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Constitutional and Political Freedom

A Renewed Case for Term Limits

By Heather Wilhelm • National Review

After a week of political chaos, endless dispatches of depressing news from the border, and widespread evidence of years of government incompetence, I have a proposal certain to unite citizens of all political stripes. Here it is: Let’s fire every single politician in Washington, D.C.

Admit it, friends: Deep down, you love this plan. In an ideal world, you might want to fire every single politician in Washington, D.C., right away — I personally have a few honorable and notable exceptions in mind, but it’s probably best to keep everyone on their toes — but we all know that’s not realistic. Fortunately, there’s an alternative idea that is at least somewhat realistic, despite naysayers from both parties: term limits.

We already have term limits for the president, of course, which I hope you find marvelous no matter who is in office. But what about Congress, that multi-headed beast with a 17 percent approval rating and an impressive penchant for getting almost nothing meaningful or important done? Continue reading


The Media Just Can’t Stop Lying About Trump

By John Lott Jr • The Hill

President Trump’s half hour, impromptu interview on “Fox & Friends” last Friday sent the media’s fact checkers into overdrive this weekend. Everyone from PolitiFact to The New York Times to virtually all the Sunday morning national talk shows piled on, calling Trump a liar.

But the media can’t stop lying about what the president says. Sometimes it can’t distinguish a legitimate point of disagreement from a lie. It is no wonder that people have tuned out much of the constant attacks on Trump.

Just take the hyperbole on Sunday’s Meet the Press. Before playing a compilation of clips from Trump’s interview, moderator Chuck Todd exclaimed: “Let me put together this list of just outright misstatements, lies.” After showing the clips Continue reading


Rise of the Robots: A Bad Argument for a Bigger Welfare State

By Jay W. Richards • National Review

A group of scientists and activists wrote the president to warn him of an automated future that will give rise to “a separate nation of the poor, the unskilled, the jobless.” To blunt the coming mass unemployment, they proposed a universal basic income.

The group, called the Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution, wrote that letter in March 1964, to President Lyndon Johnson. Their prophecy was way off, but it had its desired effect. Johnson promptly launched his “War on Poverty,” which jumpstarted the growth of federal, means-tested welfare programs.

We now have 80 such programs. Instead of ridding the country of poverty, these programs create cycles of dependency and despair.

Alas, we haven’t learned the lesson. The old argument is new again, now that robots, automation, and artificial intelligence seem poised to upend our economy. Officially smart people are Continue reading


The FCC’s Kid-Vid Rules Meet the 21st Century

For those who don’t follow the communications industry closely, you may not know that the Federal Communications Commission has undertaken the herculean and laudable task of reviewing all its regulations applying to TV and radio broadcasters, cable TV operators and satellite TV providers, and repealing or modifying any outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome rules. In July, the FCC will start the formal process of reforming its rules requiring broadcast TV stations to air government-specified amounts of children’s educational programming. Frontiers of Freedom supports the FCC’s proposals – released in draft form on June 21 – here – to bring its rules into the 21st century.

From its draft, the FCC clearly recognizes that the children’s TV rules, originally adopted in 1996, must be updated. The current rules betray their analog-era origins, a time when consumers had restricted viewing options and most viewers watched only a handful of broadcast channels. But in today’s digital world, consumers enjoy video programming on multiple platforms via multiple devices at the time and location of their choice – the concept of “appointment viewing” has become meaningless to most consumers, especially younger ones. Children’s programming is now available from 24/7 children’s cable channels and on-demand from cable providers, via major internet sites and popular apps, like the PBS app, and streamed from sources such as YouTube and Netflix. Clearly, the market has not failed to provide abundant amounts of children’s video programming. And this leads to an obvious question – are the FCC’s current rules requiring broadcast TV stations to offer three hours of children’s educational programming every week per every channel they air (including all multicast channels) still necessary? We don’t believe so.

At the very least, the existing “kid vid” rules are overly rigid, causing serious unintended consequences including forcing broadcasters to run programing that meets regulatory criteria but isn’t attractive to parents and their children.  Just one example, for any program to “count” under the FCC’s rules, it must, among other requirements, be regularly scheduled, aired during certain hours and last 30 minutes or longer. Predictably enough, these mandates have killed off differently scheduled and formatted children’s programs. Many of us still remember CBS network’s In the News, short-form news stories aimed at children, and ABC’s popular Schoolhouse Rock and Afterschool Specials. But specials aren’t regularly scheduled, and apparently short news isn’t good news, and thus those programs disappeared from the airwaves – a direct result of nonsensical regulation and government overreach.

For all these reasons, Frontiers of Freedom welcomes the FCC’s draft notice proposing changes to its outdated and harmful children’s TV rules. We support the FCC’s proposals – here – and its overall effort to reduce unnecessary and burdensome government regulation.


The IG Report On FBI’s Clinton Probe Reveals This Saga May Be Just Getting Started

By Margot Cleveland • The Federalist

The media has focused almost exclusively on the conclusion of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, which found bias did not impact the probe, as well as the lack of any newly announced indictments or criminal referrals. The goal of course being to downplay the negative findings of the report.

At the same time, the press gave, at most, passing mention to the statement Attorney General Jeff Sessions simultaneously released. But his statement and the findings of the report make one thing clear: This isn’t over.

Here’s why. Throughout the 568-page report, the IG highlighted several areas meriting additional investigation. And Sessions said the report “reveals a number of significant errors by the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI during the previous administration,” and stressed “this is not the end of the process.” Continue reading


Case for continuing the ISS

By Peter RoffNews Herald

The highly successful International Space Station (ISS) is in danger of going dark thanks to budget cutters who don’t see the value in maintaining a continually operating, orbital research platform operated in the interests of the public good.

Since the dawn of creation, mankind has been driven by the urge to explore the world around him. The quest for knowledge consumes us. We have to know if we are alone in the universe or if life exists somewhere beyond the big blue marble we call home.

We’ve looked to the heavens for ages, but only recently did we acquire the means to get there. Take the history of man, compress it into a year’s time and you’ll find that everything from the Wright Brothers to Neil Armstrong happened in a relative blink of an eye.

It really is miraculous but somehow, someway the wonder went out of it. The Space Shuttle program, while never living up to the expectations NASA and Congress had for it, nonetheless made space travel seem routine and hardly worth comment unless Continue reading


Liberals Complain About Massive ObamaCare Premium Hikes — After Ignoring Them For Years

By Investor’s Business Daily

Health Reform: Since 2014, Democrats have greeted double-digit hikes in ObamaCare premiums with a yawn. Now it’s a crisis that must be fixed immediately. What’s changed?

Huge increases in ObamaCare premiums are the norm. In its first year, ObamaCare forced costs in the individual insurance market up by double digits. Subsequent eye-popping jumps followed. The average premium climbed about 7% in 2015, 11% in 2016, 22% in 2017, and by more than 30% in 2018.

The Health and Human Services Department calculated that, overall, premiums more than doubled between 2013 — the year before ObamaCare went into effect — and 2017. Continue reading


IG Report Shows Obama Lied When He Said He Knew Nothing About Hillary’s Secret E-mail Scheme

By Joy Pullmann • The Federalist

In 2015, President Obama told America he only learned that his secretary of state Hillary Clinton was illegally using a private email server to conduct public business after The New York Times published a story saying so. Today’s release of a Department of Justice inspector general report shows that was a lie.

“FBI analysts and Prosecutor 2 told us that former President Barack Obama was one of the 13 individuals with whom Clinton had direct contact using her clintonemail.com account,” the report says in a footnote on page 89. “Obama, like other high level government officials, used a pseudonym for his username on his official government email account.”

The report also says Obama Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey knew that Obama had lied. It was in 2015 that Obama had disclaimed knowledge that Clinton used a private, rather than government, email address. In 2016 Continue reading


In Our Health System, ObamaCare is the Dangerous Pre-Existing Condition

By Nan Hayworth • The Hill

As a physician whose career in medicine was dedicated to preserving and improving my patients’ health, I know firsthand how important it is for everyone to have access to care. This is a fundamental precept, morally and pragmatically sound, that should be honored by all who seek to transform for the better America’s flawed system of health care delivery.

Regrettably, since its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had the net general effect of raising the cost of health insurance while reducing the quality and variety of the services that insurance covers. This is the opposite of what was intended — but the suffering engendered thereby is real and painful.

The best-case remedy would be to repeal the ACA completely and replace it with a much simpler, more targeted set of common-sense interventions to empower consumers and ensure their access to Continue reading


More Jobs. Higher Wages. Surging Economy. Where’s Our Thanks To Trump?

By Peter RoffNewsweek

1,000,000 new jobs. You’d think you’d hear a lot about such an impressive number. So far, it’s made little splash in the media. Nonetheless, since the Republican tax cuts were signed into the law the U.S. economy has created one million new jobs. And that’s just the beginning of the good news.

In May 2018 alone, defying the expectations of many economists, 223,000 jobs were created. The unemployment rate has dropped to 3.8 percent, its lowest point since April 2000. Unemployment among black people and Hispanics is at the lowest point since the numbers were first broken out by race during the Nixon Administration.

The American economy is surging, even before the new, lower corporate and personal tax rates go into effect. The promise that companies and most individuals will soon be able to keep more of what they earn has, alongside the Trump Administration’s successful effort to deregulate vital sectors of the economy, Continue reading


The STOP Act Would Strengthen the Postal Service and Protect Public Safety 

By Frontiers of Freedom

This week, the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman Kevin Brady released a new bipartisan bill to help tackle grave concerns that have persisted surrounding the nation’s opioid epidemic. The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act would begin to help address the staggering vulnerabilities within U.S. Postal Service for delivering packages from overseas. 

For years, drug traffickers have been able to successfully ship deadly opioids into the U.S. through the Postal Service due to agency’s inadequate procedures which have omitted key practices to collect advance electronic data and thus have failed to properly identify threats. 

Currently, the agency does not thoroughly trace senders and receivers or even electronically track packages sent through foreign postal services. Even dating back to 2014, former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said he was gravely concerned about the number of people sending illegal drugs through the USPS.

Now, thanks to Chairman Brady, as well as Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Representatives Mike Bishop (R-MI), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and John Faso (R-NY) we appear to have a fully viable plan to mitigate the Postal Service’s deficiencies that have contributed to this epidemic.

Frontiers of Freedom president George Landrith stated, “It is time the U.S. Postal service began putting the public safety of Americans first. Right now the Postal Service’s security standards are not up to code. This allows for unsafe products, food, other hazardous materials, and drugs to enter into the United States.

“We must support legislation that will help stop a national crisis and force the U.S. Postal service to get in line with best practices in shipping and thoroughly adopt the readily available technologies for targeting the potential threats that have persisted in inbound packages.”


Health Care Premiums Will Soar Again In 2019 — Thanks, Obama

By Sally C. PipesInvestor’s Business Daily

ObamaCare enrollees should brace themselves for another year of double-digit premium hikes.

Average premiums for plans sold through the state and federal insurance exchanges will jump as much as 32% next year, according to a recent report from actuarial firm Milliman. Consumers in some markets could face 80% rate hikes, according to a separate analysis from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Democrats have pounced on these projections to blame the GOP for “marketplace sabotage.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., remarked that “Republicans and the Trump administration own any and all increases in health care premiums for American consumers.”

Sorry Chuck, but GOP malfeasance isn’t the problem. ObamaCare’s burdensome Continue reading


Yes, California Has Effectively Banned Showering And Doing Laundry On The Same Day

By Inez Feltscher Stepman • The Federalist

The latest in Facebook-policed “fake news” is a claim echoing through the conservative Twittersphere, including from my own account, that two bills outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown signed impose such draconian water use standards that fines could be imposed for taking a shower and running laundry on the same day. Snopes rated these assertions as “mostly false,” and Facebook flagged stories about them as fake news.

But Snopes, Facebook, and others purporting to “fact check” conservative frustrations with the law are the ones misleading about its effects. The way these allegedly neutral fact-checkers present repackaged liberal assumptions as hard fact is a great illustration of how the Left pulls off the kind of logical ju-jitsu that allows them to label conservative arguments as fake news in order to dismiss them.

In this particular case, none of these “debunking” articles actually dispute the three most crucial facts: there is a daily per-person 55-gallon limit ratcheting down to 50 gallons over the course of a decade, fines will be imposed upon violation, and, for at least some users, a reasonable-length shower and running the wash will put them over. In fact, most of the articles in question actually confirm these three vital points, usually squashed into a final paragraph that contradicts the headline. Nevertheless, they conclude that conservatives are spreading false information.

Fines On Providers Are Fines on Consumers

For starters, they point out that the $1,000 per day ($10,000 a day during drought) fines are levied on water providers, not directly on individuals. The first liberal assumption embedded in the narrative is that those fines will not be passed on to consumers.

If you think water companies will eat thousands of dollars of overuse fines without passing them on to consumers in the form of higher water costs, company fines for violators, or hard-usage cutoff caps, I have an infrastructure project to sell you in Brooklyn. But regardless of where you fall on economic theory questions, this is an arguable assumption, not an indisputable fact.

Secondly, the Snopes article assures California citizens that the 55-gallon standard is quite relaxed, and that most will easily be able to take a shower and do laundry while staying under the limit. The outlet buttresses its math by calculating that the average shower uses about 17 gallons of water, while high-efficiency washing machines use 15-30 gallons per load. Second liberal assumption: most people take extremely short showers and own super-efficient, expensive appliances.

The reality, of course, is that these numbers need a fact check. The U.S. Geological Survey—that well-known purveyor of right-wing fake news—says a ten-minute shower can run about 50 gallons of use without special water-saving showerheads, while washing machines vary from 25 to 40 gallons per cycle, depending on efficiency.

Again, the claim that a shower and laundry don’t run over the legally imposed limit is not based on hard facts ignored by ideological opponents, but on ideological (and fantastical) assumptions: that everyone has or wants a brand-new efficient washer and shower head, or that people take very brief showers to save water.

Terrible Management Caused California’s Water Woes

Fact-check wars aside, few conservatives would complain about strict water restrictions if California’s drought woes were truly unavoidable. But the state’s chronic water troubles are the result of decades of leftist mismanagement.

California is among the highest-tax states in the nation and boasts a booming tax base of large industries, from the Silicon Valley technology hub and Hollywood to enormous agriculture and viticulture sectors. Yet the state, the arid southern half of which is naturally short on water, has not authorized new reservoir construction for 20 years.

Brown’s administration not only failed to build a single reservoir for the droughts that are sure to plague the state’s future, it is actively fighting a federal project to enlarge the capacity of the Shasta reservoir by adding to its dam, citing environmental protection. In the midst of record droughts several years ago, the state actually flushed millions of acre-feet of lifesaving reservoir water to help boost the population of a three-inch bait fish living in the Sacramento River Delta.

If the most basic duty of a state government is to keep its citizens safe, close behind is the fundamental obligation to build and maintain basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, and, in the case of a desert state, ensuring that enough water remains in reserves to operate through a drought. It’s hard to argue that California’s natural water problems outstrip those of a true desert state like Arizona, yet Arizona has a reservoir system that can keep the state operating through even intense and prolonged drought.

Instead, the California legislature spends billions on social leveling schemes that have, if not produced, than at least failed to alleviate the growing gap between rich and poor and skyrocketing homeless rates in the state. Then when the 2015 droughts finally forced the legislature to confront the issue, its solution has been to impose draconian water use restrictions on individual use, even though that makes up just 10 percent of the state’s overall water use (50 percent is environmental, 40 percent agricultural).

Because the Left has stranglehold over the mainstream media narrative, and now over many of the social media platforms we use to communicate, the unspoken premises that underlie their “fact checking” rarely get brought to light. In the case of the California water wars, Brown and the Left are hoping citizens will focus on ideologically contingent claims of fake news and miss their decades of irresponsible mismanagement in the Golden State.


Leak Investigations, Journalists, and Double Standards

By Andrew C. McCarthy • National Review

The media are in a lather over the Justice Department’s grand-jury investigation of contacts between several reporters and a government source — the former Senate Intelligence Committee security director who has been indicted for lying to investigators about his leaks to the press.

The same media are in a lather over the refusal of the president of the United States, at least thus far, to submit to questioning by the special counsel in the Russia investigation. The president is placing himself “above the law,” they contend, if he rebuffs prosecutors or defies a grand-jury subpoena.

Whether we’re talking about journalists or presidents, the situation is the same: An investigative demand is made on people whose jobs are so important to the functioning of our self-governing republic that they are given some protection, but not absolute immunity, from the obligation to provide evidence to the grand jury. Continue reading


8 Times Obama’s Intelligence Agencies Set People Up To Fabricate The Russia Story

By Willis L. Krumholz • The Federalist

The intelligence bureaucracies spied on the Donald Trump campaign: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants were granted because of a Hillary Clinton-funded and unverified document, national-security letters were issued to allow warrantless spying, and the unprecedented but not-illegal-per-se unmasking of Trump officials’ conversations with non-U.S. persons was shockingly routine.

Yet the news of a CIA-connected human source operating as far back as April or May of 2016 is about more than just spying. It is the latest example in what now looks to be a long line of attempted setups by the Clinton team, many times aided and abetted by our intelligence bureaucracies.

These events should anger any red blooded American who believes in representative democracy and the importance of the rule of law. Let’s review eight examples. Continue reading