

The reform continues to draw fire from politicians such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who said in a February tweet that the cap was a “gross injustice.”

The elimination of the #SALT deduction (state and local tax) was an economic attack on Democratic states.

I’m launching a nationwide campaign to repeal the SALT cap. It was a gross injustice, and the new Congress must make this one of their top priorities.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 13, 2019

“A couple of things stuck out to me,” Dick Patten, president of the American Business Defense Council, told The Daily Signal following the panel discussion. “One of them is the undeniable big picture of how taxes affect the growth of business, the growth of opportunity, the migration of people and their capital.”

Patten pointed to the estate tax, also known as the death tax, and similar tax policies that spur Americans to migrate to other states.

“One of the things that ‘Rich States, Poor States’ shows is it is undeniable—you know the benefit of low taxes,” Patten added.

The post Americans Vote With Their Feet on High Taxes, Report Shows appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Second Amendment Groups Speak Out Against Suing Gun-Makers

Wed, 2019-03-20 14:21

The Connecticut Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling allowing victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre to sue gun manufacturer Bushmaster Firearms left Second Amendment groups bewildered.

The 4-3 decision found that the plaintiffs—the families of nine victims—can sue Bushmaster under state unfair trade practices law, despite a federal statute that protects the gun industry from most lawsuits.

“This is like suing Ford or General Motors because a car they sold was stolen and used to run over a pedestrian all because the car manufacturers advertised that their car had better acceleration and performance than other vehicles,” said the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb.

“This ruling strains logic, if not common sense,” Gottlieb added. “The court dismissed the bulk of the lawsuit’s allegations, but appears to have grasped at this single straw by deciding that the advertising is somehow at fault for what Adam Lanza did that day in December more than six years ago.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which filed an amicus (or “friend of the court”) brief sporting Bushmaster, said the court was exploiting a narrow exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that shields gunmakers from civil liability in most instances.

“In a strongly worded and well-reasoned dissent, Chief Justice Robinson rejected the majority’s overly broad interpretation of the scope of the limited exception, which is contrary to legislative text, canons of statutory interpretation and the legislative history of the PLCAA,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement. “The majority’s decision today is at odds with all other state and federal appellate courts that have interpreted the scope of the exception.”

That exception cancels the gun manufacturer’s immunity if it knowingly breaks a law “applicable to the sale or marketing of the product.”

In other words, the plaintiffs believe that Bushmaster’s advertising scheme violated Connecticut’s unfair trade practices law because it encouraged the use of its weapons for unlawful purposes.

Lanza used an AR-15-style rife called the XM15 during his rampage. The plaintiffs say Bushmaster glorified the weapon’s “militaristic and assaultive qualities,” tailoring a campaign with depictions of soldiers on patrol and promises of total dominance in combat. Such images appealed to disillusioned men, supplemented with slogans like “consider your man card reissued.”

Those appeals were especially effective with Lanza, they say, since he was an avid player of violent video games and aspired to a career as a special operator in the armed forces. Though Lanza had access to a cache of weapons—including handguns, shotguns, two rifles, and three swords—the plaintiffs said Bushmaster’s promotions prompted Lanza to choose the XM15 from his family’s stockpile, thereby making his shooting spree far more deadly.

However, Lanza did not himself buy the XM15—he stole the gun from his mother, who purchased it lawfully from a retail gun dealership in March 2010. For that reason among others, the Connecticut Supreme Court acknowledged the plaintiffs will have a hard time proving their allegation.

“The plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ wrongful advertising magnified the lethality of the Sandy Hook massacre by inspiring Lanza or causing him to select a more efficiently deadly weapon for his attack,” the decision reads. “Proving such a causal link at trial may prove to be a Herculean task.”

Gottlieb went further, arguing there is no evidence connecting Lanza with Bushmaster’s practices.

“There is no evidence the killer was driven by any advertising whatsoever,” he said. “This is an affront to the First Amendment as well as the Second. Even hinting that the killer was motivated in some way by an advertising message is so far out in the weeds that it may take a map for the court to find its way back.”

The case need not reach a verdict to damage the firearms industry. The pre-trial discovery phase will give the plaintiffs access to Bushmaster’s internal communications and other sensitive records, which could itself prove harmful to the company.

An appeal could follow to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lanza killed 27 people Dec. 14, 2012. After murdering his mother, he stormed Sandy Hook Elementary at 9:30 a.m., when he killed 20 students and six staff members. Several others were wounded. The student victims were 6- and 7-year-olds in the first grade.

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

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Categories: Public Policy

People Won’t Be Able to Abort Babies Based on Race, Sex, or Handicaps in Kentucky

Wed, 2019-03-20 12:32

Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill Tuesday banning abortions on the basis of race, sex, or disability despite a pending lawsuit from a legal advocacy group.

Bevin signed House Bill 5 “prohibit[ing] an abortion if the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion, in whole or in part, because of an unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, or disability, except in the case of a medical emergency,” according to the legislation.

The bill was signed under an “emergency” clause and took immediate effect, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. The bill bans “eugenics-based abortions,” according to Bevin’s general counsel, M. Stephen Pitt, the Courier reported.

The ACLU, a nonprofit legal and advocacy organization, sued the state after the Senate passed the bill by a 32-4 vote on March 13.

“The passage of House Bill 5 represents a thinly veiled effort of the Kentucky General Assembly to advance their anti-abortion agenda under the guise of an anti-discrimination bill. This law will do nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians with disabilities,” Heather Gatnarek, staff attorney at Kentucky’s ACLU, said in a statement about the bill, according to Cincinnati Public Radio.

We will see the state of Kentucky in court (again) after they attempt to ban abortion (again) #HB5 #stopthebans #kyga19 https://t.co/dJGMYRBCpc

— ACLU of Kentucky (@ACLUofKY) March 13, 2019

“Kentucky politicians are relentless in their attempts to eliminate abortion access. We represent the last remaining abortion clinic in the state and this will be our fourth lawsuit in 3 years to ensure the people can get the care they need,” ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri tweeted.

Despite the ACLU’s challenge, Bevin vowed to sign the bill and made good on that promise Tuesday.

Bring it!

Kentucky will always fight for life…

Always!#WeAreProLife #WeAreKY https://t.co/Qioq9iEQb8

— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) March 13, 2019

The law remains in effect until the court weighs in on the legal challenge presented by the ACLU.

“Consistent protection of the lives of unborn children is an interest of the highest magnitude of the commonwealth,” according to Pitt, the Courier reported.

Counseling, parental consent, and a 24-hour waiting period are mandatory before a woman can have an abortion under state law, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Kentucky has only one abortion clinic.

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

The post People Won’t Be Able to Abort Babies Based on Race, Sex, or Handicaps in Kentucky appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

How to Silence Debate, New Zealand Edition

Wed, 2019-03-20 03:01

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has unleashed a barrage of openly anti-Semitic commentary. She suggested that Israel had “hypnotized the world.” She recently suggested that Jewish money lay behind American support for Israel. Finally, she suggested that American Israel supporters are representatives of dual loyalty.

Her fellow Democrats shielded her from blowback by subsuming a resolution that condemns her anti-Semitism within a broader resolution that condemns intolerance of all types.

Many of them suggested that labeling Omar’s anti-Semitism actually represents a type of censorship—an attempt to quash debate about Israel, though none of Omar’s comments even critiqued the Israeli government, and though many on the left have made anti-Israel arguments without invoking anti-Semitism.

Now Omar’s defenders have come out of the woodwork to suggest that criticism of her anti-Semitism was somehow responsible for the white supremacist shooting of 50 innocent people in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Two protesters, New York University students and best friends Leen Dweik and Rose Asaf, confronted Chelsea Clinton, who had gently chided Omar for her Jew hatred.

“After all that you have done, all the Islamophobia that you have stoked,” Dweik screamed, “this, right here, is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words you put out in the world. … Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

Dweik, it should be noted, has called for the complete elimination of Israel.

Her message was parroted by terror supporter Linda Sarsour, who tweeted: “I am triggered by those who piled on Representative Ilhan Omar and incited a hate mob against her until she got assassination threats now giving condolences to our community. What we need you to do is reflect on how you contribute to islamophobia and stop doing that.”

Meanwhile, mainstream commentators attempted to use the New Zealand anti-Muslim terror attack to blame critics of radical Islam. Omer Aziz, writing for The New York Times, slammed Jordan Peterson for calling Islamophobia “a word created by fascists” and Sam Harris for calling it “intellectual blood libel.”

Bill Maher has come in for similar criticism; so have I, mostly for a video I cut in 2014 in which I read off poll statistics from various Muslim countries on a variety of topics, concluding that a huge percentage of Muslims believed radical things.

Here’s the truth: Radical Islam is dangerous. The Islamic world has a serious problem with radical Islam. And large swaths of the Muslim world are, in fact, hostile to Western views on matters ranging from freedom of speech to women’s rights.

To conflate that obvious truth with the desire to murder innocents in Christchurch is intellectual dishonesty of the highest sort. If we want more Muslims living in liberty and freedom, we must certainly demolish white supremacism—and we must also demolish radical Islam, devotees of which were responsible for an estimated 84,000 deaths in 2017 alone, most of those victims Muslim.

And here’s another truth: Anti-Semitism is ugly, whether it’s coming from white supremacists or Ilhan Omar. Making that point has nothing to do with the killing of Muslims in Christchurch.

So long as the media continue to push the narrative that criticism of Islam is tantamount to incitement of murder, radical Islam will continue to flourish.

So long as the media continue to cover for the dishonest argument that criticism of anti-Semitism forwards the goals of white supremacists, anti-Semitism will continue to flourish. Honest discussion about hard issues isn’t incitement.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

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Categories: Public Policy

There’s Rampant Academic Fraud

Wed, 2019-03-20 03:01

Federal prosecutors have charged more than 50 people involved in cheating and bribery in order to get their children admitted to some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities such as Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, University of Texas, University of Southern California, and UCLA. They often paid more than $100,000 to rig SAT or ACT exams.

In some instances, they bribed college officials and secured their children’s admissions to elite schools through various fraud schemes. As corrupt and depraved as these recent revelations are, they are only the tip of the iceberg of generalized college corruption and gross dishonesty.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college.

However, that year only 37 percent of white high school graduates tested as college-ready but colleges admitted 70 percent of them. Roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates tested as college-ready but colleges admitted 58 percent of them.

About 40 percent of college freshmen must take at least one remedial course. To deal with ill-prepared students, professors dumb down their courses so that students can get passing grades.

Colleges also set up majors with little or no academic content so as to accommodate students with limited academic abilities. Such majors often include the term “studies”: ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies, or American studies.

The major selected by the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.

One gross example of administrative dishonesty surfaced at the University of North Carolina. A learning specialist hired to help UNC athletes found that 60 percent of the 183 members of the football and basketball teams read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. About 10 percent read below a third-grade level.

These athletes both graduated from high school and were admitted to UNC. More than likely, UNC is not alone in these practices because sports are the money-making center of many colleges.

It’s nearly impossible to listen to college presidents, provosts, and other administrators talk for more than 15 minutes or so before the words diversity and inclusion drop from their lips. But there’s a simple way to determine just how committed they are to their rhetoric.

Ask your average college president, provost, or administrator whether he bothers promoting political diversity among faculty. I’ll guarantee that if he is honest—or even answers the question—he will say he doesn’t believe in that kind of diversity and inclusion.

According to a recent study, professors who are registered Democrats outnumber their Republican counterparts by a 12-to-1 ratio. In some departments, such as history, Democratic registered professors outnumber their Republican counterparts by a 33-to-1 ratio.

The fact is that when college presidents and their coterie talk about diversity and inclusion, they’re talking mostly about pleasing mixtures of race and sex. Years ago, their agenda was called affirmative action, racial preferences, or racial quotas.

These terms fell out of favor and usage as voters approved initiatives banning choosing by race, and courts found solely race-based admissions unconstitutional. People had to repackage their race-based agenda and call it diversity and inclusion.

Some were bold enough to argue that “diversity” produces educational benefits to all students, including white students. Nobody has bothered to scientifically establish just what those benefits are.

For example, does a racially diverse undergraduate student body lead to higher scores on graduate admissions tests such as the GRE, LSAT and MCAT?

By the way, Israel, Japan, and South Korea are among the world’s least racially diverse nations. In terms of academic achievement, their students run circles around diversity-crazed Americans.

I’m not sure about what can be done about education. But the first step toward any solution is for the American people to be aware of academic fraud that occurs at every level of education.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

The post There’s Rampant Academic Fraud appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Why Brexit Could Happen Soon, and How It Will Affect Britain

Wed, 2019-03-20 03:01

Brexit has teetered on the brink of failure in recent months, as the British Parliament and the European Union have failed to reach agreement on exit terms. But today, those who support Brexit have cause for new hope. Nile Gardiner of The Heritage Foundation discusses new developments across the pond. Read the transcript, posted below, or listen to the podcast.

We also cover these stories:

  • The Supreme Court handed a victory on immigration to President Donald Trump Tuesday.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren is joining the liberal chorus to end the Electoral College.
  • Canada’s oldest rape crisis center has been stripped of public funding because it refuses to serve men who identify as women.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

Daniel Davis: The Brexit situation has been looking grim, but there is some good news today. Joining us to discuss is Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom here at The Heritage Foundation. Nile, thanks for being on.

Nile Gardiner: It’s my pleasure, thank you very much.

Davis: So, Nile, there’s some background to get into on Brexit just from recent months, but I want to ask you, today, there is some good news, tell us what that is.

Gardiner: Yes. The good news is that the European Union are sending some very negative messages on the extension of Article 50. Article 50, the Lisbon Treaty, governs the date of departure for Britain from the European Union. And the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, just a couple of hours ago made it clear that everyone should prepare for a no-deal Brexit on March 29. So this is exactly the kind of message you want to hear if you believe in Brexit.

And so, the EU is getting cold feet about going ahead with an extension for Article 50. That is good news. And any kind of signal coming from Brussels that the EU is uncertain about moving forward with an extension, this is a big positive.

The ideal scenario for Britain really at the end of next week, March 29, is for Britain to crash out of the EU under a no-deal Brexit. That would be by far the best option right now considering all the alternatives that are in place.

Davis: So what does that mean in practice? What does that mean for visas, for trade, for all sorts of issues if they exit without a deal in place?

Gardiner: A no-deal scenario simply means that Britain trades with the rest of the world under World Trade Organization rules and the British government has already declared that 86 percent of U.K. tariffs will be removed, actually, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Some tariffs will remain in place. But compare that with the European Union, which implements tariffs on practically everything. And so, Britain then will look to sign free trade agreements with major countries across the world, including with the United States. Already there are very detailed discussions that have taken place on the U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement.

In terms of dealing with the European Union, I don’t think things are going to dramatically change. I think that there will be a willingness on the part of most countries in the European Union to continue business as usual with the U.K., otherwise it hits their exports.

For example, Germany, which is a huge car producer, 18 percent of their car exports go to the U.K.. And so, for the Germans, they will quickly move forward, I think, with a mini agreement with the United Kingdom in the event of a no-deal to ensure that trade continues to move smoothly between the two countries.

I suspect that most European countries will look to move forward with mini agreements, which have to be done, of course, through the European Union. But I think its in the interest of all EU countries to be able to move forward with these smaller agreements with the U.K. to ensure that trade, investment, exports, etc., continue as usual.

I don’t think that no-deal actually will result in any kind of major disruption. Temporarily in the first few days, I think some things will have to be worked out. But the reality is that British government has been preparing for a no-deal for a very long time. These preparations have been in place for many, many months.

The British government has not been keen to advertise this because they have been keen to secure a deal with the European Union. The EU, however, has not treated Britain in good faith in terms of the negotiations.

But rest assured, if there is a no-deal, the sky is not going to fall in and Britain will continue life as usual as the world’s fifth-largest economy. And I think, from a U.S. perspective, a no-deal actually would be by far the best outcome right now.

Davis: Prime Minister Theresa May had a very difficult time finding an agreement between the EU and Parliament that would be agreeable to both sides. The vote on her deal failed multiple times. Is there doubt as to whether she will remain leader of Great Britain for the rest of the year?

Gardiner: Yeah, I think Theresa May’s days are numbered as prime minister. There’s no doubt about it. She has suffered a collapse of authority over the last few weeks, last few months.

You even have a situation whereby some of her own ministers are voting against her even though they have been subject to three-line whips. So there’s a collapse of Cabinet in a collective responsibility and she cannot maintain control of her own government right now.

There are many individuals inside the British government, including inside her own Cabinet, who are trying to derail Brexit and I think that these Cabinet ministers have played an extremely unhelpful role, but they’re still in place. Their jobs are still there.

Theresa May has lost all authority, frankly. I suspect Theresa May will step down at some stage later this year. And if indeed Brexit is brought in—either at the end of March or, as Theresa May is hoping for, at the end of June—I expect that she will step down soon after Brexit is implemented and that will pave the way for a Brexiteer prime minister, someone who is really fully invested in Brexit, to take over, which I think would be a far better alternative to having Theresa May stay as prime minister.

Kate Trinko: So it’s been a while now since the Brexit vote. Why was it so important for Britain, can you remind us, to take this vote and what are the long-term implications of this leaving?

Gardiner: I was there in the U.K. on the ground on the day of the vote and celebrated the results of Britain leaving the European Union. That’s a great question, why is this so important?

Well, Britain is part of the European Union, and bearing in mind that Britain has been part of the EU now for several decades, Britain has not been a fully sovereign country. So Britain at the moment has no control of its borders, it has no control of two-thirds of its laws, it has no control of its trades, its courts are subject to the rulings of European courts. Britain is, in many ways, a subject of the European Union.

You have bureaucrats sitting in Brussels who decide a huge percentage of British law and this is an unacceptable situation. So the British people have said enough is enough and they want to have their freedom back.

At the end of the day, Brexit is all about sovereignty and self-determination. The right of the British people to decide their own laws, shape their own future, trade freely with whoever they want to trade with across the world. And they will no longer have to take diktats from EU rules, really. This is what it’s all about.

The American people would never ever accept being told what to do by leaders in another country. It would be completely unthinkable and unacceptable. This is exactly the reality of the European Union today. So, Brexit is so hugely important in terms of what it represents for not just British sovereignty, but the principles of sovereignty and self-determination across the world today.

Davis: If Brexit does succeed, that does show that it’s possible to leave the European Union and to go on to be a successful, prosperous nation. Do you think other countries in the EU are watching Britain—

Gardiner: Yes.

Davis: … and that that may encourage them to take similar steps?

Gardiner: I think so. I think Brexit is being watched incredibly carefully by every country in the EU, which is why the EU elites fear Brexit so much because they fear the impact it will have upon other European countries.

I don’t think that right now any other country in the EU is preparing to leave the European Union and no other country is prepared to hold a vote on EU membership right now. Why? Because their leaders fear the outcome of those votes.

If France, for example, held a vote on membership of the European Union, I think it would be very, very tight today. And I think in several other European countries, the vote would be very tight.

In terms of other countries leaving the EU, that’s a matter for those countries to decide. But I think if Brexit is a success, I would not be surprised if in the next decade or so, you may see two or three other countries leaving the European Union.

It could become a flood in terms of an exit. And especially if some governments decide to actually hold referenda on EU membership, which could be a possibility in some countries in the next few years.

So, Brexit is a big game-changer, which is why the European political elites fear it so much, hate it so much, why they’ve made the terms of exit incredibly difficult. And they have treated the EU negotiations as a sort of punishment beating for Britain.

An opinion poll came out in the U.K. this week showing that over 60 percent of Britons believe that the EU has treated the negotiations as a punishment for Britain. So that’s where British public opinion is. It’s a fair reflection of the reality here.

Trinko: So, very big picture here. Let’s say that Britain does leave the EU on March 29, what does the political future look like for Britain as no longer being part of the EU? You’ve talked about Theresa May’s career being in flux, a lot of conservatives in the United States are concerned about the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. Do you think that this could fundamentally change the country in some ways, its political dynamic?

Gardiner: Yeah, I think that Brexit will result in a more assertive and self-confident Britain. Because if you have foreign leaders deciding much of your own law and deciding who can come into your own country, for example, then there’s a lack of self-confidence, which we’re seeing among some people in Britain today who are opposed to Brexit, they don’t really have the self-confidence in Britain’s ability to lead.

The reality is, I think, that Britain will be a far more assertive, stronger power on the world stage outside of the European Union. And that’s what sovereignty and self-determination really delivers, as Americans know so well. These are incredibly powerful principles.

I would expect that Britain will be more prosperous and also more assertive as a global leader in the Brexit era. And it’s significant that in the run-up to Brexit, British unemployment has fallen to a 44-year low. And there continues to be a huge amount of foreign direct investment flowing into the U.K.

U.S. foreign direct investment into Britain rose nearly 20 percentage points in 2017 alone, the last year we have the exact figures for, and it’s a demonstration of the confidence that U.S. businesses have in Brexit.

You’ve seen the likes of Google, Bloomberg, Apple, etc., setting up new headquarters in London in the last couple of years since the referendum, demonstrating that there’s a great deal of business confidence in Britain doing well outside of the European Union because Britain will have lower taxes, they won’t be subject to EU tariffs. Britain will also attract a lot of the best talent from all over the world as opposed to being subject to European Union migration laws and so on.

So Britain will have a lot more control over who it brings into the country and I expect that Britain will seek to bring in the best talent from across the world into the U.K. in the Brexit era.

All the indicators are that Britain will do very, very well under Brexit, will thrive and prosper. And you can’t put a price on freedom, which is, at the end of the day, what Brexit is all about. And it’s something Americans love dearly. The British people love freedom as well, but they haven’t been able to exercise that freedom in the last 45 years or so. And now, they have the opportunity to do so.

Davis: Before Brexit, there was the Scottish referendum. They chose to remain in the United Kingdom. Some have expressed concern that because Scotland was so largely in favor of remaining in the EU, that they may have second thoughts about remaining in the U.K. Do you believe that the United Kingdom itself will withstand Brexit?

Gardiner: That’s a very interesting point. So, in the Brexit era, since the 2016 referendum, support for Scottish nationalism has, if anything, fallen, actually. This is the most striking finding of opinion polls.

There’s no momentum for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom and one of the reasons for that, of course, if indeed Scotland does leave the United Kingdom, it will also be outside of the European Union under Brexit. It would have to apply to join the European Union.

Spain, for example, has indicated that they would strongly resist that because they have their own separatist concerns inside Spain with Catalonia. So the idea that the Scots could simply just rejoin the EU is not necessarily a reality.

They would also be outside of NATO and they would have no real defense. Also, Scotland relies very heavily on subsidies, especially from England. So, there isn’t really the appetite right now for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom.

I would expect if a vote were to be held in Scotland today, it would be even more heavily in favor of staying as part of the United Kingdom than in the last vote.

Trinko: Nile, thank you so much for joining us today.

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Categories: Public Policy

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