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.
by John-Michael Seibler • The Daily Signal
For four years, Carl and Janice Duffner of St. Peters, Missouri, have been fighting the city’s enforcement of a mandate to grow turf grass in their yard despite Janice Duffner’s grass pollen allergy.
Now facing potential cumulative penalties of more than 20 years in prison and $180,000 in fines, the Duffners’ case is pending before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where they are arguing that the mandate to cover half of their lawn in allergens violates their state and federal constitutional rights.
Whatever comes of those claims, the city’s enforcement action may violate Duffner’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Congress barred state and local government entities from discriminating against individuals with certain disabilities through any services and activities, including the enforcement of an ordinance.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the law “protects people with asthma and allergies even if reactions or attacks happen only when triggered. The Americans With Disabilities Act can help to create an environment where patients can avoid their triggers.” Fortunately for the Duffners, that extends to the place where people most want and expect to escape their “triggers”—in their own home. Continue reading
By Terry Jones • Investor’s Business Daily
Cutting Rules: Baseball season is winding down and, as it does, so is another grueling annual event: The U.S. government’s fiscal year. But this year, with just two months to go, something remarkable is happening: Regulations are being slashed at a record rate.
A new report by the American Action Forum (AAF) says that not only is President Trump meeting his deregulation goals, he’s exceeding them — in some cases, by a large amount.
“Collectively, executive agencies subject to regulatory budget remain on pace to double the administration’s overall saving goal,” wrote the AAF’s Dan Bosch. “On an individual basis, 12 of 22 agencies have already met or surpassed their savings target.”
“The Department of Labor enjoys the largest total savings of covered agencies with $417.2 million,” Bosch wrote. “The Department of Health and Human Services comes in second in savings … at Continue reading
By Betsy McCaughey • Real Clear Politics
Rank and file government workers won big over union bosses Wednesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois state worker who refused to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The court struck down an Illinois law that allowed the union to deduct fees from Janus’s paycheck despite his refusal to join.
The Janus ruling smashes laws in 22 states — including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and California — that compel nonmembers to support unions. Until now, if you wanted a government job in these states, you had to pay up. But now firefighters, teachers and other public employees won’t have to fork over a penny to a union if they choose not to join. For the average worker who opts out, it will mean hundreds of dollars more in take-home pay a year.
More in workers’ pockets, less in union coffers. Nationwide, unions are expected to forfeit Continue reading
By Steve Kurtz • Fox News
A $45 monthly fee could end up costing big labor billions. Public unions are getting nervous, while those who don’t like how they operate are claiming the free lunch may be over soon.
An explosive case regarding government employees and the First Amendment that the Supreme Court will hear on Feb. 26 could redefine the relationship between public unions and workers.
Petitioner Mark Janus works at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and didn’t like that a certain amount was deducted from his paycheck — he didn’t believe he should be forced to pay union dues or fees just to be allowed to work for the state. He didn’t agree with the 1.3 million-member AFSCME union’s politics, and so believed, under the First Amendment, he couldn’t be forced to contribute.
In his court filing, Janus quotes Thomas Jefferson, who said to “compel a man to furnish contribution of Continue reading
By James L. Buckley • National Review
The following speech was delivered on January 27 in Old Saybrook, Conn., as an address to the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale upon the inauguration of the James L. Buckley Award for Public Service.
Until the summer of 1965, I had lived a totally contented, interesting, and highly private life. Although I have always been interested in questions of public policy, I had never, ever given any thought to public service. Then something wholly unexpected occurred. I received a telephone call from brother Bill in which he informed me that he had decided to run for the office of mayor of New York City and, furthermore, that I was to serve as his campaign manager.
I told Bill that that last was preposterous: I was far too busy with my own work and, furthermore, I knew absolutely nothing about politics or the conduct of political campaigns. Bill, though, could be very persuasive. He explained, among other things, that as he could not possibly win, he didn’t expect the race to take very much of his time. Therefore, it would take even less of mine.
And that is how the leaders of New York’s Conservative party came to learn of my existence; and three years later, when hunting around to fill a gap, they persuaded me to run as a pro forma candidate for the U.S. Senate. As it would be an unwinnable race against a popular liberal incumbent, they assured me it would require little effort on my part. As it happens, it took a great deal of it, but I did surprisingly well. So, two years later, yielding to a Continue reading
By Michael Tanner • National Review
The Western world can breathe easy. British prime minister Theresa May has solved one of the great crises of our time: She has appointed a Minister of Loneliness. Tracey Crouch, who is currently the Tory undersecretary for Sports and Civil Society, will be charged with leading a government-wide effort to “develop a strategy” for ending “loneliness and social isolation” among adults.
It is easy to have a laugh at the expense of the Brits, of course, although just last year President Obama’s surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review arguing that the societal problem of loneliness needs more attention from business and government. But there is something bigger at work here. There is now a general belief, one increasingly shared by politicians and voters of both parties, that every problem, large or small, can only be solved by the government.
The Declaration of Independence says that governments are instituted among men to secure our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, too many people see government as the solution to whatever ails us.
Obesity a problem? We need the government to regulate what we eat. Wages too low? The government should set them. Are people doing things that you think are immoral? Continue reading
By Steve Eder • New York Times
ALTAMONT, N.Y. — For eight weeks every fall, Indian Ladder Farms, a fifth generation
family operation near Albany, kicks into peak season.
The farm sells homemade apple pies, fresh cider and warm doughnuts. Schoolchildren arrive by the busload to learn about growing apples. And as customers pick fruit from trees, workers fill bins with apples, destined for the farm’s shop and grocery stores.
This fall, amid the rush of commerce — the apple harvest season accounts for about half of Indian Ladder’s annual revenue — federal investigators showed up. They wanted to check the farm’s compliance with migrant labor rules and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets pay and other requirements for workers.
Suddenly, the small office staff turned its focus away from making money to
placating a government regulator.
The investigators arrived on a Friday in late September and interviewed the
farm’s management and a group of laborers from Jamaica, who have special work
visas. The investigators hand delivered a notice and said they would be back the
following week, when they asked to have 22 types of records available. The
request included vehicle registrations, insurance documents and time sheets —
reams of paper in all.
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is taking the lead on this, but expect it to spread to other agencies, including the DOJ. It’s a good start, but there are other problems in the lawfare arena that need to be addressed to ease tensions and restore order to the legal system.
Consider the attacks on Big Oil, which started with a novel legal theory that presupposed the U.S. oil and gas industry deliberately conspired for several decades to deceive the public about climate change.
That theory became an allegation which, when backed by several of the attorneys general of more than a dozen states, turned into litigation that threatens to set a number of dangerous legal precedents while undermining the nation’s economic vitality.
by Ali Meyer • The Free Beacon
Waiting times for medically necessary health care services under Canada’s single-payer system have hit a record high, according to a report from the Fraser Institute.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has touted Canada’s single-payer system, saying it is a model the United States should follow. He introduced a “Medicare for All” plan this past September.
“The issue that has got to be studied is how does it happen that here in Canada they provide quality care to all people, and I don’t think there is any debate that the quality of care here is as good or better than the United States, and they do it for half the cost,” Sanders said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) cosponsored Sanders’s bill, saying she believes the measure will bring high-quality and low-cost care to Americans. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) wrote a provision in Sanders’s bill allowing Americans to buy into a public plan during the transition to single-payer.
The Fraser Institute found that patients under Canada’s single-payer system this year waited an average of 10.9 weeks—roughly two-and-a-half months—from the time they had a consultation with a specialist to the time at which they received treatment. Physicians consider 7.2 weeks to be a clinically reasonable wait time. Continue reading
by Mary Katharine Ham • The Federalist
In Arizona, an act of charity became a possibly criminal act when a state board took issue with a cosmetology student giving free haircuts to local homeless people.
Juan Carlos Montesdeoca is a Tucson cosmetology student who used to be homeless. He organized a Haircuts for the Homeless event along with other classmates in a local park in January, offering barber services and manicures for people who hadn’t had such treatment in years. But an anonymous complaint to state officials for practicing this rogue styling without a license led to an investigation by the State Board of Cosmetology.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey sent a letter to the board Wednesday asking them to stop the investigation, calling Montesdeoca’s “an act of charity that we should be celebrating.” Continue reading
by Bill McMorris • Washington Free Beacon
A federal judge in Texas could strike down another of the Obama administration’s most controversial labor rules.
Judge Amos L. Mazzant from the Eastern District of Texas will rule Tuesday on the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations. Those regulations would force employers to pay overtime to any white collar worker making less than $913 per week–about $47,000 per year—double the previous threshold of $455. The rule also includes an escalator provision that automatically raises the threshold every three years, similar to how some minimum wage provisions are designed to adjust for inflation.
More than 20 states and dozens of companies and industry trade groups have filed suit to block the regulations from taking effect. Continue reading
by Senator Ted Cruz • The Daily Signal
The incredible ingenuity of the American people invented the internet—one of the most transformational technologies in human history. But even though we created and paid for the internet, we did not keep it for ourselves; we shared it for the benefit of all humanity. That spirit of freedom and generosity is the very essence of our great nation.
Since the internet’s inception, the United States government has played a critical role in supervising the core internet functions that allow websites to interface with the internet. If any other country had created the internet, this power could have been used to deny internet access to websites that were deemed politically undesirable, unpopular, threatening, or disfavored by the ruling elite.
But not here in the United States. The internet is an oasis of freedom today because of our First Amendment, which is unparalleled in the protection it affords free speech. So long as the U.S. government is involved in internet governance, it cannot deny any website internet access on account of the ideas it espouses. Continue reading
by Peter Roff • U.S. News
The armchair constitutionalists who have lately been about the business of trying to nullify the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Citizens United case are so full of ardor for their cause they are no longer thinking clearly.
They believe passionately to the point of distraction that money is a singularly corruptive influence on the American political process – as long as it is corporate money which, to them, means it comes from General Motors, Microsoft, Goldman-Sachs and other really big repositories of wealth.
There’s so much wrong with this thinking that there isn’t enough bandwidth available on the internet to explain the errors in one place. Suffice it to say, their passion for the subject has led them in directions that threaten the constitutional integrity of the American system. Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The cost to taxpayers for just nine executive orders signed by President Barack Obama is $31 billion, according to a new report.
The American Action Forum found that Obama’s “pen and phone” strategy of going around Congress has incurred major costs for Americans for reasons including the delay of provisions in Obamacare and imposing new gun control measures. The group analyzed the most expensive executive orders and administrative action taken by the president for its analysis.
“‘I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone … I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball.’ That was President Obama in 2014 pledging to use executive action to implement his policy priorities,” writes Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute. “The American people elected Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate and President Obama responded through regulation, rather than working with Congress on legislation.” Continue reading