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Constitutional and Political Freedom

Germany’s Refusal To Fund 2 Percent Of Its Defense Is Not The Action Of An Ally

By Sumantra Maita • The Federalist

Bob Gates, perhaps the most farsighted post-Cold War defense secretary, presciently predicted in 2011 “that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress—and in the American body politic writ large—to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.”

Gates, who once rightly understood that the Saudis would fight Iranians to the last American, also essentially hinted the same with regards to Germany and Russia, “nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.”

Put simply, he was saying the Germans would talk about an international liberal order for as long as Americans would pay to defend it. The day they are caught not tangibly supporting this order, they would throw a tantrum and blame Washington. “Future U.S. political leaders– those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me—may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost,” he said.

Continue reading


FCC Chairman: Net-Neutrality Supporters Saw ‘Political Advantage’ in Stirring ‘Fear’

By Mairead Mcardle • National Review

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said Friday that some advocates of net neutrality saw a political advantage in fomenting fear about the policy’s end.

Pai joined Charles Cooke of National Review at the National Review Institute’s 2019 Ideas Summit to discuss how the agency’s role has changed from its founding in the 1930s to today.

“Net neutrality” is a “very seductive marketing slogan,” Pai said. But “ultimately what it means is government regulation of the Internet.”

“As to the question of why people are upset, I’ll be candid. I think it’s because a lot of people saw a political advantage in fomenting a lot of fear,” he continued, recalling the doom-and-gloom warnings of critics who warned that Pai’s rollback of Obama-era net-neutrality regulations would be the “end of the Internet as we know it.”

“Last time I checked, you can still hate-tweet your favorite FCC chairman,” he quipped.

Continue reading


Why Europe Axed Its Wealth Taxes

By Chris Edwards • National Review

Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing a wealth-tax plan on the presidential campaign trail. She is promising that her tax would counter a rigged political system and raise enough money to pay for universal child care, a Green New Deal, student-loan relief, Medicare for All, and more housing subsidies.

Warren’s tax would be an annual levy of 2 percent on “net wealth” — meaning wealth minus debt — above $50 million and 3 percent on net wealth above $1 billion.

Wealth-tax supporters do not seem concerned about the likely damage to economic growth. But they should know that from a practical standpoint, wealth taxes in other countries have raised little money and have been a beast to administer.

More than a dozen European countries used to have wealth taxes, but nearly all of these countries repealed them, including Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Wealth taxes survive only in Norway, Spain, and Switzerland.

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Businesses, Residents Plan to Leave New York

By Mary Lou Lang • Washington Free Beacon

Several companies are relocating from the Empire State, numerous businesses have announced they are closing shop altogether citing economic reasons, and a new poll shows a third of New York residents plan to move because they can’t afford to stay.

A review of the New York Department of Labor WARN notices shows several companies are relocating to other states. Private sector employers that have more than 50 employees must file a notice before closing a plant and must also notify the state when they are laying off 33 percent of their workforce.

AllianceBernstein, an investment management and research company, announced in its latest filing more worker layoffs are planned in May as it is moving its corporate headquarters to Nashville, Tenn. The company has been transitioning to Tennessee and laying off its workers incrementally.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Another company, which makes artificial fingernails, announced it is moving its warehouse production to New Jersey and will begin Continue reading


The Liberal Game: Expand the Court. Pack the Court. Secure Power for Generations

By Peter RoffNewsweek

Elections,” the man once said, “have consequences.”

In 2016, the need to fill a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court was a consequence foremost in the minds of voters. That the pick ended up being made by Donald Trump’s and not Hillary Rodham Clinton helped stoke the partisan rancor that has the country divided and beleaguered.

A Clinton pick would have turned the court to the left for the first time in decades. Trump’s first nominee preserved the originalist wing of the court. His second appointment solidified it. And the voters apparently approve. Pollster Scott Rasmussen recently found 61 percent of voters approve of the way the court is doing its job. The high level of confidence, he says, tracks back at least as far as August 2018, and 59 percent of those surveyed think the court’s power is at about the right level.

Chief Justice John Roberts, whom some conservatives regard as the weakest of the adherents to originalism currently on the court, has been accused of making compromises on legal points to protect the court’s reputation. The Rasmussen numbers suggest the strategy’s worked, at least to this point. Still, as Roberts’ deciding vote to uphold the constitutionality of the tax/penalty piece of Obamacare illuminates, the court’s power to decide legislative disputes is now firmly entrenched in the American system. This may not have been the founder’s intent, but the court now has the last word on controversial matters that many continue to argue should be settled in and by the legislature.

Right now, with the court stacked five to four against for the foreseeable future, the Left is up in arms. Seeking a fix, several candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination have embraced the idea of expanding the size of the Supreme Court, formerly an obscure idea emanating from the academy. “Plain and simple, the Democrats are seeking to get through legislation what they couldn’t achieve at the ballot box,” says Brad Blakeman, a former Bush White House staffer. “They are seeking to add judges, not fill vacancies, which is totally subverting the system.”

This is why the confirmation of new justices has been, since Reagan-appointee Robert Bork was defeated, so confrontational. Everything happens with outcomes in mind. Blakeman’s point is well taken. If the court really did need to be expanded, it could be done now. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who wants to follow Trump in the White House, could drop a bill doing that next week. But what she and others intend is pure politics: Win the election first, then pack the court with liberals, end critical debates once and for all, and leave the Left in power forever.

It’s a powerful temptation. Franklin Roosevelt famously proposed the addition of new associate justices to the court to assist its older members who, surprise, surprise, would probably also be voting to uphold the constitutionality of New Deal measures the court had been striking down.

That, says David Norcross, a former Republican National Committee general counsel and former head of the Republican National Lawyers’ Association, was a bad idea then and would be now.

“Presidents have suffered from this since Chief Justice Marshall declared the independence of the courts. Fortunately, Congress, including some Democrats, thought the better of FDR’s court-packing scheme and acknowledged the Constitution and the founders’ reasoning,” Norcross says.

To thousands of other legal and presidential scholars all over America, the point of the court is its independence – and always has been. Packing the court would upend that.

“Democrats keep criticizing the president for trampling all over political “norms” and call him a dictator. But here we see them so upset at losing the last election they want to trample all over the “norms” and completely change the rules of the game to favor themselves, says political strategist Mike Shields.

The irony is the cure is worse than alleged disease. Just as Democrats have continued to protest, to “resist” the outcome of the 2016 election even though Trump was, famously, the only candidate ever asked about it in televised debates. It is those who oppose him who have come with the idea of loading up the court with compliant liberal justice in order to produce desired outcomes in a way that demeans if not erodes the constitutional system.

“Once Congress decides to add justices the race to chaos commences. Add two new justices, then if not satisfied with the outcomes, add two more. It will get easier to do so each time until the Court resembles a third, albeit smaller, legislative body which has become entirely political,” says Norcross. “An independent Court is an indispensable ingredient of the system of checks and balances. A Supreme Court concerned that a politically unpopular decision or decisions will result in adding new justices isn’t independent anymore.”


Without The Electoral College, The United States Is No Longer A Republic

By Sumantra Maitra • The Federalist

During the dying days of the Roman Republic, with effete senators stabbing each other in the back when they were not busy in orgies, Julius Caesar followed the exact trajectory of a Leviathan—what Thomas Hobbes described beautifully hundreds of years later. Caesar, by this time opposed to the Senate, which obstructed his imperial aims, decided to cross the river Rubicon, thereby declaring war on the last vestiges of the craven republic.

After crossing the river, Caesar famously said Alea Eacta Est, or the die is cast. Thus crossing the Rubicon is now considered a revolutionary act that aims to destroy the status quo, structure, and balance, from which there’s no return. The only way forward is through chaos.

The current Democratic presidential frontrunners, with their war cries of Electoral College abolition and reduction of the voting age, signify another crossing the Rubicon moment. That’s because without the Senate, and without the Electoral College, there would be no states in the United States of America. Essentially, there would be no republic anymore. And if history is a good teacher, every time there was direct democracy, it has led to a Caesar—or worse. Continue reading


The ‘Burn It Down!’ Liberals

By Kevin D. Williamson • National Review

The Senate. The Electoral College. The First Amendment. The Second Amendment. The Supreme Court. Is there a part of our constitutional order that the Democrats have not pledged to destroy?

There are some Democrats out there in the sticks — a lot of them, in fact — who simply don’t understand the constitutional order. They believe that the United States is a democracy, John Adams et al. be damned, and, in fact, they often are confused by the frankly anti-democratic features of the American order, because they have been taught (theirs is a pseudo-education consisting of buzzwords rather than an actual education) that “democratic” means “good” and “undemocratic” means “bad.”

But the Democrats in Washington are a different story. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris went to law school. They understand the American constitutional order just fine.

And they hate it.

The American order is complex — it is much more sophisticated than “democracy,” which assumes that nothing stands between the individual and the national state except aggregation, that might (defined as 50 percent + 1) makes right. The American order is based on the idea that the United States consists of many different kinds of people in many different kinds of communities, and that each of these has interests that are legitimate even when they conflict with the equally legitimate interests of other communities. The densely populous urban mode of life is not the only mode of life, and the people of the urban areas are not entitled by their greater numbers to dominate their fellow citizens in the less populous rural areas.

The basic units of the United States are, as the name suggests, the several states. The states created the federal government, not the other way around. The states are not administrative subdivisions of the federal government, which is their instrument, not their master. In this, the United States is fundamentally different from countries such as the United Kingdom and Japan, which have unitary national governments under which provincial distinctions are largely irrelevant.

In our system, the states matter. Under the Democrats’ vision, some states matter: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio, which, without the institutions of federalism, have among them the numbers and the power to effectively dominate the rest of the country.

At the time of the Founding, the people of the smaller states did not desire to enter into a union in which they and their interests would be dominated by the larger ones. The people of the smaller states still do not wish to be politically dominated by the larger ones. For that reason, the interests of the states as such — not mere aggregates of voters — are taken into consideration. The Senate, as originally organized, existed to preserve the interests of the states as such against the opportunism and predation of the more populous House of Representatives — and against the ambitions of the executive, too. Turning the Senate into an inflated version of the House was one of the progressives’ first great victories against the Constitution of the United States and an important step toward the sort of mass democracy that our constitutional order is explicitly designed to prevent.

But the states have other protections as well, one of which is the Electoral College, which helps to ensure that the president — the Founders were right to fear presidential ambition — is not a mere tribune of the plebs, a rider upon “the beast with many heads” empowered by the mob at his back to abuse and dominate members of minority groups — smaller states, religious minorities, political minorities, etc.

The rights of minorities are further protected — from democracy — by the Constitution’s limitations on the power of the federal government and specifically by the Bill of Rights, which places some considerations above democracy: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to security in one’s home and papers, etc. One of the main constitutional functions of the Supreme Court is to see to it that the federal government does not violate the Bill of Rights, even when We the People demand that it does — especially then, actually: Rights that enjoy wide popular support require very little constitutional protection. It is the unpopular rights that require protection.

Of course there were blemishes and oversights. Even the enlightened minds of the 18th century were hostages of their time, and the interests of African Americans and women were not taken into consideration. Those defects were corrected, partly by the shedding of blood but to a great extent by constitutional amendments that abolished slavery, enfranchised women, and brought the American people at large more fully into the constitutional system. The preamble to the Constitution describes a “more perfect union,” which is not the same thing as a perfect union. The genius of leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was that their calls to radical change ran against the grain of American society at their time but were perfectly in tune with the American idea and the principles of the American order.

The Democrats’ calls to radical change in 2019 are precisely the opposite: They are very much in keeping with the transient passions of the time but fundamentally opposed to the American constitutional order.

The Electoral College ensures that the citizens in the less popular states are not reduced to serfdom by the greater numbers (and greater wealth) of the people in the more populous states. This balancing of minority rights with democratic processes is a fundamental part of the American order (properly understood, the value of plebiscitary democracy is not substantive — majorities are at least as likely to be wicked and oppressive as virtuous and just — but purely procedural), and the Electoral College is the instrument by which that principle is applied to the election of presidents. The Democrats desire to abolish the Electoral College for purely self-interested reasons of partisanship: They think that there would be more Democratic presidents under unmediated mass democracy.

The First Amendment ensures that all Americans have the right to engage in political speech. Democrats wish to put political speech under heavy regulation, so that the people holding political power set the rules under which they may be criticized and debated. The Democrats have attempted to gut the First Amendment under the guise of “campaign finance” regulation, as though the right of free speech could be separated from the means of speech. It is worth bearing in mind that the Democrats’ latest attack on the First Amendment was occasioned by the desire of a political activist group to show a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the run-up to a presidential election — a film whose circulation the Democrats sought to prohibit as a “campaign finance” matter.

The Supreme Court stepped in to stop that, finding that the First Amendment means what it says. And now the Democrats propose to corrupt the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices from nine to whatever number it takes for a future Democratic president to create a majority of Democratic partisans on the Court. They are counting on the same court-packing scheme to give them the power to effectively repeal the Second Amendment without having to bother to propose and ratify a constitutional amendment — a political fight that the Democrats would surely lose.

What the Democrats are proposing — abolishing the constitutional protections afforded to smaller states and political minorities, perverting the Supreme Court, gutting the Bill of Rights — amounts in sum to a revolution, replacing our government with a government of a very different character and structure.

They are doing this mainly because the Constitution prevents them from achieving their immediate short-term political goals. And we should be clear about what those immediate political goals actually are: muzzling their political opponents and those with unpopular political views, disarming the citizenry, stripping minority groups of political power, and rigging the political system in favor of their own constituents. They would, if given the power, burn down the American constitutional order and replace it with something closer to ordinary mob rule, plain and unapologetic ochlocracy. The United States is not drifting into fascism or socialism — it is drifting into anarchy.

That’s quite a fit to throw over Mrs. Clinton being denied her tiara.

The Republican party likes to position itself as the defender of the Constitution. But with a few exceptions (Senator Ben Sasse prominent among them), Republicans in elected office demonstrate very little appreciation for the actual stakes on the political table. For the moment, they are more concerned with defending the Trump administration — which, whatever you think of it, is a short-term concern — than with defending something that is far more important, far more precious, and, in all likelihood, impossible to replace. If 2016 taught us anything, it is that the Jeffersons and Madisons of this generation apparently are otherwise occupied, that our political leadership is for the time diminished, and that the institutions the Democrats propose to incinerate could not be rebuilt by contemporary Americans any more than modern Iraqis could successfully revive the Code of Hammurabi.


In Defense of the Electoral College

By National Review

Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined a growing chorus within the Democratic party in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Speaking at a forum in Mississippi on Monday night, Warren said that she hoped to ensure that “every vote matters” and proposed that “the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College.”

Warren’s lofty rhetoric notwithstanding, a large portion of the Democratic party’s present animosity toward the Electoral College is rooted in rank partisanship. Since they watched their supposed “blue wall” evaporate in the small hours of the 2016 presidential election, many Democrats have felt sufficient anger with the system to seek to remake it. This habit has by no means been limited to the Electoral College. Indeed, no sooner has the Democratic party lost control of an institution that it had assumed it would retain in perpetuity than that institution has been denounced as retrograde and unfair. In the past year alone, this impulse has led to calls for the abolition or reinvention of the Senate, the Supreme Court, and more.

Insofar as there does exist a serious argument against the Electoral College, it is increasingly indistinguishable from the broader argument against the role that the states play within the American constitutional order, and thus from the argument against federalism itself. President Reagan liked to remind Americans that, far from serving as regional administrative areas of the nation-state, the states are the essential building blocks of America’s political, legal, and civic life.

In our era of viciously divisive politics, the states are arguably more necessary than they have ever been. Critics of the Electoral College bristle at the insistence that it prevents New York and California from imposing their will on the rest of the country. But the Electoral College guarantees that candidates who seek the only nationally elected office in America must attempt to appeal to as broad a geographic constituency as possible — large states and small, populous and rural — rather than retreating to their preferred pockets and running up the score. The alternative to this arrangement is not less political contention or a reduction in anger; it is more of both.

In addition to protecting the political diversity for which the United States is famous, the Electoral College brings with it a number of practical advantages that are crucial to good government. Under the current system, the result of presidential elections tends to be clear almost immediately — there is no need, for example, to wait three weeks for California to process its ballots; it is nigh-on impossible for voters to return a tie or disputed outcome; and, because presidential elections are, in effect, fifty-one separate elections, accusations of voting fraud and abuse hold less purchase than they would if all franchisees were melted into a single, homogenous blob. The freak occurrence that was Bush v. Gore is often raised as an objection against the status quo. Less attention is paid to the obvious question: What if that recount had been national?

Impressively, Elizabeth Warren’s plan for straight abolition is not the worst reform being touted at the moment. Impatient at the lack of progress that the #Resistance has made in pulling the wiring out of America’s constitutional engine, a handful of states have adopted the “National Popular Vote” plan, which binds their electors to cast their ballots for the candidate who wins a majority of votes nationwide. Until enough states have signed on to tip the balance past 270 — and, indeed, until the inevitable litigation has been concluded — adoption of the NPV will remain purely symbolic. Should it be put into action, however, it would achieve the remarkable feat of removing all of the benefits that the Electoral College provides while preventing the electors of each state from voting for the presidential candidate whom a majority in that state had picked. Who knew that the outsourcing craze would extend to democracy?

The U.S. Constitution is a complex document that, as Whitman might have put it, contains multitudes. At once, it boasts guarantees of democracy and protections against it; hosts an outline for national action, and a blueprint for localism; and serves as a vehicle for the majority, while including guarantees that the most significant decisions must be broadly agreed upon. The Electoral College is one of the many finely tuned institutions within the charter that have ensured stability and continuity in America for more than two centuries. To destroy it in a hail of platitudes, civic ignorance, and old-fashioned political pique would be a disastrous mistake.


Technology and the Fourth Amendment

By John Yoo & James Phillips • National Review

We now hold the equivalent of yesterday’s supercomputers in our pockets. Communications occur instantly, from encrypted messages to Twitter blasts that reach millions. Entrepreneurs make fortunes by analyzing and harvesting the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced each day. Governments search the data to find terrorist networks or launch foreign propaganda. From business to politics, success depends on reading the tea leaves we electronically leave behind with social-media posts, texts and emails, or Google searches.

As inevitably as the weather, the hand of regulation has followed. While using the data for itself, the state seeks to regulate the businesses and individuals that create it. We have only begun to figure out whether the rules of privacy that governed paper records, telephone calls, and the mails will continue to apply, and how, to emails, texts, video clips, and social media. Not only does technology create more data that individuals want to protect; it also expands the government’s ability to search and manipulate. Where the line will fall between new technologies, regulation, and privacy will likely become the greatest legacy of Chief Justice John Roberts’s Supreme Court.

The Court will have the opportunity to correct the mistakes of its past. In the 1950s and ’60s, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren sought to adapt constitutional rules to electronic technologies such as the telephone. The liberal Warren Court ignored the Bill of Rights’ text and original meaning as part of a broader effort to remake the criminal procedure of the Constitution in its own image. We may again be facing a similar revolution, not out of fear of police and prosecutors, but out of unfounded worries about a Big Brother government. How the Roberts Court handles these coming issues will reveal much about how originalist the Court actually is.

In an ideal world, we might expect the political process to make the fundamental choices about the balance between privacy, government power, and the new communication and information technologies. But ever since the Warren Court, the Supreme Court has claimed that the Fourth Amendment gives it a right to set the rules. The text of the Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Scholars and judges generally agree that the Framers of the Fourth Amendment sought to prevent general warrants, which officers of the British Crown had used to search American colonists at any time, for any reason. But during the Warren years, the Justices transformed this ban into a requirement that the government could not conduct a constitutional search without a Fourth Amendment warrant based on probable cause, with a specific description of the persons and places to be searched. In Mapp v. Ohio (1961), the Warren Court extended the notorious exclusionary rule, which excludes from trial any evidence gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment to all courtrooms throughout the nation. As even the liberal justice Benjamin Cardozo had complained as early as 1926, “the criminal is to go free because the constable has blundered.”

This general rule flies in the face of the text of the Fourth Amendment. Instead of assuming that only searches with warrants satisfy the Constitution, we ought to understand the amendment as composed of two parts: the search-and-seizures clause and the warrants clause. The text of the amendment fundamentally requires reasonable searches. If a search or seizure were reasonable, in the ordinary meaning of the word, then it would be legal, regardless of whether a specific warrant had been issued. Why then the warrant requirement? Such a requirement makes sense if the Framers considered search or seizure supported by a specific, judge-issued warrant to be per se reasonable. A warrant protected constables from lawsuits that, while more common during the Founding, have largely disappeared because of the Court’s immunity doctrines. The amendment recognizes two paths to reasonable, and thus legal, searches and seizures.

To be sure, some originalists defend the Warren Court, in part. They observe that the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts state constitutions contained nearly identical language, with one minor but clarifying difference: The relationship between the two clauses was not an “and” but a “therefore.” This difference would suggest that a specific warrant and reasonableness were one and the same. Further, according to this view, “unreasonable” meant against reason, which meant against the common law. And under the common law at the Founding, a warrant was necessary for a search or seizure unless law enforcement caught someone in the act of committing a felony.

Even if this reading of the Fourth Amendment were correct, the Warren Court made no attempt to base its policymaking on the amendment’s original meaning. Instead, it eagerly sought to impose a regime of judicial supervision over virtually all government searches, even over technologies that would have appeared to be magic to the Framers. No case exemplifies the Court’s approach better than Katz v. United States (1967). In Katz, the Warren Court found that the Fourth Amendment required a warrant to allow the police to place a listening device in a public phone booth. The defendant had used the phone in a public place outside his house, and his call was electronically intangible — the Fourth Amendment protects only tangible things: “persons, houses, papers, and effects.” But the Court found that his conversation fell within a “reasonable expectation of privacy” that was recognized by society. Rather than allowing Congress and the states to decide how much protection to give phone calls or any other electronic means of communication, the justices took for themselves the power to decide what would qualify as privacy.

As they did in other areas we have already examined, the justices assumed the roles of philosopher-kings. How do courts know that society views an expectation of privacy as objectively reasonable? According to Katz, they just do. How will courts determine what society thinks? Opinion polls? And why does the Fourth Amendment expand or contract depending on what society thinks should be private? Katz’s definition of privacy fails not only because judges cannot determine society’s view on privacy (that is, after all, the job of legislatures), but because it is utterly circular. Instead of providing any certainty with clear rules, the federal courts turned themselves into the arbiters of privacy, the definers of the legal scope of every new technology, and the monitors of all police investigations.

Under Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and majorities formed by Reagan and Bush judges, the Supreme Court tried to pare back the Warren Court’s activism. The Rehnquist Court created exceptions for searches conducted under exigent circumstances (such as evidence found while pursuing fleeing felons or protecting the lives of others), in good faith (such as operating under a defective warrant), at random (such as random drug-testing and drunk-driver checkpoints), or in plain view (public spaces, observation on the street). In these decisions, the Rehnquist Court began to recognize that while searches with a warrant were reasonable, not all reasonable searches need a warrant. Some observers believed that the Rehnquist Court might even overturn the exclusionary rule or Katz, but it never took that controversial step.

One of the chief surprises of the Roberts Court is that the justices have turned away from their predecessors’ project of restoring reasonableness as the constitutional touchstone. When faced with the new technologies, a majority of justices have ignored the original understanding of the Fourth Amendment and reverted to the Warren Court’s free-floating approach to privacy and government search. They have placed significant restrictions on the government’s use of new technology for policing and anti-terrorism operations, even as foreign nations escalate their use of cyber weapons to steal valuable data (such as the security and background files of almost every federal employee), hack infrastructure, and interfere with elections. The Court has precipitously plunged into the complexities of technology and privacy, where its competence is not high, instead of allowing the people’s elected representatives to make the fundamental choices.

The early signs of this high-tech activism first emerged under the Rehnquist Court. In Kyllo v. United States (2001), the Court confronted a case where a Department of Interior officer had used a new technology to search for indoor marijuana growers. The officer used a thermal imaging device that could measure the heat emitted by a building, but did not allow agents to see or listen to the activity within the house. In an opinion written by Justice Scalia, an unusual majority composed of Clarence Thomas, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer held that the Fourth Amendment prohibited the search, even though past opinions had found that evidence in plain view or in public outside the home did not require a warrant before search. “We think that obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical ‘intrusion into a constitutionally protected area,’” Scalia wrote, “constitutes a search at least where (as here) the technology in question is not in general public use.” According to the majority, “this assures preservation of that degree of privacy against government that existed when the Fourth Amendment was adopted.” The dissent properly observed that the officer observed something outside the house, much as an officer might hear screams coming from within or witness smoke pouring from a window. But unfortunately, the Court thought it should set the standard for advanced sensor technology, rather than allowing the elected branches to decide — either Congress through legislation or the executive branch via regulation.

Despite its conservative reputation, the Roberts Court picked up where the Rehnquist Court’s Kyllo decision left off. In United States v. Jones (2012), the Court addressed police use of a device that used the Global Positioning System to track a car’s movements. Without getting a warrant, Washington, D.C., police attached a device to a suspected drug dealer’s Jeep that reported its movements 24 hours a day for a month. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia held that the placement of the device constituted a physical invasion of the car. All of the justices agreed that the GPS monitoring device violated the Fourth Amendment, though some justices believed that shorter time periods might satisfy the Constitution. But the Court’s decision did not persuasively address why the GPS device amounted to an illegal search, while the exact same work conducted by human beings – having police officers conduct round-the-clock surveillance – would not violate the Constitution. In both cases, the tracker or the police officer simply follows the public movements of a suspect’s car. The tracking device only saves time and resources, and even intrudes less on privacy because it would observe only the location of the car and not what happened inside. The Court’s approach only invites more intrusive surveillance, such as deploying an aerial drone, which would never come into physical contact with the car, or even need to use enhanced sensors, to follow a suspect and report its movements instead. It is difficult to believe that the justices would forbid the police the use of night vision, in the way they forbade GPS, in public places to pursue fleeing felons. Police could simply follow a car when it travels on public roads and record video of its movements in real time.

The Roberts Court’s most recent opinion, Carpenter v. United States (2018), might prove its most sweeping. In a 5–4 decision, the chief justice joined the Court’s four liberals in finding that a person had an expectation of privacy in records kept by a telephone company of his cellphone’s location. Dissenting Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch argued that the third-party exception to the Fourth Amendment meant no warrant was required. Under existing doctrine, and the plain text of the amendment, individuals lose their claim to privacy over records or information that they willingly hand over to a third party. Upon this understanding, the Court has allowed warrantless searches such as “pen registers,” which record dialed telephone numbers, and for business records such as credit-card and financial transactions, because the original owner voluntarily gave the information to someone else. In this case, the owner of the cellphone allows the device to constantly “ping” the wireless cellphone network, which notifies the telephone company of its location. Police used the information to show that the suspects — who had, ironically, sought to rob cellphone stores — were present at the time and place of a series of crimes.

Nevertheless, the Court held that such nonprivate information received the protections of the Fourth Amendment. The Court did not find that the means to gather the information violated the text of the Constitution, but that somehow the data violated the Fourth Amendment because the government had come to have too much information. Chief Justice Roberts concluded that such commercial records still fell within the suspect’s “anticipation of privacy in his physical location” because “the time-stamped data provides an intimate window into a person’s life,” not just now, but well into the past. The problem with Chief Justice Roberts’s approach is that it provides no clear rule about how much information is too much information for the government to have, how courts and police are to decide, or why the Fourth Amendment even places limits on how much knowledge the government can have about its citizens’ public activities. Chief Justice Roberts, for example, might believe that the Fourth Amendment would bar government agencies from examining social media, even though individuals choose to blog and post so that many people can see, or financial data, which we transmit to banks and companies. He inevitably “invites courts to make judgments about policy, not law,” as Justice Thomas wrote in dissent.

These cases demonstrate that the Court, though now composed of a conservative majority appointed by Republican presidents, may still drift in a liberal direction. It is most likely to do so when, as here, it leaves behind the constitutional text and history in favor of judgments — no matter how reasonable or popular — that fall within the province of the elected branches of government. Technological advances will continue to pressure the Court to get creative with the Constitution over the intersection of privacy and law enforcement. So the justices have a choice. They can tread the constitutionally dubious path laid out by the Warren Court and invent whatever doctrine or test they think will be optimal from a policy perspective, per Katz and Carpenter.

Or they can leave that to the nation’s policymakers: Congress and the president. There is precedent for the elected branches making decisions related to the intersection of privacy and law enforcement. In 1968, Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, in part as a response to Katz, which was handed down just a year earlier. The act allowed the institution best able to weigh the competing policy interests of privacy and safety — the legislature — to make the balancing determination. The Constitution’s federal structure also encourages states to experiment with different balances of privacy and security. Of course, the text and history of the Constitution provide a floor. But if society wishes to provide greater protection for privacy at the cost of some security, it should make that decision through the same political process that it uses for other public policies.

As technological development continues to accelerate, the Court will have a decision to make. Will it usurp the authority of the people and their representatives to decide how to best move forward in this new world, or will it succumb to the temptation of playing platonic guardians who know better how to navigate the future? Time will tell which path the Court chooses, but the Constitution has an answer, if they choose to consult it.


Green New Deal? Slay the Socialist Monster Now

By Frank Miele • Real Clear Politics

I’ve avoided writing about the Green New Deal for the same reason that you stick your head under the covers when the boogeyman comes out at night — you hope, with any luck, it will just go away.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go away; it has replaced “health care for all” as the most dangerous arrow in the quiver of the progressive agenda, and it is aimed straight at the heart of American society.

Although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is most closely associated with the Green New Deal, she is little more than a paid advertising spokeswoman for the revolutionary legislation, which aims to completely overthrow the American economic order within 10 years.

The most offensive element of the initial rollout of the plan was the guarantee of “Economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work” (emphasis mine). Since shelling out trillions of dollars to lazy people is an idea offensive to millions of hard-working Americans, that proposal was rapidly “disappeared” from Ocasio-Cortez’s website, but even without that insulting nonsense, the entire package is a socialist nightmare waiting to happen.

Just look at the components of the plan that are acknowledged. The Green New Deal is not just a climate-change proposal; it is a forced re-invention of society — no less damaging than the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation in the 19th century or the forced re-education of the Chinese nation during the Cultural Revolution in the 20th.

The resolution before Congress declares that it is the duty of the federal government “to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States.” This one tiny component by itself demonstrates the socialist agenda underlying the GND. How exactly does the federal government “create” millions of jobs? How do federal bureaucrats ensure that they are high-wage jobs? How do they guarantee prosperity? Have Democrats never heard of a recession? Do they think that economic downturns can be legislated out of existence? It should be the duty of the federal government to stay out of the way and let the engine of capitalism work, as it always has, to create wealth, but instead this proposal wants the federal government to compete with private industry, to regulate it into submission, and to engineer the economy into something Stalin would be proud of.

In the “10-year national mobilization” envisioned by Green New Deal, the federal government would become the biggest Big Brother in history, dictating “improvements” in virtually every aspect of life. Oh, yes — “health care for all” is now just an unassuming asterisk among all the freebies and mandates being handed out. Among other things, this modest proposal would require the government to:

— Guarantee “universal access to clean water.”

— Meet “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”

— Upgrade “all existing buildings in the United States and [construct] new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.”

— Build “a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.” [“Soylent Green,” anyone?]

— Provide “resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States.” [Note: not citizens.]

— Provide “all people of the United States” with high-quality health-care, “affordable, safe and adequate [Let the courts decide!] housing,” “economic security” [Oops! Does that actually include those unwilling to work?], and “clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.”

— Guarantee “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

That last provision is one of the many landmines in the Green New Deal that its authors either never thought through or, worse, included intentionally to subvert the national economy. We can start by noting that Social Security will now be paid out based not on how much you contributed, but on how much you need to feel “secure.” But there’s an even worse explosion waiting to happen:

If everyone is guaranteed a job with a “family-sustaining wage,” then workers in the future will be paid not based on the quality of their work or the value of their job, but on the size of their family. Obviously, a family of 10 needs more money to be sustained than a family of two. Plus, how do we guarantee “family-sustaining wages” to both parents in a working family? Is the intention to return families to the one-breadwinner model since each worker by definition will be able to provide for their family with a single income? Or will the two workers in a couple have to accept half wages because they are sharing responsibility for sustaining the family?

This is madness, but predictable madness. The best evidence of the chaos that ensues when a government orders massive social change in order to bring “justice” to the economy is Mao’s Great Leap Forward in China, where 60 million people perished to prove one man’s ideas wrong. The Ukrainian famine ordered by Stalin is a close second for sheer insanity, but doesn’t come anywhere near the human cost of Mao’s.

Earlier, I said that Ocasio-Cortez was the front person for the Green New Deal, not its author. That is obvious, but it doesn’t absolve her of responsibility for the horrors that would be unleashed should it come to pass. She has called the plan a “Green Dream,” but this is not the first time in history that a dream has turned into a nightmare. As Uncle Joe Stalin liked to say, “You gotta have a (five-year) plan.”

Okay, that’s slight poetic license. But Soviet Russia’s “five-year plans” were no joke. They wrecked Russia’s economy. The Green New Deal, on a 10-year time frame, would do the same.

Charismatic leaders with dangerous ideas can never be dismissed as just nuisances; they must be taken seriously — and stopped while they still can be. The Green New Deal has been assigned a price tag of $93 trillion by the former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — and that’s just fiscal cost. Were its socialist agenda actually put in place, we have been warned that our forests would be denuded, the economy would be destroyed, and millions would perish of starvation. A small price to pay for a true believer like Ocasio-Cortez, but she isn’t the one who would be paying the price.

So now that the boogeyman is out of the closet — exposed as a socialist monster — we have no choice but to face our fears and kill it quickly and decisively. The alternative is unthinkable.


Finnish Government Collapses Due to Rising Cost of Universal Health Care

By Jeffrey Cimmino • Washington Free Beacon

The government of Finland collapsed Friday due to the rising cost of universal health care and the prime minister’s failure to enact reforms to the system.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila and the rest of the cabinet resigned after the governing coalition failed to pass reforms in parliament to the country’s regional government and health services, the Wall Street Journal reports. Finland faces an aging population, with around 26 percent of its citizens expected to be over 65 by the year 2030, an increase of 5 percent from today.

Sipila’s reforms “intended to remove power from the 295 municipalities that currently oversee health and social care, and place responsibility within a leaner, more efficient system of 18 elected regional authorities,” according to the Journal. The prime minister also wanted patients to be able to choose from a range of public and private providers.

Sipila said “there’s no other way for Finland to succeed” besides these reforms, which could have led to $3.4 billion in savings for the government.

Finland’s aging population is increasing the financial strain on its health care system. From a BBC News report:

As an increasing number of people live longer in retirement, the cost of providing pension and healthcare benefits can rise. Those increased costs are paid for by taxes collected from of the working-age population – who make up a smaller percentage of the population than in decades past.

In 2018, those aged 65 or over made up 21.4% of Finland’s population, the fourth highest after Germany, Portugal, Greece, and Italy, according to Eurostat.

Finland’s welfare system is also generous in its provisions, making it relatively expensive. Attempts at reform have plagued Finnish governments for years.

Reuters reports that soaring treatment costs and longer life spans have particularly affected Nordic countries.

“Nordic countries, where comprehensive welfare is the cornerstone of the social model, have been among the most affected,” according to Reuters. “But reform has been controversial and, in Finland, plans to cut costs and boost efficiency have stalled for years.”

Similar problems are bedeviling Sweden and Denmark, two other countries frequently held up as models to follow on health care. Finland’s crisis in particular comes as calls for universal health care have grown louder among Democrats in the United States.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) “Medicare for all” proposal would cost the U.S. over $32 trillion over ten years, according to an analysis by the Mercatus Center. It would also require enormous tax increases as “a doubling of all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan.”

Another Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), has called for eliminating private health insurance, although a spokesperson suggested she is open to multiple paths to “Medicare for all.”

Self-described democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) has also called for “Medicare for all.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58 percent of Americans oppose “Medicare for all” if told it would eliminate private health insurance plans, and 60 percent oppose it if it requires higher taxes.


Nancy Pelosi’s Problems are Just Beginning

By Peter RoffNewsweek

You wouldn’t know it from the way she’s being covered in most of the Washington media but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a woman with a lot of problems. Instead of in-depth coverage of the ideological divisions in her caucus and the political challenges to her leadership, she gets stuff like this, from Politico:

“Using strategies she’s honed over decades, the speaker has managed to keep a sprawling freshman class in line — and on her side — despite breaking with them on issues ranging from impeachment to the ‘Green New Deal.’”

What Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan wouldn’t have done for that kind of coverage when they were in charge! When they were in charge, the dissenters drove the narrative. Now that the Queen Bee of Capitol Hill is back in charge, things have turned on their head.

The reason for this is simple according to Rich Galen, a former top communications aide to House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a well-respected commentator.

“The advantage – the GREAT advantage – that Pelosi has, which Newt nor any following GOP Speaker has had is the adoration of the national press corps. They REALLY want her to succeed. Nevertheless, Pelosi has some of the same issues to deal with that Newt did: Mainly a huge freshman class that think they invented Democracy,” Galen says.

He doesn’t think she’s lost control of her conference – not yet anyway – but the she’s not breaking records for party unity. She’s already lost the vote on two motions to recommit – a parliamentary device often used to slow the progress of legislation through the House – and continues to show signs of fatigue, something that has some speculating quietly and anonymously that the job may be too much for her.

That’s a reach. Even at 78 Pelosi still shows she has command of the political skills learned at her father’s knee – he was once mayor of Baltimore, Maryland – and from various members of the Burton family whose accomplishments in California Democratic politics are still considered legendary.

Still, Pelosi did herself no favors when late last week she suggested impeachment of President Donald Trump might be off the table. By suggesting it wasn’t worth the effort she gave the proverbial “finger” to Democratic donors and activists from coast to coast who worked so hard in 2018 to win back control of the U.S. House for the Democrats precisely for the purpose of driving Trump from office.

Some may say that it’s not such a big deal. The activist wing of the party is likely harder to mollify, even as Pelosi and others work to keep them in line. Consider what the reaction would have been among the GOP faithful if, after using the repeal of Obamacare as the whip hand to drive voters to the polls in 2010 to win back control of the House for John Boehner and the Republicans, the measure was never even brought to the floor for a vote.

“Impeaching Trump is probably the one substantive matter that is non-negotiable for House Democrats,” says Mike Franc, a former GOP congressional leadership staffer and now head of the Washington office of the Hoover Institution.

“Pelosi can get away with dismissing the New Green Deal (because it is purely aspirational and agenda-setting rather than substantive) but not this. My guess is that she suffers for this sin, mostly with the Democratic base.”

For Pelosi, now and moving forward, the tail is wagging the dog. She may be the political leader and the nation’s most important elected Democrat, but she has little to say, at least so far, about what the party’s agenda will be. She faces, Franc says, “a substantive revolution” in the way policy is made on Capitol Hill, akin to what happened after the Democratic landslide of 1974 and the 1994 Republican Contract with America.

The large class of Democratic freshmen, which includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and her fellow traveling socialists, do not seem, Franc says, committed to a set of real and substantive policy changes so much as they are interested in “using their platforms as Members to advance a new and socialistic state of mind in traditional and social media.”

If that gives AOC and others control of the agenda, what does that mean for the suburban seats Democrats took from the GOP in 2018 because voters either thought the Republican agenda was too extreme or because they wanted to send a message to Trump?

Extremism on the left, which is what AOC and her fellow Green New Dealers are offering, is no better in these districts than extremism on the right. These moderate members could get lost in the undertow if Pelosi can’t stop the drift to the left, but she can’t stay in power if she does.

Nancy Pelosi has a lot of problems – and they’re just beginning to surface.


Shocked by Biased Journalism? Please.

By Lance Morrow • Wall Street Journal

The Democratic National Committee will regret its decision to bar Fox News from hosting any of its 2020 presidential primary debates. Just as the game begins, the committee has planted the idea that the Democrats mean to run a rigged election—not a happy thought to encourage in view of the way the party’s leaders fiddled with the process in 2016 to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

The Democrats consider Fox a propaganda arm of the Trump administration, but they have their own propaganda arms. Most of the mainstream media manifest a deep affinity for progressive Democrats and their agenda. To exclude Fox smacks of Soviet one-party theatrics.

The journalists at CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times and, broadly speaking, the elected officials and paid operatives of the Democratic Party—almost all of these people agree on the issues of the day: women’s rights, abortion, gay marriage and other LGBTQ issues, Black Lives Matter, gun control, immigration, the border wall, family separation at the U.S.-Mexican border, Russian collusion, Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness and so on. They agree, above all, in opposing and loathing Donald Trump.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” unfolds each weekday morning as a relentless, ritualized denunciation of Mr. Trump and all his works. With almost hilarious single-mindedness, the program’s repertory company addresses itself to the work of discrediting and—they hope—one day ousting the president.

It will be fatal to Democrats’ chances in 2020 to encourage the suspicion they won’t tolerate points of view that differ from progressive orthodoxy. Unbiased viewers know that Fox employs many credible journalists: Bret Baier, Martha McCallum and Chris Wallace, for example.

Anyway, Fox journalists asking the questions would only sharpen the debate and increase the candidates’ credibility. The ideologues at the DNC don’t grasp the virtue of competing ideas. Jacobins rarely do.

True, Sean Hannity whispers in Mr. Trump’s ear. That is probably a bad idea, but it has abundant historical precedent. The muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens of McClure’s Magazine, author of “The Shame of the Cities,” met often with President Theodore Roosevelt to advise him on progressive policy.

Arthur Krock, Washington bureau chief and a columnist for the New York Times, was in the Kennedy family’s pocket for years. He wrote columns in the late 1930s pushing Joseph P. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s father, for president. The journalist had the sense to turn down the patriarch’s offer of a car one Christmas, considering the bribe too blatant. Krock used his influence on the Pulitzer board to engineer a 1957 prize for JFK’s “Profiles in Courage.”

Henry Luce, co-founder and editor in chief of Time Inc., regarded his magazines as the voices of the American superego. He liked to tell his countrymen what to think, and presidents how to act. Presidents feared Luce and his ability to teach and preach to tens of millions of American voters every week. Luce had an especially proprietary sense of President Dwight Eisenhower, whom his magazines backed in 1952. Intellectuals damned Luce and envied him his vast readership and almost unique influence upon the American popular mind. Phil Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, was an intimate adviser to Lyndon Johnson, notably at the 1960 Democratic convention, where LBJ sought the top spot on the ticket but settled for the second.

President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, of Newsweek and later of the Washington Post, had a glamorous friendship that was close and, from a journalistic point of view, not quite ethical.

The DNC made a bad move. One or two of the declared Democratic candidates might distinguish themselves now by demanding that the committee reverse itself and invite Fox News—and its audience—back into the American electoral process.


Liberal Primary Voters Turn to Socialism

By Michael Tanner • National Review

Outside the media and political circles that follow her every move, few probably noticed or cared when Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez pronounced capitalism “irredeemable.” But what are we to make of the refusal of former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper — supposedly the moderate in the Democratic field — to admit that he was a capitalist? Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week, Hickenlooper turned aside several direct questions about whether he was a capitalist before allowing that “some aspects” of capitalism, like small business, “probably work.” And what about the fact that 77-year-old avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is in a statistical tie for the Democratic nomination?

Perhaps that’s because Democratic primary voters have a surprisingly favorable view of socialism. According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, Democrats prefer capitalism to socialism by the slimmest 51–49 percent margin. That’s a long way from President Obama, who just four years ago pointed out that “the free market is the greatest generator of wealth in history — it has lifted millions out of poverty.”

Of course there is ample reason to be suspicious of the combination of cronyism and government intervention that has replaced free-market capitalism in recent years. But this new affection for socialism represents a profound misreading of economics, history, and the human condition.

For most of recorded history, humankind was horribly, desperately poor. Then, about 300 years ago, human wealth suddenly began to increase exponentially. The reason for this sudden and wonderful change was the advent of modern free-market capitalism. And while those at the top of the income ladder undoubtedly saw major gains, those who benefited the most from this increase in wealth were those at the bottom.

In her groundbreaking book Bourgeois Equality, Deirdre McCloskey points out that in the era before modern free-market capitalism, great civilizations, such as Periclean Greece or Song Dynasty China, sometimes saw a temporary doubling of national income per capita. Such gains were considered extraordinary. But compare that to the fact that since 1800, developed countries like Sweden or Japan have seen a 3,200 percent growth in per capita income. And with that growth came all sorts of associated benefits, including longer life expectancies, a better-educated citizenry, expanded civil and political rights, and reduced poverty. Studies measuring inequality over time against indexes of economic freedom (adjusted to exclude exogenous factors such as educational levels, climate, agricultural share of employment, and so forth) show a small but statistically significant reduction in inequality in countries with high economic-freedom scores.

What has been true worldwide has been true for the United States as well. Consider that by most measures nearly all Americans were poor at the start of the last century. Indeed, if we use a definition corresponding to today’s poverty measures, 60 to 80 percent of the U.S. population was poor at the start of the 20th century. Today, while some people undoubtedly continue to struggle, deep material poverty has been nearly eradicated.

It is free-market capitalism that is at the heart of this prosperity.

Nor is the debate about capitalism vs. socialism merely a question of economics. Strip away all the bells and whistles and there are only two ways to organize society: markets or command and control. Markets are fundamentally about choice and voluntary exchange. Command and control is about, well, command and control — that is, force. Advocates of socialism presume that this power will be exercised by wise philosopher-economist-kings who can magically determine precisely what wages should be, how much a product should sell for, and what consumers want (or should want). History shows that, instead, those powers are exercised by fallible human beings who not only get economic decisions wrong but cannot resist spreading their new power into non-economic areas of our lives.

Donald Trump, with his continuing calls for government intervention in the economy, is hardly the best person to make the case against Democrats and socialism. He is, in fact, emblematic of the cronyism that has come to taint capitalism in the minds of many. But his message may still find a receptive audience.

The same Harvard/Harris poll cited above showed voters overall preferring capitalism by a 65–35 percent margin. Voters outside the Democratic-primary base are far less enamored of socialism. Even many of those choosing socialism probably don’t really mean it, seeing “socialism” as simply shorthand for a more generous welfare state.

In particular, an anti-capitalist, pro-socialist message will be a very hard sell in the crucial suburbs that have begun swinging Democratic in the last few elections. Voters in those areas are repelled by Trump’s rhetoric and Republican social conservatism but remain capitalists.

There’s no doubt that Trump remains vulnerable, but so long as Democrats continue their lurch to the left, his reelection prospects will look up.


Greenpeace Founding Member: ‘The Whole Climate Crisis Is Not Only Fake News, It’s Fake Science’

By Tyler O’Neil • PJ Media

On Tuesday morning, Patrick Moore, a founding member of the environmentalist organization Greenpeace, slammed climate alarmists for promoting a fake emergency. President Donald Trump tweeted Moore’s remarks shortly after he made them.

“In fact, the whole climate crisis as they call it is not only fake news, it’s fake science. There is no climate crisis,” Moore, author of the book Confessions of a Greenpeace Drop-Out: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, told “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning.

“There is weather and climate all around the world. And, in fact, carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life,” Moore said. “That’s where the carbon comes from in carbon-based life, which is all life on land and in the sea. And not only that, a little bit of warming would not be a bad thing for myself being a Canadian and the people in Russia wouldn’t mind a little couple of degrees warmer either.”

The Greenpeace founding member did not deny that climate change is real, but he insisted that it is not a crisis.

“Yes, of course, climate change is real. It’s been happening since the beginning of time. But it’s not dangerous and it’s not made by people,” Moore insisted.

What is climate change, if it’s not a man-made imminent crisis? “Climate change is a perfectly natural phenomenon and this modern warm period actually began about 300 years ago when Little Ice Age began to come to an end,” he explained. “There is nothing to be afraid of.”

As for the alarmists, “that’s all they are doing is instilling fear. Most of the scientists who are saying it’s a crisis are on perpetual government grants.”

Yet there is a fundamental contradiction between their claims, Moore insisted. “On one hand they say the science is settled and people like myself should just shut up because they know what’s right. On the other hand, they seem to keep studying it forever as if there is something new to find out. And those two things are completely contradictory,” he said.

The Greenpeace founding member even argued that “carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world.” He promoted the CO2 Coalition, which believes “that carbon dioxide is entirely beneficial to both the environment, to agriculture and forestry and to the climate of the Earth.”

If Patrick Moore believes in carbon dioxide as a benefit to the climate, how could he have helped found Greenpeace? He argued that it was the organization that changed from its original mission, not him.

“I was one of the founders doing a Ph.D. in the late ’60s, early ’70s in ecology. I was radicalized by the Cold War and the threat of all-out nuclear war and the emerging consciousness of the environment and we did a lot of good things,” he recalled. “We stopped nuclear testing in Alaska. We have stopped it in the South Pacific. We saved the whales. And we stopped a lot of toxic waste being put into the ocean. And the air.”

“But, by the mid-’80s we had gained a lot of notoriety and we were bringing in a lot of money and we were hijacked by the extreme Left who basically took Greenpeace from a science-based organization to an organization based on sensationalism, misinformation, and fear,” Moore insisted.

The Greenpeace founding member echoed an argument he made against the Green New Deal on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday evening.

Moore said he opposed the climate plan proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “because it would be basically the end of civilization if 85 percent of the world’s and also 85 percent of the U.S.’s energy — in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas — were phased out over the next few years. Like, ten years. We do not have anything to replace them with.”

Nuclear reactors might be able to meet those needs, “but that isn’t going to happen because the greens are against nuclear, and they’re even against hydroelectric dams, which at least is renewable. But they don’t support that either, so basically, they are opposed to approximately 98.5 percent of all the electricity that we are using and nearly 100 percent of all the vehicle and transportation and ships and plans energy that we are using.”

Moore argued that the biggest problem with phasing out fossil fuels entirely would be mass starvation in the cities. Transporting food from farms to cities “requires large trucks, and there’s not going to be any electric tracks any time soon hauling 40 tons of food into the supermarkets where the people in the cities probably think it originates in the supermarket. But it does not.”

The Ocasio-Cortez ‘Green New Deal’ Is Even Shoddier and More Absurd Than You Thought
Without fossil fuels and the trucks that run on them, food could not travel from the farms to the center of New York or to Manhattan, where AOC is from,” he said. Without trucks, “the people there will begin to starve. … Half the population will die in a very short period of time.”

On “Fox & Friends,” Patrick Moore was even blunter. “The fact is you cannot do agriculture for eight billion people — produce the food for eight billion people — without fossil fuels as far as we know it. We don’t have an alternative, especially for transportation. Which is over 90 percent dependent on fossil fuels,” he said.

Burning fossil fuels may even have a positive impact on the environment, the Greenpeace founding member argued.

“The fact is 85 percent of the world’s energy is from fossil fuels. And the carbon dioxide being emitted from burning it was actually taken out of the atmosphere and the oceans millions of years ago and stored in sediments,” Moore said. “We are now releasing it back into the atmosphere where it can fertilize the life on Earth.”

“Carbon dioxide and water are the two main constituents of all life. Carbohydrates and, of course, fossil fuels are hydrocarbons just missing the oxygen. When you burn them, the oxygen is recombined with carbon to form the carbon dioxide. People need to learn more about the chemistry,” he quipped.

“This is fake science and driving a very dangerous movement on the energy front,” Moore repeated.

President Donald Trump tweeted about Moore’s interview, citing the “Fake Science” line in particular.

“Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: ‘The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life,'” Trump tweeted, adding “Wow!”

Greenpeace disputed the claim that Patrick Moore is a co-founder of the organization.

“Patrick Moore was not a co-founder of Greenpeace. He does not represent Greenpeace. He is a paid lobbyist, not an independent source. His statements about @AOC & the #GreenNewDeal have nothing to do with our positions.”

Moore was heavily involved in the early years of Greenpeace. While he did not help found the original organization, the “Don’t Make a Wave Committee,” he joined the crew of the vessel Phyllis Cormack, which later took on the name “Greenpeace.” The organization took its name from that vessel.

Patrick Moore is not listed among the founders of Greenpeace on the website, but he clearly had an early leading role in the organization.

In 2011, the Wall Street Journal dubbed Moore a “founding member” of the organization. PJ Media has adopted this description.