Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Folly of Vote-by-Mail for All

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The extended national lockdown caused by the coronavirus has led to many ideas for changing familiar patterns of the American way of life. But COVID-19 is no excuse for undermining the integrity of our presidential elections by switching from in-person to mail-in voting.

Until a few years ago, Election Day was a special event in which our sprawling nation came together on the same day to select our next president. Some states honor it with a holiday, and many employers give workers time off to vote.

Barely five months before the most important presidential election of our lifetime, with the Supreme Court on the line, is no time to convert the election machinery of more than 100,000 election precincts to an unprecedented, untested system of any kind. Yet Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer seeks to send absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people on an error-ridden list of potential voters.

As President Trump rightly tweeted in response, “This was done illegally and without authorization. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

California Governor Gavin Newsom is taking Michigan’s mistake one step further. He issued an executive order to mail not just an application, but the actual ballot to the state’s entire voter registration list riddled with inaccuracies.

No state has ever done that before, including the five states that conduct mail elections, because it invites voting by people who are not eligible to vote. Voter intimidation, coercion, fraud, and other forms of illegitimate voting would be possible under blanket mail-in voting.

A new federal lawsuit has been filed to block Governor Newsom’s scheme. “Fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment,” it says.

Until now, only five states mail unrequested ballots to registered voters, but those states take additional precautions such as requiring verification of voter registrations. None of the five is a swing or battleground state whose electoral vote for president is in doubt.

All other states allow some form of absentee voting, and most of those permit limited mail-in voting for those who request it. States can more easily manage the integrity of a small number of mail-in ballots compared with being overwhelmed by everyone, even illegal aliens, voting by mail.

The costs are staggering, and states ask Congress to force taxpayers to foot the bill for this folly. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi already allocated $400 million in the CARES Act as handouts to states for mail-in voting, but that is not nearly enough.

The last presidential election had more than 128 million votes cast, and tens of dollars per mail-in ballot in new costs would be needed for sending and processing them. Democrats want $4 billion in new federal funding to pay for mail-in voting now.

Democrats even want unions to be allowed to collect ballots, but that would add unwanted intimidation of voters to the process. Unionized workers should be free from union coercion when they mark their ballots.

Allowing votes to be mailed until Election Day means that counting ballots and declaring a winner may not occur until weeks later. The post office can take up to ten days to deliver a letter, particularly amid high volume, and in a close election the outcome could change when ballots are lost in the mail.

Our political prosperity depends on the smooth transition of power. It is essential that there be a prompt, legitimate presidential winner, but close elections awash in mailed ballots would frustrate that essential goal.

In the key swing state of Pennsylvania, mail-in voting is being adopted for the first time this year, with restrictions. Ballots must be received, not merely mailed, by Election Day, because many letters are not postmarked anymore.

Ballot harvesting is not allowed in Pennsylvania, which is the pernicious practice of paid workers mailing a bundle of ballots supposedly cast by others. Millions of demented nursing home patients can have their “votes” harvested in this manner for the unfair advantage of a candidate funding the harvesting.

Democrats pretend that voter fraud would be small for mail-in voting, but they do not consider ballot harvesting and other chicanery to be fraud. A generation ago, they did not consider the corrupt Democratic political machine in Chicago to be fraudulent, either.

Supporters of mail-in voting rely on polling which seems to indicate public support for it. But those polling questions avoid mention of the immense additional costs and the susceptibility of mail-in voting to manipulation and corruption.

President Trump is right to oppose this attempt by Democrats to change our election system. Federal funds should be withheld from states that undermine our elections as Democrats are trying to do.

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 19, 2020

Contact Tracing? No Thanks.

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

First a Dallas hair salon owner was imprisoned for opening her store to earn a living. Next Texas has signed a $295 million contract for “contact tracing,” by which law-abiding citizens will have to submit to monitoring about when, where, and with whom they have been.

While this sounds like a dark episode in the history of the communist Soviet Union or China, it is being promoted by Democratic governors today on a massive scale never accepted in the United States. It even extends into liberty-conscious conservative Texas.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the Chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, pointed out on the floor of the House that contact tracing would “allow big tech companies to surveil” citizens and “then turn that accumulated information over to the government.” Republican state legislators and Rudy Giuliani have likewise criticized the proposals for vast contact tracing.

Yet Republican Governor Greg Abbott, ambitious to run for president in 2024, is imposing government tracking and monitoring of Texans under the pretense of combating coronavirus. He could conquer the virus by lifting unjustified restrictions on access to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), but instead wants to find out who and where lawful Texans privately visited.

Far from helping society return to normal activities, contact tracing would terrify everyone into staying at home even more than they have already been. Everyone would have to think twice about whether a visit to someone might end up in a government database, or result in a mandatory unwanted 14-day quarantine.

This would also encourage more people to snitch on their neighbors, reporting on their daily movements. The society of narcs sought by liberals would grow worse under widespread contact tracing, even if promoted as merely being voluntary.

Lying to government agents is a crime in many jurisdictions, so those who are accosted by a contact tracer but do not disclose every person they visited in the last week could be prosecuted. Then citizens would face conviction for protecting people whom they do not want to be harassed by a visit from a contact tracer, who might himself be spreading the virus.

Contact tracing is an approach supported by George Soros, the billionaire Leftist who has been funding numerous liberal causes. He has donated heavily for open borders, which exacerbates the spread of unwanted viruses in the United States.

The real goal of the contact tracing is to use COVID-19 as a pretext to monitor the whereabouts of every American, perhaps through our smartphones, and take away our liberties. Republican political candidates will be tracked and leaks of their private information to the media would be inevitable under this scheme, while Democrats such as Joe Biden are given a pass on their far greater misconduct.

Child Protective Services bullies will be authorized to take children away from parents who have COVID-19, or who have been in contact with anyone who might have the virus. Contact tracing means that a visit to your home by a neighbor who later tests positive for the virus could result in the forced quarantining of you for merely having opened your front door to him.

Texas Gov. Abbott’s contract is with a federally funded contact tracing firm, MTX Group, about which he failed to consult the conservative Texas legislature before obligating the state. MTX Group will soon have a staff of 4,000 employees in Texas, including case investigators, epidemiologists, and contact tracers.

Meanwhile, regulators in Texas and other states continue to block access by residents to HCQ, the same medication which President Trump has successfully taken for more than a week to protect against COVID-19. In most states, including Texas, Trump would not have been able to fill his doctor’s prescription for this medication due to liberal interference.

The FDA, as misled by the pro-vaccine bureaucrat Rick Bright, Ph.D., continues to prohibit any use of the federal stockpile of 100 million doses of HCQ unless the patient is first hospitalized and a clinical trial is unavailable. President Trump’s successful use of this medication would not be permitted from the stockpile maintained under these senseless FDA regulations imposed by anti-Trump bureaucrats.

The conservative, can-do approach is to conquer a virus by treating it early and in a preventive manner, while the defeatist liberal approach is to ration resources while asserting government control over law-abiding residents. Gov. Abbott could follow the successful example of Republican Gov. DeSantis in Florida, who made HCQ available and kept businesses and beaches largely open.

Gov. Abbott has instead sharply restricted access to HCQ and closed businesses for prolonged periods, resulting in the imprisonment of a salon owner. The $295 million that Abbott is spending on contact tracing could have purchased HCQ treatments for half of the entire State of Texas, to reopen the state without the need for oppressive monitoring.

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 12, 2020

Restart Sports Without Gambling

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The shutdown of professional sports due to the Wuhan virus has exposed the increasing billions of dollars being wagered on these games, and the heightened dependency of state governments on revenue from this formerly illicit activity. When the NCAA cancelled March Madness, the annual college basketball tournament, states addicted to sports gambling lost millions of dollars in revenue from taxes on the betting.

Many were astounded when 15.6 million recently watched the first day of the NFL draft, a tedious event previously interesting only to diehard fans. But the audience this year was boosted by famished gamblers who wagered on which college students would be picked, and when.

That is a pathetic way to spend the family nest egg, or waste one’s time. Yet sports betting has mushroomed to tens of billions of dollars, particularly since the Murphy v. NCAA ruling by the Supreme Court in 2018 allowed states to ramp up sports gambling.

Legalized sports gambling then quickly spread to a total of 18 states, and just as quickly they are becoming hostage to the tax revenue it generates. With professional sports shut down due to COVID-19, state governments have lost this revenue while their residents save money.

There has been no local or state tax revenue from casinos since they were shut down nationwide, to the dismay of their owners including Indian tribes. Their losses benefit casino victims, including many American Indians and every other demographic group.

Democratic politicians complain about how the rich get richer even now, but sports and casino gambling constitute one of the biggest drivers of wealth inequality. Billionaire owner Mark Cuban estimated that the Supreme Court ruling authorizing sports gambling immediately doubled the value of franchises in the top four professional sports leagues.

Sports competitions should restart, as athletes are most able to overcome the Wuhan virus. But we can do without the smoke-filled casinos infecting the less healthy and the integrity of the games.

Democrat-controlled Las Vegas announced that it will reopen its casinos, despite how Democrats criticize Trump for seeking to reopen ordinary businesses. Apparently the concept of which businesses are essential is in the eye of the beholder.
Belarusian soccer and Ukrainian ping-pong are nearly the only professional sports which have carried on. This has left millions of Americans with little to bet on in sports.

This fall Las Vegas is set to be the new home for the Oakland Raiders as the NFL and other leagues embrace gambling and fantasy sports betting like never before. “Gaming management” seeks credibility by holding conferences at prestigious universities and offering accredited college degrees.

Sports bettors attended in March the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which is a fancy name to legitimize the combination of two addictions: gambling and watching professional sports. Conference attendees enjoyed the cigar bar for a little rest and relaxation after a day of panel presentations.

But it turns out that COVID-19 was being spread at that cigar bar during the conference. According to Sports Illustrated, everyone who frequented the bar at that time contracted the virus.

Most recovered from the disease, but the shutdown of professional sports may have caused even worse symptoms for sports gambling addicts and states increasingly dependent on them. Desperate states may soon attempt to expand sports gambling as a way to try to make up for their lost revenue from legitimate businesses.

Democrat-controlled Colorado has now done just that. After heavy spending by gambling interests pushed through a referendum by a narrow 51-49% margin, regulators in that formerly conservative state made sports betting legal as of May 1st.

This was just in time for gambling interests to get “apps” into the state for the college and professional football seasons expected to begin in August, if the coronavirus crisis is over by then. Some NFL owners want to play without fans if necessary, and several taxpayer-supported stadiums had already been poorly attended even before the virus arrived.

The hypocrisy of owners of professional sports teams includes how they have harshly punished players who may have occasionally bet on games, while the owners themselves seek to profit from it. Baseball great "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, whom Babe Ruth imitated as the finest natural hitter he ever saw, was accused of gambling on the 1919 World Series but was acquitted in a court of law, and yet remains banished.

Some of the new state laws authorizing sports wagering allow owners to gamble in ways that players cannot. Meanwhile, states like Pennsylvania are imposing whopping taxes of 36% on revenue from sports gambling.

Professional sports should be reopened without the gambling, which most states recently allowed or seek to permit. The Department of Justice should fully enforce the Wire Act and other federal laws to end nationwide this exploitation of fans when seasons restart.

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 5, 2020

HCQ Succeeds While Government Hoards

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

There are many new examples of the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an early treatment of COVID-19, yet stockpiles of it waste away in government warehouses. Most of the 100 million donated doses will expire without ever being distributed to help dying Americans.

Ever since President Trump suggested that HCQ could be an effective treatment for COVID-19, Democrats have worked overtime to prove the president wrong. They falsely trumpeted the death of a man who ingested fish tank cleaner, an incident which his friends say may have actually been foul play to harm him while hiding the crime.

HCQ is a 55-year-old, inexpensive medication that is widely used to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Like any drug it causes side effects in a small fraction of the population, but 55 years of successful use proves that it can be taken safely by most people.

Democrats were humiliated when an African-American state representative, Karen Whitsett, publicly thanked President Trump after she was cured of coronavirus by taking the drug that Trump recommended. At a caucus in her legislative district in Detroit, held over Zoom last Saturday, 15 Democrats unanimously passed a resolution to censure Rep. Whitmer for stepping off the plantation to give credit where credit was due.

At nearby Wayne State University, a 92-year-old researcher, Dr. Ananda Prasad, was fortunate. He could prescribe an HCQ zinc therapy for himself when he contracted the virus, and he attributes his recovery to this treatment.

Other elderly patients have been lucky to have a child who prescribed them HCQ. Dr. Daniel Amen reportedly stepped in to save the lives of his elderly parents, age 88 and 90, by prescribing HCQ and azithromycin to enable them to recover from COVID-19.

Anna Fortunato is a 90-year-old Long Islander who was hospitalized with COVID-19. She was so ill that her daughter asked for a priest to give her the last rites of the church, but the hospital refused to allow a priest to visit her bedside because it was too risky.

After taking HCQ, she recovered and was discharged after two harrowing weeks in the hospital. Mrs. Fortunato is looking forward to celebrating her 91st birthday in June with her family.

“I had a good husband, and my children are beautiful,” she recounted to the AP. “I’ve lived to see grandchildren, and great-grandchildren … so I AM fortunate.”

At the other end of New York State, in the town of Albion near Buffalo, 94-year-old Norma Longrod was hospitalized with a fever and tested positive for the coronavirus. “We also did treat her with hydroxychloroquine, which is a medicine out there we’ve talked about in the press,” the hospitalist medical director explained.

“I’m much better – much, much better than when I came here. They thought that I was not going to make it,” Mrs. Longrod said after her recovery.
Grandmother Jean Boccard, 97 years old in Broward County, Florida, was admitted to the hospital with a case of COVID-19. Like many people her age, she also had multiple underlying health conditions including heart disease.

“I want to get out of here, the food is terrible,” Mrs. Boccard complained, like many hospital patients. “And I get no sleep because they’re always coming in and looking at me.”

With the help of a devoted son, Mrs. Boccard found Dr. Mike Perl who prescribed HCQ along with an antibiotic called Z-Pak. Two weeks later, she was out of the hospital and ready to resume her normal life.

At a veterans home in Lebanon, Oregon, William Lapschies is one of at least 15 residents who tested positive for COVID-19. The 104-year-old World War II veteran made a full recovery after his family found a doctor who treated Mr. Lapschies with hydroxychloroquine.

But most Americans continue to be denied access to early treatment by HCQ, while it rots in government warehouses. Medication expires after a while, and at this rate the much-publicized donations of HCQ to governments by well-meaning companies will end up being thrown out rather than used to save lives.

Interference with early access by patients to HCQ by Anthony Fauci, FDA bureaucrats, and Democratic state officials, despite HCQ’s proven 55-year track record to be safer than other medications easily accessible by Americans, has exacerbated this crisis beyond all justification. Liberals object to access to HCQ by Americans for early treatment of the Wuhan virus, but at the same time arrange for government to hoard the medication.

If this invasion by a foreign enemy were using conventional warfare of guns and tanks, then the conservative response would be to arm the American people quickly with as many guns and ammo as possible. Instead, this invasion is by a foreign virus, and government should not be impeding access by Americans to medication for immediate self-defense.

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.