Heritage Foundation Report: President Trump and Syria Attack

Heritage Foundation Report:

President Trump and Syria Attack

Thanks to A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection for another great cartoon

 

Trump’s powerful message to the world.

The focused and punitive strike in Syria last week sent a powerful message to the world that Bashar Assad’s behavior was unacceptable. It’s clear there is now a decisive leader in the White House. But this message alone is not a solution to the Syrian civil war. Russia and Iran must stop enabling Assad’s brutality. The main focus of U.S. operations must remain the defeat of ISIS and helping Iraq stabilize and secure its borders.

James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at Heritage, says the Trump administration “should remain focused on the key problem at hand—Assad’s chemical weapons threat—and not seek to expand the military mission to include regime change. That kind of mission creep would bog down U.S. military forces in Syria for years, fighting not only the Assad regime, but Hezbollah, Iran, and possibly Russia. Regime change is a bridge too far.” Read more from Phillips on the recent strike and his report on how to improve U.S.-Syria policy.

Teach your family the Key to Survival in a Difficult World

Heritage Foundation Report: Conservative victories during Lame Duck Session

Heritage Foundation Report:

Conservative victories during Lame Duck Session 

obama-lame-duckConservative victories during the final months of Congress

 

obama-rejected-aCongress wrapped up its final legislative week just in time for the holidays. With no more votes scheduled in the waning days of 2016, that means the lame-duck session is officially over.

Conservatives rallied behind the message that legislating during a lame-duck session is dangerous for the American people, and Congress took notice.

Thanks to your activism here’s some of the top lame duck victories:

supreme-courtNo Obama Supreme Court Nominations

Ensuring that no Obama Supreme Court nominee was confirmed during his final year in office was a huge victory for conservatives.

Moving forward into 2017, President-elect Trump will have the opportunity to nominate a true conservative who will uphold and defend the Constitution to replace Justice Scalia.

Don’t “Draft our Daughters”

In the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the “Draft our Daughters” provision that would have required America’s young women to sign up for the Selective Service was not included.

This is a major success for Congress to hear the voices of grassroots America and ultimately defeat President Obama’s attempt at social engineering.

Stopped a Massive Spending Bill

govwasteabounds.Congress passed a short-term spending bill instead of a massive omnibus. The continuing resolution wasn’t perfect, but by pushing the funding fight until April Congress is positioned to take on a conservative budget under a Trump Administration.

No Obamacare Bailouts

The outgoing Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress are hoping to prop up Obamacare by using taxpayer dollars to bailout insurance companies. While none of these bailouts happened during the Lame Duck, Republicans must be vigilant to ensure that no backdoor payments are made to the insurance companies between now and January 20th, 2017.

No Internet Sales Tax

Under the guise of the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” an internet sales tax would have added another burden for consumers and businesses. This type of sales tax is a cronyist handout to big businesses, and it’s a good thing lawmakers didn’t let it happen.

repeal-obamacareNow Congress must get ready to have a full repeal of Obamacare ready for Donald Trump’s signature on day one.

Heritage Foundation Report: History Facts on Electoral College

Heritage Foundation Report:

History Facts on Electoral College

Why We Use Electoral College, Not Popular Vote

Jarrett Stepman

key

America’s presidential election system was designed to empower the states, not just the American people as an undifferentiated mass. If the president were elected by unfiltered national vote, small and rural states would become irrelevant, and campaigns would spend their time in large, populous districts. ~Jarrett Stepman

Think what a shame it would be if the president could be elected from 10 pockets of population, they’d be like capitals, maybe like in the Hunger Games, and the rest of us would be like colonies, right?  So it matters where people live in America.  And the whole country gets represented.. ~Dr. Larry Arnn, President, Hillsdale College

 

America’s presidential election system was designed to empower the states, not just the American people as an undifferentiated mass.

America’s presidential election system was designed to empower the states, not just the American people as an undifferentiated mass.

The Electoral College remains in place over two centuries after the framers of the Constitution empowered it to select presidents. Though occasionally maligned, this system of electing a chief executive has been incredibly successful for the American people.

Many modern voters might be surprised to learn that when they step into a ballot box to select their candidate for president, they actually are casting a vote for fellow Americans called electors. These electors, appointed by the states, are pledged to support the presidential candidate the voters have supported. The Electoral College holds its vote the Monday after the second Wednesday in December following the election.

The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College after much debate and compromise, but it has provided stability to the process of picking presidents. Though the winner of the national popular vote typically takes the presidency, that vote failed to determine the winner in four elections: 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000.

Some see the Electoral College as a peculiar and mystifying institution that ensures only a few, select individuals will ever cast a direct vote for president in the United States. Others complain that the system rewards smaller states with more proportional power than the large ones.

Every four years, around election time, there are murmurs about revamping the system and moving toward a direct, national popular vote.

The Founders’ College

signers3As one of The Heritage Foundations legal experts, Hans von Spakovsky, noted in a paper on the Electoral College: “In creating the basic architecture of the American government, the Founders struggled to satisfy each state’s demand for greater representation while attempting to balance popular sovereignty against the risk posed to the minority from majoritarian rule.”

Some elements of the Electoral College, such as the indirect vote through intermediaries, were hotly debated at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. It was eventually justified in part as a stopgap to potentially reverse the vote if the people elected a criminal, traitor, or similar kind of heinous person. The Founders wanted to empower democratic elements in the American system, but they feared a kind of pure, unrestrained democracy that had brought down great republics of the past.

The product of the Founders’ compromise has been well balanced and enduring, and we would be wise to leave it intact.

cartoon-electoral-collegeAlexander Hamilton defended the Electoral College in Federalist 68. He argued that it was important for the people as a whole to have a great deal of power in choosing their president, but it was also “desirable” that “the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”

Hamilton also wrote that this system of intermediaries would produce a greater amount of stability, and that an “ … intermediate body of electors will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes.”

As students of ancient history, the Founders feared the destructive passions of direct democracy, and as recent subjects of an overreaching monarch, they equally feared the rule of an elite unresponsive to the will of the people. The Electoral College was a compromise, neither fully democratic nor aristocratic.

The Constitution states:

Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress.

constitution1In addition to balancing the protection of individual rights and majority rule, the Founding Fathers attempted to create a “federalist” system that would keep most of  policymaking power reserved to states and localities. America’s presidential election system also was designed to empower the states, not just the American people as an undifferentiated mass.

The total number of electors and thus electoral votes across all states and the District of Columbia—included after the passage of the 23rd Amendment—adds up to 538. The winner must receive a majority, or 270, of these votes to become president.

The system empowers states, especially smaller ones, because it incentivizes presidential candidates to appeal to places that may be far away from population centers. Farmers in Iowa may have very different concerns than bankers in New York. A more federalist system of electing presidents takes that into account.

The states are free to select the method in which they choose their electors. In the early days of the republic, most states chose to have their legislatures pick electors, rather than the people. But, over time, the states shifted to choosing electors via the state’s popular vote instead. Every state has opted for popular election at least since the Civil War.

Calls to Abolish

cartoon-trump-protesters

Thanks to A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection for another great cartoon

Modern opponents of the Electoral College argue against what they call antidemocratic aspects of the institution, criticizing both the intermediary electors and the state-by-state system of voting.

Calls to fundamentally change the Electoral College reached a peak after Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore in the tightly contested 2000 election. Gore narrowly won the national popular vote, and many of  his supporters howled that the system—even without the Supreme Court stepping in—was unfair.

One organization, National Popular Vote, has worked toward eliminating the Electoral College through an amendment to the Constitution or a state compact. National Popular Vote argues that the current system encourages presidential candidates to spend most of their time in “swing states” rather than campaigning for votes across the entire country.

2014electmapThis plan for a national popular vote has received a moderate level of support, but Heritage’s von Spakovsky has called it bad policy, based on mistaken assumptions. Swing states, he wrote, “can change from election to election, and many states that are today considered to be reliably ‘blue’ or ‘red’ in the presidential race were recently unpredictable.”

Many states have signed on to a bill that essentially would tie a state’s electoral votes to the national popular vote. Those states will pledge to swing all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national vote.

But this is because the incentives would be to appeal only to the biggest population centers. Swing states change over time, and the 2016 election could be a prime example of swing-state unpredictability and erosion of the traditional partisan political map.

Additionally, if the president were elected by unfiltered national vote, small and rural states would become irrelevant, and campaigns would spend their time in large, populous districts.

Over 200 Years of Success

Unneeded tinkering with a process that is over two centuries old could destabilize one on the steadiest political systems in the world.

As author and Texas lawyer Tara Ross wrote in a Heritage Foundation memorandum:

America’s election systems have operated smoothly for more than 200 years because the Electoral College accomplishes its intended purposes.

AMERICA’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PROCESS PRESERVES FEDERALISM, PREVENTS CHAOS, GRANTS DEFINITIVE ELECTORAL OUTCOMES, AND PREVENTS TYRANNICAL OR UNREASONABLE RULE.

On Election Day, Americans should appreciate the great and long-lasting constitutional tradition bequeathed to them—including the quirky Electoral College system created by the nation’s Founders.

 

Why We Use Electoral College, Not Popular Vote

Heritage Foundation Report: Science Facts Reveal Dangers in 3 Parent Baby Mitochondria Disease

Heritage Foundation Report:

Science Facts Reveal  Dangers in 3 Parent Baby Mitochondria Disease

A Baby With 3 Parents Has Been Born. These Are the Dangers You Should Know About.

Anna Higgins

baby-eugenicsThe first baby with three parents has been born this year, raising troubling questions about our culture’s dedication to human dignity.

The U.S. Constitution is predicated on the principle of the inherent worth and dignity of the human individual. Fundamental rights do not depend on any other fact than that each of us is a unique human being. Thus, any proposed legal action or scientific endeavor is subordinate to those rights.

Often, however, we find that proposed scientific “advances”—particularly in areas like genetic engineering—trample on the rights and dignity of the individual.

Genetic manipulation resulting in embryos that incorporate DNA from three adults has been in laboratory experimentation phases since the 1990s, but now the first birth of a baby with genetic material from three parents has been reported. Multiple methods of creating three-parent embryos exist (a detailed explanation can be found here).

In this case, New York City fertility specialist Dr. John Zhang used a method called “maternal spindle transfer” to create five such human embryos—one of which was transferred to a womb and resulted in live birth. While the baby is now a few months old, New Scientist didn’t break the news until September.

The overall goal, sometimes called “mitochondrial replacement technique (MRT),” is to replace genetically defective mitochondria—the organelles responsible for generating energy and metabolic function of the cell—in a woman’s egg with healthy mitochondria using a female donor egg.

abortion-embryoGenetically defective mitochondria can cause serious, even lethal, health problems. But MRT procedures actually transfer a nucleus, repository of the majority of the cell’s genetic material (which means they use human cloning technology), into the presence of genetically different mitochondria.

This is germline (heritable) genetic modification, which means that the modification affects not only the new manufactured individual but also will be passed on to future generations.

The risks potentially associated with this procedure are borne by the resulting child, not the parents.

eugenics3Zhang performed the transfer of the genetically manipulated embryo to a woman’s womb in Mexico because it is currently illegal in the United States. Rather than pause to debate the potential consequences of such manipulation, American scientists are pushing to make this procedure legal in the U.S., touting its “glorious potential.”

In 2015, Congress passed an amendment to the omnibus spending bill, sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., which prohibits the Food and Drug Administration from entertaining any submission that proposes “research in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include heritable genetic modification.”

Thus, Zhang, unable to get approval to proceed with genetic manufacture of embryos in the U.S. and unwilling to debate the consequences of these human experiments, fled the country to do his experiments.

Note, however, that the Aderholt amendment does not prohibit human gene editing on born individuals. Congressional prohibition of the practice highlights the importance of the dignity of the human person and gives us a chance to consider all the potential ramifications of forging ahead with practices that amount to irreversible genetic modifications of human beings without their consent.

The United Kingdom has approved creation of three-parent embryos, and a U.S. National Academy of Sciences committee recently recommended that the FDA approve three-parent techniques for in vitro fertilization.

anti-cloningThe caveats included with the recommendations do little to assuage concerns. The committee recommends that this genetic engineering be 1) used only for women with serious, life-threatening mitochondrial disease; 2) require long-term medical follow-up for children born with genetic material from three parents; and 3) that only male embryos be transferred to the mother’s uterus.

First of all, risks potentially associated with this procedure are borne by the resulting child, not the parents. Parents are looking to this procedure because they wish to have a biological child, but do not wish to pass on a genetic disease. This prompts the question: Is the wish for biologically-related offspring sufficient to justify germline genetically modified children?

Eugenics, again?

eugenics1-margaret-sangerConcern that these procedures will eventually give rise to full-blown eugenics practices is valid. Where do we draw the ethical line when we take the next step of using mitochondrial genetic engineering—or other genetic manipulation techniques—to create people with other “desirable” characteristics?

Second, the potential health risks for these genetically modified children and their offspring are unknown. If the past failure of embryonic research and experimentation in the areas of disease treatment or vaccine development is any indication, there are far-reaching health consequences to be considered.

The National Academy of Sciences committee tacitly admits to the potential for long-term harmful effects by recommending long-term follow-up and male embryo transfer only. Recently, the Charlotte Lozier Institute published a paper highlighting the problem of sex-selective abortion in the U.S. and abroad. The selection of male-only embryos for transfer only exacerbates that problem, as the female embryos will be either immediately destroyed or used in further embryo-destructive experimentation.

If these are aborted or genetically altered?

If these are aborted or genetically altered?

Each embryo is biologically a unique human individual. Despite the “glorious potential” of genetic manipulation of human embryos, we must never lose sight of the preeminent consideration of human dignity and ethical practice.

This is an issue of Human Rights

In the end, this is an issue of human rights—not of harmless scientific experimentation. Congress was right to hold the dignity of the person above the impulses of scientific experimentation, and robust public debate on the ethics of this practice and the potential alternatives to it should follow.

 

The Dangers of 3-Parent Babies

Gallery

Heritage Foundation Report: Millennial Incompetence, Ignorance of History, Communism, Socialism is shocking

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Heritage Foundation Report: Millennial Incompetence, Ignorance of History, Communism, Socialism is shocking, AND SAD Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge.~ Isaiah 5:13 If we don’t teach our children and youth true doctrine—and teach it … Continue reading