Commentary: With Arizona’s Election Audit Completed, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Michigan Could be Next

Arizona likely has gotten the most attention because it has moved the furthest along in pursuing an audit. Most of the other states discussing audits have not taken concrete action to get started yet, while Arizona’s audit is almost complete.

Arizona’s audit has focused on Maricopa County. In the run-up to the 2020 election, many experts saw Maricopa as a bellwether county for the winner of the state and the election itself. Maricopa is Arizona’s largest county and accounts for over half of the state’s population. Joe Biden carried the county, and with it the state.

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Commentary: The CDC’s Hysterical Delta Flip-Flop Might Be Its Final Undoing

The crazy, convoluted, mixed up messaging from the CDC – it’s been this way from the beginning of the pandemic until now – has taken yet another turn. Now the CDC is recommending masks not just for the unvaccinated but for the vaccinated too. This is supposedly because of the discovery that the variant known as Delta is making an end-run around the vaccines, causing not only infections but infectious spread. 

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Commentary: The Federal Trade Commission Shouldn’t Be a Lawless Agency

The Federal Trade Commission has been on the march.  Over the past month, the Commission has held two “open” meetings, rescinded two major bipartisan agreements by party-line vote, and positioned itself to write regulations for the first time in decades.

In the words of a former commissioner, the current FTC is “Icarus flying without the constraints of history, economics, or law.”  He predicts that its “regulatory overreach…will end with the FTC’s wings melting in the courts.”

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Commentary: Supreme Court Raised the Bar for Challenge to Georgia Election Law

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee has prompted extensive commentary about the implications for future challenges to election laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Litigants arguing that some laws, such as Georgia’s newly enacted SB 202, disproportionately affect racial minorities may have a greater challenge meeting the standard set forth by the court than the standard that some lower courts had been using in recent years.

But while the justices split on a 6-3 vote on whether a pair of Arizona statutes ran afoul of the Act, it voted 6-0 (with three justices not addressing the question) in concluding that Arizona did not act with discriminatory intent. This holding sets the stage for the Justice Department’s recent lawsuit against Georgia, and it offers hints at how district courts and reviewing courts should behave. In short, the Justice Department has an uphill battle.

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Commentary: Biden Gaffe Renews Questions About COVID Transparency

Joe Biden smiling at crowd

President Biden so desperately wants the vaccine-hesitant part of the country to get their shots that he may have spread a little misinformation. “You are not going to get COVID,” he promised during a CNN town-event Wednesday night, “if you have these vaccines.”

Of course, this is not true. Biden knows it. He said as much later during the forum, explaining that, while vaccinated individuals enjoy significant protections, they can still test positive for the virus. But even if that happens, the president pointed out, the vaccine largely mitigates the most serious dangers. “You are not going to be hospitalized,” he said, reciting the latest scientific consensus. “You are not going to be in the IC unit, and you are not going to die.”

The fact that fully vaccinated individuals can still contract the coronavirus is a medical reality. It has also led to more uncomfortable questions about transparency for the Biden administration.

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Commentary: Despite What Biden Says, Guns Factor in Only a Small Percentage of Violent Crimes

Police Car

In response to sharp increases in violent crime, President Biden stressed again last week that his administration is focused on “stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes.”  But critics warn that this “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact – about 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms.

Although firearms were used in about 74% of homicides in 2019, they comprise less than 9% of violent crimes in America.

The vast majority of violent offenses – including robberies, rapes and other sex crimes – almost always involve other weapons or no weapons at all.

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Commentary: Critical Race Enthusiasts Should Learn the Lesson of ‘Defund the Police’

Crowd of people in the streets, protesting and Black Lives Matter movement

A year ago, “defund the police” activists were having quite a time. Outlets like CNN and Vox were publishing fawning profiles. Social media sensations like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar were leading the parade. Cities like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Austin even approved partial defundings. It was a juggernaut.

Now? A tough-on-crime former cop just won the Democratic mayoral nomination in Bill de Blasio’s New York. Former President Barack Obama is warning fellow Democrats, “You lost a big audience the minute you say [‘defund the police’].” Sen. Bernie Sanders has rejected calls for “no more policing.” And White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a few weeks ago, bizarrely claimed that it was not Democrats but Republicans who wanted to defund the police (because they opposed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill).

What happened? Intoxicated by a few policy wins in deep blue cities, enthusiasm in the left-leaning Twitter echo chamber, and their viselike grip on the national media, “defund” activists overlooked one important detail: Their agenda was deeply unpopular with most Americans. A summer 2020 YouGov poll found that just 16 percent of adults wanted to cut police funding — much less “defund” the police. Indeed, 81 percent of black Americans wanted police to spend as much or more time in their communities. During a year when major American cities saw an unnerving increase in homicides, after years of declines, that reaction was not just understandable, it was wholly predictable.  

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Commentary: The Macro Subjectivity of ‘Microaggression’ Studies

Micro-Aggression

Ever since the most blatant forms of racism and discrimination in America faded, what are called microaggressions have, in the view of leftist academics and social justice activists, taken their place. These are “a form of racism,”  the slights and insults that, though subtle and small and typically unconscious, are insulting and harmful to their targets.

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Commentary: Research Used to Justify California’s ‘Equity’ Math Doesn’t Add Up

Black Pen on Equations

The push to create “equity” and more “social justice” in public schools in America’s largest state rests on this basic premise: “We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents,” declares the current draft of the California Math Framework, which also states that it rejects “the cult of genius.”

Informed by that fundamental idea, the 800-page Framework calls for the elimination of accelerated classes and gifted programs for high-achieving students until at least the 11th grade.

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Commentary: Unions’ Focus on Woke over Work Rankles Rank and File

Los Angeles school teacher Glenn Laird has been a union stalwart for almost four decades. He served as a co-chair of his school’s delegation to United Teachers Los Angeles and proudly wore union purple on the picket line.

But Laird is now suing to leave UTLA and demanding a refund of the dues the union has collected since his resignation request. His turning point came in July 2020 when the union, the second largest teachers union in the country, joined liberal activists to demand that Los Angeles defund the police in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

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Commentary: An Inside Look at Lockdown Orders from 2020

Person putting hands on glass, inside of home

Life in the United States and in many parts of the world was transformed in mid-March 2020. That was when the great experiment began. It was a test. How much power does government have to rule nearly the whole of life? To what extent can all the power of the state be mobilized to take away rights that people had previously supposed were protected by law? How many restrictions on freedom would people put up with without a revolt?

It was also a test of executive and bureaucratic power: can these dramatic decisions be made by just a handful of people, independent of all our slogans about representative democracy?

We are far from coming to terms with any of these questions. They are hardly being discussed. The one takeaway from the storm that swept through our country and the world in those days is that anything is possible. Unless something dramatic is done, like some firm limits on what governments can do, they will try again, under the pretext of public health or something else. 

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White House Backs Teachers Unions, Critical Race Theory Curricula

Jen Psaki

The Biden administration signaled its support for the teaching of “anti-racism” curriculum in public schools Friday, wading into an ongoing culture war over critical race theory playing out on cable news and in school board meetings across the nation.

Asked about a recent decision by the National Education Association to throw its weight behind controversial progressive teachings about race, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told RealClearPolitics that President Biden believes “kids should learn about our history” including the view that “there is systemic racism that is still impacting society today.”

Psaki continued that the president and the First Lady, who is also a life-long educator, believe that “there are many dark moments, and there is not just slavery and racism in our history.”

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Commentary: Don’t Force My Church to Pay for Abortions

Baby hand in adult hand

Imagine, 75 years ago, some British officer lining up a group of young Indian children against a wall in Bombay, handing some bullets to Mahatma Gandhi, and ordering him to load soldiers’ rifles so that they could execute the youngsters.

Would you expect Gandhi to go along with that? Why would an officer even give such an order – except to humiliate Gandhi and mock what he stood for?

Perhaps that gives you some idea of how it feels for the people of my congregation, Cedar Park Church, to be ordered by Washington state officials to provide an insurance plan that covers abortions. Directly paying for abortion coverage is as unimaginable to us as putting bullets in a gun we know would be used to end a child’s life. It is antithetical to everything we preach, teach, and believe. That’s why we had to file a lawsuit through our Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys that is now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which will hear arguments today.

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Commentary: The Intelligence of Canines

Dog lying on magazine with glasses on

Albert Einstein. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Marie Curie. Gaia. The first person came up with the general theory of relativity. The second is regarded as perhaps the greatest classical composer of all time. The third is the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields. The fourth isn’t a person at all; it’s a dog.

All might be considered geniuses.

Some individuals are supremely gifted, with abilities that the vast majority of people cannot hope to replicate even after years of dedicated practice – the adolescents who are chess grandmasters, the musicians with perfect pitch, the professional athletes who make their colleagues look like amateurs. Scientists have been studying these people for decades, hoping to uncover genetic, environmental, or social underpinnings for their talents. Researchers have yet to find satisfactory answers.

Which brings us to dogs.

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Commentary: What Americans Lost When We Abandoned the Secret Ballot

Person putting mail-in ballot in ballot return box

My father likes to say that the secret ballot means that he doesn’t have to listen when I tell him how I voted. This joke conceals a serious point: Ballot secrecy is not just a right of the individual but also a guarantee to all that my vote was not wrung from me by bribery or intimidation.

Out of a desire to make voting “easier” and perhaps exaggerated fears of public gatherings during the pandemic, most U.S. jurisdictions permitted unrestricted mail-in balloting in 2020. What did Americans lose when ballot secrecy was attenuated or vanished altogether?

Make no mistake, ballot secrecy is incompatible with secure mail-in balloting. At the polls, we each go into a little booth and make our choices in private. By contrast, no one knows where a mail-in ballot was filled out, or if a party or union activist hovered over the voter or even filled in the circles. Nobody knows what inducements, whether cash or threats, were offered to ensure that the person voted “correctly.” And if the ballot was “harvested” – turned in to the vote-counters by activists instead of by voters themselves – our suspicions deepen.

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Commentary: Naming the Capitol Police Officer Who Killed Unarmed January 6 Rioter Ashli Babbitt

US Capitol Police at The Supreme Court

Most police departments — including Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police — are required to release an officer’s name within days of a fatal shooting. Not the U.S. Capitol Police, which is controlled by Congress and answers only to Congress. It can keep the public in the dark about the identity and investigation of an officer involved in a shooting indefinitely.

Which is what happened with the Jan. 6 shooting of Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed protester in the U.S. Capitol riot who was fatally wounded by a plainclothes police lieutenant as she attempted to breach a set of doors inside the building. 

For the past six months, as Congress has proposed legislation to reform  police departments across the country, the Capitol Police has stiff-armed government watchdogs, journalists and even lawyers for Babbitt, who have sought the identity of the officer and additional details about the shooting. The USCP still refuses to release his name, in stark contrast to recent high-profile police shootings around the nation.

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Commentary: A Warning About Joe Biden’s Power Plan

Joe Biden

With President Biden pressing on with attacks against America’s oil and natural gas workers to push his environmental agenda, it’s past time to shed a little light on the failure he’s promoting. He may claim that his proposal to produce 80% of America’s electricity through non-carbon sources is a bold new idea, it’s actually a green failure that he’s trying to recycle…and we’ve got the receipts from two states to prove it.

Let me introduce you to California and Arizona, two neighboring states where one has embraced the Biden Green Plan for years while the other rejected it. Rest assured, Biden, John Kerry, and their army of eco warriors are hoping you ignore the following inconvenient truths.
In November 2018, Arizona voters soundly defeated Prop 127 by a margin of more than 2 to 1. The ballot measure was heavily pushed by former presidential candidate current extreme eco-leftist billionaire Tom Steyer. Similar to Biden’s plan, Prop 127 required Arizona to get 50 percent of its power from “renewable” sources by 2030. Keep in mind, these are the same voters that would elect a Democrat to the US Senate and give its electoral votes to Biden just two years later, tipping the presidential race toward the left. In other words, Prop 127, less restrictive than the Biden plan, proved to be too extreme for down-the-middle voters.

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Commentary: ‘The Truth’ vs. Objectivity in American Journalism Today

Lately, the local ABC News affiliate in Washington, D.C., has been running promotional spots with the well-worn tagline “speaking truth to power.” That is an odd slogan for a media outlet that can certainly be counted among the powerful in the region. It also raises a question as to whether this local news department has truly discovered “the truth” and is devoting its broadcasts to sharing it with its viewers.  

At least implicit in the use of the slogan is a recognition by the station that truth does indeed exist. Sadly, many in American journalism are increasingly denying the existence of objective truth and calling for an end of objectivity in journalism. As Stanford University communications professor emeritus Ted Glasser said recently, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”  In other words, the task of a journalist is to push the progressive narrative forward, truth and objectivity be damned. 

Glasser isn’t alone. Recently, in a speech at Washington State University, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt also questioned the value of objectivity. “I think it’s become clearer that fairness is overrated,” he said. “The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.”  

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REVIEW: Brian Domitrovic Reveals the Monetary Genius of Arthur Laffer

In his classic 1992 book about the Ronald Reagan 1980s (and so much more), The Seven Fat Years, Robert Bartley described the great Arthur Laffer describing the universality of credit. It goes like this:

“Laffer would draw a tiny black box in the corner of a sheet of paper. ‘This is M-1,’ currency and checking deposits. A bigger box was M-2, including savings deposits. Still bigger ones included money-market funds, then various credit lines. Finally, the whole page was filled with a box called ‘unutilized trade credit’ – that is, whatever you can charge on the credit cards in your pocket. Do you really think, he asked, this little box controls all of the others? The money supply, he insisted, was ‘demand determined.’”

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Commentary: Mike Pence Twists into a Painful, Pointless Pretzel

Mention that Mike Pence is trying to run for president in 2024 and people laugh — out loud. But he is. Even more hilarious is that the former vice president believes he can campaign and win as his own man.

After nearly five years of unshakable fealty to former President Trump, and five months after Trump sent a violent mob after him for failing to overturn the election, Pence has declared independence from Trump and his unconstitutional demands in some shockingly straight talk.

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Commentary: Researchers Urge Americans to Focus on Loneliness Epidemic

Woman sitting in a chair, looking out the window, alone

As the pandemic recedes and Americans re-enter public life, the surgeon general and other public health experts are urging the country to focus on another national crisis, one that has lingered for decades and worsened in recent years: loneliness.

For many, pandemic-related lockdowns, social distancing, and physical isolation resulted in their most severe experiences of loneliness. Studies have shown that an uptick in loneliness and other mental health issues coincided with the pandemic, and that lockdown requirements almost certainly exacerbated pre-existing mental conditions. But for researchers who have studied loneliness, the recent increase is only one notable event in an extensive history.

Loneliness is not just a crisis in America, but also in Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Australia and, increasingly, South America and Africa. Loneliness also occurs regardless of race, class, culture, and religion. Even before the lockdowns, tens of millions of people throughout the world felt isolated.

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Commentary: A Tsunami of Crises About to Swamp Biden Administration

The Biden–Harris administration is now in an extended levitation of credibility. Except for Donald Trump, who entered office in the midst of a public relations terror campaign against him and had no trace of a political honeymoon, all incoming presidents arrive with a favoring wind of bipartisan goodwill behind them.

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Commentary: Josh Hawley Takes on Critical Race Theory in a Fight for the Nation’s ‘Soul’

Josh Hawley was just explaining how much he agreed with Barack Obama when Kamala Harris arrived. For weeks, the junior senator from Missouri had raised hell over who should head the federal agency that is the equivalent of the federal government’s human resources department. Hawley gave speeches and made procedural motions that deadlocked the Senate, ultimately resulting in the arrival of the vice president’s motorcade on Capitol Hill. That’s when Hawley lost the fight.

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Commentary: Open Letter to Anti-Nuclear Activists

Biohazard sign

Anti-nuclear activist groups like the so-called Physicians for Social Responsibility, Ploughshares, Union of Concerned Scientists, Federation of American Scientists, and others criticize the U.S. and national security professionals for supposedly wrongly “demonizing” Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.  Hypocritically, these same anti-nuclear activists routinely “demonize” the U.S. national security community and any President and Congress that wants to modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent to prevent World War III.  More than one anti-nuclear activist has called me and my colleagues the “root of all evil” because we will not “give peace a chance” by engaging recklessly in yet another dangerously irresponsible act of unilateral disarmament—like banning U.S. ICBMs. 

Maybe you have no idea how many times the U.S. has “given peace a chance” with consequences that make nuclear war more likely? 

Under the Presidential Nuclear Initiative (PNI), the U.S. unilaterally reduced tactical nuclear weapons from 15,000 to 180.  But Russia cheated on the PNI and now has at least a 10-to-1 advantage.  (See Dr. Mark Schneider, “Russian Nuclear Force Expansion and the Failure of Arms Control” RealClearDefense October 24, 2019.) 

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Commentary: Georgia Conducting Secret 2020 Ballot Review –– Keeping Plaintiffs in the Dark

After several Fulton County, Ga., poll monitors testified last year that boxes of mail-in ballots for Joe Biden looked liked they’d been run through a photocopy machine, state investigators quietly broke the seal on one suspicious box and inspected the hundreds of votes it contained for signs of fraud, RealClearInvestigations has learned exclusively.

At the same time, a key whistleblower told RCI that state investigators pressured her to recant her story about what she and other poll monitors had observed — what they called unusually “pristine” mail-in ballots while sorting through them during last November’s hand recount.

“I felt I was under investigation,” said Suzi Voyles, a longtime Fulton County poll manager whose sworn affidavits have been used by election watchdogs to sue the county for access to the ballots in question.

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Sticky Baseballs: The Physics of Major League Baseball’s Latest Scandal

Close-up of a baseball mitt and ball

Cheating in baseball is as old as the game itself, and pitchers’ modifying the ball’s surface is part of that long history. Adding to the lore of cheating is a new scandal involving pitchers who may be applying sticky substances – what players refer to as “sticky stuff” – to baseballs.

Major League hitters are striking out this season nearly one in every four times they step to the plate, compared with one in six times in 2005.

As a sports physicist and longtime baseball fan, I’ve been intrigued by news reports that applying sticky substances to balls can make pitches spin faster. And if pitchers can throw their fastballs, curveballs and sliders with more spin than in previous years, their pitches will be tougher to hit. How does science explain all this?

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Ancient Giant Rhino Was One of the Largest Mammals to Walk the Earth

Hornless Rhino

The remains of a 26.5-million-year-old giant, hornless rhino — one of the largest mammals ever to walk Earth — have been discovered in northwestern China, a new study finds.

The newly identified species, Paraceratherium linxiaense — named after its discovery spot in the Linxia Basin in Gansu province — towered over other animals during its lifetime. The 26-foot-long (8 meters) beast had a shoulder height of 16.4 feet (5 m), and it weighed as much as 24 tons (21.7 metric tons), the same as four African elephants, the researchers said. 

The new species is larger than other giant rhinos in the extinct genus Paraceratherium, said study lead researcher Deng Tao, director and professor at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. A new family tree analysis of Paraceratherium species, including P. linxiaense, reveals how these ancient beasts evolved as they migrated across Central and South Asia at a time when the Tibetan Plateau was lower than it is today, Tao told Live Science in an email.

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Commentary: Vegan Diets and If It Makes Kids Shorter and Weaker

Vegan dish

Diets that exclude meat and fish (vegetarian) or all animal products including dairy and eggs (vegan) are becoming increasingly popular for health, environmental and ethical reasons.

Past research in adults has linked vegetarian and vegan diets with a reduced risk of heart disease but a greater risk of fractures, caused by low calcium intakes. But the impact on children has not been evaluated, until the release of a new study this week.

The researchers found a link between shorter heights and lower bone mineral content among vegan children, compared to meat-eaters. But they didn’t show vegan diets caused the difference. Nor can they say the differences will last into adulthood.

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Commentary: Georgia’s Election Reform Makes It Easy to Vote and Hard to Cheat

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, it’s not difficult to find voters in Georgia who were discouraged by the messiness of the 2020 election process.

It’s one thing to be disappointed by the outcome. It’s entirely another to feel disenfranchised and frustrated by questions and uncertainties surrounding absentee ballot handling, unsecured drop boxes, and questionable third-party funding of local elections.

In evaluating federal, state, and local voting safeguards, these and other serious complications — glitches, missing votes, even water pipe breakages at polling locations or ballot drop boxes — raised legitimate concerns and weakened voter confidence in Georgia’s election integrity.

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Donald Trump Commentary: A Plan to Get Divisive and Radical Theories Out of Our Schools

Teacher holding book, reading to boy student

As a candidate, Joe Biden’s number one promise was to “unite” America. Yet in his first months as president, his number one priority has been to divide our country by race and gender at every turn.

There is no clearer example than the Biden administration’s new effort aimed at indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren with some of the most toxic and anti-American theories ever conceived. It is vital for Americans to understand what this initiative would do, what drives it and, most importantly, how we can stop it.

For decades, the America-blaming left has been relentlessly pushing a vision of America that casts our history, culture, traditions, and founding documents in the most negative possible light. Yet in recent years, this deeply unnatural effort has progressed from telling children that their history is evil to telling Americans that they are evil.

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Commentary: An Interview With Donald Trump, Unbowed

Donald Trump

In a wide-ranging interview from the corner office atop his eponymous New York City tower last week, an unfiltered Donald Trump showed he has lost none of his edge as he attacked President Biden’s ethics, demanded reparations from China for COVID-19, and advanced his claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

Here are some of the highlights, as the former president held forth on a range of issues in his inimitable style.

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Commentary: The Right Way to Modernize Infrastructure

Everything these days seems to count as infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Elder care is infrastructure. Even court-packing is infrastructure. But in a world where everything is infrastructure, nothing is infrastructure, and our existing infrastructure suffers as a result. Take, for example, President Biden’s recently revised American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion boondoggle that prioritizes pretty much everything except for the roads, bridges, ports, and waterways that constitute actual infrastructure. The plan comes after we already appropriated $605 billion for infrastructure and transportation in the last three COVID-19 relief bills. 

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Commentary: As the U.S.-China Trade War Continues, Career Training Is America’s Best Defense

People working on desktop computers

Amid the ongoing trade war between China and the United States, lawmakers are moving to pass a comprehensive new bill to boost economic competition, minimize reliance on China, and promote investment in the American workforce. With our economy beginning to recover, we need to focus on preparing young people to fill vital roles in the years ahead and decrease our reliance on tech and talent from abroad. 

China has the world’s second-largest economy and a faster-growing and more lucrative tech industry that “is poised to come out ahead” of the U.S., according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal last year. It’s winning the 5G race, contributes more to AI research, and because its population is so large, it has more data to feed to machine-learning and transportation technologies like self-driving vehicles.

If the U.S. wants to prevail in the tech race, we have to start with education. The pandemic has provided motivation for the U.S. to seek greater economic independence and bring jobs back to our shores. Career-oriented learning solutions can help fill these specialized jobs.

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Commentary: Rural Families Need Educational Choice Too

This school year started unlike any other for children across the country, many of whom began the year staring at a computer screen. Yet for the minority of students who were able to start the year at an independent school, their education was minimally impacted, with most continuing with in-person classes. It’s unfortunate that some students are being forced to go virtual for their education, with some public school districts refusing to reopen classrooms until the beginning of the next school year. What’s even more unfortunate is the reason for these decisions to keep classrooms closed may not be based on safety and science but sheer political influence. 

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Commentary: A Cautionary Tale of Unintended Consequences

For as long as politicians have been passing legislation, there have been measurable consequences to that legislation – both intentional and unintentional. Usually, the final impact is not known for years after a law is passed. We could write a book predicting problems with the proposed federal bill, H.R.1, the so-called For the People Act, but the state of Connecticut has given American taxpayers a timely preview of the burdens and waste we can expect from just one of the bill’s many government mandates. Specifically, the requirement that states must mail out ballot applications to all registered voters will unnecessarily spend, and ultimately waste, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The 2020 elections in Connecticut provide a cautionary preview of this proposed requirement in H.R. 1 to send absentee ballot applications (ABR) to every registered voter. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill (pictured) did exactly that, spending $7.1 million in federal taxpayer money sending out unsolicited ABRs for the primary and general elections. A total of 3.6 million applications were mailed, yet only 865,000 were converted to actual votes. That’s a cost of $8.20 per ballot returned – by any measure, a poor yield on that investment.

The sad irony about this waste of taxpayers’ money is that the applications were available to voters free of charge either at town halls or on the State of Connecticut website. One had only to pick up the form in person or download and print it in the comfort of his own home. Other states have similarly convenient options for obtaining ABRs and provide for ballot applications to be requested online, by email or by phone. Citizens in these states take responsibility for their right to vote, and the states facilitate their doing so, rather than mandate it.

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Commentary: Florida is Overcoming ‘Systemic Privilege’ by Putting Students Before the ‘System’

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.

The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”

If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system.  

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The Biggest Freshwater Fish in the World

Monster Sturgeon

It took three biologists to haul a 240-pound (109 kilograms) fish out of the Detroit River in Michigan last month. The nearly 7-foot-long (2.1 meters) “monster’ sturgeon,” caught and released by the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, could be more than 100 years old. It’s a mightily impressive catch for sure, but is it the biggest freshwater fish in the world? 

The Detroit River fish is a lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), and while it is believed to be one of the largest ever caught in the U.S., there are much bigger fish swimming in rivers around the world. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the planet’s largest freshwater fish is the beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), living between Europe and Asia in the Black, Azov and Caspian seas, and the rivers feeding them.

Beluga sturgeon can reach a maximum length of more than 26 feet (8 m), or about four times as long as a king-size mattress, and weigh up to 2.2 tons (2,000 kg, or 2 metric tons), according to the Pan-European Action Plan for Sturgeons, prepared by the World Sturgeon Conservation Society and World Wildlife Fund. When they grow up, belugas are at the top of the food chain, eating fish such as roach and carp, aquatic birds and even seals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

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Commentary: Voter Photo IDs Are the Rule in Europe and Elsewhere

Democrats and much of the media are pushing to make permanent the extraordinary, pandemic-driven measures to relax voting rules during the 2020 elections – warning anew of racist voter “suppression” otherwise. Yet democracies in Europe and elsewhere tell a different story – of the benefits of stricter voter ID requirements after hard lessons learned. 

A database on voting rules worldwide compiled by the Crime Prevention Research Center, which I run, shows that election integrity measures are widely accepted globally, and have often been adopted by countries after they’ve experienced fraud under looser voting regimes.

Britain is Europe’s outlier in generally not requiring voter IDs, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson aims to change that. He went to the polls in May with wife-to-be Carrie Symonds.

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Commentary: The Coverage of Cryptocurrencies on Television News

Dogecoin

How have cryptocurrencies been covered on television news? The timeline below shows total mentions of “cryptocurrency” and Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin over the past decade, showing an initial glimmer of mentions from 2013-2015, but that coverage of cryptocurrencies did not really take off until December 2017 when Bitcoin reached a valuation of $20,000 per coin. Mentions again took off in January of this year and have increased steadily month over month as it has attracted ever greater prominence.

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Commentary: If He Wants to Unite the Nation, Biden Should Take Up School Choice

Joe Biden

Throughout his campaign and his presidency so far, Joe Biden has focused his message on fostering unity in the country. Newsflash: it’s not working. 

Despite the president’s stated goal of ending the “uncivil war that pits red against blue,” as he called it in his inaugural address, issues including health care, immigration, racial justice, and even Covid-19 continue to divide the American electorate. Ostensibly, few issues remain on which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground. 

That’s where school choice should come into the picture. Recent polling suggests that school choice may be the issue where a majority of Americans see eye to eye. If Biden really wants to unify, he should pick up the mantle of choice.

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Commentary: Zuckerberg’s Millions Paid for Progressives to Work with 2020 Vote Officials Nationwide

In the months leading up to November’s election, voting officials in major cities and counties worked with a progressive group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and its allies to create ballots, strategically target voters and develop “cure” letters in situations where mail-in ballots were in danger of being tossed out.

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Four Incredible Dinosaur ‘Graveyards’

T Rex fossil exhibit

Over their 165 million-year reign on Earth, hundreds of billions of dinosaurs lived and died. Occasionally, they did the latter en masse, making it much easier for us to find their fossilized remains and examine them. Concentrated areas of dinosaur death have become colloquially known as “dinosaur graveyards”. The following are some of the most remarkable.

1. The Hilda Mega-Bonebed. Around 75 million years ago, a herd of Centrosaurus that may have numbered in the thousands was swept up in a torrential flood that inundated the lowlands of what is now Alberta. The hapless, top-heavy dinosaurs were dragged into river channels that flowed into the shallow inland sea which cut North America in two, where they drowned and accumulated in a macabre mass. Scavengers feasted upon their fleshy remains.

Today, these centrosaurs’ resting place is a jumble of bones roughly the size of 280 football fields in southern Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park, a goldmine of ancient history. It is so large that completely excavating it would be impractical.

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Commentary: The World Health Organization Endorses Lockdowns Forever

World Health Organization

The last 14 months elevated a global group of intellectuals and bureaucrats about which most people had previously cared very little. Among them, the ones who believe least in freedom entrenched their power, thanks to a big push by the lavishly funded but largely discredited World Health Organization.

The WHO tapped an “independent panel” (the fix was already in: the panel’s head is former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark) to figure out what the world did right and did wrong in response to Covid-19. The final report has all the expected verbiage about the needs for more global coordination and largesse going to public health.

The key conclusion follows:

“Every country should apply non-pharmaceutical measures systematically and rigorously at the scale the epidemiological situation requires, with an explicit evidence-based strategy agreed at the highest level of government…”

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Commentary: ESG Investing Is Politics by Other Means

Before Joe Biden’s election, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing was sweeping all before it. Wall Street was coming to the planet’s rescue and saving capitalism at the same time. It was a self-serving myth. As I show in my new report Capitalism, Socialism and ESG published today, doing well by doing good is no more than Wall Street sales patter. But since the election, financial regulators have been falling over themselves playing catchup.

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Commentary: H.R. 1 Would Eliminate Key Signature Verification Safeguard

Democrats have already passed H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, in the House of Representatives; fortunately, the bill faces a much tougher road in the Senate. Among the bill’s many serious problems are a wide array that I would characterize as “mechanical,” in the sense that they dictate the nuts and bolts of how states would run elections. H.R. 1 attempts to dictate these elements in a way that is either impossible to put into effect or would gut the effective administration of elections. One example is how H.R. 1 dictates, through its Section 1621, that states must deal with signature verification – a cornerstone of election security, especially with the growth of mail-in balloting.

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Commentary: Biden Must Reverse Course on Iran Before It’s Too Late

President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade with the Combatant Commander nominees U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson on Monday, March 8, 2021, along the Colonnade of the White House.

Media outlets around the world recently reported on leaked audio comments in which Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif admitted that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps controls all of Iran’s foreign policy decisions.  Although President Joe Biden was careful to mention neither Zarif nor Iran in his speech before Congress last month, Zarif’s embarrassingly candid revelations have direct implications for Biden’s entire Iran policy: namely, it underscores that reducing economic sanctions in order to moderate the Iranian regime cannot work.

For decades, U.S. policy toward Iran has produced disappointing results, largely because American administrations have underestimated the entrenched ideology of Iran’s theocratic dictatorship and mistakenly assumed the regime can be tamed by conciliatory diplomacy.  Western efforts to placate Tehran have failed consistently since the revolutionaries took power in 1979, yet recent reports indicate President Biden is in the process of repeating this failure. 

Just as the Obama administration did with its disastrous 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Biden administration is now seeking to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for temporary commitments from Tehran to curb its nuclear program.  A senior State Department official recently revealed that the Biden administration is reviewing all U.S. terrorism and human rights sanctions on Iran since 2017 to assess whether those sanctions were “legitimately imposed,” and that some sanctions will need to be lifted to ensure Tehran is “benefiting” from the nuclear deal.  Like Obama, Biden hopes that relaxing economic pressure can convince the regime to put aside its nuclear ambitions, focus on Iran’s economy and people, stop bankrolling terrorist proxies, and become a normal member of the international community. 

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Commentary: Biden’s Capital Gains Tax Plans Are a Lose-Lose Proposition

There will always be munis. Income from municipal bonds typically enjoys tax-free status at the federal level and in the issuing state. Conversely, when investors put wealth to work in a startup, private corporation, or public company, they face a capital gains tax penalty if their investment bears fruit. If a home run, that penalty becomes enormous.

Imagine that. Investors who subsidize the growth of government largely avoid taxation. But if they back an innovative corporation, or rush a distant future into the present through an intrepid investment with a visionary entrepreneur, a major IRS bill awaits.

Worse, the cost of prescient investing may soon increase. Seemingly in a bid to placate his ravenous left flank, President Biden has announced a proposal to nearly double the federal penalties on savings and investment to 43.8%.

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Commentary: Joe Biden, Economy Killer

President Joe Biden

Along with a working vaccine, Joe Biden inherited a V-shaped economic recovery, but he is now planting the seeds of its destruction. Inflation, federal deficits, high taxes, incentives for workers to stay home, and incentives to avoid investment – they’re all coming back. Together, these elements create the perfect brew for a Lyndon Johnson-style stagflation. If Biden and the Democrats so quickly wreck the good economic path they were given, it will be one of the worst examples of government malpractice in U.S. economic history. 

In the first, dark days of the COVID-19 national economic shutdown last spring, there was a clear need for major stimulus. Both parties united to pass an effective and much-needed response. 

The U.S. gross domestic product saw a 33.4% surge in the July-September third quarter of 2020, after plunging 31.4% in the April-June second quarter. The economy continued to grow at a 4% rate in the fourth quarter, and the stock market (despite COVID) ended 2020 with the S&P 500 index up 16% for the year as a whole. 

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Commentary: A Tribute to Mothers with Inspiration from Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou speaking

You wouldn’t think any possible controversy could append itself to that day, except that we are living in preternaturally contentious times. Two days ago, Rep. Cori Bush, a freshman Democrat from St. Louis, was testifying about racial disparities in health care, focusing specifically on childbirth. While describing her own medical experiences, Bush used the unwieldy phrase “birthing people” instead of “mothers.” Apparently, this was an awkward attempt to use inclusive language.

Predictably, this rhetorical gambit earned her a fair amount of ridicule on social media. I’m sure Rep. Bush has many virtues, but neither self-awareness nor self-deprecating humor are at the top of that list. Just as predictably, Bush lashed out at those who mocked her wording for their “racism and transphobia.” She also accused her critics of trivializing an important subject, which was a more substantive rejoinder. Bush was discussing racial disparities in America’s medical system, which is no laughing matter, and invoking her own harrowing experiences in hospital delivery rooms to do it.

Yet breezily trying to replace the word “mothers” as a sign of wokeness a few days before Mother’s Day wasn’t likely to go down well. It was Cori Bush’s own peculiar choice of words that distracted listeners from her story.

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Commentary: Use Twitter’s New Weakness to Start Upending Big Tech

Person holding phone up with Twitter sign up page on smart phone.

Twitter’s stock fell 15 percent last week apparently because they’re not getting sufficient numbers of new users to please the market. People are not as intrigued as they used to be with an allegedly open social media platform that’s not really open, in fact is something of a dictatorship.

I know you’re not supposed to kick someone when they’re down. But when that someone has been acting in the most unAmerican, peremptory ways for years, as if the Bill of Rights never existed, censoring people without explanation—even a former president—blocking free discussion of medical science, for Heaven’s sake, and treating conservatives and libertarians pretty much the way Ferdinand and Isabella treated the Jews before they finally kicked them out of Spain, it’s time to take action.

And, when that “down” is the first chink in the armor of Big Tech that has dominated discourse in this country and around the world to a degree never thought possible, it is all the more urgent to let that foot fly and jump up and down on top a little as well if necessary.

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