Time for this week’s Current Events Write-Up.
The New American: “Unmasking Antifa Act Proposed in U.S. House; Left Responds Accordingly,” by Raven Clabough
The New American is the magazine of the conservative John Birch Society. It is interesting to see where the JBS lands on the issues and political personalities of the day, for it often transcends the typical right-left paradigm. Here, the author does not care for the Antifa, but the author fears that a Republican-proposed bill against the Antifa could, if passed, be an undesirable federal suppression of civil liberties. The article closes by encouraging people to support their local police. Then there is a reader’s comment that not only supports the anti-Antifa bill, but also wants to bring back the House Committee on Un-American Activities!
“7 Truths About Immigration,” by Robert Reich
Robert Reich has posted this sort of post before, but I am linking to it here because it attempts to respond to anti-immigration talking-points, while linking to articles. These are things to keep in mind. At the same time, one cannot casually dismiss the concerns people have that contribute to anti-illegal immigration sentiments (i.e., gangs, depressed wages, etc.).
Cato Institute: “A Moderate Two-Point Plan for Reducing ICE’s Power,” by Alex Nowrasteh
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think-tank. While it sides with the right on such issues as taxes and regulations, it sides with the left in opposing federal abuse of illegal immigrants. This article proposes a way to enable the federal government to deport the really serious criminals while avoiding harassment of the otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants. Yet, the article does not address the other concerns that contribute to anti-illegal immigrant sentiments: depressed wages, illegal immigrants using social services, etc.
Izgad: “The Trump Challenge for Libertarians: Are We Willing to Man Up and Admit That the Republican Strategy Was a Mistake?”
Izgad is a libertarian, but here he is critical of libertarians who side with President Trump. I was thinking some about this a few days ago. Libertarians overlap with the left and the right on issues. Like the right, they support less government intervention in the economic sphere, and, like the left, they support freedom in the social/cultural sphere. But which do they prioritize, and why?
The Economist: “America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats”
Looks like I reached my article limit by reading this article! Essentially, it says that the current electoral system privileges Republicans. A lot of people move to the urban areas, but there are more sparsely-populated rural areas, which are abundantly represented. The urban areas are liberal, whereas the rural areas are conservative. This article mentions solutions that some have proposed or even enacted in response to gerrymandering and the Electoral College.
Townhall: “How Trump Can Lower Drug Prices,” by Stephen Moore
Moore argues that pharmaceutical prices are high because other countries evade the patents, produce more of the drugs, and have price controls. The pharmaceutical companies lose money that they can use for research and development, and they try to make up for that by increasing the prices. Moore states: “Fortunately, the one person in Washington who is onto this price-control scam is Donald J. Trump. He recently pledged to fight to reverse these violations of American intellectual property in upcoming trade negotiations.”
Reason: “There Is No Such Thing as a Free Pharma Lunch (Anymore),” by Adam Barsouk
It used to be that pharmaceutical reps would treat doctors to lunch while educating them about their pharmaceutical products. The government has cracked down on that, in an attempt to encourage doctors to prescribe cheaper generics. But Barsouk believes that there are downsides to what the government is doing here: greater ignorance about medication. I can sympathize with the government’s goal, but I wonder if there is a way to address Barsouk’s concern.
The Nation: “The Worst Way to Pay for Family Leave,” by Michelle Chen
Michelle Chen critiques a family leave proposal by Senator Marco Rubio, which is supported by Ivanka Trump. According to Chen, it pays for family leave by taking money from Social Security. The solution, for Chen, is to have a payroll tax to pay for it. She says that some states have adopted state-based policies, with success. So many people in the U.S., however, cannot take a paid sick day. I am not a policy expert, but a concern that I have is this: there are many people who pay the payroll tax, then they get a huge tax-refund on account of say, the Earned Income Tax Credit, or other credits. I can sympathize with having credits, since they make the lives of low-middle income people easier, as they already struggle to make ends meet. But can we have a robust government family leave policy for everyone, if as many people as possible are not contributing to the federal government?
The Nation: “In the Age of Disaster Capitalism, Is ‘Survival Socialism’ the Solution?”, by Laura Flanders
This article examines local measures in Great Britain to assist and uplift economically-marginalized areas, with their positives and negatives.
Barack Obama says that the left should listen to and engage those with whom they disagree, rather than shouting them down. Amen!
The talk of this week has been the Helsinki summit. There are so many articles out there. I’ll give you a taste of what I have been reading and hearing. Pat Buchanan and David Stockman (Reagan’s first OMB director) applaud the summit as bringing peace, much to the consternation of the warstate. Megan G. Oprea, on the other hand, essentially says that we should watch Trump’s actions, not his words: he has stood up to Russia in so many practical ways. In this Federalist podcast, Ben Domenech makes an interesting observation. Trump has asserted more than once that, sure, Russia has done bad things, but so has the U.S. Domenech sees no moral equivalence between the two, but he notes that Rand Paul, who is from the school of the right that bemoans interventionist U.S. foreign policy as evil, has been one of Trump’s most robust defenders when it comes to the Helsinki summit. Rush Limbaugh castigates the left for bemoaning Trump’s distrust of U.S. intelligence, when the m.o. of the left for decades has been to denounce U.S. intelligence! Cal Thomas chronicles Presidents’ caution about U.S. intelligence. Michael Dougherty cautions Russia about interfering in U.S. elections by referring to the less-than-desirable results of when the U.S. meddled (or so many think) in a prominent Russian election. And an article in The People’s World (the heir to the American Communist Daily Worker) criticizes the summit, both Trump and Putin as oppressors of workers, and Republicans who oppose a proposal to safeguard American elections.
And, ending on a lighter note, Saved by the Bell actor Mario Lopez talks about his Christian faith.