Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Statehood for the Swamp?

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Constitution Day, September 17, marks the day in 1787 when representatives of the newly independent states along the Atlantic seacoast agreed to form a new Constitution on behalf of “We the People of the United States.” George Washington, who had presided over the contentious convention in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, transmitted the finished document to the states for ratification.

A 2005 federal law sponsored by the most senior Democrat in the Senate, Robert C. Byrd, requires all federal agencies and schools that receive federal funds to teach about the Constitution on this day. Yet many agencies and schools have defied that law by criticizing, attacking and undermining the fundamental document that was dedicated “to form a more perfect union.”

One such lawless federal agency is the District of Columbia itself, the wholly owned enclave on the Potomac River which comprises the seat of our national government. The mayor, delegate, and other officials, whose high salaries are indirectly paid by taxpayers throughout the nation, are celebrating Constitution Day by trying to overturn the very provision that created Washington, D.C.

H.R. 51, a bill to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, was introduced on the first day of the new Democrat-controlled Congress by Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has been D.C.’s non-voting Delegate for the past 29 years. The House Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, plans to hear testimony this week from Mayor Muriel Bowser and other D.C. officials.

The partisan purpose of such a move is to give Democrats in Congress two new liberal senators and one new seat in the House. The territory cast 93 percent of its votes for Hillary Clinton and only 4 percent for Donald Trump, and the Democratic Party would ensure that only very liberal politicians would represent it in Congress.

The decision to put our national government in its own separate territory, outside the boundaries of any state, was one of the pivotal compromises essential to reaching agreement at the Philadelphia convention in 1787. Perhaps James Madison foresaw the dangers of giving the “swamp” power when he wrote in Federalist No. 43 that it was an “indispensable necessity” to prevent U.S. government officials from becoming dependent on local residents who would wield too much influence.

Statehood for D.C. is not a new idea. One prior effort sought to rename D.C. as the State of New Columbia, but political correctness today prevents naming anything after Christopher Columbus anymore!

As the longstanding “delegate” from D.C. to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton can already serve on committees and speak on the House floor. She has federally funded offices and an official website at house.gov just like the real congressmen who represent the 50 states.

She already calls herself a “Congresswoman” and she takes positions on pending legislation, such as working against a pro-life bill introduced by Congressman Chris Smith to limit the funding of abortion in D.C. Her background includes signing the “Black Woman’s Manifesto,” which in 1970 expressed views of radical feminism and blamed capitalism for oppressing women and minorities.

She has been a supporter of legislation expanding abortion and even prohibiting states from limiting it. She has received the endorsement of EMILY’s List, a PAC that supports the election of politicians who want unrestricted, taxpayer-funded access to abortion.

Eleanor Holmes Norton is not a full voting member of Congress, at least not yet. But she would probably become one, perhaps even in the U.S. Senate, if H.R. 51 ever became law.

More than 200 congressmen, all Democrats, co-sponsor her bill to create a new state called the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth. The proposed name does not even sound like a real state, but political correctness run amok.

Many of the arguments for making D.C. a new state could apply to Puerto Rico and other commonwealths and territories of the United States. But the case for D.C. statehood is much weaker, because the Constitution specifically envisioned a neutral location for the federal government.

Washington’s 68 square miles were voluntarily conceded by Maryland to the United States for use as our nation’s capital, not to create a new state having equal power as itself. If the real desire is to provide representation in Congress for those who live within D.C., then the Maryland delegation could represent the people of D.C., too.

But such representation is not what the drive for D.C. statehood is really about. Instead, Democrats want two more senators to shift the balance of power to their side in the U.S. Senate.

Following the admission of Hawaii and Alaska as states, the Democratic senators from Hawaii are offset by Republican senators from Alaska. Empowering the Swamp with two partisan Democratic senators by making D.C. a state is both unconstitutional and contrary to the interests of all 50 states.

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, September 10, 2019

Break Up the Tech Behemoths

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Monopoly is the popular board game where players win by monopolizing property and overcharging rivals who land there. A monopoly in business has a similar effect by stamping out competition which would benefit consumers.

Google has more than 92% of the worldwide market for internet searches, far above what constitutes a monopoly. Most people on the internet see only what Google puts before them.

Google’s monopoly power is greater than that of John D. Rockefeller’s oil trust of a century ago, and in some ways worse because of its control of information. The landmark Sherman Act, passed by a Republican Congress in 1890, is the tool that authorized busting up the Rockefeller trust and modern ones like it.

If you’re wondering what happened to your daily newspaper or your access to online conservative videos and websites, the reason is Google and its Silicon Valley neighbor, Facebook. Those two companies, which also own YouTube and Instagram, soak up advertiser dollars that once supported thousands of independent newspapers and magazines.

The 1911 breakup of John D. Rockefeller’s monopoly over the oil business boosted our economy, creating competition among over a dozen newly formed rivals. Record-breaking prosperity then followed for our country in the Roaring Twenties.

The conservative approach is not to regulate corporations, but to break up monopolies and then get out of their way. Let competition thrive and perform its magic, as it has in driving down airline ticket prices.

Fifty Attorneys General representing 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have just launched an overdue, bipartisan probe into Google’s monopoly practices. Google responded, “We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so.”

But Google misses the point. Attorneys General do not and should not be looking to regulate Google, but simply to end its monopoly.

When AT&T controlled 80 percent of local telephone service and nearly 100 percent of intercity communications, it was broken into 7 “Baby Bells,” each serving a different region of the country. The spin-offs added up to much more than the whole, and experts were astounded when the regional Baby Bells soon outperformed the original, national telephone company.

Verizon, for example, was one of the Baby Bells which excelled in the growing wireless market, doing better than its parent. Hard work and innovation created rewards for managers and staff alike, which would never have happened if the old “Ma Bell” had not been dissolved.

Similarly, Google and Facebook could be broken into pieces by region or functionality. A southern Google would add healthy competition to the California Google by not discriminating against conservative videos and websites.

James Damore, the talented engineer fired by Google for expressing his conservative views in a manifesto criticizing “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” could then take his innovative ideas to a southern Google and look forward to competing against his former employer.

Or Google could be split based on functionality, allowing rivals to compete with it for mapping, consumer reviews, and other services. Advertising dollars could then be spread around, rather than all flowing into a black hole in California.

Dismantling Google and other Big Tech behemoths would enable tech wages to start rising again, after decades of stagnation. Silicon Valley companies had an improper secret agreement not to compete for high-tech talent, which has kept salaries lower than they would be in a competitive market.

Facebook should be dismantled too, after demonstrating that it will censor viewpoints to appease its liberal California base. Last week eight states plus D.C. declared that they have launched an investigation into possible antitrust violations by Facebook.

Libertarian ideologues cringe at such investigations, arguing that antitrust law is an improper intrusion by government into the free market. But competition is the oxygen for free enterprise, and prohibiting anti-competitive business practices which rob consumers of choices is as important as stopping burglary.

Notably absent from the nearly unanimous coalition of states and territories investigating Google is the attorney general of California, Xavier Becerra, who has brought over two dozen lawsuits against President Trump. He should take note of how the tech industry has created a two-tier society of haves and have-nots in his state.

Monopolies like Google cause a vast disparity between the rich and the middle class, a gap which liberals like to criticize everywhere except in their own backyard. Without the suffocating Big Tech monopolies, Texas and other red states have a growing middle class with affordable housing and schools.

Google and Facebook executives openly regretted how their platforms helped to elect Donald Trump in 2016, and they are determined to prevent that from happening again in 2020. We wouldn’t let AT&T control who can use the telephone, and we can’t allow Google and Facebook to shut Trump supporters out of their networks.

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.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Judge rules Eagle Forum was unlawfully taken

The gang of six dissidents who organized a hostile takeover of the Eagle Forum 501(c)(4) just issued this press release:
On September 3, 2019, the Circuit Court of Madison County unsealed an Order, dated July 11, 2019, which ruled that on April 11, 2016 the Eagle Forum Board of Directors was not able to conduct a meeting via telephone under the Bylaws of Eagle Forum, as they existed at that time. The Court determined that unless the Bylaws specifically stated otherwise, the Board of Directors had to meet face-to-face. The Court entered this ruling notwithstanding evidence that Phyllis Schlafly had conducted telephone board meetings in the past and that Phyllis Schlafly had consented and agreed to proceed with the meeting on April 11, 2016. Importantly, the Court declined to make the July 11 Order final. This means that under Illinois law, the July 11 Order is both unenforceable and subject to revision at any time.
This is a confusing explanation, but the truth is simple.

The six dissidents claimed that their April 11, 2016 teleconference allowed them to take control of Eagle Forum away from its founder and leader, Phyllis Schlafly. They were upset that she had just endorsed Donald Trump for President, and they sought to silence her. When she denied the legality of their maneuver, they filed a lawsuit against Eagle Forum and her in order to enforce their takeover.

Now the judge has now ruled that the telephone takeover was invalid.

The litigation does continue, and the case is schedule for trial this fall on the remaining issues, if there are any.

The press release concludes:
The July 11 Order will no doubt be mischaracterized by those whose refusal to support the mission of Eagle Forum began before the April 11, 2016 meeting with outlandish public attacks on many Eagle Forum directors, whose volunteer work alongside Phyllis Schlafly spans more than two-hundred-and-twenty (220) years collectively.
Those dissident directors did support the mission before 2016, but in April 2016 they decided to do everything in their power to block Phyllis Schlafly and her political activities, including a bogus board meeting and a bogus lawsuit.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Indoctrination Runs Aground in California

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

As millions go back to school, students across the nation (and their parents) hope to acquire the knowledge and skills they need for a successful life. Many teachers enter the profession with a mission to inspire young people toward excellence and personal growth.

But for thousands of school administrators and other non-teaching personnel who draw big salaries in our public schools, the new academic year has a different meaning. In the education establishment, known as the Blob, the new school year is a time to indoctrinate young people with notions of diversity, oppression, social justice, and the canons of political correctness.

Nowhere was this better illustrated that a firestorm that blazed in California just before school started last week. A new statewide curriculum for Ethnic Studies was posted for public comment, and the deafening uproar from parents and even politicians was enough to cause a postponement of its implementation.

California has continued to lurch leftward politically while most of the country has been growing increasingly conservative. Trump won the presidency by a majority of the popular vote in the 49 states other than California, while Hillary won by millions of votes there.

In 2016, California passed a law requiring the development of an ethnic studies curriculum, as though that were a legitimate academic subject. The curriculum is required to “include information on the ethnic studies movement, specifically the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), and its significance in the establishment of ethnic studies as a discipline and work in promoting diversity and inclusion within higher education.”

The curriculum is supposed to “promote critical thinking and rigorous analysis of history, systems of oppression, and the status quo in an effort to generate discussions on futurity, and imagine new possibilities.” But the “futurity” to discuss is not one of capitalism, freedom, and prosperity.

The proposed new curriculum is loaded with liberal jargon and describes capitalism as a “form of power and oppression.” Capitalism has brought higher standards of living to people of all ethnicities, but students in California would be taught the opposite.

Governor Jerry Brown, who is no conservative, actually vetoed a prior version of the bill mandating new ethnic studies standards. His objection was that the bill would have made the curriculum a requirement for graduating from high school in California.

Governor Brown then signed a modified version of the bill, and his successor, Gavin Newsom, is more liberal than even Brown was. The objections now are not being led by the governor, but primarily by the public.

A torrent of opposition to this new curriculum has caused its supporters to delay it. Some look to private schools, homeschooling, and charter schools as a way to escape this new indoctrination.

Jewish critics complain that the curriculum condemns some forms of ethnic animosity, but not anti-Semitism. A lead supporter of this new curriculum, Democratic Assemblyman Jose Medina, then delayed by a year a bill making this mandatory.

The bizarre jargon used in the draft curriculum opens a window into how far out of the mainstream advocates of this approach have gone. Terms unfamiliar to most people have been developed for this, and scrutiny of these terms which you will probably not find in your dictionary is enlightening.

“Misogynoir” is a term invented to mean hatred against black women in particular, as though that exists. It is not the often-imagined hatred of women, or even hatred of blacks, but hatred of black women that is the problem described by this term.

A glossary released with the draft curriculum explains its many bizarre terms. “Hxrstory” is another term it uses, and it is not a typo as most people would infer.

Instead, it is a deliberate misspelling of “history” in order to “x” out the “his” in “history”. “Throughout this model curriculum, language is used that deliberately offers an alternative to traditional wording that could have a particular context within the dominant culture.”

So the curriculum deliberately misspells certain words in order to advance its ideology of contorted logic. “As such, it can grow its original language to serve these needs with purposeful respelling of terms,” the draft brazenly declares.

The curriculum is not kinder to parents than it is to history. Rather than try to engage parents in education, parents are disparaged by California curriculum as part of the problem.

“Here are some dynamics an Ethnic Studies educator might consider,” the curriculum counsels. “Is the course being taught in a district where parents or community members are hostile to the field?”

A generation ago, what started in California then spread to the rest of the country, such as no-fault divorce, hippies, the drug culture, and Hollywood values. But perhaps a humorous slogan from nearby Las Vegas should apply to the Left Coast: what happens in California should stay in California.

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.