Arizona Lawmaker Calls National Debt an ‘Existential Threat’ to the Country

A House Freedom Caucus member is working to help Congress and America realize the urgency of the country’s national debt, which hit $22 trillion last month.

“Our tremendous national debt, our annual structural deficit, is really …  an existential threat to the United States of America,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said on the third installment of the House Freedom Caucus’ new podcast, which will be released Thursday.

“We have to address it in Congress and in my opinion, we spend so much time on other bills that we don’t get to the nub of our real crisis,” Biggs added on the podcast, which is hosted by Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga

Biggs said his resolution, which was introduced Feb. 26, is mean to recognize the severity of the national debt.

Specifically, the resolution calls for a focus on the debt and says that the national debt is a threat to the U.S.’s national security. It also advocates changing how Congress budgets.

“First of all you have to elevate the discourse to see change in society and this would elevate the discourse,” Biggs said.

The Arizona lawmaker also said he hopes his resolution would restore regular order in Congress.

In the congressional tradition known as regular order, the House Appropriations Committee passes 12 spending bills covering different aspects of government from transportation and social services to foreign policy and defense. Then the full House does the same, and the Senate follows suit. Finally, the president signs the 12 appropriations bills into law.

Congress hasn’t followed this process for more than 20 years, as The Daily Signal previously reported.

“We’re supposed to pass 12 bills that appropriate our money or spend our money and we would have full debate on it,” Biggs said. “We would have amendments come from the floor, we would start acting again like a legislative body.”

Hice, who is a cosponsor of the resolution, says it’s time that Congress have to adhere to a budget the same way most American families have to.

“All families in America have to balance their own budget they have,” Hice said. “But that’s just not the case up here in Washington.”

To help streamline the process, Biggs said that he would do away with the budget committee.

“The American people, I think, would love their representatives in Congress to be open and transparent and to balance a budget,” Biggs said, adding:

That’s why my resolution’s out there, is to try to get our leaders to restore the method we’re supposed to, where we actually have committee hearings. You have 12 bills, you get them done on time, you allow people like you and me and anybody else that wants to go down to offer amendments either to reduce spending, save a program, whatever it is–it’s what they think is important to their constituency, and for this country, …  and you have that debate on the floor.

Until you start doing that, we’re not going to ever change.

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How Trump’s Tariffs Hiked Taxes on Americans by $14.4 Billion in 2018

Each year, the Council of
Economic Advisers releases the “Economic Report of the President,” which assesses
the state of the U.S. economy and the impact of the current administration’s
policies.

The 2019 report
was published this week, and it contains valuable information on the economic
effects of the Trump administration’s approach to trade.

According to the report, “the
tariffs implemented in 2018 raised the U.S. average applied tariff by 1.1
percentage points, from 1.5 percent in January 2018 to 2.6 percent in November
2018.”

Oftentimes, this statistic is misunderstood as a tax on foreigners. That isn’t accurate. The U.S. average applied-tariff rate is the average rate that it costs for Americans to purchase things from abroad.

When this data point increases, it means that it’s more expensive for Americans to import.

The simplest way to measure
the cost increase for Americans is to look at government tariff revenue. In
2018, the Council of Economic Advisers reports, $14.4 billion in revenue was
collected from goods subject to new tariffs. Put another way, the Trump
administration increased taxes on Americans by $14.4 billion last year.

Tariffs typically benefit a
small group of people, leaving these costs to be dispersed across the economy.
For example, the tariffs on steel and aluminum—vital inputs for many U.S. manufacturers—caused
both the imported and domestic prices of those products to rise.

As a result, the report
notes, “employment in alumina and aluminum production rose by 100 jobs … [and] iron and steel mills and ferroalloy production employment [increased] by 6,200”
between March and December 2018.

On the other hand, manufacturers
that use these inputs had to modify supply chains or apply for exclusion from
the tariffs to avoid paying higher tariffs. Many companies were unsuccessful in
those efforts and instead found ways to offset the higher prices, such as through
cutting investment or decreasing labor costs.

Sometimes, the real impact on
individuals is hidden because businesses work to absorb as much of the
increased costs as they can. Despite these factors, the Council of Economic
Advisers did not assess the negative effects of the steel and aluminum tariffs.

The report does acknowledge
that the tariffs imposed on washing machines in January 2018 had mixed effects.

Domestic production “increased by 2 percent between December 2017 and [December] 2018,” but the consumer price index “for washers and laundry equipment increased by 12 percent.”

The cost increases for the
industry could also be related to the tariffs on steel and aluminum, but the Council
of Economic Advisers did not take that into account.

Imposing new tariffs on
imports has been a cornerstone of trade policy for the administration. The council
argues that the tariffs “are designed to protect American workers, firms, and
national security.”

However, those objectives are
being addressed by imposing new taxes on American families and businesses.

The better—indeed, the best—way to achieve the Trump administration’s economic-policy goals is to embrace the conservative principles of greater freedom and smaller government.

In the context of trade, that
means focusing on opening new markets for U.S. exports, rather than making it
more expensive for Americans to purchase from abroad.

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South Carolina Democrats Fight Against University Constitution Course

The Republican-proposed bill would update an existing 1924 requirement to teach the course, which the University of South Carolina has hitherto ignored. The legislation has already passed in the Senate, but Democrats in a Tuesday House subcommittee hearing argued the update would be too burdensome on students both financially and academically.

The bill would require students to take a 3-credit, semester-long class covering America’s founding documents, including the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers.

Democratic South Carolina State Reps. Ivory Thigpen and Wendy Brawley argued the cost of the course, which Thigpen referred to as “Constitution 101,” may be transferred onto students. They also pointed to a representative from the university who argued against the bill’s requirement that students pass a comprehensive exam covering the course material to graduate.

Republican South Carolina State Rep. Garry Smith, R-27th district, who is sponsoring the bill in the House, pointed to several classes not required by law that the university could stop offering if it wanted to cut costs, such as a class on “Global Citizenship.”

“I would argue that if you can’t pass a comprehensive exam on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then maybe you shouldn’t graduate,” Smith said.

The bill is the latest attempt from South Carolina Republicans to get the university to require a class that is already mandated by law. The first push came in 2014, which University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides rebuffed with a letter listing several reasons the university would offer, but not require, the class. The primary reason was a mandate to test students for “loyalty to the United States.”

“It appears that an update of these statutes is necessary to strike the balance between compliance and application,” Pastides wrote at the time. “The University of South Carolina is committed to working with members of the General Assembly on a favorable solution.”

The updated legislation appears to address each of Pastides’ concerns, putting the university in a difficult situation should it again insist on not requiring the class.

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GOP Lawmaker to Introduce Bill to Keep Supreme Court Justices at 9

A lawmaker from Tennessee plans to introduce a bill in Congress to keep the Supreme Court at nine justices amid efforts by some Democrats to increase the number to as many as 15.

“This Thursday, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment that would limit the number of Supreme Court justices to 9 — the number of seats since 1869,” Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., tweeted Tuesday. “The Supreme Court must remain a fair and impartial branch of government, not beholden to party.”

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told Politico that they would consider increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

“We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court,” Harris said. “We have to take this challenge head-on, and everything is on the table to do that.”

President Donald Trump pushed back on the idea, however, at a joint press conference Tuesday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the White House.

“We would have no interest in that whatsoever. It will never happen,” Trump vowed, at least not for as long as he’s in office. “It won’t happen. I guarantee, it won’t happen for six years.”

Since 1869, the number of Supreme Court justices has been held at nine.

The number of justices was originally set at six with the Judiciary Act of 1789, then raised to seven in 1807, bumped up to nine in 1837 before rising to 10 justices in 1863.

It dropped back to seven in 1866, when Congress passed the Judicial Circuits Act and kept President Andrew Johnson adding from new justices to the court, and in 1869, the number was set at nine, where it has remained since.

In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt sought to pack the Supreme Court to protect programs in the Democrat’s New Deal that were challenged, and often overturned, by the high court, but his push was rejected by Congress.

Even Roosevelt’s fellow Democrats in Congress rejected his call for what came to be known as his “court-packing” scheme, as did his own vice president, John Nance Garner.

>>> The Left Is Doubling Down on Schemes to Pack the Supreme Court

Green said he views Democrats’ efforts to add justices to the court as a threat to American democracy.

“Schemes to pack the court are dangerous to the Founders’ vision of an independent judiciary that serves as a check on both the executive and legislative branches of government,” the freshman lawmaker said.

On the Senate side, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a constitutional amendment Tuesday night to “prevent this court-packing scheme.”

Thomas Jipping, deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that Democrats’ efforts to add justices to the Supreme Court is a bad idea.

“The federal courts have been politicized too much already, and the recent, reckless talk about ‘court-packing’ is irresponsible,” Jipping said. “The real issue is what judges are supposed to do in our system of government, not the number of judges on a particular court.”  

Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, told The Daily Signal in an email that the effort to pack the court is a partisan push.

“Democrats are so, so desperate to turn the courts into a rubber stamp for their political agenda that they are now talking openly about packing the Supreme Court,” Severino said. “This is a thinly disguised effort to bully and intimidate the court’s justices into serving as a rubber stamp for a liberal political agenda, and it threatens to destroy the independence of the judicial branch.”

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The Left’s Identity Politics Rejects the Vision of Martin Luther King Jr.

I recently joined the board of the Leadership Institute,
which sponsors Campus Reform, an important website for college news. Campus
Reform is a “watchdog to the nation’s higher education system,”
exposing bias and abuse on college campuses.

American universities have too often dangerously devolved into institutions of political indoctrination rather than institutions of higher learning. According to one recent study of the 60 highest-rated liberal arts colleges in the nation, more than 10 professors are registered Democrats for every registered Republican.

Campus Reform monitors universities in hopes of keeping speech free and maintaining vestiges of the pursuit of truth.

Politicization of universities is indicative of a nation that has lost a sense that there is truth and that it is incumbent upon man to seek it, grasp it, live by it, and use it to improve our world.

Students now show up at universities already armed with what they have accepted uncritically as true–gleaned from the internet, Hollywood, and other fertile corners of popular culture. Universities simply serve as platforms for them to advance their political agendas and get official stamps of approval for their careers.

A recent example is the pathetic display of two New York University students who cornered Chelsea Clinton at a vigil noting the tragedy of the murder of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

They stuck accusing fingers in Clinton’s face, claiming that her condemnation of the anti-Semitism of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., somehow fueled anti-Muslim bigotry and contributed to what resulted in the massacre of innocent Muslims in New Zealand.

According to these ignorant young accusers, Clinton’s criticism of Omar was about being anti-Muslim, anti-black, and misogynist.

Back in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his most famous speech, in which he shared, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

In a very strange turn of history, after that great struggle to fix what was broken in America and make this a greater, more just country, we have gone backward.

The color of one’s skin, one’s sex, one’s ethnicity, one’s religious heritage, and the kind of sexual partners one chooses have become the only things that matter in today’s popular left-wing culture.

Content of character and quality of thought–core requirements of a responsible citizen in a free country–no longer matter in our bizarre world gone crazy.

Clinton said nothing about Omar’s race, sex, or religion. She only criticized, very legitimately, Omar’s slanted and distorted take on Israel and the source of its support in America.

Somehow today, appreciating that America is a uniquely great nation invites the label from this same left-wing crowd, “white supremacist” which–as a black woman, I find amusing.

The retreat into labels, identity politics, is the lazy man’s formula for justice. To study, work, learn, understand, and be humble is hard work. Resorting to politics and slogans–pointing responsibility everywhere except upon oneself–is so easy. It has become so popular because it appeals to the worst in man.

The blessing of America is the Judeo-Christian principles on which it was founded.

There is no freedom without personal responsibility, without humility, without reverence for the sanctity of life and without knowledge that every human being is unique and created in the image of God.

The Ten Commandments prohibit theft and envy, the pillars of socialism–using political power to seize and redistribute private property–which the highly politicized left-wing crowd so loves.

Despite the wide success in burying the truth in today’s popular culture, it still shines in many corners of America.

Keeping that light shining defines America’s great struggle going forward.

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How State and Federal Lawmakers Can Promote Ethical Options for the Terminally Ill

During the emotionally charged debate recently over physician-assisted suicide in Maryland, one legislator told the story of a former state senator who was comatose.  He was given a mere 1 percent chance of survival, but today that senator has recovered and is alive and well.

Unlike alternative treatment
options, there is no “do over” with physician-assisted suicide.

As lawmakers in several other states weigh physician-assisted suicide, the stakes could not be higher. While champions of assisted suicide often cite the futility of continuing treatment for patients believed to be terminally ill, medical prognoses are never completely certain.

By legalizing physician-assisted suicide, state lawmakers repudiate traditional medical ethics. The Hippocratic oath, which has governed Western medical ethics for over 2,000 years, says:  “I will keep [the sick] from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

If state lawmakers refuse to preserve this ancient pledge of medical morality, not only will they legalize medical killing, but they will also normalize the practice as socially acceptable. This endangers the most vulnerable members of society–the poor, the marginalized, and the mentally and physically disabled.   

Some proponents of physician-assisted suicide insist it is a humane practice, claiming it allows patients an opportunity to end their lives with dignity and on their own terms. 

Others justify assisted suicide as a “compassionate” option because they believe it prevents human suffering. Still others claim it saves families and taxpayers from the crushing burden of big medical bills.

For seniors, the rhetoric of cost
control in government entitlements should be worrisome. The U.S.
Census Bureau
reports that over 20 percent of the United States will
be age 65 and over in 2030, compared to just 13 percent in 2010.

Some proponents of physician-assisted suicide insist it is a humane practice, claiming it allows patients an opportunity to end their lives with dignity and on their own terms. Others justify it as a “compassionate” option because they believe it prevents human suffering. Still others claim it saves families and taxpayers from the crushing burden of big medical bills.

For seniors, the rhetoric of cost
control in government entitlements should be worrisome. The U.S.
Census Bureau
reports that over 20 percent of the United States will
be age 65 and over in 2030, compared to just 13 percent in 2010.

Medicare recipients account for approximately
eight out of 10 American deaths; end-of-life care consumes about one-fourth of
all Medicare spending
.  

Because dying relatives are
eligible for hospice benefits under Medicare and Medicaid, most families no
longer face the full range of medical costs for the terminally ill.

Still, given the mounting financial
pressures on federal health care entitlements, it is easy to imagine future politicians
embracing some sort of utilitarian “quality of life” ethic down the road:  that some lives are, and some are not, worth
living. Such an ethic would become an existential threat to the frail elderly.

Echoing the position of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine, medical professionals and senior policy specialists on a recent Heritage Foundation panel issued somber warnings and sketched a positive path forward for the care of the terminally ill.  

Farr Curlin, a
physician who is a professor at Duke University, noted that patients must no
longer automatically expect physicians to operate by the traditional standards
of the Hippocratic oath, because the oath is no longer the reigning standard in
modern medical education.   

G. Kevin
Donovan
, a medical practitioner from Georgetown University, told
the Heritage audience
that a major distinction exists between medical
care at the end of life that is proportionate and disproportionate.

Disproportionate care, keeping
patients alive by artificial means, is not ethically necessary or appropriate.
At the same time, modern medicine has offered new avenues for palliative care
options to protect patients from pain and suffering at the end of their lives.

Curlin added that justifying
physician-assisted suicide to spare patients suffering is invalid.

“I can tell you that we now have
measures to effectively treat pain, breathlessness, and other difficult
symptoms more than we have ever had before,” he said. “And we can do that while
respecting ethical guidelines that have guided the profession of medicine for
centuries.”     

Debates over physician-assisted suicide present all policymakers, regardless of partisan affiliation, with an opportunity to promote positive policies on end-of-life care. For example:

1. Publicize the option of advance directives for patients’ end-of-life care. Such directives, to be carried out by family members or trusted persons, can identify the patient’s wishes, particularly when the patient is no longer able to communicate those wishes. Federal officials can educate patients on the value of such directives through Medicare and Medicaid, but they should reflect the person’s ethical, moral, and religious convictions on life.

2. Promote palliative care for the seriously ill by improving Medicare payment for team-based services.Today, that care is fragmented, and the Medicare fee-for-service payment system is disjointed. Federal policymakers should publicize palliative care as an option for the seriously ill, and rationalize Medicare payment system for palliative care episodes.   

3. Expand patient choice in hospice care beyond traditional Medicare. Open it up to Medicare patients who wish to get such care in Medicare Advantage, the popular and successful program of competing private health plans.

As for general health policy, Heritage
Foundation analysts
long have argued that all patients should have
the right to choose health plans and providers that respect their moral and
religious convictions concerning medical care, particularly at the beginning
and the end of life.

Health policy is more than dollars
and cents. It is also a matter of knowing and choosing what is morally right
and avoiding what is morally wrong.

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Ditch the Electoral College, and Small States Will Suffer

“As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.”

That’s what Franklin D. Roosevelt’s campaign manager famously joked in 1936 after Roosevelt, a Democrat, won re-election as president in a massive landslide.

It was a catchy line, oft-repeated—but it was also a joke. It
referenced Maine’s long-standing reputation at the time for accurately
predicting presidential elections based on its own governor’s races, which had
given rise to the widely used phrase “As
Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

Vermont may have voted the same way as Maine, but no one
really thought Vermont would blindly follow Maine’s lead and trust it to do the
right thing.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many on the left are
proposing should happen. An anti-Electoral College effort working its way
through state legislatures would ensure that some states would never be allowed
to think for themselves.

The National Popular Vote interstate compact would require
signatory states to award their presidential electors to the winner of the
national popular vote—regardless of which candidate won within their own borders.

This plan is gaining support on the left. Just this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced at a CNN Town Hall event that she supports abolishing the Electoral College. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has also openly opposed the Electoral College, calling it “a shadow of slavery’s power.” (She’s completely wrong about that.)

Twelve states plus the District of Columbia (with a combined
total of 181 electors) have already agreed to the National Popular Vote compact.
That number includes Colorado, which just joined the effort on March 15. Two
additional states—New Mexico and Delaware—are gubernatorial signatures away
from joining the effort.

The compact would go into effect when 270 electors—enough to win the presidency—are committed to its terms.

At its heart, the National Popular Vote proposal is as strange as expecting Vermont to concede its votes to Maine. The organization claims that voters across America should be able to dictate who Delaware electors cast their Electoral College votes for—even if Delaware voters vehemently oppose the candidate who won the popular vote.

How odd. Would Delaware allow Texas voters to select its two
senators? Would such an abdication of responsibility even be legal? Could California
voters choose New Mexico’s governor? Would it be permissible for Florida voters
to cast ballots for all statewide officers in Colorado? What if Delaware’s U.S.
senators were somehow bound to vote on the border wall exactly as Texas’ senators
do?

These examples are ridiculous, but no more so than the National Popular Vote compact. Votes cast in California should have no bearing on how Delaware’s electors vote. Those individuals hold statewide office in Delaware. Their single constitutional duty—and their public trust—is to represent their own state in the presidential election.

>>> See Tara Ross’ book, “The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders’ Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule”

Worse yet, the compact could even force Delaware to award its electoral votes to a presidential candidate who doesn’t qualify for the ballot in Delaware. Each state, after all, has its own rules for ballot qualification. What if a candidate chose to ignore small states like Delaware and purposefully catered to other regions like the South or the West? Under the compact, Delaware would have to award its own electors to such a candidate if he or she wins the national popular vote, even after ignoring the interests of Delaware.

Why should Texas and California voters get to boss Delaware around
like that?  No one would dream of
allowing it in any other statewide election.

The answer, of course, is that National Popular Vote
supporters are desperate. They want to eliminate the Electoral College, but
they know they cannot meet the supermajority requirements in the Article V
constitutional amendment process. 

They hope to get their way—albeit, indirectly at first. In
honest moments, they also concede their real goal: They believe that a formal
amendment eliminating the Electoral College would be the logical consequence of
the compact.

“We’re just trying to get past the initial inertia,” John
Koza, the founder of National Popular Vote, told a reporter in 2008.

How far the country has fallen. In 1787, Delaware never
would have considered such a meek submission to the preferences of large state
voters.

“I do not, gentlemen, trust you,” Delaware delegate Gunning
Bedford memorably blasted at the large-state delegates during the
Constitutional Convention. “If you possess the power, the abuse of it could not
be checked; and what then would prevent you from exercising it to our
destruction?”

He’d surely be puzzled to find that Delaware legislators
today have turned that principle on its head: They now meekly follow and trust,
hoping that “As California goes, so goes Delaware” will work out well.

It won’t.

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Second Amendment Groups Speak Out Against Suing Gun-Makers

The Connecticut Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling allowing victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre to sue gun manufacturer Bushmaster Firearms left Second Amendment groups bewildered.

The 4-3 decision found that the plaintiffs—the families of nine victims—can sue Bushmaster under state unfair trade practices law, despite a federal statute that protects the gun industry from most lawsuits.

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“This is like suing Ford or General Motors because a car they sold was stolen and used to run over a pedestrian all because the car manufacturers advertised that their car had better acceleration and performance than other vehicles,” said the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb.

“This ruling strains logic, if not common sense,” Gottlieb added. “The court dismissed the bulk of the lawsuit’s allegations, but appears to have grasped at this single straw by deciding that the advertising is somehow at fault for what Adam Lanza did that day in December more than six years ago.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which filed an amicus (or “friend of the court”) brief sporting Bushmaster, said the court was exploiting a narrow exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that shields gunmakers from civil liability in most instances.

“In a strongly worded and well-reasoned dissent, Chief Justice Robinson rejected the majority’s overly broad interpretation of the scope of the limited exception, which is contrary to legislative text, canons of statutory interpretation and the legislative history of the PLCAA,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement. “The majority’s decision today is at odds with all other state and federal appellate courts that have interpreted the scope of the exception.”

That exception cancels the gun manufacturer’s immunity if it knowingly breaks a law “applicable to the sale or marketing of the product.”

In other words, the plaintiffs believe that Bushmaster’s advertising scheme violated Connecticut’s unfair trade practices law because it encouraged the use of its weapons for unlawful purposes.

Lanza used an AR-15-style rife called the XM15 during his rampage. The plaintiffs say Bushmaster glorified the weapon’s “militaristic and assaultive qualities,” tailoring a campaign with depictions of soldiers on patrol and promises of total dominance in combat. Such images appealed to disillusioned men, supplemented with slogans like “consider your man card reissued.”

Those appeals were especially effective with Lanza, they say, since he was an avid player of violent video games and aspired to a career as a special operator in the armed forces. Though Lanza had access to a cache of weapons—including handguns, shotguns, two rifles, and three swords—the plaintiffs said Bushmaster’s promotions prompted Lanza to choose the XM15 from his family’s stockpile, thereby making his shooting spree far more deadly.

However, Lanza did not himself buy the XM15—he stole the gun from his mother, who purchased it lawfully from a retail gun dealership in March 2010. For that reason among others, the Connecticut Supreme Court acknowledged the plaintiffs will have a hard time proving their allegation.

“The plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ wrongful advertising magnified the lethality of the Sandy Hook massacre by inspiring Lanza or causing him to select a more efficiently deadly weapon for his attack,” the decision reads. “Proving such a causal link at trial may prove to be a Herculean task.”

Gottlieb went further, arguing there is no evidence connecting Lanza with Bushmaster’s practices.

“There is no evidence the killer was driven by any advertising whatsoever,” he said. “This is an affront to the First Amendment as well as the Second. Even hinting that the killer was motivated in some way by an advertising message is so far out in the weeds that it may take a map for the court to find its way back.”

The case need not reach a verdict to damage the firearms industry. The pre-trial discovery phase will give the plaintiffs access to Bushmaster’s internal communications and other sensitive records, which could itself prove harmful to the company.

An appeal could follow to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lanza killed 27 people Dec. 14, 2012. After murdering his mother, he stormed Sandy Hook Elementary at 9:30 a.m., when he killed 20 students and six staff members. Several others were wounded. The student victims were 6- and 7-year-olds in the first grade.

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People Won’t Be Able to Abort Babies Based on Race, Sex, or Handicaps in Kentucky

Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill Tuesday banning abortions on the basis of race, sex, or disability despite a pending lawsuit from a legal advocacy group.

Bevin signed House Bill 5 “prohibit[ing] an abortion if the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion, in whole or in part, because of an unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, or disability, except in the case of a medical emergency,” according to the legislation.

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The bill was signed under an “emergency” clause and took immediate effect, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. The bill bans “eugenics-based abortions,” according to Bevin’s general counsel, M. Stephen Pitt, the Courier reported.

The ACLU, a nonprofit legal and advocacy organization, sued the state after the Senate passed the bill by a 32-4 vote on March 13.

“The passage of House Bill 5 represents a thinly veiled effort of the Kentucky General Assembly to advance their anti-abortion agenda under the guise of an anti-discrimination bill. This law will do nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians with disabilities,” Heather Gatnarek, staff attorney at Kentucky’s ACLU, said in a statement about the bill, according to Cincinnati Public Radio.

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“Kentucky politicians are relentless in their attempts to eliminate abortion access. We represent the last remaining abortion clinic in the state and this will be our fourth lawsuit in 3 years to ensure the people can get the care they need,” ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri tweeted.

Despite the ACLU’s challenge, Bevin vowed to sign the bill and made good on that promise Tuesday.

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The law remains in effect until the court weighs in on the legal challenge presented by the ACLU.

“Consistent protection of the lives of unborn children is an interest of the highest magnitude of the commonwealth,” according to Pitt, the Courier reported.

Counseling, parental consent, and a 24-hour waiting period are mandatory before a woman can have an abortion under state law, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Kentucky has only one abortion clinic.

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How to Silence Debate, New Zealand Edition

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has unleashed a barrage of openly anti-Semitic commentary. She suggested that Israel had “hypnotized the world.” She recently suggested that Jewish money lay behind American support for Israel. Finally, she suggested that American Israel supporters are representatives of dual loyalty.

Her fellow Democrats shielded her from blowback by subsuming a resolution that condemns her anti-Semitism within a broader resolution that condemns intolerance of all types.

Many of them suggested that labeling Omar’s anti-Semitism actually represents a type of censorship—an attempt to quash debate about Israel, though none of Omar’s comments even critiqued the Israeli government, and though many on the left have made anti-Israel arguments without invoking anti-Semitism.

Now Omar’s defenders have come out of the woodwork to suggest that criticism of her anti-Semitism was somehow responsible for the white supremacist shooting of 50 innocent people in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Two protesters, New York University students and best friends Leen Dweik and Rose Asaf, confronted Chelsea Clinton, who had gently chided Omar for her Jew hatred.

“After all that you have done, all the Islamophobia that you have stoked,” Dweik screamed, “this, right here, is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words you put out in the world. … Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

Dweik, it should be noted, has called for the complete elimination of Israel.

Her message was parroted by terror supporter Linda Sarsour, who tweeted: “I am triggered by those who piled on Representative Ilhan Omar and incited a hate mob against her until she got assassination threats now giving condolences to our community. What we need you to do is reflect on how you contribute to islamophobia and stop doing that.”

Meanwhile, mainstream commentators attempted to use the New Zealand anti-Muslim terror attack to blame critics of radical Islam. Omer Aziz, writing for The New York Times, slammed Jordan Peterson for calling Islamophobia “a word created by fascists” and Sam Harris for calling it “intellectual blood libel.”

Bill Maher has come in for similar criticism; so have I, mostly for a video I cut in 2014 in which I read off poll statistics from various Muslim countries on a variety of topics, concluding that a huge percentage of Muslims believed radical things.

Here’s the truth: Radical Islam is dangerous. The Islamic world has a serious problem with radical Islam. And large swaths of the Muslim world are, in fact, hostile to Western views on matters ranging from freedom of speech to women’s rights.

To conflate that obvious truth with the desire to murder innocents in Christchurch is intellectual dishonesty of the highest sort. If we want more Muslims living in liberty and freedom, we must certainly demolish white supremacism—and we must also demolish radical Islam, devotees of which were responsible for an estimated 84,000 deaths in 2017 alone, most of those victims Muslim.

And here’s another truth: Anti-Semitism is ugly, whether it’s coming from white supremacists or Ilhan Omar. Making that point has nothing to do with the killing of Muslims in Christchurch.

So long as the media continue to push the narrative that criticism of Islam is tantamount to incitement of murder, radical Islam will continue to flourish.

So long as the media continue to cover for the dishonest argument that criticism of anti-Semitism forwards the goals of white supremacists, anti-Semitism will continue to flourish. Honest discussion about hard issues isn’t incitement.

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