The West Might Lose The New Cold War With Its Self-Defeating Energy Policy

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

In today’s new Cold War, the West is losing its economic advantage because of its self-defeating energy policies to address ‘climate change.’

 

Three significant events this year indicate that we are already in a new Cold War. In early February, China and Russia established an unofficial strategic alliance by announcing “a friendship of no limits” while denouncing the Western democracies. Shortly after, Russia invaded Ukraine. After some initial hesitation and delays, the United States and its Western allies worked together to impose severe economic sanctions on Russia while providing Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid.

A new iron curtain has descended from the Baltic to the South China Sea. One side is a coalition of autocracies led by China and Russia, with illiberal regimes such as Iran and North Korea playing the supporting role. The other side we call the West, led by the United States, including liberal democracies in Europe, South Korea, and Japan. Will the West win this new Cold War?

The West claimed the victory of the last Cold War against Communism not only because of the superiority of liberal democratic values but also because of the economic strengths of the free market, which had created a higher standard of living and enormous wealth. It’s self-evident that freedom and prosperity go hand in hand. In contrast to the economic success of the West were widespread poverty and hunger in Communist countries. People in these countries either fled to the West or demanded political change at home through protests. It’s fair to say that the Berlin Wall fell, and the West won the Cold War, mainly because of its economic advantages over Communist regimes.

In today’s new Cold War, however, the West is losing its economic advantage because of its self-defeating energy policies driven by a cult-like devotion to addressing “climate change.” Aiming to slow down global warming (although our planet only warmed 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century) and bring the greenhouse emissions back to the pre-industrial revolution level, liberal elites have decided to rapidly replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. They refuse to admit that despite many technological advancements, renewable energy is not reliable because the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow on demand. According to Lars Schernikau, an energy economist, “practically every windmill or solar panel requires either a backup or storage.”

The United States and Europe’s ill-advised energy policies have little effect on global warming or greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, they have made the West vulnerable in this new Cold War for three reasons.

1. The West Has Inflicted Economic Pain and Lower Standard of Living

The West’s anti-carbon energy policies resulted in energy shortages and high energy prices long before Russia invaded Ukraine. Since food security depends on energy, high energy prices led to food inflation and shortages. Higher prices of food and energy are the main drivers of rising inflation in Europe and the U.S. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exacerbated these problems and crystallized how foolish the West’s energy policies are.

For the first time in decades, people in the West must embrace economic pain and a lower standard of living that was familiar to those of us who used to live in Communist countries. Today in Germany, people face a “cost of living crisis,” with shortages of necessities such as cooking oil, flour, and toilet paper. Some local authorities have already limited hot water and traffic lights. Others warned they might have to turn off floodlights in soccer stadiums to conserve energy, something unthinkable for a soccer-crazy nation. But it’s the coming winter that may be most dreadful. If Russia cuts off the natural gas supply, pundits in Germany predict an economic recession and “major civil disorder, a winter of cold showers and extra jumpers.”

Other European nations aren’t faring any better. The continent is on the verge of an energy-driven recession. Fed up with rising fuel prices and local governments’ insistence on their unrealistic “green” policies, Dutch farmers staged protests in the Netherlands. Now similar protests led by farmers have spread to Germany, Italy, Spain, and Poland.

Americans have been enduring economic pain too. A survey shows that rising gas and food prices have forced two-thirds of Americans to cut back on restaurants, movies, and entertainment, and to drive less. More than 4 in 10 Americans spent less on groceries. Some families have resorted to switching off lights and air conditioning due to the cost of energy. The survey also shows that the majority of Americans has a pessimistic outlook of our nation’s economy, expecting a recession.

The West cannot win the new Cold War when its green policies lead to economic suffering and political instability at home.

2. The West’s Energy Policies Have Empowered and Enriched Adversaries

Europe’s dependency on Russia’s oil and natural gas has enriched Russian President Vladimir Putin. Without money earned from energy exports to build his war chest, Putin probably would have had to think twice before he invaded Ukraine. After the European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions on Russia after the invasion, Putin showed how he could use energy to retaliate. Russia reportedly reduced the flow of natural gas through Nord Stream (offshore natural gas pipelines run under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany) to about 40 percent of its capacity in recent months. Then it shut down the pipelines for ten days in the name of annual maintenance, when Europe was in the middle of a heat wave. Putin eventually turned the pipelines back on but “warned of possible new capacity shortfalls because of Western sanctions.” French President Emmanuel Macron finally acknowledged that energy has become “a weapon of the war.”

Anticipating the coming winter heating season, the EU urged members to cut back natural gas consumption by at least 15 percent over the next eight months and start to ration energy usage, prioritizing “essential industries.” That means both businesses and homes should expect rolling blackouts, which I was used to when growing up in Communist China. The prospect of no heat in winter may force some EU nations to give up economic sanctions on Russia in exchange for energy. A divided Europe is a win for Putin. If the EU can’t maintain a united front on sanctioning Russia, Putin will win his war in Ukraine. The EU has no one else but itself to blame for this outcome because previous U.S. administrations warned about it for years. But leaders such as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to listen.

While the EU’s green energy policies were enriching Putin’s Russia, in the U.S., the Democrats’ “green” energy has enriched Communist China. U.S. government subsidies for solar panels and electric vehicles have gone to China, since that country dominates the global supply chains of critical components and materials. A rich and powerful China has helped Russia mitigate the effects of Western economic sanctions by purchasing Russia’s agricultural and energy exports. Even more troublesome, China’s “clean” energy producers have been accused of causing environmental pollution and exploiting forced Uyghur laborers.

The West cannot win the new Cold War when it looks to adversaries for energy solutions.

3. The West Faces Difficulties Building a Broader Coalition

When the West led a United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 35 countries abstained or voted no. In another vote to expel Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, 58 countries abstained. Some of these “abstainers” are ideologically aligned with Russia. Others refused to join the West’s condemnation due to their economic needs. Their top concerns are food and energy security, not climate change. They are unconvinced that the West’s “green” energy policies worked when they see the once affluent West is now suffering economic pain and instability. They also witnessed how countries such as Sri Lanka collapsed economically and politically after adopting the West’s green policies. Unlike foolhardy climate alarmists in the West, leaders in these countries know that they need affordable fossil fuels, food, and fertilizer exports from Russia, and economic investment from China to keep their people happy and maintain stability. Driven by these practical economic reasons, many nations chose not to take sides. Not surprisingly, the West is having difficulty building a broader and stronger coalition against Russia.

The liberals in the West need to face the reality that not only does the world primarily run on fossil fuels, but energy has also become a powerful weapon in this new Cold War. The West cannot win this new Cold War with its self-defeating anti-carbon energy policies.

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This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Starbucks Closures Over Crime Show How Companies Dodge Woke Consequences

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Troubled times may be ahead for the marriage between corporate America and the left.

Starbucks recently announced that it’s closing over a dozen stores because of crime and safety concerns.

“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to close some locations that have a particularly high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe for us to operate,” a Starbucks spokesman told CNBC.

What is the primary driver of Starbucks locations becoming unsafe? Starbucks’ top executive had an interesting answer.

In a video leaked on Twitter, Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz pinned the source of the problem on politicians and other city leaders who’ve failed to contain crime.

“In my view, at the local, state, and federal level, these governments across the country and leaders—mayors, governors, and city councils—have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness,” Schultz said.

It’s interesting to hear Schultz say this. He generally has been a man of the left, though he left the Democrat Party in 2019 and became an independent.

The question is: Will companies such as Starbucks reconsider their general support of left-wing social causes and policies that have caused them a huge financial headache?

And will left-wing activists stick with these woke companies that now are closing stores and laying off employees?

Of the 16 Starbucks locations set to close, a majority are on the West Coast, apart from Philadelphia and the District of Columbia. Most are in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon.

Every one of the cities with closing Starbucks outlets has a Democrat mayor and little political opposition.

This may just be the beginning of safety-related closures, as Schultz indicated in the leaked video.

“It has shocked me that one of the primary concerns that our retail partners have is their own personal safety,” Schultz says in the video. “America has become unsafe.”

That’s for sure.

The increase in violent crime has been a national trend, but the cities most affected by the spike in crime typically are places that had significant civil unrest in 2020.

Portland, the poster child of this crime wave phenomenon, has seen the most dramatic increase in violent crime. A recent report showed that Portland’s homicide rate increased by a staggering 207% between 2019 and 2021, nearly twice as much as the city with the second-highest increase in homicides.

And that city was Minneapolis, ground zero for 2020’s unrest and the initial epicenter of the “defund the police” movement following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

In many cities, property crime and retail theft are surging too, as criminals realize they won’t pay a serious consequence for lawbreaking.

What’s interesting about the safety-related Starbucks closures is how the announcement has followed the trend of other, major national companies that have decided to close stores or locations for similar reasons.

Walgreens, for instance, closed shops in San Francisco, citing out-of-control shoplifting and organized crime. Other retail chains have pointed to similar crime-related reasons for closures.

It’s no surprise to see Seattle on the list of Starbucks closures. The coffee chain’s home city has seen crime escalate dramatically in a few years. Amazon, the giant online retailer, recently relocated 1,800 employees out of downtown Seattle locations, citing crime.

Now, some have called into question the motives behind these closures, saying that it’s simply downsizing due to supply chain disruptions and a move to online retail.

In the case of Starbucks, some former employees say it was their plan to unionize that prompted Starbucks to close stores under the guise of safety.

Additional reasons may exist for sudden store closures other than crime. But there’s little doubt that increases in crime have created a more challenging economic environment.

Anarchy is bad for business. When you combine anarchy with resultant higher security needs, you end up with a lot more companies shutting down or moving to greener pastures.

Amazon wouldn’t be suddenly closing business locations if the problem was just the rise of online shopping.

Starbucks joins the growing list of companies that have cooled in their ardor for social justice when their bottom line took a hit.

In 2018, at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, two black men who were not customers were denied the use of a store bathroom. Officers arrested the men after the manager called the police.

This incident provoked Starbucks to conduct a company-wide racial bias training program. Starbucks also opened all its restrooms for public use.

Now the company is considering reversing the policy and closing restrooms to the public because of safety concerns, which include addicts’ drug use in the restrooms.

So, is this a return to racism for Starbucks, or is the company simply bending to the reality that there were very good reasons to limit public access to restrooms?

One would think restrooms should be primarily for employees and paying customers, not drug abusers looking for a convenient spot to shoot up. After a few years, it appears that Starbucks’ upper management is coming back to reality.

It’s interesting to see these problems hit corporate America, which in the past few years almost uniformly sided with woke causes. That commitment appears to be soft when it runs into the brick wall of woke consequences.

For cities consumed by the most ridiculous progressive policies, the bill has come due. And it looks like woke corporate allies aren’t going to stick around when it comes to picking up the tab.

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This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Mr. Roberts, Where Are You?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Chief Justice John Roberts has expressed that he feels compelled to protect the image of the Supreme Court since he was sworn in as the leader. That is why we have been told he conceived of the Obamacare Individual Mandate as being a tax. That is after the President and the supporters of Obamacare stated repeatedly it was not a tax, thus saving Obamacare in the ruling on National Federation of Independent Business et al vs. Sebelius. Why at this critical juncture is he not vociferously defending the court?

Let us begin by defining the fact that I am wholly in favor of the divide we currently have in this country between what has been characterized as “Red” and “Blue” states. The states are designed as incubators of public policy. In a society where we have significant choices, people make decisions about which states have not only the best climate and best jobs for them but the best public policy that aligns with their views.

There have been many discussions regarding people relocating to red states during COVID. A few years only tells part of the story. The three most populated blue states are New York, Illinois, and California. I looked at their population this century (2000 vs 2022). US population increased by 17.7% during that period (332 million vs 282 million). Population for the state of Illinois increased 2 % (12,671,000 vs 12,419,000). The state of New York grew 6% (20,115,000 vs 18,976,000). The state of California did better at 15.8% (39,240,000 vs. 33.870,000). Collectively, however, these states lost population compared to the rest of the country.

All three of these states lost an electoral vote this past year because people are either not moving to these states or are leaving them. In a time in history where many people can work at their jobs wherever they choose to live, they are no longer relocating for jobs. They are moving for other factors, such as the cost of living or invasive governments that restrict housing development.

The Supreme Court at the end of its term made some major rulings that affected people’s lives. The essence of those rulings was stating more boldly and strongly than they have recently that they are not going to be making laws. Rather, they are returning to the time where their job, as written in our Constitution, is to interpret whether the laws written by Congress and enforced by the Executive branch are allowed within the framework of our Constitution as written.

All this garbage about being “originalists” or venerating dead white men is exactly that – garbage. The Justices are doing exactly what their mission is. This is although their predecessors often strayed by taking the law into their own hands. That is largely coming to a halt. Some people are upset, having thought they ran the country by having Justices do their work for them. Now they must do their own work. Armageddon did not happen. What happened is if you are an elected official, you now must do your job because the nine robed people are not going to. There are still three who want to write laws. One only needs to read their dissents in the three most notable recent cases, and it is impossible to come to any other conclusion.

So where is John Roberts laying this out and telling the other branches pointing fingers at the Court to do their job? He needs to give a forceful speech defending the Constitution and the actions of his fellow Justices. He needs to say to the members of Congress “if you don’t like the fact that the EPA or any other agency can no longer go cowboy on us and makeup rules then do what you were elected to do.” If Congress wants federal agencies to accomplish something, write a law, and get it passed and signed. Read the Constitution. It is your job. If legislators do not like the abortion-related laws in their states – pass new ones. You were elected to do that, not just give speeches, or send out tweets.

And if residents do not like abortion restrictions in their state, they can pick up and move. The protests that have gone on are almost exclusively in states where abortion is already legal after Dobbs. What are they protesting? Two-thirds of abortions are already performed in blue states. If a woman who is pro-choice from Missouri must relocate to Illinois, I for one do not feel sorry for her. If that is such a burning issue to her then she has the freedom in our country to do as she chooses. And those who do not like my attitude are welcome to look at my database of all my like-minded friends who have relocated to Tennessee, Nevada, Texas, Florida, and other states.

Justice Roberts should make clear the Justices are only doing their job. And he should call the President and the AG and tell them to stop the misbehavior of the protestors who live in jurisdictions where abortion is legal. Members of the Supreme Court and/or any other elected official should not have the privacy of their homes or their neighbors’ homes disrupted. People should be allowed to eat in restaurants without protestors disturbing everyone on the premises. Roberts should call Pelosi and suggest to her to rein in her unruly members who suggest hunting down Supreme Court members is a civic duty.

These actions by the protesters may or may not be legal. That is not the point. The actions are not civil, and we have a civil society. To pay a bounty for spotting of Justices outside their homes so they can be confronted is despicable. Who is funding this? What kind of morals do they have? To access a restaurant’s reservation system and make false bookings is childish behavior and uncivil. Because a restaurant does not want its patrons disturbed no matter what the issue, they should not be confronted by “children.” (That’s an insult to well-behaved children). That is what they are. I did things like that when I was thirteen. I grew up. Do these protesters believe they are really making a difference?

We have laws and we should all be delighted when the laws are being followed. We should vote out anyone who is not administering those laws. And Justice Roberts should defend his court which has done nothing other than telling people the Court is now doing its job.

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This article was published by Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Bombshells Undercut The ‘Big Lie:’ 21 Confirmed Illegalities, Irregularities from 2020 Election

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are now nearly two dozen credible confirmations of wrongdoing, irregularities, and illegalities that undercut the claims of bureaucrats, journalists, and Democrats that the November 2020 general election was flawless.

 

Democrats and their allies in the traditional news media have coined the term the “Big Lie” to dismiss anyone who questions the conduct of the 2020 election.

But with each passing day, new irregularities, security vulnerabilities, and illegalities are being unmasked by bombshell revelations from courts, legislators, and other investigative bodies like the FBI and Homeland Security Department.

The latest came last week when the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared that state election regulators had no legal authority to allow voters to cast ballots in mobile drop boxes, a jaw-dropping decision that invalidated the way tens of thousands of voters — many of them Democrats — cast their ballots.

From Phoenix to Detroit, and Madison to Austin, there are now nearly two dozen credible confirmations of problems that undercut the claims of bureaucrats, journalists, and Democrats that the November 2020 general election was perfect. In fact, it was quite imperfect.

And while none of the revelations, at this point, have persuaded courts to reverse the outcome of the presidential tally or unseat Joe Biden from the White House, they have shaken voter confidence in key battleground states and built a compelling case that the bigger lie was that the 2020 election was flawless.

Here are 21 important revelations uncovered by Just the News over the last 18 months of reporting, complete with substantiating evidence and links:

    1. Illegal ballot drop boxes. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the 570 drop boxes used during the 2020 election were unlawfully approved by the Wisconsin Election Commission, “Only the legislature may permit absentee voting via ballot drop boxes,” the court declared. “WEC cannot. Ballot drop boxes appear nowhere in the detailed statutory system for absentee voting. WEC’s authorization of ballot drop boxes was unlawful.” State Rep. Janel Brandtjen told Just the News that hundreds of thousands of votes were cast in the illegal boxes in the 2020 race when Biden and Donald Trump were separated by less than 21,000 votes.
    2. A Foreign Intrusion. Federal authorities have confirmed that two Iranian nationals successfully hacked into a state computer election system, stole 100,000 voter registrations and used the data to carry out a cyber-intimidation campaign that targeted GOP members of Congress, Trump campaign officials and Democratic voters in the November 2020 election in one of the largest foreign intrusions in U.S. election history. The defendants “were part of a coordinated conspiracy in which Iranian hackers sought to undermine faith and confidence in the U.S. presidential election,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams declared in an indictment.
    3. The Laptop Lie: More than 50 national security experts, countless news organizations and large social media firms falsely told American voters in fall 2020 that the Hunter Biden laptop with damning revelations about Biden family corruption was Russian disinformation. In fact, it was a legitimate laptop already in the FBI’s possession, and Hunter Biden was already under criminal investigation before voters cast their 2020 ballots. The false narrative had significant impact: polling shows a majority of American voters believe the pre-election censorship of the story amounted to election interference,
    4. Alleged Bribery. The former state Supreme Court justice appointed by the Wisconsin Legislature to investigate the 2020 election concluded that millions of dollars in donations to election administrators in five Democrat-heavy municipalities from the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life violated state anti-bribery laws and corrupted election practices by turning public election authorities into liberal get-out-the-vote activists. “The Zuckerberg-funded CTCL/ Zuckerberg 5 scheme would prove to be an effective way to accomplish the partisan effort to ‘turnout’ their desired voters and it was done with the active support of the very people and the governmental institution (WEC) that were supposed to be guarding the Wisconsin elections administrative process from the partisan activities they facilitated,” Justice Michael Gableman wrote.
    5. Illegal ballot harvesting in Wisconsin. Gableman also exposed an extensive vote collection operation, known as ballot harvesting, in nursing homes in which third-party activists illegally collected the ballots of vulnerable residents, some of whom lacked the mental or physical capacity to vote or were forbidden from voting by guardianship agreements. State election regulators “unlawfully directed the municipal clerks not to send out the legally required special voting deputies to nursing homes, resulting in many nursing homes’ registered residents voting at 100% rates and many ineligible residents voting, despite a guardianship order or incapacity,” Gableman wrote in his explosive report.
    6. Ballot harvesting probe in the Peach State. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced he has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that liberal activists engaged in illegal ballot harvesting, collecting ballots from voters and delivering them in violation of state law. Raffensperger said he is planning to issue subpoenas to identify a whistleblower who admitted he engaged in the operation, and there could be prosecutions. The True the Vote election integrity group says in a formal state complaint that the man, identified as John Doe, admitted his role and identified nonprofits who funded it at $10 per ballot delivered. The watchdog group also claims it has assembled cell phone location records pinpointing the alleged harvesting by as many as 240 activists.
    7. Bad voter signatures? A review of Maricopa County’s mail-in ballots in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election estimated that more than 200,000 ballots with signatures that did not match voter files were counted without being reviewed, more than eight times the number the county acknowledged.
    8. 50,000 Arizona ballots called into question. An extensive audit by Arizona’s Senate officially called into question more than 50,000 ballots cast in the 2020 election, including voters who cast ballots from residences they had left. The tally in question is nearly five times the margin of Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
    9. Foreign voters found on Texas rolls. An audit of Texas voter rolls identified nearly 12,000 noncitizens suspected of illegally registering to vote and nearly 600 cases in which ballots may have been cast in the name of a dead resident or by a voter who may also have voted in another state. Officials are now in the process of removing the foreign voters and deciding whether prosecutions are warranted.
    10. Foreign voters found on Georgia  rolls. An audit by Georgia’s Secretary of State has identified more than 2,000 suspected foreigners who tried to register to vote in the state, though none reached the point of casting ballots. Raffensperger says prosecutions may be forthcoming……

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Continue reading this article at  Just the News.

 

 

Legislation by Any Other Name

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

West Virginia v. EPA is a blockbuster ruling of great consequence to the current reign of the administrative state over the lives of Americans. It restores core foundational principles that have been ignored or trampled for far too long—namely that lawmaking power is vested in Congress and cannot be usurped by agencies engaged in off-road driving. Its holding will rein in other lawless initiatives waiting in the wings, prominent among them, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent implausible assertion that Congress’s grant of power in 1933 and 1934 to regulate exchanges to ensure honest markets gives it power today to impose Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) regulations on publicly-traded companies.

How the Case Came About

This dispute about the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was close to a decade in the making, reaching back to the Obama Administration’s 2015 adoption of a Clean Power Plan (CPP). Simply put, the question before the court was whether the EPA could deploy an obscure provision of the 1970 Clean Air Act to reconfigure what components should compose the nation’s entire electric grid. Prior to that time, the “best systems” section of the 1970 Act had only allowed EPA to set source-specific emission levels for existing coal, natural gas, and renewable energy plants. Under the Obama plan, what once had been EPA’s power to require scrubbers had now become the agency’s unilateral power to convert entire power plants from one type of energy to another—or eliminate them altogether.

The rule never went into effect because the Supreme Court issued a stay of this extraordinary power grab in early 2016. The Obama CPP was then repealed by the Trump administration in 2019 and replaced with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE) which more modestly sought to make coal-burning energy plants cleaner and more efficient. But on January 19, 2021, ACE, in turn, was struck down by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on the eve of a new administration, leaving EPA wide open to put into effect a reading of “best systems” that empowered the agency to orchestrate the composition of the energy sector.

The decision—and the dissent—both open with a scuffle over standing and mootness common in environmental litigation that veers from one President’s vision to the next. The government argued that as there was no plan in place, the Court should not rule at all. Such strategic “mooting” explains how such disputes can and do drag out for years and through changes of administration. Unfortunately, this bob-and-weave embroils the courts in a protracted dance with the Executive that shuts Congress out altogether.

Accordingly, the Court applied its mooting precedents (which provide that a policy that may recur is justiciable) to halt this decade-long waltz and reach the core question of “who decides?” national energy policy. While this justiciability question could have gone either way, the Court made the right judgment call to end this dispute because neither EPA nor the Courts possess the power to determine national energy policy. Protracted litigation based on the fiction that Congress has somehow delegated this power to the EPA only lets Congress off the hook, serving the interests of no one but the activists and the lawyers. Indeed, one of the best consequences of this case is that Congress will have to decide our energy policy to more lasting effect than “plans” imposed and replaced by politicized agency bureaucrats. And that decision will be with the consent of the governed as it must be, under the Constitution.

What is a “System”?

In West Virginia, EPA explicitly proffered and vigorously defended its 2016 reading that “best systems” permits the agency to engage in macro regulation that includes determining what site- and source-specific plants will make up the energy sector. Both the majority opinion and the concurrence refused to buy this reading of the statute. In the majority’s view, EPA can only set standards within the bounds of a given energy source’s existing “system.” To the dissent, “system” means, well, the whole power industry, with which EPA can tinker like some distant autocrat orchestrating shutdowns of coal plants, and pop-ups of wind and solar farms. The dissent even argues that the EPA could “simply require[e] coal plants to become natural gas plants under this power to determine ‘best systems.’” The majority demurs, eyebrows raised, noting that the agency has never ordered anything remotely like that, and “we doubt it could.” The 1970 Section 111(d) only empowers EPA to guide States in “establishing standards of performance” for “existing source[s],” not to direct existing sources to effectively cease to exist.”

The majority recognized that EPA’s seizure of life and death control over the power plants of America is “eyebrow raising,” invoking a well-established line of precedent which rejects such self-conferred expansions of agency power. For example, in 2000, the FDA could not self-assert power to regulate tobacco. More recently, the Court ruled that the Centers for Disease Control had been given no power by Congress to regulate state housing policy and invalidated CDC’s shocking nationwide shutdown of state court evictions. The Court must enforce these guardrails, or our polity will be at the mercy of bureaucrats gone wild, as our national experience of the plague years vividly demonstrated, at incalculable and continuing cost to Americans.

The majority also explicitly invoked the Major Questions Doctrine, which counsels that Congress must decide such major law and policy questions, not agencies straying far out of their regulatory lane. In doing so, it quoted two respected scholars of the administrative state’s witty formulation: agencies only have the powers expressly given to them by Congress, and their organic statutes are not an “open book to which the agency [may] add pages and change the plot line.”

The Court’s decision to read “system” in this narrow, sensible manner rather than endorse EPA’s grandiose vision (that, by the way, no one seriously believes Congress conferred upon it in 1970), has resulted in a firestorm. Heightened rhetoric swirls around West Virginia: President Biden described the decision as “devastating,” accusing the Court of “sid[ing] with special interests that have waged a long-term campaign to strip away our right to breathe clean air.” “Supreme Court Declares War on Governing” gasped Vanity Fair. “The U.S. Supreme Court has declared war on the Earth’s Future,” keened The Guardian. Mainstream media and the climate change clerisy have accused the Supreme Court of a meanspirited, anti-environment, military attack on the planet and administrative governance. The Twittersphere is abuzz with doomsday.

Deconstructing the Dissent

The stridency that now pervades the public discourse disturbingly starts with the first words of the dissent, which incant the almost religious tenets of the Climate Change Creed, prefaced with its solemn assertion that those tenets “are no longer subject to serious doubt.”

And what are these tenets? Unequivocal, not-to-be-questioned human influence in global warming. This malign human influence brings death, coastal inundation, and erosion, severer and severer hurricanes, floods, droughts, ecosystem destruction, and disruptions in the food supply. Children born in 2022 will witness the Eastern seaboard slide into the Atlantic. This weather may “force mass migration, political crises, civil unrest, and even state failure.” By the year 3000, 4.6 million excess yearly deaths could be caused by climate change.

The Supreme Court declined to accede to “experts” flexing unilateral power to control the energy sector.

This parade of horribles serves to distract the reader from noticing that the very next sentence of Justice Kagan’s dissent is untrue. She asserts that in 1970, “Congress charged EPA with addressing those potentially catastrophic harms” by enacting Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. Nonsense. The very text of the statutory provision provides that EPA must apply best systems to “existing sources.”

Moreover, in the 1970s, the scientific consensus was that the climate was facing another ice age, with Newsweek reporting “a significant chilling of the world’s climate, with evidence accumulating ‘so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.’ … shorter growing seasons and poor crop yields, famine, and shipping lanes blocked by ice, perhaps to begin as soon as the mid-1980s. Meteorologists … were ‘almost unanimous’ in the opinion that our planet was getting colder.” Some alarmist scientists were offering up potential solutions such as melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot—by human agency! So much for relying upon experts! Congress simply did not have the dissent’s apocalyptic vision in mind—at least not as to warming—in 1970. Clearing smog was Congress’ sensible and admirable goal.

Kagan’s dissent ends with a glowering scold: “The stakes here are high,” followed by: “The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decisionmaker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening.” The dissent is right that the stakes are high, but dead wrong in its unfair accusation. The majority and concurrence have insisted that Congress must be the decisionmaker on these major questions, and that neither the Court nor an “expert” agency—nor a President with a pen and phone—can be the decider.

The majority’s quiet, reasoned insistence upon observing the foundational principles of representative government and healthy skepticism of the EPA’s lunge for power—at a time when those foundational concepts are being flouted by agencies prepared to expand far beyond their remit, could not be more important and timely.

Most important constitutional cases boil down to “Who decides.” We all know that Congress is supposed to make the law. Agencies must never make such momentous decisions. The lawmaking power is vested in Congress, and it uniquely has the tools to gather facts, engage in debate, weigh the myriad interests at stake, and then legislate—or not. And it is always accountable, along with the President in the exercise of presentment power—for the outcome. In sum, this case is about one thing, and one thing only: Consent of the governed.

It’s that simple. EPA’s own calculations of the costs of the CPP acknowledged billions in compliance costs, higher energy prices, the retirement of dozens of coal-fired plants, and the elimination of tens of thousands of jobs across economic sectors. If you are a resident of West Virginia who finds your coal-powered plant shut down, jobs lost, utility costs, and gas and food prices skyrocketing by double digits, who can you blame? If the dissent had its way, these economic displacements would be imposed by distant, unaccountable bureaucrats who, by the way, may be just as fallible as any politician as to the wisdom of a plan entailing such massive scientific, social, environmental, and economic impacts. This is why law-making should be hard and made through a combination of powers of the two politically accountable branches.

Sri Lanka

Speaking of the fallibility of experts, international news would soon abound in irony. Just two weeks after the dissent’s litany of catastrophe, news of, wait for it, “significant disruptions in the food supply … mass migration … political crises, civil unrest and … even state failure” erupted from Sri Lanka. The cause, as reported by Michael Shellenberger:

The underlying reason for the fall of Sri Lanka is that its leaders … fell under the spell of Western green elites peddling organic agriculture and “ESG,” which refers to investments made following supposedly higher Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria. Sri Lanka has a near-perfect ESG score of 98—higher than Sweden (96) and the United States (51). What does having such a high ESG score mean? In short, it meant that Sri Lanka’s two million farmers were forced to stop using fertilizers and pesticides, laying waste to its critical agricultural sector. …

The numbers are shocking.

One-third of Sri Lanka’s farmlands were dormant in 2021 due to the fertilizer ban. Over 90 percent of Sri Lanka’s farmers had used chemical fertilizers before they were banned. After they were banned, an astonishing 85 percent experienced crop losses. Rice production fell 20 percent and prices skyrocketed 50 percent in just six months. Sri Lanka had to import $450 million worth of rice despite having been self-sufficient just months earlier. The price of carrots and tomatoes rose fivefold. All this had a dramatic impact on the more than 15 million people of the country’s 22 million people who are directly or indirectly dependent on farming.

Americans should rejoice that its Supreme Court declined to accede to “experts” flexing unilateral power to control the energy sector—to be followed in short order by ESG dominion by a Wall Street regulator. Understanding that this flawed ideology directly led to the tragic humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka is essential to the exercise of enlightened franchise by Americans refusing to submit to the wokeism that has already imposed enormous costs upon Americans. The SEC’s ESG rules suffer from the same flaws as the CPP—a lack of statutory authority, arrogation of agency power over a major—and debated—question, and enormous economic disruption that would affect nearly every aspect of the country’s economic and political future. The principles restored by the Court in West Virginia foreclose SEC’s costly ESG regulation.

The Spirit of Liberty

In 1944, as the world was engulfed in the most widespread and destructive war in history, brought on by the horrors of unchecked autocratic rule, Judge Learned Hand tried to define what comprised the spirit of liberty.

The spirit of liberty is the spirit that is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit that seeks to understand the mind of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias.

In other words, “Experts, bureaucrats, administrators, consider that you might be wrong!” David Mamet notes that when the experts get it wrong, it is the rest of us who pay. As he puts it, [t]he virus here is government—or at least the incompetents who advise our rulers and cannot admit the legitimacy of dissension,” an all-too-apt description of the tone and reliance upon the expertise of the West Virginia dissent. The Covid years have been a crash course in the incalculable and enduring damage caused by turning government over to experts. The humanitarian disaster in Sri Lanka is a sobering here-and-now reminder that autocratic imposition of expertise by unchecked bureaucrats comes not only at great cost to a society’s well-being and economy but also to its liberty.

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This article was published by Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

Natural Immunity Beats Vaccine Immunity in Fighting Covid-19, Study Says

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Naturally acquired immunity against Covid-19 infection lasts longer than vaccine-acquired immunity and is nearly 100-percent effective against severe infection, a new study from Qatar finds.

“While current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines had a critical role in reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, their rapidly waning immune protection, particularly against the Omicron … variant, limits their role in shaping the future of SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology compared to other vaccines,” reads the study, a preprint version of which was posted on medRxiv.

That being the case, the researchers decided to investigate the role natural immunity is likely to play in restraining Covid-19 in the coming years. They sought to answer the following questions: “1) When infected with a pre-Omicron variant, how long does protection persist against reinfection with pre-Omicron variants? 2) When infected with a pre-Omicron variant, how long does protection persist against reinfection with an Omicron subvariant? 3) When infected with any variant, how long does protection persist against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19?”

They reviewed the relevant data on Covid-19 infections in the entire population of Qatar (about 2.9 million people), comparing the outcomes of individuals who had previously been infected with Covid-19 to the outcomes of those who had been neither infected nor vaccinated (the “infection-naïve”). While the population of Qatar is “internationally diverse,” they pointed out, it is also “predominately young and male.” However, based on analysis of the data they gathered on individuals aged 50 and older, they believe their findings also apply to countries with older populations.

Individuals who had been infected with a pre-Omicron variant of the coronavirus were considerably less likely (1.7 percent) than those who were infection-naïve (9.6 percent) to become reinfected with a pre-Omicron variant. Overall, pre-Omicron infection was 85.5-percent effective against pre-Omicron reinfection, though it slowly waned over time. “Effectiveness of pre-Omicron primary infection against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 due to pre-Omicron reinfection,” the researchers found, “was 98.0%.”

Pre-Omicron infection was considerably less effective in preventing reinfection with one of the highly contagious Omicron subvariants. Nearly seven percent of previously infected individuals contracted an Omicron subvariant, while over 10 percent of infection-naïve individuals came down with one. Pre-Omicron infection, in fact, was just 38.1-percent effective against Omicron infection. Nevertheless, it was still 88.6-percent effective in keeping the infection from becoming severe.

Prior infection with any variant, pre- or post-Omicron, was astoundingly effective at keeping future infections of any variant from threatening their hosts. For the first 14 months after the initial infection, effectiveness at preventing severe infection was approximately 100 percent, after which it slowly dropped to a still-impressive 97.3 percent. “Effectiveness of primary infection with any variant against reinfection with any variant was 69.4%,” the authors wrote.

While the study found that the protection against reinfection provided by natural immunity falls over time, “this waning in natural immunity mirrors that of vaccine immunity, but at a slower rate,” they noted. “Vaccine immunity may last for only a year, but natural immunity … may last for 3 years.” When it comes to Omicron subvariants, natural immunity may last more than twice as long as vaccine immunity.

“Despite waning protection against reinfection, strikingly, there was no evidence for the waning of protection against severe COVID-19 at reinfection,” the researchers observed. This, too, is similar to vaccine immunity — but, of course, without any of the harmful side effects.

The authors suggest that Covid-19 “may exhibit a similar pattern” to the common cold, which is also caused by coronaviruses. Colds can induce short-term reinfection protection but “life-long immunity against severe reinfection,” so even if “viral evolution and immune invasion” cause “periodic (possibly annual) waves of infection” with Covid-19 variants, “the lasting immunity against severe reinfection will contribute to a pattern of benign infection. Most primary infections would occur in childhood and would likely not be severe. Adults would only experience periodic reinfections, also not likely to be severe.”

In other words, as the non-alarmists have long argued, letting the virus work its way through the population is the only long-term solution to its dangers — dangers that have already significantly diminished and will continue to wane over time. But try telling that to the mask-and-vax crowd that still holds sway in so many cities and countries.

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This article was published by The New American and is reproduced with permission.

The Government Can Make Climate Change Much Worse

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Suppose everything you hear in the news about climate change is true. Suppose climate change is real, suppose it is primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels, and suppose that if this continues, the costs will be significant. Suppose all this is true. How should those who disagree with the likely massive government response that could follow actually challenge it?

According to many on the left, accepting the above would mean game over for a wide range of liberties. But buying into this assumption is a mistake. When leftists claim that only a bigger government can deliver affordable health care or quality education, the response from conservatives and libertarians is not to deny that illness or ignorance exists. Instead, those who love liberty argue that more government is not the best way to achieve these goals, and in fact have developed their own set of conservative policy responses — such as high-deductible savings accounts and school vouchers — in place of government-based solutions.

The same approach can and should be taken with respect to climate change. The reality is that some of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect against the dangers of a hotter world involve less government, not more. I’ll focus here on three: 1) cutting regulatory red tape for clean energy sources, 2) removing restrictions on energy competition, and 3) eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies.

Cutting Regulatory Red Tape

Some of the most promising forms of zero-carbon energy are hamstrung by regulations. Nuclear power, for instance, provides the majority of zero-carbon energy used in the United States today and is a proven source of safe and reliable electricity. Yet between 1978 and 2012, no nuclear reactors were approved in the United States. And of the new plants announced since then, most have been canceled due to cost overruns.

The costliness of nuclear power has many causes, but regulatory compliance is a major factor. A recent study by the American Action Forum found that the average nuclear reactor faces $219 million in regulatory liabilities, with some companies facing regulatory liabilities of more than $8 billion. Granted, nuclear power involves a unique set of risks that may call for special regulation. But the costliness of the current approval process in both time and money is vastly out of proportion to the risks involved.

Hydropower, another zero-carbon energy source, faces similar permitting problems. Hydro-power had the potential to grow by as much as 50 percent, and many existing dams that could be used for power generation currently cannot do so. The permitting process, however, is full of redundancies and can be gamed for delay. Removing these obstacles would help clean energy thrive without increasing the state’s footprint.

Expanding Market Competition

Conservatives and libertarians have long recognized the power of market competition to drive innovation. Yet in much of the United States, market competition for electricity is illegal.

Instead, electricity is provided by monopoly utilities, which are protected from competition and have their rates approved by some form of government body. Decisions as to whether to keep a power plant online are as much political as they are economic.

This system was not designed to keep emissions high but, in practice, it has had that effect. In the past decade, emissions from the power sector have fallen rapidly as low-cost natural gas has displaced higher-emitting coal as the nation’s largest power source. More recently, falling prices for wind and solar power have started to make those technologies more competitive as well. Yet states, where electricity providers are insulated from competition, have often resisted this change. Electricity rates in monopoly states are set based on “cost recovery,” which means that the more money a utility spends, the higher the rates it can charge. As a result, utilities face less market pressure to close uneconomical plants and may even spend large amounts of money to keep plants in operation because they are guaranteed cost recovery.

The lack of competition has also made utilities less responsive to the growing consumer demand for so-called “green energy.” The number of “green choice” customers in states with retail competition increased by 142 percent over a two-year period (from 2010 to 2012) while remaining flat in states without retail choice. And Texas, which has the freest electricity market in the nation, also has the most wind-power generation.

Finally, even those coal plants that have remained in operation under competition have tended to emit less CO2 than comparable plants elsewhere. Between 1991 and 2005, states that restructured their electricity market to allow more competition saw improved fuel efficiency from coal plants, resulting in a 6 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from those plants.

Eliminating Environmentally Harmful Subsidies

As the Hippocratic Oath states, the first duty of a physician is to do no harm. Yet all too often in the political realm, the government encourages environmentally destructive behavior through subsidies and other government spending. Climate change is no exception.

Consider flood insurance. Even if we were to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we would still need to prepare for the warming from past emissions, part of which will involve adapting to higher sea levels. Yet current federal and state policies encourage people to live near the coast, where they will be in greater danger from storms and flooding.

The National Flood Insurance Program, for instance, provides below-market-rate flood insurance policies to people living in flood-prone areas. Originally meant as a way to provide people with insurance not available on the private market, the NFIP has racked up billions in debt while undercutting the private flood insurance market. For our purposes, the critical fact is that the NFIP encourages people to live and build in flood-prone areas, increasing our national vulnerability to climate-related harms. As Hayek famously observed, prices convey information. In a market system, if a property in an area is at an increased risk of flooding, the cost of insuring the property will be higher, which will discourage unnecessary development. By contrast, when the NFIP offers below-market-rate insurance policies along the coast, they are sending people the (false) signal that the risks are lower than they really are. Stopping this perverse practice would help people better assess how to minimize the risks that come from a warming climate.

The examples given above are only a few of the many possible conservative responses to climate change. My goal has not been to offer a comprehensive list, but rather to show that it is simply not true that policies to address climate change must result in bigger government. Advocates of liberty should not be afraid to tackle the climate issue directly. Instead, we should be bold in proclaiming what we know from other political issues. Limited government principles are perfectly capable of dealing with the most pressing problems of the day, including climate change.

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This article was published by Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Full List of Endorsements to Date for the 2022 Election

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is dedicated to advancing pro-growth economic freedom and limited government in our state. The following mission statement from the Club is in evidence by the tremendous success achieved over many years in advancing pro-growth policies and freedoms in Arizona. Following the mission statement are the Club’s recommendations for various state and local offices that are consistent with this important mission.

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WHAT WE DO

For over a decade, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club has been the only organization in the state dedicated to advancing pro-growth, limited government policies in Arizona. Through active lobbying and advocacy at the state capitol, our mission of promoting economic freedom and a vibrant Arizona economy has led to several policy victories, including substantial income tax cuts, regulatory rollback to promote entrepreneurial growth and protection of our property rights and free speech. Additionally, the Club is the leader among free market organizations in realizing that substantial policy gains require taking on the establishment and supporting free market outsiders. Along with our Freedom Club PAC, we’ve been successful in identifying, recruiting and supporting limited government candidates that share our principled ideals.

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Voter Guide for the current primary race concluding on Tuesday August 2, 2022.

These candidates represent individuals that share our values and commitment to a free and prosperous Arizona. Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical that Arizona elects leaders and policymakers who are able to articulate and stand up for individual liberties, free market policies, and conservative values. We believe that these candidates are up to the challenge.”

Below is a summary of the candidates we have endorsed to date.

Arizona State Legislature

 

LD 1 LD 2 LD 3
Senate: Steve Zipperman House: Pierce Waychoff House: Joseph Chaplik
House: Judy Burges House: Christian Lamar
LD 4 LD 7 LD 9
Senate: Nancy Barto House: John Fillmore Senate: Rob Scantlebury
House: Vera Gebran House: David Marshall House: Kathy Pearce
House: Maria Syms House: Mary Ann Mendoza
LD 10 LD 12 LD 13
Senate: David Farnsworth Senate: Suzanne Sharer Senate: JD Mesnard
House: Barbara Parker House: Julie Willoughby
House: Justin Heap
LD14 LD 15 LD 16
Senate: Warren Petersen Senate: Jake Hoffman House: Rob Hudelson
House: Travis Grantham House: Jacqueline Parker
House: Laurin Hendrix House: Neal Carter
LD 17  LD 19  LD 23
House: Cory McGarr House: Gail Griffin Senate: Gary Snyder
House: Rachel Jones House: Lupe Diaz House: Michele Pena (Write-in)
LD 25 LD 27 LD 28
House: Michael Carbone Senate: Anthony Kern House: Beverly Pingerelli
House: Tim Dunn House: Ben Toma House: Susan Black
LD 29 LD 30
Senate: Janae Shamp House: Leo Biasiucci
House: Steve Montenegro
House: Austin Smith

 

Local City and Town Council

 

Chandler Payson Fountain Hills
Darla Gonzalez Tom Morrissey (Mayor) Brenda Kalivianakis
Farhana Shifa Allen Skillicorn
Hannah Toth
Peoria Gilbert Queen Creek
Jason Beck (Mayor) Jim Torgeson Travis Padilla
Mario Chicas
Bobbi Buchli

 

What Is the University of Arizona Hiding?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Editors’ note: It is helpful to see the Goldwater Institute and others attempt to keep freedom of speech alive on campus. They should be commended for the effort. However, the issue is broader than that. Almost all elements of the  cultural rot in our institutions emanate from the university campus. It would not be a stretch at all to say that “woke ideology” now seen in everything from the military to sports, corporations to museums, started on campus. With at least 30 states with Republican legislatures, when are Republicans going to turn their attention to reforming our universities? To be sure, not much can be done with the well-endowed private university. However, universities that receive state aid should be a top priority for lawmakers. Taxpayers, students, and parents should not have to underwrite indoctrination that hides under the cover of education. Besides not having to pay for their own destruction, citizens need to appreciate that education itself is damaged by such lop-sided and extreme viewpoint bias that is prevalent on campus today. 

Orwellian. It’s a word that aptly describes the University of Arizona’s campus reporting apparatus, which encourages students to snitch on their peers to university authorities for politically incorrect or “biased” speech. But when a reporter filed a public records request seeking copies of the complaints generated under this bias response system (BRS)—with personal identifying information redacted—the school refused to release them.

That’s why the Goldwater Institute sent a letter to the university Wednesday demanding it complies with Arizona law and release the records.

College campuses should be places of free and open exchange, where students can respectfully discuss opposing viewpoints and think critically about the major issues of the day. But instead, progressives are using bias response teams to implement their own, illiberal agenda across the country. They’re breeding an army of young people intolerant of free expression, who inform on one another at the slightest deviation from the script of political correctness. In fact, a recent study of 824 public and private universities found that 56% (457 schools) had some form of BRS. In essence, leftists are fostering a culture of fear over free speech, with 83% of college students saying they engaged in self-censorship, according to another recent survey. Put simply, there can be no safe spaces at all for students to speak if their peers can report on them at any given moment.

Last August, Christian Schneider, a senior reporter with The College Fix, submitted a public records request to the University of Arizona to shed light on the anonymous complaints generated by the university’s Public Incident Report website. The university had also previously provided responsive records after he made a near-identical request in 2019. But this time around, the school denied his request, claiming it was withholding the reports “to protect the privacy of persons and best interests of the state,” even though Schneider asked for the names of the complainants and the targets of the reports to be redacted.

The College Fix regularly investigates bias response teams around the country to shine a light on what sorts of incidents are being reported and whether bias response systems are infringing on free speech rights. In one instance that Schneider reported on, a Michigan State student filed a complaint after witnessing his roommate watch a Ben Shapiro video on his laptop, which prompted an administrator to allow for a room change. In another, a Portland State University student was reported for making an off-hand comment about sometimes feeling like she’s “schizophrenic.” Trivial complaints such as these only serve to chill speech and foment distrust among the campus community.

So what is the University of Arizona hiding? Is it afraid that revealing the “bias” incidents reported to administrators—public information that it has a legal obligation to release—will expose the Orwellian nature of this system? Arizonans have a right to know about the educational climate in our public universities, especially how administrators handle complaints about controversial topics. And that’s exactly the information Goldwater intends to uncover.

For years, Goldwater has been a nationwide leader in restoring free speech on campus. We’re successfully standing up for the constitutional rights of students being silenced, and we’ve crafted legislation to address the free speech crisis on public colleges and universities. Our reform, which we have already enacted in five states, creates an official university policy affirming the importance of free expression, including provisions that form a system of interlocking incentives designed to encourage students and administrators to respect and protect the free expression of others. This reform is working exactly like it’s supposed to in places like the University of Wisconsin system, where outrage mobs tried and failed to cancel conservative speakers on multiple occasions.

And we’re building on this work to dismantle the campus thought police with a complementary new model policy, developed in partnership with Speech First, that puts a stop to the corrosive new practice of bias response teams by prohibiting public universities and community colleges from operating any such system that works to chill student speech. In tandem with the Campus Free Speech Act, the new “Protecting Students from Bias Reporting Systems” policy requires universities to uphold constitutional principles and help foster intellectual diversity on campus.

All around the nation, Goldwater is working to ensure that American colleges resemble safe havens for free and open exchange rather than a surveillance state.

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This article was published by the Goldwater Institute and is reproduced with permission.

Bidenvilles: America’s New Emblem of Decay

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

In French, a “bidonville” is a shantytown. A “bidon” is a large container, like the giant yellow vegetable oil bottles used to carry drinking water in developing countries.

I’ve seen plenty of shantytowns in cities from India to Togo; they are an unfortunate consequence of rapid urbanization.

What surprised me when I came home to Washington, D.C., a few months ago was seeing shantytowns both outside the State Department, where my old office was, and Union Station, near my new office.

In America under President Joe Biden, the word “Bidenville” is beginning to gain traction as a term for a waste-filled, insalubrious tent city inhabited by what the left calls “people experiencing homelessness,” who often suffer from an unfortunate combination of drug addiction and mental illness.

Shantytowns aren’t new to America. During the Great Depression, they were ironically called Hoovervilles after President Herbert Hoover.

However, at that time, Hoovervilles comprised able-bodied people who were out of work due to the worst economic crisis and highest unemployment in U.S. history. Now, unemployment is low and entry-level jobs go begging. The Bidenvilles of today are filled more by ideology and incompetence than economic duress.

The District of Columbia now has 97 “encampment sites” scattered across the city. Maybe that’s one reason why Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., is calling the District a “disgrace for our country” and opposes the “home rule” enjoyed by the nation’s capital since 1973.

Neglect in Name of Tolerance

While politicians bicker about whether to call inhabitants of the camps “people experiencing homelessness,” “unhoused persons,” or “persons without shelter,” they fail to make the hard choices required to help.

To her credit, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, has attempted to clear at least some sites despite the opposition of activists whose sole aim seems to be to entrench their clients in misery in the name of freedom.

For the most part, however, mayors in cities such as San Francisco and the District pour money into supporting the outdoor lifestyle of thousands of seriously unwell people, including by facilitating their consumption of drugs.

This not only creates a hostile environment for the locals whose taxes fund the chaos, it fails to treat the root cause of affliction so that the homeless can escape the cycle that brings them to the streets in the first place.

Michael Shellenberger argues in his book “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities” that what homeless addicts need is a choice between mandatory drug treatment or prosecution for misdemeanors such as public defecation and littering. But what they get is continued neglect in the name of tolerance.

The reason why tent slums subsist even in the richest parts of the richest cities in America, Shellenberger writes, is not a lack of money but misplaced compassion and policy failure.

Border Crisis Hits Home

Now, the impact of the crisis at our southern border is colliding with the homelessness problem and spreading into the progressives’ backyards, and they aren’t happy.

Alejandro Mayorkas’ Department of Homeland Security let 79,652 illegal immigrants into the United States last June alone after its agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, briefly arrested and “processed” them. So far since Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, Customs and Border Protection has caught and released over 1.3 million illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants gradually have been arriving in the Washington area since the Biden administration neutered border enforcement. But with illegal crossings topping 200,000 a month, and half or more of these migrants being released and moved into the interior, the numbers of newly arrived and needy illegal aliens are rising all over the country. Some end up on the streets, compounding already dire problems of homelessness.

Bowser may agree with the Biden administration’s open borders agenda, but she seems to have a hard time when the reality hits home in the District. Bowser has complained that too many migrants are being bused from the southern border and filling up D.C. homeless shelters

“We think they’re largely asylum-seekers who are going to final destinations that are not Washington, D.C.,” the mayor said, evidently hoping they’ll become someone else’s problem.

“Local taxpayers are not picking up the tab and should not pick up the tab,” Bowser said. “We really need a coordinated federal response.”

The ‘Swamp’ Solution

Americans couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, where border and immigration enforcement are concerned, the federal government is absent while on duty.

Using the Migrant Protection Protocols, Title 42, and other existing authorities, U.S. Customs and Border Protection could stop the chaotic flow in short order. Instead, its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, is abusing parole authority and recklessly relying on the promises of illegal immigrants to show up for immigration hearings. This compounds negligence with wishful thinking.

According to a recent report in the Washington Free Beacon, DHS has lost track of thousands of illegal migrants. And of those officials released and tracked, at least one-third failed to comply with the terms of their release.

DHS data shows that only around 1 in 10 asylum-seekers who pass “credible fear” interviews at the border ever go on to be granted asylum—mostly because they fail to apply at all or don’t bother to go through with the whole process.

The “swamp” solution, of course, is to federalize and give more taxpayer money to the problem of homeless migrants.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, introduced an emergency appropriations bill July 19 that would provide additional funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Funding would be designated for humanitarian assistance to migrants, whether arriving by FEMA-funded air, bus, and rail travel or being bused in by the states of Texas and Arizona.

If Norton’s measure passes, taxpayers not only would be on the hook for illegal immigrants’ shelter, food, and medical care after crossing the border, followed by transportation to their favored U.S. destination. Taxpayers also would be shelling out for housing and feeding the migrants once they arrived. This would be the ultimate (socialist) red carpet.

Norton, whose vote as a delegate in the House doesn’t count, claims that “the governors of Texas and Arizona are exploiting and harming vulnerable people fleeing desperate and dangerous situations in their home countries for political gain.”

Start Enforcing the Law

But the truth is that these two border states have been crying ”help” for months, with no response from Washington. Now that the problem is in their backyard, Democrats are willing to act, if only to throw more money at it or kick it elsewhere.

However, despite spending an estimated $106,000 per homeless person, San Francisco still has around 8,000 on the streets.

Under Bowser, the District of Columbia has raised tens of millions more in taxes in an effort to end homelessness in fiscal year 2022. However, from what we D.C. workers and residents all can see outside, that hasn’t happened here yet either.

Domestic homelessness is a thorny issue with no simple solution.

Meanwhile, the way to avoid more taxpayer-funded sheltering of homeless foreigners who are here illegally is simple: Start enforcing the law, using the Migrant Protection ProtocolsTitle 42, and other existing measures to shelter them securely out of the country until their cases may be considered properly.

Absent that commitment, more Bidenvilles are coming to a city near you.

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This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.