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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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Thursday
May042017

Conservatives Should Be Concerned About GE & Coca-Cola

Justin Danhof, General Counsel and Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Director at the National Center for Public Policy Research, talked with Pastor Greg Young of “Chosen Generation Radio” today about why conservative and Christian investors should be concerned about how General Electric (GE) and Coca-Cola are using their money.

Listen to Danhof’s entire appearance below.

 

Wednesday
Apr192017

Jeff Stier Defends Neil Gorsuch and NEA Funding Cuts

Should Americans be concerned about Neil Gorsuch’s connection to a billionaire Heritage Foundation donor? “The Big Picture” host Thom Hartmann thinks so.

“I don’t think we should be concerned at all,” responded Jeff Stier, the director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Risk Analysis Division. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s qualified to do this job. I think a lot of people like you might not like his politics… People who share an ideology tend to work together, they support each other.”

Hartmann next complained that funding for the arts is on President Trump’s chopping block.

“The government shouldn’t be interfering with the arts. I myself appreciate art and I myself am an artist. I don’t want to have to answer to the government to define what is art, what isn’t art,” said Stier. “The government has no role in it. The arts should be supported by our community, and by our culture, and by donors.”

The panel also discussed the popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Stier’s entire appearance can be viewed below.

Thursday
Apr132017

Cooper Debates Sanctuary Cities and Social Security

Who’s hypocritical, Democrats or Republicans, when it comes to immigration policy and the roles of state government and federal government?

Last night, Thom Hartmann - the host of “The Big Picture” on RT Network - cited a study indicating that there is a lower crime rate in sanctuary cities, and argued that the federal government thus shouldn’t force local communities to enforce federal immigration law.

Horace Cooper, the co-chair of Project 21 and legal fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, noted that the Obama Administration opposed federalism by preventing Arizona cities from enforcing immigration law, and now Democrats are howling that cities can’t decide immigration policies for themselves.

“So you’d like to let the local community decide whether or not they’d like that [crime rate] benefit, but you don’t want to let the cities of Scottsdale or Phoenix decide, ‘we’d like to not have our schools overwhelmed by people that aren’t lawful residents,’” responded Cooper.

Hartmann and Cooper also discussed a proposal to do away with the payroll tax to fund Social Security. Hartmann opposes it because he doesn’t want Social Security to be funded by general revenue, which is considered discretionary spending subject to the budget process.

“I’m not convinced at all that we’re going to see Social Security stay the same as it was in 2016,” said Cooper. “Eventually we’re going to have to make changes.”

Hartmann responded that the Koch brothers should pay the same percentage toward Social Security as others have to.

Cooper’s response: “Our [Social Security] system caps the maximum that people can be paid, so of course it caps the maximum tax that they pay in…. If you don’t do that, then it’s the equivalent of just a general tax program.”

Cooper’s entire appearance can be viewed below.

Friday
Apr072017

Democrats Should Have Approved Gorsuch, Says Project 21's Shelby Emmett

Were Senate Republicans right to exercise the nuclear option in order to confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Grouch?

“The Democrats asked for this,” responded Project 21’s Shelby Emmett on RT Network’s “The Big Picture” last night. “What goes around comes around.”

Emmett continued: “I think the Democrats did something not really smart here strategically, because he wasn’t that horrible of a judge. They were really fighting to try to find things wrong with him. And if I was Trump, the next judge is going to be ten times more conservative and now what? If I were the Democrats, I would have let this one fly and I would have put up a bigger fight for the next one.”

The panel also discussed Stephen Bannon being removed from the National Security Council.

Watch Emmett’s entire appearance here:

Tuesday
Apr042017

A Tribute to Amy Moritz Ridenour (1959-2017)

Amy Moritz Ridenour was called home to be with the Lord on March 31, 2017, after a long battle with cancer.  Her husband and two of her children were at her bedside when she passed away.

In addition to being a beloved wife, mother and friend, Amy was known by many more as a leader of the conservative movement for over 35 years.

She founded The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, in 1982.  At the time of her death, she served as its chairman.

Her vision was for the organization to be a very different kind of think tank: More nimble than others and focused on giving the conservative movement capabilities it didn’t already possess.  Her success in achieving that vision was recognized when another conservative leader said of the Center, “It’s more than a think tank… it’s a do tank.”

Under her leadership, the Center initiated Project 21, a black conservative leadership group that’s created over 30,000 media opportunities for black conservatives and libertarians.

She also launched the Free Enterprise Project, a conservative shareholder activism and education program.  Dozens of major corporations have voluntarily adopted shareholder resolutions proposed by the program.

Amy played a significant role in virtually every conservative advance in the past three decades.

But one contribution of which she was most proud few knew about.

Though the U.S. eventually won the Cold War, that outcome was far from certain.  In the early 1980s, it was nearly derailed by the nuclear freeze movement.

On March 7, 1983, the day before a major nuclear freeze movement rally was to take place in Washington, DC, Amy and other pro-defense leaders countering the freeze movement met with President Reagan at the White House.

The president confided that he feared his effort to rebuild America’s defenses and win the Cold War could fail because the media was against him.

Amy gave the president a pep talk and outlined a strategy she’d used to go around the mainstream media to reach the American people using alternative media, including talk radio, local community newspapers, and religious media.

President Reagan took her advice and that very afternoon personally added 13 lines to a speech he was scheduled to give to the National Association of Evangelicals the next day.

That speech would become known as the “Evil Empire” speech.  It rallied support for the struggle against totalitarian Communism by framing it in moral terms.

Over the course of her career, Amy and wrote and edited hundreds of public policy papers and was widely published with her opinion columns appearing in a range of newspapers including USA Today, the Sacramento Bee, the Dallas Morning News, and the Boston Herald.  She was also a popular radio and television guest, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and even the Comedy Channel.

During the 1990s, she co-hosted with her husband David a weekly public affairs television program called Scoop.

Her earlier achievements included serving as vice-chairman of the International Youth Year Commission of the U.S.; as a regional coordinator for the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign; and as chairman of the Maryland Federation of College Republicans.

A native of Pittsburgh, Amy was an avid fan of the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates and required that her husband adopt the teams as his own as a condition of their marriage.  She’s undoubtedly thrilled to be meeting Roberto Clemente and Honus Wagner now.

She was also a Trekkie and could recite episodes of the original Star Trek series from memory.  She once attended a Star Trek convention, but her husband married her anyway.

Amy had only a few regrets.  She did regret having a promising future in major league baseball cut out from under her by a coach who – despite her superior skill – denied her a spot on the boys’ baseball team in elementary school.

She also regretted never finding a way to convince her staff of the importance of subject-verb agreement.

Amy will be remembered for her humor, sharp mind, vast knowledge, keen strategic sense and for her generosity.  She was a mentor to many.

Many will also remember her as a fierce fighter for liberty.  She displayed that same spirit in her fight against cancer.  Though cancer took her life, it never defeated her.

Most importantly, her family will always treasure their memories of Amy as a dedicated and loving wife and mother.

She is survived by her husband David; their children, Katherine, Christopher, and Jonathan; brothers Christian (Washington) and Karl (Arlington); and mother Carol (Pittsburgh).

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to Our Savior Lutheran Church in Laurel, Maryland for the benefit of its youth programs, or to The National Center for Public Policy Research.

 

Memorial service information

A memorial service will be held on Saturday April 8, 2017 at Our Savior Lutheran Church (13611 Laurel-Bowie Road in Laurel, Maryland).  Visitation begins at 3:00pm.  The service begins at 4:00pm.  A repost meal will follow.

An on-line guest book to share condolences is available here.

Thursday
Mar232017

Consumer Choice and Company Profit Are Both Needed in Health Care, Says Cooper

“The reason that most people have a negative impression about the so-called Affordable Care Act is because the government has taken away so many of our choices from us.” - Horace Cooper, legal fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research and co-chair of Project 21

Cooper discussed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with host Thom Hartmann and conservative commentator Matt Demar on the March 22, 2017 episode of “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann.”

Cooper also defended the value of profit in health care, arguing that profit gives an incentive for professionals to offer excellent service. The panel also discussed the recent ban of laptops in carry-on baggage on certain flights.

See the entire discussion below.

Monday
Feb272017

Black Americans Should Work With President Trump to Save Our Nation

Project 21’s Ted Hayes spoke today with radio host Pastor Greg Young about why black Americans would do best to work with President Trump instead of castigating others who do.

“We as black people have struggled for a long time in this country with the help of our white brothers and sisters for freedom from slavery, freedom from Jim Crow, the right to vote, to speak with/about, to hang out with who we want to, and we said that when we get our freedom we wouldn’t behave the way others have treated us,” said Hayes. “And lo and behold, we get the freedom and look at these African-Americans. They go and attack fellow brothers and sisters for simply accepting the outreached hand of the President of the United States who wants to help us. They castigate them.”

Hayes compared President Trump to President Lincoln: “The boys in the Civil War… died over the value that we must correct what the Declaration of Independence said, we must free fellow human beings from slavery. For that is the will of God, which President Abraham Lincoln came to understand on September 22, 1862 when he issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. He said, ‘God told me I need to do this if I’m to save the Union.’ And sir, we’re right back at that point again. And thank God the Lord got this crazy man from out of nowhere. Donald Trump shocked everybody and is giving us a second chance to save our nation if we would get smart and wise to do it.”

“We are slaves and don’t even know it. And look at the death rate of black people under Democratic rule,” says Hayes. “You know why you don’t hear much from the Ku Klux Klan anymore? They put the sheets back on their beds because they see black folks are doing to black folks what the Klansmen wanted all along. They are satisfied.”

Hayes’ entire appearance on Chosen Generation Radio today can be heard below, and is based on Hayes’ recent Daily Caller article, “Making Black History.”

  

Monday
Feb272017

Trump's Newest Executive Order Shows He Appreciates Law Enforcement

Project 21 member Council Nedd, who is also a Pennsylvania State Constable and an Archbishop, says President Trump’s newest executive order shows he appreciates law enforcement officers.

“I think it’s incredibly telling about where President Trump’s heart is on this particular issue, that one of his first acts was to voice public support and put out an executive order in support of law enforcement,” said Nedd this morning on the Preston Scott Morning Show on WFLA-AM, Tallahassee.

Nedd also discussed his experience with illegal immigrants since he’s become a constable, how President Obama divided Americans on issues of race, and how everyone can fight stereotypes in their day-to-day lives.

Listen to Nedd’s entire appearance below:

Friday
Feb242017

Does the Government Think You Can Handle the Truth?

Can you trust the government to tell you the truth about smoking?  Jeff Stier, the Director of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research, says a new Department of Defense anti-smoking program - UCanQuit2.org - won’t admit that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes.

On Vicki McKenna’s 1310 WIBA radio show today, Stier and McKenna also discussed a report that some patients are being turned down for surgery because they are smokers. 

Here is Stier’s appearance in full:

Thursday
Feb232017

Horace Cooper Ridicules Idea that Trump Immigration Order is 'Muslim Ban'

Horace Cooper, co-chair of the Project 21 black leadership network and legal fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, appeared today on “Wake Up!” with Steve Curtis on KLZ 560 AM to discuss the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ treatment of President Trump’s immigration executive order.

A few notable quotes from Horace:

On the Ninth Circuit: “There’s a reason that many times people refer to that particular circuit as the ‘Ninth Circus.’  It is unbelievable how many times the United States Supreme Court ends up having to overturn the Ninth Circuit. Their approach seems not to be so much grounded in what the LAW says about a particular issue, but in many instances, what is the most fair way for us to exercise equity power.”

On whether President Trump’s immigration executive order was a ‘Muslim ban’: “If you look at the specifics of the executive order, over 80% of all Muslim nations are completely unaffected as a result of this executive order.  It’s a curious ‘Muslim ban’ in that it allows the overwhelming majority of Muslims to continue entering. The reality is that the nations that have been identified were nations that the outgoing Administration had indicated were problematic nations.”

On why President Trump may not want to appeal the 9th Circuit decision to SCOTUS: “The apprehension that I believe the Justice Department has is that we are not confident that if this got to the Supreme Court before July of this year, that the present makeup of the Court would be open to following just the law, and partisanship might break out.”

On how he would deal with the existing executive order: “I would rewrite the executive order so that it just omitted… several of the issues that the media has identified as most problematic.  (And by the way, just because the media identifies something as problematic has nothing to do with whether or not it is legal.) And what that would do is it would allow this underlying first case to continue. If you expressly overrule the existing executive order, then that case is dismissed.  I believe it would be of value to the American people, to the legal system generally, for us to get this decision overturned because it is THAT lawless.”

Listen to Horace’s full interview below.

Friday
Feb172017

NOAA Created Fake News by Manipulating Climate Data

On “The Vicki McKenna Show,” broadcast February 16 on 1310 WIBA Madison, National Center for Public Policy Research fellow Bonner Cohen revealed how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used taxpayer money to knowingly falsify climate data in order to make climate change seem worse than it is.

“NOAA was putting out fake news before fake news became fashionable,” noted Cohen.

Listen to Cohen’s radio appearance in full below:

Thursday
Feb162017

Why Would Taiwan Ban E-cigarettes?

The body of scientific evidence keeps getting more robust. E-cigarettes are dramatically less harmful than cigarettes, they are helping smokers quit, and are not a gateway to smoking.

Yet ideological opposition persists, and is influencing governments around the world. Last month, the government of Taiwan proposed an all out ban on e-cigarettes as part of their revision to their Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act.

 

Below, are the comments that the Risk Analysis Division submitted to the Health Promotion Administration at the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

I am the director of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C. As a expert on public health policy with a particular focus on tobacco policy, I share the government’s interest in taking steps to reduce the harms caused by smoking cigarettes. For this reason, I would like to share a perspective that may not have been fully considered when the proposed seven-point revision to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act was first written.

My concerns are focused on the proposed ban of e-cigarettes and other alternatives to cigarette smoking. I believe the ban on these lower risk products will have the unintended consequence of doing the opposite of what the government hopes to achieve- reducing the harms caused by smoking.

I have provided testimony on these issues before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the White House and lawmakers both at the federal and local levels. I have found that when forward-thinking policy-makers take the time to understand the issues, they realize the benefits of a regulatory approach which allows adult smokers to consider these products as a much lower risk alternative to smoking.

The evidence is increasingly clear: e-cigarettes and emerging non-combustible tobacco products are dramatically less harmful than cigarette smoking and have helped people around the world quit smoking. Without access to these choices, people who would have used these products to quit smoking are left with a terrible choice: “quit or die.”
 

Cigarettes are uniquely harmful because combustion of tobacco creates harmful chemicals that are responsible for almost all of the harms caused by tobacco and nicotine products. In fact, nicotine is medically approved throughout the world to help smokers quit. Unfortunately, these medicinal products have not been effective for most smokers.

Non-combustible products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco can deliver nicotine, but do not deliver the dangerous chemicals produced by combustion.

In the largest government report ever produced on the issue, Public Health England concluded that “that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking.”

In particular, the tobacco control experts who wrote the report found that “the current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking.” The report also found that “there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers.”

see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review

Further, the esteemed Royal College of Physicians now recommends that doctors “promote e-cigarettes widely as substitute for smoking.” With such advice, it’s no surprise that smoking rates in the UK are declining as more smokers switch to these dramatically lower risk products.

 

See: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/promote-e-cigarettes-widely-substitute-smoking-says-new-rcp-report

New products coming to the market which heat, rather than burn tobacco are also promising. The heat releases nicotine aerosol, but not the chemicals of combustion. The evidence from Japan suggests these products appeal to many smokers who want the nicotine, as well as the smoking behavior, but not the smoking-related diseases.

In order to properly protect public health, it is imperative that policy-makers are able to distinguish nicotine from smoking. Without a full understanding of the science, it is easy to put all nicotine products in the same category as cigarettes, since for too long, cigarette smoking has been the most common way people consumed nicotine.  This is tragic because we’ve known for a long time that people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.  

The arrival of products which deliver nicotine without the tar represents perhaps the most exciting development in the campaign to help addicted smokers quit. Policies should encourage switching, especially for smokers who haven’t been able to quit using other approaches.

I would be happy to provide any additional information that would help you as you continue to learn more about the issue. You may reach me at jstier@nationalcenter.org

 

Wednesday
Feb152017

"Greatest Constitutional Mind" Horace Cooper Dissects Ninth Circuit Court Decision

On his Newsmax TV show, host Jack Burkman introduced National Center legal fellow Horace Cooper as “the man I think is America’s greatest constitutional mind” and “my next pick for AG or the Supreme Court.”

In this clip, broadcast on February 11, 2017, Burkman asks Cooper to dissect the 9th Circuit Court’s recent decision about President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Wednesday
Feb152017

UC-Berkeley Riots: Free Speech, Not Violence, Protected by the Constitution

When Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to give a speech at University of California-Berkeley, riots broke out that caused more than $100,000 worth of damage. Then the school newspaper published five essays supporting the violence. Are these riots protected under free speech? Which is protected under the Constitution, potentially offensive speech or violent demonstrations?

Horace Cooper, legal fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and co-chair of Project 21, appeared on the Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor” February 10.  He referred to a famous sit-in in civil rights history, then flipped it on its head:

“If five people go to a Woolworths restaurant to peaceably demonstrate that they believe that they have a right to be there, the rhetoric that was demonstrated in these op-eds and the behavior that we saw at Berkeley means that it would have been ok for masked intruders to go to Woolworths to beat the hell out of them because they don’t agree with what they’re standing for. The first Amendment’s purpose is for us to have a civil disagreement, to bring the strong argument, not violence… And if they are this bright, then this is dangerous, a sign of where we’re headed.”

Later Cooper again said that violence is not justified when someone disagrees with someone’s message, refuting that “something someone is going to say gives me a heckler’s veto not just to interject myself, but to burn the place down, to threaten and assault and attack people.”

“What if this had been a gay pride event on the campus,” Cooper continued, “and some individuals decided to put masks on and they were going to shut this down because they didn’t agree and they were going to do it with violence? This is unacceptable.”

Cooper’s full appearance can be seen below:

Saturday
Feb042017

President Trump Already Better Than President Obama Regarding Terrorism, Says Project 21's Nedd

Project 21’s Council Nedd II discussed President Trump’s immigration executive order as part of a townhall panel on the Fox News Channel program “The First 100 Days” on February 3, 2017.

“We had eight years of an Obama Administration, who was pretending that there were zero problems with regard to Islamic terrorism, problems in the Middle East; he completely turned a blind eye to it,” said Nedd.

“Now people might have some issues with the nuances… regarding President Trump’s new immigration policy,” he continued, “but at least he’s actually trying to do something.”

You can watch Nedd’s comments in the video below, and watch the entire program here.

Tuesday
Jan312017

Corporations That Supported ObamaCare Need to Now Help President Trump Repeal and Replace

Will Walgreens and other corporations that formerly backed ObamaCare now reform their ways and help President Trump with his health care reform initiatives?

One J.D. discussed it with another J.D. on “Newsmax Prime” on January 27, 2017, as former Rep. J.D. Hayworth interviewed Justin Danhof, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

First Danhof explained the purpose of the Free Enterprise Project:

“When you look at the landscape of corporate America, what we often see is large corporations teaming up with the federal government and kind of forming this very big symbiotic relationship. And in this circle, what’s missing is very often the voice of the American people. The American people get crowded out; their voice isn’t heard.  When you have the most powerful government in the history of the world teaming up with large corporations, they’re setting the rules.”

Danhof continued, “What we do is we go in and we try and break that symbiotic wedge and be a voice for the American people, a voice for liberty, a voice for the Constitution, a voice for freedom.”

“There is no greater example of the power of big corporations in the federal government to team up and crowd out the American people than with ObamaCare.  The pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance companies - they weren’t on the opposite side of ObamaCare; they were actually helping to craft ObamaCare.”

“And who got the taxpayer bailouts from Obamacare? The large health insurers. Who got exemptions from the Obamacare mandates?  It wasn’t the American people; it was politically-connected corporations and unions that got all of the waivers from certain ObamaCare mandates. Again, the American people’s voice wasn’t being heard.”

“During the Obama Administration, we tried to hold the feet to the fire of the corporations that promoted and supported ObamaCare.  And one of those corporations was in fact Walgreens. Walgreens promoted ObamaCare to customers while at the same time its own employees were dropped from their private healthcare plans because of some of the high compliance costs related to ObamaCare.”

What I wanted to do at the Walgreens shareholder meeting yesterday was ask a very simple question: ObamaCare is going to be repealed and replaced.  You supported that law.  As a company, you promoted that law.  A lot of harm befell millions of Americans. If they liked their doctor they couldn’t keep their doctor; if they liked their health plan they couldn’t keep their health plan.”

“President Obama and his team deserve plenty of the blame, but they’re gone now.  These corporations are still here, so I wanted to hear from them, basically on behalf of the American people, whether they’re going to reform their ways, seek forgiveness from the American people in a sense, and work with the Trump Administration on repealing and replacing ObamaCare.”

So what’s next?  “We’re going to follow up” with Walgreens leadership, said Danhof.  ”He wasn’t specific and we need specifics. President Trump and his team want to move fast to repeal and replace ObamaCare. We’ve got the political will in DC that we haven’t had in a very long time for reform that can actually help the American people. And corporations that teamed up to support ObamaCare, they now need to get in on the fix of the problem that they helped create.”

Danhof’s appearance can be seen in full below.

Monday
Jan302017

Why I Marched

I have always been pro-life, and I grew up in the D.C. suburbs.  Yet until last week, I had never attended the March for Life.  Why did I go this year?  Two important reasons:

1.  I wanted a place where I felt I belonged. Though several of my pro-life colleagues attended the Women’s March on Washington the week before, despite having their sponsorships revoked, I believed that the vast majority of Women’s March participants would despise my participation.  That’s a shame, and a strange strategy.  If liberal feminists really want to make electoral gains in four years, it doesn’t make sense to immediately tell half of American women that they can’t be part of their clique because abortion opposition doesn’t meet their litmus test for being a feminist.

2.  I wanted my children to attend the March for Life, and due to the end of the marking period, my kids were off school last Friday.  A full day in D.C. with a double stroller and complaining kids was difficult, to be sure, but I am so glad they came with me.

My oldest child is nine, and due to my work with my local pregnancy resource center, we have already had many conversations about abortion, the difficult choices facing women in crisis, and why it is important to stand for life.  I wanted her to be witness to the March.

My second child is seven and on the autism spectrum.  He had no idea what the March was about, but it was important for me to have him be a living testimony to the value of ALL human life.  About 2/3 of American women choose to have an abortion after learning their child may have Down’s Syndrome.  In Denmark, that number is 98%, and many Danish people celebrate that Down’s Syndrome is thus being eradicated from their society — through abortion, mind you, not through true medical advances.  Someday there may be a prenatal test for autism, and that will no doubt cause many autistic children to never have a chance at life.  Let me tell you, friends, parenting an autistic child can be difficult — but it can also be incredibly rewarding.  My son’s life is intrinsicly and incredibly valuable, and I marched to proclaim that to the world. 

 

Do you know who else marched?  Let me show you in pictures. 

1.  A LOT of young people!  And they were from all over the country!

This group is from the Diocese of Springfield, IL

This group is from the Notre Dame Academy in Toledo, OH

This group is from Hillsdale College, Michigan.

 

2.  Some segments of American society that you wouldn’t automatically connect with the pro-life movement!

It was a peaceful, supportive march.  Instead of being jeered and harrassed by fellow women at the Women’s March, I encountered thoughtful, considerate people who helped me with my stroller and cheered for each other.  I look forward to attending again in the future, and hope many of you will join me to stand for life.

Sunday
Jan292017

Shining a Light on Midnight Regulations

Much has been made about the unprecedented number of Obama Administration “midnight regulations,” those rules issued between Election Day and the Trump inauguration.

The Obama administration issued an estimated $157 billion worth of midnight regulations, according to the American Action Forum, headed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

And that doesn’t include dictates that circumvented the formal rule-making process.

Certainly, it is within a president’s power to issue midnight orders and regulations until the last day of his term. Presidents from both parties have historically ramped up regulations as lame ducks.

But, especially for controversial policies published in not only the final months and weeks, but days and hours, of an administration, extra scrutiny is not only justified, but urgently needed.

 On January 19th, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the use of traditional, lead-containing ammunition and fishing tackle on all lands and waters subject to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service control. The ban didn’t go through the rule-making process, but was rather an order by an agency, so it wasn’t subject to the review and comment period required by law. Nonetheless, agencies frequently consult with those who would be most effected, in an effort to narrowly tailor the approach to meet the policy objective.

As was often the case in the Obama administration, those interests weren’t consulted.

 “This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” said Lawrence Keane, of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries. 

“The timing alone is suspect,” according to Keane. “This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this, and instead create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”

Industry isn’t the only group up in arms. Nick Wiley, president of The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, which represents local government agencies, stated, “This action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the Service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources.” 

Wiley, whose group speaks for government agencies in even the bluest of states, said “The association views this order as a breach of trust and deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance.”

Surprise was the order of the day throughout mid-January. One of the Obama administration’s final regulations was rushed out the door on January 9, in the form of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) rule creating standards for occupational exposure to beryllium. 

Rules on beryllium exposure have been under consideration since 1975, but Republican and Democratic administrations alike didn’t act, despite pressure from activist groups who rarely believe in any safe level of chemical exposure, no matter the science.  

Back in 2015, OSHA announced a proposed rule on the issue, giving stakeholders from every perspective adequate time to review and analyze the data and policy goals of the proposed rule.  

The proposed rule did not apply to beryllium in construction and maritime use, presumably because only trace amounts of beryllium are present, and those industries are already subject to stringent worker protections.

But when the final rule was published on January 9th, OSHA announced that it had dramatically cut allowable exposure levels across the board, much more than was in the proposed rule. It also completely changed course on the scope of the rule, deciding for the first time to include the abrasive blasting industry under the beryllium regulations.

It’s akin to an agency spending decades considering regulations on transportation, and only after publishing a proposed rule on airplanes, at the last minute, and without notice or opportunity for comment, it tightens the rules and, oh, also applies them to cars.

Central to the rule-making process is the idea that the public, including stakeholders, can review the record and analyze the data and analysis behind a proposed rule. But that wasn’t the case for the construction and maritime industry, which had been exempted from the proposed rule, for good reason. Beryllium in abrasive blasting is fundamentally different from beryllium exposure in other occupational settings, and is subject to entirely different regulations already in place.

In fact, OSHA’s justification for the overhauled version of the rule was never shared with the public, even when the revision was made public in the last day of the Obama administration.

For instance, OSHA’s assertion that the rule “will save 94 lives from beryllium-related diseases and prevent 46 new cases of chronic beryllium disease each year, once the effects of the rule are fully realized” is completely undocumented in the OSHA announcement of the final rule.

The OSHA regulation was an exclamation point on President Obama’s farcical claim that his administration would be the most transparent in history.

Our system provides a wide range of checks against the very type of rushed regulatory oversteps for which the Obama administration’s waning days will be remembered. 

First and foremost, elections have consequences. Certainly, Trump administration agencies could quickly reverse certain policies, such as the ammunition rule, which was not part of a formal rule-making. But for formal regulations, the process of unwinding them through new rule-makings, would be a time-consuming, costly, and a potentially unnecessary process.  

The rarely used Congressional Review Act (CRA), signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, was established for just circumstances like those we now face. The law allows a simple majority of Congress to  “disapprove” of new rules. But this check has a balance: it has to be signed by the president. And presidents don’t like being overturned. That’s where electoral consequences come in. 

As James Gattuso, the senior research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation and his colleague Daren Bakst wrote on Dec, 26, 2016, “In 2017, however, the stars are aligned for the CRA to play a much greater role.”   

Despite major rifts between congressional Republicans and the new Republican president, the need to roll back, in toto, midnight regulations, is something that should unite them. And while their votes aren’t practically required, many Democrats, especially those facing re-election, are likely to agree.

Thursday
Jan262017

What Should the Feds Do About the Chicago 'Carnage'?

Can President Donald Trump really “send in the Feds” to deal with the skyrocketing murder and crime rates in Chicago?

Horace Cooper, legal fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and co-chair of Project 21, appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on 1/24/17 to explain how President Trump can legally intervene in Chicago.

“Absolutely the Feds can do this,” Cooper began. “There has been a wholesale failure on the part of the state and local community to address this really serious problem. I don’t know another word besides ‘carnage’ to describe the devastation that’s been taking place.”

So how can President Trump legally intervene in Chicago without stepping on state and local authority?

“He sends a Justice Department directive that says to the U.S. attorneys in that jurisdiction, in Cook County, that they are going to work directly with the prosecutors. They are going to have the FBI and local law enforcement work together, and they’re going to pick which cases.. that they’re going to prosecute directly. This doesn’t require a change in law, this simply requires will.

“In any bank robbery case the Feds are able to step in, in any kidnapping case they’re allowed to step in,” said Cooper, referring to federal crimes. Local murder isn’t a federal crime, “so what you do… - and we’re seeing these numbers overwhelmingly in Chicago - you say, ‘if we find an instance when you’re a felon and you’re in possession of a firearm, you’ve now got a federal beef. We’re going to take those prosecution cases.’”

Cooper also believes those convicted should be sent to federal prisons, probably not even in Illinois, since state and local courts and prisons have been quick to release convicted criminals.

There was immediate Twitter buzz about Horace’s appearance.  One response addressed President Trump directly:

Watch Cooper’s entire appearance below.

Friday
Dec302016

Repeal the Antiquities Act of 1906

RJ SmithR.J. Smith

As people in Utah and Nevada (and other places!) can tell you, it's too bad Congress is so bad at taking advice.

With President Obama's new designations of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, millions more acres of land are now being locked up by the federal government. This is only possible because Congress never repealed or reformed the 1906 Antiquities Act after Presidents of both parties started misusing it.

Congress could have. At the very least, it could have tried -- sent a bill to the Preisdent's desk and taken the debate to the American people.

But no.

In this paper, issued in September 2016, National Center Senior Fellow R.J. Smith explains what the Antiquities Act was designed to do and why it matters greatly that it is now being misused. He explains in clear English how Congress can fix it, and why it is important that it do so immediately.

And although the paper does not cover the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, as they had yet to be designated, any new legislation must give future Presidents the clear authority to remove or trim past designations such as these.

The Antiquities Act was not intended to permit the federal government to control large parts of the country. Read R.J.'s paper and get the truth the Obama White House isn't telling you.