Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Why Is Africa Moving to Maine?

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

For months, the crisis on America’s southern border has been dominated by families with children from the so-called northern triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador). Arriving at the rate of 100,000 a month since January, Central Americans swamped the facilities, resources, and ability of officials to cope with the influx.

“Please do not make yourselves too comfortable,” Trump tweeted last month about this influx of migrants, because “you will be leaving soon!”

He followed up last week with another tweet, announcing that “ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

But to the surprise of border agents, many hundreds of migrants from Africa are pouring over our border also. They do not speak Spanish, adding a new headache to our border patrol trained in that language.

No one is quite sure who is paying for the African migrants to traverse the ocean, and then typically hop a free ride to get close to our border. They hail from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the second-largest nation by area in all of Africa.

Congo has been in a never-ending civil war for decades. It is divided between Christians and Muslims, and various indigenous languages and French.

Congo has a massive a population of 81 million which is comparable to that of Germany, and more than that of Great Britain or France. The people of war-torn Congo have many reasons to flee for a more peaceful land, but why to our country that is many thousands of miles and an ocean away from them?

Maine is their destination, because its Democratic politicians have been aggressively attracting asylum seekers from Congo. Maine’s cold climate and diet of lobster is not exactly a perfect fit for refugees from the mostly landlocked, distant country of Congo.

Yet this is the insanity that goes on as Democrats, who control Maine, want to prop up their census count and enhance their political strength. Maine once had eight congressional districts, but that has dwindled to merely two amid smaller population growth than southern states, and Democrats see illegal immigration as a way to boost their numbers.

In just one week, the number of migrants from Africa crossing the Rio Grande into Texas was more than double the total number of Africans caught crossing our entire southern border during all of last year. Border patrol agents are baffled at how or why these migrants, who are mostly from the Republic of the Congo, are flooding across our southern border with Mexico.

The “why” is easy: like six billion other people around the globe, they seek the peace, freedom, security, and prosperity of the United States. The “how” is less clear, because it requires secret donors to fund flying them first to a country in Central America, from where they are directed to ride or walk toward the United States and enter here illegally.

Even though some of these African migrants may have legitimate claims for asylum, they still have no right to be here. Under international law they should seek asylum in the first safe country in which they arrive, which is not the United States.

Unfortunately our open southern border has become so famous now worldwide that migrants from every far-flung continent consider coming here illegally. With liberal cities rolling out the welcome mat, why not take advantage of a free plane ride and then wade across the Rio Grande?

These newly arrived African immigrants raise the question of whether they would be eligible for the reparations being promised by Democratic presidential candidates. At least 10 percent of our African-American population are descended from immigrants who came here after the Civil War ended slavery, so the claims of these migrants would be like those of other post-slavery immigrants.

Reparations or not, entitlement programs flow to illegal immigrants like a fire hose, at tremendous taxpayer expense. There may be liberal billionaires who are funding the expenses to relocate these migrants to Maine, but once here American taxpayers are footing their immense bills.

So many of these African migrants have arrived in Portland, Maine, that it has converted its Expo Center into a shelter for them on an emergency basis. Taxpayers are already paying for police protection, interpreters, medical services, three full meals a day, and sleeping accommodations.

It is more than 6,000 miles from Africa to Ecuador, more than 2,000 miles from Ecuador to Texas, and more than 2,000 miles from Texas to Maine, one of the coldest states in our country for migrants coming from a nation on the equator. Is this the American dream, or a recipe for a nightmare?

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

War as a Political Temptation of Trump

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The media attention on Middle East violence had the effect of goading President Trump to send American soldiers to the region. But he should resist this temptation to become the world’s policeman.

The U.S. must not be drawn into another conflict in the Persian Gulf – regardless of any overhyped provocation. President Reagan stood patiently by as Iraq and Iran had an all-out war against each other from 1980 to 1988.
These conflicts halfway around the globe are never-ending. Henry Kissinger famously said about the war between Iraq and Iran, “It’s a pity they both can’t lose.”

We should protect our own soldiers by standing aside while Saudi Arabia and Iran fight each other, if they wish. We have been staying out of an ongoing conflict in Yemen, and we should continue that successful approach.

Thanks to tremendous American inventiveness, capital investment, risk taking, and a lot of hard work, the U.S. has achieved virtual energy independence. We do not need Persian Gulf oil anymore.

If European countries and Japan depend on oil tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz, let those nations police that dangerous waterway. They are wealthy nations which can defend their own interests against Iran.

The pressure on Trump to support a sharp increase in the federal gas tax could be compared to the first temptation of Christ, when Satan challenged Jesus to turn stones into bread. Trump has properly resisted that first political temptation, which is a gimmick that would cause long-term harm.

Luring President Trump into a war with Iran is the second temptation. It is akin to Satan challenging Jesus to jump off a lofty temple, and rely on angels to bear him up.

In other words, a leap of faith. A leap into the unknown.

Fifty years ago, the U.S. government launched a rocket carrying three men to the moon and returned them safely to the earth. That was not a leap of faith; it was precisely calculated by natural laws which guaranteed a predetermined successful outcome.

War is not rocket science. Its consequences, political and otherwise, are not predictable.

A military maxim observes that no battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy. Every war has unpredictable consequences.

World War II, which we recently honored on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, entailed enormous losses in American lives as commemorated every Memorial Day. The invasion that General Eisenhower defined as a Great Crusade for “the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe” resulted in 45 years of Soviet tyranny over the oppressed peoples behind the Iron Curtain.

Winston Churchill, heralded in England for standing strong and prevailing for freedom, became a hero of the war. But then he lost his next election in a landslide.

Yes, we have grievances with the revolutionary government of Iran. As we have with many other countries in the world, from Mexico to China.

Illegal aliens are pouring over our southern border, enticed by free medical care which California just enacted for them and by drivers licenses which New York State just gave them. These problems deserve President Trump’s undivided attention.

On November 4, 1979, Iran seized 52 American hostages and held them for 444 days until January 20, 1981. That was an act of war under international law, but the Reagan administration wisely chose not to go to war over it.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump strongly condemned the nuclear deal with Iran that John Kerry negotiated and Barack Obama implemented without the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. As president, Trump has continued to criticize the deal, officially known as the JCPOA, and has refused to certify Iran’s compliance with it.

Trump justifiably complains about how the Obama administration allowed $1.7 billion dollars in actual cash to be flown to Iran on a cargo plane, supposedly to settle a debt that had been pending since the Shah was overthrown in 1979. But that money is gone now, and there’s nothing Trump can do to get it back.

Running for president in 2015 and 2016, Donald Trump excoriated previous Republican presidents for intervening in the Middle East. He has called the decision to invade Iraq “the single worst decision ever made.”

Some Republicans were unsettled by Trump’s scathing remarks about George Bush and John McCain, but most came around to support the man who promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Now the swamp, also known as the Deep State, is making a determined effort to tempt Trump into fighting a new world war against Iran.

For his final temptation, Satan took Jesus to the mountaintop and promised the whole world if Jesus would bow down and worship him.

President Trump should heed Jesus’ terse response: “Get thee behind me, Satan!”

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

A criticism of conservatism

From the Vox Day blog:
James Guiran explains why nationalism is necessary at Jacobite:

Establishment conservatism, it seems, is doubling down on its refusal to reckon with the realities of the American political landscape. It’s true that the ascendant left wants to revoke religious liberty, with the goal of subordinating Christianity (specifically Christianity) to the whims of the woke state; but this is only one facet of its platform. It also promotes a view of white Americans reminiscent of the ethnic hatred stoked against market-dominant minorities in certain countries in the 20th century (never mind that white Americans aren’t even the richest demographic!); claims that our country is fundamentally illegitimate; calls for the destruction of our borders; pushes for a credentialist economy in which no one can succeed without first obtaining permission from a committee of progressive priests, who will dispense it based more on loyalty to the cause than on any apolitical notion of merit; advocates for the abolition of the nation-state in favor of a tightly controlled and managed ‘inclusive society’ in which the inevitable ethnic conflict will provide the ruling structure with a bottomless well of opportunities to justify its own expansion; and seeks to subordinate everything, from colleges to corporations to open-source software organizations to knitting groups, to an arbitrary and intentionally byzantine code of conduct, in order to purge infidels from the whole of society. This is not ‘libertine,’ it is totalitarian. And the totality of that agenda must be opposed.

The conservative debate thus far has been premised on the idea that the proper response to Trump, the proper way forward, is to simply revitalize the platform of the Moral Majority. Not only does this fail to address many of the problems facing our country today ⁠— it has little, if anything, to say about immigration, which is necessarily the most pressing issue because its effects are permanent and irreversible  —  it offers little potential for attaining true hegemony.

If, at this juncture, you are still describing yourself as a "conservative" instead of a "nationalist", you are completely failing to grasp the nature of the cultural conflict. Conservatism can no more save America than Churchianity can save your soul.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Democrats Already Sick of Their Own Candidates

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Polling data from Iowa, where the first presidential nomination ballots will be cast next February, show a Democratic Party wishing that some of their candidates would drop out of the race. There has not even been a single presidential debate, yet CNN reports that grassroots Democrats already want fewer contestants.

Nearly 80% of the likely Democratic caucus voters in Iowa indicated their displeasure, in a poll by the Des Moines Register and CNN, at the large number of choices among candidates. But perhaps the real dismay is at who some of those candidates are.

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, is one of the two-dozen candidates for the Democratic nomination for president. He scored a perfect “0” percent support for president in this poll of likely Democratic caucus voters.

De Blasio’s supporters for president, if he had any, might say that Iowa is a long way from his liberal base in New York City. But even in New York State, where Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans, de Blasio’s 29% approval rating is lower than that of Republican President Donald Trump.

It’s a mystery why the ultra-liberal de Blasio is running for president despite having such low approval ratings in his heavily Democratic home state. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, a more popular mayor of New York City who could have broken all spending records to finance a run for president, decided against it for himself.

More than 75% of the candidates – 19 out of 24 – for the Democratic nomination have 2% or less support among likely Iowa caucus voters, which makes their bids exceedingly implausible. History shows that only candidates who fare well in Iowa, by placing in the top three or nearly so, have a viable chance to win the nomination.

Undeterred, 19 contenders gathered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sunday to pitch their candidacy to Iowa Democrats. Joe Biden, the frontrunner who has seen his lead dwindle amid his flip-flop on abortion and other missteps, skipped the event perhaps to avoid unfavorable comparisons with his younger, more energetic rivals.

Most of the Democratic candidates have angered the liberal base by avoiding the absurd demands for impeachment of Trump. Among the leading candidates, only Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for the impeachment of Trump, which may have boosted her poll numbers with the Leftist voters who want, more than anything else, to remove Trump from office.

But some Iowa Democrats are just fine with Republican President Trump, who returns to Council Bluffs where he held a 10,000-attendee rally before the midterm elections last year. Trump supporters then filled the entire Mid-America Center, which holds 8,000, and thousands more stood in the aisles and in the parking lot outside where they could watch on a huge television screen.

Many even camped out overnight beforehand just to have the chance to see Trump in action. And he did not disappoint as he galvanized the massive crowd with his speech.

“The Democrats have become too extreme, and they’ve become, frankly, too dangerous to govern,” he declared. “They’ve gone wacko.”

The impeachment talk proves Trump’s point, and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not want to go there. She fears, and she should, a backlash by voters in the next election if the House Democrats do something so unfair to the president.

In his speech to Iowans last October, Trump promised to loosen regulations against adding ethanol to gasoline, and he has delivered on this promise just like all his others. He has approved year-round sales of gasoline having higher levels of ethanol than currently allowed, which boosts corn farmers.

In what may become a pattern in many regions of the country where Trump continues to have immense popularity, even a Democratic congresswoman sought to meet and welcome Trump’s visit to her district in Southwest Iowa. Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-IA) announced that she wanted to be with Trump for his visit on Tuesday, which included Trump’s tour of an ethanol plant.

Energy is a winning issue for Trump, as American oil production has increased and prices have generally fallen. Despite the tensions with Iran, crude oil prices have fallen by more than 20% since April, which should yield lower gasoline prices for family vacationers this summer.

The CNN poll of Iowans had more bad news for Democrats. A majority of likely caucus voters in that party insist that a candidate must support abortion, think climate change is the greatest threat to humanity, and ban assault-style weapons despite the Second Amendment.

All of these positions are on the losing side in a general presidential election, as Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton demonstrated last time. Perhaps that is why a solid majority of Americans, in another recent poll by CNN, expect Trump to win reelection.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Brits Should Listen to Trump and John Cleese

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

President Donald Trump’s visit to royal England is captivating the British as much as Americans, as Queen Elizabeth extends official state honors to him and his family. This is only the third time during her 67-year reign that Queen Elizabeth has welcomed an American president with such honors.

More than 150 participated in the royal feast with the Queen and the American president on Monday night. Despite all the overheated rhetoric against Trump, very few dignitaries declined to attend this fete epitomizing the Anglo-American tradition.

Dinner guests were seated precisely 18 inches from each other, and the royal family was adorned with their finest jewelry. Princess Diana’s son Harry, caught in an awkward spot between his anti-Trump American wife Meghan and the British tradition of cordiality, participated earlier that day.

The underlying politics marks a turning point for Great Britain, which is in the throes of division about its future. A majority want independence, as reflected by their vote in 2016 for Britain to exit Europe (“Brexit”), while a vocal minority want to be citizens of Europe.

This conflict is on display as one of Britain’s most famous entertainers of the last half-century, the Monty Python comedian John Cleese, criticized the loss in English identity. He tweeted last week that “some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more.”

Cleese continued, “Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation. So there must be some truth in it.”

For that, the internet erupted among those who demand political correctness, falsely accusing Cleese of being racist. But Cleese stood his ground, observing that “it’s legitimate to prefer one culture to another.”

Cleese is an icon of British humor, perhaps best known for his Monty Python skit “The Ministry of Silly Walks.” In it he portrays a government worker in charge of approving grants to develop silly walks, and Cleese’s own hilarious way of walking to his job caused fans to urge him to reprise his silly walk throughout his career.

But his criticism of the wrong turn taken by London is not silly at all, and is proven by many statistics. For example, last year the murder rate in London increased to its highest level this decade, often by gruesome stabbings and including at least one shocking murder by machete.

Cleese, though not known to be generally conservative, explained what London has become. “I suspect I should apologise for my affection for the Englishness of my upbringing, but in some ways I found it calmer, more polite, more humorous, less tabloid, and less money-oriented than the one that is replacing it.”

The anti-Trump mayor of London who skipped the gala for Trump at Buckingham Palace, Sadiq Khan, predictably criticized Cleese’s comments. “Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength. We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub.”

But the London Mayor Khan went further in his personal attacks on Trump on the eve of his visit at the invitation of the Queen. Khan’s harsh rhetoric seemed contrary to the British tradition of genteel hospitality.

Mayor Khan published a strident newspaper article two days before Trump arrived, under the headline “It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump.” Khan even insisted that Trump somehow “flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon.”

Not content with those attacks on our American President, London Mayor Khan next did a video in which he insisted that Trump’s policies would somehow make women second-class citizens. Khan apparently supports legalized abortion, and asserted that Trump would cause women to have back-alley abortions.

Confronted with these potshots by the unleashed London mayor, Trump returned the favor by tweeting against Khan as Trump arrived in England. Trump compared Khan to the disastrous mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, and a greater insult is difficult to imagine.

Trump invites Britain to complete its exit from Europe without cutting any deals with the mainland, and instead look for future trade agreements with its longest ally, the United States. Trump-supporting Boris Johnson, who is the presumptive replacement of Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, agrees with Trump that a “no deal Brexit” is the best approach.

“We will leave the [European Union] on 31 October, deal or no deal,” Johnson has declared. “The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal.”

Europe’s loss can be America’s gain. A Great Britain under the conservative, Trump-like leadership of Boris Johnson can help revive that country and enable them to afford more of their share for military defense.
Trump properly embraces English culture rather than apologizing for it. So should British royalty and all of England.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Yes, President Trump was exonerated

It is amazing how the mainstream news media can distort the facts, even when the details are all publicly available. Such is the case with the Mueller statement to the press. Here is what I saw.

Mueller is a senile puppet. He just read a prepared statement, and did a lousy job of it. He did not have the appearance of someone who knew what he was doing, or who was proud of what he did, or even understood what he was saying. Considering that he prepared for two years, and this was his only public statement, it is hard to understand how he could do so poorly.

Maybe he was just pretending to be senile, because he wanted Democrats to think that he was incompetent to answer questions. He is obviously covering up something in his refusal to explain himself.

Russians did not interfere in the election. Mueller mentioned the supposed Russian interference a couple of times, but he was very careful to say that it was just a grand jury allegation, and we should regard the Russians as innocent of the charge. He seemed to be hinting that charging the Russians was just a political or diplomatic maneuver, and the charges will never be proved in court or anywhere else.

President Trump was exonerated. While the Mueller statement has plenty of innuendo that maybe someone should continue to investigate Trump, he denied that he had any quarrel with attorney general Barr's handling of the report. Barr wrote a letter saying that the report exonerates Trump, and most of the press claimed that Mueller disagreed with that letter. But Mueller now says that he "certainly did not question the attorney general's good faith".

What Mueller did not say. Mueller's most anti-Trump statement was "if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so." Okay, but it is also fair to infer that if they had confidence that the Russians clearly interfered with the election they would have said so. If they had confidence that the president clearly did anything improper they would have said so. And if it he were not a senile puppet in charge of a witch hunt, he would have said so.

Update: Alan Dershowitz writes:
Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan. I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system.

Virtually everybody agrees that, in the normal case, a prosecutor should never go beyond publicly disclosing that there is insufficient evidence to indict.
Yes, Mueller has no evidence against Trump, but is trying to help the Democrats anyway.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Mueller tries to please the Trump-haters

It is amazing that anyone ever took special counsel Robert Mueller seriously. He has now made his final statement as special counsel:
I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress. And it's for that reason, I will not be taking questions today, as well. ...

there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.
So every American needs to know about this, but he is refusing to testify!

He is clear that the "allegation" refers to a grand jury allegation that is not expected to ever see open court. Mueller and his team are refusing to say whether or not they agree with the allegation.

And what is that grand jury allegation? Mueller uses passive voice, so it is a little vague, but it is mainly that WikiLeaks timed its email releases to embarrass Hillary Clinton.

Yes, that was obvious to everyone in 2016. Julian Assange and Hillary Clinton are known to hate each other. He said that he expected her to win the election, and wanted to expose her misdeeds.

We still need to know how this was turned into a coup attempt against President Donald Trump.
And as set forth in the report, after that investigation if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so.

We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.
So Mueller has no opinion about whether the president did or did not commit a crime, except that he did not have confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime.

Okay, so Mueller spent 2 years and $50M looking for evidence of the president committing a crime, and did not find any, but is still not confident that the president clearly did not commit a crime.

Keep in mind that the Mueller report took an absurdly broad view of what can be considered obstruction of justice. For example, Mueller says it is a crime to conceal information from investigators, even if that information does not relate to any illegal activity. He also says it might be a crime to tweet that the investigation is a witch-hunt.

It is funny how Mueller goes out of his way to say that "Russian intelligence officers ... presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty", but he refuses to say the same about the American President.

This Mueller statement had nothing new.

Yes, President Trump was exonerated, even if Mueller prefers to state it differently.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Elizabeth Warren’s Daffy Tax Proposal

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Trailing in the polls, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tries to boost her presidential candidacy by proposing an unprecedented new tax. Dubbed the Ultra-Millionaire Tax, Warren would force wealthy households to hand over 2% of their net worth above $50 million, plus an extra 1% on their assets above $1 billion — and not just once, but annually.

Consider how Warren’s UMT would affect a billionaire whose wealth consists of buildings like Trump Tower, the president’s 58-story landmark. The government would confiscate initially two floors per year, and would eventually own most of the building, which is what socialists want.

You might think that a wealth tax should be spent on developing infrastructure or paying down the national debt, but that is not what Warren has in mind. Her idea is to spend the extra money on undesirable programs of no lasting value, such as universal child care in government daycare centers even though most parents prefer to care for their own children at home.

Like other proposals to soak the rich with higher taxes, revenue from a wealth tax would fall far short of projections, as the rich inevitably find ways to conceal their property and shelter their income. Tax hikes result in lower economic growth, which reduces tax receipts for the government, and could actually decrease tax revenue as economist Arthur Laffer famously showed Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

A wealth tax might begin with the super-rich, but it surely won’t stay there. The same sort of trickery was used to slip through the federal income tax, which ultimately soaked the middle class more than the rich.

Opponents of the income tax in 1913 argued that the initially small tax, once it was allowed, would increase to become a massive burden on workers. They were ridiculed for predicting what did occur, as the marginal income tax rates for average Americans rose far above what most expected.

What began in 1913 as a modest 1% income tax, on people making less than today’s equivalent of a half-million dollars a year, inevitably increased through withholding to become a massive burden on working Americans. Is that a mistake anyone wants to repeat by allowing a federal tax on property?

The Framers of our Constitution included safeguards against abusive taxation by the newly created United States government. George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and the other Framers supported a strong federal government, but they limited its taxing power.

The Framers gave us a Constitution that prevents Congress from directly taxing property, such as real estate. The Constitution allows such taxation only if it is apportioned based on population, which means it cannot be based solely on wealth.

Thanks to the genius of our founding fathers, the United States grew in wealth and prosperity faster than any country in the history of the world. For more than two centuries, the U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated attempts to tax people based on their wealth, and the Sixteenth Amendment had to be ratified before Congress could tax personal income without apportionment.

In the 2012 Obamacare case, NFIB v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John Roberts and the entire liberal wing of the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Constitution’s limitation on direct taxation of property. The Supreme Court has “continued to consider taxes on personal property to be direct taxes” which must be apportioned by population, Roberts wrote for the Court.

The Obamacare ruling confirmed that the Constitution remains a bulwark against the fundamental tenet of socialism, which is to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. Even the famous French economist Thomas Piketty, who endorsed Warren’s tax plan, admitted: “I realize that this is unconstitutional, but constitutions have been changed throughout history.”

A President Warren may not be able to change the written Constitution, so she has another plan to get her socialist tax implemented if she is elected. Along with other Democratic presidential candidates, Warren has endorsed a plan to pack the Supreme Court with progressive justices who share her political views.

The Democrats’ plan to expand the Supreme Court would be the same kind of politicized court-packing that Franklin Delano Roosevelt unsuccessfully sought in 1937. It would end adherence to the Constitution as written by our Founders and would deprive Americans of the constitutional protection against direct taxation by the federal government.

Warren had no difficulty in finding some law professors, including her former colleague Laurence Tribe, to pretend that her socialist scheme is constitutional. But many of those same law professors also wrongly insist that there is a constitutional right to abortion, yet no constitutional right to carry a gun for self-defense.
Warren is pandering to the left-wing of the Democratic Party with her daffy tax proposal. It is socialism in disguise, and voters should not be fooled.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Battle for Pennsylvania Begins

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

President Trump and Joe Biden just held dueling rallies in Pennsylvania, but the difference in enthusiasm was striking. After Biden’s campaign kickoff on Saturday drew a respectable crowd to a cordoned-off thoroughfare in downtown Philadelphia, Trump attracted thousands more to a raucous rally on Monday inside a hangar at the Williamsport Regional Airport.

Sandwiched symbolically between the two presidential front-runners was Sunday morning’s planned destruction of Bethlehem Steel’s empty former headquarters, which for 50 years was the largest building in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Trump wants to rebuild America’s manufacturing might in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, while Biden’s platform is to forget about how China has been eating America’s lunch due to bipartisan policies of globalism and free trade.

At Trump’s rally, attendees cheered as the President recognized a supporter who wore a suit designed like a red brick wall and carried a sign that said “Build me.” The elderly Biden, by contrast, was low energy and low-key, oddly pleading for “unity” while denouncing Trump for “division.”

Biden’s rivals, though, are even less credible. “Beto” O’Rourke, who should be called “Beta” like an unfinished app, has dropped like a stone after launching his campaign by saying he was “born to run.”

“Born to lose” is more like it. Losing a Senate race despite having money to burn is not exactly a stepping-stone to the presidency, and “Beta” looks like a guy with zero chance of defeating the formidable Trump.

Then there is Senator Kamala Harris, a multi-racial female who has positioned herself as the most “diverse” candidate in the Democratic field. The former California attorney general, who married another California lawyer at age 50 and has no children, would be a tough sell to the ex-steelworkers and coal miners in Pennsylvania.

Kamala Harris has a radical plan to shift wages from gritty blue collar jobs typically undertaken by men, to soft, safe jobs typically filled by women. To overcome the purported pay gap between men and women, she would hit companies with fines of 1% of their profits for every 1% in the wage difference between the more dangerous male jobs and the more comfortable women’s jobs.

Her proposed interference with the jobs market includes nearly every bad idea opposed by Phyllis Schlafly, all in one package. The theory of “comparable worth” was discredited in the 1980s, but Senator Harris has renamed it “equal pay” in order to falsely imply that men and women are being paid unequally for the same work.

Harris figures that her fines would be heavy enough to generate $180 billion over 10 years, money that would be used to pay employees who take family and medical leave. Companies would be on their own to cope with the burden of hiring, training and supervising temporary replacement workers and then laying them off after the employee returns to work.

Like other socialist schemes being floated by Democratic candidates, Sen. Harris’s harmful proposal would bring the Trump jobs boom to a screeching halt. It would be particularly hurtful to men working blue-collar jobs who are rightly compensated for the higher risk and unpleasant working conditions they endure.

It is no fun working in road construction during the hot summer, as any driver can observe from the comfort of an air-conditioned car. Construction workers, who are almost entirely men, deserve to be paid more than easy jobs in plush air-conditioned facilities, which are taken mostly by women.

Equal pay for equal work has been required by federal law since 1963, and any woman who is paid less for doing the same work can hit the jackpot by suing over it. But equal pay for unequal work is unAmerican, and has been properly rejected by Congress and the federal courts.

Logging, roofing, collecting garbage, and installing power lines are difficult, unsafe jobs that result in greater compensation than secretarial jobs where the biggest risk is suffering a paper cut. Nothing prevents a woman from trying to wield a jackhammer on a hard concrete pavement, but few women want to.

Senator Harris whines that “women who work full time are paid just 80 cents, on average, for every dollar paid to men.” But many women opt out of the workforce to raise children, so they will make less due to less job-related experience.

The steelworkers and coal miners who built Pennsylvania were mostly men. Pennsylvanians want those jobs back, but Sen. Harris’s demand that men make no more money than women will not create these jobs for men.

Billy Joel’s song “Allentown” was really about the collapse of the steel economy in nearby Bethlehem, but Allentown is easier for lyrics to rhyme with. President Trump promises to revive that Pennsylvania economy, and the immense crowds there show that he is the real music to their ears.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

B-Team Dems Can Thank Hillary

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The six major women candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination were supposed to be thriving by now. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar were thought to be the cream of the crop.

Instead, the Democratic "B-Team" has dominated the field: Biden, Bernie, Beto, Buttigieg and, one might add, Bezos in his role as the owner of the Democrats’ daily newspaper, The Washington Post. The weakest of them all, Joe Biden, is ostensibly running away with the nomination.

Why the domination by white men when many thought 2020 would be the year of women and minorities? The B-Team should thank Hillary for that.

Far from being a backlash against President Trump, the next election is shaping up as a backlash against Hillary Clinton and even Barack Obama. Grassroots Democrats are rebelling against the relentless liberal media pressure to support a woman or diversity candidate for president.

A record-breaking 22 Democrats have announced their bids for the presidential nomination. With plenty of liberal billionaires anxious to waste their money on trying to defeat President Trump next year, there is abundant campaign cash to go around.

Trump is fine with facing off against Biden next fall, and even seems to encourage it by declaring "SleepyCreepy Joe" to be the presumptive nominee. Biden repeatedly failed miserably in his prior races for president, plagued by a habit of dishonesty and making a fool of himself.

Biden has never attained even 2% of the vote despite running twice for president, first in 1988 and then twenty years later in 2008. In 1988, he pulled out after a series of scandals involving plagiarism and dishonesty, which the media try to downplay although anyone can read about them on the internet.

Biden’s scandals were not merely that he copied the liberal British politician Neil Kinnock’s speech without giving him credit, but that Biden also misrepresented his own academic credentials on multiple occasions. In law school he once received an “F” for plagiarism, too, but was then allowed to redo the course.

The second time Biden ran for president he failed just as badly, garnering only 1% in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 before pulling out. While there are many presidents who have won after being the runner-up in prior primaries, it is difficult to find an example of someone who fared so poorly but then won later.

If elected, Biden would turn 78 before Inauguration Day, and would serve half his term while in his 80s. There is nothing youthful about his political positions either, which are a contradictory hodgepodge to which the base of the Democratic Party is mostly opposed.

Despite all this, early polling suggests that many Democrats think Biden is better than the leftist, even socialist, alternatives. The remainder of the B-Team is even less electable than Biden.

Bernie Sanders, for example, spent his honeymoon in the communist Soviet Union, which is not exactly the kind of passion that commends one to become president of the United States. But many thought Hillary stole the nomination from Bernie last time, only to disappoint Democrats in the general election against Trump.

Then there is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who grew up as the only son of an immigrant Marxist professor. Although technically not a “red diaper baby,” which is a term for the child of a member of the Communist Party, Buttigieg is a second-generation opponent of our free market system that has brought Americans so much prosperity.

So where are the women candidates who thought they would lead this race? Elizabeth Warren is one of the women far behind the B-Team in the polling, and now she desperately tries to get attention by bashing Fox News while refusing to do a town hall sponsored by Fox as her rivals have.

Warren absurdly tweeted that “Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life & death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.”

Next is Kirsten Gillibrand, who blames “gender bias” for her poor performance in polling of Democrats. “I think people are generally biased against women. I think also biased against young women,” she pompously declared.

The real reason is not “gender bias,” but a backlash by Democrats against Hillary Clinton for taking them down the road to a crushing defeat in 2016. In 2018, other feminist Democrat senators also lost, in humiliating landslides, in North Dakota and Missouri.

Instead of blaming “gender bias,” the Democratic women might instead blame the well-justified fear of giving the nomination to another radical feminist in the mold of Hillary Clinton.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Monday, May 13, 2019

NY Times complains about Russian TV

The NY Times reports:
Later that year, the national security division of the Justice Department forced RT America, formerly Russia Today, to register as a foreign agent.

Moscow’s goal, experts say, is to destabilize the West by undermining trust in democratic leaders, institutions and political life. To that end, the RT network amplifies voices of dissent, to sow discord and widen social divides. It gives the marginal a megaphone and traffics in false equivalence. Earlier campaigns took aim at fracking, vaccination and genetically modified organisms. One show called designer tomatoes “good-looking poison.”

The network is now applying its playbook against 5G by selectively reporting the most sensational claims, and by giving a few marginal opponents of wireless technology a conspicuous new forum.
And how is that different from the NY Times, Wash. Post, CNN, etc?

Every day the supposedly-American news media prints and broadcasts goofy conspiracy theories about President Trump, and seeks to amplify voices of dissent, to sow discord and widen social divides. I get the impression that they are determined to destroy Western Civilization.

The Russians have been putting out anti-American propaganda for decades. For example, Wikipedia reports:
Operation INFEKTION was a disinformation campaign run by the KGB in the 1980s to spread information that the United States invented HIV/AIDS[2] as part of a biological weapons research project at Fort Detrick, Maryland. According to U.S. State Department, the Soviet Union used it to undermine the United States' credibility, foster anti-Americanism, isolate America abroad, and create tensions between host countries and the U.S. over the presence of American military bases (which were often portrayed as the cause of AIDS outbreaks in local populations).[3]
I am not defending Russian disinformation. They may have supported and propped up an assortment of leftist and evil causes.

But the American news media, Hollywood, and tech platforms are 95% anti-Trump. They are systematically censoring and de-platforming right-wingers. They would eradicate all right-wing opinions, if it were not for the First Amendment.

I think it is refreshing that RT broadcasts info that it is not controlled by the same leftist groupthink that controls the NY Times.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Congress as Inspector Clouseau

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Inspector Clouseau was the bumbling, incompetent investigator in the Pink Panther series of film comedies, originally played to immense amusement by Peter Sellers and later by Steve Martin. These movies should be mandatory viewing by Democrats.

The images of congressmen eating Kentucky Fried Chicken were designed to cause ridicule of the Trump Administration for not attending a committee hearing, but the photos had the opposite effect. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have made fools of themselves by trying to be investigators.

The House of Representatives has a constitutional purpose to initiate legislation. All spending bills are required by the Constitution to originate only in the House, so they have real work they should be tending to.

Yet they would rather grandstand and try to attract media cameras for their never-ending harassment of Trump officials. After Attorney General Bill Barr stood up to the amateur investigators by declining to appear for one of their circus-like hearings, the House Judiciary Committee is next going after former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

Nope, the White House has properly stated in response to an improper demand for documents from McGahn about Trump. "The White House records remain legally protected from disclosure under long-standing constitutional principles because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege," wrote Trump’s current general counsel to McGahn’s attorney.

The fishing expedition by the Democrats against Trump has dragged on for more than two years, and House Democrats want to pick up where the failed Mueller investigation left off. But after Mueller wasted tens of millions of dollars hunting for Russian collusion that was never there, the House should not be pouring more time and money down that bottomless pit.

The Constitution does not grant any authority for the House to issue subpoenas or enforce them. Instead, Congress has claimed for itself power to subpoena individuals, but it still has no ability to require compliance by them.

Congress must instead rely on the Trump Administration to enforce congressional subpoenas, which no one expects Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr to do. Congress takes the risk that its bluster about demanding compliance with its subpoenas will be simply ignored by Trump officials, or even laughed at.

Some have suggested that Congress use its Capitol Police to try to arrest Attorney General Barr for not showing at the hearing. While that would be entertaining drama, House Democrats lack the guts to spark the public backlash such a stunt would cause.

Congress could bring a lawsuit against McGahn or others in an attempt to compel them to comply with a subpoena, but such litigation would take years to resolve. That would frustrate the goal of Democrats to try to embarrass Trump prior to the next presidential election.

The response by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to an improper demand by House Democrats for Trump’s tax returns was perfect. “The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution requires that Congressional information demands must reasonably serve a legitimate legislative purpose,” Mnuchin wrote in a terse, one-page letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA).

“The Committee’s request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” and “the Department is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns” of Trump, Mnuchin added.

The flurry of additional subpoenas by Democrat-controlled committees in the House are likewise not for a legitimate legislative purpose. Mueller has already wasted years investigating imaginary Russian collusion, and that is a closed case at this point.

There is no ongoing legislative debate for which documents by McGahn or similar Trump advisers would be helpful. There is no testimony sought by Trump’s advisers as to their opinions on draft bills which these committees are considering.

To the contrary, House Democrats have demonstrated that they do not even want to work with the Trump Administration on most legislative issues. Instead, they want to continue to bully and harass him, but they are picking on the wrong guy for that.

President Trump, more than any prior president, has already proven his willingness to take issues to the Supreme Court as needed to vindicate his positions. All signs are that there is a majority on the High Court on Trump’s side on matters of greatest concern to him.

It is obvious that the House Democrats want Trump’s tax returns not to assist the House in drafting tax legislation, but to disclose his returns publicly in order to seek to embarrass Trump. This is reminiscent of how President Nixon supposedly sought to use the IRS against his political adversaries, which Democrats have heavily criticized.

A more recent movie comedy about amateur investigators was entitled “Get a Clue.” The fried-chicken-eating House Democrats might take that title to heart and spend more time on their constitutional purpose, such as securing our southern border.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ERA Dresses Up with No Place to Go

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Congress and a few state legislatures are holding staged hearings on the failed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a relic from the 1970s like disco music and long lines at gas stations. Almost no one wants to return to that era, or to resurrect the long-buried ERA.

But a few dinosaurs never got over their defeat, and a few newbies do not understand why ERA lost. The House Judiciary Committee held a one-sided hearing on Tuesday to reintroduce this amendment although it has no chance of garnering a 2/3rds supermajority in either house of Congress.

Apparently someone noticed that the original ERA lacked the word “women,” and would not have done anything for them. Instead, as Phyllis Schlafly pointed out in defeating it, ERA would have harmed women in numerous ways, including requiring them to register for military service just like men.

This time around, the newly introduced ERA begins with a specific reference to women in addition to its original phrase “on account of sex.” The new wording is silent about transgenders and sexual orientation, but pro-ERA witnesses at the House hearing declared that ERA’s language would protect them too.

Americans are more aware today of the havoc that courts can cause with judicial activism, which Phyllis Schlafly called judicial supremacy. ERA would authorize liberal judges to strike down any law or government program benefiting women or making reasonable, fact-based distinctions between the sexes.

Women’s shelters, for example, would no longer be permissible under ERA any more than a shelter could be segregated by race. Homeless men would have a constitutional right to stay in women’s shelters.

Young men could demand a right to play in women’s sports, especially those in public colleges and high schools. If girls’ swimming, basketball, field hockey, and other sports are open to boys, it would ruin the fair opportunity for girls to compete in athletics.

Taxpayer-funded abortion, a litmus test for radical feminists, fell just one vote short of becoming a constitutional right in a 1980 decision of the Supreme Court. If ERA became part of the Constitution, federal courts would impose taxpayer-funded abortion nationwide.

Some say the feminists have achieved much of their agenda without the Equal Rights Amendment. After all, Hillary Clinton nearly became president, numerous women are running for president in 2020, and there is no shortage of women in Congress and corporate boardrooms.

But feminists are still not happy, because most women still prefer to care for their children even if that reduces their career opportunities. Stay-at-home moms are respected today, and American women stay home in higher percentages than in comparable industrialized nations.

Phyllis Schlafly rightly saw ERA as a threat to young women who want to start a family with a husband as the primary breadwinner. Phyllis’s unique message about the need to protect a woman’s right to make that choice first took root in 1975, after which only one state ratified ERA before its expiration.

In that same year of 1975 the percentage of women aged 16-24 in the workforce began to level off. Since 2000, the percentage of all women participating in the workforce has fallen as more choose to stay at home.

Without ERA, the Soviet-style practice of the average woman having multiple abortions so that she can return immediately to the workforce never transpired here. We were spared another feminist goal, also borrowed from the old Soviet Union, of having children raised in government daycare centers at taxpayer expense.

Without ERA, we are still allowed to have all-girl public schools and classes, which studies show produce high-achieving women. More than a thousand girls annually attend the Philadelphia High School for Girls, which has thrived since 1848 and has produced many women judges, prominent musicians, and other standouts.

None of this would be possible if ERA were ratified. Nor would our all-male registration system for our military, from which women are excused, be lawful if ERA were part of our Constitution.

Sensing that a new ERA has no chance of being passed by a supermajority in Congress, radical feminists are also trying to push the original ERA through state legislatures even though its deadline expired more than 40 years ago. The original ERA required 38 states to pass it by March 22, 1979, to become part of the Constitution.

Many states expressly relied on that deadline in their own resolutions, which means those old ratifications have expired. Congress attempted to extend the deadline until June 30, 1982, but a federal judge declared that to be invalid.

Nearly every time that ERA was placed on the ballot, voters rejected it, including in the liberal states of Vermont, New York, and New Jersey. ERA fell out of fashion in the mid-1970s, and is even less fashionable today.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Where is the next Phyllis Schlafly?

The NY Times Sunday edition has a long article on Phyllis Schlafly. Here is a sample excerpt:
To some, the question of why a new Schlafly hasn’t emerged is as absurd as it would have been to ask in 1972 why no woman had appeared to lead the opposition to the E.R.A. Why would a woman sign up to defend her own oppression? Of course, that’s not what Schlafly thought she was doing. She believed she was protecting women from having a feminist agenda they did not agree with imposed on them against their will.

Today, much of that agenda has prevailed. The obstacles to expanding women’s options and empowering them to make the choices they want are now, in many areas, precisely the products of that egalitarian revolution. By making it easier for women to pursue success in the workplace, we have made it harder for them to do anything else. Pressing the brake on the trends set in motion by the feminist revolution would leave women more free to follow a diversity of paths. In that case, another Phyllis Schlafly may be just what America needs.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

High Noon for Citizenship at High Court

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

It was high drama on Tuesday at the Supreme Court as the Justices heard what many consider to be the most important case of the Term. At issue is whether the upcoming 2020 census will be allowed to include the following question: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

The census includes questions about race, sex, and age; whether a resident is a U.S. citizen is just as important as other demographic details. As Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed out during oral argument on Tuesday, other countries routinely ask their residents about citizenship in a census.

Fellow Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch indicated his support for allowing the question about citizenship. Justice Alito seemed on board too, and Justice Thomas is expected to join this conservative bloc.

But liberals have created an uproar over this issue, and questioning from the Left side of the Court was hostile and intense. Obama-appointed Justices Kagan and Sotomayor complained that the record compiled by the lower court did not support asking about citizenship.

At trial, an Obama-appointed judge named Jesse Furman impugned Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for authorizing the citizenship question. The district judge declared that Ross had somehow “violated the public trust” by including this question, even though similar questions have been asked many times in the past.

That smear of Trump Cabinet member Ross was unfair, but the litigation machine on the Left have obtained additional federal court rulings to block President Trump’s citizenship question. No one can be deported for truthfully answering the question about citizenship on the census, but we would learn how many illegal residents there really are and where.

In the case simply captioned “Department of Commerce v. New York,” the Supreme Court showed signs of a 5-4 majority to overturn the trial verdict in New York against Secretary Ross and the Trump Administration. This could deliver by the end of June Trump’s biggest court victory of his presidency to date.
“Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats want to do our new and very important Census Report without the all important Citizenship Question,” Trump tweeted earlier this month. “Report would be meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous) that it costs to put together!”

Meaningless indeed, and potentially even worse than that, as a census which fails to ask about citizenship inflates the bona fide populations of California and New York, to the detriment of many other states. Illegal aliens are counted in those states as though they were citizens, and New York and California soak up tax dollars this way.

Democrats brag that they won the popular vote in the last election, but they actually lost that vote in the 49 states outside of California. It is no coincidence that some of the most outspoken opponents of having a count that distinguishes between citizens and aliens include the attorney general of that vast sanctuary state.

Fewer lawful residents means less funding, and if illegals duck the census to avoid the question then this could reduce the numbers of Electoral College votes and congressmen for California and New York. Their influence would then shrink, and they would take fewer federal dollars in entitlements if the citizenship question is asked in the census.

Beneficiaries of including a citizenship question in the census would be all American citizens who are entitled to full representation without dilution of their vote or their tax dollars. That includes middle America, also known as Trump Country.

The Department of Justice pointed out that an accurate count of citizens would even be helpful to enforcing the Voting Rights Act, to the benefit of minorities who are American citizens. But the Democrat leadership cares more about preserving their own political power, which counting citizens threatens.

Despite being a magnet for immigration, Democrat control of New York has driven away many citizens over the past decade. Between July 2017 and July 2018, New York State actually lost population, and population growth in California is below the national average.

Kris Kobach has long championed the inclusion of the citizenship question in the census, along with laws requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Our nation should be governed by its citizens, not by people who reside illegally inside our borders.

Democrats fear that conservative states will use the census question to redraw their state legislative districts in proportion to who is a citizen, thereby reducing representation for urban areas boosted by the presence of illegal aliens. Justice Gorsuch alluded to this, which the Supreme Court allowed in Evenwel v. Abbott (2016).

Cities currently have an incentive, both financially and politically, to harbor illegal aliens. Better data on who is a citizen and who is not would help end that racket.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Gas Tax Hike: Dumber than Dumb

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Still smarting from how President Trump crushed its phony free trade agenda, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come up with something even dumber. Led by its anti-Trumper president Tom Donohue, the Chamber has proposed a 25-cent increase in the federal gas tax.

William Weld, who just announced his absurd challenge to Trump for the Republican nomination, presided over a gas tax increase when he was governor of Massachusetts in 1991. That state became known as Taxachusetts with a massive exodus of residents following Weld’s unhappy tenure.

Yet already some liberal Republicans are biting the bait of increasing the taxes on gas. If adopted, this would facilitate a Democratic landslide in 2020.

Gas taxes are immensely unpopular with President Trump’s middle-class supporters, many of whom drive long distances to support their families. They also tend to go on driving trips, such as family summer vacations, and a gas tax increase would disrupt their plans.

Limousine liberals and government workers would barely feel the pinch of a gas tax as they ride the taxpayer-funded D.C. Metro. They would be fine with higher gas taxes, while swing voters who decide elections are hit the hardest.

A large share of the gas tax is diverted to subways, trains and buses. Car drivers who already pay enormous state and federal taxes should not be forced to further subsidize public transportation.

The federal gas tax is currently 18.4 cents a gallon, and all the states tack on a whopping additional tax of their own. In Pennsylvania, its state gas tax is an additional 58.2 cents a gallon.

The “yellow vest” demonstrations that have turned Paris upside down were primarily a protest against high gas taxes in France. Even in liberal Washington State, its voters defeated a carbon tax by 56 to 44 percent last November, and by a wider margin in 2016.

The wasteful way that government fails to maintain roads is the real problem, and hiking gas taxes will not repair that. A familiar sight on interstate highways is the many construction sites that lack real work activity, diverting traffic longer than they should.

In this era of Uber and Lyft, electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as humongous tandem tractor trailers, the gasoline tax is no longer a fair way to pay for our highways. Roads should be funded by those who use them, with variable fees that depend on cost and time of day.

The Dulles Greenway in Virginia is an example of a successful private highway which connects Washington Dulles Airport to Leesburg, Virginia. It has an electronic system for collecting tolls from riders, who enjoy its convenient and efficient access.

In this 21st century, drivers can pay electronically with their smartphones based on their GPS-tracked travel. That efficiency would help deter the massive commuter traffic jams that currently plague our public highways.

The practice of some cities, such as Chicago, to enter into long-term leases of its roads to a foreign owner is not the right approach. A consortium of Canadian pension funds owns the Chicago Skyway toll road, which may be preferable to government ownership but raises questions as to why an American owner was not found for it.

Politicians who have suggested a national carbon tax are not popular either, and anti-Trump Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) was defeated for reelection after he endorsed that bad idea. A carbon tax is on the amount of carbon in energy sources, primarily fossil fuels.

A carbon tax would be imposed on the suppliers of the energy, particularly oil, coal, and natural gas. But this tax would then be passed on to consumers in the form of higher heating and air-conditioning costs, and higher gas prices at the pump.

The same concept of increasing the gas tax is already being pursued by liberal states such as California, Illinois, and New Jersey. Each of those states have enacted or are considering sharp increases in their own state gas tax, in addition to the federal tax.

In New Jersey, the gas tax was increased by 23 cents a gallon in 2016, and then an additional 4.3 cents last year. Yet another gas tax increase there is possible later this year, with little to show for it except angrier drivers.

In California, where prices already average an eye-popping $3.80 per gallon, a new state tax of 5.6 cents per gallon will hit this summer. Legislation in the Illinois state senate proposes doubling the gas tax there, to 38 cents a gallon.

When the price of a good goes up, demand for the good goes down and a smaller amount is sold. An increase in gas taxes means fewer car trips, less shopping, a decline in summer family vacations on the road, and millions of angry daily commuters who vote.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Nuclear Option Needed to Confirm Judges

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The vast majority of President Trump’s nominees to the federal district courts have been blocked by Democrats in the Senate. Some of them have languished for more than a year, without an up-or-down floor vote on their confirmation.

Tuesday afternoon Democrats rejected a fair compromise offered by Senate Republicans to break the logjam. On a nearly party-line vote, the Senate killed Senate Resolution 50 which would have established a new procedure to facilitate timely confirmation of nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sixty votes were needed to advance S.Res. 50, and even though Republicans enjoy majority control of the Senate they cannot muster the super-majority to attain cloture on changing the rules for nominees. So this leaves Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with only the nuclear option to overcome Democrat obstructionism.

While the Senate has promptly confirmed Trump’s nominees to the Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court, Democrats have blocked dozens of excellent nominees to the lower courts. There are an astounding 133 vacancies today in federal district courts and 13 more vacancies will arise soon.

But under current Senate rules, Democrats are forcing several days of delay in confirming each district court judge whenever any senator wants to stall it. At this rate, President Trump would be denied his ability to fill a significant percentage of the trial court vacancies and Democrats hope keep these vacancies unfilled until after the next presidential election.

District courts are the tribunals that conduct all federal trials and they are where the vast majority of federal judiciary decisions are made. These are the courts that have repeatedly issued injunctions against President Trump, which he then has to run up on appeal to get them overturned months later.

It is federal district courts which issue injunctions in favor of Planned Parenthood virtually any time it demands them. It can take years to overturn those injunctions on appeal and often the appellate court simply remands the case back to the same district court, which then rules for Planned Parenthood again.

This means that while the U.S. Courts of Appeal have the last say in many cases, the federal district courts are the place where most litigation occurs. As a practical matter, continued liberal control of the district courts means never-ending judicial activism.

So it is not surprising that Democrats have done everything they can to continue their grip on the district courts. By causing seemingly endless hours of debate on each and every district court nominee, Democrats have frustrated the ability of President Trump to obtain confirmation of his judges at the trial level.

Democrats have obstructed district court nominees to such an extent that it has taken an average of 133 days – more than a third of a year – for the Senate to vote on a nominee after approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that 37 district court nominees still await a floor vote after approval by the Judiciary Committee.

In some states, such as Missouri, not a single judicial nominee has been confirmed during the more than two years that Trump has been president. Indeed, since January both senators from Missouri are Republican and thus not even senatorial courtesy can be blamed, whereby a senator from the state can block a nominee by failing to return a blue slip.

Mississippi is another conservative state which has not had a single Trump judge appointed to a federal district court there. One vacancy has been pending for more than a year in its Southern District and another vacancy is expected there at the end of this month.

In Texas, another solidly Republican state, its Southern District, which includes Houston, has three vacancies. The Northern District of Texas, which includes Dallas, has five vacancies and five nominees by President Trump await confirmation by the Senate.

Senator Mitch McConnell expressed his justified frustration about this obstinance by the Democrats. He observed that their intransigence on these district court nominees “is unsustainable for the Senate and for the country,” and warned that it does not bode well for a future Democratic president either, because Republicans would return the favor in blocking his nominee.

If Democrats had supported Senate Resolution 50, then this gridlock on judges could have been amicably and sensible resolved. S.Res. 50 would have shortened the post-cloture time for a floor vote on presidential nominees, which means that Trump’s nominees could be brought to a vote without undue delay.

By rejecting this compromise, Democrats have made the nuclear option necessary to shut down the endless filibustering of these good Trump nominees. Majority Leader McConnell should next implement this option to proceed, with only a simple majority vote, to change the rules in order to hold timely floor votes on Trump’s district court nominees.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

The woman who shaped the modern GOP



A liberal online magazine, PS Mag, reports in a article about attempts to revive the ERA:
But an argument the anti-feminist firebrand Phyllis Schlafly — the woman who shaped the modern GOP — articulated on Good Morning America in 1976 has endured: Equality is actually bad for women. "When you make the laws apply equally to men and women, you end up taking away many of the rights that women now have," Schlafly said.
Really? She shaped the modern GOP? It is interesting that this magazine sees it that way.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Russia told the truth about Trump

After printing thousands of articles blaming President Trump for mysterious Russian allegations, it now publishes an op-ed by a Russian journalist on what nonsense it all was:
MOSCOW — Russians weren’t waiting for Robert Mueller’s report with quite the same excitement as Americans.

Russian state media’s coverage of Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency has vacillated between breathless adoration, mockery and outrage, but one thing has been consistent: The idea of Russia electing and controlling an American president has always been deemed absurd. Most references to the Mueller inquiry and the Trump-Russia story in state media are preceded by a qualifier: “the so-called Russia investigation,” as the prominent TV host Dmitry Kiselyov puts it.

It’s not just the state media that has rejected the idea that Mr. Trump colluded with Russia. Even liberals and opponents of President Vladimir Putin have been deeply skeptical, pointing out that Russia’s ruling circles are barely competent enough to prop themselves up, let alone manipulate a superpower.

When the news broke last week that Mr. Mueller had finished his report, Moscow’s political and media circles reacted with a mixture of contempt and derision.
Remember that the famous Jan. 2017 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was the basis for alleging that Russia interfered with the 2016 American election. It consisted mostly of complaints about Russian news media stories, and said:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 ... 
We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence. ...

Starting in March 2016, Russian Government- linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump's candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences. RT and Sputnik-another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences - consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment.

Russian media hailed President-elect Trump's victory as a vindication of Putin's advocacy of global populist movements ...

Putin's chief propagandist Dmitriy Kiselev used his flagship weekly newsmagazine program this fall to cast President-elect Trump as an outsider victimized by a corrupt political establishment and faulty democratic election process that aimed to prevent his election because of his desire to work with Moscow. ...

Russia used trolls as well as RT as part of its influence efforts to denigrate Secretary Clinton. This effort amplified stories on scandals about Secretary Clinton and the role of WikiLeaks in the election campaign. ...

RT's coverage of Secretary Clinton throughout the US presidential campaign was consistently negative and focused on her leaked e-mails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, and ties to Islamic extremism. Some Russian officials echoed Russian lines for the influence campaign that Secretary Clinton's election could lead to a war between the United States and Russia.
The NSA was not sure that the negative Clinton coverage was intended to help Trump. Maybe Russia was expecting Clinton to win the election and was simply putting out anti-American propaganda.

Or maybe the Russians were just reporting the facts. The American news media were overwhelmingly opposed to Trump, and were preoccupied with denigrating him with weirdo conspiracy theories. There were a few exceptions like Hannity and Limbaugh, but the American news media appeared to be more under partisan political control than the Russian's.

I am not endorsing Russian news. Russia just passed a law against "blatant disrespect" of the state, and against "fake news". Repeat offenders face up to 15 days in jail. But sometimes Russia reports stories that are hard to find elsewhere. See for example this video today of Trump, where YouTube attaches a disclaimer that RT is funded by the Russians.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The High Costs of the Left’s Conspiracy Theory

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Liberal Wikipedia defines “conspiracy theory” as the fear of a nonexistent conspiracy. By that definition, the theory that Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to steal the 2016 election has to be ranked as the biggest conspiracy theory of all time.

As Robert Mueller closes the books on his 2-year reign of terror against Trump supporters, we should pause to consider the collateral damage Mueller caused. Mueller’s conspiracy theory about collusion with Russia caused unfathomable harm to many people, most of whom are totally innocent.

Mueller’s team burned through at least $25 million in its own costs, at taxpayer expense. But far greater costs were imposed on Mueller’s innocent victims and the American people.

In his four-page letter to Congress, Attorney General Bill Barr reported that the Special Counsel and his team “issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, and obtained more than 230 orders for communication records.” They executed “almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.”

500 witnesses? Witnesses to what? There was never any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as Mueller finally admitted in his report, so there was no crime for anyone to witness.

But the targets of Mueller’s subpoenas, the victims of his search warrants, and other innocent individuals were compelled to waste enormous time and money in responding to the frightful demands by the out-of-control investigation.

Each of Mueller’s subpoenas probably cost an average of $25,000 to comply with. The D.C. rates for attorneys’ fees are among the highest in the country, and this field of law is particularly specialized.

So the wasteful expense caused by Mueller’s subpoenas alone racked up $70 million in costs, but even that is just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the “witnesses” pursued by Mueller necessarily hired attorneys for themselves, which easily incurred more than $100,000 in fees apiece.

Jerome Corsi was one of those witnesses, and he spent many days being interviewed by Mueller’s team. At the end of all that cooperation, Mueller’s prosecutors demanded that Corsi plead guilty to lying to the government, even though he had been candid.

Corsi then went public and exposed the Mueller investigation for what it was: a political hatchet job stacked with enemies of Trump. Corsi expected to be unfairly indicted and put on trial, but he courageously stood his ground and refused to cave into wrongdoing by Mueller’s team.

Corsi was right to call Mueller’s bluff. Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s highly partisan lead prosecutor, subsequently announced his return to teaching in New York City, which is preferable to his being given so much power to impose such high costs on many innocent people.

Mueller has some explaining to do about the unfounded threats by his team to indict Corsi if he did not agree to a plea. Mueller apparently allowed the anti-Trump prosecutors whom Mueller hired to run roughshod with impunity over Trump supporters.

“I consider this entire investigation to be fraudulent,” Corsi observed. “I’m glad it’s over.”
But it’s not over for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, even though his persecutors have left the Mueller investigation for other high-paying jobs. Gen. Flynn still faces sentencing from the deal he agreed to in order to save his family.

For spending a mere 24 days as President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Gen. Flynn has been forced to incur $5 million in legal fees. Adding insult to injury, the federal judge presiding over his case accused Flynn of being a traitor to the United States, before walking back those comments.

"Waiting for all of those apologies from journalists and left wing politicians who slandered Gen. Flynn, calling him a traitor after serving his country heroically for 33 years," his brother Joe Flynn tweeted after the Mueller report found no collusion. The Department of Justice, post-Mueller, should move to dismiss the case against Lt. Gen. Flynn now.

On top of these massive costs is the time lost by the American public and President Trump. Overzealous prosecutions are a distraction, to say the least, and it is to Trump’s credit that he has not been completely distracted by this.

Trump could have accomplished even more in his first two years in office without the constant disruption caused by this Grand Inquisition by the Left. At one point Trump spent several days answering questions for Mueller despite no evidence for asking them.

The liberal media and Democrats who egged on the fiction of Russian collusion should be labeled as conspiracy theorists for falsely insisting that there was coordination by Trump with Russia in order to be elected. This liberal conspiracy theory harmed many innocent victims and the American people, to whom the Left should apologize.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.