Gorsuch Helps Transform the Supreme Court Into the Supreme Legislature on LGBT Rights

In what dissenting Justice Samuel Alito called one of the most “brazen abuse[s]” of the Supreme Court’s authority, a six-member majority of the court led by Justice Neil Gorsuch has rewritten Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the definition of “sex.”

Why bother trying to pass the proposed Equality Act when you can get the justices to make law for you?

Title VII prohibits an employer from failing or refusing “to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual … because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Gorsuch—joined by the four liberal justices, along with Chief Justice John Roberts—decided that employment decisions that take any account of an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity necessarily entail discrimination based on sex in violation of Title VII.


The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>


In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which was combined with two other cases, Gorsuch wrote that the straightforward application of the terms in Title VII, according to their ordinary public meaning at the time of its enactment, means that an employer violates the law when it intentionally fires an individual based in part on sex.

In a logical and legal leap, Gorsuch then argued that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, since those concepts are related to sex.

Thus, Gorsuch reasoned, it means the employer is treating individuals differently because of their sex. An employer cannot escape liability by showing that it treats men and women comparably as groups. The employer has violated the law even if it subjects all male and female homosexual and transgender employees to the same treatment.

Gorsuch dismissed as irrelevant the historical fact that none of the legislators who passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 would have ever expected or contemplated that Title VII’s ban on employment discrimination on the basis of sex would apply to a man hired by a funeral home who then told his new employer, the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, that he planned to “live and work full-time as a woman.”

That was one of the three cases before the court. That provision of the 1964 law was intended to stop the blatant employment discrimination rampant against women at that time.

The majority opinion by Gorsuch upending more than five decades of prior precedents was only 33 pages long. Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, filed a blistering dissent in which he said that “there is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation.” He pointed out that the majority’s claim that it is “merely enforcing the terms of the statute” is “preposterous.”

As Alito undisputedly says, “if every single American had been surveyed in 1964, it would have been hard to find any who thought that discrimination because of sex meant discrimination because of sexual orientation—not to mention gender identity, a concept that was essentially unknown at the time.”

The majority tries to “pass off its decision” as just an application of the term “sex” in Title VII, claiming it is applying the textualism championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But according to Alito, that claim and the majority’s opinion “is like a pirate ship.” He added:

It sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Justice Scalia excoriated—the theory that courts should ‘update’ old statutes so that they better reflect the current values of society.

Alito said that the majority’s “arrogance” is “breathtaking,” since “there is not a shred of evidence that any Member of Congress interpreted the statutory text that way when Title VII was enacted.”

Neither “sexual orientation,” nor “gender identity” appear on the list of five specified grounds for discrimination in Title VII, and the majority’s “argument is not only arrogant, it is wrong,” he wrote.  The terms “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” are “different concepts,” and neither of the two latter terms are “tied to either of the biological sexes.”

Alito is, of course, entirely correct, as one of us pointed out in a recent article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

And, of course, Congress knew that “sex” didn’t include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Alito recalled that there have been numerous bills introduced in Congress over the past 45 years to amend the law and add those terms, but they all failed.

The majority is “usurping the constitutional authority of the other branches” of government and has taken the latest congressional bill on this topic and “issued it under the guise of statutory interpretation.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh also filed a dissenting opinion, in which he wrote that “this case boils down to one fundamental question:  Who decides?”

The issue is whether Title VII “should be expanded to prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation,” he wrote, adding that responsibility “belongs to Congress and the President in the legislative process, not to this Court.”

Kavanaugh lauded the “extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit” of the gay and lesbian community for working “hard for many decades to achieve equal treatment in fact and in law.”  But, he added, under separation of powers, “it was Congress’s role, not this Court’s, to amend Title VII.”

Alito made it clear that the “updating desire to which the Court succumbs no doubt rises from humane and generous impulses.” But the “authority of this Court is limited to saying what the law is.”

In their dissents, Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh got it right, and the majority got it wrong. The word “sex”— still today as when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964—refers to our biological reality as male or female. It doesn’t refer to our sexual orientations or malleable gender identities as some see it.

If those terms were contained within Title VII, there would have been no need for Congress to repeatedly try to amend the law to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.

In an act of judicial activism, a majority of the Supreme Court has simply legislated from the bench and amended the statute itself.

Congress has not legislated such an outcome, and it was wrong for the court to usurp lawmakers’ authority by imposing such an extreme policy on our nation without the consent of the governed.

COMMENTARY BY

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. Read his research.Twitter: .

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research.Twitter: .


Dear Readers:

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.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

HHS Scraps Obama Rules on Gender Identity, Abortion

Federal health officials announced a final rule Friday scrapping an Obama-era regulation that forced medical workers to perform abortions despite their religious beliefs.

The Obama administration’s 2016 regulation, already vacated by a court ruling, also redefined sex-based discrimination in health care to include questions of gender identity.

The old rule would have imposed nearly $3 billion in costs on the economy, the Department of Health and Human Services said in announcing the change. Prompted by the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, the rule had not been implemented after being halted in court.

When Congress passed the Obamacare law in 2010, it included a section broadly prohibiting discrimination among health insurance plans.


The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>


Under the  Obama administration, HHS tried to apply that provision to both abortion and gender identity in the 2016 rule. The rule defined gender identity as “one’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.”

The real-world effects of prioritizing gender identity in health care became clear after a 32-year-old pregnant woman went to the emergency room complaining of abdominal pains and claiming to be a man.

The attending nurse treated the patient as a man, based on the electronic medical record, and the end result was a stillborn baby in a case first reported by The New England Journal of Medicine in May 2019.

“That’s one example where confusion over what the meaning of sex is—whether it’s based on biology or based on gender identity—can have some real-world and in this case tragic consequences. That’s why clarity is so important,” Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, told The Daily Signal.

“This [new] rule will establish clarity over the confusion that was unleashed by the Obama administration’s previous definition, which included male, female, neither, both or some combination, which is very difficult to administer in a health care setting.”

The new rule will enforce the provision by returning to the government’s interpretation of sexual discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word “sex” as male or female and as determined by biology, HHS said.

The 2016 regulation did not recognize sexual orientation as a protected characteristic, and the Trump administration’s rule doesn’t change that.

“The Obama administration itself thought that was a bridge too far. And this final rule leaves undisturbed that judgment from the Obama era,” Severino said. “So if people take issue with that, they should also take issue with the Obama administration as well.”

The Trump administration’s HHS says it will continue to enforce federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex.

The final rule keeps a section that ensures physical access for individuals with disabilities to health care facilities, as well as communication technology to assist those who have impaired vision or hearing.

Regulated entities still will have to provide written assurances of compliance to HHS.

“Truth matters and words have meaning,” said Ryan T. Anderson, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, asserting in a written statement that the Trump administration was right to rescind the previous rules:

In addition to being an unlawful abuse of agency power, these rules would have caused serious harm. They would have required doctors, hospitals, and health care organizations to act in ways contrary to their best medical judgments, their consciences, and the physical realities of their patients, or face steep fines and become easy targets for unreasonable and costly lawsuits.

All people should be treated with dignity and respect. Therefore, federal law should not outlaw reasonable disagreements about the best medical care for gender dysphoria. Nor should federal law force anyone to violate their pro-life conscience or the privacy and safety of others in the name of political correctness.

The revised rule provides protections for non-English speakers, including the provision of translators and interpreters.

However, the final rule relieves Americans of approximately $2.9 billion in regulatory costs over five years by eliminating a mandate for regulated health care entities to insert “notice and taglines” to patients and other consumers in 15 or more languages in almost every mailing. Those costs got passed down to consumers.

In December 2016, a federal court preliminarily enjoined the Obama administration’s attempt to redefine sex-based discrimination. The court said the provision likely contradicted existing civil rights law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

In October 2019, a second federal court agreed. That same month, the initial federal court vacated the Obama HHS rule and remanded the provisions it found unlawful back to the department.

The court action stemmed in part from an Obama administration  rule regarding abortion. Existing laws said doctors and nurses can’t be compelled to perform an abortion if it would violate thier religious beliefs or conscience.

“Other federal laws prohibit discrimination against health care providers who refuse to participate in abortion,” Severino said. “If not performing abortion is sex discrimination, then of course you have clear conflicts of federal law protecting conscience.”

Also Friday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development began to undo an Obama administration regulation by proposing a rule to allow men’s and women’s shelters to make their own sex-specific housing policies.

“The Trump administration is also correct to unwind an Obama-era housing regulation that imposed a gender identity mandate at the expense of privacy and safety,” Anderson said. “The proposed HUD rule allows shelters to determine their own policy on single-sex housing, thus protecting female-only spaces.”

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Trans Teen Revolution


Dear Readers:

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.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

May Jobs Report Shows Why More Government Isn’t the Answer for Economic Recovery

In a welcome surprise, the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell by more than a full percentage point to 13.3%.

Most economists had predicted the opposite, continued job losses, and soaring unemployment amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The economy has halted its free fall. This good news is a sort of Rorschach test for our increasingly partisan times.


When can America reopen? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, is gathering America’s top thinkers together to figure that out. Learn more here>>.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>


Supporters of significant additional federal economic intervention concluded that “these numbers should make you more, not less, pessimistic about the economic outlook.”

Improving unemployment could make it harder to pass another massive spending bill, seen by some as the key to continued recovery.

The truth is, we can only learn so much from one month’s worth of jobs data. In the midst of the pandemic, there are countless new and confounding trends that we simply can’t untangle in real time.

How much of the increase in hiring is due to the Paycheck Protection Program? How much better would employment be absent the pandemic unemployment bonus, which has made it more profitable not to work than to work for as many as 3 in 4 workers?

One thing we know for certain is that more than 20 million Americans remain unemployed, and federal programs can’t maintain their economic livelihoods indefinitely.

The reversal of the unemployment trend is certainly cause for hope, and the trend reversal is even sharper when using the higher unemployment numbers following from a misclassification adjustment.

We seem to have reached the bottom of the economic crisis earlier than most thought possible.

But this reversal is not proof that the trillions of dollars of federal spending in the past two months worked, or that more spending is needed.

Politicians and economists alike often overestimate the effectiveness of government incentives.

There is a long tradition of big-government advocates claiming new infrastructure spending or direct payments to individuals will revive the economy. More often, these “stimulus” measures destroy private-sector jobs and slow the economic recovery rather than turbocharge it.

The failures of past government efforts to prop up ailing economies are remarkably consistent. I reviewed the evidence in a recent Heritage Foundation report. The key takeaway is that history shows governments cannot spend their way into economic recovery.

Given that history, it’s unlikely that the current economic support programs are the cause of the strong employment rebound. The economic safety net Congress built over the past few months is quite different from active stimulus.

Instead, the quicker-than-expected rebound is likely driven by Americans who are ready to reengage in their communities and commercial life.

Private precautionary behavior began shutting down the economy before governments imposed lockdowns. Individuals and private businesses now seem ready to reopen, accepting new risks, and mitigating them with new policies and procedures.

For example, more people booked stays at Airbnb between May 17 and June 3 than the same period last year, and cellphone data consistently shows people are traveling further from their homes and for more extended periods of time.

While stuck at home, many still-employed Americans didn’t abandon their plans to spend their money; they simply delayed it. In April, Americans saved one-third of their incomes, up from about 7% in January.

While not all of those savings will get spent in the coming months, a lot of it will.

The labor market changed trends earlier than predicted. We now have the opportunity to ensure the recovery will also be faster than anticipated.

The virus’ worst effects are not evenly distributed geographically or by age. As Heritage Foundation scholars Norbert Michel and Doug Badger explain in a recent report, policymakers should adapt their health interventions based on those variations, “which suggest that broad-based lockdowns are counterproductive in most areas among the non-elderly population.”

Government restrictions that are slow to respond or poorly designed threaten to stall the recovery.

May’s jobs report shows the possibility of a quicker recovery amid loosening economic restrictions and willingness of Americans to return to work, restaurants, and stores.

There’s still work to do, and the recovery will take time, but Congress should not continue to shovel money out the door.

Rather than spend billions or trillions of additional taxpayer dollars on fiscal stimulus with high costs and dubious benefits, federal and state lawmakers should focus on safely removing unnecessary restrictions that will prevent businesses from reopening, rehiring, and retooling for the challenges and opportunities in the years to come.

COMMENTARY BY

Adam Michel focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Titter: .


Dear Readers:

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.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

These States Reopened a Month Ago After COVID-19 Shutdowns. Here’s What Happened.

Among states that reopened their economies about a month ago, most logged about the same number of  COVID-19 cases, though some had more cases and others saw a decline.

The closest thing to a discernible pattern is that Western and Midwestern states performed better than Southern states in terms of fewer new cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Even there, though, some Southern states saw a decline or remained steady in the number of COVID-19 cases, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The increase in new diagnosed cases offers only a glimpse of how each state is doing.


The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

What’s the best way for America to reopen and return to business? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, assembled America’s top thinkers to figure that out. So far, it has made more than 260 recommendations. Learn more here>>.


In 47 states, hospitalization for COVID-19 either has been flat or has decreased, said Dr. Lee Gross, president of Docs 4 Patient Care, a health care advocacy group.

As testing expands, the number of confirmed cases will increase, Gross said, and the most notable measurement is of serious cases.

“The key is not to focus on just the number of cases, but how seriously ill people are,” Gross, who practices family medicine in North Port, Florida, told The Daily Signal. “There are many diseases that don’t shut down the economy for months.”

The only three states with increasing hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, he said.

Wisconsin reopened its economy May 8 and Rhode Island reopened May 13. Hawaii didn’t do so until May 31, so there may not be a clear pattern.

Wisconsin, which came back the earliest of the three, had the biggest increase, Gross said.

‘Different Trends After Reopening’

The states seeing patients test positive for the coronavirus at a rate of 10% or higher are Alabama, Nebraska, and Virginia, Gross said, adding that hospitalization rates are flat.

It is difficult to say why some states appear to be doing better than others, said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“We are definitely seeing different trends after reopening for about a month in different locations,” Tolbert told The Daily Signal. “I’m not sure we know the why.”

A dozen states began phased reopenings in late April, according to Stateline, a project of the Pew Research Center that monitors state governments.

Alaska, which has had 467 COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, led the way in reopening April 24.

Montana, with 523 total cases and 17 deaths, followed the next day. Then Colorado.

Mississippi was the first Southern state to reopen, on April 27. Three days later, it was followed by Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia, according to Pew.

Kaiser Family Foundation measured new cases in states based on a seven-day rolling average on May 5, by which time a significant number of states had reopened, and May 28, close to the end of the month.

Colorado and Georgia, two of the most permissive states in their reopenings, were widely criticized for taking a far less cautious approach than many other state governments.

Noting again how every state has different dynamics, Kaiser’s Tolbert noted that many of the early cases in Colorado began at ski resorts that later were closed down.

On May 5, Colorado had 436 new cases using the seven-day rolling average. By May 28, that number had declined to 274 new cases, according to Kaiser. In all, Colorado has had about 26,000 cases and 1,458 deaths.

Georgia had a more nominal dip, with 710 new cases May 5 and 658 new cases May 28. Georgia has had about 48,000 total cases and just over 2,000 total deaths, according to the CDC.

‘So Much Hype’

“These governors who uncaged free people and enterprise were wisely acting to not endanger so many livelihoods while still working to protect the most vulnerable,” George Allen, a former governor and U.S. senator of Virginia, told The Daily Signal.

Allen said 100,000 deaths from the new coronavirus were tragic. However, the doomsday predictions for states that reopened didn’t come true, indicating a problem with computer models on the virus, he said.

“There was so much hype,” said Allen, who is also a member of The Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission. “The fact that so many states opened and cases declined shows how wrong many of the forecasts and models were.”

Allen said he hopes to see more governors and state legislatures provide liability protections for businesses in reopening and work to recruit pharmaceutical manufacturers so that America is less reliant on China.

For the state of Texas, new cases of COVID-19 were about the same in early May—1,079—as in late May—1,049—except for a spike in mid-May of 1,305 that was followed by a decline. Texas, the second most populous state, has had about 65,000 total cases and 1,678 deaths, according to the CDC.

In Alabama, however, new cases nearly doubled from 241 to 463 over that time period, according to Kaiser. Alabama has had 18,438 cases and 648 deaths in all.

Mississippi also had a spike from 266 new cases to 307 new cases in the three weeks from May 5 to May 28. The state has had more than 16,000 cases and 768 deaths, according to the CDC.

Tennessee, however, saw a decrease from 520 new cases in early May to 388 new cases in late May, according to Kaiser. In all, Tennessee has had 23,709 cases and 369 deaths.

West Virginia saw its already tiny number of new cases, 22, more than double to 49 from early to late May. West Virginia was the last state with zero cases early in the pandemic. In all, it has had about 2,000 cases and 76 deaths.

More Testing, Tracing

Other states remained steady after reopening.

On some level, an increase in new COVID-19 cases was expected whenever Americans came out of isolation, Kaiser’s Tolbert said:

As states reopen, the hope is that while, yes, there will be an increase in cases, states will also increase the testing and contact tracing. The whole reason we went into lockdown was never eradication of the virus, but it was to flatten the curve to give the health care system time to respond and not be overwhelmed.

Utah did a partial reopening May 1, and Missouri followed May 3. Utah has had more than 10,000 total cases and 114 deaths. Missouri has had 13,327 cases and 773 deaths.

The states of Florida, Indiana, and South Carolina began their phased reopenings May 4.

On May 8, Rhode Island, which has had about 15,000 cases and 720 deaths, became the first Northeastern state to reopen. Wisconsin began opening May 13.

Utah remained about the same, with 158 new cases May 5, just a few days after its reopening, and 150 new cases May 28, according to Kaiser.

Indiana had 635 new cases after a seven-day average May 5, one day after reopening. That dropped to 445 new cases May 28. Indiana has had a total of 34,830 cases and 2,142 deaths.

Florida, with the nation’s third-largest population, was almost flat with 656 new cases the day after it reopened May 4 and 659 as of May 28. In all, Florida has had 55,415 cases and 2,460 deaths.

South Carolina had an increase in new cases from 158 on May 5 to 201 new cases May 28. South Carolina has had 12,148 total cases and about 500 deaths.

As an aside, neighboring North Carolina, which didn’t reopen until May 21 according to Stateline, saw a big spike before and after—going from 394 cases May 5 to 755 cases May 28. North Carolina has had 29,263 total cases and about 900 deaths.

In Wisconsin, a week before the May 13 reopening, the number of new cases was 325 on May 5. That increased to 441 by May 28, according to Kaiser. Wisconsin has had about 18,500 cases and 600 deaths.

Staying Open

Seven other states didn’t force closure of their economies but issued strong guidelines to businesses and individuals. These states were Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming, according to Stateline.

For the most part, there was no significant difference for these seven states over the period measured. But Arkansas had an increase from 57 new cases in early May to 182 new cases by late May, according to Kaiser. Arkansas has had 7,443 total cases and 133 deaths.

Nebraska saw a decline from 408 new cases May 5 to 260 new cases May 28. The state has had 14,345 total cases and 178 deaths.

Keeping with the Midwestern trend, Iowa saw a decline from 534 new cases in the seven-day average May 5 to 345 new cases May 28. In all, Iowa has had almost 20,000 cases and about 550 deaths.

Oklahoma was steady, with 102 new cases dipping to 100 over that same period. The state has had about 6,300 total cases and 338 deaths.

For other states, it may be too early to measure the potential effect of reopening.

States that had phased reopenings in mid-May include Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, and Virginia, according to Stateline.

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Washington, and the District of Columbia reopened in late May.

What’s Next?

Pennsylvania opens Thursday, June 4, followed by Michigan on June 12.

The state of New York, which has had the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the nation, will open June 13.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measures New York state and New York City separately in logging coronavirus cases. In all, New York City has had more than 200,000 cases and almost 22,000 deaths. The rest of New York state has had about 168,000 cases and 8,159 deaths.

Six states have not yet set a date to reopen. They include the nation’s most populous state, California, which has had 113,000 total cases and about 4,250 deaths.

The others are Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oregon.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Unemployment Fraud Spikes Amid Surge In Claims Due to Pandemic

Senate Confirms Special Watchdog for Pandemic Recovery


Dear Readers:

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.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Twitter censors Trump, claiming he’s ‘glorifying violence,’ keeps up Khamenei’s tweet calling for jihad violence

Twitter did this after the President’s Executive Order calling for an end to politically motivated censorship on Twitter. And so the war is on. It is clear from Twitter’s leaving up Khamenei’s tweet calling for jihad violence that they’re not censoring Trump out of concern about violence, but because he is the largest voice dissenting from their agenda. Once he is silenced, it will be easy to silence everyone else. Who appointed Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Mark Zuckerberg, and the clowns at Google/YouTube and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as the guardians of acceptable opinion and permitted speech? This sinister far-Left oligarchy must be broken or free society and free inquiry will be a thing of the past.

“White House slams Twitter for censoring US President Donald Trump but refusing to take action against glorification of Jihad,” OpIndia, May 29, 2020:

Donald Trump has been involved in a raging battle against social media giant Twitter after the latter included a ‘fact-check’ on a tweet he had made regarding mail-in ballots. Following the incident, the US president signed an executive order withdrawing liability protections that Twitter enjoyed. The next move came from Twitter and it censored Donald Trump’s tweet for ‘glorifying violence’. And now, the POTUS has hit back at the blatant political partisanship exhibited by the social media platform.

The White House on Friday hit back at twitter for not taking any action against Ayatollah Khamenei for glorifying Jihad in Palestine but censored a tweet made by Donald Trump which, according to the US President, did not glorify violence. The White House said that the tweet by Khamenei “violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, @Twitter has determined that it will allow terrorists, dictators, and foreign propagandists to abuse its platform.”

RELATED ARTICLES:

Germany: Muslim migrants rape 14-year-old, sexually assault 13-year-old, get 3 1/2 years prison

Palestinian-American Congressional Candidate Loses Big in Illinois’ ‘Little Palestine’ District

Cameroon: Thousands of Muslims defy virus restrictions, one says obeying them would disobey Muhammad and Qur’an

RELATED VIDEO: Palestinian Authority Prime Minister: Paying jihad terrorists and murderers is “a sacred matter”

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

How the Founders Responded to an Epidemic in the Nation’s Capital

Even if the federal government possessed the power to jump into the crisis, it’s hard to conceive of any action it might have taken that would have better met the challenge than what Philadelphians did, crude though it seems by today’s standards.


Do not read this book before eating, or in the midst of a sleepless night. For it is a revolting book, filled with the disgusting details of a loathsome disease.

Sounds like the opening paragraph of a one-star review by a merciless critic, but it’s not. It’s from the 1949 preface to a book by the book’s author himself, J. H. Powell. Titled Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793, it is “the story of a foul and fantastic pestilence, striking without warning in all classes of society,” a true account of “people sick in body and heart, astonished and fearful, paralyzed by the mysterious obscenity about them.”

I thoroughly enjoyed it—the book, that is.

Powell brings to life the people and events of the worst epidemic in American history—yes, worse than the Wuhan coronavirus of 2019-2020 and the Spanish Flu of 1918. Though it was localized in Philadelphia, it killed nearly ten percent of the city of 51,000 people between August 1 and November 9, 1793. That’s about ten times the death rate in the U.S. from today’s pandemic. More than 40 percent of Philadelphians fled into the countryside to escape a disease whose origin (a virus spread by the bite of a mosquito) no one would know for another hundred years.

New interest in historic health disasters is drawing attention to Powell’s book, as well as another good one from 2003, An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy. For this essay, I draw passages from both volumes.

Philadelphia was America’s national capital and headquarters of the federal government in 1793. By act of Congress, the capital wouldn’t move to what is now Washington, D.C. for another seven years. President George Washington had commenced his second term in March. Five months later, in the midst of a hot, wet summer, Philadelphians suddenly took sick in huge numbers, leading quickly to scores of deaths each day. What did the Washington administration do in response?

Nothing. That’s all it could do. It possessed no constitutional duty in the matter and even less experience and expertise. No one argued there were epidemiological exceptions to the First Amendment or, for that matter, to any other provisions in the document ratified just four years earlier. So the federal government never got involved.

Even if the federal government possessed the power to jump into the crisis, it’s hard to conceive of any action it might have taken that would have better met the challenge than what Philadelphians did, crude though it seems by today’s standards. The feds were there, on the scene, but possessed no special knowledge the locals did not also have. Yellow fever is not contagious from one person to another. The disease requires a mosquito in between and nobody knew that then. Lockdowns would likely have made little difference.

The one big issue the Washington administration had to decide—whether to convene Congress in the fall at its Philadelphia location or somewhere else—prompted sharp views on both sides. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (both of an Anti-Federalist bent) told the President he had no authority to move the site where Congress met, so it would have to be Philadelphia, in spite of the crisis. Alexander Hamilton argued that if a foreign enemy occupied the capital or if any other kind of disaster in the city prevented Congress from assembling, then of course the President could bring it together elsewhere. Just weeks into the epidemic, Washington and his Cabinet members themselves skedaddled to Germantown, ten miles to the north, and they hoped Congress would follow.

Jefferson and Madison won that one but, in the end, the question was moot. The first frost in early November killed the mosquitoes and the disease with it. Congress met in Philadelphia in December but one of its first acts was to pass a law authorizing the President to convene it outside the national capital in the future, should conditions require it.

Pennsylvania state government was also domiciled in Philadelphia at the time. The capital wouldn’t be moved to Harrisburg until 1812. In 1793, Governor Thomas Mifflin and the legislature provided some money to Philadelphia to help handle the crisis, then they left town for the duration. So it all came down to Philadelphians. Fortunately, they were blessed with both public and private leadership talent in the persons of Mayor Matthew Clarkson, Dr. Benjamin Rush, and others. Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and had served as Surgeon General of the Continental Army during the War for Independence.

To this day, no cure exists for yellow fever. Thanks largely to the work of U.S. Army physician Dr. Walter Reed (no relation) in 1901, we know that the virus is spread by a particular species of mosquito, Aedes aegyptiModern treatments and palliatives greatly reduce suffering and deaths. Draining swamps and pools of stagnant water remain the most effective preventative measures. But 230 years ago, what a victim endured and what “experts” prescribed were a medieval horror show. Powell writes,

Lassitude, glazed eyes, chills, fevers, headaches, nausea, retching, and nosebleeds would suddenly attack people in the best of health. These symptoms, more violent than any the doctors had ever observed, would be followed by a yellow tinge in the eyeballs, puking, fearful straining of the stomach, the black vomit, hiccoughs, depression, “deep and distressed sighing, comatose delirium,” stupor, purplish discoloration of the whole body [from liver damage], finally death.

In the panic that followed the onset of the epidemic, there was no end to the weird and ineffective treatments suggested and tried. They included dousing the afflicted with vinegar, “earth-bathing” (rolling in dirt), drinking molasses by the quart, burning tobacco in the streets. Purging and blood-letting were Dr. Rush’s favored remedies, which also included a concoction of mercury and jalap, the latter being a drug extracted from the tuberous roots of a Mexican climbing plant. As Murphy’s book reveals,

Ads appeared in the newspapers hawking Peruvian bark, salt of vinegar, refined camphor, and other concoctions, such as Daffey’s Elixir (which contained so much pure alcohol that a glass of it could put a person into a drunken stupor). The science of medicine at the end of the eighteenth century still relied a great deal on ancient myths and folk remedies.

Someone recommended that to purify the air of whatever was causing the disease, gunpowder should be liberally set afire. So for a brief time until residents complained of the noise and smoke, municipal workers pulled cannons through the streets and fired them every few yards or so.

Unaware that a mosquito was the carrier, many people thought they could catch yellow fever from proximity to someone infected. So “social distancing” became the norm. Powell writes,

People quickly acquired the habits of living with fear. Handshaking was abandoned, acquaintances snubbed, everyone walked in the middle of the streets to avoid contaminated homes. Those wearing mourning bands were obviously dangerous, as were doctors and ministers. People maneuvered in passing to get windward of anyone they met.

City government ordered a limited quarantine of arriving foreigners but to little effect because the source of the problem was not overseas. It was quickly lifted. When the city cleaned up the filth in and around the wharves on the river, it likely did more to help than the quarantine.

Afraid to leave their homes unless they had a place to flee to in the countryside, Philadelphians withdrew from commerce. Businesses closed. Mail delivery stopped. Newspapers were reduced to a single page for lack of advertising. Incoming vessels on the Delaware River couldn’t find dock workers so they sat in the water or on the docks while their cargo rotted.

Even clocks in the city went haywire. So many clockmakers and time-setters were sick, dead or gone that Philadelphians often couldn’t tell for sure what time it was.

Churches in Philadelphia never closed during the epidemic. Given the nature of the disease, it wouldn’t have made a difference either way. If government officials had ordered them closed, there’s good reason to believe that devout Philadelphians would have defied or resisted such orders.

To his credit, Mayor Clarkson responded with courage and good sense. He formed a committee of respected local citizens who organized makeshift hospitals, raised money for treatment, cleaned the streets and wharves, and looked after children suddenly orphaned when parents or guardians died from the disease.

Some white residents complained that black nurses in town were raising their fees in the midst of the crisis. They took their complaint to the mayor, hoping he would impose controls on those fees. He said no. Jim Murphy tells us,

The mayor knew he couldn’t order black nurses to refuse any fee over a dollar. If he forced them to hold down their costs, he would have to do the same with every merchant, laborer, and farmer doing business in town. How much food would be brought to market if he insisted that only pre-plague prices be charged? How many carters would haul away diseased corpses? What was happening with the black nurses was a classic example of demand exceeding supply, resulting in higher prices, and nothing more…He also had an ad published in the newspapers that admonished citizens to cease bothering the black nurses as they went about town to do their work.

Dr. Rush, though wrong about remedies, was right about his initial warnings that the illness was yellow fever; he also labored long hours to bring comfort to the afflicted. He died in 1813, widely esteemed a hero by his fellow citizens.

People in nearby cities and adjacent states pitched in to help the City of Brotherly Love while the illness raged. New Yorkers were first with a gift to Philadelphia of $5,000—a substantial sum in those days and the start of a cascade of philanthropy for Philly. According to Powell,

The news of $5,000 from New York spread about the city like a tonic. It was, Editor Brown proclaimed, an act of noble sympathy and generosity. And as other donations poured in, the Committee (of Mayor Clarkson’s creation) wisely gave publicity to them all, even the smallest. Brown’s columns soon were filled with letters from villages, townships, counties, congregations, and synods, all conveying gifts of some kind to the Mayor’s care. The distraught citizens could take heart. They were not alone in misfortune. All America was sharing their burden.

None of that giving was required by anybody. It was simply what Americans did, from the depths of their giving hearts, without mandates from on high. The Philadelphia epidemic of 1793 was one of the new country’s earliest and best examples of the cascade of private charity that defined the nation for the next two centuries.

Yellow fever outbreaks in Philadelphia occurred again during the last three years of the 1790s. None, fortunately, were as lethal and widespread as the 1793 episode.

All these many decades later, perhaps the applicable lessons for today of Philadelphia’s experience then are few and limited. For sure, it’s a tribute to the city that it rallied and prospered, thanks to the initiative of its citizens and the freedoms the nation as a whole enjoyed in its early decades. Half a century after the epidemic, Philadelphia was a bustling city of 122,000 people—two and a half times its size on the eve of the 1793 disaster.

COLUMN BY

VIDEO: Election Judge Pleads Guilty to Ballot Stuffing for Democrats

A former elected official in Philadelphia who accepted large payments from a political consultant to stuff ballot boxes for Democratic judicial candidates has pleaded guilty as part of a continuing federal investigation.

The Justice Department announced Thursday that Domenick J. DeMuro, 73, who was an election judge in South Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive city voters of their civil rights by fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections.

DeMuro, a judge for the 39th Ward, 36th Division, also pleaded guilty to violating the Travel Act, which forbids use of any facility in interstate commerce—in this case, cellphones—with the intent to promote certain illegal activity—in this case, bribery.

The Justice Department said the case is part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

The judge of elections is an elective office and a paid position in Pennsylvania municipalities responsible for supervising the local election process.

“DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said.

“This is utterly reprehensible conduct,” McSwain said. “The charges announced today do not erase what he did, but they do ensure that he is held to account for those actions.”

During his guilty plea hearing, DeMuro said an unnamed political consultant gave him directions and paid him money to add votes for certain Democrats who were running for judicial office. Their campaigns had hired the consultant.DeMuro also admitted to casting illegal votes for other candidates for federal, state, and local offices at the consultant’s request.Prosecutors said the political consultant solicited monetary payments from his clients in the form of cash or checks as “consulting fees,” then used some of the money to pay election board officials, including DeMuro, to tamper with the election results. DeMuro said payments ranged between $300 to $5,000.In a press release, McSwain said:

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. If even one vote is fraudulently rung up, the integrity of that election is compromised. I want the public to know that this investigation is active and ongoing, and my office is taking every possible step that we can to ensure the integrity of the upcoming primary and general elections in the nine counties of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Citizens of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania should be confident of election integrity, said Capt. Leo Hannon, director of the special investigations division of the Pennsylvania State Police.

“As this investigation clearly illustrates, the Pennsylvania State Police will relentlessly pursue any breach of the sacred trust bestowed upon our public officials,” Hannon said in a prepared statement. “Our agency is proud to partner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the United States Department of Justice as a whole to root out corruption at any level of our government.”

The probe is a positive step forward in prosecuting voter fraud, said former Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group.

“Right now, other federal prosecutors are aware of cases of double voting in federal elections as well as noncitizen voting,” Adams said in a written statement, adding:

Attorney General William Barr should prompt those other offices to do their duty and prosecute known election crimes. Those who are considering election crimes should take note of U.S. Attorney McSwain’s work. Now, they have something to fear before they violate federal election laws.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Why Conservatives and Liberals Are Responding to COVID-19 in Such Different Ways [+Video]

Liberals and conservatives are approaching the COVID-19 pandemic through very different moral frameworks.


In a 2008 TED Talk, psychologist Jonathan Haidt said the worst idea in psychology is the notion that humans are born as a “blank slate.”

Like the cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, Haidt was rejecting the notion that the human mind is a blank slate at birth, an idea that can be traced to thinkers from Aristotle, to John Locke, to B.F. Skinner and beyond.

“Developmental psychology has shown that kids come into the world already knowing so much about the physical and social worlds and programmed to make it really easy for them to learn certain things and hard to learn others,” explained Haidt, a Professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Citing research from the brain scientist Gary Marcus, Haidt said the initial organization of the brain essentially comes with a “first draft.” Studying the anthropological and historical records, Haidt found that five pillars of morality exist across disciplines, cultures, and even species:

  1. care/harm
  2. fairness/reciprocity
  3. loyalty/betrayal
  4. authority/subversion
  5. sanctity/degradation

What’s interesting is that these moral pillars differ sharply across ideological lines in America today. Haidt found that both conservatives and liberals recognize the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity values (though liberals value these a little more than conservatives). Things change, however, when examining the three remaining foundational values—loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. While conservatives accept these moral values, liberal-minded people tend to reject them.

The difference is extraordinary, and it helps explain the different ways Republicans and Democrats are experiencing the coronavirus. In May, a CNBC/Change Research survey found that while only 39 percent of Republicans said they had serious concerns about COVID-19, 97 percent of Democrats said they had serious concerns.

While some of the divergence could stem from the fact that blue states have been hit harder by COVID-19 than red states, Haidt’s research would suggest that another reason Democrats are more concerned is because liberals have an intense appreciation of the care/harm moral pillar.

Indeed, the preeminence of the care/harm moral can be found in the rhetoric of many progressives.

“I want to be able to say to the people of New York, ‘I did everything we could do,’” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in March. “And if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.”

The care/harm moral is even found in the latest social media emojis. Last month, as USA Today reported in an exclusive story, Facebook rolled out its new “care” emoji.

“The new Facebook reaction—an emoji hugging a heart—is intended as shorthand to show caring and solidarity when commenting on a status update, message, photo or video during the coronavirus crisis that allow users to express how much they care about others,” the paper reported.

Cuomo’s language (and to a lesser extent Facebook’s emojis) suggests that, for many, care for others is the preeminent virtue. As such, efforts to protect people must be taken above lesser social considerations.

Understanding the different moral framework conservatives and liberals are using helps us understand why blue states have taken a much more aggressive approach in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

As The Atlantic explains, with a few exceptions, such as Ohio, Republican governors have been much more reluctant to impose sweeping restrictions on their residents than states led by Democratic governors. While governors in these states no doubt value care/harm, their moral framework likely gives them a heightened concern of other social considerations, particularly civil liberties.

The lockdowns, the Constitution Center explains, have threatened many of America’s most cherished civil liberties—the freedom to assemble, the right to purchase a firearm, the ability to freely travel, the freedom to attend church or visit a reproductive health facility. They’ve also put thousands of companies on a path toward bankruptcy by prohibiting them from engaging in commerce.

These infringements tend to be viewed as reasonable to liberals, who emphasize the care/harm moral but are less likely to recognize the sanctity/degradation moral. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, for example, said he never even considered the US Constitution—a document considered sacrosanct by many Americans—when he issued his lockdown order.

“That’s above my pay grade,” Murphy told Tucker Carlson in April. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. We went to all—first of all—we went to the scientists who said people have to stay away from each other.”

Similarly, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer saw no problem in suspending the Freedom of Information Act to prevent outside groups from assessing the model state officials used to justify locking down the entire state.

Those who view civil liberties and constitutional rights as sacred, however, are less than comfortable with such an approach. They will be less inclined to sacrifice sacred principles to support sweeping state efforts to protect people (and are probably more likely to see such efforts as counter-productive).

To be sure, some progressives do see civil liberties as sacred, and some of them have expressed dismay and bewilderment that so many progressives, in their enthusiasm for the care/harm moral, have abandoned civil liberties.

“[The COVID-19 crisis is] raising serious civil liberties issues, from prisoners trapped in deadly conditions to profound questions about speech and assembly, the limits to surveillance and snitching, etc.,” the progressive journalist Matt Taibbi recently wrote in Rolling Stone. “If this disease is going to be in our lives for the foreseeable future, that makes it more urgent that we talk about what these rules will be, not less—yet the party I grew up supporting seems to have lost the ability to do so, and I don’t understand why.”

If Haidt’s theory is correct, the reason is liberals and conservatives are, generally speaking, approaching the COVID-19 pandemic through divergent moral frameworks.

After all, the argument isn’t whether we should protect people.

“In any country, the disagreement isn’t over harm and fairness,” Haidt says. “Everyone agrees that harm and fairness matter.”

The argument isn’t even over how to best balance the care/harm moral with other considerations.

The disagreement is over whether efforts to protect individuals from COVID-19 should be balanced against other considerations—including constitutional and economic ones—at all.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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NEW WORDS & NUMBERS: Are Social Distancing Violations the New Stop and Frisk?

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: President Trump Declares ‘Houses of Worship’ as ‘Essential Services’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has declared houses of worship “essential places that provide essential services,” saying they should be opened up right away and governors who get in the way will have to answer to him. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship.

It’s not right,” said Trump. “So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque – many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life.”

WATCH:

©All rights reserved.

RELATED VIDEO: Social Distancing’: Preventing Humans from Gathering in Jesus’s Name.

As Unemployment Keeps Rising, Congress Needs to Fix What It Broke

Another 2.4 million workers filed for unemployment claims last week, bringing the 10-week total to nearly 39 million. If all of these represent separate claims, that means that almost 1 in 4 workers has filed for unemployment since the coronavirus shutdowns began.

That’s bad news because unemployment is undesirable at best, and devastating at worst.

The situation has both short-term and long-term consequences for unemployed individuals, and really, it’s to no one’s advantage. At least not normally.

But now, because of Congress’ problematic additional unemployment benefit of $600, unemployment has become advantageous—even preferable—to some workers, employers, and state and local governments.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>>

When can America reopen? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, is gathering America’s top thinkers together to figure that out. Learn more here>>>.


Instead of simply providing workers with a higher percentage of their usual earnings than the roughly 40% to 50% that state unemployment systems normally provide—which was appropriate and had bipartisan support—Congress messed up by giving everyone the same additional $600 per week, regardless of whether they had been making $100 a week or $1,000 a week.

Now, the majority of unemployed workers are receiving higher unemployment benefits than their usual paychecks.

A JPMorgan Chase analysis estimated that between 65% and 75% of workers are receiving more from unemployment than their paychecks. And an analysis by professors at the University of Chicago estimated that the median unemployment benefit equals 134% of workers’ previous wages, while 1 in 5 workers is receiving 200% or more of previous earnings and 1 in 10  is receiving almost 300% of previous earnings.

That’s both inequitable and counterproductive to the economic recovery.

As this table shows, someone in California who makes $36,000 per year—perhaps a nursing home or construction worker—would receive 53% more, or an extra $298 per week—by being unemployed as opposed to employed. (Note that individuals do not have to pay payroll taxes on unemployment benefits and a few states—including California—do not tax unemployment benefits.)

That’s hardly fair for the hardworking Americans who have continued to do their jobs each day.

In light of the unprecedented circumstances, it was appropriate for policymakers to temporarily increase unemployment benefits, but wrong for them to make unemployment pay more than employment.

Some policymakers who want to extend the expanded unemployment benefits until January or March of 2021 argue that it would be heartless to cut off bonus unemployment benefits on July 31.

But enticing workers with an extra $31,200 in unemployment benefits (potentially over $50,000 in total unemployment benefits) if they remain unemployed for a year could be far more damaging—both to individuals and to society.

Long-term unemployment results in lower incomes and fewer opportunities, as well as detrimental impacts on physical and emotional well-being.

Moreover, if Congress doesn’t fix this problem (by capping unemployment benefits at no more than 100% of workers’ wages) and instead extends excessive benefits, shortages of willing workers will contribute to more failures of small businesses.

Examples from around the country show that many small businesses are ready to open back up, but some workers don’t want to come back until their bonus $600 benefits expire.

Some lawmakers have suggested that those employers should just pay their workers more and raise their prices to cover the higher labor costs. But most small businesses are struggling just to stay afloat and wouldn’t be able to survive if they significantly increase prices. Those business failures would hurt both workers and their customers.

Take day care facilities, for example. Many parents will not be able to go back to work until day care centers reopen, but if providers raise prices enough to pay child care workers more than they are making on unemployment, families wouldn’t be able to afford child care.

Although larger businesses may be able to hang on in the short term, they likely will turn to increased automation for the positions they can’t fill. That will exacerbate unemployment and leave workers with even fewer options.

And finally, while a massive public health pandemic such as COVID-19 warrants a federal government response, such measures must be targeted and directly aimed at combating the pandemic and enabling an economic recovery.

That’s not the case with the $600 benefit, which invites misuse and abuse. In some cases, it’s also unfairly redistributing and driving up costs.

In Portland, Oregon, for example, the school district and teachers union teamed up to devise a strategy—Friday furloughs—that will allow teachers to work less and earn more.

Instead of the usual $460 in daily district pay supported by Oregon taxpayers, Friday-furloughed teachers would receive an average $730 in unemployment benefits supported by federal taxpayers.

These excessive unemployment benefits hurt the nation’s recovery. And at an estimated cost of $279 billion through July alone—equal to $2,170 for every household in the United States—the House’s proposal to extend the benefit into 2021 would shift even greater costs onto ordinary Americans.

Americans are hard-wired for work. Beyond a paycheck, producing goods and services of value and interacting with others are fundamental to human flourishing.

It’s time for Congress to focus on creating an environment that fosters employment opportunities instead of unemployment incentives.

COMMENTARY BY

Rachel Greszler is research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, of the Institute for Economic Freedom, at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Sweden’s Top Infectious Disease Expert Says COVID-19 Lockdowns Are Not Based on Science. History Shows He Could Be Right

The debate over COVID-19 lockdowns has thrust Sweden into the global spotlight. Anders Tegnell, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he’s confident Sweden’s approach is the right one.


As nations around the world begin to ease lockdown restrictions passed amid the scariest pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu, a new battle is brewing among disease experts and the punditry class.

On one side, are lockdown proponents who compare lockdown skeptics to anti-vaxxers who endanger lives because they are drunk on “freedom” and want to prematurely ease restrictions, which they say could result in a new spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Lockdown skeptics, on the other hand, draw the battlelines differently.

“On one side are ideologues heavily invested in the idea of lockdown, regardless of the cost,” The Wall Street Journal recently described one skeptic’s take. “On the other are scientists with data that the lockdowns are overkill.”

While there is room for middle ground here—I know several medical professionals who say lockdowns made sense initially to “flatten the curve,” but that stage is now over—it’s fair to say the political debate around lockdowns has become largely a two-front war.

As I wrote last week, the costs of lockdowns become clearer every day: nations around the world staggering into recessions and Great Depression-level unemployment. The benefits of the lockdowns, at least for lockdown skeptics, are less easy to quantify.

“There is no correlation between fatalities and lockdown stringency,” columnist Simon Jenkins recently observed in The Guardian. “The most stringent lockdowns—as in China, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Britain—have yielded both high and low deaths per million.”

The debate over lockdowns has naturally thrust Sweden, which has foregone a hardline approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in favor of a softer one encouraging voluntary action, into the global spotlight. The results of Sweden’s policy have so far been mixed.

While Sweden’s outbreak has to date been deadlier than its Scandanavian neighbors, The New York Times recently conceded that “it’s still better off than many countries that enforced strict lockdowns.”

While Sweden has endured a great deal of criticism for its “laissez-faire” approach, Anders Tegnell, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, recently defended his policies, stating that while a degree of social distancing is the right approach, lockdowns are not grounded in actual science.

“Nothing to do with [them] has a scientific basis,” Tegnell said, according to The Guardian.

It’s an astonishing claim. If the lockdowns are not based on science, what are they based on? As it happens, The New York Times recently traced the history of social US social distancing policy.

The origins apparently stem from a trip President George W. Bush made to the library in the summer of 2005 over concerns about bioterrorism, which prompted him to read The Great Influenza, a book on the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 written by John M. Barry.

Shortly thereafter, the Bush administration enlisted two federal government doctors, Carter Mecher and Richard Hatchett, to develop ideas to implement during the next pandemic. Mecher⁠— who “had almost no pandemic policy expertise,” according to the Times⁠—then met with Dr. Robert J. Glass, a New Mexico scientist at Sandia who specialized in developing models to explain how complex systems function.

And that’s where the story gets interesting. Via The Times:

Dr. Glass’s daughter Laura, then 14, had done a class project in which she built a model of social networks at her Albuquerque high school, and when Dr. Glass looked at it, he was intrigued.

Students are so closely tied together — in social networks and on school buses and in classrooms — that they were a near-perfect vehicle for a contagious disease to spread.

Dr. Glass piggybacked on his daughter’s work to explore with her what effect breaking up these networks would have on knocking down the disease.

The outcome of their research was startling. By closing the schools in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, only 500 people got sick. If they remained open, half of the population would be infected.

“My God, we could use the same results she has and work from there,” Dr. Glass recalled thinking. He took their preliminary data and built on it by running it through the supercomputers at Sandia, more typically used to engineer nuclear weapons. (His daughter’s project was entered in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2006.)

Dr. Mecher received the results at his office in Washington and was amazed.

If cities closed their public schools, the data suggested, the spread of a disease would be significantly slowed, making this move perhaps the most important of all of the social distancing options they were considering.

If the Times is correct, it would appear that federal social distancing policy is to some extent the brainchild of a trip George W. Bush made to the library in the summer of 2005 and a 14-year-old girl’s science project. (You can read more about Laura’s Glass’s science project, which reportedly took third place at the 2006 Intel fair in Indianapolis, in this Albuquerque Journal article.)

To be clear, there’s no direct evidence to my knowledge that this is what Tegnell, who earned a PhD in Medicine from Linköping University in 2003 and a MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2004, was referring to when he said the lockdowns are not based on science.

Moreover, there’s nothing to say the lockdowns don’t work simply because the policy stems from George W. Bush and a child’s school project. (The lockdowns will ultimately be judged on their results, not their intellectual genesis.)

Nevertheless, Tegnell’s assertion that there is no “scientific basis” for the lockdowns deserves attention. There’s a tendency to assume central planning is inherently rational and scientific, but this is hardly true. Karl Marx, perhaps the most famous central planner in history, was horribly unscientific in his methods, explained the historian Paul Johnson.

“[Marx] failed precisely because he was unscientific: he would not investigate the facts himself, or use objectively the facts investigated by others,” Johnson observed in the book Intellectuals. “From start to finish, not just Capital but all his work reflects a disregard for truth which at times amounts to contempt. That is the primary reason why Marxism, as a system, cannot produce the results claimed for it; and to call it ‘scientific’ is preposterous.”

For his part, Tegnell says the science of COVID-19 is becoming clear on at least one point, whatever the models of Laura Glass’s hypothetical town said in 2006.

“We feel more and more confident about [not] closing schools,” Tegnell told TV host Trevor Noah in a May interview. “It’s not something that really is going to be effective for this kind of disease. Schools don’t seem to be very much of a motor of this epidemic.”

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Obamagate — How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks

There is strong evidence that President Barack Obama’s administration improperly weaponized U.S. intelligence agencies in multiple and shocking ways against Donald Trump and other political enemies.

It appears the Obama administration did this in a number of ways, including: fraudulently obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on American citizens; promoting the Democratic National Committee-funded dossier assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele that was filled with lies about Trump; politicizing intelligence analysis; leaking intelligence; and spying on political opponents and journalists.

In the period when he was a presidential candidate and president-elect, Trump and his aides seemed to have been the major targets of this misuse of American intelligence for political purposes. But they were not the only targets.

It is imperative to uncover the extent of the Obama administration’s abuse of U.S. intelligence for political purposes. This must include a full list of every American unmasked from intelligence reports – Trump aides, members of Congress, and ordinary Americans – and who made these requests.

It would be irresponsible for the intelligence community and Congress to turn a blind eye to this abuse simply because it happened years ago. Wrongdoing by the Obama administration in this scandal – which President Trump has dubbed “Obamagate” – must be exposed to ensure such actions never take place again.

This week’s revelation that an astounding 39 Obama administration officials – including then-Vice President Joe Biden – made 53 requests to unmask incoming Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency phone intercepts between Election Day on Nov. 8, 2016 and Jan. 12, 2017 was a bombshell.

The stunning revelation regarding Obama administration spying on Flynn by secretly recording his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. at the time appears to confirm allegations by President Trump and his supporters of a broad effort by the Obama administration to weaponize intelligence to undermine the Trump presidency shortly before it began.

Flynn was simply carrying out his duties by making contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period after Trump was elected president. It is perfectly routine for incoming members of a new presidential administration dealing with foreign affairs to contact foreign officials to introduce themselves before taking office.

Making this worse, the 53 unmasking requests by Obama administration officials are probably the tip of the iceberg of the Obama administration’s abuse of National Security Agency intelligence to target Trump aides.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. confirmed this in a Fox Business interview this week on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” when he said the Flynn unmasking scandal is “even worse than this” because “a whole lot” of other Trump associates were unmasked.

With this in mind, it is frustrating to see former Obama officials, the mainstream media and some former intelligence officials brush off the Flynn unmasking requests by claiming such requests are “normal and routine” and that all relevant rules and laws were complied with.

As a former CIA officer who helped process requests to unmask the names of U.S. citizens from National Security Agency reports, I know that unmasking requests are not normal and routine. And I believe these requests raise serious civil rights and legal issues that have not yet been addressed.

From my 25 years working in U.S. government national security jobs, I know how sensitive and rare unmasking requests are.

Names of U.S. citizens mentioned in U.S. intelligence reports – often National Security Agency communications intercepts – are redacted because under U.S. law, America’s foreign intelligence services are normally not permitted to spy on U.S. citizens.

Although senior U.S. officials are permitted to ask for the identity of a redacted name in an intelligence report (an unmasking request), such requests are unusual and the requestor must have a “need to know” the identity of the U.S. person to understand the foreign intelligence information or assess its importance.

When the request is approved, the unmasked identity is released only to the person who requested it – not to everyone who might have seen the original version of the report.

For example, during my time at the State Department from 2001-2006, Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage made about 100 demasking requests. Then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton only made 10 in four years.

Ironically, Senate Democrats made Bolton’s unmasking requests an issue during his 2005 nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by falsely claiming these requests were improper and made to intimidate people and gain political advantage.

Then-Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said at the time that unmasking requests were “rarely requested” and made “infrequently” by “non-career political appointees such as Mr. Bolton.”

An April 14, 2005, New York Times article said this about unmasking requests in connection with the Bolton confirmation hearings: “The identities of American officials whose communications are intercepted are usually closely protected by law, and not included even in classified intelligence reports. Access to the names may be authorized by the N.S.A. only in response to special requests, and these are not common, particularly from policy makers.”

The above statements about the rarity of unmasking requests are consistent with what I witnessed during my government career. In addition, the National Security Agency tightened the rules in 2005 on unmasking because of the controversy over such requests caused by the Bolton hearing.

The Obama administration, however, appeared to weaken the unmasking rules.

The Obama administration expanded access to National Security Agency information in February 2016 and on January 12, 2017. Both changes appeared to allow larger numbers of government officials to have access to unmasked names of Americans in intelligence reporting.

Even more troubling was a major rollback by the Obama administration in rules protecting members of Congress from unmasking requests.

I know from my five years on House Intelligence Committee staff of longstanding sensitivity by lawmakers that U.S. intelligence agencies could be used by the executive branch to spy on a president’s political enemies. For this reason, until 2013 there were strict limits to keep members of Congress out of intelligence reporting and to prevent unmasking their names.

Under a policy in effect in the 1990s, unmasking requests of the names of members of Congress were extremely limited and generally had to be reported to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these rules were tightened further with “a 2011 NSA directive [that] required direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress to be destroyed, but [gave] the NSA director the authority to waive this requirement if he determines the communications contain ‘significant foreign intelligence.””

However, in 2013 the Obama administration significantly weakened rules on unmasking the names of members of Congress from intelligence reports. The requestor’s reason could now merely be “to fully understand the intelligence.”

Rules on notifying Congress also were weakened. National Security Agency officials henceforth would notify Congress when members were unmasked from intelligence reports “as appropriate” and would determine “whether and to what extent congressional notification would take place.”

The Obama administration appeared to take advantage of these rules changes in 2015 when it obtained private conversations from National Security Agency reports of U.S. lawmakers who opposed the Iran nuclear deal in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The rule changes on unmasking the names of members of Congress have a direct bearing on the Obama administration’s unmasking of Trump aides.

Since there no longer was a prohibition on using U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on members of Congress, Obama officials probably reasoned there was nothing to prevent them from spying on members of a presidential campaign or an incoming presidential administration. This helps explain the hundreds of unmasking requests regarding Trump aides in 2016 and early 2017.

So what should happen now?

In addition to an investigation of spying on American citizens by the Obama administration, all Obama administration rule changes making it easier to unmask the names of members of Congress and ordinary Americans from intelligence reports need to be reversed immediately.

There also should be a requirement in the law restricting when U.S. officials can unmask the names of members of a presidential campaign or incoming administration from intelligence reports or otherwise spy on them. These rules should include a requirement for congressional notification if such spying is deemed necessary in the future.

Finally, I want to know why career intelligence officials cooperated with unmasking Trump campaign and transition officials at the request of the Obama administration.

Since the prohibition on spying on American citizens and keeping the names of U.S citizens out of intelligence reports are cardinal rules of the U.S. intelligence community, how could career intelligence officers agree to process hundreds of these requests? Why did none of them file complaints with their inspector general or the congressional intelligence oversight committees?

The hundreds of unmasking requests of Trump campaign and transition officials made by the Obama administration were in no way routine and necessary. I believe carrying out these unmasking requests was a huge ethical lapse by dozens – maybe hundreds – of U.S. intelligence community employees that must be addressed by the White House and the leaders of our intelligence agencies.

Originally published by Fox News

COLUMN BY

About Fred Fleitz

Fred Fleitz is President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy. He recently served as a Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Chief of Staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton. He previously worked in national security positions for 25 years with CIA, DIA, the Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read his complete bio here. Follow Fleitz on Twitter @fredfleitz.

EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Both Parties Have Unleashed The Beast On America

The Founding Fathers understood. The monster must be imprisoned, shackled and padlocked in multiple ways. If it is not securely and soundly constrained, it will break free and terrorize the countryside. We see their increasingly ignored forewarnings brightly highlighted in draconian shutdown orders.

The monster of course is government, by nature a truly monstrous being. This gongs in the ears of Americans who have not been taught history, or refuse to learn from it. But from the beginnings of time, governments under kings, queens, emperors, chieftains, despots and potentates of every stripe have caused more death and misery than all of the famines, plagues and catastrophes of nature.

The history of the 20th century alone is soaked in the blood of governments terrorizing their own citizens, quite apart from the wars of conquest they embarked on. Mao, Stalin, Hitler, it is often forgotten or ignored, were the heads of government and could have accomplished none of their genocides against their own people without a gigantic government accountable only to itself. Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Castro and a host of others did the same on a smaller scale.

This is the history of big and unaccountable governments. Always. The most enlightened government in history to its time, the British Empire, still allowed its own citizens few individual rights, and those it granted and it removed. It ran press gangs to snatch even its own people out of pubs and dives for essentially slave sailors on its ships.

As often as not, the most tyrannical governments were those supposedly “protecting” us — from potential invaders, from religious heresy, from poverty, from “others” such as Jews. Their dictatorial powers frequently derived from the people’s fears, our fears. Such as fears of a deadly virus. Perhaps fears of “catastrophic” climate change.

But it always ends the same. Pick your empire (run by governments, all) and the rights-crushing, soul-sucking terror that follows the squashing of individual rights is inevitable. Only the scale differs.

Until 1776, that is, when for the first time in the history of mankind, a nation created a government by and for the people, not for itself. It created a government on the principles that all of mankind is created in the image of God and therefore has rights emanating from God, not from government. These rights were inherent to all mankind and government was to play the role of ensuring those rights were not encroached upon — mostly by constraint as a government, including an American government, would be the largest threat.

As history had taught Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and the rest, the government monster would always be a threat to those rights, to the individual’s liberty that comes from God. It was by its nature monstrous, and so while it had to exist, it had to be imprisoned, locked up deep in a vault far from the people and with no ability to terrorize the American citizenry.

And the Framers created such a prison by establishing a separation of powers. Creating three equal branches of government that would harness human nature’s lust for power to keep each in check, while also creating a strong state’s rights system that would further act to keep the federal government in check.

This system was brilliantly designed by the Framers to imprison the monster away from the people by creating constant friction within the government and between the government and the states. Over the course of the centuries, we’ve seen how marvelously it has preserved individual rights and freedoms and created a magnificent Shining City on a Hill.

However, we have steadily been loosening the chains on the monster, slowly freeing it from these restraints while at the same time providing it with weapons to use against the American people. The courts have done this through extra-Constitutional rulings. Congress has done this through legislation. Presidents have done this through executive orders. And to a degree, each branch has allowed the other to take these powers — Congress giving the most away.

And we the people allowed it all. It was all in our power to stop, but we let it slip away. Why? How did human nature turn this power over? More human nature, but within a changing dynamic.

The Framers almost universally agreed that this arrangement of freedoms and representative democracy was only fit for a Christian and moral people. It’s not clear we are either of those things anymore. We’re certainly not nearly as much as we were in 1776, or even 50 years ago. The loosening of the chains on the government monster has occurred in part because we lost the knowledge, through purposely lacking education, of why the cell was locked in the first place.

Part of the calculation is political expediency on the part of politicians who, with the growth and power of the monster and decline in Christian influence and morals, find more prestige and financial gain from being in office, and so re-election trumps all other considerations. Therefore Congress, filled with people of declining moral character, reflecting the country, has foisted off on the presidency or the courts the tough decisions that can have political blowback. The power and prestige far outweighs doing the right thing for the nation.

This has been bi-partisan. Each party is culpable as it attempts to gain control of the reins of power to bend the monster to its will. Democrats openly seek to free the beast, while Republicans tend to only slow the pace at which it is freed. And the American people are responsible for electing these people. They truly are representative. They are a reflection of us — a nation of people who are increasingly forgetting the monster behind the locks.

But in doing so, both parties representing the people who chose them, feed the monster while loosening its bonds, and it grows and grows and grows until the monster itself is the one in control — unbending and willful itself, unbound to the people or even the parties.

This is not a warning of where we are heading. We are here.

The monster is loose on the American people. It is not completely free, but the locks are off and it’s chain is long and weakening. It is shutting people into their houses, telling them what they can and cannot say. Stopping them from going to places of worship. If it is not re-imprisoned very soon, we the people will be incapable of restraining it. At that point, the great American experiment ends. The greatest power for good on earth, will cease to be that nation anymore. And the world will descend into the bloody chaos of unchained monsters and enslaved peoples around the globe.

No this is not our future. This is our present. And we’ve almost missed it. The creep has been so steady, we are as frogs in warming water. It has been going on a long time.

When the monster disapproved of the choice of the American people for president, it reacted via its nature and sought to devour that choice. As is being unveiled more every day, what we saw was a concerted, coordinated effort through different parts of government, from the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies, to the State Department, Justice Department and individual federal judges blocking presidential actions to the pliant FISA court. Or consider the mini-tyrants unveiled in the COVID shutdowns, or the IRS targeting political opponents of the former President, or the NSA broadly spying on everyone to the shock of many in Congress.

Readers may bristle at this, but they are all part of the monsters. Not all of the individuals, of course. Not by a long-shot. But in measuring the actions they have taken to destroy the people’s choice, it is difficult to dispute that, as organizations, they are part of terrorizing the American people and threatening the representative government bequeathed to us by the Framers.

Republicans and conservatives reactively, and not inaccurately, blame Democrats and the media working in conjunction with Democrats inside government to explain this. Yes. There’s plenty of truth to that. We’ve reported much of it on this site. However, this is the reality: Neither Democrat politicians nor the media were part of the launch of the Russia collusion hoax played on the American people. That was launched and steered entirely by the monster — acting on its own.

That is the key piece of evidence.

The other reality is that if a Democrat president ever moves against the goals and desires of the monster, the beast unleashed will do what it deems necessary to undermine, block or destroy that president. Right now, it has allies in the Democratic Party and media. But remember, the previous president willingly used the FBI and courts to pursue journalists in the AP and at Fox News that it did not like. The media glanced away because they perceived themselves on the side of the titular head of the monster — oddly, what they considered the right side of history. But the monster is greater than any president now, and certainly greater than a media that has burned down trustworthiness with the American people.

The monster is not loyal to any party or people. It is for itself. Period.

It is not clear that President Trump truly understands the depth of the threat to the American future. But he might. He certainly does more so than other politicians in Washington. But he cannot re-imprison the beast by himself. I don’t think he knows how to. He needs an iron-backboned Congress that also sees the desperate need to chain up the monster, even at great political risk. And he needs to keep appointing judges and justices who will rule on the Constitution and who also see the threat of leviathan unleashed.

If we do not bend history back and remember why the monster was chained in the first place, we will pay a very steep price.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like The Revolutionary Act on Facebook

It’s Wildly Wrong to Blame Capitalism for Government’s Botched Response to COVID-19

The litany of government fiascoes speaks for itself.


On April 1, 2020, a letter-to-the-editor appeared in my town’s newspaper in which the author declared that the COVID-19 pandemic proves capitalism to be “woefully inadequate to sustain itself through any type of major crisis.” He suggested that we must embrace a massive expansion of government without offering the slightest hint that this prescription might create a problem or two of its own.

It was breathtaking to read. I anticipated the line, “April Fools!” but this guy wasn’t kidding. Read it for yourself here. Mere weeks into the pandemic, he pronounced a sweeping judgment on an entire economic system (which in its pure form, we don’t even have!)—not just for the moment, but for whatever the duration of the crisis could be.

Try to follow the logic: An unexpected virus appears half a world away. A one-party socialist dictatorship lies about it, jails whistleblowing doctors and silences critics—evil on a grand scale that leads directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. That would normally prompt a hint of doubt about socialist dictatorships, but not in this instance. The author races straight to the conclusion that capitalism can’t handle it and what we need here is uncritical acceptance of gargantuan government (like they have where the virus came from).

Of course, you can’t follow the logic because there isn’t any. Not a shred. It’s the old, familiar knee-jerk reaction that defenders of freedom and markets deal with every day. Capitalism, even when adulterated with endless restrictions, taxes, political cronyism and the like, is a hair-trigger away from mindless, sweeping condemnation. The benevolent state, in spite of its monotonous and often deadly failures, gets a pass.

People who think this way judge capitalism against a fictional, utopian ideal and find it wanting; they judge the state by nothing more than the good intentions it expresses. They turn a blind eye when its intentions aren’t really good or when they produce disastrous results. The letter writer couldn’t wait until the pandemic’s end to render an informed assessment; he judged Big Government a home run before it even got to first base. Whatever the state does to handle it must be right! That’s a magical claim that would embarrass even an unlicensed witch doctor.

Meantime, while politicians deal with the pandemic by shutting everything down and ballooning the national debt, capitalists are revving up production of the very medical devices and equipment needed to solve the problem. We should forgive them if they all decide, “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Let somebody else take the risks. I’m headed to Galt’s Gulch.”

Where does this blame-capitalism-first nonsense come from? That’s an intriguing subject, but one for another essay. For now, I simply want to offer a partial catalogue of dubious state actions as documented in these articles. It’s not the final word on the matter because the pandemic is ongoing, and governments aren’t done yet. Count on a lot more mischief. In the meantime, the headlines alone should inoculate most readers against the “government is always right” virus:

COLUMN BY

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Ambassador for Global Liberty at the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of ProgressivismFollow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

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VIDEO: Seattle Police Officer Sacrificed His Job to Speak the Truth on Abuse of Power by Government

Officer Greg Anderson Courageously Speaks The Truth About Lockdown.

Watch:

Thank you Isaac.

EDITORS NOTE: This Vlad Tepes Blog posted by Eeyore is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.