Hillary Couldn’t Be Proven Guilty of Her eMail Crimes Without Implicating Obama

Obama’s Conflict Tanked the Clinton E-mail Investigation

Hillary couldn’t be proven guilty without proving the president guilty a.s well


September 26, 2016


‘How is this not classified?”

So exclaimed Hillary Clinton’s close aide and confidante, Huma Abedin. The FBI had just shown her an old e-mail exchange, over Clinton’s private account, between the then-secretary of state and a second person, whose name Abedin did not recognize. The FBI then did what the FBI is never supposed to do: The agents informed their interviewee (Abedin) of the identity of the second person. It was the president of the United States, Barack Obama, using a pseudonym to conduct communications over a non-secure e-mail system – something anyone with a high-level security clearance, such as Huma Abedin, would instantly realize was a major breach.

Abedin was sufficiently stunned that, for just a moment, the bottomless capacity of Clinton insiders to keep cool in a scandal was overcome. “How is this not classified?”

She recovered quickly enough, though. The FBI records that the next thing Abedin did, after “express[ing] her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym,” was to “ask if she could have a copy of the email.”

Abedin knew an insurance policy when she saw one. If Obama himself had been e-mailing over a non-government, non-secure system, then everyone else who had been doing it had a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Thanks to Friday’s FBI document dump – 189 more pages of reports from the Bureau’s year-long foray (“investigation” would not be the right word) into the Clinton e-mail scandal – we now know for certain what I predicted some eight months ago here at NRO: Any possibility of prosecuting Hillary Clinton was tanked by President Obama’s conflict of interest.

As I explained in February, when it emerged that the White House was refusing to disclose at least 22 communications Obama had exchanged with then-secretary Clinton over the latter’s private e-mail account, we knew that Obama had knowingly engaged in the same misconduct that was the focus of the Clinton probe: the reckless mishandling of classified information.

To be sure, he did so on a smaller scale. Clinton’s recklessness was systematic: She intentionally set up a non-secure, non-government communications framework, making it inevitable that classified information would be mishandled, and that federal record-keeping laws would be flouted. Obama’s recklessness, at least as far as we know, was confined to communications with Clinton – although the revelation that the man presiding over the “most transparent administration in history” set up a pseudonym to conceal his communications obviously suggests that his recklessness may have been more widespread.

Still, the difference in scale is not a difference in kind. In terms of the federal laws that criminalize mishandling of classified information, Obama not only engaged in the same type of misconduct Clinton did; he engaged in it with Clinton. It would not have been possible for the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton for her offense without its becoming painfully apparent that 1) Obama, too, had done everything necessary to commit a violation of federal law, and 2) the communications between Obama and Clinton were highly relevant evidence.

Indeed, imagine what would have happened had Clinton been indicted. The White House would have attempted to maintain the secrecy of the Obama-Clinton e-mails (under Obama’s invocation of a bogus “presidential communications” privilege), but Clinton’s defense lawyers would have demanded the disclosure of the e-mails in order to show that Obama had engaged in the same misconduct, yet only she, not he, was being prosecuted. And as most experienced criminal-law lawyers understand (especially if they’ve read a little Supreme Court case known as United States v. Nixon), it is an argument that Clinton’s lawyers would have won.

In fact, in any other case – i.e., in a case that involved any other unindicted co-conspirator – it would be the Justice Department itself introducing the Obama-Clinton e-mails into evidence.

As noted above, the FBI told Huma Abedin that the name she did not recognize in the e-mail with Clinton was an Obama alias. For the agents to do this ran afoul of investigative protocols. The point of an FBI interview is for the interviewee to provide information to the investigators, not the other way around. If agents give information to potential witnesses, the government gets accused of trumping up the case.

But of course, that’s only a problem if there is actually going to be a case.

In this instance, it was never going to happen. The president’s involvement guaranteed that . . . so why worry about letting Abedin in on the president’s involvement?

Abedin was startled by this revelation. No wonder: People in her lofty position know that direct presidential communications with high-ranking officials who have national-security and foreign-policy responsibilities are presumptively classified.

To convey this, and thus convey the legal significance of Obama’s involvement, I can’t much improve on what I told you back in February. When the Obama Justice Department prosecuted retired general David Petraeus, the former CIA director, for mishandling classified information, government attorneys emphasized that this top-secret intelligence included notes of Petraeus’s “discussions with the president of the United States of America.”

Petraeus pled guilty because he knew the case against him was a slam-dunk. He grasped that trying to defend himself by sputtering, Clinton-style, that “the notes were not marked classified” would not pass the laugh test. As I elaborated in the February column, when you’re a national-security official engaging in and making a written record of policy and strategy conversations with the president, the lack of classified markings on the documents you’ve created

[does] not alter the obvious fact that the information they contain [is] classified – a fact well known to any high government official who routinely handles national-defense secrets, let alone one who directly advises the president.

Moreover, as is the case with Clinton’s e-mails, much of the information in Petraeus’s journals was “born classified” under the terms of President Obama’s own executive order – EO 13526. As I’ve previously noted, in section 1.1(d) of that order, Obama issued this directive: “The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security.” In addition, the order goes on (in section 1.4) to describe other categories of information that officials should deem classified based on the damage to national security that disclosure could cause. Included among these categories: foreign relations, foreign activities of the United States, military plans, and intelligence activities.

Abedin knew, as the FBI agents who were interviewing her surely knew, that at least some of Obama’s pseudonymous exchanges with Clinton had to have crossed into these categories. They were born classified. As I said in February, this fact would profoundly embarrass Obama if the e-mails were publicly disclosed.

Hundreds of times, despite Clinton’s indignant insistence that she never sent or received classified information, the State Department has had to concede that her e-mails must be redacted or withheld from public disclosure because they contain information that is patently classified. But this is not a concession the administration is willing to make regarding Obama’s e-mails.

That is why, as I argued in February, Obama is trying to get away with the vaporous claim that presidential communications must be kept confidential. He does not want to say “executive privilege” because that sounds too much like Nixon. More important, the only other alternative is to designate the e-mails as classified. That would be tantamount to an admission that Obama engaged in the same violation of law as Clinton.

Again, this is why the prosecution of Mrs. Clinton never had a chance of happening. It also explains why, in his public statements about the matter, Obama insisted that Clinton’s e-mailing of classified information did not harm national security. It is why Obama, in stark contrast to his aforementioned executive order, made public statements pooh-poohing the fact that federal law forbids the mishandling of any intelligence secret. (“There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” he said, so cavalierly.) He had to take this position because he had himself effectively endorsed the practice of high-level communications through non-secure channels.

This is also why the Justice Department and the FBI effectively rewrote the relevant criminal statute in order to avoid applying it to Clinton. In his public statements about Clinton, Obama has stressed that she is an exemplary public servant who would never intentionally harm the United States. In rationalizing their decision not to indict Clinton, Justice Department officials (in leaks to the Washington Post) and the FBI director (in his press conference and congressional testimony) similarly stressed the lack of proof that she intended to harm the United States.

As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, however, the operative criminal statute does not call for proof of intent to harm the United States. It merely requires proof of gross negligence. This is entirely lawful and appropriate, since we’re talking about a law that can apply only to government officials who have a special duty to preserve secrecy and who have been schooled in the proper handling of classified information. Yet the Justice Department frivolously suggested that applying the law exactly the way it is written – something the Justice Department routinely tells judges they must do – would, in Clinton’s case, potentially raise constitutional problems.

Alas, the Justice Department and the FBI have to take that indefensible position here. Otherwise, Clinton would not be the only one in legal jeopardy.

I will end with what I said eight months ago:

To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama. From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information.

That is why the Clinton e-mail scandal never had a chance of leading to criminal charges.

After the Republic


After the Republic

Angelo M. Codevilla
September 27, 2016


    Over the past half century, the Reagan years notwithstanding, our ruling class’s changing preferences and habits have transformed public and private life in America. As John Marini shows in his essay, “Donald Trump and the American Crisis,” this has resulted in citizens morphing into either this class’s “stakeholders” or its subjects. And, as Publius Decius Mus argues, “America and the West” now are so firmly “on a trajectory toward something very bad” that it is no longer reasonable to hope that “all human outcomes are still possible,” by which he means restoration of the public and private practices that made the American republic. In fact, the 2016 election is sealing the United States’s transition from that republic to some kind of empire.

    Electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump cannot change that trajectory. Because each candidate represents constituencies hostile to republicanism, each in its own way, these individuals are not what this election is about. This election is about whether the Democratic Party, the ruling class’s enforcer, will impose its tastes more strongly and arbitrarily than ever, or whether constituencies opposed to that rule will get some ill-defined chance to strike back. Regardless of the election’s outcome, the republic established by America’s Founders is probably gone. But since the Democratic Party’s constituencies differ radically from their opponents’, and since the character of imperial governance depends inherently on the emperor, the election’s result will make a big difference in our lives.

Many Enemies, Few Friends

The overriding question of 2016 has been how eager the American people are to reject the bipartisan class that has ruled this country contrary to its majority’s convictions. Turned out, eager enough to throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater. The ruling class’s united front in response to the 2008 financial crisis had ignited the Tea Party’s call for adherence to the Constitution, and led to elections that gave control of both houses of Congress to the Republican Party. But as Republicans became full partners in the ruling class’s headlong rush in what most considered disastrous directions, Americans lost faith in the Constitution’s power to restrain the wrecking of their way of life.

From the primary season’s outset, the Democratic Party’s candidates promised even more radical “transformations.” When, rarely, they have been asked what gives them the right to do such things they have acted as if the only answer were Nancy Pelosi’s reply to whether the Constitution allows the government to force us into Obamacare: “Are you kidding? Are you kidding?”

On the Republican side, 17 hopefuls promised much, without dealing with the primordial fact that, in today’s America, those in power basically do what they please. Executive orders, phone calls, and the right judge mean a lot more than laws. They even trump state referenda. Over the past half-century, presidents have ruled not by enforcing laws but increasingly through agencies that write their own rules, interpret them, and punish unaccountably—the administrative state. As for the Supreme Court, the American people have seen it invent rights where there were none—e.g., abortion—while trammeling ones that had been the republic’s spine, such as the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech. The Court taught Americans that the word “public” can mean “private” (Kelo v. City of New London), that “penalty” can mean “tax” (King v. Burwell), and that holding an opinion contrary to its own can only be due to an “irrational animus” (Obergefell v. Hodges).

What goes by the name “constitutional law” has been eclipsing the U.S. Constitution for a long time. But when the 1964 Civil Rights Act substituted a wholly open-ended mandate to oppose “discrimination” for any and all fundamental rights, it became the little law that ate the Constitution. Now, because the Act pretended that the commerce clause trumps the freedom of persons to associate or not with whomever they wish, and is being taken to mean that it trumps the free exercise of religion as well, bakers and photographers are forced to take part in homosexual weddings. A commission in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reported that even a church may be forced to operate its bathrooms according to gender self-identification because it “could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.” California came very close to mandating that Catholic schools admit homosexual and transgender students or close down. The Justice Department is studying how to prosecute on-line transactions such as vacation home rental site Airbnb, Inc., that fall afoul of its evolving anti-discrimination standards.

This arbitrary power, whose rabid guard-dog growls and barks: “Racist! Sexist! Homophobic!” has transformed our lives by removing restraints on government. The American Bar Association’s new professional guidelines expose lawyers to penalties for insufficient political correctness. Performing abortions or at least training to perform them may be imposed as a requirement for licensing doctors, nurses, and hospitals that offer services to the general public.

Addressing what it would take to reestablish the primacy of fundamental rights would have required Republican candidates to reset the Civil Rights movement on sound constitutional roots. Surprised they didn’t do it?

No one running for the GOP nomination discussed the greatest violation of popular government’s norms—never mind the Constitution—to have occurred in two hundred years, namely, the practice, agreed upon by mainstream Republicans and Democrats, of rolling all of the government’s expenditures into a single bill. This eliminates elected officials’ responsibility for any of the government’s actions, and reduces them either to approving all that the government does without reservation, or the allegedly revolutionary, disloyal act of “shutting down the government.”

Rather than talk about how to restrain or shrink government, Republican candidates talked about how to do more with government. The Wall Street Journal called that “having a positive agenda.” Hence, Republicans by and large joined the Democrats in relegating the U.S. Constitution to history’s dustbin.

Because Republicans largely agree with Democrats that they need not take seriously the founders’ Constitution, today’s American regime is now what Max Weber had called the Tsarist regime on the eve of the Revolution: “fake constitutionalism.” Because such fakery is self-discrediting and removes anyone’s obligation to restrain his passions, it is a harbinger of revolution and of imperial power.

The ruling class having chosen raw power over law and persuasion, the American people reasonably concluded that raw power is the only way to counter it, and looked for candidates who would do that. Hence, even constitutional scholar Ted Cruz stopped talking about the constitutional implications of President Obama’s actions after polls told him that the public was more interested in what he would do to reverse them, niceties notwithstanding. Had Cruz become the main alternative to the Democratic Party’s dominion, the American people might have been presented with the option of reverting to the rule of law. But that did not happen. Both of the choices before us presuppose force, not law.

A Change of Regimes

All ruling classes are what Shakespeare called the “makers of manners.” Plato, in The Republic, and Aristotle, in his Politics, teach that polities reflect the persons who rise to prominence within them, whose habits the people imitate, and who set the tone of life in them. Thus a polity can change as thoroughly as a chorus changes from comedy to tragedy depending on the lyrics and music. Obviously, the standards and tone of life that came from Abraham Lincoln’s Oval Office is quite opposite from what came from the same place when Bill Clinton used it. Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm was arguably the world’s most polite society. Under Hitler, it became the most murderous.

In today’s America, a network of executive, judicial, bureaucratic, and social kinship channels bypasses the sovereignty of citizens. Our imperial regime, already in force, works on a simple principle: the president and the cronies who populate these channels may do whatever they like so long as the bureaucracy obeys and one third plus one of the Senate protects him from impeachment. If you are on the right side of that network, you can make up the rules as you go along, ignore or violate any number of laws, obfuscate or commit perjury about what you are doing (in the unlikely case they put you under oath), and be certain of your peers’ support. These cronies’ shared social and intellectual identity stems from the uniform education they have received in the universities. Because disdain for ordinary Americans is this ruling class’s chief feature, its members can be equally certain that all will join in celebrating each, and in demonizing their respective opponents.

And, because the ruling class blurs the distinction between public and private business, connection to that class has become the principal way of getting rich in America. Not so long ago, the way to make it here was to start a business that satisfied customers’ needs better than before. Nowadays, more businesses die each year than are started. In this century, all net additions in employment have come from the country’s 1,500 largest corporations. Rent-seeking through influence on regulations is the path to wealth. In the professions, competitive exams were the key to entry and advancement not so long ago. Now, you have to make yourself acceptable to your superiors. More important, judicial decisions and administrative practice have divided Americans into “protected classes”—possessed of special privileges and immunities—and everybody else. Equality before the law and equality of opportunity are memories. Co-option is the path to power. Ever wonder why the quality of our leaders has been declining with each successive generation?

Moreover, since the Kennedy reform of 1965, and with greater speed since 2009, the ruling class’s immigration policy has changed the regime by introducing some 60 million people—roughly a fifth of our population—from countries and traditions different from, if not hostile, to ours. Whereas earlier immigrants earned their way to prosperity, a disproportionate percentage of post-1965 arrivals have been encouraged to become dependents of the state. Equally important, the ruling class chose to reverse America’s historic practice of assimilating immigrants, emphasizing instead what divides them from other Americans. Whereas Lincoln spoke of binding immigrants by “the electric cord” of the founders’ principles, our ruling class treats these principles as hypocrisy. All this without votes or law; just power.

Foul is Fair and Fair is Foul

In short, precisely as the classics defined regime change, people and practices that had been at society’s margins have been brought to its center, while people and ideas that had been central have been marginalized.

Fifty years ago, prayer in the schools was near universal, but no one was punished for not praying. Nowadays, countless people are arrested or fired for praying on school property. West Point’s commanding general reprimanded the football coach for his team’s thanksgiving prayer. Fifty years ago, bringing sexually explicit stuff into schools was treated as a crime, as was “procuring abortion.” Nowadays, schools contract with Planned Parenthood to teach sex, and will not tell parents when they take girls to PP facilities for abortions. Back then, many schools worked with the National Rifle Association to teach gun handling and marksmanship. Now students are arrested and expelled merely for pointing their finger and saying “bang.” In those benighted times, boys who ventured into the girls’ bathroom were expelled as perverts. Now, girls are suspended for objecting to boys coming into the girls’ room under pretense of transgenderism. The mainstreaming of pornography, the invention of abortion as the most inalienable of human rights and, most recently, the designation of opposition to homosexual marriage as a culpable psychosis—none of which is dictated by law enacted by elected officials—is enforced as if it had been. No surprise that America has experienced a drastic drop in the formation of families, with the rise of rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites equal to the rates among blacks that was recognized as disastrous a half-century ago, the near-disappearance of two-parent families among blacks, and the social dislocations attendant to all that.

Ever since the middle of the 20th century our ruling class, pursuing hazy concepts of world order without declarations of war, has sacrificed American lives first in Korea, then in Vietnam, and now throughout the Muslim world. By denigrating Americans who call for peace, or for wars unto victory over America’s enemies; by excusing or glorifying those who take our enemies’ side or who disrespect the American flag; our rulers have drawn down the American regime’s credit and eroded the people’s patriotism.

As the ruling class destroyed its own authority, it wrecked the republic’s as well. This is no longer the “land where our fathers died,” nor even the country that won World War II. It would be surprising if any society, its identity altered and its most fundamental institutions diminished, had continued to function as before. Ours sure does not, and it is difficult to imagine how it can do so ever again. We can be sure only that the revolution underway among us, like all others, will run its unpredictable course.

All we know is the choice that faces us at this stage: either America continues in the same direction, but faster and without restraint, or there’s the hazy possibility of something else.

Imperial Alternatives

The consequences of empowering today’s Democratic Party are crystal clear. The Democratic Party—regardless of its standard bearer—would use its victory to drive the transformations that it has already wrought on America to quantitative and qualitative levels that not even its members can imagine. We can be sure of that because what it has done and is doing is rooted in a logic that has animated the ruling class for a century, and because that logic has shaped the minds and hearts of millions of this class’s members, supporters, and wannabes.

That logic’s essence, expressed variously by Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson, FDR’s brains trust, intellectuals of both the old and the new Left, choked back and blurted out by progressive politicians, is this: America’s constitutional republic had given the American people too much latitude to be who they are, that is: religiously and socially reactionary, ignorant, even pathological, barriers to Progress. Thankfully, an enlightened minority exists with the expertise and the duty to disperse the religious obscurantism, the hypocritical talk of piety, freedom, and equality, which excuses Americans’ racism, sexism, greed, and rape of the environment. As we progressives take up our proper responsibilities, Americans will no longer live politically according to their prejudices; they will be ruled administratively according to scientific knowledge.

Progressivism’s programs have changed over time. But its disdain for how other Americans live and think has remained fundamental. More than any commitment to principles, programs, or way of life, this is its paramount feature. The media reacted to Hillary Clinton’s remark that “half of Trump’s supporters could be put into a ‘basket of deplorables’” as if these sentiments were novel and peculiar to her. In fact, these are unremarkable restatements of our ruling class’s perennial creed.

The pseudo-intellectual argument for why these “deplorables” have no right to their opinions is that giving equal consideration to people and positions that stand in the way of Progress is “false equivalence,” as President Obama has put it. But the same idea has been expressed most recently and fully by New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, as well as Times columnists Jim Rutenberg, Timothy Egan, and William Davies. In short, devotion to truth means not reporting on Donald Trump and people like him as if they or anything they say might be of value.

If trying to persuade irredeemable socio-political inferiors is no more appropriate than arguing with animals, why not just write them off by sticking dismissive names on them? Doing so is less challenging, and makes you feel superior. Why wrestle with the statistical questions implicit in Darwin when you can just dismiss Christians as Bible-thumpers? Why bother arguing for Progressivism’s superiority when you can construct “scientific” studies like Theodor Adorno’s, proving that your opponents suffer from degrees of “fascism” and other pathologies? This is a well-trod path. Why, to take an older example, should General Omar Bradley have bothered trying to refute Douglas MacArthur’s statement that in war there is no substitute for victory when calling MacArthur and his supporters “primitives” did the trick? Why wrestle with our climate’s complexities when you can make up your own “models,” being sure that your class will treat them as truth?

What priorities will the ruling class’s notion of scientific truth dictate to the next Democratic administration? Because rejecting that true and false, right and wrong are objectively ascertainable is part of this class’s DNA, no corpus of fact or canon of reason restrains it or defines its end-point. Its definition of “science” is neither more nor less than what “scientists say” at any given time. In practice, that means “Science R-Us,” now and always, exclusively. Thus has come to pass what President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1960 Farewell address: “A steadily increasing share [of science] is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.… [T]he free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution…a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” Hence, said Ike, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present—and is gravely to be regarded.” The result has been that academics rise through government grants while the government exercises power by claiming to act on science’s behalf. If you don’t bow to the authority of the power that says what is and is not so, you are an obscurantist or worse.

Under our ruling class, “truth” has morphed from the reflection of objective reality to whatever has “normative pull”—i.e., to what furthers the ruling class’s agenda, whatever that might be at any given time. That is the meaning of the term “political correctness,” as opposed to factual correctness.

It’s the Contempt, Stupid!

Who, a generation ago, could have guessed that careers and social standing could be ruined by stating the fact that the paramount influence on the earth’s climate is the sun, that its output of energy varies and with it the climate? Who, a decade ago, could have predicted that stating that marriage is the union of a man and a woman would be treated as a culpable sociopathy, or just yesterday that refusing to let certifiably biological men into women’s bathrooms would disqualify you from mainstream society? Or that saying that the lives of white people “matter” as much as those of blacks is evidence of racism? These strictures came about quite simply because some sectors of the ruling class felt like inflicting them on the rest of America. Insulting presumed inferiors proved to be even more important to the ruling class than the inflictions’ substance.

How far will our rulers go? Because their network is mutually supporting, they will go as far as they want. Already, there is pressure from ruling class constituencies, as well as academic arguments, for morphing the concept of “hate crime” into the criminalization of “hate speech”—which means whatever these loving folks hate. Of course this is contrary to the First Amendment, and a wholesale negation of freedom. But it is no more so than the negation of freedom of association that is already eclipsing religious freedom in the name anti-discrimination. It is difficult to imagine a Democratic president, Congress, and Supreme Court standing in the way.

Above all, these inflictions, as well as the ruling class’s acceptance of its own members’ misbehavior, came about because millions of its supporters were happy, or happy enough, to support them in the interest of maintaining their own status in a ruling coalition while discomfiting their socio-political opponents. Consider, for example, how republic-killing an event was the ruling class’s support of President Bill Clinton in the wake of his nationally televised perjury. Subsequently, as constituencies of supporters have effectively condoned officials’ abusive, self-serving, and even outright illegal behavior, they have encouraged more and more of it while inuring themselves to it. That is how republics turn into empires from the roots up.

But it is also true, as Mao Tse-Tung used to say, “a fish begins to rot at the head.” If you want to understand why any and all future Democratic Party administrations can only be empires dedicated to injuring and insulting their subjects, look first at their intellectual leaders’ rejection of the American republic’s most fundamental principles.

The Declaration of Independence says that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights—codified in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights—are not civil rights that governments may define. The free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, keeping and bearing arms, freedom from warrantless searches, protection against double jeopardy and self-incrimination, trial by jury of one’s peers, etc., are natural rights that pertain to human beings as such. Securing them for Americans is what the United States is all about. But today’s U.S. Civil Rights Commission advocates truncating the foremost of these rights because, as it stated in a recent report, “Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon those civil rights.” The report explains why the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights should not be permissible: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”

Hillary Clinton’s attack on Trump supporters merely matched the ruling class’s current common sense. Why should government workers and all who wield the administrative state’s unaccountable powers not follow their leaders’ judgment, backed by the prestige press, about who are to be treated as citizens and who is to be handled as deplorable refuse? Hillary Clinton underlined once again how the ruling class regards us, and about what it has in store for us.

Electing Donald Trump would result in an administration far less predictable than any Democratic one. In fact, what Trump would or would not do, could or could not do, pales into insignificance next to the certainty of what any Democrat would do. That is what might elect Trump.

The character of an eventual Trump Administration is unpredictable because speculating about Trump’s mind is futile. It is equally futile to guess how he might react to the mixture of flattery and threats sure to be leveled against him. The entire ruling class—Democrats and Republicans, the bulk of the bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the press—would do everything possible to thwart him; and the constituencies that chose him as their candidate, and that might elect him, are surely not united and are by no means clear about the demands they would press. Moreover, it is anyone’s guess whom he would appoint and how he would balance his constituencies’ pressures against those of the ruling class.

Never before has such a large percentage of Americans expressed alienation from their leaders, resentment, even fear. Some two-thirds of Americans believe that elected and appointed officials—plus the courts, the justice system, business leaders, educators—are leading the country in the wrong direction: that they are corrupt, do more harm than good, make us poorer, get us into wars and lose them. Because this majority sees no one in the political mainstream who shares their concerns, because it lacks confidence that the system can be fixed, it is eager to empower whoever might flush the system and its denizens with something like an ungentle enema.

Yet the persons who express such revolutionary sentiments are not a majority ready to support a coherent imperial program to reverse the course of America’s past half-century. Temperamentally conservative, these constituencies had been most attached to the Constitution and been counted as the bedrock of stability. They are not yet wholly convinced that there is little left to conserve. What they want, beyond an end to the ruling class’s outrages, has never been clear. This is not surprising, given that the candidates who appeal to their concerns do so with mere sound bites. Hence they chose as the presidential candidate of the nominal opposition party the man who combined the most provocative anti-establishment sounds with reassurance that it won’t take much to bring back good old America: Donald Trump. But bringing back good old America would take an awful lot. What could he do to satisfy them?

Trump’s propensity for treating pronouncements on policy as flags to be run up and down the flagpole as he measures the volume of the applause does not deprive them of all significance—especially the ones that confirm his anti-establishment bona fides. These few policy items happen to be the ones by which he gained his anti-establishment reputation in the first place: 1) opposition to illegal immigration, especially the importation of Muslims whom Americans reasonably perceive as hostile to us; 2) law and order: stop excusing rioters and coddling criminals; 3) build a wall, throw out the illegals, let in only people who are vetted and certified as supporters of our way of life (that’s the way it was when I got my immigrant visa in 1955), and keep out anybody we can’t be sure isn’t a terrorist. Trump’s tentative, partial retreat from a bit of the latter nearly caused his political standing to implode, prompting the observation that doing something similar regarding abortion would end his political career. That is noteworthy because, although Trump’s support of the pro-life cause is lukewarm at best, it is the defining commitment for much of his constituency. The point here is that, regardless of his own sentiments, Trump cannot wholly discount his constituencies’ demands for a forceful turn away from the country’s current direction.

Trump’s slogan—“make America great again”—is the broadest, most unspecific, common denominator of non-ruling-class Americans’ diverse dissatisfaction with what has happened to the country. He talks about reasserting America’s identity, at least by controlling the borders; governing in America’s own interest rather than in pursuit of objectives of which the American people have not approved; stopping the export of jobs and removing barriers to business; and banishing political correctness’s insults and injuries. But all that together does not amount to making America great again. Nor does Trump begin to explain what it was that had made this country great to millions who have known only an America much diminished.

In fact, the United States of America was great because of a whole bunch of things that now are gone. Yes, the ruling class led the way in personal corruption, cheating on tests, lowering of professional standards, abandoning churches and synagogues for the Playboy Philosophy and lifestyle, disregarding law, basing economic life on gaming the administrative state, basing politics on conflicting identities, and much more. But much of the rest of the country followed. What would it take to make America great again—or indeed to make any of the changes that Trump’s voters demand? Replacing the current ruling class would be only the beginning.

Because it is difficult to imagine a Trump presidency even thinking about something so monumental as replacing an entire ruling elite, much less leading his constituency to accomplishing it, electing Trump is unlikely to result in a forceful turn away from the country’s current direction. Continuing pretty much on the current trajectory under the same class will further fuel revolutionary sentiments in the land all by itself. Inevitable disappointment with Trump is sure to add to them.

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.


The Failure of Governement


Please consider this an open letter. We are asking all who read this to pass it on other members of Congress, and their staffs.

No longer can America be governed by those choosing to ignore truth. Truth is revealed in valid science and uncorrupted unrevised history.

On 5 October, 2011, this Committee for the Constitution published the scientific treatise on global warming. Contained in it is incontrovertible evidence that global warming is not, with any credible scientific likelihood, linked to the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. Energy policies hampering and restricting American industry based on attempting to control global warming by affecting the atmospheric CO2 concentration are scientifically bankrupt. Secondly, humanity can variously control CO2 emissions from carbon based energy sources, minusculy affecting atmospheric CO2, and in no way altering atmospheric temperature cycles.

On 17 September, 2011, we published the article describing the only way to gain control of healthcare costs while at the same time advancing the quality of healthcare was to establish a non-profit unbiased universal database incorporating information from each and every component of our healthcare system. Ignoring that requisite, legislative bodies and the administrative state have shackled working Americans with the consequences of their errors.

Foreign and domestic policies are put in place by those we elect to represent us that similarly ignore the realities and lessons of true history and confirmed scientific evidence. Perjury, corruption, cronyism, judicial activism, etc. have eroded the trust in governments intended to bring liberty and justice for all.

America is under attack by enemies, foreign and domestic. Congress must respond with a new declaration of independence, and move to confront and defeat our enemies. The times for false propaganda and political rhetoric are over.


Trust and the Order of Law

Trust and the Order of Law


    For every society to succeed, there needs to be a just order of law defined by those holding the reins of power. People need to know what is acceptable and just behavior in relation to the realities imposed by the political systems of which they are constituents and with which they interact. This requisite order of law must itself be consistent with and grounded in immutable Law for any political system to endure. Immutable Law defines reality. From natural law to the laws evinced in human interactions throughout history, Law unable to be established or created by humanity’s invention or control is Truth.

    Likewise, all successful relations to the totality of existence are bound by Truth. Cultures from the primitive rain forest to the most technologically advanced are all equally dependent on truth. An awareness of truth, reality if you will, — knowledge, grants no authority. Obedience to the absolute indelible truths ordained by immutable Law permits the accomplishments and integration of life circumstances. Trust, therefore, is derived from an adherence to truth.

America is the throes of a battle for liberty and justice where truth is compromised by the lies and deceptions of those seeking to destroy the Framers’ intention. Voiding, negating, or otherwise altering Truth revealed in a valid uncorrupted order of law results in mistrust. Lies and deceptions spawn the mistrust that has contaminated our governments. Attacked by evil and injustice, Americans need the security only afforded by the direction and guidance of immutable Law.

Our “supreme law of the land”, founded on immutable Law, is under assault as never before. Truths of science and history are lost or obscured by untruths. Perjury is tolerated and rampant at the highest levels of our governments. Power and wealth embolden those wrongfully occupying offices of honor and trust. Held unaccountable by judicial activism and legislative failure, bombarded with false propaganda, the electorate tolerates politicians and legislatures continually violating their oath of office failing to protect and defend the Constitution.

The compositions of the United States Supreme Court and all subservient courts “with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make” are critical to our survival. Every politician should be judged only on their platform and history, and whether they are true and just. No longer can citizens be swayed by false propaganda or choosing what they want to believe. Truth and justice preserved and protected by the administration of our just order of law, equally and undiminished, defined by Law transcending all our laws, is our salvation. Trust is found in the truth contained in the order of law.



Farms and Free Enterprise: A Blueprint for Agricultural Policy

Heritage Foundation’s New Report Offers a Free-Market Alternative to the Farm Bill

Daren Bakst / September 22, 2016


    The Heritage Foundation report, “Farms and Free Enterprise: A Blueprint for Agricultural Policy” provides not just an alternative to the farm bill, but a free-market vision for agricultural policy.

    Agricultural policy is much broader than the costly and harmful subsidies that exist in the farm bill. In addition to the subsidies, the report analyzes many issues that aren’t usually a focus of the farm bill, such as the Clean Water Act and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Here’s the free enterprise blueprint at a glance:

Address agricultural programs on their own merits. Before even getting into the substance of agricultural policy, a critical process issue needs to be addressed. The farm bill is really the food stamp bill. At the time of the 2014 farm bill’s passage, the projected costs for food stamps and the nutrition title covered about 80 percent of the farm bill’s costs.

The purpose of separation is to ensure that agri­cultural programs and nutrition programs, which have no business being combined together, are debated and considered on their own merits. They are combined together for political purposes to get the programs passed; legislators who support agri­cultural programs will support food stamp policies in order to get their agricultural programs enacted, and vice-versa. As a result, neither gets the attention they deserve, and this logrolling makes enacting any meaningful reforms more difficult.

Move away from subsidies to address agricultural risk. Agricultural producers, like other businesses, face a wide range of risks. Yet why is there a special taxpayer-funded safety net to help many farmers with risk, when other businesses manage risk without such federal government intervention?

Before even examining the major programs such as the federal crop insurance program and the sugar program, we asked preliminary questions to identify why these programs even existed in the first place. Agricultural producers are well positioned to manage risk and have many private means to do so.

Further, the harm caused by subsidies is far greater than the approximately $15 billion annual cost of the taxpayer-funded safety net. For example, farmers will farm the subsidies. Instead of meeting the needs of the market, farmers will make planting decisions based on how to maximize the subsidies that are being offered to them. This isn’t a criticism of farmers; it is a rational action they take based on the market-distorting incentives created by subsidies.

Congress has gone way beyond providing a taxpayer-funded safety net for agricultural producers. For example, Congress created a major new program called the Agricultural Risk Coverage program in the 2014 farm bill that protects farmers from even minor dips in their expected revenue.

Under the federal crop insurance program, agricultural producers can have bumper crops and still can get indemnities. Basically, the “safety net” has become a pretext for helping to ensure that large agricultural producers (who receive most of the subsidies) do well financially.

The report does recommend moving away from subsidies, but not all at one time. To help ease the transition, we should move away from these excessive subsidies and move to what most reasonable people would think is in fact a safety net.

Specifically, the report recommends keeping programs that only address deep yield losses (such as losses from disasters). This includes keeping the federal crop insurance program, but getting rid of the revenue-based policies that seek to insulate farmers from the market.

Removing the extensive federal intervention would free farmers to engage in agricultural production without government meddling.

End favorable treatment for biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard. The report provides significant detail about how the RFS in particular is very harmful. For example, as highlighted by the report:

  • Higher feedstock prices from the mandate unnecessari­ly raise costs for livestock farmers and ranchers.
  • Biofuel policies cost taxpayers $7.7 billion in 2011 and $1.3 billion in 2012—after the expiration of the ethanol blenders tax credit, a 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for blending eth­anol into gasoline. Over a 30-year time frame, ethanol subsidies have diverted $45 billion in taxpayer money.
  • The RFS has failed to deliver on its promise of reducing dependence on oil.
  • The RFS has increased food prices. The USDA’s Economic Research Service notes that “increased corn prices draw land away from competing crops, raise input prices for livestock producers, and put moderate upward pressure on retail food prices.”

The report calls for the repeal of the RFS and eliminating the bioenergy programs in the farm bill, and argues that producers should be allowed to drive alternative fuel innovation.

It explains that policymakers should “use the repeal of the mandate as momen­tum for greater reform in the energy sector. Such future reforms should include a further leveling of the playing field for all energy companies and technologies. Congress should also remove pref­erential treatment for all transportation fuels and technologies.”

Promote free trade in agriculture. Free trade benefits consumers with lower prices and greater choices and helps agricultural producers with being able to export to new markets.

The report explains, “U.S. agricultural exports have had a ripple effect through the economy. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, the $150 billion in agricultural exports in 2014 created an additional $190.6 billion in economic activity and over 1 mil­lion full-time jobs.”

Despite the incredible benefits of free trade in agriculture, the United States continues to create protectionist schemes through tariff and nontariff trade barriers. A key recommendation in the report is for the United States to put its own house in order by getting rid of these barriers.

In addition, though, the federal government does have a key role to play in agriculture: It needs to be proactive in seeking to eliminate the barriers that block domestic producers from entering foreign markets.

For example, the United States should make more aggressive demands and offers in World Trade Organization negotiations, and should litigate more agricultural trade barrier cases before the WTO. The United States has been very successful when bringing WTO cases.

Reduce and eliminate key regulatory obstacles. Usually the policy debate on federal government intervention in agriculture focuses on how to help farmers through subsidies. The report looks at the other side of the equation, too: How does federal government intervention, specifically regulations, make it more difficult for farmers and ranchers?

The long list of harmful and unnecessary regulations impacting agriculture could take up a book on its own. The report explores many of the key regulatory obstacles such as Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, public lands, and agricultural biotechnology regulation. The recommendations call for significant changes that will reduce this barrage of federal regulations on our nation’s farmers.

“Farms and Free Enterprise: A Blueprint for Agricultural Policy” should serve as a valuable starting point for much-needed public discourse on agricultural policy. At a minimum, it provides a clear choice for legislators when it comes to agricultural reform: maintain the harmful status quo or adopt policies that will free up farmers and ranchers to best meet the food needs of consumers.

FOREWORD  from Farms and Free Enterprise: A Blueprint for Agricultural Policy

“I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.” — George Washington

Centuries before the birth of Christ, there lived a Roman politician named Lucius Cincinnatus. The fortunes of his career had reduced him to a modest living, tilling the soil of his own fields. But he had a reputation for faithful governance.

In those days, Rome was often at war with its neighbors. On one of these occasions, when the situation looked grim, the leaders of Rome came to Cincinnatus to offer him absolute power if he could save them from their enemies. He met them standing at his plow, as he donned his official robes.

He rallied all the men of military age and set out for victory. Within 15 days, Cincinnatus had conquered the enemies of Rome, shown mercy toward the defeated, and returned to his plow. He gave up a dictatorship for the sake of the Republic and the land he loved.

His legacy was mirrored by that of George Washington, who was so beloved by the American people after the Revolutionary War that he could have well become a despot in his own right. But after serving two terms as President, he too returned to his crops and fields. To this day, The Society of the Cincinnati is composed of the descendants of Revolutionary War officers who celebrate the ideal of Cincinnatus as upheld by Washington.

To give up the reins of government for the reins of the workhorse not only reinforces the importance of liberty and patriotism; it points to the timeless role of the land and those who work it. The agriculture which feeds us precedes government in directly serving the needs of the American people.

And yet today, unlike its honored namesake, the city of Washington prefers being an “emperor” which meddles in farming across the nation—quite a reversal.

Subsidies for politically connected industries prop up businesses and insulate them from foreign competition, disproportionately favoring big agricultural producers. Sometimes this has nothing to do with the food we eat, like the government hand¬outs to make inefficient ethanol from corn.

An oppressive regulatory regime drives up costs for farms and consumers, while mandatory labeling requirements and other faddish fears of modern farming techniques sacrifice plentiful, safe food to the altar of pseudo-science.

So many of these measures are excused and justified with appeals to the importance of American agriculture and the vital role of our farms. It is very easy to signal that one cares deeply about agricultural issues by taking money from some citizens and giving it to others—a favorite and practiced pastime in Congress.

Even politicians who normally seek to prevent the government from picking winners and losers in other sectors of the economy, like technology, the Internet, or energy development are loathe to stop interfering in agriculture, lest they be blamed for the failure of a business that was unable to stand on its own.

But we must apply the same free-market reasoning we use for any economic question: supply and demand of our food should be determined by the market, precisely because it is so essential to our day-to-day lives. Agriculture is too important to be left in the hands of the federal government.

Instead, we should treat food like any other product which we want readily and cheaply available to the consumer, from cell phones to cars. Competition—the more open, the better—will always benefit regular Americans.

Our leaders will best honor the vital role of agriculture in our society by letting us return to our plowshares unmolested by the government, and leaving despotism with the rest of the fertilizer.

It is the Washington thing to do.

Jim DeMint, President

The Heritage Foundation

September 2016



excerpted fromFarms and Free Enterprise: A Blueprint for Agricultural Policy

Daren Bakst

Over the past 80 years, agriculture has changed dramatically. However, farm bill programs and their progeny are grounded in the same cen­tral-planning philosophies that existed during the Depression. Even some policymakers who claim to be strong proponents of free enterprise and limited government tend to forget these core beliefs when it comes to these programs.

Agricultural policy is not restricted to those farm bill programs that limit choice, stifle innovation, distort consumer prices, and cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year. It also includes food safety, inter­national trade, environmental policy and property rights, research and innovation, and general issues applicable to all sectors of the economy, such as labor policy.

There are alternatives to agriculture beyond the status quo of central planning and subsidies. The same free-enterprise solutions that have allowed the U.S. to flourish are just as applicable to agricul­ture as they are to other sectors of the economy. The following are eight guiding principles for agricultur­al policy.

  1. Markets—Not Government Incentives and Controls—Should Inform Farming Decisions

Many farmers make decisions based on restric­tions imposed by central-planning policies and the subsidies that distort their choices through mis­guided incentives. These policies include loans, disaster assistance, price and revenue guarantees, supply restrictions, import barriers, payments to idle land, marketing orders (which are effective­ly government-sanctioned cartels), and subsidized crop insurance.

Too often, there is an assumption made by pro­ponents of the status quo that the federal govern­ment can use central planning to best allocate resources. No government has the knowledge to plan economies. Instead, agricultural policy should be responsive to markets, thereby freeing farmers to produce what they deem fit—not what a government subsidy encourages.

  1. The Government Should Not Distort Food Prices

Prices provide a signal to agricultural producers as to where to allocate resources and best respond to market demand. By insulating agricultural pro­ducers from prices, the government undermines this critical signal necessary to inform producers regarding how best to meet market demand. As the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Devel­opment (OECD) explains “price interventions will isolate farmers from underlying market fundamen­tals such as high prices that signal a negative supply shock or low prices that signal over-supply.”1

Some existing policies also artificially drive up food prices, such as the sugar program2 and the Renewable Fuel Standard.3 Artificially higher food prices hurt low-income individuals the most because a greater share of their incomes go to food costs compared to individuals with higher incomes.

  1. Agricultural Producers Should Succeed (or Fail) on Their Own Merits

Government should not intervene in the market to help ensure that agricultural producers are prof­itable, such as through the “shallow loss” program that protects farmers from even minor losses.

Like other business leaders, farmers should suc­ceed or fail on their own merits and assume the risks and reap the rewards of doing business. In addition, though, government should not intervene in the market by making it difficult, if not impossible, for farmers to succeed financially. Burdensome regu­lations can harm farmers as can restrictions limit­ing access to capital and labor necessary to meet the unique needs of farms.

  1. Property Rights Are the Cornerstone of American Agriculture

Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of their property. Property ownership creates power­ful incentives to maintain property. Many farmers and ranchers depend on their land for their very live­lihood: According to the U.S. Department of Agricul­ture, “With a value of $2.38 trillion, farm real estate (land and structures) accounted for four-fifths of the total value of U.S. farm sector assets in 2014.”4

Too often, farmers and ranchers bear an exces­sive cost for government regulations that place restrictions on how they use their property. This problem is particularly egregious with laws such as the Endangered Species Act. Farmers and ranchers bear costs that should be borne by society general­ly, not by a narrow group of property owners alone. In many instances, the restrictions are so great as to amount to regulatory takings, which should trigger just compensation to the harmed property owners.

Clearly defined and strongly enforced property rights might also help develop solutions to address many agricultural challenges. For example, water rights can be used by the property owner to par­ticipate in water markets, likely serving as the best means to allocate scarce water resources.

  1. The Regulatory Burden on the Agricultural Sector Should Be Minimized and Sound Regulatory Approaches Used

Regulations can hinder farmers and other businesses throughout the food supply system. Farm-specific regulations should generally be limit­ed to covering health and safety. Furthermore, when agencies promulgate regulations, they should have clear statutory authority and use sound regulatory and scientific analysis, including adopting the least costly alternative to achieve its objective. Unnec­essary, duplicative, or outdated regulations should be repealed.

One-size-fits-all regulation does not work, espe­cially given the diverse work of farmers and the unique agricultural challenges that exist on the state and local levels. Regulation should become more decentralized with states and local govern­ments having more influence and responsibility as the federal government plays a smaller role.

  1. Obstacles to Agricultural Research and Innovation Should Be Removed

Groundbreaking innovations in fields such as agricultural biotechnology will help the agricultur­al sector feed not only Americans, but the world as well.5 These innovations can yield many benefits including greater productivity, reduced food costs, and improved nutrition. However, misinformation campaigns instead of sound science are creating obstacles that are undermining innovations.

Any approval process for these innovations should be streamlined, consistent, and based on sound sci­ence. When approval is arbitrary and unpredictable, innovators are discouraged from moving forward with their research.6 Other unnecessary govern­ment obstacles that hinder research and innovation should be removed, including any taxpayer-funded research that discourages private research.

  1. Promoting Free Trade in Agriculture Benefits Farmers and Consumers

Trade opportunities are lost when Congress subsidizes domestic agriculture industries, there­by inviting other countries to respond in kind, or even to retaliate if the U.S. is in violation of World Trade Organization rules.7 While other countries will inevitably create protectionist schemes, taking comparable action only hurts American consumers by restricting competition and making free trade more difficult.

Trade policy should not focus on the narrow interests of one industry. Such an approach usually comes at the expense of consumers, other industries, and the economy as a whole.

Free trade in agriculture should be aggressive­ly pursued. This means eliminating domestic trade barriers, which would promote competition by giv­ing consumers access to foreign agricultural prod­ucts, and aggressively seeking the removal of bar­riers that block American products from entering foreign markets.

  1. Agricultural Policy Should Not Promote Special Interests

Everyone is affected by agricultural policy because, after all, everyone eats. When agricultur­al policy debates occur, farming interests and other “stakeholder” interests are usually involved in the formulation of policy, but consumer and taxpayer interests are not. When crafting agricultural policy, lawmakers should remember two important facts: (1) Agriculture exists to meet the needs of the mar­ket; and (2) The government is not spending its own money on agriculture programs; it is using taxpay­er money. The market, not government interven­tion, is the appropriate tool to sort out all of the var­ious interests.

Agricultural policy debates should be conducted in an open and transparent manner. Political maneu­vers should not be used as a way to push legislation through at the expense of thoughtful discourse on agricultural policy, as is currently employed in the farm bill, which combines farm programs with food stamps.

Moving Forward

A free enterprise vision for agriculture starts with recognizing the flaws of government interven­tion while embracing freedom and individual rights. Such broad-based principles, if applied, can help transform agricultural policy, moving it from an era of excessive government control that bestows public largesse to the few to an era of respecting individual freedom that benefits all.


  1. Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, “Risk Management in Agriculture: What Role for Governments?” November 2011, http://www.oecd.org/agriculture/agricultural-policies/49003833.pdf (accessed March 16, 2016).
  2. Daren Bakst, “Should Government Restrict the Candy Supply?” The Daily Signal, October 31, 2013, http://blog.heritage.org/2013/10/31/should-government-restrict-the-candy-supply/. See also U.S. Department of Commerce, “Employment Changes in U.S. Food Manufacturing: The Impact of Sugar Prices,” November 2006, (accessed March 23, 2016).
  3. See Section 6 of this report. See also Nicolas D. Loris, “Examining the Renewable Fuel Standard,” testimony before the Subcommittee on the Interior and the Subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, March 16, 2016, http://www.heritage.org/research/testimony/examining-the-renewable-fuel-standard.
  4. Economic Research Service, USDA, “Land Use, Land Value and Tenure,” (accessed March 21, 2016). See also U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Data Files: U.S. and State-Level Farm Income and Wealth Statistics,” http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/farm-income-and-wealth-statistics/data-files-us-and-state-level-farm-income-and-wealth-statistics.aspx (accessed March 23, 2016).
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Agricultural Biotechnology,” December 30, 2013, http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=BIOTECH (accessed March 23, 2016).
  6. For example, see Henry Miller, “With a Forked Tongue: How the Obama White House Stymies Innovation in Food Production,” Forbes, March 19, 2014, (accessed March 23, 2016).
  7. See, e.g., Daren Bakst, “This Program Epitomizes Waste and Favoritism. Lawmakers Now Have a Chance to Repeal It,” The Daily Signal, May 18, 2015, http://dailysignal.com//2015/05/18/this-program-epitomizes-waste-and-favoritism-lawmakers-now-have-a-chance-to-repeal-it/.

Social and moral issues are all on the side of free trade – Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman’s Morals

As Trump and Clinton bang the drums for tariffs and renegotiated deals, where’s the popular voice for trade?

William McGurn

Sept. 19, 2016

    Whether it’s Donald Trump complaining “we don’t win on trade” or Hillary Clinton vowing to appoint a “chief trade prosecutor,” our two main candidates for president are both campaigning on the idea that government needs to protect us from any foreigner who would sell us something at a better price than we could get at home.

    Where’s Milton Friedman when you need him?

In 1980, the Nobel Prize-winning economist brought the message of free markets and free trade into the homes of ordinary Americans via an extraordinary public television series called “Free to Choose.” He did so without apology, without a prepared script and in plain language—moral as well as practical—that you didn’t have to be an economist to understand.

He also did it against the prevailing mood that while free markets might be nice in theory, in reality what America needed was a healthy shot of protectionism: e.g., “voluntary” restrictions on Japanese cars, stronger anti-dumping statutes and greater enforcement of state “buy American” laws.

Is it so much different today? In an age when the global economy has helped lift billions out of abject poverty and put in the pockets of our children iPhones with more processing power than the computers NASA used to put a man on the moon, trade has become a dirty word.

The negatives of trade seemed to be confirmed by a now-famous 2012 graphic by economist Branko Milanovic, which plots how much real income has grown between 1988 and 2008 by income percentiles of the global population. Called the “elephant chart” because of its shape, it appears to prove the Trump-Clinton critique: that the winners from trade are foreigners and our top 1%, while the losers are the working and middle class in the developed West, including the U.S.

But the London-based Resolution Foundation has now recrunched the numbers to adjust for factors including population growth and the collapse of the U.S.S.R. When it did, it found that though income growth for the U.S. working and middle classes was smaller than for their peers in other Western economies, it was not stagnant.

In a recent Financial Times story, Resolution Foundation director Torsten Bell sounded a distinctly Friedmanite note: “Although globalisation brings a range of challenges for lower income families, we need to be clear that weak income growth generally is rooted in domestic policy, and blaming globalisation takes the pressure off governments.”

What might such pressure look like? Well, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser suggests we might, for example, consider the way well-intentioned government programs can boomerang by discouraging work—everything from minimum-wage hikes that make low-skilled young men more expensive to hire to the huge marginal tax rates that kick in when, say, a single mom using some government benefit gets a job.

No one denies that Americans can lose jobs when an industry abroad is selling a good or service at a better price. But the high-employment, mass-manufacturing economy of the postwar years is not coming back no matter how high tariffs are or what we do to countries who manipulate their currencies. Even more interesting, the Resolution Foundation study reports average real income growth for lower- and middle-class workers in the U.K. was much higher than for their American counterparts, even though the U.K. has an economy that is more, not less, dependent on trade.

For his part, Friedman would ask by what right should an American be prevented from buying a lawful good or service if he found a better price from someone overseas? Where’s the morality of keeping a worker from selling the product of his labor to someone who happens to live in another country? And the following was Friedman’s response on “Free to Choose” when a union official challenged him on his bid to eliminate all tariffs over five years:

    “The social and moral issues are all on the side of free trade. And it is you, and people like you, who introduce protection who are the ones who are violating fundamental moral and social issues.

    Tell me, what trade union represents the workers who are displaced because high tariffs reduce exports from this country, because high tariffs make steel and other goods more expensive, and as a result, those industries that use steel have to charge higher prices, they have fewer employees, the export industries that would grow up to balance the imports, tell me what union represents them? What moral and ethical view do you have about their interests?

    It’s still a good question. Because here we are, seven weeks out from an election in which the Republican and the Democratic nominee are trying to outdo each other in their opposition to trade. And neither appreciates the irony that the very definition of a bad trade deal is one that inserts the heavy hand of government between a voluntary exchange that leaves both Citizen of Country A and Citizen of Country B better off.



Trashing the Order of Law


Even Worse Than Hillary Clinton’s Emails

The civil service was missing in action. We learned about the emails from a hacker.

William McGurn

The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 5, 2016

    Forget the new dump of Hillary Clinton emails. Forget the phony claims that the missing communications were all about wedding plans and yoga routines. Forget, too, the many requests from Doug Band in which the Clinton Foundation honcho hoped his quos (hefty donations to the Clinton Foundation) would translate into quids (e.g., special access to the secretary).

    Forget them all. The most disturbing aspect about the FBI dump may not be fresh evidence of another Clinton lie. The most disturbing thing about Mrs. Clinton’s continuing email drama may be where she’s telling the truth.

Or at least a half-truth. Mrs. Clinton told the FBI it was “common knowledge” at State that she used private email. Agents further quote her as saying she “could not recall anyone raising concerns with her regarding the sensitivity of the information she received at her email address.”

However unseemly the cashing in of the Clinton family, whatever the trampling of the ethics accord the Clinton Foundation had signed with the White House, even apart from the walking conflicts-of-interests that were Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, the much larger stink here is this: Mrs. Clinton was allowed to spend her four years as secretary of state off the grid.

It isn’t so much that Mrs. Clinton set up a personal server so she would not be accountable the way normal political appointees are held accountable. It’s that no one in government stopped her. The inspector general’s report notes that when two IT officers expressed their concern in 2010 that her private email system meant federal records were not being preserved, they were told “never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”

As a result, when the American people finally learned about Mrs. Clinton’s use of private email for public business, it wasn’t because of a functioning civil service. It was because of a hacker.

Mrs. Clinton says officials at State never told her what she was doing wasn’t allowed. That isn’t quite true. It’s more accurate to say she never asked the people who would have the answers to these questions. The IG report confirms it was made clear to State staffers that she did not want the questions asked.

It gets worse. Even today her former department is still resisting efforts to make public the emails she tried to hide. Groups such as Judicial Watch have done yeoman’s work in forcing the emails into the sunlight—but they have also had to get court orders to pry them out of an obstructionist State Department.

It’s a disturbing pattern, and unfortunately it’s not limited to State. There have been similar questions about the integrity and professionalism of the IRS ever since the American people learned in 2013 that it was unfairly targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Three years, many congressional hearings and disappearing hard drives later, there is still no evidence the IRS has ended the practice. Just last month, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals described the IRS approach to its targets this way: “You’re alright for now, but there may be another shoe falling.” This follows on a March ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which blasted the IRS for refusing to produce a list of those it had targeted—as well as for its bad faith in defending itself by invoking a rule meant to “protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers.”

Originally the speculation was that the IRS effort had been orchestrated by the Obama administration. As the Journal’s James Taranto noted at the time, the IRS scandal is worse if it was not directed by the White House. “If it ‘went rogue’ against the Constitution and in support of the party in power,” he wrote, “then we are dealing with a cancer on the federal government.”

Now consider the FBI. Its director is appointed to a 10-year term precisely to remove him from political pressures.

In our criminal-justice system, the bureau’s job is to investigate, while the decision to indict belongs to the Justice Department. In other words, whether to indict Mrs. Clinton was Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s responsibility, and she would have to take the heat whichever way she decided.

Until FBI director Jim Comey intervened with a press conference in which he announced he was recommending against indictment. By going public in a way even he admitted was “unusual,” Mr. Comey effectively pre-empted the Justice Department and any hope for accountability. That Mr. Comey’s decision let Ms. Lynch off the hook after her private meeting with Bill Clinton only makes it more disgraceful.

Welcome to modern Washington, just two months away from a presidential election. It’s possible, of course, that the people who believe the system is rigged and that their government has taken sides against them are wrong.

But the most disquieting possibility is that it isn’t crazy to think they might be right.


A Liberal ‘Gets’ Religion

A U.S. Civil Rights Commission report on religious liberty is so bad, it’s good.

William McGurn

The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 12, 2016

    Martin Castro has just performed an enormous public service for his country. But it’s not the one he thinks.

    Mr. Castro is chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a venerable institution dating to 1957 that has helped America kill Jim Crow and make good on our founding promises. An Obama appointee, Mr. Castro last Wednesday made public a report on nondiscrimination protections—increasingly about gender preference and sexual orientation—that in its crassness rivals Hillary Clinton’s belittling of Donald Trump supporters.

Here’s Mrs. Clinton: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.”

Here’s Mr. Castro: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

Mr. Castro’s is the prevailing view among progressives. Barack Obama alluded to it when he derided small-town Americans bitterly clinging to guns or religion (i.e., the Second and First Amendments). Ditto for Mrs. Clinton, who in a remark about reproductive rights declared that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

Mr. Castro’s contribution, by contrast, is so bad it’s good. For he confirms that the progressive argument is mostly about insulting Americans with differing views.

The commission report is called “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling nondiscrimination principles with civil liberties.” Its top finding is this: “Civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination, as embodied in the Constitution, laws, and policies, are of pre-eminent importance in American jurisprudence.”

Translation: Nuisances including the First Amendment’s “free exercise” of religion guarantee take a back seat to the rapidly multiplying non-discrimination causes such as the “right” to coerce any baker you want into baking the cake you want for your same-sex wedding.

In her own submission to the report, the commission’s Gail Heriot pinpoints the flaw in the finding. A University of San Diego law professor, Ms. Heriot says she could easily imagine a case for Mr. Castro’s position. But instead of an argument, she says, the commission offers a decree.

“By starting with an assertion that antidiscrimination laws are ‘pre-eminent,’ she writes, “the Commission’s analysis essentially begins with its conclusion. Why should anyone accept it? The Commission said so.”

The reasonableness of Ms. Heriot’s contribution almost makes this awful report worth its price. Here is a civil rights commissioner who takes the clash between nondiscrimination and religion seriously, who appreciates that these clashes are the result of government going places it never went before—and who recognizes that the questions raised are more complicated than Mr. Castro’s good guys versus bad guys caricature.

Ms. Heriot also recognizes the public-service aspect of publishing the chairman’s prejudice: Though she first thought of asking Chairman Castro to remove his statement, she writes, on further reflection she concluded that it “might be better for Christians, people of faith generally and advocates of limited government to know and understand where they stand with him.”

Indeed we are better off. The solitary virtue of Mr. Castro’s presentation is that he makes not the least effort to hide the ugly bits. These lead to a nation where the mediating institutions that stand between the citizen and government (churches, schools, private associations) are stripped of influence, and the political system no longer decides divisive issues through its elected representatives.

In Mr. Castro’s world, those who dissent from the prevailing pieties are deemed unfit for the public square . . . the judgment of federal agencies substitutes for Congress . . . and Justice Anthony Kennedy is free to take his own private mystery of the universe and impose it on the nation by unearthing constitutional rights unmentioned in the Constitution at the expense of the rights that are.

What does it mean for the election? Plainly Mrs. Clinton stands with Mr. Castro on this ahistoric and unconstitutional reading of rights. Even poor Gary Johnson, who embarrassed himself on television when he seemed to have no idea what Aleppo was, has come out against religious liberty—suggesting he understands even less about libertarianism than he does about Syria.

And Mr. Trump? No one would ever confuse Donald Trump with Reinhold Niebuhr. Yet even with his ambiguous stands on where gay rights begin and end, Mr. Trump seems unlikely to people his administration with Martin Castros bent on coercion.

In the meantime, we’re left with this: The melancholy spectacle of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issuing a report trashing the first civil right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.



Never forget 9/11, … and who did it, and why

Never forget 9/11, … and who did it, and why

Chad Groening, Steve Jordahl

September 10, 2016

911Fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, there’s plenty of discussion today about Islam – much of it about catering to Muslims’ sensibilities.

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, claimed the lives of approximately 3,000 people when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked two airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center towers in New York City.

The first plane hit the north tower at approximately 8:45 a.m.  and the second struck 18 minutes later.

A third airliner was flown into the Pentagon building and a fourth plane, possibly headed for a target in Washington, D.C., crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers fought the hijackers.

On the outskirts of D.C., longtime conservative activist Gary Bauer was waiting in traffic due to an automobile wreck. He saw the Pentagon become the target of an airliner-turned-missile that killed 125 people.

“We did not realize at the time,” he says, “but on the morning of 9-10, we were a country in grave danger. On the morning of 9-11, we realized that danger and it caused us to unite.”

Since that time, however, says Richard Land, currently president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, the “high priests” of political correctness have urged Americans to tiptoe around the issues of Islam and its Jihadi followers.

“But I think in the general population,” he says, “they are really fed up with that.”

In the United States, Islamic-linked attacks have killed 94 people since 2001, USA Today reported.

The deadliest to date is also the most recent: the June attack at a homosexual nightclub in Orlando. That attack by Omar Mateen killed 49 and injured more than 50, making it the deadliest in the United States since 9-11.

Mateen, a U.S. citizen born to Afghan parents, had been interviewed by the FBI for possible terrorist connections.

“I think President Bush made a mistake when he referred to it as a war on terrorism,” he says. “I think that, of course, Barack Obama has made that mistake even worse.”

Obama suggested last year that Christians should “get off our high horse” about Islamic terrorism, citing the Crusades in Europe as an example. He was speaking, ironically, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

“Progressives have leveraged 9/11 at the expense of human life, national security, the interest of American citizens, to make Muslims victims,” complains Christian apologist Alex McFarland.

At the same time U.S. leaders fail to identify our Islamic enemies, Bauer adds, those same enemies are plotting ways to use weapons of mass destruction to kill far more people than died on 9-11.

Copyright OneNewsNow.com. Reprinted with permission.

Fracking Didn’t Cause Oklahoma Earthquake

Fracking Didn’t Cause Oklahoma Earthquake

Daniel John Sobieski

5 September, 2016

The earth moved for environmental extremists Saturday when a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck Oklahoma. As soon as the first aftershock, the greenies were in full voice blaming fracking, the technology that has fueled America’s oil and natural gas boom.

Oklahoma state regulators ordered 37 disposal wells used by frackers shut down and Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein tweeted:

Fracking causes polluted drinking water + earthquakes. The #GreenNewDeal comes with none of these side effects, Oklahoma. #BanFracking

Hydraulic fracturing, the technical term, does not cause earthquakes nor has there ever been evidence that it contaminates drinking water. Fracking has been used in oil and gas production in Oklahoma since 1949 and now, more than six decades later, the chicken littles of the left are claiming it now causes major destructive earthquakes? As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized:

So desperate have the greenies become to stop the oil and natural gas boom produced by the use of fracking that they resorted to claims that fracking can cause earthquakes. A recent report by the National Research Council dispelled that notion. U.S. Geological Survey seismologist William Ellsworth says he agrees with the research council that “hydraulic fracturing does not seem to pose much risk for earthquake activity.”

The mixture used to fracture shale is in fact a benign blend of 90% water, 9.5% sand and 0.5% chemicals such as the sodium chloride of table salt and the citric acid of the orange juice you had for breakfast. Shale formations in which fracking is employed are thousands of feet deep. Drinking-water aquifers are generally only a hundred feet deep. There’s a lot of solid rock between them….

“This 60-year-old technique has been responsible for 7 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” according to James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and in whose state fracking was first commercially applied in 1949. “In hydraulic fracturing’s 60-year-history,” he says, “there has not been a single documented case of contamination.”

Fracking involves the injection under pressure of the aforementioned mixture of common elements, mainly water itself, to shatter the porous shale rock and releasing trapped oil and natural gas which is then extracted to the surface. Disposal wells do sometimes disturb the earth, but does not cause major destructive earthquakes, according to a study by the National Research Council, part of the National Academies of Science:

Does hydraulic fracturing — the process of forcing water, sand and a few chemicals down the bore hole and into shale formations — cause earthquakes? The National Research Council (NRC), part of the National Academies of Science, says the answer to that would be “no, fracking does not cause earthquakes.” That’s according to a new study just released by the NRC titled “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies”….

The study found that out of a sample size of 35,000 oil and gas wells that have been horizontally fracked, earthquakes have been detected — get ready — in one instance. One. Which is statistically dead zero.

But what about those earthquakes in Ohio? And the ones down in Arkansas? That was from fracking, right? No, it wasn’t. It was from injecting wastewater from Marcellus drilling deep underground into what are called injection wells — a method of disposing leftover fracking water. There are over 30,000 active injection wells in the United States. When an injection well is located near or over top of a fault and fluid is forced down into the well and the fluid leaks into the fault, guess what happens? An earthquake. According to the NRC study how many earthquakes have resulted from those 30,000 injection wells? Eight. Once again, statistically zero.

It is fracking that has produced a boom in the production of natural gas, a fossil fuel, that has produced a significant reduction in the U.S. of so-called “greenhouse gases”. As the Washington Times reported:

White House senior advisor Brian Deese cheered the falling carbon dioxide levels at a Monday press conference without mentioning the outsize role played by natural gas, as the cleaner-burning fuel increasingly overtakes coal in electricity generation.

“For those of you who are not breathlessly following the most recent data that has come out, I would note recent data that we’ve seen suggests or finds that for the first half of 2016, energy sector emissions in the United States are actually down 6 percent from last year, and 15 percent from 2005,” said Mr. Deese. “And they’re at their lowest level in nearly 20 years.”

He said nothing about the U.S. natural gas boom, an omission that critics say has become par for the course as the Obama administration highlights renewable energy and emissions restrictions without acknowledging the role of fracking in natural gas extraction.

“To add dishonesty to injury, his administration is bragging about the reduced CO2 emissions of [the] U.S. industry without crediting the fracking for natural gas, a fossil fuel, that largely caused it,” said Alex Epstein, author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”

Fracking itself is in fact saving the environment by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases the greenies hate. It does not slice and dice birds, including endangered species, en masse like wind turbines, nor does it fry them to a crisp like solar panel farms have done. And it does not cause major disastrous earthquakes.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.