By Peter Roff • USNews
My high school biology teacher, Dudley Davis, used to like to remind us all that “figures can’t lie, but liars can figure.” How right he was, especially when politics is somehow involved in the equation, as it is every time districts lines are redrawn for seats in Congress and state legislatures.
The Democrats have suddenly decided this is a problem – and have come up will all kinds of mathematical analyses and formulas to back their assertion up. Their target is Justice Anthony Kennedy who, they hope, will side with the Supreme Court’s Obama and Clinton appointees in a forthcoming case challenging the way the lines were drawn in Wisconsin because the Republicans are allegedly over-represented in the state legislature when compared with the total number of votes they received in the last election. Continue reading
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 would reduce the deficit over the next decade by $160 billion and increase GDP at the same time, according to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.
Trump’s budget proposes a cut back in mandatory and discretionary spending that would not only reduce the deficit, but the debt as well.
Relative to the size of the economy, federal budget deficits are projected to decline by 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent of gross domestic product over the next 10 years. This would mean that the deficit would be roughly one-third smaller than it was originally projected to be.
Trump’s budget also aims to reduce the debt to 80 percent of GDP, which is 11 percentage points below the budget office’s baseline. By the end of the next decade, debt held by the public is projected to decline by 0.6 percent of GDP. Continue reading
By George F. Will • Washington Post
The Bronx, the only one of New York City’s five boroughs that is on the American mainland, once had a sociological as well as geographical distinction. In the 1930s it was called, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted, “the city without a slum.” It was “the one place in the whole of the nation where commercial housing was built during the Great Depression.” In the third quarter of the 20th century, however, there came, particularly in the South Bronx, social regression that Moynihan described as “an Armageddonic collapse that I do not believe has its equal in the history of urbanization.”
Of the several causes of descent, there and elsewhere, into the intergenerational transmission of poverty, one was paramount: family disintegration. Some causes of this remain unclear, but something now seems indisputable: Among today’s young adults, the “success sequence” is insurance against poverty. Continue reading
by Eddie Scarry • Washington Examiner
How the intelligence community is decoding Donald Trump Jr.’s emails
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta erred on Thursday when he said it was “fake news” for President Trump, speaking Thursday in Poland, to state that it was “three or four” intelligence agencies who concluded that Russia had meddled in the 2016 election.
Speaking on CNN’s “New Day,” Acosta wondered where Trump got the “three or four” figure, though it has been reported that out of 17 agencies, only the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency have formally drawn the conclusion about Russia.
“The other thing that was ‘fake news’ coming from President Trump is when he said, well, I keep hearing it’s 17 intelligence agencies that say Russia meddled in the election, I think it’s only three or four,” Acosta said. Continue reading
Frontiers of Freedom signed a letter to the U.S. house of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), along with 10 other leading conservative organizations and former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese III, opposing H.R.1215 — legislation that would impose federally mandated caps on medical malpractice awards. Frontiers of Freedom sees merit in states passing tort reform as tort law has always been the providence of states. But federally mandated reform of state tort law is simply not constitutional. Our constitutional system of federalism demands that Congress respect that states, not the federal government are responsible for state tort law.
Some argue that certain states won’t pass needed tort reform. That may or may not be true. But who is to say that states must pass tort reform measures that legislators in Washington D.C. may prefer? Imagine someone who has unsuccessfully argued for years for longer hunting seasons, or lower tax rates in his home state. Now picture that this unhappy state citizen finally gives up an asks Congress to force his state to adopt his views? If Congress acts on this request, doesn’t that mean that the important constitutional principle of federalism is dead? This is why Frontiers of Freedom considers this bill constitutional malpractice. Even if you generally like the idea of tort reform, which Frontiers of Freedom supports, you cannot impose it by unconstitutional means.
While backers of this bill claim to have added “clarifying language” to resolve concerns, no such thing has been done. There is no language that can clarify or fix the idea of the federal government imposing its view of tort reform on the states. Tort law and tort reform have always been a matter of state law. Different states have different tort laws. That is how it has always been. When students study tort law in law school, they learn that the law varies from state to state which is why sometimes the real battle is which state has jurisdiction. The Constitution envisioned that the states would have different laws. Moreover, the Constitution never envisioned that Congress would require that the states adopt a new federalized tort law approach.
Arguing that tort reform will save money is an argument that should be made to the state legislature, not to Congress. Just as state legislatures lack the authority to ratify treaties, Congress lacks the authority to impose tort reform measures on the states. Treaties are a matter for the federal government, not the states. And tort law is a matter for the states, not the federal government. This is Constitutional Law 101. The Senate should reject this creeping and massive intrusion of federal laws into matters that are reserved in the Constitution to the states.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. Speaker:
Despite promises by House leaders to include “clarifying language” to address concerns that it would undermine the freedoms of states and their citizens, the proposed “medical malpractice reform” bill (H.R. 1215) now once again making its way before the full body remains a premier example of constitutional malpractice.
The reason: there is fundamentally no “clarifying language” that would reconcile a sweeping effort to federalize tort law with our system of federalism, which reserves that province solely to the states.
As we underscored in our previous letter to you on HR 1215, the clear intent of the Founders was to promote, not prevent, the kind of diverse perspectives and approaches with which nearly all of the states have spoken on this issue, in what they view to be the best interests of their citizens. [In fact, the legislation would go so far as to pre-empt several state constitutional amendments, the strongest and clearest legislative expression of the people’s will at the state level.]
While it is urged upon organizations such as ours, and our members, that “reining in” expensive malpractice – and, in the case of this legislation, product liability – awards is a “conservative” position, the pre-eminent conservative principle is to rein in the power of an avowedly all-knowing and increasingly all- encompassing national government.
Regardless of the potential cost savings claimed for medical malpractice reform, the costs to freedom – and the spirit of innovation and regional diversity – of the creeping and, more recently, massive intrusion of federal laws and regulation on state prerogatives, especially in the health care arena, are far higher.
Conservatives rightly pointed out the corrosive and dampening effect of the expansion of federal power when it occurred in the context of Obamacare, and we should be equally concerned when it is proposed as part of a broader effort to roll back that legislative scheme. It will never be acceptable to substitute unconstitutional Democratic-sponsored legislative mandates with Republican ones.
Given its continued encroachment on the rights and privileges of states and their citizens, the undersigned organizations continue our vigorous opposition to H.R. 1215 and ask that the Republican leadership withdraw it from consideration, this time permanently.
Frontiers of Freedom
Edwin “Ed” Meese III
American Future Fund
The Institute for Policy Innovation
Let Freedom Ring
The Hispanic Leadership Fund
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance
The Institute for Liberty
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
By Mollie Hemingway • The Federalist
The media’s big problem right now is that everyone in the country knows how they’d be covering yesterday’s shooting if the parties were reversed.
Progressive Democratic activist James Hodgkinson spent years on social media and in local and national politics focusing on his hatred of Republican politicians. On Wednesday, he went after a group of Republican politicians as they practiced baseball in the early morning, shooting a member of the Republican leadership, two capitol police, a legislative aide, and a lobbyist. Rep. Steve Scalise remains in critical condition.
Hodgkinson’s social media trail and the accounts of neighbors leave no question that the man was politically engaged, aligned with progressives, and upset with Republicans.
Some media coverage of the incident has been fine, if restrained. The media have not chosen to make this shooting a referendum on leftist political violence, on the use of extreme rhetoric and conspiracy theorizing by major mainstream media, on the dangers of the resistance movement. There has been no rush to introspection. Continue reading
Few of the forty four presidents who preceded the present one have been as vilified as Donald J. Trump is. The billionaire with his passion for dealmaking is detested by the Republican establishment as an outsider who beat sixteen allegedly more qualified Republicans. The Democrats treat him as an illegitimate impostor, an incompetent upstart, and a marauding gravedigger of the United States of America. The overwhelming majority of the biased media alternately label him as a fraud, a criminal, a soulless money grubber, a traitor, and a deranged warmonger. Additional lurid claims about the forty fifth president are fueled by the Washington, DC grapevine without any factual basis and even a kernel of truth.
The ubiquitous hatred that the electoral victory of President Trump aroused is in itself an alarming sign of the authoritarian nature of the power hungry members of the entrenched power centers within all three branches of the federal government and beyond – including
Frontiers of Freedom released the following statement:
Frontiers of Freedom opposes the federal government placing caps on medical malpractice damages. H.R. 1215, entitled the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, is at its core a federal power grab — making what has always been a matter of state law, a federal matter.
Frontiers of Freedom signed a coalition letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, outlining the groups’ opposition to H.R. 1215. That letter can be found here.
Our system of constitutional federalism envisioned a dynamic arrangement where states acted as laboratories of liberty. It is a serious mistake to override that process with federal mandates in an arena that belongs to the states.
The idea of state legislatures and state law placing caps on tort damages may be worthwhile. But tort law has always been a matter of state law and our constitutional system of federalism demands that Congress respect that states, not the federal government, are responsible for state tort law.
H.R. 1215 stands in direct contradiction to the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, and separation of powers. One of Frontiers of Freedom’s primary missions is to preserve the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, separation of powers, and guarantee of basic rights as the foundation of America’s freedom. Thus, H.R. 1215 violates the very principles Frontiers of Freedom stands for.
H.R. 1215 represents an egregious and unwarranted expansion of federal power over the traditional role of states in tort law, not to mention regulation of health care. With the rigorous national debate on repeal of the Affordable Care Act, it should be obvious that nationalizing healthcare or even tort law is fraught with danger and could have very negative policy outcomes.
Nearly all states have spoken to the issue of malpractice damages either by instituting caps of their own or, alternatively, barring such restrictions legislatively or via court decision. It is not the proper role of the federal government to overrule state governments on matters that are entirely within the state’s purview. It is time for Congress to stop the continued creeping encroachment of federal mandates over state law and issues that should rightfully be regulated at the state and local level.
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The Federal Communications Commission is being inundated with fake comments supporting net neutrality from foreign countries, including Russia.
An analysis by the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group, revealed that over 235,000 new comments asking the FCC to keep the Obama-era rules have foreign email domains.
“A forensic analysis of comments received between May 24th and May 30th shows that the FCC was flooded with 236,999 comments from domains in France, Russia and Germany,” the group said. “The comments came almost exclusively from three email domains: Yahoo.fr (France), Mail.ru (Russia) and Yahoo.de (Germany). An analysis of hundreds of the comments shows that most appear to come from fake email addresses and fake physical addresses overseas.” Continue reading
Weakening the fabric of America's constitutional system of government is not a useful or helpful political strategy. Those who practice this craft are enemies of America who only endanger our stability for petty political gain.
At this time of its history the United States of America finds itself in the midst of a great crisis. None of the present players in politics, Republicans, Democrats, the media, and the numerous special interest groups honestly desire to represent and promote the national interests. In spite of their control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, the Republicans are divided into factions, rendering the establishment of coherent domestic and foreign policies nearly impossible. The Democrats, still reeling from their resounding defeat in last November and unable to explain for themselves their political irrelevance, chase the mirage of some entitlement and even divine right to power. The written as well as the electronic media have transformed themselves from trusted vehicles of news distribution into the instruments of political, social, and cultural demagoguery, justifying their irresponsible actions by their constitutional right to use their mouths and pens destructively. The special interest groups are blinded by their exclusive agendas and supporting their one-sided theories of absolute rights by their extremism.
Who is George Soros? Born Schwartz Gyorgy (in Hungarian the family name comes first) on August 12, 1930, in Budapest, Hungary, to Schwartz Tivadar, a lawyer, and Schwartz Erzsebet, the co-owner of the family’s silk shop, he grew up in a secular, upper middle class family that was openly anti-Semitic. In response to the burgeoning anti-Semitism in Hungary, the father changed the family name in 1936 from Schwartz that clearly identified the family as Jewish to the Hungarian sounding last name of Soros. The family survived the deportations by obtaining forged Christian birth certificates. He fled in 1947 to England. In 1954, he graduated from the London School of Economics in philosophy. In 1956, he immigrated to the United States.
In 1969, Soros established the Double Eagle hedge fund which in 1970 was followed by Soros Fund Management. In 1973 renamed as the Quantum Fund, it has grown from $12 millions to over $40 billion. Soros’s political involvement has intensified with the growth of his personal wealth, estimated to be around $25 billion. In addition to financing far left organizations in the United States and across the world from 1979 on,he has started to finance dissidents across the former Soviet block. Advocating “open societies” whose declared objective was to open up the communist dictatorships through the free flow of political and scientific ideas, Soros financed the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Charter 77 in the former Czechoslovakia, and Andrei Sakharov’s efforts in the former Soviet Union. In 1984, he established the first Open Society Institute in his native Hungary.
By Scott Ehrlich • The Federalist
On the day the American Health Care Act passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the hashtag #IAmAPreExistingCondition was trending on Twitter. At the time I saw it, there were about 65,000 tweets on it.
Earlier that day, I had read in a different article that at its peak only 115,000 were members of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a high-risk insurance program established as a bridge between pre-Obamacare coverage and the establishment of its exchanges. This brought to mind two key realizations: people care very much about those with pre-existing conditions and want to see them taken care of, but it’s also not a huge number of people and it’s very hard and expensive to insure them no matter what mechanism Americans use.
How People with Pre-Existing Conditions Get Insurance Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
Immigrations and Custom Enforcement cannot account for all visa overstays due to inefficiencies in the agency, according to a new report.
ICE arrested just 0.4 percent of visa overstays it could account for, according to an audit by the inspector general.
The agency has 27 different databases used to investigate and track immigrants who remain in the country past the deadline issued on their temporary visas. The lack of a cohesive system has “produced numerous inefficiencies,” making ICE ineffective at catching visa overstays who may pose security risks, according to the audit.
“Department of Homeland Security IT systems did not effectively support ICE visa tracking operations,” the inspector general said. Continue reading
Barack Obama emerged from his short-lived political retirement on Sunday to call on Members of Congress to show the “political courage” to preserve ObamaCare. But wait. That plea doesn’t square with the deluge of recent stories predicting that Republicans have doomed their majority in 2018 by voting last week to repeal ObamaCare. How does it take “political courage” to oppose something that everyone claims is politically suicidal?
Perhaps because the predictors of Republican doom could be wrong. The midterm election is still 18 months away, and many events will intervene that could influence the result. But even if the campaign does turn on repealing ObamaCare, we’d argue that the politics are better for Republicans if they pass their reform and fulfill a campaign promise than if they fail and then duck and cover.
Start with the safe assumption that the Democratic base will be highly motivated to vote next November no matter what Republicans in Congress do. The left will be eager to repudiate President Trump, and that means trying to retake the House and Senate. House Republicans can’t do much to deflate that liberal enthusiasm, any more than Democrats could deter the tea party in 2010. Continue reading
By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
Something is wrong with the American Left. The recent spate of violent protests on college campuses has been well-documented, but the violence and intolerance championed by left-wing student activists is beginning to creep off campus and into mainstream public life.
The reason for this is straightforward enough: although progressives pride themselves on their putative tolerance and diversity, the imperatives of leftist politics are fundamentally illiberal. Justice imposed through power is the philosophical foundation of the political left, and when earnest progressives become convinced the only avenue to power is violence, their tolerance quickly falls by the wayside. Consider a few recent events, none of which involved college protesters but all of which were marked by threats of violence.
Ahead of a town hall meeting this week in Virginia’s fifth congressional district, Republican Rep. Tom Garrett received a series of disturbing threats—not just against him but also his wife and family, even his dog. One message said bluntly, “This is how we’re going to kill your wife.” Continue reading