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    Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All Act, introduced last week, outlaws private health insurance. Curiously, not one of the Democratic presidential wannabes crowding around Sanders for photo ops mentioned this alarming fact. If Sanders has his way, 180 million Americans who currently have private coverage would have it ripped away and be automatically enrolled in public insurance. Kids would be enrolled at birth.

    "Medicare for All" doesn't just offer government health insurance to the needy. It makes private coverage illegal, including the health plan you get at your job. Employers are prohibited from covering workers, retirees, and their families. (Sec. 107, Sec. 522)

    Sanders' bill raises a critical question: If you're seriously ill, will you be able to get the care you need?

    Sanders guarantees you hospital care, doctors' visits, dental and vision care, mental health, and even long term care, all courtesy of Uncle Sam. Amazing, right? But read the fine print. You'll get care only if it's "medically necessary" and "appropriate." Government bureaucrats will decide, and they'll be under pressure to cut spending. (Sec. 401)

    That's because Sanders' bill imposes a hard and fast dollar limit on how much health care Americans consume in the aggregate each year. (Sec. 601) He makes it sound simple  Uncle Sam will negotiate lower prices with drug companies. Voila. But driving a hard bargain with drug makers won't make a dent in costs. Prescription drugs comprise only 10 percent of the nation's health expenditures.

    Limiting costs will necessitate capping how many mammograms, colonoscopies, hip replacements and other procedures Americans are allowed.

    That's how single-payer systems work. Britain's National Health Service  the oldest single payer system  is struggling to stay within its current annual spending limit. Patients have to wait 18 weeks just for a referral to a specialist, and routinely wait 15 months for a cataract removal, according to a new Harvard Business Review report.

    In Sanders' scheme, regional health authorities will curb "overutilization" of care, just the way British local health authorities manage the skimping. British patients at high risk of colon cancer are waiting as long as 13 weeks for a colonoscopy. Heart patients who could benefit from angioplasty have to settle for "watchful waiting." This month, NHS doctors warned that "a record number of patients could lose their lives if waiting times and bed shortages remain as bad as they already are."

    At least in Britain, people are free to buy private insurance and go outside the government system for care. That's also true in most European and Scandinavian countries with universal coverage. But not the Sanders plan. It traps you.

    The biggest losers are working people  including union workers  forced out of their "Cadillac" coverage with its generous benefits. They'll be sitting in line for care in crowded clinics next to guys on unemployment.

    Progressives like Sanders used to boast they had workers' backs. Now Sanders is bragging that his plan will free people from having to work at all. Literally, he says "Medicare for All" will enable people to "stay home with their children or leave jobs they don't like knowing that they would still have health care coverage." So much for the dignity of work.

    Sanders's critics attack the $1.4 trillion yearly price tag on his plan. Even worse is the human cost, especially if you're at risk of cancer.

    For many types of cancer, the U.S. has the highest cancer survival rates in the world. Cancer is diagnosed early and treated aggressively. Under Sanders' plan, cancer patients could face deadly delays and no private coverage alternatives.

    People who work hard should have the freedom to spend their earnings on the best insurance for their family, if they want. Outlawing that is immoral.

    The new leaders of the Democratic Party  including Sanders, Blumenthal, and Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker  don't see it that way. They're letting leftist ideology crush the priorities of everyday people.


    Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a former lieutenant governor of New York State.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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    The numbers don't lie. Across the entertainment industry, viewers and fans are tuning out. It's no coincidence ratings are cratering as unhinged celebrities crank up their anti-Trump and anti-American antics.

    Pro tip, Tinseltownies: Swapping your jazz hands for middle fingers and waving resistance fists at your customer base is bad for business. Let us count the waning ways.

    Emmy emetics. Who wanted to see smirking Stephen Colbert lead a cast of Botoxed starlets and men in hot pants, handing out TV industry awards to diamond-draped elites hoisting up their gilt statues as emblems of victory on behalf of the hegemonically oppressed? Not as many as the boob-tube titans had hoped! The show's overall viewership of 11.4 million tied an all-time low; the key ratings demographic of 18-49 adults sunk 10 percent lower than last year's historic low. Most of America had better things to do than watch a privileged cabal of left-wing, coastal one-percenters preening indulgently about their progressivism. Conservative actor James Wood had the response of the night to the Emmy ego-thon, noting that "the stunning lack of political diversity in Hollywood is interesting, when you consider their consumer base is so evenly divided."

    Oscars' abyss. Earlier this year, the Academy Awards show earned the second-lowest viewership ratings in its history. Program host Jimmy Kimmel and other celebs turned their stage and red carpet into Trump-bashing soapboxes for anti-cop rants, open borders pleas and Quran promotion.

    Box office beatdown. Hollywood's summer movie season launched more duds than North Korea's Rocket Man. By Labor Day weekend, revenue plunged "nearly 16 percent over last year, the steepest decline in modern times," according to the Hollywood Reporter, adding that "(a)ttendance also plummeted, and is almost assured of hitting a 25-year low in terms of the number of tickets sold, according to Box Office Mojo." Variety dubbed it "the worst the movie industry has seen in more than a decade."

    I don't want my MTV. The network that used to broadcast music videos now has a hard time attracting eyeballs to its marquee Video Music Awards. Go figure. Its 10th annual awards show was "the least-watched one in its history," marking the "fourth year in a row that the network has seen a decline in the crown jewel of its annual calendar," according to the Associated Press.

    Al Gore's man-made disaster. Among the summer's hottest messes? Environmental scare-monger Al Gore's climate change sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth." The original green Chicken Little flick raked in nearly $50 million in 2006. The follow-up this summer, in release for a measly six weeks, scraped up less than $3.5 million in domestic receipts. Paramount tried to prop up the film with trailer endorsements from Bono, Randy Jackson, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine and Shailene Woodley. But their Hollywood helium couldn't lift Gore's cinematic lead balloon.

    Rolling Stone's tombstone. The iconic pop culture and music magazine rolled itself into oblivion after publishing its infamous "Rape on Campus" hoax article in 2014. Legal costs are approaching $5 million; this week, a third defamation suit by University of Virginia fraternity members moved forward. Over the weekend, owner Jann Wenner announced that his majority stake in the rag is now for sale. Maybe magazine cover boys and lefty multimillionaires Justin Trudeau, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama can pitch in?

    NFL = No fans left. The football field is now a minefield of social justice causes, where National Football League officials countenance Black Power salutes, but ban pro-police decals on helmets after cop ambushes. A recent J.D. Power survey found that national anthem protests by players were the top reason fans stopped watching games. Viewership at the start of the 2017 regular season was down 13 percent for the NFL and NBC from last year's opener. Gridiron fans are switching the channel and they're staying out of the stadiums, too. The Rams and Chargers barely filled half their stadiums. The USC-Texas game boasted higher attendance numbers than those two teams' games combined.

    NFL brass blame hurricanes. But from the boob tube to the big screen to the glossies to the Big Leagues, the fault lies not with Mother Nature or the entertainment industry's consumersbut with the fatally self-absorbed, politically toxified stars themselves.


    Michelle Malkin is host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" on CRTV.com. 
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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    The entire politico-media complex had a nervous breakdown last week over President Trump's position on DACA.

    Lawmakers, journalists and activists jumped to all sorts of conclusions when Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that over dinner at the White House on Sept. 13 they reached an "agreement" with the president over the future of 700,000 illegal immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

    There was reason to be skeptical—after all, the story was coming from just one side. But skepticism was in short supply, and even some of those who realized the information was sketchy couldn't keep themselves from speaking up. Some Trump supporters instantly assumed the president had sold them out. Some Trump opponents instantly mocked Trump supporters for ever believing his promises. Democrats wondered what Schumer and Pelosi were doing with the hated president.

    Many spoke without enough knowledge to draw any conclusions, or even early conclusions.

    The two parties most to blame were Schumer/Pelosi and the Associated Press. After the White House dinner, the Democratic leaders released a statement saying of their meeting with the president, "We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides."

    A reasonable reader would conclude that the two sides had reached a deal on DACA, with just the border security measures to be worked out later. But the AP took things a step further, suggesting a done deal. At 9:55 p.m. Sept. 13, the news agency tweeted: "BREAKING: Schumer, Pelosi announce deal with Trump to protect young immigrants; will include border security, but no wall."

    That was ahead of where things actually stood, but, coming from the AP, it was instantly accepted as fact. All hell broke loose.

    Writing on the basis of the AP tweet, Republican Rep. Steve King, an immigration hawk, tweeted, "If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible."

    By 11:00 p.m., Breitbart News ran the headline "AMNESTY DON" above "REPORT: Trump caves on DACA."

    Sean Hannity was skeptical, but still jumped in. Responding to a Twitter follower who said Trump is "really pissing off his base right now," Hannity rushed to point the finger at the Republican Party. "If reports true 100%," Hannity tweeted. "I blame R's. They caused this. They wanted him to fail and now pushed him into arms of political suicide--IF TRUE."

    Meanwhile, as Twitter lit up, Pelosi sent a relatively subdued note to her House Democratic colleagues. At the White House meeting, she said, "We agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation's DREAMERs from deportation."

    "Agreed to a plan to work out an agreement." That's a classic Washington way of saying the parties haven't agreed on anything but agree to keep talking in hopes of eventually reaching an agreement. Beyond that weak formulation, Pelosi, in her note, did not claim the two sides had agreed on anything.

    That didn't stop the ruckus. Nor did much change when, the next morning, Trump made an attempt to quiet things down. "No deal was made last night on DACA," he tweeted. "Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote."

    Seeking to mollify supporters who saw him caving to Schumer and Pelosi, Trump added: "The WALL ... will continue to be built."

    At the same time, Trump sounded positively Schumer-esque with another tweet asking, "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!" But even then, Trump said "BIG border security" would have to accompany legalization.

    Later, more members of Congress chimed in with reminders that a DACA deal, if there is to be one, will be made by lawmakers, and not just the president. What Schumer and Pelosi and Trump laid out were positions in a negotiation that will take place between House, Senate and White House.

    But on the night of Sept. 13 and the morning of the 14th, when hair was on fire across Washington and social media, there was no deal and nothing had been decided, except that everyone said they wanted a deal, which is what negotiators always say.

    In other words, the whole episode changed pretty much nothing. Anyone who followed Trump during the campaign knows he is headed toward some sort of accommodation for DACA recipients. And anyone who follows the Trump administration and Congress knows there will be showdowns on Capitol Hill over the wall and other border security and enforcement measures. That is where the DACA issue stood before the freakout of Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and that is where the issue stood afterward.

    All that panic for no reason. People are on hair trigger these days. They go off before they know what is going on. The DACA fiasco should be a lesson.


    Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 BYRON YORK


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    George Orwell once observed, "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them." 

    Were Orwell alive today, perhaps he would revise his adage to, "There are some ideas so manifestly true that only a college professor could deny them." 

    Consider the professorial community's latest collective eruption. 

    In an August Philadelphia Inquirer editorial, two maverick law professors had the audacity to lament the erosion of traditional American "bourgeois norms" like hard work, civility and self-discipline, and advocated their restoration. 

    Apparently, that's what now merits outrage in deans' offices and faculty lounges across the country. 

    The rogue authors in question are Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego School of Law.  In their piece entitled "Paying the Price for Breakdown of the Country's Bourgeois Culture," Ms. Wax and Mr. Alexander confront the societal scourges of generational poverty, opioid abuse, student underperformance and violent crime: 

    The causes of these phenomena are multiple and complex, but implicated in these and other maladies is the breakdown of the country's bourgeois culture. 

    That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow:  Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake.  Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness.  Go the extra mile for your employer or client.  Be a patriot, ready to serve the country.  Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable.  Avoid coarse language in public.  Be respectful of authority.  Eschew substance abuse and crime. 

    Cue the campus meltdown. 

    Less than a week later, Dean Ted Ruger of the University of Pennsylvania Law School took to the pages of Penn's The Daily Pennsylvanian.  After curiously emphasizing that Professor Wax was tenuredperhaps suggesting that she otherwise might have faced employment consequencesDean Ruger bizarrely noted that white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, occurred just days after Professor Wax's column.  He proceeded to emphasize that, "Institutionally and collectively, we must permit every student and faculty member to speak, but we need not remain silent or imply endorsement of ... divisive, even noxious, views." 

    In a separate letter to The Daily Pennsylvanian, 33 members of the Penn Law faculty wrote "to condemn recent statements our colleague Amy Wax, the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at Penn Law School, has made in popular media pieces." 

    At Professor Alexander's University of San Diego, Dean Stephen Ferruolo expressed his disapproval as well, and students at both Penn and USD requested that Professors Wax and Alexander be banned from teaching core first-year courses. 

    But while Professors Wax and Alexander triggered faculty and student hysteria, most Americans today, and certainly past generations, would consider their points uncontroversial to the point of truism. 

    A recent Gallup survey, for instance, found that a 62% to 38% majority of Americans believe in "the opportunity for a person in this nation to get ahead by working hard."  And that's after nearly eight years of the most sluggish economic cyclical recovery in U.S. history under Barack Obama. 

    Basic demographic and sociological data undergird Professors Wax and Alexander as well.  According to U.S. Census, the likelihood of living in poverty in America approaches zero if a person does three simple things:  (1) stay out of prison, (2) graduate high school and (3) avoid having children outside of marriage. 

    That's obviously not to condemn or morally judge those who falter on any of those categories.  All humans are fallible, and America is the land of second, third, fourth and innumerable chances.  Moreover, a small number of people are unable to satisfy those requisites.  Professors Wax and Alexander themselves stress that exceptions exist, and they avoid moral condemnation of individuals. 

    That said, the real-world statistics are what they are, and they establish the validity of the professors' commentary. 

    It's also false, by the way, for offended faculty and students to claim that unwed motherhood is a longstanding byproduct of racism.  As Dr. Thomas Sowell (himself African-American) has emphasized, U.S. Census data "going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery ... showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults.  This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940." 

    Meanwhile, colleges often fail in their fundamental duty of educating students to become informed, productive citizens. 

    As just the latest illustration among many, a recent Brookings Institution survey of college students found that 44% believe that the First Amendment doesn't protect what they consider "hate speech."  Another 51% favor shouting down campus speakers "known for making offensive and hurtful statements," while 19% actually find physical violence against controversial speakers acceptable. 

    But hey, professors appear to be doing a great job of reliving their 1960s activism vicariously through their students, and creating hair-trigger outrage drones for a life of street violence and protest. 

    As college costs and student borrowing become increasingly unsustainable, however, they shouldn't be surprised if more and more people tune them out and refuse to purchase what they're selling. 


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    In recent months, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has taken to scaremongering his audience with well-worn Democratic Party talking points regarding health care insurance policy. Between yuks, he occasionally accuses Republicans of being would-be baby killers, which is treated as an important political development because, well, Jimmy Kimmel is famous.

    This week, the comedian was back to explain why the new Graham-Cassidy Republican "repeal" bill is bad news. There were only two things wrong with his monologue: Almost everything he said was either completely untrue or highly misleading, and his simplistic emotional appeal was completely disconnected from the real world.

    The comedian's interest in policy was sparked by the harrowing experience of having a newborn son who suffered from a rare health condition. Thankfully, his boy is OK. "If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make," said an emotional Kimmel in May. "I think that's something that, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?" 

    Yes, everyone agrees. As far as I know, there isn't a single politician in America who has ever supported allowing babies to die because they are born with birth defects, even if the parents can't pay. Not pre-Obamacare, and not post-Obamacare.

    In any event, after Kimmel's May rant, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy showed up on his show to explain his position. These types of culture encounters shouldn't be dismissed, because the fact is most viewers are unaware of specific policies and have a notional understanding that's prejudiced by the establishment media's coverage. Cassidy came up with something he called the "Jimmy Kimmel Test," a test that no "family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can't afford it."

    Kimmel claims that the new bill doesn't meet this threshold. "This guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face," the talk-show host said on Tuesday night during an extended political rant. He went on to say, "And by the way, before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I'm politicizing my son's health problems, I want you to know: I am politicizing my son's health problems." OK.

    He explained: "Coverage for all? No. Fact, it will kick about 30 million Americans off insurance."

    Not a single person would be "kicked off" his or her insurance. Rather, the Congressional Budget Office review of the AHCA found that of the 24 million Americans who would no longer have health insurance after an Obamacare repeal, 14 million would choose not to buy insurance in 2018 in the absence of a penalty. And if Obamacare were not repealed, the CBO projects another 6 million people would voluntarily leave the Obamacare markets. Now, if you don't believe Americans should be afforded the choice to leave or not buy insurance, just say that. No one is being kicked off.

    Moreover, if Kimmel supports the individual mandate, Graham-Cassidy allows California to institute itas I am sure it would.

    Kimmel says: "Pre-existing conditions? Nope. If the bill passes, individual states can let insurance companies charge more if you have a pre-existing condition."

    States would be allowed to apply for waivers to change what qualifies as an essential health benefit as long as they still preserve "adequate and affordable health insurance coverage" for people with pre-existing conditions. You may prefer price fixing to allowing states flexibility to try and fix these problems, but Graham-Cassidy does not break the "Jimmy Kimmel Test." Kimmel might not be aware that there is no plan in place that has government cutting checks after every surgery.

    Kimmel then implored his audience to call Cassidy to stop the imaginary bill he had just described. It's a shame that Kimmel didn't provide a number to call for the tens of millions of Americans who have seen their premiums and out-of-pocket costs skyrocket under Obamacare's strictures. Is there no number available for those who are sick of being in exchanges that coerce them to buy plans they don't need that are sold by companies they don't like in fabricated, noncompetitive "markets" with dwindling choices?

    Anyway, so went a monologue that could have been written by any liberal activist. Which is to say it was all about cheap zero-sum emotionalism. Kimmel doesn't believe Americans deserve the chance to reduce the cost of health care with market-based reforms on the state level, or in giving states any flexibility in catering their plans to their own citizens. Kimmel believes California and New York should spend more per capita and smaller states should suffer. Kimmel doesn't believe that individuals and families should be allowed to contribute to health savings accounts or use them to help pay ever-growing insurance premiums. Kimmel wants average Americans to suffer.

    You see? Anyone can play this game.


    David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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    Good news for college men. You're again welcome on campus. On Friday, Sept. 22, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ripped up the Obama administration's one-sided rules on how colleges and universities handle accusations of sexual assault and misconduct. The rules, imposed in 2011, were so stacked against the accusedusually young menthat in dozens of cases, innocent male students were branded as rapists, kicked out of school and robbed of future job opportunities.

    Those with sufficient money and fortitude managed to get their names cleared in real courts of lawwhere rules of evidence, due process and reasonable standards of proof apply. Last month, a California judge threw out a rape case against a 20-year-old University of Southern California student when video tapes showed sex with a female student was consensual. But he still faces possible expulsion, because USC's Obama-era policies tilt the scales against himdespite the vivid evidence of consent. That's the difference between American justice, where the accused have rights, and Obama's campus sex courts, where only accusers are believed.

    Advocates for the Obama rules defend them as "survivor-centered." That means they're biased against the accused, and bias has no place in a court. The Obama rules have been criticized by the American Bar Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers and Harvard Law School facultyhardly right-wingers.

    DeVos promises new rules in the coming months. Vowing no tolerance for sexual assault, she said, "Schools must continue to confront those horrific crimes and behaviors head-on." But "the process also must be fair and impartial."

    Fair? Don't hold your breath. Campuses are so dominated by anti-male ideology that it's unlikely men there will be given a fair shake. The parade of lives ruined by campus sex tribunals proves college administrators are eager to deny male students the right to have a lawyer, know the charges, gather evidence, cross-examine witnesses or even be presumed innocent until proven guilty. That's not going to change overnight.

    Instead of improving "campus justice"an oxymoronDeVos should require that schools bring in police capable of collecting forensic evidence and dealing with sex charges, and defer to real courts whenever a student is accused of sexual assault or rape. Colleges need to get out of the business of sex trials and instead focus on opening students' eyes to the downsides of sexual promiscuityespecially fueled by binge-drinking.

    Right now, many colleges foster an atmosphere of free-wheeling hedonism. At Harvard, that includes running naked laps around the Yard to bring out students' "animalistic roots." At nearly all colleges, dorms and bathrooms are coed. Schools like Yale, Amherst and Princeton kick it up a notch, offering coed bedrooms.

    Colleges are creating conditions that pressure sexually inexperienced students to hook up, often after drinking. That leads to mixed signals, false expectations and regrets. Casual sex can be emotionally bruising.

    No wonder some women who engage in consensual sex claim afterward that they hadn't agreed. Feminists are actually redefining sex with regrets as rape. That labels the young man as a rapist.

    A video for incoming Brown University students teaches that "consent is knowing that my partner wants me just as much as I want them." Good luck. Even sexually experienced adults can't always tell.

    Every college requires incoming students to hear lectures on consentask before kissing, ask before touching, ask again and again. Few warn about the physical dangers and psychological pressuresdespite evidence that students who engage in repeated hookups suffer.

    Colleges are being hypocritical. They foster a sexual hothouse environment and then pin the blame on young men when things go wrong. DeVos should put an end to college sex courts and require equal treatment for young men and young women.


    Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a former lieutenant governor of New York State.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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    I'm calling foul on all the leftists rushing to protect the NFL's protest crusaders from President Donald Trump's criticism of their national anthem antics.

    Their shabby line of defense? The NFL is a "private enterprise" whose "rights" are being violated by those who dare to challenge the league's political radicalization. The anti-Trump Democratic Coalition has even filed an ethics complaint alleging that the president's comments constitute a criminal violation against using government offices "to influence the employment decisions and practices" of a private entity.

    Funny. These fair-weather friends of corporate free speech and the First Amendment were nowhere to be found when Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were vowing to shut down Chick-Fil-A in their towns as government retaliation against the founders' private religious beliefs.

    As for the NFL's status as a "private" enterprise? That's some Super Bowl-sized audacity right there. I first started tracking publicly subsidized sports boondoggles with my very first watchdog website, Porkwatch, back in 1999. Since then, taxpayers at all levels of government have foot the bill for football stadiums to the tune of an estimated $1 billion every year.

    Over the past decade, new tax-supported NFL stadiums rose up for the Indianapolis Colts (the $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium), the Dallas Cowboys (the $1.15 billion AT&T Stadium) the New York Jets and Giants (the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings (the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium), the Atlanta Falcons (the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium), and the San Francisco 49ers (the $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara).

    Next in the works: a whopping $2.6 billion stadium for the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams and a $1.9 billion stadium for the Oakland Raiders when they move to Las Vegas. Left behind? An $83 million taxpayer debt on two-decade-old renovations to the Alameda County Coliseum that the Raiders are abandoning.

    Both political parties have supported massive redistribution of taxes from working people to the gridiron's spoiled 1-percenters. Public-private sports palace boosters employ the same bogus economic development math as the federal government's infamous Solyndra green energy loans, stimulus rip-offs and jobs programs. Citizens are promised an enormous multiplier of jobs and benefits in return for their "investments." But instead they've been saddled with a field of schemes.

    Sports economists have concluded repeatedly that the effects of stadium subsidies on employment and economic activity are negligibleor even negative. Scott Wolla of the St. Louis Federal Reserve reported earlier this year, "In a 2017 poll, 83 percent of the economists surveyed agreed that 'Providing state and local subsidies to build stadiums for professional sports teams is likely to cost the relevant taxpayers more than any local economic benefits that are generated.'"

    Yet, the NFL, its teams and its sponsors continue to benefit from a bonanza of tax-free loans, municipal bonds, rent waivers and property tax exemptions. Congress provided the league with an antitrust exemption that protects its monopoly broadcasting rights. Localities have raided "emergency" funds to help pay for stadium construction. And corporate benefactors write off their expenses for luxury boxes, tickets and naming-rights purchases.

    As long as the NFL has its hog noses buried in the taxpayer trough, I'll keep speaking up about all the football militants who backed former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and his disgusting cops-as-pigs socks.

    You wanna raise your fists on the field? Get your grubby hands out of our pockets first.


    Michelle Malkin is host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" on CRTV.com. 
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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  • 09/28/17--06:50: CFIF Supreme Court Quiz
  • alt

    Take CFIF’s 10-Question Supreme Court Quiz and test your knowledge of our Nation’s Highest Court.

    (Answer key may be found at the bottom)


    1. How many Justices comprise the U.S. Supreme Court?

    a. Five
    b. Six
    c. Nine
    d. Eleven

    2. How many times has Congress changed the number of justices comprising the U.S. Supreme Court?

    a. Three times
    b. Five times
    c. Six times
    d. Never

    3. Who was the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court?

    a. John Jay 
    b. John Marshall
    c. John Roberts
    d. John Paul Stevens

    4. Which President’s Supreme Court nominee was the first to fail Senate confirmation?

    a. George W. Bush
    b. George Washington
    c. Franklin D. Roosevelt
    d. Ronald Reagan

    5. How many U.S. Presidents have also served on the Supreme Court?

    a. None
    b. One
    c. Two
    d. Three

    6. Who was first President to nominate a woman to the U.S. Supreme Court?

    a. Barack Obama
    b. Ronald Reagan
    c. George W. Bush
    d. Bill Clinton

    7. How many Supreme Court Justices have subsequently run for President of the United States?

    a. None
    b. One
    c. Three 
    d. Five

    8. Which U.S. President had the most Supreme Court nominations fail to receive Senate confirmation?

    a. Abraham Lincoln
    b. Franklin D. Roosevelt
    c. John Tyler
    d. John F. Kennedy

    9. Who is the longest-serving Supreme Court Justice to date?

    a. John Marshall 
    b. William O. Douglas
    c. Thurgood Marshall
    d. John Paul Stevens

    10. Who is the current Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court?

    a. Samuel Alito
    b. William Rehnquist
    c. John Roberts
    d. Clarence Thomas

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    "It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is."
    Marbury v. Madison, 1803


    Answers: 1(c); 2(c); 3(a); 4(b); 5(b); 6(b); 7(b); 8(c); 9(b); 10 (c)


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    When it comes to shamelessness and sheer chutzpah, it's difficult to top labor union leaders. 

    First, they tenaciously fight right-to-work laws, which simply allow individual employees to decide whether or not they wish to join unions.  It apparently hasn't dawned on them that compulsory membership is more befitting the former East Germany or today's Cuba than the United States of America. 

    When that fails, they resort to filing lawsuits claiming that they nevertheless enjoy a "property right" to non-members' wages. 

    In welcome news, however, courts in two separate states this month harshly rejected such claims, highlighting once again the critical importance of the judicial branch in preserving individual freedoms across the federal, state and local levels. 

    Although union leaders claim to be fighting for workers' welfare, it's obvious to any rational observer that it's all part of a desperate attempt to reclaim bygone political power. 

    Consider that since 1990, the largest unions have spent an astonishing $1 billion on elections at the federal level alone.  Notably, 97% of that amount was steered toward Democratic candidates. 

    While union leaders will counter that businesses also contribute to political candidates, the difference is that businesses split their contributions to Democrats and Republicans at a ratio closer to 50/50.  That's something to keep in mind when unions rationalize their desire to spend members' wages on partisan political activity rather than collective bargaining or workplace improvements. 

    And here's what explains unions' increasing sense of desperation. 

    Whereas 36% of the private U.S. labor force belonged to unions at their peak in 1953, today that number is just 7%.  That largely reflects the fact that federal, state and local laws have made unions superfluous.  After all, statutes and regulations now mandate the things for which unions originally fought, such as better working conditions, employee safety standards, overtime pay, hour limits, minimum wages and health benefits. 

    But the inexorable decline in labor union power also reflects popular belief that they tend to make the industries and locations they dominate less economically competitive.  Fully 28 states have now passed right-to-work laws, and those that have visibly outperform states that still allow unions to compel workplace membership.  And where union membership is no longer mandatory, the number of workers electing to join unions has plummeted. 

    Faced with that reality, unions have resorted to a new strategy:  filing lawsuits claiming that right-to-work laws amount to an unconstitutional "taking" of union "property without just compensation." 

    Give them credit for creativity, but two separate state courts have just dismissed that theory in notably harsh terms. 

    In Wisconsin, an alliance of unions attempted to repeal 2015 Wisconsin Act 1 in court after efforts at the legislative level failed, but the appellate court unanimously served them another defeat: 

    Act 1 does not "appropriate, transfer, or encumber" money contained in the Unions' treasuries.  Similarly, Act 1 does not require labor organizations to provide services to anyone.  Act 1 merely prohibits employers from requiring union membership or the payment of fees as a condition of employment.  The Unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of non-member employees. 

    What's astonishing is that it took an appellate court to enlighten labor leaders to that straightforward concept. 

    In West Virginia, the state's Supreme Court castigated the plaintiff unions even more severely. 

    "Twenty-eight states," the Court noted, "including West Virginia, have a right to work law, yet the unions have not directed us to any federal or state appellate court that, in over seven decades, has struck down such a law."  It continued, "This Court routinely rejects skeletal arguments like that offered by the unions." 

    Even more remarkably, the Court took the extraordinary step of reminding both the union plaintiffs and the public at large that the judicial branch should not be seen as merely another political branch to be exploited to achieve policy preferences: 

    Whether a law is fair or unfair is not a question for the judicial branch of government.  Courts cannot dwell "upon the political, social, economic or scientific merits of statutes."  The wisdom, desirability, and fairness of a law are political questions to be resolved in the Legislature.  Those decisions may only be challenged in the court of public opinion and the ballot box, not before the judiciary. 

    The Court merits our praise for not only achieving the correct legal result, but providing a tutorial on separation of powers and the judiciary branch's proper role in a republican democracy. 

    Come to think of it, perhaps President Trump should expand his list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees to the members of the West Virginia Supreme Court majority, if he hasn't already. 


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    The latest iteration of Obamacare repeal has likely failed. Senate Republicans were unable to pass a watered-down repeal effort that offered states some meager level of federalism in the form of block grants. Now, we're again going to hear a lot of noise about the need to embrace a "bipartisan" approach to fix health care.

    "Since nearly every promise we made with Obamacare has failed, you now have a responsibility to save it": To many, this might seem like a shamelessly counterintuitive thing to say, but it's very popular among Democrats. The problem is that any effort that further entrenches a wholly partisan law is not, in any genuine way, "bipartisan." And Republicans have zero reason to play along.

    For the first time in American history, the party in powercomplete power, mind youis being asked to bail out the minority's signature failed reform. Not just any reform: Democrats unilaterally shoved through the system a wide-ranging national restructuring of a vital part of the economy. It was an effort that blew up dozens of governing norms and was built on a giant lie, a manipulated Congressional Budget Office score and a process that, outside a few Kabuki theater hearings and technical amendments, ignored half the country while coercing every citizen's participation. In fact, many of the people being asked to bail out Obamacare warned that Obamacare would need bailing out.

    So what do conservatives gain in these "bipartisan" effortsI mean, other than the honor of saving Obamacare? Democrats have shown zero inclination to compromise on any substantive changes other than perhaps adding more spending or regulatory controls on consumer choice. Liberals have trillions of ideas on how to expand the welfare state, and not a single one on how to save people from it.

    What makes this pretend "bipartisanship" even more off-putting is that most Republicans, including the president, can, either fully or in large part, thank the national movement that coalesced around opposition to the Affordable Care Act in 2010 for their careers and power. It wasn't merely a reaction to the billwhich millions rightly saw as the first step in nationalizing carebut the hyper-partisanship and leftward lurch of the party ramming it through.

    A thousand or so seats later, Republicans have now reverted to form, trembling in the wake of some poor polling numbers and Jimmy Kimmel's sock puppetry. What did they expect was going to happen? Where are the voices offering compelling and passionate arguments for repeal? Where is the concerted effort from the GOP to speak for the tens of millions who suffer under Obamacare's spiking premiums and decreasing choices? It all seemed to dissipate when repeal became a possible reality.

    Now, as then, Democrats were open to bipartisanship as long as others didn't bring any of their ideas along. The only compromise struck during negotiations over the Affordable Care Act was between needed moderate Democrats and leftist Democrats. Over the past eight years, those moderates have been purged from the party, and the folks most responsible for this disaster are still framing the contours of the debate.

    If Democrats are unwilling to negotiate on truly bipartisan grounds, Republicans should hold tight. Donald Trump, who promised throughout his campaign to overturn Obamacare, could immediately put a deadline on the unconstitutional subsidy payments that the Obama administration concocted to keep the bill from imploding. Yes, liberals will continue to claim that conservatives are "sabotaging" the law, but there is no moral, policy or political reason for the GOP to continue the payoffs. No matter how many welfare dollars Congress ends up pouring into fabricated markets or how much price-fixing they engage in, the "exchanges" are unsustainable. Why would conservatives want to take ownership of those failures?

    As the Senate stands now, it's improbable that Republicans will ever be able to cobble together a bill that will placate both the Susan Collins-John McCain wing and the Mike Lee-Rand Paul wing. In fact, I doubt Collins would vote for a single-payer bill if too many Republicans supported it. You may be rightly skeptical that repeal will ever pass. Yet it is not out of the question that help is on the way. Perhaps the GOP's positioning on health care reform will lead to midterm disaster. But we've heard this one beforesometimes right before a GOP wave election. Fact is, the 2018 Senate map is still not favorable to Dems.

    Liberals like to argue that allowing Obamacare to fail would bring a single-payer closer to reality. Well, it is just as likely that prolonging Obamacare's lifespan would help single-payer, as the next Democratic administration will surely continue to expand the reach of the law. (Unlike the GOP, Democrats don't shy away from incrementalism.) If Republicans truly believe Obamacare has harmed America, there is no upside in fake bipartisanship. Not for the GOP. And not for the American people.


    David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist

    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM 


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    Whenever President Trump sets off a new controversy, there's always a period of hair-on-fire commentary, usually conducted in the absence of polls or other evidence of public opinion. It's happened again and again, the latest example being the president, the NFL and the national anthem.

    Trump set things off Sept. 22 during a speech in Alabama. Now, after some time has passed, there are new polls with information on the underlying issue—NFL players protesting during the national anthem—and Trump's treatment of it.

    On the protests, the short version is, the public, which disapproved when Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand for the anthem last year, still disapproves.

    A new CBS poll asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of football players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem?" Fifty-two percent said they strongly or somewhat disapprove, while 38 percent said they strongly or somewhat approve, and nine percent said they haven't heard enough to say.

    The disapprove-approve numbers were 51-39 in a new ESPN poll.

    Fox News asked, "In general, do you think kneeling during the national anthem is an appropriate—or inappropriate—form of protest?" Fifty-five percent said inappropriate, while 41 percent said appropriate, and five percent didn't know.

    CNN asked the question in a slightly roundabout way, asking, "Do you think athletes who protest by kneeling during the national anthem are doing the right thing or the wrong thing to express their political opinion? Forty-nine percent said the wrong thing, 43 percent said the right thing, and eight percent didn't know.

    A USA Today/Suffolk poll got a different result—51 percent said the protests are appropriate, while 42 percent said they aren't—but did so by writing a question that specifically framed the protest as a stand against racial injustice. The question: "Some NFL players have dropped to one knee during the playing of the national anthem, as a protest bringing attention to police brutality and racial injustice. In your opinion, is it appropriate for players to engage in this sort of protest before an NFL game—yes or no?"

    In a more general sense, the CBS poll shed additional light on the public's attitude toward the demonstrations when it asked, "Do you think professional athletes should or should not use their position and fame to talk politics or raise issues, if they want to?" The poll gave respondents three choices: "Yes, whenever they want to," "Yes, but only on their own time," and "No, they should not."

    A decisive 68 percent said athletes either should get political on their own time or not at all. (The breakdown of that was 41 percent said athletes should do it on their own time, and 27 percent said they shouldn't do it at all. Just 32 percent said athletes could get political whenever they want to.)

    Given the racial dimension of the controversy, the poll broke things down further by race. Forty-six percent of blacks said athletes should get political on their own time or not at all; 64 percent of Hispanics said the same; 58 percent of other races/ethnicities agreed; and 75 percent of whites agreed. Blacks were the only group that said, by a 54 percent majority, that athletes should get political whenever they want.

    The bottom line is that in most polls, other than the USA Today/Suffolk survey, small majorities oppose the national anthem protests. But in a broader sense, a much larger majority opposes athletes using the field of competition to play politics.

    Why is the majority generally opposing political activity on the field larger than the majority specifically opposing the anthem protests? Just a theory here—it could be that the former is a true measure of opinion on sports protests, while the latter is associated with Trump, which means measures of opinion about the anthem protests are commingled with respondents' opinions about the president.

    Which leads to the polls' findings about Trump. CBS asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of Donald Trump's recent comments about football players who protest during the national anthem?" Forty-eight percent strongly or somewhat disapproved, while 38 percent strongly or somewhat approved, and 14 percent did not know.

    CNN asked, "Do you think Donald Trump did the right thing or the wrong thing by criticizing athletes from the National Football League who have protested by kneeling during the national anthem?" Sixty percent said Trump did the wrong thing, while 34 percent said he did the right thing and six percent didn't know. Other polls showed similarly strong disapproval of the president's action.

    What does it all mean? First, most Americans disapprove of the protests. But at the same time, most don't want the president inserting himself into the issue. Even those Americans who support the president would still like to see him concentrate his public statements on issues like taxes, economic growth, healthcare, immigration, North Korea, and other critical matters.

    But Trump does what he does. And on the NFL protest question, if the new polls are correct, he's on the same side as most Americans—even if most also wish he would stay out of it.


    Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 BYRON YORK


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  • 10/04/17--06:52: We Need Fallacy Control Now!
  • Enough is enough. It's epidemic. It's dangerous. And the time has come to demand its end.

    In the aftermath of the horrific massacre in Las Vegas, America needs fallacy control. Yes, we must declare war on fallaciousness. Now more than ever, the nation is suffering from an outbreak of illogical thinking. In response to senseless violence, clearheaded citizens deserve a safe space from the 24/7 barrage of rhetorical nonsense. Let's break down the collective cognitive breakdown.

    Argumentum ad celebritum.

    Empty talking points don't become persuasive arguments when uttered by Hollywood stars. But in the bizarre land of the celebrity cult, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has been suddenly anointed "America's conscience" and "voice of reason."

    Kimmel railed "intensely" on TV Monday night against politicians doing "nothing" to stop mass gun violence. Sobbing and emotional, he insisted, "there's a lot of things we can do about it." Yet, Kimmel acknowledged that Mandalay Bay gunman Stephen Paddock had passed multiple, mandated background checks and had no criminal history. Moreover, Paddock bought his guns legally from Nevada and Utah gun shops subject to a thicket of local, state and federal rulesand reportedly carried 23 of his weapons into a casino/hotel that already operates as a gun-free zone.

    Federal studies show that a measly 1 to 3 percent of all guns are purchased at gun shows, but that didn't stop Kimmel from tossing around non sequiturs attacking the "gun show loophole." It's a mythical exemption in federal law for private weapons sales at gun shows or online intended to drum up hysteria about unregulated gun sales. In reality, firearms purchased through federally licensed firearms dealers at gun shops, shows, garage sales or anywhere else are subject to all the usual checks and restrictions. Only a narrow category of same-state transactions between private individuals not engaged in the commercial business of selling firearms (family members or collectors, for example) are unaffected by those regulations.

    There is zero empirical evidence that banning these types of transactions would do anything to prevent gun crimes or mass shootings. But who needs evidence when Jimmy Kimmel is bawling on stage "intensely"? The tears of a clown outweigh the sobriety of facts.

    Argumentum ad populum and argumentum ad hashtag.

    Actor Billy Baldwin unloaded a fallacy two-fer with his assertion that "the overwhelming majority of Dems, Reps & NRA members endorse #GunSafety," so "how can we let the #NRA hold us hostage like this? #NRATerrorists." Claiming that an "overwhelming majority" of people agree with you doesn't make your argument sound. Nor does citing polls showing support for "gun show loopholes" that those surveyed don't fully understand. Nor does attacking the character of your political opponents and hashtag-smearing them as "NRATerrorists" for holding political viewpoints different than your own.

    Straw men and red herrings.

    Grossly oversimplifying support of ineffective or superfluous gun control measures as "#GunSafety" allows celebrities, politicians and activists to prop up their favorite hollow debating tactic: asserting that gun owners, NRA members, and Republicans don't care about gun safety and want more innocent people to die.

    Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu illustrated a similar diversionary tactic by waving the red herring of a "gun silencer bill" and demanding that GOP "COWARDS" vote against deregulating such suppressors. Hillary Clinton also demagogued the issue, ghoulishly tweeting: "Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get." Her running mate and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine parroted the propaganda, claiming that Paddock "was only stopped because he didn't have a silencer on his firearm, and the sound drew people to the place where he was ultimately stopped."

    Police, however, took 72 minutes to locate Paddock; it was the sound of hotel fire alarms set off by all the gun smoke that led them to the shooter. But let's not let pesky facts in the way.

    Think of the children.

    Invoking kids to support one's public policy preferences is not an argument. It's a timeworn appeal to emotion. Without it, however, gun control advocates are all out of ammunition.

    "We as a society owe it to our children" to pass "common sense" gun control, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton pleaded.

    "Thoughts & prayers are NOT enough. Not when more moms & dads will bury kids this week, & more sons & daughters will grow up without parents," Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., fumed on Twitter.

    And actor Boris Kodjoe tweeted: "My 10 year old asked me how the shooter was able to get his machine gun. I told him that pretty much anyone in the US can. 'But why daddy'?"

    Too bad Kodjoe's kid will never know that daddy didn't tell him the truth about fully automatic firearms (aka "machine guns"), which have been effectively banned from private civilian ownership in the U.S. as a result of federal gun legislation dating back to 1934. Nor will the children of the "Think about the children!" brigade be taught the truth about defensive gun use or Second Amendment history and jurisprudence.

    We owe our children critical thinking skills and evidence-based public policy, not knee-jerk slogans and tear-jerking treacle.


    Michelle Malkin is host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" on CRTV.com. 
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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  • 10/04/17--07:04: Dems vs. the Facts
  • President Trump has unveiled a tax plan to ignite economic growth and simplify the tax filing ordeal. Sadly, top Democrats are responding with divisive rhetoric and lies. Senator Chuck Schumer dismisses the plan as "wealth-fare." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls the plan "giveaways to big corporations and billionaires."

    Intent on stoking envy, these class warfare politicians are willing to forfeit economic growth. But the nation can't afford to.

    Here are the facts to rebut their demagoguery:

    Senator Bernie Sanders smears the Trump plan as "morally repugnant," claiming the rich don't pay their "fair share."

    You'll hear the same complaint in the "Not One Penny" TV ads paid for by MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups. They warn Congress not to allow one cent of tax cuts for high-income people. But the top 10 percent of earners pay 80 percent of federal income taxes. Do the math. Any sizable tax cut will have to benefit them. Earners in the bottom half of the nation pay only a sliverunder 3 percentof federal income taxes collected.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren rages that the plan "delivers massive cuts to corporations" and "kicks working families to the curb." Wrong, Senator. Business tax cuts don't just benefit businesses. They produce higher wages and more job opportunities for workers.

    America taxes corporations at the highest rate of any industrialized country. That drives companies overseas, sabotaging our workforce. The Trump plan lowers the rate from 35 percent to 20 percent to make the U.S. competitive. The plan also allows companies to immediately deduct 100 percent of plant and equipment costsa change that will encourage companies to buy more computers and trucks and hire more office workers and drivers.

    When countries lower corporate taxes, wages go up, according to data from 72 countries. American workers have toiled for years without an improvement in take-home pay or standard of living.

    Democrats label Trump's cuts as "trickle-down economics," claiming they don't produce growth. These Dems have forgotten history.

    In 1962, President John F. Kennedy slashed investment taxes. After his assassination, his broader tax cuts were enacted, producing eight years of soaring growth5 percent a year.

    In the 1980s, President Reagan slashed rates again, giving the nation nearly a decade of robust 3.8 percent growth.

    In 2003, George W. Bush's tax cut boosted the economy, producing 4 percent growth for six straight quarters.

    Compare this vigorous growth with President Obama's eight years of stagnation. Obama's economy lumbered along at around 2 percent because high taxes and over regulation discouraged companies from investing. Democrats still insist that 2 percent growth is the new normal. Nonsense. Roll back regulations and taxes, and the economy will surge.

    For individual filers, Trump's plan simplifies the maddeningly complex process, lowers rates and doubles the standard deductiona big savings. To goose the economy and get money into people's pockets faster, Congress should make these changes retroactive to January 2017. Just because Congress dragged its feet on tax reform doesn't mean the public should have to wait.

    Pelosi warns Trump's plan will "blow a huge hole in the deficit." That's a new religion for Democrats. Don't be fooled. The real problem isn't that taxes are too low. It's that spending is too high, and Dems want to push it higher.

    Trump's plan eliminates the deductibility of state and local taxes. That deduction has lulled residents of tax hellConnecticut, New York, and New Jersey and Californiainto complacency. Without it, residents will feel the full pain caused by the tax-and-spend politicians running their states. Representatives from these states are up in arms, demanding that Congress keep the deduction, and they may prevail. But the real issue isn't whether state taxes are deductiblethey're just too high.

    Expect more demagoguery as Democrats try to block Trump's tax relief. They claim to want a bipartisan plan. Their inflammatory rhetoric proves otherwise. Unwilling to help govern, they call themselves the "Resistance." Don't count on them to help rebuild America's economy or grow your paycheck.


    Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a former lieutenant governor of New York State.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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    Tastelessly but predictably, Second Amendment phobics wasted no time in exploiting this week's Las Vegas murders for political gain and as an opportunity to signal their virtue. 

    Everyone from latenight television buffoons to leftist political scolds trotted out their usual self-righteousness and demands for more gun control. 

    Their collective agenda, however, rests upon three foundational assumptions, each of which is easily refuted by even a cursory review of the relevant facts. 

    First, gun control advocates assume that the U.S. suffers a comparatively high murder rate, but that's simply false. 

    The U.S. murder rate actually falls well below the worldwide average, and from the broader perspective dwells alongside those allegedly more enlightened nations of Europe.  We also fall well below nations that outlaw firearms yet truly are statistical outliers in terms of high murder rates. 

    Specifically, the U.S. murder rate currently measures approximately 4 per 100,000 people.  That compares to a worldwide average over twice that high, at approximately 11 per 100,000.  And what about that supposed gun-control Valhalla of Europe?  Most European nations and Canada generally fall between 2 and 4 per 100,000 people, not significantly different than America. 

    Meanwhile, many nations that have enacted gun controllers' preferred agenda by outlawing firearm possession actually do suffer extraordinarily high murder rates, unlike the U.S.  Russia, for instance, suffers a murder rate of approximately 14 per 100,000 people.  Mexico's murder rate stands near 24 per 100,000.  And then there's Brazil, at approximately 26 per 100,000. 

    Conversely, nations like Switzerland, with the world's second-highest firearms possession rate but less than 1 murder per 100,000, enjoy miniscule murder rates. 

    It's also worth noting that gun controllers often employ an evasive rhetorical tactic to circumvent this inconvenient truth.  Namely, they attempt to compare the U.S. to other nations in terms of "firearms homicides" or "firearms deaths" (which includes suicides, which account for 60% of all gun deaths in the U.S.).    The obvious flaw in that tactic is that homicide is homicide, regardless of method (although some anti-gun fanatics might be so deranged that they prefer 86 killed in France by a man driving a truck into a crowd to the 59 killed in Las Vegas).  The relevant comparison is homicides, not the subset of gun homicides, since someone intent on murder can find innumerable other means to accomplish the task.  So it's important to beware that dishonest tactic among Second Amendment opponents. 

    Gun controllers' second false assumption is that America's "gun culture" and the prevalence of firearms somehow correlates with more murders.  Again, that's a false and easily refuted notion. 

    Since 1993, the U.S. has experienced a sharp 56% increase in firearms possession.  During that same period, the U.S. gun homicide rate has plummeted by 49%. 

    A headline from even the left-leaning Pew Research Service says it all:  "Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware." 

    Also during that period of plummeting murder and crime rates, the number of states allowing concealed carry went from fewer than 10 to nearly 50 today. 

    Additionally, as referenced above, the U.S. and Switzerland enjoy the world's two highest firearms possession rates, but low murder rates relative to the rest of the world where gun possession is more restricted or prohibited. 

    All of this might not conclusively establish the adage of "more guns, less crime" as a clear causal relationship, although the panoply of evidence suggests that's the case.  But at the very least, it certainly eviscerates the assumption among Second Amendment opponents of "more guns, more crime." 

    The third defective assumption among Second Amendment restrictionists is that the U.S. somehow leads the world in mass shootings. 

    Once again, that's simply false. 

    As recently as 2015, the U.S. actually witnessed a lower rate of mass shootings than almost a dozen European nations.  Those include, in descending order, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Switzerland, Norway, Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic and France. 

    Obviously, many of those nations prohibit or significantly restrict firearms possession, yet they suffer higher mass shooting rates than the U.S.  France in particular has witnessed an outbreak of highly-publicized mass shootings since 2015, which makes the popular myth that the U.S. is somehow unique in that regard particularly strange. 

    So the three leading assumptions on which gun controllers rest their arguments simply don't accord with facts or reality.  They're entitled to whatever beliefs they wish to maintain, but they mustn't be allowed to perpetuate their false claims unchallenged. 

     


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  • 10/05/17--22:20: Come and Take Them
  • The idea that gun-control advocates don't want to confiscate your weapons is, of course, laughable. They can't confiscate your weapons, so they support whatever feasible incremental steps inch further toward that goal. Some folks are more considerate and get right to the point.

    "I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment," writes The New York Times' new-ish conservative columnist Bret Stephens today. Referring as a fetish to an inalienable right that has a longer and deeper history among English-speaking people than the right to free speech or the right to freedom of religion is an excellent indicator that someone probably hasn't given the issue serious thought.

    I mean, Stephens isn't contending Americans shouldn't own five AR-15s. He's arguing that the state should be able to come to your house and take away your revolver or your shotgun or even your matchlock musket.

    "From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder," writes Stephens, before pulling a narrowly catered statistic that ignores the vast evidence that the number of guns does not correlate with the murder or the crime rates. What studies often do is conflate gun homicides and suicides. If Stephens wants to argue that confiscation would lead to fewer suicides, he's free to do so. But he's also going to have to explain why countries with the highest suicide rates often have the strictest gun control laws. The fact is that despite a recent uptick in crime, since 1990, the murder rate has precipitously dropped—including in most big urban centers—while there was a big spike in gun ownership.

    Then Stephens compares justifiable gun homicides—shooting a felon while protecting one's home, etc.—with unintentional homicides with a gun. After some back-of-the-napkin calculation, Stephens concludes that guns are useless as a means of personal protection. Anyone who's spent 10 minutes thinking about gun control understands there is no way to quantify how many criminals are deterred by the presence of guns, or how many, for that matter, are turned away in the midst of crime. Has anyone calculated how many non-gun-owning families are safer because their neighbors own firearms?

    Without getting into the practicality of confiscating more than 300 million guns, it seems odd that someone would let murderers and madmen decide what inalienable rights we should embrace. It is almost humorous to hear someone advising you not to worry about domestic tyranny as he explains why the state should eradicate a constitutional right and confiscate your means of self-defense. But Stephens comes to the likely true conclusion that you can't stop random men from killing.

    To his credit, Stephens refrains from comparing random madmen with those who kill in the name of a worldwide ideological movement that relies on terrorism as a political weapon. Though we can often do something to detect the latter, the FBI would not have stopped "Mohammad Paddock," in the same way they didn't stop Syed Rizwan Farook or Tashfeen Malik or Nidal Hasan or Omar Mateen.

    But my favorite part of Stephens' column is when he asks: "I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished last year at the hands of their fellows as died in battle during the entire Revolutionary War."

    Setting aside the population scale, Stephens might not know that one of the reasons the Federalists, including Madison, opposed the Second Amendment was that they believed concerns over protections from federal government were overblown because there were so many guns in private hands that it was unimaginable any tyrannical army could ever be more powerful than the general public. Others, like Noah Webster, reasoned, "The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."

    "Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today," writes Stephens, "but in the era of same-sex marriage it's worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones."

    To troglodytes like myself, the writing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was perhaps the greatest cause of the nation. Moreover, same-sex marriage was instituted by the courts. Repealing the Second Amendment is going to take a lot more heavy lifting. There are probably too many fetishists around to make it happen.

    I'm one, too. As an American and a Jew descended from people who came here escaping both Nazism and communism, I'm OK with fetishizing the Second Amendment. As a person who can read history and contrast the 19th- and 20th-century history of America and Europe—and about anywhere else—I "get" the fetish. And when I read columns like the one Stephens wrote today, I definitely get it.


    David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist

    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM 


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    The latest excitement in the Trump-Russia investigation is a set of Facebook ads linked to Russia, about 3,000 in all, that some of the president's adversaries hope will prove the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

    "A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump's victory last November," CNN reported recently. Some of the ads, the network continued, appeared "highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal" to Donald Trump's victory.

    In addition, the report noted, the ads seemed tailor-made for the Trump campaign. "The ads employed a series of divisive messages aimed at breaking through the clutter of campaign ads online, including promoting anti-Muslim messages, sources said," CNN reported, suggesting that anti-Muslim content could have been designed to complement candidate Trump's message.

    Put aside whether Michigan and Wisconsin were in fact "crucial" to Trump's victory. (He would still have won the presidency even if he had lost both.) The theory is that Russians could not have pulled off such "highly sophisticated" targeting by themselves and therefore may have had help from the Trump campaign or its associates.

    But is that the whole story? Not according to a government official familiar with the Facebook ads, who offers a strikingly different assessment. What follows is from the official and from public statements by Facebook itself:

    1) Of the group of 3,000 ads turned over to Congress by Facebook, a majority of the impressions came after the election, not before. Indeed, in an Oct. 2 news release, Facebook said 56 percent of the ads' impressions came after the 2016 vote.

    2) Twenty-five percent of the ads were never seen by anybody. (Facebook also revealed that in the news release.)

    3) Most of the ads, which Facebook estimates were seen by 10 million people in the U.S., never mentioned the election or any candidate. "The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the U.S. presidential election, voting or a particular candidate," Facebook said in a Sept. 6 news release.

    4) A relatively small number of the ads—again, about 25 percent—were geographically targeted. (Facebook also revealed that on Sept. 6.)

    5) The ads that were geographically targeted were all over the map. "Of those that were targeted, numerous other locales besides Michigan and Wisconsin, including non-battleground states like Texas, were targeted," the government official familiar with the ads said, via email.

    6) Very few ads specifically targeted Wisconsin or Michigan. "Of the hundreds of pre-election ads with one or more impressions, less than a dozen ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin combined," the official said.

    7) By and large, the ads targeting Michigan and Wisconsin did not run in the general election. "Nearly all of these Michigan and Wisconsin ads ran in 2015 and also ran in other states," the official said.

    8) The Michigan and Wisconsin ads were not widely seen. "The majority of these Wisconsin and Michigan ads had less than 1,000 impressions," the official said.

    9) The Michigan and Wisconsin ads (like those everywhere else) were low-budget. "The buy for the majority of these Michigan and Wisconsin ads (paid in rubles) was equivalent to approximately $10," the official said.

    10) The ads just weren't very good. The language used in some of the ads "clearly shows the ad writer was not a native English speaker," the official said. In addition, the set of ads turned over by Facebook also contained "clickbait-type ads that had nothing to do with politics." And in general, the official's view is that the ads simply were not terribly sophisticated, contrary to how they have been portrayed.

    None of this proves anything about the Facebook part of the Trump-Russia affair. It doesn't prove there was no collusion, and it certainly doesn't prove there was. But it does suggest this particular set of ads might not be a very big deal.

    In an Oct. 4 news conference, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Republican Sen. Richard Burr, did not play up the Facebook angle. "I think if you look from 10,000 feet, the subject matter of the ads was—seems to have been to create chaos in every group that they could possibly identify in America," Burr said.

    Burr elaborated, adding, "If we used solely the social media that we have seen, there's no way that you can look at that and say that that was to help the right side of the ideological chart and not the left. Or vice versa. They were indiscriminate."

    Burr noted that he has no objection to Facebook releasing the ads publicly. Certainly doing so would go a long way toward clearing up the public's understanding of the issue. Like everything else in the Trump-Russia affair, people need to know what happened.


    Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 BYRON YORK


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  • 10/10/17--22:56: War on Cops Goes to Court
  • The war on cops is moving from the streets to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last week, the Justices heard a case that threatens police officers with financial ruin if they make arrests, and the charges later get dropped.

    It started with a late night bash. District of Columbia police officers were called by neighbors at 1 a.m. to investigate a rowdy party at an unoccupied row house. The police found 21 partygoers, liquor, trash and used condoms strewn about, along with the smell of marijuana and women with cash coming out of their pants. The partygoers scattered, hiding in closets.

    When questioned, some told police "Peaches had invited them." Some gave other stories. The police phoned "Peaches," who admitted to not having the owner's permission to use the house. The police then called the owner, who confirmed no one had permission. Two hours after being summoned, the police made the decision to arrest the partygoers for trespassingthe judgment call an issue in this case.

    The charges were later dropped, because it wasn't clear beyond a reasonable doubt the partygoers knew they were trespassing. But 16 turned around and sued the police for false arrest and violating their constitutional rights.

    They never claimed the police verbally or physically abused them. They sued simply for having been arrested, cuffed and hauled to the police station. Amazingly, the lower courts slapped the police with nearly $1 million in damages and legal feesone of numerous recent lower court decisions making cops personally liable for decisions they made on duty.

    The justices should put a stop to it. Fortunately, the Court has a long record of protecting the police from legal liability, provided there's no evidence of malice or a deliberate violation of the Constitution.

    If merely making an arrest puts cops at risk of getting sued and clobbered with legal fees and damage awards, what police officer will ever make an arrest? One mistake could mean losing their home and everything else. Faced with that risk, who would ever want to be a cop?

    Twenty-six states and the federal Justice Department are weighing in with a strong warning that allowing the lower court ruling to stand would have "vast consequences" for law enforcement everywhere. On the other side, the American Civil Liberties Union is pushing to shrink or even eliminate the police's legal immunity. The ACLU wants police to have no room for error.

    Last week's oral argument signals how the Justices are likely to vote. Justice Stephen Breyer sympathized with the partygoers, suggesting it's out of "the Middle Ages" to expect them to know who's hosting. Justice Elena Kagan bragged she herself had gone to parties without knowing who the host was and where "marijuana was maybe present."

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor was determined to play the race card, though race wasn't raised by either side. She asked "if police officers arrived at a wealthy home and it was white teenagers having a party ... I doubt very much those kids would be arrested."  Shame on Sotomayor. 

    Neighbors called the cops because they were concerned about the debauchery going on next door to them. Of course, people in an upscale neighborhood would do the same. Rich people and poor people, black and white alike, want police protection and quiet enjoyment of their homes.

    That protection is being eroded. You can thank Black Lives Matter street protests and pandering politicians. Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald reports a nationwide slowdown in policing, because cops are feeling vulnerable and hesitating to make arrests. That means the war on cops is hurting all of us.

    A majority of the Justices seem to get that. The Court's newest member, Justice Neil Gorsuch, has frequently cautioned against courts "second-guessing" police for the actions they take in "tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving circumstances." That's why the Court should rule in favor of legal immunity for the police. Our public safety depends on it.


    Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a former lieutenant governor of New York State.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM

     


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    Cue the funeral bagpipes. My fourth health insurance plan is dead.

    Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It's our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years. Our first death notice, from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, arrived in the fall of 2013. The insurer informed us that because of "changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA)," our plan no longer met the federal government's requirements.

    Never mind our needs and desires as consumers who were quite satisfied with a high-deductible PPO that included a wide network of doctors for ourselves and our two children.

    Our second death knell, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, tolled in August 2015. That notice signaled the end of a plan we didn't want in the first place that didn't cover our kids' dental care and wasn't accepted at our local urgent care clinic. The insurer pulled out of the individual market in all but one county in Colorado, following the complete withdrawal from that sector by Humana and UnitedHealthcare.

    Our third "notice of plan discontinuation," again from Anthem, informed us that the insurer would "no longer offer your current health plan in the State of Colorado" in August 2016. With fewer and fewer choices as know-it-all Obamacare bureaucrats decimated the individual market here and across the country, we enrolled in a high-deductible Bronze HSA EPO (Health Savings Account Exclusive Provider Organization) offered by Minneapolis-based startup, Bright Health.

    Now, here we are barely a year later: Deja screwed times four. Our current plan will be discontinued on Jan. 1, 2018.

    "But don't worry," Bright Health's eulogy writer chirped, "we have similar plans to address your needs."

    Riiiiight. Where have I heard those pie-in-the-sky promises before? Oh, yeah. Straight out of the socialized medicine Trojan horse's mouth. "If you like your doctor," President Obama promised, "you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

    Is pathological lying covered under the Affordable Care Act?

    Speaking of Affordable Care Act whoppers, so much for "affordable." Our current deductible is $6,550 per person; $13,100 for our family of four. Assuming we can find a new plan at the bottom of the individual market barrel, our current monthly premium, $944.86, will rise to more than $1,300 a month.

    "What's taking place is a market correction; the free market is at work," says Colorado's state insurance commissioner, Marguerite Salazar. "(T)his could be an indication that there were too many options for the market to support."

    This presumptuous central planner called federal intervention to eliminate "too many" options for consumers the free market at work. Yes, friends, the Rocky Mountain High is real.

    This isn't a "market correction." It's a government catastrophe. Premiums for individual health plans in Virginia are set to skyrocket nearly 60 percent in 2018. In New Hampshire, those rates will rise 52 percent. In South Carolina, individual market consumers will face an average 31.3 percent hike. In Tennessee, they'll see rates jump between 20-40 percent.

    Private, flexible PPOs for self-sufficient, self-employed people are vanishing by design. The social-engineered futurehealthy, full-paying consumers being herded into government-run Obamacare exchanges and severely regulated regional HMOsis a bipartisan big government health bureaucracy's dream come true.

    These choice-wreckers had the arrogant audacity to denigrate our pre-Obamacare plans as "substandard" (Obama), "crappy" (MSNBC big mouth Ed Schultz) and "junk policies" (Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa). When I first called attention to the cancellation notice tsunami in 2013, liberal Mother Jones magazine sneered that the phenomenon was "phony." And they're still denying the Obamacare death spiral. Liberal Vox Media recently called the crisis "a lie."

    I don't have enough four-letter words for these propagandists. There are an estimated 450,000 consumers like us in Colorado and 17 million of us nationwidesmall-business owners, independent contractors and others who don't get their plans through group coverage, big companies or government employers. The costs, headaches and disruption in our lives caused by Obamacare's meddling meddlers are real and massive.

    But we're puzzles to corporate media journalists who've never had to meet a payroll and don't even know what is the individual market.

    We're invisible to late-night TV clowns who get their Obamacare-at-all-costs talking points from Chuck Schumer.

    We're pariahs to social justice health care activists and Democrats who want us to just shut up and subsidize everyone else's insurance.

    And we're expendables to establishment Republicans who hoovered up campaign donations on the empty promise to repeal Obamacare and now consider amnesty for immigrants here illegally and gun control higher legislative priorities than keeping their damned word.

    We're the canaries in the Obamacare coal mine. Ignore us at your peril, America. You're next.


    Michelle Malkin is host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" on CRTV.com. 
    COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


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    "Net Neutrality for me, but not for thee." 

    Apparently, that's the mantra of crony capitalist titans like Twitter, who ask the federal government to heavily regulate internet service as a "public utility" under laws enacted in the 1930s. 

    Never mind that internet service providers already practice net neutrality and have done so throughout the internet era, if for no other reason than any service provider that began selectively censoring websites would quickly find itself losing customers and out of business.  What groups like Twitter really want is to leverage the federal government to regulate internet service in a manner that favors their business models. 

    Based upon events this week, when Twitter censored Representative Marsha Blackburn (R - Tennessee), its professed commitment to a free and open internet only applies when that suits its own self-interest. 

    For anyone still unaware, Representative Blackburn tweeted a brief video announcing her candidacy to replace retiring Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker in 2018.  She highlighted her conservative credentials, criticized current Senate Republicans who "act like Democrats or worse," then concluded, "I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God." 

    She featured no graphic images, no profanity, no false statements, no tasteless content of the sort that too often populates the internet and Twitter itself. 

    Yet Twitter nevertheless decided to censor Representative Blackburn, a sitting member of Congress and the odds-on favorite to replace Senator Corker.  Its rationale?  "The line in this video specific to 'stopped the sale of baby body parts' has been deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction." 

    We're talking about Twitter, a platform that would likely lose half of its content if it eliminated every "inflammatory statement" that evokes a "strong negative reaction," whether from the world of sports, entertainment, politics or everyday life. 

    Regardless, Twitter's behavior should alarm Americans of all political persuasions, whatever their specific opinions on the issue of abortion. 

    That's particularly true given Twitter's habit of leveraging its market power to influence public policy, using soothing rhetoric that contradicts its actual behavior. 

    As one glaring example, consider the themes Twitter employed in urging Americans to preserve internet regulations imposed by the Obama Administration's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shortly before its term expired in 2015: 

    The Internet is the most successful medium for innovation and free expression ever invented.  This success has been built upon the internet's open architecture, the ability of entrepreneurs to innovate without asking permission, and for such innovators to do so without fear of discrimination.  In general, these principles mean that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are obligated to treat and transmit all bits equally, regardless of origin, content, or destination...  The FCC Net Neutrality rules effectively safeguard the open Internet as an engine of innovation and investment and as a global platform of free expression. 

    Never do they explain, of course, how the internet flourished since its 1990s inception and became "the most successful medium for innovation and free expression ever invented," yet somehow needed the Obama FCC to begin heavily regulating the internet as a "public utility" under Depression-era statutes in order to make it something that it already was. 

    Nevertheless, note Twitter's cynical profession of commitment to freedom of expression in pursuit of its corporate ends: 

    Free expression is part of our company DNA.  We are the platform that lets users see what's happening and to see all sides.  Whether it be music, sports, news or entertainment, being able to see every side of a topic makes Twitter unlike any other platform or service in the world...  Moreover, without Net Neutrality in force, ISPs would even be able to block content they didn't like, reject apps and content that compete with their own offerings, and arbitrarily discriminate against content providers by prioritizing certain Internet traffic over theirs. 

    "Free expression?"  "See all sides?"  Fear that someone might "block content they didn't like?" 

    Well, unless that expression or content comes from a sitting Republican Representative who doesn't share Twitter's preference for heavy-handed internet regulations imposed by the Obama Administration's FCC, apparently. 

    Memo to Twitter:  If you're going to insist on leveraging your market power to influence public policy and push government regulation of internet service that benefits your own bottom line, the least you could do is practice what you preach. 

     


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    President Trump's most recent high-profile executive actions—on Obamacare, immigration and the Iran nuclear deal—do three big things.

    First, they push Congress to act, which involves more than just calling the bluff of Republican leaders who talked big during the Obama years but failed to produce once the GOP controlled both Congress and White House. In a larger sense, Trump's actions point toward restoring a proper balance of power in which Congress makes law on issues that are clearly its constitutional responsibility. The president is using executive authority to pressure lawmakers to exercise appropriate legislative authority.

    Second, Trump has reinforced what many of his supporters find most appealing about him—that he can act as a leader not clearly aligned with either party.

    And third, Trump's actions galvanize support among some of Washington's most conservative lawmakers and thinkers, even some who have been highly critical of him in the past.

    On the first point, Trump is pressing Congress to act in areas in which Republicans accused Barack Obama of executive overreach.

    On Obamacare, Trump cut off the flow of cost-sharing reduction, or CSR, payments to insurance companies. The expenditures were never appropriated by Congress; the Obama administration carried them out to keep Obamacare afloat, regardless of the law. Now Trump has set the stage for a constitutional fix. On DACA, Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Trump has challenged Congress to come up with a legitimate fix to an Obama executive action that all Republicans saw as overreach. And on the Iran deal, Trump's action opens the door for action in Congress, where Republicans said the issue always belonged, after Obama bypassed lawmakers.

    "Each action undoes what Obama ought not have done without Congress (CSRs, DACA and Iran)," said a conservative lawmaker in a text exchange recently. "Restore constitutional government!"

    On the second point, Trump's actions highlight the fact that a lot of his supporters still see him not as an insider but as an outside force pushing an entrenched, sclerotic Republican Party to act.

    That was candidate Trump's pitch to voters, going way back. "Trump is about the closest thing to a third-party candidate without having to leave the party," Chuck Laudner, who ran Trump's Iowa campaign, told me in May 2015, when crowds were starting to take Trump seriously.

    Not much has changed since then. "To a huge chunk of the electorate, Trump is not a Republican," a veteran GOP operative told me recently, after attending focus groups in several states key to next year's midterms.

    That's also consistent with what Stanley Greenberg, the Democratic pollster, found over the summer in a Macomb County, Michigan focus group. "What many Macomb voters value about Trump is that he represents an unaligned force in American politics," wrote the Atlantic's Franklin Foer of Greenberg's findings.

    It's a scenario in which the GOP leaders of Congress are the villains. When Greenberg showed those Michigan voters photos of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, they became visibly angry. That's also what the veteran Republican operative found. "Trump's supporters think it's amazing he's getting so much accomplished, seeing how Ryan and McConnell are trying to screw him every day," the operative told me.

    Finally, on the third point, Trump is getting high marks from some conservative Republicans and thinkers. When I asked one deeply conservative lawmaker, who in turn polled what other members had told him, he said they are glad to see the president putting Republicans to the test: Will they just talk like conservatives, or will they actually legislate like conservatives?

    Some conservative writers who have long criticized Obama's unilateral actions were happy to see Trump begin to undo them. On Obamacare, National Review—which published an "Against Trump" issue in the primaries and has had a bumpy relationship with the president since—reacted with an editorial headlined "Trump's Sensible Health-Care Actions."

    On DACA, a lot of conservatives slammed Trump when there were reports he had reached a "deal" with Democrats Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. But now that Trump has attached a wish-list of tough border and interior enforcement priorities to any DACA legalization, many see it as a chance for Congress to take actual action on immigration. (And even if Republicans cave and pass a simple legalization, doing it through Congress would still be a constitutional solution, unlike Obama's original action.)

    On the nuclear deal, the Weekly Standard, which has at times been a center of NeverTrumpism, published a reaction with the headline, "He's right about Iran." "We believe (Trump's) instincts are sound," the magazine's editors wrote.

    Trump's actions might not work. After all, he is pressuring Congress to act, but that doesn't mean Congress will act, especially when the president is feuding with some key members. But Trump's moves are a step in the direction of fixing some of the worst excesses of the Obama administration—if Republicans will take the opportunity.


    Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
    COPYRIGHT 2017 BYRON YORK


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