Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Conservative Woman Wins by a Landslide

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Conservatives romped to victory in Italy on Sunday and their charismatic leader, Giorgia Meloni, becomes Italy’s first female prime minister. Earlier this year she declared in perfect English that “the only way to be rebellious is to be conservative.”

Our individual freedom is under attack, our rights are under attack, the sovereignty of our nation is under attack,” she declared. “The prosperity and well-being of our families is under attack, our children’s education is under attack.”

Though her party garnered only 4.4% of the vote in Italy’s last election in 2018, Meloni just led the Brothers of Italy to a landslide victory with its platform of “God, country and family.” This party is called “far right” for taking a strong stance against immigration and for an economic program that supports families with children.

Giorgia Meloni is as blunt-talking as Donald Trump, and is similar to American conservative women such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Kari Lake. Unlike Republicans who immediately run to the center after conservatives elect them, Meloni boldly declared after her election that “this is a starting point, not a finishing line, from tomorrow we have to prove our worth.”

Trump adviser Steve Bannon is one of Meloni’s biggest fans, as Bannon recognized years ago her potential to take charge. Raised by a single mom in a gritty portion of Rome, Meloni was inspired by “The Lord of the Rings,” the Christian fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as writings by the English Christian essayist G. K. Chesterton.

In less than 40 days the midterm elections here will reveal how far the United States will move to the right as Europe is doing. Like Italy, inflation here has been near 10%, and last week the Federal Reserve Bank jacked up interest rates by another 75 basis points.

Rapid increases in interest rates preceded the elections of 1980 and 2008, and the incumbent party was routed by election landslides. This year’s polling shows a recapture of the House by Republicans, while recent trends point to a possibility of recapture of the Senate also.

Most notably in Nevada, long associated with the machine politics of the late Sen. Harry Reid, the Republican challenger Adam Laxalt has opened up a lead over the Democrat incumbent. While National Democrats abandon working class Latinos in order to appeal to college-educated women, Laxalt wins over the blue collar workers who make Las Vegas function.

Laxalt is running hard against Biden’s open border and this is resonating with Nevada voters, including Hispanics. “Joe Biden and Democrats have dismantled border security, causing a crisis of human trafficking, crime, and lethal opioids,” Laxalt’s latest television ad declares.

The ad features his opponent falsely claiming “First of all, there’s no open borders” while Vice President Kamala Harris absurdly declares “Our border is secure.”

Nevada has never been a bastion of conservatism, and Republicans have struggled there in recent years. But a populist message against illegal immigration and other liberal plagues can oust an entrenched Democrat senator in the Silver State.

Like much of our country, Nevada has a worsening water shortage with no viable plan to overcome it. As Nevada’s Attorney General, Laxalt joined other Western states in a lawsuit that successfully challenged a federal rule that would have kept residents from drawing water from their own private property.

Laxalt is running against the anti-energy positions of his opponent, who supports phony green energy rules that cannot possibly keep the tourist hotels air conditioned on the famous Las Vegas Strip. Nevada was the fourth-best state in the country last year in terms of few power outages (West Virginia was the best), while next-door California was the third worst as radical environmentalists ruin that state.

In Pennsylvania, Trump-endorsed Dr. Oz is charging ahead and narrowing the lead by the Leftist Democrat John Fetterman, who had a disabling stroke earlier this year but refuses to release his medical records as Dr. Oz has. Fetterman has ducked debating Dr. Oz but finally agreed to an 11th hour debate in late October, after many Democrats will have their ballots harvested in early voting.

Republicans carry most of Pennsylvania’s counties, but the Democrat political machine in Philadelphia often yields more votes than expected. Republican legislators in Pennsylvania have failed to end election fraud, which makes Dr. Oz’s task more difficult than it should be.

The energy issue boosts Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance in next-door Ohio, which should play well for Dr. Oz. Fetterman once pledged to ban fracking, on which Pennsylvania’s economy depends, and he backpedals on that issue.

Now Fetterman is campaigning for federal pro-marijuana legislation, even though most states outlaw it. As a highly respected physician, Dr. Oz can educate the public about how harmful that would be.

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 PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Court Slams Big Tech

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

A spectacular ruling against Big Tech censorship emerged Friday afternoon from our nation’s finest court, which presides in New Orleans over federal appeals from Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a new Texas law defended by the conservative Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton.

As enacted last year by the Texas legislature, HB20 requires social media platforms such as Twitter, Google (including YouTube), and Facebook, all headquartered in California, to stop censoring viewpoints they don’t like. Twitter banned President Trump in January 2021, and has been excluding many other conservatives ever since.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared last year when signing HB20 into law, “There is a dangerous movement by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values. This is wrong and we will not allow it in Texas.”

When criticized for their bias against conservative viewpoints, these California behemoths pretend they are like newspapers, who enjoy the freedom to print (or not print) whatever they like. By a 2-1 vote, the Fifth Circuit flatly rejected that comparison, along with the notion that censorship by social media monopolies is itself a form of speech deserving protection.

Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say,” held Judge Andrew Oldham, one of many superb judges appointed by President Trump. He was joined by Edith Jones, who has long been recognized as perhaps the finest jurist in the Nation.

In May, by a narrow 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked this good Texas law from going into effect pending appeal. Big Tech promises to make another trip to the Supreme Court, but this well-reasoned decision by the Fifth Circuit seems likely to survive.

The brilliant Judge Edith Jones, who has often been on the short list for appointment to the Supreme Court, wrote in concurrence that “it is ludicrous to assert, as NetChoice does, that in forbidding the covered platforms from exercising viewpoint-based ‘censorship,’ the platforms’ ‘own speech’ is curtailed.” The Texas law does not require the platforms to censor their own speech, and they hide their shadow-banning algorithms anyway.

Ken Paxton, who is certain to win reelection in November after soundly defeating a Bush family member in his primary, trumpeted his victory. Now “#BigTech CANNOT censor the political voices of ANY Texan!”

A partial dissent was authored by Judge Leslie Southwick, an appointee of George W. Bush. In a similar case from Florida reaching the Supreme Court later this week on a petition for certiorari, the inadequate Bush approach of allowing Left Coast Big Tech monopolies to abuse the rest of our country will be up for review.

Television networks are not allowed to censor speech in advertisements by political candidates, so why have social media monopolies gotten away with their censorship of conservative viewpoints? Emails uncovered in another case showed how Big Tech censored critics of Democrat policies, in order to pander to demands by the Biden Administration.

Far from banning dangerous users, as Big Tech and its supporters pretend in court, they have instead been banning conservatives, including Trump, for the political goal of helping Democrats. Yet mass shootings have been broadcast live over social media, sometimes apparently motivated by that publicity, and threats of violence have been posted by shooters on their accounts without being timely censored.

On Jan. 2, 2022, Twitter permanently suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) because Twitter and Democrats on Capitol Hill opposed what she was saying about Covid-19. She had tweeted about the government-run Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which posts data on deaths and injuries reported after receiving a Covid vaccine.

Twitter was not acting to prevent violence or trying to combat any hate speech when it halted the personal account of this popular congresswoman. She was subsequently reelected by a landslide in her primary in Georgia, yet Twitter falsely pretended that her tweets were somehow a menace to society.

Big Tech is beholden to liberals in government and has been taking orders about what to delete from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Biden himself has demanded that Big Tech exclude statements he dislikes from appearing on the internet, declaring in January that “it has to stop!”

In court Big Tech pretends it must have an unlimited right to exclude fringe groups and postings, or else so-called hate speech will overrun their platforms. But the internet developed just fine without an Orwellian Ministry of Truth based in California.

HB20 applies only to platforms having more than 50 million active monthly users, which means they are akin to public accommodations disallowed to discriminate based on viewpoint. Telephone companies and other common carriers are not allowed to prohibit comments based on their content, and neither should social media monopolies.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.zzzz

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Fighting Back Against the Deep State

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

For ordinary mortals, a raid conducted by the Department of Justice against your home would be career-ending. But President Trump again exceeds expectations by fighting back and winning against the tactics of the Deep State.

A federal judge in Florida dramatically ruled in Trump’s favor last week, granting his request to retrieve the documents taken from his home, and transfer them to an independent special master for review. More significantly, the judge ordered the Justice Department to stop its overzealous investigation of Trump until the document review is completed.

The Deep State is hopping mad, joined by allies in the liberal media. A chorus of unjustified criticism has reverberated from Never-Trumpers, including former Attorney General Bill Barr, against Judge Aileen Cannon’s well-reasoned ruling in favor of Trump.

As a function of Plaintiff’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own,” Judge Cannon found. “A future indictment, based to any degree on property that ought to be returned, would result in reputational harm of a decidedly different order of magnitude,” she added.

Instead of accepting the judge’s wise ruling, the Biden Administration immediately filed a motion demanding that it be suspended during the appeal that Biden’s Justice Department plans.

On Monday, Trump’s attorneys pushed back hard. “In what at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control,” they wrote, “the government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own presidential and personal records.”

Trump’s attorneys rightly object to how the Justice Department, which is stocked with diehard political enemies of Trump, seeks to “proceed straight to a preordained conclusion” against him.

The unprecedented FBI raid on Donald Trump’s home (not his “country club” as former AG Barr sneeringly called it) is one of several ways the Deep State is trying to destroy Trump’s reputation. Another way is its relentless harassment of Trump’s supporters.

Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s finest advisers who was with him for all four years of his presidency, has reportedly been hit with a subpoena to appear before a grand jury. Other top Trump aides have also been required to testify before a grand jury apparently convened to try to indict Trump.

Even Trump’s attorneys have been targeted for retaliation by the Deep State. The sick joke today is that MAGA means “make attorneys get attorneys,” which is what many of Trump’s attorneys have had to do as they get harassed by the Deep State.

Even the federal judge who ruled for Trump has received death threats from someone who apparently hates Trump. Although concealed by the liberal media, a woman who left three voicemails threatening the judge was arrested last week in Houston.

The Biden Administration continues to abuse its investigatory powers by conducting a surprise seizure of cell phones belonging to Trump supporters. The cell phones of Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman, both prominent supporters of Trump, were recently seized by the Justice Department.

It also reportedly issued dozens of broadly worded subpoenas in just the past week demanding information about the activities of Trump and his supporters in late 2020. This is an unprecedented assault against the top contender for the presidency in 2024.

Fortunately, Trump will regain his pardon power when he is reelected to the White House. But some weak Republicans are criticizing his promise to use it generously, including pardoning those prosecuted for joining the political rally at the Capitol on January 6.

These Republican critics of pardoning the victims of the Deep State fail to appreciate where the divide has developed in our country. It is no longer North versus South, but the D.C. elite versus the rest of the country.

Federal prosecutors have virtually unlimited resources without accountability, in contrast with local prosecutors. Federal Judge Aileen Cannon was right to hold that “the investigation and treatment of a former president is of unique interest to the general public, and the country is served best by an orderly process that promotes the interest and perception of fairness.”

The power brokers in D.C., through misuse of the Justice Department, wrongly attempt to decide for the entire country whether Trump will be our next president. The Deep State is going all out to do anything they can to block Trump from the White House and interfere with the Republicans gaining control of the House in less than two months.

Judge Cannon’s splendid ruling in favor of Trump was a flash of light amid this sea of darkness. From there it will go to the Eleventh Circuit, which hopefully by now recognizes how dangerous it is when the Justice Department insists on overzealous actions against the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

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 PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Big Weed Stealing our Water and our Health

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Big Weed” is the $33 billion-dollar marijuana industry that prefers to go by its euphemistic term cannabis. It is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to pass ballot initiatives in 5 states, defeat Republican candidates for office this November, and bring a pot store close to you.

For the first time in history more Americans smoke pot than tobacco. The Gallup poll reports that 15% of Americans use marijuana, while only 11% smoke tobacco.

Big Weed is far worse now than the pot of a generation ago. Each year it becomes more potent and harmful, with its average delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level rising by 28.5 percent in the last half-century.

The medical journal Lancet Psychiatry has just reported on a new study that the higher the potency of the marijuana, the higher the risk of developing a psychotic illness known as cannabis use disorder. Despite this, recreational marijuana is lawful in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

The increased use of marijuana is linked to upticks in homicides and suicides, a rise in medical problems, and an increase in pot-related fatal traffic accidents. Legalizing pot does not end the black market for it, as proven on Friday by the bust of an illegal pot operation in the California Bay Area where $4 million-worth of plants were seized.

The Cannabis Research Center at the University of California in Berkeley reported last year that there are still more illegal cannabis farms than lawful ones, a half-decade after California legalized pot under the pretext of ending the illegality. Bills headed to its governor now for signature include legalizing marijuana use for animals, and prohibiting employers from firing workers for off-job pot-smoking.

Voters in Missouri, Arkansas, Maryland, North Dakota, and South Dakota should not want to become more like California where advertisements to buy and smoke pot are everywhere. The pungent stench of marijuana crops extends for more than a mile, and the odor from smoking the weed reeks far worse than tobacco.

The marijuana ballot initiative in Missouri is a confusing 38 pages of single-spaced fine print, which should not have been allowed on the ballot. This bill would never pass the Missouri legislature, and should not be approved by voters.

Marijuana became legal in New Mexico in April, and almost immediately 478 licensed retailers of pot littered that state. That is more than two-thirds the number of pot retailers in Colorado, which has a larger population.

Big Weed is causing a big water problem in areas of the country suffering from the summer drought. Marijuana plants soak up huge amounts of water, and often the pot growers steal that water from neighbors who need it.

Deer Creek in Oregon has run dry because of the theft of its water by marijuana growers. Cannabis needs the most water during dry summer months when water shortages have worsened for everyone else.

In Humboldt County, California, cannabis plants have been diverting so much water that the wells of neighbors are running dry. A settlement in 2019 to address this has not been successful, and people are being asked to create their own ponds to try to maintain enough water for themselves.

Estimates are that cannabis requires 100 to 200 gallons of water to grow merely one pound of it. That translates to 10 or more gallons of water wasted for every tiny ounce of pot.

Legalizing pot a decade ago in Colorado caused an explosion in pot-growing there, legal and illegal, which has drained water away from the Colorado River on which Arizona and Nevada depend. Water-wasteful marijuana farming is surging at a 16% annual increase, and will triple in size in the next eight years.

On top of that, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit just ruled that states may be prohibited by the Constitution from limiting importation of marijuana into their states. Already vans are illegally selling marijuana on the streets of New York City, which has become so troublesome there that the mayor instituted a task force to crack down against it.

Cannabis has a devastating effect on the soil, as pot-growers often deplete the nutrients of land and leave it barren while they move on to harm more soil elsewhere. Traditional agriculture rotates crops so the soil remains viable indefinitely.

On July 21, Senators from the East and West Coasts introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act in the U.S. Senate to try to expand marijuana nationwide. The cannabis industry is complaining that it is not making enough money, but opportunity for that industry means harm for others.

Senators in the Midwest and flyover country should reject special legislation for the cannabis industry. Water in the Midwest is plentiful and let’s keep it that way for our legitimate crops and comfortable living.

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 PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.