In this episode of “On Watch,” Judicial Watch Director of Investigations & Research Chris Farrell discusses President Trump’s decision to revoke former Obama CIA chief John Brennan’s security clearance.
Robert Royal writes that most U.S. bishops appear to await their November annual meeting to craft a new sex-abuse policy. But we can’t wait months.
I came across an advertisement for a financial institution recently that, sad to say, displayed more wisdom than we usually find today among many people, including many Catholics: “Trust is binary. Either you have it or you don’t.”
A bold statement these days, by anyone. For the politically correct, “binary” distinctions are not only stupid and simplistic but hate-filled – most notably as in “male and female He created them.” There are even “Catholic” theologians who argue that such binaries are a mere glitch in our brains.
Forget that itinerant Palestinian preacher who said, “let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no.” We’re much taken just now with gray areas, our superior moral awareness to previous ages, recent changes in public understanding, stylish deliverances of “conscience.”
But that is going to change now, if only because it must. Revelations about the Church leadership in several countries and in the Vatican itself have led us to the point that we wonder whether we can still trust what our own religious leaders say and do. To judge by what I hear from Catholic leaders and lay people, our bishops need to wake up to the sheer magnitude and intensity of the anger out there. Fast.
With few exceptions, they don’t seem to recognize that we may be close to an “inflexion point.” For years, the Catholic Church in America had many and great advantages, not least that ordinary believers – unlike their counterparts in Europe – looked to Church leaders as bulwarks of the true and the good. We admired them for what they did inside the church building, but also outside in the community.
Trust is binary. Our bishops can no longer assume that they have it. Bishops here may be teetering very close to the point at which the Irish hierarchy lost its credibility, to the immense detriment of marriage, family, and the unborn.
It didn’t have to be this way, and doesn’t have to be going forward. We’ve had sixteen years of what has sometimes been quite harsh treatment of priests accused of sexual abuse. That’s almost two decades, and any bishop who covered up misbehavior by priests under his authority over that period is not only incompetent and culpable, but – with all due respect for the Lord’s anointed – a fool.
When the John Jay Report came out in 2004, it estimated that the number of priest abusers was a little over 4,000 out of more than 100,000 men who had been priests over the relevant period. So about 4 percent.
Was/is the proportion of bishops who mishandled abusers or were themselves malefactors higher? Even so, there’s no way back to basic trust without dealing – sharply, if necessary – with something that will otherwise wreck the innocent along with the guilty.
Part of the reckoning has to speak frankly of the homosexual component of the abuse. Eighty percent of the priestly abuse involved young men, not children. Gay abuse, not pedophilia. Former Cardinal McCarrick engaged in both – and there are good reasons to look at both in future investigations. Pope Francis has rightly urged the Italian bishops not to admit to seminary anyone even suspected of same-sex tendencies.
Cardinal O’Malley: serious about restoring trust
There are, to be sure, theological questions about how bishops can be disciplined or removed. But once the bishops accept that no one believes they can investigate themselves – and that Catholics and others will be watching – it’s not all that hard to set up truly independent investigators. And stipulate that those who don’t co-operate will be publicly putting themselves under suspicion.
Priests who have been responsible for handling cases of priest abusers tell me that the yearly visits by representatives of the USCCB’s National Review Board can be quite intrusive – and effective. Nothing less will be needed now to handle wayward bishops. It worked with priests; it can be done with bishops.
To date, only three bishops have stepped forward with effective, concrete proposals for holding themselves and their fellows responsible. Many more have expressed penitence and shame – needed, of course, but for most of us that is only talk.
Late last Friday, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley released a statement about two allegations concerning behavior at St. John’s Seminary that were just brought to his attention. Without knowing yet if the charges are true or not, he said:
I am committed to immediate action. . . .First, I have asked Msgr. James P. Moroney, Rector of St. John’s, to go on sabbatical leave for the Fall Semester, beginning immediately, in order that there can be a fully independent inquiry regarding these matters. Second, I have appointed Rev. Stephen E. Salocks, Professor of Sacred Scripture, to serve as Interim Rector. . .
And among further steps: “The faculty, staff and students at the seminary will be advised of my expectation that they will fully cooperate with the inquiry.”
That’s seriousness about doing what it takes to retain trust. Can we ask for less from our bishops?
Most American bishops, however, seem quite placid, content to wait until their annual November meeting in Baltimore. They will have to develop a coordinated and well-crafted response – eventually. But to think you can wait months – or for guidance from Rome – may be fatal. Boston is likely to be only the first of many more revelations in coming days and weeks – not months.
The role of Rome in all this is going to be tricky. Pope Francis has said many of the right things. Whether he and the very mixed crew around him will move swiftly to head off disaster remains to be seen.
No financial institution would wait three months to act on questions about credibility. Even the children of this world know you have to act faster than that, even when it’s only a matter of money.
Much more is at stake in the Church. And this is a binary moment, no avoiding it. There are only two choices: to start to rebuild trust – immediately – or to risk letting the opportunity slip away.
Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.
EDITORS NOTE: © 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.
Please excuse me for not welling up with empathy for those who are addicted to opioids. Yeah, I know drug addiction is a bad thing, but people make choices and have to live with the consequences.
I am old enough to have lived through the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s and found little to no empathy from the public, especially politicians, because crack fell disproportionately hard on the Black community. As a matter of fact, Blacks were told it was a moral failing by the user and the seller, thus they deserved what they got. As a matter of fact, the public demanded legal action be taken against those caught up in the crack epidemic.
Lock ‘em up and throw away the key was the political sentiment in Washington, D.C. during the 90s when it came to crack dealers and users. This view led to the mass incarceration of low-level drug dealers and users, culminating with people like Hillary Clinton labeling young, Blacks who were caught up in the drug trade as “super predators.”
According to the U.S. News and World Report, 79 percent of 5,669 sentenced crack offenders in 2009 were Black, versus 10 percent who were White and 10 percent, who were Hispanic.
Juxtapose that with what the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found about the opioid problem. In 2016, according to the foundation, White victims made up almost 80 percent of the deaths from opioid overdoses, with Black victims comprising only 10 percent of deaths and Hispanic victims 8 percent.
Opioid addiction is being treated as a medical condition, with hundreds of millions of dollars being allocated to various forms of treatment and prevention; whereas, crack addiction was labeled a moral failing and a law enforcement issue.
Basically, the crack epidemic disproportionately affected Blacks and the current opioid epidemic disproportionately affects Whites. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that cocaine-related overdose deaths among Blacks were on par with heroin- and opioid-related deaths among Whites between 2000 and 2015.
Now lawmakers, Black and White, are calling for humane solutions to the scourge of opioid addiction. There are all kinds of reasons for this and I get it.
Real leaders in the Black community need to stand up and demand more money and programs for the drug problems that are destroying the Black community that have nothing to do with opioids? When will the public demand law enforcement action against physicians who have willfully overprescribed opioids to patients unnecessarily?
These physicians are the modern-day version of the drug dealer, except they are not working on the street corner, but rather in the cozy confines of their medical offices.
Where is the lock ‘em up and throw away the key sentiment towards opioid users that politicians showed towards crack dealers?
One would have to be totally blind not to see the racial optics being played out in this whole debate about the humane solutions for the opioid drug problem compared to how the War on Drugs was handled.
I am really struggling with my inability to muster up any empathy for the victims of this latest drug scourge that is moving across our country.
So, to those who are reading this column who think I am cold, heartless, and hateful please spare me your unrighteous indignation.
RELATED ARTICLE: Pharmacist charged with supplying pill mills in 2 states
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by the Associated Press.
One of the greatest symbols of freedom is the armed American citizen…..that is also what keeps the left from forcing a totalitarian system on us all.
I say keep fighting the good fight!
By David Mica
While environmental activists continue to push the same weak claims for opposing offshore energy exploration and production despite successful operations elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, there are 56,000 reasons why Florida should open its waters to exploration.
That’s the number of high-paying Florida jobs Florida could see by 2035 if it embraces its offshore opportunities. And the benefits don’t stop there. In addition to jobs, additional offshore oil and gas production could positively impact:
National security: Why depend on foreign, often hostile, sources of energy when we have the potential to secure our own resources here at home?
Exports: With abundant domestic energy resources, the U.S. can be the world’s energy leader, creating jobs at home and enhancing security for our allies abroad. Win-win.
Increased Safety: Offshore operations today are safer than ever before. Since 2010, more than 100 standards have been created or strengthened, including for improved safety and environmental management, well design, blowout prevention, and spill response.
Price at the pump: Every barrel of oil we produce domestically adds stability to the global oil supply, putting downward pressure on prices. As the third largest consumer of motor fuels in the U.S., Florida benefits from greater domestic energy production and has the potential to significantly contribute to it as well.
Environmental Protection: Florida has received more than $908 million in federal funding over the past five decades to conserve our precious natural and historic treasures. That funding comes from oil and natural gas revenues. We can safely produce energy and use the revenues for important environmental conservation throughout the state. Another win-win.
Hurricane disruptions: Everyone in Florida knows the potential damage hurricanes can have on daily life and livelihoods. Further diversification of the nationwide energy infrastructure network would help prevent disruptions to gasoline supply after storms.
Energy conservation: Greater use of natural gas for electricity generation has helped drive U.S. carbon emissions to 25-year lows. Florida is on the front lines of this exciting trend, generating more than 60 percent of its electricity from clean, affordable natural gas and demonstrating that energy production and environmental progress are not mutually exclusive.
Florida’s Tourism Economy: Decades of experience in the Gulf of Mexico confirm that energy development can safely coexist with fishing and tourism, as state officials with firsthand experience enthusiastically attest.
The facts support taking advantage of Florida’s offshore energy resources. Florida families and businesses already benefit from offshore energy exploration — from the sidelines. By getting in the game, we can grow our economy and be part of making the nation more energy secure.
ABOUT DAVID MICA
David Mica is the Executive Director of the Florida American Petroleum Institute.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act. The Revolutionary Act has no financial or other affiliation with API.
It’s one of the powers of the state or local government to impose real estate property taxes on the people living within its jurisdiction. Of course, taxes are necessary to finance the services that the local government provides to its citizens. Real estate property taxes enable the government to pay for services such as public education, utility, police, and fire services.
That’s the reason why your local government is serious in collecting taxes from property owners. In fact, most local governments don’t spare property tax shirkers. They put in place powerful collection tools and sanctions to make sure that homeowners paid their dues in owning a real estate property.
To avoid getting those sanctions from your local government, it’s crucial that you know the consequences if you fail to pay your property taxes. This blog article will be a huge help for that purpose. So take a read!
Your Property Taxes Will Incur Interest
Not paying your real estate property taxes on time will prompt the local taxing authority to levy interest on your tax account. Typically, the interest on overdue property taxes increases every month.
It’s also possible that local taxing authorities will charge monetary penalties on you. These penalties could mean an increase in the total balance that you have to pay to the local government.
A Tax Lien Will Be Placed on Your Property
In the case that you fall behind on the payment of your real estate property taxes, the local government can attach a lien on the property. If your property has a tax lien placed on it, the city or state you’re living in can’t allow you to sell or refinance your property until you’ve paid all your tax obligations.
Only the local government has the authority to sell the property tax liens. In fact, last year, the National Tax Lien Association (NTLA) said that almost a third of the $14 billion unpaid property taxes are sold as tax deed sales or tax lien certificate sales to private investors.
Tax deed sale means that the taxing authority puts the property on sale, and the buyer gets the property deed. In tax lien certificate sale, on the other hand, the government has the right to sell the tax lien, allowing the buyer to collect the debt with its interest and penalties.
However, in some jurisdictions, the taxing authority doesn’t sell your property outright. It just attaches a lien on the property and takes the title. Local property law then stipulates a procedure for the tax bureau to sell the home.
Placing tax lien on properties brings a considerable advantage to local governments because they quickly recover the money owed on the property.
What You Need to Do
If ever you receive a notice of a tax sale because of overdue or unpaid property taxes, you should make sure that you call a lawyer as soon as possible. However, your options will depend on the city or state where you’re living.
For instance, there are tax authorities that enable a tax delinquent property owner to request for a decrease of the tax amount on grounds such as financial hardship. Of course, you need to prove that you’re indeed in that unfortunate situation.
Another option is to request that you pay the property tax you owe to the government in installments within a timeframe.
Paying your taxes is essential if you’re a property owner. Otherwise, the taxing authority can increase the interest of your overdue tax obligations or place a tax lien on your property. For you to avoid this situation, it’s crucial that you know about property taxes. You can read blog sites like SoCal Home Buyers to look for knowledge on this subject.
This tar and feather symbolism in article below, is just another flashy “shiny object” action that does little to nothing to solve the problem. If anything, it will just help to elect Democrats to their seats especially if they have no Republicans running against them in Primaries – prime example State Sen Kelli Stargel who voted for this terrible law, has no Republican opponent but does have a rabid leftist in former Judge Doyel running against her.
What I have heard is that NRA dropped their lawsuit which didn’t contain anything about the gun seizure parts anyway.
To my knowledge neither the NRA or any of the other Florida gun advocacy groups have written or said anything about dangers of the ex parte, Risk Protection Order gun seizure parts of the law nor the use of a special social media site to send anonymous tips about possible threats nor the new threat monitoring bureaucracies created at both state & school district levels – why ?
We do know that 450 people in Broward and Pinellas counties have already had their firearms seized and that Pinellas county has even organized a gun seizing Task Force.
This more government gun control is the much bigger threat to all gun owners than just 21 year olds not being able to buy long guns and banning bump stocks. Yet what we have on it are chirping crickets?
Is anyone with any power to influence changes actually chasing this issue other than what we have heard from Jeff Mann running for Dist 56 FL House that he is writing proposed legislation to change the Marjory Stoneman School Safety (gun control) law?
I have also heard that the Senate Judiciary Committee will kill any attempts to change this Bad Law, e.g. not let proposals get to the Senate floor for discussion. Putting RINOs on this crucial committee like S. Florida RINO Flores is why we don’t have campus or airport (non-secure areas) carry.
Marian Hammer saying NRA doesn’t reveal their strategy is no help in terms of reducing the concern of gun owners – she could have least have said something like – We understand the concerns about gun seizures and we are working on fixes to reduce those concerns or some such.
The only good part about this terrible Law is Sherriff Judd’s Guardian Program and even it has been watered down by an option where School Supers & Sheriff’s must agree on either armed security guards for those schools without SROs or using trained, armed school employees to augment SROs or to protect those schools without SROS.
In case of Polk County for example, our liberal School Super Byrd didn’t want armed school employees recommended by Sherriff Judd and went with the minimum option of training security guards for elementary schools (since our middle & HSs all have 1 SRO). This is better than no armed good guys on campuses but more trained, good guys with guns on campuses would be better able to get to any bad guy/active shooter(s) and shoot them “graveyard dead”. More is better….should be the decision criteria here.
Less is better should be the decision criteria on bureaucratic govt. gun control & gun seizures in violation of our 2d, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendment rights.
Shortly after Florida senators narrowly passed a bill that raised the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and imposed a minimum three-day waiting period on gun purchases, several Republican members received a gift hand delivered to their offices: a jar of tar and feathers.
Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the formation of a new Task Force on Religious Liberty at the Department of Justice. The action came on the heels of a ministerial summit on religious freedom, which explored how religious freedom is under attack around the globe.
At the summit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, highlighted the problems that arise when governments try to enforce conformity to a single view of what is sacred. Governments do far better, they argued, to honor every individual’s freedom to determine that for themselves. That is the path to pluralism—and peace.
Increasingly, however, that is the path less traveled. Too many nations are following paths leading to the decline of religious freedom.
That awful journey often begins with the social ostracization of religious minorities. In Saudi Arabia, for example, official textbooks teach students to compare Christians and Jews to dogs and pigs.
The next step economically disenfranchises religious minorities, denying them employment and education. In Egypt, for instance, Coptic Christians face extreme prejudice when looking for work—be it with the police force or the military, or even a professional soccer team.
Next comes the criminalization of minority religious beliefs. In Pakistan, for example, a Catholic woman named Asia Bibi currently sits on death row for allegedly blaspheming Muhammad.
Ultimately, the path away from religious freedom ends in violence, which may come from either the state or civil society groups. Last year in India, Hindu vigilantes killed a 12-year-old Muslim boy for allegedly slaughtering a cow that they consider sacred.
These ugly doings can occur anywhere that activists promote the punishment of nonconformists, the government does not intervene to protect minorities, and the majority of citizens stay silent. And recent developments in America suggest it can happen here.
In Colorado, Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, gladly served gay customers for two decades. But when his religious beliefs led him to decline creating a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding, the state’s civil rights commissioners compared him to a Nazi and slaveholder.
Tim Gill, the multimillionaire Rolling Stone calls the “megadonor behind the LGBTQ rights movement,” announced he would bankroll a push to add sexual orientation to nondiscrimination laws in states across the country. His professed goal: to “punish the wicked,” that is, those who don’t conform to the new cultural orthodoxy.
Indeed, America is moving rapidly from the “social marginalization of nonconformists” stage to the next stage: excluding them from economic opportunities. When hearing the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor seemed to endorse economic disenfranchisement when she told Phillips: “Then don’t participate in weddings.”
In a growing number of cases, firefighters, military pilots, farmers, entertainers, and tech CEOs have lost jobs, promotions, and access to markets because they refused to bow to the new orthodoxy. And at least three states and two cities have terminated the contracts of religious adoption agencies because the agencies believe every child deserves both a mom and a dad.
Those who believe in the value of religious freedom must teach new generations how to defend it. These efforts should be bipartisan and ecumenical, including people from both sides of the same-sex marriage issue.
To be effective, we must defend the right of those with whom we disagree to express their beliefs. At the same time, both government and civil society must oppose demonizing religious minorities, speaking out against the rising volume of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim acts of violence reported by the Justice Department.
The courts should continue to protect dissent from orthodoxies, be they religious or secular. This includes respecting each individual’s freedom to decide what is sacred to them.
One of the greatest American legal and political traditions is that those on both sides of controversial issues may live out their views. And, while government may have a position on each of these issues, our courts have never forced anyone to affirm those positions in violation of their conscience.
Congress can also help uphold religious freedom—for instance, by passing legislation that protects adoption agencies who believe every child deserves both a mom and a dad and to shield those who hold traditional views on marriage from federal sanctions.
America’s Founders resisted the temptation to determine what is sacred for us and to force conformity to a single orthodoxy. They enshrined religious freedom in our Constitution.
Yet today, that freedom is under assault. All Americans must respond by standing up for one another’s freedoms to think, to speak, and to act according to what each of us finds sacred. This is how to ensure our country stays on the path of religious freedom that leads to peaceful pluralism.
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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by kharps/Getty Images.
James Woods tweeted the following,
James Woods (@RealJamesWoods)
Prager University published the below video titled “War on Boys” narrated by Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Mr. Woods is correct in his analysis that there is a war on boys being boys.
In an August 2nd, 2018 Washington Examiner op-ed titled “Feminism is the last thing in the world boys need” Suzanne Venker wrote:
The sheer degree of havoc feminists cause never ceases to amaze me, nor does their arrogance and condescension. In a ridiculous piece in the The New York Times titled “What Feminists Can Do for Boys,” feminist author Jessica Valenti claims that those who share her ideology can help boys become men.
I cannot think of a more preposterous argument. Feminism is a major cause of the predicament boys and men now face. In what world could it be the remedy?
What modern feminists want is to rid the world of traditional masculinity, pure and simple. They’re consumed with the unwarranted and bogus notion that men in their natural state are prone to oppress women and that the male drive to provide and protect is evidence of said oppression.
While girls and young women have ample resources to seek “respite” from restrictive cultural mores, writes Valenti, boys do not — and this oversight makes them “susceptible to misogynist hucksters peddling get-manly-quick platitudes and dangerous online extremist communities.”
She then points to none other than Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor and YouTube philosopher who’s become a bona fide sensation ever since his interview with the U.K. feminist Cathy Newman. But Peterson’s meteoric rise is hardly due to his being a “misogynist huckster.” On the contrary, it is due entirely to his being a shining example of what it means to think for oneself and to be a mature, responsible man who’s committed to his wife and kids.
I can’t think of a single better role model for men.
The Honorable Steve Baldwin, author, researcher and speaker on homosexual issues, wrote a white paper published in the Regent’s University Law Review titled “Child Molestation and and Homosexual Movement.” In a January 2014 column Mr. Baldwin wrote:
Lately, the gay movement seems to be making large gains in its war on America’s Judeo-Christian culture. Gay characters have become the norm on sitcoms; it has become fashionable to attack the Boy Scouts; homosexual propaganda inundates many of our public schools; nearly all the mainstream religious denominations have “revised” their understanding of Biblical teaching concerning homosexuality; and the gay “rights” legislative agenda is succeeding beyond the advocates’ wildest imaginations.
[ … ]
It is difficult to convey the dark side of the homosexual culture without appearing harsh. However, it is time to acknowledge that homosexual behavior threatens the foundation of Western civilization ─ the nuclear family. An unmistakable manifestation of the attack on the family unit is the homosexual community’s efforts to target children both for their own sexual pleasure and to enlarge the homosexual movement. The homosexual community and its allies in the media scoff at this argument. They insist it is merely a tactic to demonize the homosexual movement. After all, they argue, heterosexual molestation is a far more serious problem.
The feminists have joined forces with the LGBTQ community and introduced into public schools, colleges and universities an anti-boy/male agenda. Being a “male student” is not an appropriate pronoun on many college campuses.
Mr. Baldwin concludes:
The homosexual community knows that the capture of all major youth groups is absolutely necessary to the expansion of its movement. They know what most social scientists and sex researchers know but refuse to talk about: homosexually-molested children are likely to become homosexual. After all, one of the most common characteristics of homosexual molesters is the fact that they were molested themselves during boyhood. An article published by the American Medical Association reported that, “Abused adolescents, particularly those victimized by males, were up to 7 times more likely to self-identity as gay or bisexual than peers who had not been abused.”
It is high time that America’s elected officials, health authorities, education leaders, and law enforcement officials act to not only tell the harsh truth─the homosexual community has targeted America’s youth─but act now to counter this horrible trend. Failure to do so will have disastrous consequences for both our culture and for the health of our children.
Time for boys to be boys and grow into men, who will be fathers, brothers and real males.
RELATED VIDEO: Make men masculine again. Rape, murder, war – all have one thing in common: Men. The solution seems simple: make men less toxic – make men less masculine. In this video, Allie Stuckey, Host of “Allie” on CRTV & “Relatable” podcast, explains why demonizing masculinity is not the solution, but the problem.
Driven by Green ideology, the Obama Administration set unrealistic fuel standards (a.k.a. “CAFE” rules) for cars sold in America.
Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced it is putting a freeze on their implementation before any serious damage is done.
As recent as the Bush administration, the fuel efficiency standard was 27.5 miles per gallon. The Obama approach was set to jack up the CAFE mandate to a whopping 54.5 mpg by 2025. It was inspired by the eco-topian standards set in California and designed to force Americans to either buy electric cars or force them to drive unsafe, matchbox-sized gasoline powered ones. Most Americans did not want to voluntarily buy either.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler highlight exactly this point in an important editorial in the Wall Street Journal:
The 2012 standards were designed to encourage the development and sale of electric vehicles. Today electric vehicles are only about 1.5% of new vehicles sold. Some data conclude that nearly half of consumers who purchase an electric car do not buy another because of challenges with range and recharge times. Yet to meet the previous administration’s fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas standards, manufacturers would have to produce vehicle lineups that are 30% electric or more over the next seven years—far more vehicles than buyers are likely to want.
Further, the effect of the last administration’s standards was to subsidize these expensive electric vehicles at the expense of affordable traditional cars and trucks. Our goal is to ensure that consumers have a variety of safe, fuel-efficient choices so they can decide for themselves which options suit them best. This includes electric vehicles, for those who want them.
The President, by putting a freeze on the Obama CAFE rule, is also ending California’s practice of using its large market power to dictate Green ideology to the rest of the nation from the Left Coast.
The framers crafted the U.S. Constitution to safeguard the rights of individuals and of the states. At the same time they realized that there were some powers they could not entrust to the states. The Commerce Clause was crafted specifically to prevent the states from taxing and obstructing the flow of goods across state lines. They reserved regulation of interstate commerce to the federal government. The federal government has since wildly expanded its Commerce Clause powers far beyond the framers intent. California’s practice of setting national environmental policy from Sacramento in cahoots with a compliant EPA is just the sort of thing the Constitution was written specifically to prevent.
Crafting smarter fuel efficiency standards is a needed reform.
Standing up to California’s heavy-handed eco-bullying is courageous.
CFACT applauds both wise moves.
Sally Coomer of Seattle, who cares for her disabled adult daughter at home, doesn’t like the fact that union dues are deducted from the Medicaid payment she gets for her services under a Washington state policy.
“The money that is taken out in union dues, if it was not siphoned off, could be used to provide for more care,” Coomer told The Daily Signal about the Medicaid stipend given to home care providers.
“A lot of family members forgo careers to take care of family members and are working in situations where they are really financially struggling,” she said.
Washington is one of 11 states where the state governments work with public-sector unions to automatically deduct a portion of the Medicaid stipend and divert it to unions representing state employee unions.
The other states are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, according to the State Policy Network, a conservative think tank that focuses on state issues.
Nine states take money from Medicaid home child care workers: Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.
However, the states face pushback from the Trump administration and, potentially, the courts in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down mandatory payments to public employee unions by employees who don’t belong to the union.
The rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would eliminate states’ ability to divert part of Medicaid payments from providers to a third party.
Home caregivers are often relatives or close friends of a family, and they receive the Medicaid stipends for in-home care that varies based on hours required.
Caregivers may pay up to $1,000 per year in union dues, according to the State Policy Network, which says state governments are “dues-skimming” an estimated $200 million per year from home health providers and $50 million from child day care providers to give to unions.
Coomer’s daughter Becky, almost 28, has cerebral palsy and a disorder that causes seizures. She is blind and developmentally disabled.
Coomer, who has become an advocate for other families who don’t want to be forced to pay union dues, said many home care providers are not aware they have a choice in joining a union.
To qualify in Washington state, family members are required to go to an orientation run by the Service Employees International Union, which represents state government employees.
“At the orientation, they would tell people they are required to sign up,” Coomer said. “I don’t know what benefit we get from the dues. The only time I hear from the union is when they inundate me with a political agenda.”
The proposed new Medicaid regulation, announced July 10, is open for public comment.
The Social Security Act generally prohibits states from making payments for Medicaid services to anyone but the provider, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Exceptions include a court order for wage garnishments or child support.
However, in 2014, under the Obama administration, the CMS revised the regulation to provide for a new exception that primarily includes independent, in-home personal care workers, to allow a state to divert part of the Medicaid payment to third parties such as a union.
Under the Trump administration, the CMS determined that the Obama administration rule is not consistent with the statute. Under the proposed rule, providers still would be free to voluntarily join a union and pay union dues from their own pockets.
“The law provides that Medicaid providers must be paid directly and cannot have part of their payments diverted to third parties outside of a few very specific exceptions,” Tim Hill, acting director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said in a public statement. “This proposed rule is intended to ensure that providers receive their complete payment, and any circumstances in which a state does divert part of a provider’s payment must be clearly allowed under the law.”
Organized labor opposes the proposed change.
The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, framed the proposal as an effort to prevent home care workers from unionizing. It issued a statement from union member Melody Benjamin, an Illinois home care worker.
“Together, home care workers are making these poverty-wage jobs into a respected profession and we will not allow any special interest group or self-interested politicians to silence our voices or endanger the high quality care we provide,” Benjamin said in the statement.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that in-home care providers cannot be forced to pay union dues to qualify for Medicaid funds. That didn’t prevent states from collecting dues, this time indirectly, before the money reaches the provider.
In states such as Oregon and California, providers have only a 10-day window to opt out of paying the dues, according to the State Policy Network.
The top beneficiaries of the Medicaid deductions across the country are the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the largest unions representing public-sector employees, said Max Nelsen, director of labor policy at the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group in Washington state.
“The Supreme Court ruling [in Harris v. Quinn] helped. Previously, home care providers could be classified as state employees,” Nelsen told The Daily Signal. “What they are doing now is short of requirements, but still coercive. Unions just rewrote the membership forms and SEIU playbook after Harris.”
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 that public employees can’t be compelled to pay union dues or other fees. The high court ordered the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its 2017 decision rejecting a case brought by in-home care workers seeking to recoup Medicaid dollars.
It’s likely the ruling could have a significant impact on the Medicaid issue, said Thomas Jipping, a senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation.
“Janus was an expansive decision,” Jipping told The Daily Signal. “The Supreme Court has already told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to reconsider its decision on the issue you raise.”
Mark Janus, an Illinois state worker, and other plaintiffs filed the case in light of the Harris ruling. While the Janus ruling would be helpful, it likely won’t have an immediate direct impact on the Medicaid rule change, Nelsen said.
“Janus had no direct impact on the unionization/dues collection practices for ‘partial-public employee’ home caregivers,” Nelsen said.
“There are some principles outlined in the Janus decision that may ultimately be helpful in reversing some union practices, but nothing that would categorically stop states from collecting union dues from caregivers’ Medicaid payments.”
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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of union activists and supporters rally against the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case, in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, June 27, 2018 in New York City is by Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto/Sipa USA.
The fixed-wealth fallacy of redistributionists.
The Quotation of the Day is from page 4 of Alan Reynolds’s excellent 2006 book, Income and Wealth (original emphasis):
The two young founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, quickly made something like $12 billion each by greatly facilitating our information, education, and shopping efficiency. Why should anyone care how much money the founders of Google, Apple, or Microsoft made? Some might object that they earned a larger share of income, but in what sense can we regard their income as shared? Google is something new—without Google there could be no income from Google. The Google founders have their income and you have yours. What they earn has nothing to do with how much or how little you can earn, except that their invention may help you earn more (personally, I feel as though I owe them a really big check).
People who obsess over differences in monetary incomes—people who leap from observing large differences in monetary incomes to the conclusion that something is thereby amiss and requires “correction” (always by giving a relatively small handful of people an enormously unequal share of power over others)—typically operate with the mistaken presumption that the amount of material wealth in the world is fixed. The very same mistaken presumption is at the core of most arguments against free trade. Neither the redistributionist nor the protectionist understands economic processes or economic growth.
Reprinted from Cafe Hayek
Donald J. Boudreaux is a senior fellow with the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a Mercatus Center Board Member, and a professor of economics and former economics-department chair at George Mason University.
A new policy passed down from the California State Energy Commission says every new home must be built with solar panels. California already has twice the cost of living compared with other states, and this new policy is going to make housing even more expensive. At these prices there better be gold in those hills!
In an email Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student Kyle Kashuv wrote:
Up until February 14th, I was just your normal high school kid living in Parkland, Florida.
Then everything changed. After witnessing the horrible tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, our school and classmates were thrust into the national spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. News teams from all over the country wanted to talk to my classmates about their reactions and stances on gun control.
While David Hogg hogged the national spotlight by sensationalizing this tragedy and blaming this horrific act on guns, myself and some of my classmates felt largely ignored. We too were survivors, but no one wanted to talk to us because we didn’t fit their pro-gun control narrative.
That’s when I decided I couldn’t let this dangerous narrative go unchallenged. I chose to speak up and become an outspoken advocate of the Second Amendment and argue against gun control.
I’ve had several incredible opportunities since speaking out, like meeting the President of the United States and his wonderful First Lady, Melania Trump.
Now I’m ready to take on the next chapter in life. I’m proud to announce that I have accepted the job as Turning Point USA’s High School Coordinator! In my new role, I plan to defend our Second Amendment rights and bring Turning Point USA’s messages of free markets, free people, and limited government to high schoolers across the country.
Watch Kyle talk about his efforts during media interviews:
Despite rampant speculation that President Donald Trump’s trade policy might increase some car prices, how his regulatory relief agenda may lower sticker prices and increase safety goes largely ignored.
How did this happen? The Trump administration is revising the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards imposed on automakers during the Obama era. In particular, they are no longer holding manufacturers to a 2025 fleet mandate of 54.5 miles per gallon.
When the rollback was first announced, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao declared it “a win for the American economy.” Then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt called it “good for consumers and good for the environment.”
While a victory for all consumers, it’s a particularly welcome relief to those in poor and minority communities looking to ascend the socio-economic ladder and get an equal shot at achieving the American Dream.
CAFE standards have been around for 40 years, but green crusaders in the Obama administration put them on steroids. During the Obama presidency, the industry was required to increase fuel efficiency by around nine miles per gallon. In 2012, it imposed a spike from 30.2 miles per gallon for a passenger car in model year 2011 to 60 miles per gallon over 14 years.
American car prices have risen steadily with higher CAFE standards. According to Heritage Foundation research, car prices rose while other big-ticket durable goods prices dropped.
“If vehicle prices had tracked furniture and appliance prices since 2007,” a 2016 Heritage study noted, “they would be 23.4 percent lower than they are today.”
Comparatively, the average cost of a car in the United States rose $6,200 above trending prices in other countries.
Higher prices lower opportunity. Those without much disposable income find themselves unable to afford new CAFE-friendly vehicles.
Using federal data, a National Automobile Dealers Association study concluded that between 3.1 and 14.9 million households might lack the credit necessary to buy a new vehicle under the original 2025 CAFE scenario. This fate would undoubtedly fall hardest on minority communities due to lower earnings.
And then there’s safety. One way to meet stringent fuel efficiency goals is to make vehicles smaller and lighter.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety explicitly warns that “bigger, heavier vehicles protect their occupants better.” That means those forced into the smaller cars are inherently less safe.
But all of this will at least help the environment, right? Maybe not.
Obama administration assertions about the effect of CAFE standards on climate change were both trivial and elusive. Then add mitigating factors such as poorer households keeping dirtier vehicles on the roads longer out of financial necessity.
Minority advocates embrace Trump’s CAFE relief. In a letter to Chao and Pruitt, the Project 21 black leadership network stated: “Excessive regulatory costs that make products unaffordable are one of the most significant non-racial obstacles to black economic progress … Increasing black hardship and jeopardizing driver safety for such a small payoff is simply irrational.”
Project 21 announced the policy shift was “Blueprint Compliant” with its new “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America”–that specifically recommended reforming CAFE standards–to improve black opportunity.
The industry also responded to consumer demand. Ford scaled back its CAFE-geared small sedans–retaining the Mustang and Focus Active crossover while favoring SUVs and light trucks. This is Ford’s family-friendly, workforce-ready, and consumer-focused fleet.
The Trump administration’s rollback of fuel efficiency mandates to favor the present-day economy over ambiguous predictions is a smart move. It promises more vehicles people want to safely transport their families, engage opportunities, and fuel the economy. It also respects the situations of the American consumer–particularly those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder.
Derrick Hollie is president of Reaching America and host of Reaching America on Demand podcast. The organization addresses complex social issues impacting African-American communities. Twitter: @DJHollie.
With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.
However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.
If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.
This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.
We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Toru Hanai/Reuters/Newscom