Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute’s Mary Z. Connaughton about the value of transparency and Pioneer’s extensive work to provide greater access to legislative and policy information to hold elected officials accountable and build trust in our state government. Read Pioneer Institute’s Sunshine Week Transparency Resolutions.

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Join Jim and Greg as they applaud Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for refusing to spend “one red cent” of taxpayer money on Critical Race Theory on the Florida civics curriculum. They also hammer the naked hypocrisy and opportunism of Senate Democrats who constantly tried to filibuster the Trump agenda but now insist it’s an ugly impediment to democracy and equality. And they shred New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for wanting police to confront people who have committed no crimes but may have hurt someone else’s feelings.

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And…..turns out Michigan’s Secretary of State violated state law during the 2020 election.  Who knew?  I mean, I had heard it was all a bunch of conspiracy nuts complaining about the election results. Judge Rules Michigan Secretary Of State Violated State Law With Absentee Ballot Order Preview Open

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Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy watching California Gov. Gavin Newsom admit there will likely be a tough recall campaign against him on the ballot soon.  They also hammer the Biden administration for refusing to allow border security personnel to speak to the media and demanding the press send all inquiries to Washington. And they unload on unserious Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse for alleging the FBI faked its investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Voting Act Doesn’t Deliver ‘For The People’

 

The “For the People Act” (FTP), designated HR 1, is by far the most comprehensive federal voting rights act ever proposed. The bill was introduced into the House of Representatives on January 4 and passed there along strict party lines two months later—220 for and 210 against. This divisive legislation represents a concerted effort by the House Democratic majority to consolidate and build on its gains from the 2020 election cycle. Its unabashed supporters, such as New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, hail the legislation as “a roadmap to an inclusive, diverse, and equitable democracy.”

While there is much to criticize about the act’s hamhanded efforts to expand the regulation of campaign finance and disclosure requirements, I will concentrate on the FTP’s effort to organize a federal takeover of the electoral process as it applies to members of Congress and the president via the Electoral College. Its proposed changes are manifold. The FTP would mandate an expansion of automatic registration and same-day voting. It would create a two-week early-voting period and extend the franchise in federal elections to all former convicts. Finally, it would allow those citizens who lack any appropriate photo ID to gain access to the polls with sworn affidavits to their identity.

For all its ambition, FTP is vulnerable to both constitutional and administrative challenges. On the former, the new legislation appears to treat states as extensions of the federal government. By dictating the kinds of rules and regulations that states must adopt in order to comply with federal law, FTP may intrude on state authority to conduct elections. In addition, the act raises a host of practical problems, including the need for dual administration of state and federal requirements of the same election.

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The new hate crimes legislation in Scotland is controversial. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-56364821 The offensive statements can be made privately which opens the question of how they could be proven. It certainly opens up uncorroborated statements being used as a weapon in divorces. And why should it be anyone’s business what one says at home. I guess it’s another […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they marvel at some Democrats conveniently worrying about our massive debt just one day after passing a bloated COVID relief bill totaling $1.9 trillion and eyeing an even more expensive bill in a couple of months. They also discuss the sixth allegation of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and when state Democrats will move from muttering things about resignation to an actual impeachment effort. And they discuss the mess at the southern border thanks to Biden’s deportation moratorium and stated plans of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

‘Systemic Racism’ a Red Herring in Evictions

 

Last month, I testified before the New York State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights on the vexed question of “Discrimination in Eviction Policies and Enforcement.” Several months before my testimony, the commission issued a report concluding that the United States “is in the middle of an eviction crisis, one in which persons of color are disproportionately impacted and suffer unequal treatment.” The study further held that the racial disparities in eviction that existed pre-COVID have been magnified since the pandemic struck—such that the eviction crisis has an important civil rights dimension.

The economic impact of the pandemic has been exceptionally devastating in New York, in part because of the severe limitations that Governor Andrew Cuomo placed on economic activities under his broad emergency powers. These restrictions directly hamper the ability of tenants to earn money and pay rent, thereby affecting the earnings of landlords, many of whom are part-time. The question then arises as to what kinds of remedial activities should be taken in both the short and long term.

To the New York State Advisory Committee, as well as many other commentators, the solution is a moratorium on tenant evictions. The committee believes the current moratorium should be kept in place, perhaps for as long as it takes for the economy to return to normal. This assessment is supported by the common assertion that the disparate impact of evictions on black and other minority populations is evidence of an entrenched form of “structural racism” that requires corrective measures. The disparate impact of the pandemic cannot be denied. But in my view, any claim of structural racism (or worse) cannot be sustained.

Nutmeg Neanderthals: Connecticut Reopens

 

When Gov. Greg Abbott ended Texas’s Covid mask mandate and capacity limits, President Joe Biden called him a “neanderthal” and progressives wished death on Texans. Will hard-blue Connecticut get the same treatment?

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday that most capacity limits in the Nutmeg State will end Friday, March 19, including restaurants, retail, gyms, offices, and houses of worship. Still, masks are required and bars close at 11 p.m. (Covid really gets going at 11:01), but this reopening is a significant move for a Democrat-run state.

Biden has yet to weigh in on Connecticut, but he blasted Texas Wednesday. “I hope everyone’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden told reporters. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters.”

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer on conservative activists trying to sink the nomination of the unqualified and radical HHS nominee, Xavier Becerra. They also roll their eyes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo claims he had no idea his actions offended any of the women accusing him of sexual harassment, and are disgusted that the media consider this a bigger story than the nursing home scandal. And they react to the revelation that the FBI gave Capitol Police had a fairly detailed warning of what would happen at the Capitol on January 6 but also told them not to take any actions as a result of it.

Court Strikes Down Ban on Inadvertent Drug Possession. And Next?

 

Until last month, the state of Washington had the nation’s only law under which simple possession of illegal drugs could make you a felon regardless of whether you knew you had any such thing on your person or property. The result, as a Washington Supreme Court justice noted in a 2019 case, was to make potential felons of such hapless figures as:

a letter carrier who delivers a package containing unprescribed Adderall; a roommate who is unaware that the person who shares his apartment has hidden illegal drugs in the common areas of the home; a mother who carries a prescription pill bottle in her purse, unaware that the pills have been substituted for illegally obtained drugs by her teenage daughter, who placed them in the bottle to avoid detection.

Now that law is gone – struck down by the state’s high court as violating due process by “taking innocent and passive conduct with no criminal intent at all and punishing it as a serious crime.”

Immigration: Getting It Right

 

Earlier this year, the Biden administration issued a “Fact Sheet” on his proposed US Citizenship Act, a comprehensive plan to expand pathways to citizenship and otherwise modernize and liberalize this nation’s immigration system. It is very difficult to draw categorical conclusions about the many facets of immigration law. The passion on both sides of this issue suggests that finding a sensible middle position may be impossible. Even so, a measured and compromising approach is the best way forward on immigration reform, with its complex highways and byways.

One way to think about immigration reform is to compare the case for free and open immigration with the parallel case for free trade. Fierce opposition to free trade in part propelled Donald Trump to his 2016 presidential victory. Free trade did not take a central role in the 2020 election, in large part because candidate Biden offered a similar sentiment to bolster trade union support. This was not merely campaign talk. President Biden recently issued a protective “Buy American” statement, the objective of which is “to support manufacturers, businesses, and workers to ensure that our future is made in all of America by all of America’s workers.” A Biden executive order from January seeks to “use terms and conditions of federal financial assistance awards and federal procurements to maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States.”

But the effort to turn the United States inward on matters of economic activity will force superior foreign products to be substituted with inferior domestic ones, making domestic production less efficient. These inefficiencies will have far-reaching consequences: raising prices and lowering wages across the board, weakening American exports, and inducing other nations to take retaliatory measures, which will further contract world trade. Hopefully, the world economy can avoid a repeat of the implosion of international trade that followed the passage of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff. But the political risk still remains.

Join Jim and Greg as they discuss the staggering number of students who fell through the cracks because schools were closed and the impact that could have. They also roll their eyes as Elizabeth Warren and a couple of allies in the House propose a wealth tax, and they discuss why New York Democrats suddenly seem so eager to boot Gov. Cuomo.

 

The Equality Act Will Guarantee Inequality for Almost Everyone

 

‘Every American deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. With today’s vote, the House has again affirmed that LGBTQ people should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as all other Americans,’ said Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who led the push for the bill.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? The truth is that every American does not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; rapists, murderers, illegal immigrants, and many Leftists have not earned respectful treatment, for starters. And the Equality Act H.R.5, which was passed by the House 224 to 206 votes on February 25, is not only deceptive but opens the door to abuses of the rights of most Americans.

The Equality Act, no matter what it says, is not intended to make sure that everyone has equal rights. Specifically, it would very likely show favoritism toward LBGT groups, and discrimination against religious groups, girls and women, businesses, medical professionals, and others. The Heritage Foundation describes the bill in this way:

Join Jim and Greg as they chronicle the second accusation of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his ever-changing response to it. They also get a kick out of the possibility that Florida Democrats might dust off Charlie Crist to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. And they fire back at an NBC “explainer” on hate crimes, which suggests reporters need to be very careful about labeling something a hate crime if the offender is not white.

Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy hearing HHS nominee Xavier Becerra squirm as he insists he never sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, just the federal government for giving a contraception mandate exemption to the nuns. They also peel back the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and discuss the growing number of Democrats coming out to denounce him. And they hammer Amnesty International for removing its “prisoner of conscience” label for Russian political figure Alexei Navalny over comments Navalny made 15 years ago.

 

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights, Infidel: My Lifeand Nomad: From Islam to America – A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. Ms. Hirsi Ali shares insights from her upbringing and early education in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, as well as her courageous immigration to the West, where she experienced an intellectual awakening that led to human rights activism and a seat in the Dutch Parliament. They discuss why all human rights and free speech advocates should be concerned about the rise and growing militancy of political correctness and “cancel culture” in the West, its impact on reasoned public debate, and what educators need to teach young people about the importance of open mindedness and the free exchange of ideas. Lastly, Ms. Hirsi Ali reviews the central theme of her latest book, Prey, which explores the long-term ramifications of mass migration from Islamic-majority countries on the rights of women in Europe, given the different value systems between these countries and the West, with its commitment to the rule of law, rights-centered constitutionalism, science, and religious liberty. She concludes with a reading from the book.

Stories of the Week: The Biden administration is ordering states to continue federally required standardized tests this year, though there is flexibility on the exam format and accountability standards. Is this an opportunity for innovation in student testing? All members of a San Francisco-area school board resigned after mocking parents at a virtual meeting that they didn’t realize was already being broadcast live. Was this an isolated incident or a window into their general outlook toward families?

Chad Benson is in for Jim today. Chad and Greg examine new research from the Federal Reserve showing the Biden racial equity agenda would actually make the wealth divide much greater. They also react to a pair of House Dems trying to get cable TV providers to cut ties with Fox News, OANN, and Newsmax. And they shake their heads as Merrick Garland draws a peculiar line between what is domestic terrorism and what is not.