Welcome mama bears and daddy bears to this the 216th edition of the Harvard Lunch Club political podcast – the Kraft Bears edition of the show – with your unbearable hosts, east coast radio guy Todd Feinburg and west coast AI guy Mike Stopa. We come to you every week with the pithy, the provocative and the funny stories that, well, that make you thirst for more.

This week, we discuss Robert Kraft, New England Patriots owner, winner of an unprecedented six Super Bowl Titles and (loyal?) patron of heretofore thriving establishments such as the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. As you surely know, Bob was caught with his hand, er, in the fortune cookie jar and rumor has it that there is videotape. Mr. Kraft says no. We shall see. The house of ill repute in question is more than just a whore house, however, and is a wing of a sex trafficking network.

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Let the Sun Shine In

 

As Mark Davis says “Trump makes everyone better.” President Trump just issued an executive order linking federal grants to real protection of free speech on college and university campuses. Unlike Obama administration “Dear Colleague letters,” this will be a publicly taken presidential action, with clear political accountability. This move suggests two other actions the president […]

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SCOTUS Backs Trump on Immigration Issue

 

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that federal officials can detain immigrants at any time for possible deportation after they have served their time in the US for other crimes. The 5-4 decision reversed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said officials have to detain these immigrants immediately or they are exempt from ever being detained.

This ruling had the classic conservative-liberal split, with Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Thomas siding with Trump in the majority. Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented.

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A Return to Economic Liberty

 

Earlier this month, I delivered the opening address to the Federalist Society’s National Student Symposium dedicated this year to the topic of the “Resurgence of Economic Liberty.” Economic liberty refers to the ability of individuals to sell their goods and services, or to buy goods and services from others, on whatever terms and conditions they choose. This regime of freedom of contract assumes that voluntary trade is mutually beneficial, and that its externalities are typically positive: the increased wealth and happiness of the trading partners increases the opportunities for trade for others. The theory of economic liberty does not allow the threat or use of force. Nor does the theory tolerate acts of monopolization. At the peak of laissez-faire, both of these practices were rigidly prohibited. Notably, both the antitrust law and the law of rate regulation were appropriately part of the laissez-faire system.

Economic liberty was constitutionally protected until the New Deal. One major landmark of that period was Lochner v. New Yorkthe now much-reviled 1905 Supreme Court decision that struck down a New York law that limited the hours employees in some bakeries could work to ten hours per day and no more than sixty hours per week. The court held that the law did not protect the “health or safety, morals or general welfare” of the employers and employees, and infringed on their economic liberties, which were protected by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see not all Democrats have lost their minds after Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet begs 2020 candidates not to campaign on expanding the Supreme Court. They also hammer Beto O’Rourke and other liberals for using the New Zealand mosque massacre to push a ban on the AR-15. And they defend Chelsea Clinton after progressives accuse her of facilitating the New Zealand massacre with her critique of Rep. Ilhan Omar. 

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America recoil at the mass murder of 49 Muslims in New Zealand, the radical manifesto that came with it, and the aggravating tendency of politicians and activists to claim instantly that an attack vindicates their existing political positions. They also slam Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for mocking the idea of “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of these horrible events and then claiming she really said it to attack the NRA for carnage in New Zealand. And they have fun with Howard Schultz suggesting he would not sign any legislation as president that did not have bipartisan support or nominate any Supreme Court justice who couldn’t get two-thirds support in the Senate.

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Plunder at Love Field

 

The road to deregulation is often marred by unanticipated pitfalls. Yet such is the case in a saga over airline deregulation in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. The story begins over forty years ago, and its final chapter is now being played out in the courts. In 1978, Congress decided to abolish a hoary New Deal agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board, which was created by the Civil Aeronautics Act (1938) to determine routes and to set prices for airline passenger traffic throughout the United States. But the New Deal law’s price setting powers were quickly used by airlines to suppress competition among themselves, so that interstate fares were consistently higher for short hauls than intrastate fares were for longer ones.

The deregulation movement of the late 1970s had its intended consequence of hastening competition among airlines. But it also created a backlash in one market, Dallas-Fort Worth, located in the backyard of then-Speaker of the House Jim Wright. Wright feared that vigorous competition to the new Dallas/Fort Worth airport (DFW) would come from the Love Field airport, the home of the upstart Southwest Airlines, which was now poised for the first time to expand operations into the interstate market. Wright thought that flights from Love Field would reduce the air traffic at DFW, which in turn would reduce the revenues needed to fund the debt service on DFW bonds. So in 1979, he induced Congress to pass the Wright Amendment, which perversely restricted all flights out of Love Field outside of Texas and four contiguous states—Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma—to aircraft that had 56 or fewer seats.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a Politico report showing that even if liberals soaked “the rich” they wouldn’t come anywhere close to paying for single-payer health care or the Green New Deal. They also shake their heads as testimony from former FBI attorney Lisa Page suggests the FBI was considering whether to recommend a federal charge against Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified emails but the Justice Department made it clear it had no intention of pursuing the case. And Jim offers his hilarious assessment of climate change activists refusing to have children until the world gets serious about climate change.

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The Rule of Lawyers

 

Let me start by telling you a story. Mr. @MattBalzer and I, we make board games. One of these games we call the Presidential Rumble. You play as one of history’s greatest presidents in the midst of a knock-down drag-out election against each other, marshaling characters from the past and laying claim to the symbols of liberty. You get some pretty great things going on; in one game Martin Luther King Jr. named Frank Sinatra to the Supreme Court. In another, Joe McCarthy declared Tecumseh to be a communist. You’ll frequently see the FBI confiscate the Constitution as evidence or the EPA declare the Statue of Liberty to be polluting and destroy it.

I’ve printed up several prototypes too. There’s a company out of Madison, WI called The Game Crafter that specializes in this sort of thing. They’ve got a pretty good racket; there are a lot more people who want to make board games then there are people who will make a living that way. The Game Crafter will professionally print and assemble single copies of a game, so you can get your idea produced even if your only customer is your mother. Really I’ve had excellent experiences with them, excepting one thing.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are a bit surprised by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff signaling they don’t plan to pursue impeachment of President Trump unless there’s a bipartisan consensus for it. They also look on sadly as New York City’s exorbitant taxes and hard left policies leave the city careening towards bankruptcy. And they crack a few pop-culture jokes but also weigh in on the serious issues as celebrities and elites around the country are charged with bribing colleges and universities to admit their kids under false pretenses.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enthusiastically cheer the first two months of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and point out that good things can happen when a leader hits the ground running on the things they promised to do. They also wince as just six House Democrats agree that illegal immigrants shouldn’t be voting. And they wonder if millennials are really far to the left or whether they embrace labels they don’t quite understand as 73 percent favor the government instituting universal health care but 79 percent want to keep private insurance.

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Need Some Media Attention? Issue 400 Subpoenas

 

The Attorney General of Nebraska, like any other elected official needs to keep his name recognition alive with the voters of Nebraska. One doesn’t become the Governor, or the Senator, from the Great State of Nebraska by remaining anonymous. Carefully selecting your targets is a must, it won’t do to anger a majority of voters.

On February, 26, 2019, Nebraska’s Attorney General served more than 400 subpoenas on Catholic churches, schools, and institutions in the state of Nebraska. The subpoenas requested twenty-two years of records concerning inappropriate conduct with children. Recipients were ordered to deliver the records within three days.

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The Conservative Legal Movement Should Be Concerned

 

Recently a piece in the LA Times should send the hairs on the backs of conservatives up. It’s entitled “Two recent opinions by Justice Clarence Thomas should alarm us all,” and Erwin Chemerinsky’s argument is terrifying.

Chemerinsky (Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law) opens the piece thus:

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Breaking: Manafort Sentenced to 47 Months

 

Judge T.S. Ellis sentenced Paul Manafort to nearly four years in federal prison on Thursday. The former Trump campaign chairman was found guilty of defrauding the government and banks as well as failing to pay taxes on income he earned from political work in Ukraine. The charges originally stemmed from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. From CNN:

Manafort, 69, was wearing a green jumpsuit that said “ALEXANDRIA INMATE” as he entered the courtroom in a wheelchair and holding a cane.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and author and speaker Greg Knapp puzzle over Senator Kirstin Gillibrand’s campaign strategy after she dismissed criticism of her shifting policy positions by accusing Rachel Maddow of MSNBC of using Republican talking-points. They also note the Democrat’s virtual inaction in response to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s controversial comments on Israel and ask if this reveals a significant change in the party. And they also determine that Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s plan to lower the legal voting age for federal elections to 16 is a bad idea and would contribute to the ongoing infantilization of America.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg decide not to run for president in 2020 but groan as he vows to spend huge sums of money to move the world “beyond carbon” in the next decade. They also fume as Hillary Clinton finds yet another pathetic excuse for losing to Donald Trump in 2016. And they react with disgust as the federal budget deficit jumps 77 percent in the first four months of Fiscal 2019 compared to last year – and because neither party and most Americans have no interest in addressing our debt and deficit crisis.

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Economics 101 in Labor and Housing Markets

 

A few simple premises of economic theory have the power to generate a wealth of powerful and instructive insights. Nowhere is that more true than with the law of supply and demand, which starts with two basic assumptions: as the price of a good increases, so does the supply—and as the price increases, the demand starts to fall. In an unregulated market, when the downward-sloping demand curve crosses the upward-sloping supply curve, the market is in equilibrium—the point where supply meets demand at a given price.

The only task for a government under this austere model is to make sure that various contracts, whether for labor, housing, or any other good/service are fully enforced, while leaving the terms of those agreements to the parties themselves. Happily, this system of freedom of contract is self-regulating, so that the price or wage of particular goods and services can quickly adjust to changes in supply or demand, or both. A dynamic market thus always moves to reestablish an equilibrium in the face of unanticipated external changes.

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Christian Cake Artist Again Defeats Colorado Bureaucrats

 

Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission announced Tuesday that it will dismiss its latest charges against cake artist Jack Phillips. You might remember Phillips from his victory at the US Supreme Court last summer. With SCOTUS’s backing, why on earth would the state of Colorado attack Phillips again?

The cake artist first came to prominence when he declined a custom design to celebrate a same-sex wedding in 2012. Same-sex marriages were illegal in Colorado at the time but the state’s Civil Rights Commission punished Phillips anyway. After that case had proceeded for five years, the high court agreed to hear his case. That same day, an attorney demanded Phillips design another custom cake, this time to celebrate a gender transition. This same attorney also asked for a cake with satanic themes and images. In accordance with his religious beliefs, Phillips politely declined both.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley’s decision to not run in 2020 but ask if his announcement was really necessary since very few Americans have any idea who he is. They also take a deep breath of fresh air as Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw gives a clear and calm defense of conservative principles that is often missing from our public dialogue. And Jim notes the Clinton era ends in a whimper as Hillary officially states that she will not run for president in 2020.

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