Tim Scott’s America, Hollywood’s men, and more from Fox News Opinion

JESSE WATTERS – Fox News host Jesse Watters voices his concerns about the border crisis. Continue reading…

TIM SCOTT – America is a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression. Continue reading…

BLAME GAME – Environmental activists are working to penalize banks for doing their core business. Continue reading…

GUTFELD – Blue Jays’ Anthony Bass’ apology is a hot, steaming pile of crap. Continue reading…

LOCKER ROOM HORRORS – Incident in Wisconsin locker room shows potential consequences of Title IX changes. Continue reading…

RAYMOND ARROYO – Commencement catastrophe season is upon us. Continue watching…

WHAT NOT TO DO – The five things you should never do in your career. Continue reading…

BLACKOUTS & BANKRUPTCY – Biden’s energy plan will create problems and huge costs for Americans. Continue reading…

HOLLYWOOD’S MEN – What Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone’s enduring popularity tell us about men in 2023. Continue reading…

CARTOON OF THE DAY – Check out all of our political cartoons…

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Crime is surging and here’s a way to help stop it

With the 2024 election season already begun, a renewed debate is emerging over the future direction of the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s gargantuan money creation, and its up-and-down interest rates, have resulted in a dollar whose shifts in value have been behind the major crises of the past 20 years — including the worst inflation in more than four decades.

In a widely read Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Republican presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy made a powerful case for a return to Federal Reserve policies of the 1980s-1990s, which were based on maintaining a stable currency.  

Sound money with a value that doesn’t dramatically fluctuate will calm a volatile economy, encourage trade and investment and put the country back on a path to prosperity. 


But there is another reason that we need a sound dollar — to help end the crime wave gripping American cities.

This epidemic of criminality has been attributed to pro-criminal legal ‘reforms,’ the movement to defund the police and widespread drug addiction, among other causes.

All are very real issues that must be addressed. Largely overlooked, however, is the role played by Fed-enabled inflation, which, at slightly under five percent, is around twice the rate it was before COVID-19. The pandemic spike is in addition to a slow-motion inflation that has transpired over the past 20 years. That was produced by Federal Reserve weak-dollar policies, including unprecedented money creation used to ‘stimulate’ the economy after such downturns as the financial meltdown of 2008.

All of this has resulted in a precipitous decline in the value of the dollar. Its purchasing power has dropped by more than 40 percent since the year 2000. 

Central bank policymakers have forgotten the famous warning of economist John Maynard Keynes: “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.” One result can be a spike in crime. 

The link between inflation and crime has been demonstrated repeatedly in studies of many countries. High-crime nations like Brazil and Venezuela, for example, are also high-inflation countries. The New York City crime wave taking place right now is often compared to the “bad old days” of the 1970s and early ’80s, the era known as The Great Inflation. 

Even the New York Times has acknowledged the connection of inflation to crime. This is not just a vague correlation. Criminal justice expert Howard Henderson has observed that, as prices rise, crime does too. He’s noted that, “after decades of steady declines,” violent crime started to rise in the mid-2010s, around the time inflation began to increase. 

Inflation’s greatest effect, however, appears to be on property crime. An analysis of U.S. data from 1950 to 2010, revealed a strong relationship between rising prices and property crime — which might help explain the surge in shoplifting seen in New York and other major cities. A surefire way to bring down rising prices, after all, is by stealing. 

Inflation may have a greater impact on crime rates than even joblessness. You’d think losing a job would drive people to steal. However, Richard Rosenfeld, a noted criminologist on the faculty of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, found that crime did not increase in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, despite an economic contraction and soaring unemployment. Rosenfeld said this was because, during the post-2008 downturn, the U.S. briefly experienced deflation — falling prices. 


Adam Fergusson, author of “When Money Dies,” the classic history of the infamous hyperinflation in post-World War I Weimar Germany, described how that trauma “brought out the worst in everybody,” encouraging “the subversion of law and order.” Citizens whose wealth was devastated by soaring prices resorted to desperate measures to hold on to what they had. 

The political class often associates money with “greed.” In fact, it is vital to social trust. Money provides an agreed-upon unit of value that allows total strangers to trade and cooperate in the marketplace. When currency suddenly loses value on account of inflation, this trust is destroyed.

Not only does this damage commerce. People who can no longer pay their bills see others with investments and businesses benefiting from Fed-created dollars and appearing to get rich. The link between effort and reward is severed. Resentments flare that can stoke criminal behavior. 

The Fed’s answer to the inflation dysfunction has been to hike interest rates. And, indeed, inflation has dropped since its 9% peak in June of last year. But history has shown that, sooner or later, inflation and its ill effects — including crime — will come roaring back unless steps are taken to stabilize a currency.

None of this mitigates the need for solutions to the crime crisis — like increased law enforcement. Our point is that the Washington political class tends to discuss the subject of “monetary policy” in the driest possible terms, without fully grasping the human toll taken by today’s unstable dollar. 

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Blaming banks for the environment is not good business

In recent years, major banks have come under intense criticism for their business practices. We know them more today for misdeeds than merits. Their lapses have become lead stories in the mainstream media and ready-made content for C-SPAN hearings. 

We’ve seen epic failures by First Republic , Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank; 19 state AGs alleging discrimination by Chase Bank against conservative and religious groups, and Wells Fargo paying millions to settle class action and CFPB claims for their fake account debacle.

These events have left deep fault lines in banks’ reputations, going from beneficent to black hat in recent years. 

Contrary to these popular notions, banks play a critical and consequential role in society. They facilitate the flow of needed funds, provide a reservoir of investment dollars, and foster economic progress, production and profit. From the mom-and-pop store down the street to the mega cap corporation downtown, business relies on banks and banks rely on business. They bring capital to commerce and anchor our economy. It is the way of the world.


But that very role is now being challenged. As dark as the banks’ past problems are, they pale in comparison to what is on the horizon. The future for many banks is inextricably tied to their policies and practices on climate, energy and the environment . And that portends more risk than reward.

We are entering a new era of environmental enmity. A time when environmental exhortations supersede almost anything else. A time when impolitic words, deeds or decisions by financial institutions have outsized social consequences. And the least imprecision on climate or the environment could imperil positive economic performance. 

In the pervasive context of climate change, environmental activists are working to penalize banks for doing their core business – lending money. Well-funded initiatives and worldwide campaigns have adroitly linked greenhouse gas to green eyeshades, and have cast banks, insurers and their investors as subjects of societal scorn.

The broad umbrella of “greenwashing” has allowed aggressive plaintiffs lawyers and activists to sue companies for fraud and deception in their environmental marketing claims.

In May 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined BNY Mellon Investment Advisor for misstatements on environmental disclosures.

In November 2022, the SEC fined Goldman Sachs Investment Advisor $4 million for failing to follow its policies and procedures on ESG investments.


In October 2022, the U.K.’s Advertising Authority banned HSBC from advertising certain investments claiming they could mislead consumers. 

And German prosecutors raided the offices of Deutsche Bank and its asset manager DWS as part of an investigation for environmental misstatements. 

Globally, the cumulative number of climate change related cases has more than doubled since 2015, now totaling over 2,000. One quarter of these were filed in the last two years alone. 

But tactics have been shifting in recent years. Class-action lawsuits, proxy battles, shareholder actions and intensive media campaigns are now quite common.

Environmental enmity has been extended from oil and gas companies to banks, insurers and financial institutions. The most recent trend sees banks being sued for financing oil, gas and coal projects that emit high levels of greenhouse gas. There are also cases against food and agriculture, transport, plastics and other companies. All based on yet-unproven legal theories of climate change liability.

Activists have sought to dictate the terms and conditions of environmental responsibility for years. But financial institutions are right to push back on such overreach. Frivolous, headline-seeking litigation against banks for lawfully lending money is antithetical to international norms of commerce and is patently anti-capitalist. There is nothing inherently wrong or illegal about the production, sale and distribution of coal, oil and natural gas. 


By following the money, they have embraced the international sanctions script that penalizes any direct or remote connection to fossil fuel. It is a well-worn playbook drawn from successful crusades against Big Pharma and tobacco. Demonizing banks is easy after all, because only economists and other bankers will rally to their defense.

In trying to shift the tenor from sustainable to sinister, activists miss the larger point. Financial institutions have embraced environmental sustainability in a big way just on their own terms, committing billions to reduce their credit exposure to oil and gas and comply with international conventions like the Paris accord.

Most major banks made commitments as part of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), the flagship climate initiative intended to accelerate climate target setting and common practice under the Principles for Responsible Banking and the Race to Zero. Convened by the U.N. Environment Programme Finance Initiative, it is an industry-led effort that “brings together a global group of banks, currently representing over 40% of global banking assets, which are committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050.” 

JP Morgan Chase has committed nearly $3 trillion to advance sustainable development and climate change. 

Wells Fargo has committed to deploy $500 billion in sustainable finance over the next 10 years.

Citigroup has committed $1 trillion in sustainable finance by 2030.

Bank of America has committed $1 trillion by 2030 to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. 


These are not insignificant sums of money and the commitment behind them should not be dismissed as meaningless or merely the cost of business.

To be sure, the predecessor institutions of many of today’s banks have a checkered historical past, financing the slave trade, illegal arms and other nefarious acts during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Many helped fund plantations in the American colonies and the West Indies, offering loans with enslaved people as collateral and profiting from their sale. 

More recently, banks in the U.S. and Europe were complicit in the dispossession of Native American lands during the westward expansion of the United States in the 19th century. And during the 20th century, some banks played a role in the financial activities of the Nazi regime during World War II. 

In recent years, banks have engaged in redlining, discriminatory lending, fraud and other illegalities. When discovered, they have issued mea culpas and made amends for their actions, including targeted investments in disadvantaged communities, outsized philanthropy and remedial lending efforts. They have accepted corporate responsibility with chastened hands, and we should see fit to accept them warts and all.

Whatever moral transgressions banks have committed over the years – and there have been many – financing fossil fuels is not one of them.


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Often divided Supreme Court shows unity in protecting this fundamental right

While left-wing attacks on the Supreme Court continue, the justices demonstrated again last week that simple partisan categories cannot explain their work. In Tyler v. Hennepin Countythe court unanimously agreed that the right to property continues even when the government seizes land to recover a tax debt. 

Even with a court sharply divided over questions of race, religion and government power, the justices came together to re-affirm the most basic of constitutional freedoms. 

Tyler was another case that pitted an individual property owner against a government Leviathan. The plaintiff was a 94-year-old woman who had bought a one-bedroom condo in Minneapolis. After living there until 2010, a rise in neighborhood crime led her and her family to think it would be safer for her to move into a senior community. 

No one paid her property taxes on the condo after she moved out. It accrued about $2,000 in unpaid taxes plus and about $13,000 in interest and penalties. The county foreclosed on Tyler’s condo and sold it for $40,000. The sale extinguished Tyler’s $15,000 debt, but the county kept the remaining $25,000 for its own purposes.


Tyler sued under the Fourteenth Amendment’s takings clause, arguing that the county had unconstitutionally “taken” her property (the $25,000 surplus) without just compensation. Stunningly, both the district court and the court of appeals threw out her takings clause suit, reasoning that Minnesota law did not recognize a property owner’s interest in the surplus proceeds from a tax foreclosure sale of which the owner had had adequate notice.

In a crisp opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, a unanimous Supreme Court reversed and reinstated Tyler’s takings clause claim.

First, though, Tyler had to survive the county’s challenge to her “standing” to bring her suit. “Standing” required proof of an injury from the county’s retention of the surplus, and the county argued that the plaintiff had suffered no financial harm because her condo was encumbered by a mortgage and unpaid homeowners’ fees in excess of $25,000. 

The court rejected that argument because Tyler remained personally liable for those debts. Had she received the surplus, she could at least have paid down some of her remaining obligations.


The meatier side of the opinion was, of course, its analysis of the “takings” issue. Noting that the takings clause does not itself define property, the court explained the understanding of “property” that informs its decisions. State law is one important source; and Minnesota had enacted a statute providing that an owner forfeits her interest in her home when she falls behind on her property taxes. No interest in the home, the county argued, meant no property; and no property meant no taking of property.

The county’s reasoning was too slick for the justices. If state law were the only source for deciding whether a property right existed, then a state could make the takings clause a dead letter simply by denying that the assets it wished to seize were “property.” 

Instead, the court looked to “[h]istory and precedent” (including its own cases) to determine that the government may not take more from a taxpayer than she owes. It traced the origins of that principle back to the Magna Carta of 1215, through English and American statutory and common law, up to the ratification of the 14th Amendment (which applied the takings clause to the states). 

The court observed that although a small minority of states at the time of the 14th Amendment’s ratification had deemed delinquent property entirely forfeited by failure to pay taxes, both then and now a clear majority of American jurisdictions required that the taxpayer was entitled to the surplus once the debt was paid.


Tyler is a significant case for at least four reasons. First, it should upend the laws in jurisdictions that have forfeiture rules like Minnesota’s. (The Pacific Legal Foundation suggests that there are a dozen such states.) 

Second, it confirms that a state cannot sidestep the takings clause simply by defining “property” out of existence. Third, it also confirms the centrality of our legal traditions and practices in ascertaining the scope of constitutional rights. In this, it resembles last term’s Bruen case on gun rights. 

And fourth, Justice Neil Gorsuch’s concurrence, joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, featured Tyler’s excessive fines claim. At least those two justices seem prepared to take a hard look at the harsh civil forfeiture statutes that are often used now instead of taxes to finance law enforcement operations.

Most important, Tyler shows that the justices can still agree where American’s fundamental rights are at stake. Unlike the right to abortion or the power to impose affirmative action, which judges of the past have conjured out of vague provisions of the Constitution, the right to property is clearly protected by the Fifth and 14th Amendments. 

As the Tyler court observed, the right to private property pre-existed the founding, formed the understanding against which the Constitution was written , and found expression in the Bill of Rights and the Reconstruction amendments. Tyler re-affirmed that Americans’ right to own property does not exist at the whim of government, but forms a fundamental part of that individual liberty, the protection of which we create government in the first place.


John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. They are the authors of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Supreme Court ,” out from Regnery in June.

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China wants to be energy superpower. Here’s how they can be stopped

At the G7 conference, President Joe Biden predicted a coming “thaw” in relations with Beijing. A day later, the Department of Energy announced that it is revoking a $200 million grant to Texas-based battery company due to its connections with China.

Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to stabilize the relationship, tension over energy security is heating up. Ensuring American energy dominance at home and combating Chinese influence abroad requires a bold new strategy.

The United States is still an energy superpower. Thanks to geology, private sector innovation and shrewd policy, the U.S. is the world’s top oil and gas producer. During the last decade, rapid increases in the production of natural gas and oil, due to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, have made energy more affordable at home and strengthened America’s position abroad. Without its abundant energy resources, America would be a poorer and far-less-powerful country.


China is not so fortunate. It is the world’s largest importer of coal, oil, and natural gas. This year, China’s oil imports are on track to reach a record high — increasing up to 1 million barrels per day. Pulled between their economy’s voracious appetite for energy and the strategic vulnerability of relying on imports, energy security is a growing source of anxiety for the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership.

President Xi Jinping and other high-level party officials have repeatedly said that ensuring energy security is a foundational element of the regime’s “stability maintenance” architecture. 

It should come as no surprise then that the CCP is working hard to turn its weakness into a strength. While Xi cannot change China’s geology, he is using diplomacy to enhance China’s energy interests abroad.

Earlier this year, Xi brokered a historic détente between Saudi Arabia and Iran, deepening his relationship with the world’s second- and ninth-largest oil producers. In Asia and Africa, China is investing hundreds of billions of dollars in energy extraction and generation projects through its Belt and Road Initiative.

China is also capitalizing on the energy transition. While experts disagree over the speed of the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, all acknowledge that it is happening. Chinese manufacturers produce 70% of the world’s solar modules, 50% of wind turbines, and 90% of lithium-ion batteries. OPEC, by comparison, controls only 40% of global oil production. 

In South America, which now counts China as its largest trading partner, CCP-backed firms are securing project deals in the “Lithium Triangle.” Roughly 60% of the world’s lithium — a crucial input for batteries and other clean energy technologies — is located in the region which spans Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

As the transition progresses, the CCP will command a market share of the global clean energy economy that would make John D. Rockefeller blush. Left unchecked, China will benefit from the same economic and geopolitical advantages that the U.S. currently enjoys.

The only way to deny China energy superpower status is to win the clean energy arms race at home and abroad. The U.S. and its allies must close the gap in clean energy manufacturing through smart industrial policy.

Onshoring and “friend-shoring” critical mineral mining and processing can help loosen China’s chokehold on the supply chains of electric vehicles and other vital technologies. Strengthening America’s relationships with developing nations through capacity building and clean energy financing will diminish the power of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Some argue that the threat of global climate change necessitates collaboration with China. John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, has suggested that the U.S. should join hands with China and Russia to lower greenhouse gas emissions, setting other “issues” aside.

Despite Kerry’s strategy of appeasement, China remains the world’s No. 1 polluter and its renewable energy industry is built on the backs of Uyghur slave laborers.

There is a better way. Rather than hoping for Chinese cooperation on climate change, the United States should strengthen its energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard its values and interests by outcompeting China in the clean energy arms race.

This approach is already working with Russia. America’s liquid natural gas exports to Europe are loosening Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grasp on Ukraine — and reducing emissions by displacing Russian natural gas, which emits over 40% more than U.S. exports.

Last fall, Poland signed a $40 billion deal with U.S.-based Westinghouse to build its first civilian nuclear reactor, which will provide 1.6 gigawatts of emission-free power. These are steps in the right direction, but they must be built upon and supported by a coherent energy security strategy. 


Policymakers must recognize energy security as a fundamentally global issue, with risks and opportunities that extend far beyond America’s borders. They must end the crusade against fossil fuels, while also recognizing the realities of the energy transition.

An all-of-the-above approach that delivers affordable, reliable and sustainable energy at home, and enhances the United States’ influence abroad, is the right way forward.

Finally, our leaders in Washington must act quickly to pass permitting reform, align our trade and energy policies with Europe, beat China in the contest to commercialize fusion energy and counter the CCP’s influence in Africa and South America.

Xi Jinping has a clear strategy to overcome China’s energy scarcity and turn his country into an energy superpower. U.S. leaders must check Xi’s ambition by adopting a new approach that ensures continued American energy dominance at home and abroad.

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