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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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U.S. Senate Makes Bill to Fight Opioid Abuse a Priority, But Why Isn't This Best Left to States and Localities?

Old Heroin Pharmacy Bottle public domainHate to be a skunk at a garden party (as usual!), but I question the conventional wisdom about S.524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, a bi-partisan bill that permits the Justice Department and HHS to make grants and run task forces and undertake other measures to combat prescription opioid and heroin abuse.

The bill, sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), is reportedly a high priority of the Senate. The news media, to the extent I have seen, consistently reports of the importance of getting it passed, and soon. I never see it report any skepticism.

Mindful that ObamaCare has a mandatory requirement that health insurance companies cover drug abuse programs, and that it is now mandatory for Americans to have health insurance in some form, I was wondering why this bill is necessary.

After reading it, I'm unconvinced. It's not that the bill does bad things, exactly, but it's hard to believe some of the money won't be wasted - task forces that issue reports (will they even be read?) and yet more government conferences that seem more likely to help government employees stay employed and visit with one another than to combat opioid abuse.

Other provisions are more direct, but I wonder why the programs they fund, if desired, are a federal as opposed to state or local responsibility.

For example, why is federal intervention necessary to train local EMS employees in the use of drugs to help or even save people who may be suffering an opioid overdose? EMS employees receive training in many things (almost certainly including handling drug overdoses) already. Why does opioid overdose require special intervention? Why would any competent EMS training program not include it already? (And if an incompetent training program, why would we assume a federal grant would help?)

Similarly, the legislation has opportunities for grants for kids in public schools to be warned against drug abuse. The schools already exist; all the schools presumably have competent teachers; warning kids against drug abuse does not require expensive equipment. Furthermore, there are many sample lesson plans and programs out there if any schools don't exactly know how to best warn kids about drug abuse, so no one need to expensively reinvent the wheel. And if extra funding is necessary (presumably not a lot), why would it be a federal responsibility anyway? The locality can budget for the lessons just as it budgets for all its other lessons.

Another program trains police departments in law enforcement-related aspects of enforcing our drug laws. Again, why is training people to enforce these laws any more a challenge than training them to enforce other laws? And aren't localities already training police officers in this area?

Is it really more efficient, in terms of best use of taxpayer dollars, to send the funds to Washington, so localities can go to the expense of sending in proposals in the hope of getting a limited-term grant, as opposed to, say, the state of Rhode Island budgeting properly to train its police officers, its EMS personnel, and so forth, and then just doing so, in a straightforward manner, in the way that best meets the needs of the people of Rhode Island?

I've only mentioned a small part of the grants and programs the bill wants to fund, so please, Google it and read it for yourself if this topic has caught your interest. If, after doing so, or if you already understand this bill well, you see why this federal legislation provides a more efficient and effective route to stemming opioid abuse than states could do on their own, please feel free to share your thoughts.

Honestly, short of any provisions that enhance border security to keep heroin out, all I'm seeing is that the Feds can borrow and/or print money to pay for this, whereas the states and localities are more likely to have to use funds from a funded budget. But that, surely, is an argument for keeping the job local. The federal debt is already $19 trillion. Surely, at minimum, we should make whatever government spending we do have as efficient as possible.

We'll post this on our Facebook pages. Feel free to comment there or on Twitter (our social media URLs are on the top left of this page) or email this blog at if you think I'm off-base here and want to set me straight.


What the FBI Wants Apple to Do

FBI Apple Logo WThere's much confusion about just what the FBI is asking Apple to do in the matter of the locked iPhone that was used by one or both of the San Bernardino terrorists.

FBI Director James Comey testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and listed, in response to a question, the three things the FBI wants. I'm sharing the information since this is an important issue, and most folks will not have seen or heard the hearing.

For context, you need to know that if you try to guess a password to get into a password-enabled iPhone, and you guess wrong six times in a row(1), the phone gets locked (disabled). Furthermore, there is a speed limitation. If you try to guess super fast (as if you are a computer hacker as opposed to a human who forgot his password), the phone may lock. To use the phone if it locks you have to erase it and set it up again. Obviously, the FBI does not want to erase the terrorists’ phone. Hence the issue.

The FBI is asking Apple to write code to do three things:

1) To lift the six-guess limit to permit the FBI to make an infinite number of guesses about the password.

2) That the speed limitation be eliminated, so the phone does not lock if the FBI guesses faster then once every 80 milliseconds.

3) That there be a way to use a computer to guess passwords instead of having to assign an employee to type them in one after another.

That's what the FBI wants, so if you didn't know, now you do.


(1) I read that the limit for guesses is six on Apple's website, but I also read that the FBI says it is ten. Either way, the important thing is that there is a limit.

(2) I read that there is an 80-millisecond delay required between guesses, but I have not confirmed this figure with Apple.


Liberal Congresswoman Calls for Federal Drug Tests for Farmers If Food Stamp Recipients Get Them

AddictThe left vs. the poor

Why shouldn't farmers have to get drug-tested before they receive agricultural subsidies or participate in federal agriculture programs, if people on various welfare programs, including food stamps (SNAP), do?

So asks Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in a Colin Taylor article for Occupy Democrats, but she is only one of many liberals to whine recently about drug tests for people who rely on their fellow citizens to meet their basic needs (Think Progress also complains about this a lot).

This whining has more to do with the left trying to make people resentful than anything else, but I'll address the policy aspect anyway.

#1: People who receive agriculture subsidies, such as the federal crop insurance that DeLauro whines about, are functioning. The public isn't wondering if drug-taking is the reason they aren't functioning because they are functioning. The left can glorify poverty all it wants, but it can't change the basic fact that if a person cannot take care of himself or herself and his/her dependents, he or she is not fully functioning. Something is wrong. Why shouldn't the people who are being required under penalty of law to pay another person's bills be able to find out what, precisely, is wrong?

If a farmer applies for a genuine welfare payment, he or she would get the same drug tests, if any, that anyone else in their state gets for that particular welfare program.

#2: Not many people have figured out how to convert federal crop insurance policies to drugs. The street value of crop insurance just isn't there.

#3: Advocates of taxpayer giveaway programs, if they care at all about the recipients (I believe they mostly care about stoking resentment so they can drive resentful people to the polls and keep themselves in office), should support the drug tests, because the public at-large is more willing to support welfare programs if they believe the recipients are worthy of their support. One can argue the issue, but taxpayers are far more likely to support welfare programs if they believe most of the recipients are hardworking Moms and Dads who can't quite make ends meet, or someone who cannot find a job despite genuinely trying to do so, as opposed to a drug addict who isn't even trying to be self-sufficient.

Yes, quitting heroin is no easy thing and all that, but we all know I'm right. If the left wants broad public support for welfare programs, it should support drug tests so it can more effectively argue in the legislatures that the welfare recipients truly deserve the help.

As for agriculture subsidies, Rep. DeLauro: You aren't known for your efforts to cut them, or much else in the way of outlandish and unnecessary federal spending. Why don't you stop whining about drug tests and work on cutting spending -- including agriculture spending (which is excessive - very excessive, and which should be cut) -- instead?

If you don't, you're just another politician who is more interested in promoting divisiveness for political purposes than in genuinely helping the poor or the taxpayers. Shame on you.


Hollywood Specializes in Fiction -- Beware of Following Its Policy Advice

Robert RedfordA still from Redford's video

As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences meets tonight in California to give awards to itself, it is as good a time as any to remind ourselves that there's a reason Hollywood specializes in fiction.

Example #1 is a press release by the green Natural Resources Defense Council touting a Robert Redford video for supposed words of wisdom about climate change.

Redford is a guy who recently tried to do a movie about Rathergate -- an event orders of magnitude less complicated than the global warming theory -- and he couldn't even get that right.

Redford's Rathergate movie, "Truth," was mocked (see here and here or just Google it) for its failure to understand the basics of that scandal.

It's likely Redford and his cohorts made "Truth" based on what they wanted to be true, not what really happened. If that's the case, why would we not assume Redford's judgement on climate change is colored by his desire to believe there is a crisis?

Here's the press release for those interested. Believe it, and Redford's little video, at your own risk.

Robert Redford: World Leaders Should "Take Bold Action" in Paris Climate Agreement

WASHINGTON - "With a crucial climate summit beginning soon in Paris, Robert Redford has released a video kicking off a citizen petition drive calling on world leaders to 'take bold action' to avoid the damaging impacts of climate change.

"We're running out of time. But as a husband, a father and a grandfather, I do have hope," Redford says in the 90-second video released today on social media. "If we want to leave our children, grandchildren and future generations a healthy planet, we've got to respond now to the challenge of climate change.

"This is our only planet," Redford adds. "This may be our last chance. So let's protect the most important thing in the world: our children's future."

In the video - featuring scenes of drought, fierce storms, and melting glaciers - the actor, producer, environmentalist and trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council says the world must come together now to slash dangerous carbon pollution making us and our planet sick.

"Moderate weather is virtually extinct - and global instability, poverty and conflict are rising along with the temperature," he says. "We can prevent this disaster, if we work together to do something different."

In December, world leaders hope to do so when they gather in Paris to hammer out an international climate accord. The U.N. announced it would go ahead with the 21st Conference of the Parties, known as COP21, after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

Robert Redford, a highly respected leader on environmental issues, has spoken out repeatedly for strong action to address climate change.

In 2013, he worked with NRDC on a TV and online ad calling on President Obama to rein in carbon pollution from the nation's biggest source, coal-fired power plants. The ad is here:

Last June, Redford delivered an impassioned speech on climate change at the U.N. here:

NRDC worked with Redford to produce the Paris climate video, which will run on NRDC social media channels and be sent to NRDC supporters and activists.

Redford's video is here:

The text of his comments in the video follows:

"We're running out of time. But as a husband, a father and a grandfather, I do have hope.

"If we want to leave our children, grandchildren and future generations a healthy planet, we've got to respond now to the challenge of climate change.

"You know as well as I do how serious the threat is.

"The carbon pollution that drives climate change is making us sick - it's poisoning the air we breathe and the water we drink.

"It's making our planet sick, too. Moderate weather is virtually extinct - and global instability, poverty and conflict are rising along with the temperature.

"We can prevent this disaster, if we work together to do something different.

"Everywhere we look people are beginning to take action on their own - in their homes, in their cities, in their own lives.

"And this December, leaders from every nation in the world will gather in Paris to work for change, too.

"They know that we've all contributed to this crisis, and therefore we've all got be part of the solution.

"If we stand together, we can change the course of history.

"I hope you will stand with me and others - by signing a global petition at calling on world leaders to take bold action now.

"This is our only planet. This may be our last chance.

"So let's protect the most important thing in the world: our children's future."


Interestingly, Redford's video lobbies President Obama -- something the press release doesn't mention. I surmise the NRDC does not trust Obama. I'm beginning to wonder if anyone does.

The extent of Redford's qualifications to analyze climate science is unstated. The NRDC calls him a "leader," but mentions only that he has given a speech and appeared in videos, and serves in the board of the NRDC. Just a guess, but I doubt he'd be on the board if he were not a rich and famous actor. Same for the speech and videos. So he's an actor, and if he's more than that, they're not telling.

So why should we believe this, again?

Note: The press release arrived in my in-box with garbage symbols throughout. I had to guess where the NRDC wanted to place quotation marks, hyphens and other punctuation marks. I may not have guessed correctly in all instances, but I did not change any words.


Apple Shareholders Reject Shareholder Proposal Claiming Board is "Too Vanilla" (aka, White)

Silver Apple Logo White

Lack of diversity has long been a problem among the many Silicon Valley companies that employ mostly white men. Apple has said previously it would work to address gaps in employee diversity.

-Time, "Apple Shareholders Reject Plan to Recruit Minorities for Top Positions" by Katie Reilly, February 27, 2016

Would you surmise from Time's reporting here that Apple's United States workforce is 54 percent white (male and female combined)? While the United States is 77.4 percent white?


I think that's the idea.

Even when companies employ white males at a lower rate than they exist in our country, it's still not good enough for the news media.

I wrote about this more here, including the quote from the shareholder proponent that Apple's board is "a little bit too vanilla," and facts and figures showing that Apple's record on diversity is actually quite good.


Tomorrow I Will Speak to Apple Shareholders About Human Rights

Silver Apple Logo WhiteTomorrow morning, at the annual Apple meeting of shareholders in Cupertino, California, I will speak in favor of Proposal #7, "Human Rights Review," a shareholder proposal submitted by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

(To read it, go here and scroll to page 62).

Last spring, Apple CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he blasted religious freedom as having no place in our country. With no background in public policy or Constitutional scholarship, Mr. Cook used his poison pen to claim that religious freedom - a Constitutional right - should be trumped by his oppressive opinion. Speaking specifically about efforts in Indiana and Arkansas to pass religious freedom laws, Cook called this "something very dangerous" that "would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors." That's a lie.

The federal government and 31 states have RFRAs and none of them legalize discrimination against anyone. The federal RFRA was co-authored by now-deceased liberal icon Ted Kennedy and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. That law and similar state religious freedom laws simply set a high threshold if the government seeks to impinge upon someone's religious liberties. If the government crosses that line, the injured party can go to court and seek relief. That's it.

Mr. Cook distorted these commonsense laws to attack Americans of faith. In the words of esteemed law professor Richard Epstein, Cook and others have given these laws their "broadest possible construction and then give a parade of horribles, none of which have ever occurred."

America has always given special consideration to those who cannot protect themselves in the political or legal process - what we call the discreet and insular minorities. Cook attacked them. I hope that Mr. Cook will reflect on his words - which carry a strong totalitarian bent.

Everyone knows that Apple and other major American retailers would never discriminate against a gay customer. But Cook attacked the small fundamentalist Christian that may not want to be coerced by her government to partake in a marriage ceremony that contravenes her faith.

While Cook bemoans religious freedom here in America, Apple operates in 17 nations where homosexuality is outlawed. In four of those countries, homosexual acts are punishable by death. Apple also supports opening business relations with Iran - a state sponsor of terrorism. Good luck getting a Hamas or Hezbollah baker to make a cake for a gay wedding.

If you are an Apple shareholder, please join me in supporting proposal #7 and send a message to Apple's leaders that we shareholders support religious freedom.


Starbucks May Soon Have the World's Largest Menu

Starbucks Frappuccino 021916

Does the fact that there are 36,000 possible Frappuccino combinations at Starbucks mean that Starbucks soon must print the calorie count for all 36,000 combinations on its menu, under little-known regulations brought to us by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?

Apparently so.

It's going to be interesting to see what that looks like.


Look at American Vets to See Future of Government Health Care

Project 21’s Kevin Martin participated in a televised discussion Wednesday about whether employers should be able to mine data about their employees in order to predict health risks. Kevin pointed out that government employees already have their data mined. He then took it a step further to say veteran health care should be a good predictor of the success of government-run health care.  

“You’re gonna tell me that the government that can’t do it for 13 million vets is gonna do it for 300 million people under Bernie Sanders’ program?” he asked incredulously.

You can watch the entire segment of RT Network’s “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann” below:


Liberals, It's a Lie to Say Criticism of Obama Is Because He's Black

Inaccurate Occupy Democrats meme 1MSNBC is not the only leftist outfit to falsely claim Reagan made a SCOTUS nomination in a presidential election year, but none of them have any excuse - the truth is widely available

To hear MSNBC tell it, Obama is prohibited from doing many things because of his black ancestry.

Case in point is an on-air discussion between MSNBC employees Joy Reid and Chris Matthews, in which Reid alleges that Barack Obama "uniquely" among Presidents (code for "he's black") is "not allowed" to issue executive orders or to make nominations to federal courts.

Matthews does not challenge Reid, who is either colossally ignorant or a flat-out liar. (If she writes to me with an explanation or a correction, or makes one elsewhere and I learn of it, I'll print it at the end of this post.)

Reid, in part (you can see the video here), says:

...only Barack Obama, unique of all the presidents, is not allowed, because we’ve invented this supposed precedent that in the eighth year, they don’t get to nominate, well, you know what, Ronald Reagan did, Lyndon Johnson did, and he announced he wasn’t going to run for reelection.

If a doctor doesn't know how to take out someone's tonsils, and he does so anyway, and causes injury, would we say, Oh! He didn't know any better! Don't blame the doctor!

No, and by the same standard, we should expect journalists (who at the MSNBC level get paid more than most doctors) to know what they are doing before they report. Joy Reid is either lying or committing malpractice, and Chris Matthews is the nurse who sees the surgeon opening the stomach looking for tonsils -- and says nothing.

Here is the truth:

Fact one: Ronald Reagan did not make any nominations in a presidential election year. He just didn't. Could Reid not look it up?

Fact two: Lyndon Johnson did make a nomination in a presidential election year, so Reid is correct on that point, but she leaves off a pertinent fact: After Johnson did so, the Senate filibustered his nominee, who withdrew from consideration. The nominee was never confirmed, and the seat was filled by the next President, who was of the opposite party. No one at the time claimed Johnson's ancestry had anything to do with these events.

Your point again, Reid?

Obama can nominate someone, so on point one, Reid is complaining although Obama can do something Reagan didn't do (because racism). As Walter Mondale once said, where's the beef? (Though Mondale, a Minnesotan, is white even by white standards, so possibly "white privilege" is at play.)

On point two, Reid is ignoring that Supreme Court nominees of white Presidents sometimes get shot down, so if it happens to Obama (so far, it has not), it cannot accurately be said to be something "unique" (her word) to black Presidents.

Reid's point seems to come down to: Poor Obama. He's being treated like other Presidents.

Inaccurate Occupy Democrats meme 2Divisive rhetoric that just isn't true; the left should avoid lies and make its case on the merits

Except he isn't. Obama stands out as a particularly egregious serial violator of the Constitution, and he's mostly getting away with it. He's not the only President to have violated the Constitution, of course, but he does it especially often (Google liberal law professor and Obama voter Jonathan Turley if you have no idea what I'm talking about, or go here, here or here), to the point that more than a few people, not all of them conservatives, believe he is putting our system of checks and balances at risk.

When people complain about Obama's unconstitutional executive orders, it is because they are unconstitutional, not because Obama's half black.

White Presidents shouldn't issue unconstitutional executive orders, either. Look up "Bush unconstitutional actions" on Google sometime. If the Google results then look like they do today, you'll see the first few results are criticisms of Bush on this point by conservative and libertarian groups. Are you claiming, Reid, that conservatives only defended the Constitution during the Bush 43 Administration because Obama's black?

Or maybe Obama being black just does not have anything to do with any of this...?

As for federal court nominations, Reid. You claim Obama is "not allowed" to make any. He's made 323 so far, just counting those confirmed by the Senate, including a two-for-two record of appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Reid, if you have any evidence Obama is being treated differently because one of his biological parents was black, you sure have managed not to share any.

If you make your case on the merits, you'll be more persuasive. If you can't make your case on the merits, change your mind.


Nannystaters Try Censorship Again, Put Lives at Stake

Jeff Stier in UtahThe National Center's Jeff Stier (r) with the attorney for the state who agreed the public has a right to peacefully protest

The National Center's Jeff Stier is in Salt Lake City today, where he and a group of about thirty people politely, and silently, held signs opposing a massive 86.5 percent tax hike on e-cigarettes, the tobacco-free devices that permit people who are addicted to nicotine to get that nicotine "fix" without inhaling dangerous tobacco carcinogens.

Nannystaters, not for the first time, tried to get their silent protest shut down.

The nannystaters were holding a press conference supporting tax increases. Jeff and his crew stood unobtrusively nearby, holding signs and staying silent. The nannystaters asked them to leave, and when they declined, they called the sheriff, who asked them to leave as well.

Jeff, however, asked to speak to the attorney for the state, pointing out some relevant laws. He also asked that gentleman if, looking at the crowd, he was even able to identify Jeff's crew -- the very group the nannystaters claimed was disrupting their event. He could not.

The state, to its credit, decided in favor of free speech and free association and decided not to ask Jeff's group to leave.

Nannystaters, to their credit, are consistent. Freedom simply does not appeal to them.

It's up to the rest of us to decide if it appeals to us. If it does, we will reject the nanny state agenda, and choose our own beverages, food portions, salt intake and, yes, nicotine consumption, even if we drive the nannystaters nuts by doing such things as quitting tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes instead of the more politically-correct stop-smoking drugs made by major pharmaceutical companies.

State legislators, in Utah but also elsewhere, should reject calls for punitive taxes on e-cigarettes because they help people quit a cancer-causing activity. Cancer is a bad thing. One would think one would not have to point that out, but...

Some say kids who never smoked tobacco will smoke e-cigarettes, so they must be banned for everyone or punitively taxed to prevent this. A better option is to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. This keeps the e-cigarettes away from the kids while allowing access to adults who are addicted to nicotine and have up-to-now been using carcinogenic tobacco as a nicotine delivery device.

Jeff notes an irony: policies promoted by nannystaters may put more e-cigarettes in the hands of kids. Here's how: Vaping (e-cigarette) shops in many localities do not even let minors enter the shop, let alone buy e-cigarettes. So if kids do want access, unless they have an adult buying them for them, they have to go to the Internet. When states raise taxes on e-cigarettes, local shops become less attractive to buyers, and (presumably out-of-state) Internet shops, more so. The kids then end up with more online options to get e-cigarettes, while avoiding the taxes.

Another irony Jeff noted was that the nannystaters, at their press conference, were using minors to say taxes should be raised on e-cigarettes because the frontal lobes of minors are not yet fully developed (that's what they say), so minors are not clever enough to decide whether to vape for themselves. So, apparently, minors are not clever enough to decide whether to vape (even in the face of laws banning e-cigarette sales to them), but they are clever enough to design state laws. I guess the anti-vapers believe state legislators are dumber than teenagers.

Our view is that the law, and government, should have biases in favor of freedom and public health. The nannystaters have a bias toward control and their vision of a perfect society, which apparently is one in which no one ingests anything the nannystaters deem unhealthy. The nanny state agenda is unworkable, as people don't always make perfect choices and they are notoriously unwilling to let an unelected group of strangers decide what they do. In the case of e-cigarettes, the nanny agenda agenda is also dangerous. Some people -- many people -- find it less difficult to quit tobacco if they have a nicotine-delivery device that mimics the experience of smoking a cigarette, minus the tobacco, the smoke, and the smell. It is not a proper function of government to devise laws to deter people from doing safer things.

Let's not have public policies that help keep these people hooked on cigarettes. Save lives. Say "no" to the nannystaters.


Obama and Friends Cry False Racism for Supreme Court Battle

color change lie

I wrote yesterday about President Obama's attempt to cast the coming Supreme Court confirmation battle as being about him personally, so he can cast it as an issue of mostly white Senators opposing the nominee of a (half) black President.

This, he and his allies hope, will anger black Americans and help drive turnout among black voters this fall.

More evidence of this theory is a Facebook post by the left-wing Color of Change organization, founded by a man who left the White House staff to do it.

Color of Change claims in its post:

The modern process for vetting and approving Supreme Court Justices is rooted in racism. The extensive examination of nominees that we have today only began after conservative outrage for the Supreme Court's Brown vs Board of Ed. ruling to desegregate schools.

Except to the extent that 1987 came after 1954, this is a lie.

The extensive examination of Supreme Court justices began in 1987, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork, easily one of the greatest legal minds of his age. Leftist Senators, led by Ted Kennedy and the man Obama selected to be his vice president, Joe Biden, attacked Bork with a series of lies so vicious that the process gave birth to a new verb, to "bork."

The prior Supreme Court nomination vote, that of Antonin Scalia, was a unanimous 98-0.

The Bork confirmation battle was one of the nastiest and most disgraceful episodes in U.S. Senate history, but it was not about race and it was not led by conservatives.

Color of Change is unlikely to volunteer this information, so I will: Brown v. Board of Education was a unanimous 9-0 decision. The chief justice of the court at the time, Earl Warren, who wrote the majority decision, was a Republican (a former Republican politician, in fact) and was appointed by a Republican.

Indeed, if any single modern-era Supreme Court decision did contribute to an upswing in the examination of the views of court nominees, it would be Roe. v. Wade, the 1973 abortion decision in which the court twisted itself into pretzels to conclude a "right to privacy" unseen in the Constitution included the right to kill unborn babies (but not, apparently, geriatric Supreme Court justices).

Roe v. Wade is not seen as a racial case, although black babies are aborted at a far higher rate than white babies, and the total number of black babies aborted equals the astonishing and appalling level of 11 percent of the U.S. black population.

Obama's exploitation of genuine differences of opinion about the best way to interpret the Constitution (the right wants to interpret as written; the left wants to decide cases based on which policy outcome best promotes its agenda) as actually a battle of nasty racist people against poor, pure him has no bearing in truth, but it will be believed by many, making an already-divided America even more divided.

Few people believe making America a less unified country was the reason he was elected, but Obama either doesn't care, or he considers dividing America to be a worthwhile price to pay if doing so helps to promote his leftist agenda.


It's Not About You, Mr. President

Justice Scalia

Handing more ammo to people who suspect he's a narcissist, President Obama in his news conference today referred to Senators who might choose not to give consent to a future judicial nominee of his as doing so because they "don't like the President."

As even middle schoolers know, people who have believed for decades that the Constitution should be interpreted as written and that Supreme Court cases do not exist to give jurists a policy outcome that fits with their personal political beliefs, which describes most of the Republicans presently in the U.S. Senate, did not develop this viewpoint because they somehow realized that at some future date some guy named Obama was going to be President and they would't like him.

That's just stupid, and self-centered...

...but it's also strategic.

Obama is laying the groundwork for the lie that Republican Senators will oppose his Supreme Court nominee because they are racist -- either because he's (half) black, and he appointed the nominee, or the nominee is black or partly black, or a combination of all three.

Part of his motive will be to help Democrats win races this fall by motivating black turnout, as black Americans overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

Dishonestly is necessary for President Obama's strategy to work.

The Supreme Court nomination battle is not about race. It's about saving the Constitution and the United States of America. Anyone who tries to divide Americans from one another by pretending a racism that doesn't exist for political advantage is a low-down scalawag and totally undeserving of not only respect, but employment as a servant of the people.

Obama on Scalia death

We are as yet in early days of this nomination battle. It's possible I'm wrong, and the President and his allies intend to act with honesty and honor, presenting a decent nominee who can take the oath of office ("I... do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.") without crossing his or her fingers, and promoting said nominee before the Senate with arguments based on actual issues of judicial philosophy, competence and temperament.

Stranger things have happened... theoretically.

But the most likely thing is that President Obama plans to play dirty, to lie repeatedly and then again for good measure, and to try to increase racial, gender or any other divisions he can in order to promote his political agenda, even if it hurts the American people and the country he theoretically is supposed to be making stronger. So expect that, and when the President behaves as a narcissist, look for the secret agenda that explains why he's willing to let everyone believe he's a narcissist. Obama's statement today makes him look self-centered. There's a reason he was willing to look that way in public.

Most of the time, narcissists hide what they are -- unless they see a way to use the disclosure to personal advantage. Obama sees an advantage. Beware.


Genital Checks: Not Coming to a Restroom Near You

RestroomSignDPCLeft-wing websites have in recent weeks been running false stories that Republican legislators in various states are introducing bills to mandate "genital checks" - literally, genital inspections, on the public to make certain their anatomical gender matches the restroom they are entering.

The proposed bills do no such thing. In short, the articles lie.

In Washington State, a proposed bill that keeps the state out of regulating who enters which public restroom -- literally the opposite of what the leftists are contending, is being described as a bill that "will force everyone to show their private parts before they can use a restroom."

"Now these perverts want to sexually abuse little girls in bathrooms, over and over and over," the same article says.

It's nonsense.

Another article is headlined, "Republicans demand girls flash their vaginas to get into women's toilets."

Another foolish website asks, "who the hell is going to check for genitals outside of all the bathrooms in the state of Washington? Doesn't that sound a little ridiculous and unreasonable?"

Yes it does. So ridiculous and unreasonable, it is hard not to suspect that most if not all of these websites' editors know perfectly well they are misleading their readers.

In fact, the proposed law, the current version of which is easily available on the Washington legislature's website, simply says that businesses or institutions that offer the use of restrooms to the public are allowed to segregate their restrooms by anatomical gender if they want to -- but they do not have to. That's all.

Basically, the state would be staying out of restroom regulation.

In other words, Washington State, if it passes this law, will not create a right for people to announce what their gender is and then enter the restroom of their choice. By not creating this right, and please note the word right, Washington State protects the owners of public restrooms from being sued by people who are either not allowed to enter the restroom they prefer (by the restroom's owner) or even feel like they are being made uncomfortable if they enter the restroom they prefer.

This bill protects restroom owners from lawsuits, which in turn is in the public interest, because if business owners start to fear expensive lawsuits because they offer free restroom access to the public, guess what? They'll stop letting the public use their restrooms in self-defense.

Try to find a public restroom then!

Please note, though, that the proposed legislation does not require restroom owners to have any particular rules. If the restroom owners don't care if adults with different genitals use the same restroom, Washington State (if it passes this bill) doesn't care, either.

From a freedom perspective, this bill seems to be as good as it gets. But certain "trans" activists (I very much doubt they speak for all "trans" activists) are angry about this bill because they want the states to require businesses and institutions that offer public restroom access to let any adult in any restroom they wish to enter, and they want to be able to sue any business, charity or institution that doesn't allow this. So a state law that leaves the rule making in the hands of the restrooms' owners very much dissatisfies them.

But rather than say so -- which, admittedly, won't get them much public sympathy -- they've made up the canard that a bill that creates no state requirements on who uses which restroom in fact 1) sets strict requirements, and 2) mandates that an official inspector look at everyone's genitals before they enter a restroom.

SnopesLogoIdiotically, some incredibly gullible people are believing "genital check" claims -- even when the websites, in at least a bit of a concession to honesty, print a portion of the legislation that says the opposite.

I've mentioned one bill in Washington state, but this lie is being told elsewhere, about other bills. The national leftist web news site Raw Story, for example, ran a story saying a proposed Virginia law would mean "adults would be required to inspect children's genitals before they use the bathroom."

Raw Story quoted an "expert" claiming, falsely, "This is what the conservative movement has devolved into: forcing children to allow adults to examine their genitals out of misplaced fear that transgender kids and adults might commit a hypothetical never-before-seen act of violence or sexual aggression..."

Snopes took apart the Raw Story "genital checks" claim, noting that the proposed bill only says that kids in Virginia public schools are to use restrooms based on their anatomical gender. The bill calls for no genital examinations; after all, the public schools already are aware of the gender of each of their students. In short, the bill only codifies the practice the public schools have been following since the first public school in Virginia got large enough to have separate restrooms for boys and girls. No controversy there.

I wrote this blog post so anyone who sees one of these silly stories, regardless of the state, can find an article though Google to explain what is going on.

The entire thing is silly, and it is disheartening that activists are willing to so brazenly lie, but I suppose they think they have to to win. They certainly won't get the public outraged with truthful headlines such as: "Proposed State Law Would Leave Restroom Policies The Way They've Been Since Before You Were Born."


Exposers of Planned Parenthood Should Be Hailed as Good Journalists

On RT Network’s “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann,” Horace Cooper went on the attack against Planned Parenthood, and urged the organization to refuse federal funding.

“The lion’s share of Planned Parenthood’s work is killing people. They ought to call it Death Care, not Health Care,” said Cooper on the February 3 show. “But if they want to operate with impunity they should do so without taxpayer support. You will find the scrutiny goes away completely…’”

Cooper also defended anti-abortion activist David Daleiden, who faces legal trouble for his undercover videos exposing the gruesome profit motives of some Planned Parenthood executives.

“If an RT reporter goes to a Whole Foods grocery store and attempts to sell tainted beef to them and videotapes it, you guys would be telling us that’s good journalism. You wouldn’t be saying that that person ought to be charged criminally for attempting to put poisonous material into the market,” said Cooper.

The portion of the show dealing with Planned Parenthood and abortion can be viewed below:


March for Life: Will the Washington Post Cover It As It Did in 2014 (Fairly), or 2015 (Not)?

UnbornBaby abortionfacingleftWDPCIt's no secret that the mainstream media under-reports the massive "March for Life" held every January 22nd in Washington, D.C.

Will it do any better this year?

In 2013, the National Center for Public Policy Research's David Almasi took the issue to the shareholder meeting of the then-publicly-held Washington Post and asked why the Post gave less coverage to hundreds of thousands of people attending the 2013 March for Life than to vastly smaller rallies touting the liberal position on gun control and the Keystone pipeline.

As the National Center reported in a May 9, 2013 press release, here's how the Washington Post responded:

In response, Post Company chairman and CEO Donald Graham, who served as the paper's publisher in 1990, said he agreed with the criticism of the paper's abortion reporting at that time and said the Post's job in reporting the news is "not to take sides." However, he added, "that's not to say we don't make mistakes."

Graham handed off the question to current Post publisher Katherine Weymouth, who added: "[W]e're far from perfect -- we do make mistakes." In a private conversation with Almasi after the conclusion of the meeting, Weymouth suggested around "90 percent" of the Post newsroom holds liberal political beliefs and "obviously their bias comes through" on occasion. "We can't be perfect," Weymouth reiterated. Almasi pointed out that the Post's apparent bias against large pro-life events such as the annual March for Life is a recurring problem with the paper.

"Every year, the hundreds of thousands of people who trek to Washington in January -- often in snow and rain -- for the March for Life get a small story in the Metro section for their efforts. And it usually includes a photo of the handful of pro-abortion counter-protesters who show up -- diluting the coverage and potentially making someone not reading the article think it was a pro-abortion event. This year, the apparent bias was compounded when a gun control rally of less than 1,000 people the next day received better coverage. And another smaller rally against the Keystone XL pipeline made the front section," said Almasi. "People consider Congress more credible than the reporters who cover them these days, and the Washington Post is seen as the poster child for bias for this kind of reporting."

To the Washington Post's credit, the very next year, 2014, its coverage of the March for Life was much more fair. As this blog, in an article by David Almasi, reported on January 23, 2014:
After being taken to task for virtually ignoring what they now report is "the world's largest" pro-life event that has been happening on their home turf for decades, it appears the shareholder activism of the National Center&'s Free Enterprise Project prompted the Washington Post to upgrade its coverage of the annual March for Life.

Life sign abortionW DPCEvery January 22, the anniversary of the release of the Roe v. Wade opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court, hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists converge on the nation’s capital in all forms of weather. That should be enough of a story all by itself.

Yesterday, the federal government was officially closed. It was the day after a major (by D.C. standards) snowstorm that paralyzed the region. Yet March for Life organizers reported that hundreds of thousands still attended (and the Post reported temperatures at the March were near the single digits and that many buses and trains bringing people to the March were cancelled due to the weather). Police no longer issue crowd estimates.

Coverage of this major event in the Washington Post used to be meager. Not this year.

This year’s March for Life received coverage on page 2 of the front section of the Post. Last year, it was covered on page 1 of the Metro section – and received less-favorable coverage than a story that appeared the following day about a rally of less than a thousand people who supported gun control...

Issue closed? Sadly, no.

In the intervening time, the Washington Post was sold to's Jeff Bezos. The leadership of the Post -- partially -- changed. The Post's coverage of the 2015 March for Life was noticeably less fair.

As David Almasi wrote here last year:

...So how did the Washington Post do on reporting the March for Life in 2015? I think a liberal newsroom is beginning to reassert its authority.

Consider the statistics. The 1/23/15 article for the 2015 March for Life is on page A-6 — in the front section and above the fold. Some would consider that buried, as opposed to being on the front page of the Metro section.

In an article with a total of 27.2 column inches, only about 6.75 inches is actually devoted to the March itself. There is 3.5 inches for people who participated to support life issues besides abortion (namely, anti-capital punishment) and 2.75 inches about March leadership not allowing representatives of those other causes to address marchers at a rally. And 2.125 inches was allocated to a pro-abortion Catholic activist. The rest was devoted to abortion-related news from places elsewhere than the teeming streets of D.C on a cold day in January.

Furthermore, the photo accompanying the article prominently featured pro-abortion protesters...Imagine that. Hundreds of thousands of people rally for the pro-life cause the day after a major snowstorm and the Washington Post ran a picture of pro-abortion activists. How much more clear a picture of bias could there be?

The Washington Post is now privately held, so the National Center's Free Enterprise Project can no longer go to Washington Post shareholder meetings and talk frankly to its top executives in front of hundreds of its top shareholders and the business press. The Washington Post editors and management, however, are still as free as ever to report fairly.

If they want to. We'll see when tomorrow's Post comes out.


Is Apple's Workforce Sufficiently Diverse? A Shareholder Proposal Says No, But I'm Skeptical

Silver Apple Logo WhiteIs Apple's workforce sufficiently diversified?

Antonio Avian Maldonado II, a shareholder, says "no." He's submitted a shareholder proposal to be voted on at Apple's next shareholder meeting calling on the corporation to adopt an "accelerated recruitment policy" to increase diversity.

In its proxy statement, which contains the proposal and Apple's response, Apple urges shareholders to vote "no" on the proposal. It is now receiving criticism for doing so.

But is the criticism fair? At the risk of further aggrieving the perpetually-aggrieved, I see scant reason to think so.

Apple's overall United States workforce is 54 percent white. The USA is 77.4 percent white; if everyone of Hispanic heritage is deducted, it is 62.1 percent white. Apple's leadership is 63 percent white. So Apple's American workforce is less white than America; its leadership is as well unless everyone with Hispanic ancestry is discounted, in which case, the leadership numbers, in terms of white executives, almost exactly match the population's.

Maldonado is quoted saying Apple's board is "a little bit too vanilla." He's more comfortable than I am in judging people based on their birth characteristics.

Apple's board has only eight members. That's small. Anytime you have a group of just eight, the odds of it matching some pre-determined racial/ethnic/gender mix is unlikely. Even so, with one black member, Apple's board is 12.5 percent black (about 13.2 percent of Americans are black).

When it comes to women on Apple's board, at first glance, with two members or 25 percent, women are underrepresented. But women earned only about 18 percent of all U.S. bachelor's degrees in computer science in 2010, and about the same in engineering. By this measure, Apple actually has more women on its board than it might.

The board is 75 percent white.

But again, a sample size of eight is too small for conclusions, and anyone who knows business knows that many of the most influential executives at any corporation are not necessarily on the board of directors. Indeed, boards sometimes are criticized for rubber-stamping what executives want.

It's worth noting, and Apple does, that over the last year 35 percent of Apple's new U.S. hires were female, 19 percent were of Asian ancestry, 13 percent were of Hispanic ancestry, and 11 percent were black.

Some Apple critics, such as the business publication Quartz, claim "studies have found that companies with diverse boards typically see higher financial returns." But Quartz only linked to two studies for this broad statement.

One of these examined boards only for gender mix and for the number of members who were foreign-born, not race or ancestry, and even then, it said, "We acknowledge that these findings, though consistent, aren’t proof of a direct relationship between diversity and financial success."

The other, a four page study (of which two pages are graphics and a third is recommendations and information about the sponsor), examined the return on investment (ROI) of corporations with women on their boards versus those without in three nations (the U.S., U.K. and India; we aren't told why these three were selected), noted that the firms with women on the board had greater ROIs, and apparently just assumed the women made the difference. I think we all know what can happen when we "assume."

Maldonado's proposal asks "the Board of Directors [to] adopt an accelerated recruitment policy... to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors, two bodies that presently fails [sic] to adequately represent diversity (particularly Hispanic, African-American, Native-American and other people of colour)."

This is vague (is Apple supposed to put more non-whites and females in senior management and its board, or is it merely supposed to examine the resumes of/interview more non-whites, Hispanics and females?), and vagueness can get a proposal disqualified at the Securities and Exchange Commission, but for some reason Apple's attorneys failed to make this argument when it asked the SEC to allow it to leave Maldonado's proposal off its proxy statement, so I have no idea if the SEC would agree with me.

Although I have been an Apple customer for thirty years, I am not a blind lover of everything Apple says and does (and there are many people who are!). Maldonado's proposal is #6 on Apple's proxy statement; one from us is #7. Apple fought us at the SEC (we won), just as it did Maldonado. But I am exasperated by what appears to be increasing arguments that there is something wrong with white men, just because they were born white and male. Apple's U.S. workforce is already less white than the U.S. and it's not Apple's fault that women are less likely than men to CHOOSE (a voluntary action!) computer science and engineering careers. If Apple has some bias against non-white non-males -- and no one appears to be alleging that -- it should be addressed and eliminated. Short of that, Apple should choose its executive team and board based on what's between people's ears (which can include knowledge about different population groups), not their skin color, gender, the nations their ancestors lived in or other characteristics of birth.

It's clear Apple already actively recruits minorities and women, and it goes further, by such activities as making donations to the STEM programs at historically-black universities. This almost certainly will increase the pool of black executives for the tech sector. These activities should be applauded. But if a white male happens to be the best applicant for any particular position, Apple should not hold his race and gender against him.


Yes, Conservatives DO Have ObamaCare Alternatives

On RT Network’s “The Big Picture,” Project 21’s Hughey Newsome told host Thom Hartmann that the reason Hartmann knew of no conservative alternatives to ObamaCare isn’t because there aren’t any — it’s because the mainstream media refuses to talk about them.

“I think that Republicans are focused on stopping ObamaCare at this point before it gets too entrenched into the American economic system, into the health care system, and then you fix it,” Newsome said.

“In other words, you don’t have a plan either,” interrupted Hartmann.

“The Republicans have been proposing potential solutions and ObamaCare alternatives since ‘09,” countered Newsome.

“I have not heard one serious proposal,” said Hartmann.

“Let’s not say Republicans haven’t proposed alternatives. Making insurance portable,” for example, said Newsome. “There are alternative approaches and solutions that are being explored. They just haven’t seen the light of day because the mainstream media is not allowing it.”

Too bad Newsome didn’t have this handy resource in front of him to stick in Hartmann’s face. Last year the National Center created this document, which details some of the conservative and libertarian health care reform proposals about which Hartmann and many Americans sadly haven’t heard.

The health care debate between Newsome and Hartmann on 1/15/16 can be viewed below:



Horace Cooper Decries Single-Payer Health Care and Government Witch Hunts Against Conservatives

Project 21’s Horace Cooper dominated the debate during the RT Network’s “Big Picture Rumble” Wednesday night.

First, Horace challenged host Thom Hartmann’s claim that our nation would be better off with a single-payer health care system similar to those found in Canada and Europe.

“Explain why, even though all of these other systems have all these ‘assets’ and ‘advantages’, we see so much health care tourism to the United States,” challenged Cooper. “They come here because market forces are allowing for dynamic treatments that many places simply aren’t going to be able to [provide]….Why are Canadians, when they have high-specialty, intensive health care needs related to heart and vascular circulation issues, coming here?”  

The health care debate can be viewed here:

Later in the program, the topic of campaign finance came up in light of this week’s State of the Union address.  President Obama wants greater transparency regarding political contributions.  Horace argued that if contributions are to be made public, there should be greater accountability as to how that information can be used.

Horace said he believed in transparency “until all of a sudden, people started getting IRS audits, people started getting EPA audits, all kinds of sting operations based on the contributions that they made. And because you progressives go out and do things in the dark of the night that are criminal against these people and targeting them.”

Horace suggests that it should be “a felony with mandatory sentences if you use information that you get from the FEC… to oppress or in some way punish [people] for their actions.”  

View the campaign finance debate below.



President Obama Hasn't Addressed the Real Issues That Affect the Black Community 

In light of President Obama’s State of the Union address, Project 21’s Stacy Washington appeared on Newsmax TV’s “The Hard Line” last night to address whether the president is effectively tackling the issues that affect African Americans.

“There’ve been a lot of opportunities for this president to come out and talk about things that really matter to the black community — the jobless rate, the fatherlessness rate, the amount of children who have grown up in homes that are poverty-stricken and receiving food stamps and SNAP benefits,” said Washington.  “And at each opportunity, the President has pivoted to his agenda, preferring to instead focus on immigration, illegal immigration, demonizing Americans for their supposed treatment of Muslims, and his obsession with controlling guns.

“The true issue in inner-city communities is the lack of fathers.  And Barack Obama happens to be an excellent husband and father, and he has not once taken a step into that area and said, ‘Look, we’ve got to stop having children out of wedlock.  We’ve got to start focusing on families.’” 

Watch Stacy’s entire appearance below:



To Media Matters, It Is Still 2008

Media Matters logo

Media Matters is at it again.

Writer Kevin Kalhoefer has "awarded" the National Center's Jeff Stier and Julie Kelley's November 9 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about left-wing efforts to raises taxes on meat for supposed climate change-fighting purposes as the 4th most ridiculous thing the conservative media said about climate change in 2015.

To rebut the piece, Media Matters called it "baseless." Not much of a rebuttal, that.

Media Matters also, once again, misled its lemmings by calling the National Center for Public Policy Research "oil-industry backed." As we documented here in November, we last received a contribution from the oil industry in 2008, so any accurate references to oil industry donations would have to be -- very much -- in the past tense.

Media Matters cited its claim that we are oil-industry by linking to a webpage noting that we last received an oil industry donation in 2008, so it can't claim it doesn't know.

Media Matters, like other leftist groups, appears unwilling to discuss the state of the evidence that the man-made catastrophic global warming theory is true. Instead it plays a game of diversion, discussing (however misleadingly) the sources of funding of those who point out that the models that predicted dramatic global warming have overwhelmingly failed to be accurate, as the years have gone by, and we've had time to evaluate them against actual temperature.

One gets the sense the left doesn't care any more about whether the global warming theory is true than if its statements about the right's funding are true.

What Media Matters says about our funding makes no more sense than claiming George w. Bush is president of the United States. What was true in 2008 is not true today.