In November, Maryland voters will weigh in on whether sports betting should be legal in the state. Question 2 would allow certain licensed facilities to offer patrons a way to legally wager on sports and direct the bulk of the new revenue toward public schools.
The few voices advocating a “no” vote on legalizing sports betting have some valid concerns, like the fact that the referendum doesn’t guarantee how the revenue is used. But other concerns, like assertions that legalizing gambling increases gambling addiction, amount to fear-mongering.
And let’s be real. Opponents of legalized sports betting in Maryland inaccurately frame it as a choice between letting Maryland residents bet on sports or not. But that is not what will be decided by Question 2. We will be choosing whether we want residents to bet on sports legally in Maryland or illegally in other states.
Betting is popular among Marylanders, with nearly 20% gambling on a monthly basis or more. After lottery, casino games and horse racing, the most popular type of betting is sports. Since they can’t legally bet on sports, that means one of two things: They rely on unlicensed bookies or drive across state lines to where it is legal.
As of August 2020, all of Maryland’s neighboring states have legalized sports betting, already available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia and operations in Virginia set to come online soon.
The good news is that people prefer to gamble legally and, as a recent report from the American Gaming Association indicates, are migrating away from illegal bookies into these newly legal markets. But illegal bookies remain available, on and offline, for those residents unable or unwilling to make the cross-border drive.
Forcing people into the arms of organized crime is not what anyone should want. Illicit bookies do not care about age restrictions or mitigating problem gambling. Their profits also tend to fund other, more dangerous criminal activities, like the trafficking of people, drugs and weapons.
Maryland’s ban on sports betting also costs the state money and jobs. Since states began authorizing the activity in 2018, legal sports betting generated more than $230 million in new tax revenue to state and local governments. Depending on how it is regulated, legalizing sports betting could spur as many as 4,000 new jobs in Maryland and $70 million in tax revenue for the state annually. Maryland is missing out on that opportunity and money. Many people may worry that this economy boost is not worth negative effects they believe legalizing betting will cost society. However, most of these concerns are not based on evidence but, rather, outdated, morality-based fears.
As with any debate over gambling legalization, opposition talking points foment worry that expanding legal betting opportunities will mean increases in problem gambling. But according to evidence collected around the globe for decades, this is simply not how it works.
Worldwide, about 1% of the population currently meets the clinical definition of pathological gambling, with another 2% or 3% displaying signs of disordered gambling. But, despite increased access to gambling around the world, including online, rates of pathological and disordered gambling remain virtually unchanged since first studied in the 1970s.
Surveys taken in Maryland before and after casino gambling show the same trend. In 2010, when Maryland had no casinos, surveys found 3.4% of adults were disordered gamblers. Seven years and six casinos later, that prevalence of discorded gambling appeared to decline to 1.9%. As a 2017 study commissioned by the Maryland Department of Health noted, “Marylanders’ gambling habits have not changed appreciably: they spend approximately the same amount of time playing the same types of games, but they now do it at Maryland venues.”
The availability of gambling may impact individuals with gambling disorders. But evidence indicates legalized gambling impacts a small subset of the population. More importantly, we do people vulnerable to problem gambling and everyone else in the state no favors by pretending that just because sports betting isn’t legal in Maryland, people aren’t betting on sports.
The better approach for state coffers, residents and vulnerable individuals is to ensure people who want to gamble can do so responsibly, and those who need help have access to it. Legalizing sports betting gives lawmakers the opportunity to develop a regulatory environment that encourages gambling operators to respect self-exclusion lists for self-identified gambling addicts, train employees to spot problem gambling and work with authorities on ways to protect the public.
Instead of sending millions of dollars to neighboring states — or illegal bookies — Maryland could use some revenue generated by legal betting to fund programs aimed at monitoring, preventing and treating disordered gambling. None of this can happen while sports betting is in the illicit market and over state lines.
So, the real choice on the November ballot is: Are we going to let residents gamble on sports at licensed, regulated facilities in Maryland? Or, are we going to continue pretending that just because sports gambling is illegal in Maryland, Marylanders aren’t gambling on sports?
• Michelle Minton is a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.
You know the best evidence on the internet these days that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden is the head of a family crime syndicate using American diplomacy with foreign adversaries in order to stockpile millions of dollars for his own personal coffers?
The hashtag currently “trending” on Twitter right now is “#TrumpIsCompromised.”
The surest takeaway from the past four years in politics is that whatever crimes people accuse President Trump of committing are, in fact, being committed by the accusers themselves.
It is no secret that the “social media” giants are openly interfering in this year’s American election. But this latest hysteria goes far beyond unfairness to the point of blatant dishonesty.
While Twitter and Facebook shamelessly black out any mention of Hunter Biden’s dark, sad, lurid — yet shockingly revealing — abandoned laptop, they are at the same time peddling truly unfounded slop accusing Mr. Trump of selling his administration to enemies abroad.
Twitter’s newest evidence? The Trump administration is selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Yes, that would be the same Saudi Arabia to which presidents of both parties going back decades have sold billions and billions of dollars worth of weapons. But when all your fantastical claims of Donald Trump being compromised by the Russians and the Ukrainians fall apart, you have to invent something new.
No matter how ridiculous.
And the very same “social media” giants who refuse to allow real news from the mysteriously orphaned Biden laptop will happily sling the Trump slime far and wide.
After all, their sudden reluctance to peddle “hacked” or “stolen” information on Joe Biden did not cause them so much as a hiccup when it came to Mr. Trump’s purported tax returns. Or a secretly recorded phone call with first lady Melania Trump. Or the miles of security breaches out of the federal government.
Or the spectacularly debunked anti-Trump fairy tale called the “Steele Dossier.”
Truth is, the questions raised about the Biden family’s international influence peddling scam raises truly startling questions about a guy who has been lurking around the highest echelons of power in Washington for 47 years. The references to cutting “the big guy” into the money deal is enough to make Bill and Hillary Clinton blush.
But the massive coverup by the media is also damning. And very well may backfire on Mr. Biden.
In this modern media age, information almost always finds the light.
It is so comically fitting that the most enduring image of the Joe Biden for President campaign would be a picture of Joe Biden, wearing aviator glasses to cover his eyes and a surgical mask to cover his face while refusing to answer any questions.
Wait and find out after the election, he tells us.
This is not to say that Mr. Biden cannot win this election. He certainly can.
Any operation this sprawling and brazenly corrupt will stop at nothing to defeat an outsider vowing to clean house.
Mr. Trump may be the actual incumbent in this race. But with an opponent like Mr. Biden, anybody is an outsider.
• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] or @charleshurt on Twitter.
On Oct. 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed that Russian peacekeepers or observers should be deployed to halt the current conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which broke out into open hostilities in late September. Yet, there’s good reason for the West to be wary of this idea. Russian peacekeepers would do nothing to resolve the conflict, and only serve to give Moscow another lever through which to pressure both Armenia and Azerbaijan, thus undermining the corridor across the South Caucasus linking Europe with Central Asia.
In the past two weeks, several hundred people (including dozens of civilians) have been killed on both sides of the renewed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority-Armenian enclave inside internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory. The conflict has risked triggering the involvement of Russia, Turkey and Iran. Given its proximity to Europe, quelling it has understandably become a high priority, and the need for international intervention is overdue.
The problem is that Russian peacekeepers would violate the first principle of the Hippocratic oath: “Do no harm.” For 30 years, Moscow has sought to manipulate the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict to its advantage, and the experience that neighboring countries have had with Russian peacekeepers should serve as a strong deterrent.
The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is unique in many ways — including the fact that no peacekeepers have ever been deployed along the line of contact between the two armies. This is no accident. Back in 1994, Moscow negotiated a ceasefire between the two parties that ended the “hot” phase of their war. But as international organizations sought to mount a peacekeeping mission, Russia insisted it would take part. This, of course, would violate United Nations peacekeeping guidelines, which insist that neighboring countries should never serve as peacekeepers. And because no other country felt safe sending peacekeepers where Russian troops would be present, no peacekeeping mission ever materialized.
Interestingly, this is one of the few things that both Armenia and Azerbaijan have ever agreed on. Back in 1994, both quietly opposed any deployment of Russian forces into the conflict. The reason was simple: Both knew better than anyone how Moscow had manipulated this conflict from the start. This was true in Soviet times, when Moscow supported Azerbaijan against a wayward Armenia. It was even more true after independence, when Moscow shifted to support Armenia when a nationalist president was elected in Azerbaijan.
Moscow’s behavior in recent years does not indicate that much has changed. In what must be a first in international mediation, Russia is, on one hand, a co-chair of the international body tasked with mediating the conflict — the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Simultaneously, however, Russia has been providing large amounts of weaponry to both parties in the conflict. The main difference? Armenia, a member of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, has paid next to nothing for these weapons, whereas independent-minded and oil-rich Azerbaijan has paid world market prices.
In the past 30 years, the track record of Russian peacekeepers has given birth to a witticism: Russian peacekeeping is all about keeping the pieces. If Armenia and Azerbaijan need any reminders, they can ask their common neighbor, Georgia. Before the 2008 Russian invasion of that country, Russian peacekeepers in the Georgian breakaway territory of South Ossetia were engaged in the training and organization of paramilitary forces in that territory, which subsequently triggered the conflict by shelling Georgian villages. Russia then invaded Georgia, and now has more than 3,000 troops inside South Ossetia.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has signaled Armenia’s willingness to consider Russian peacekeepers. This is understandable, given Armenia’s setbacks in the current fighting. But Mr. Pashinyan should be careful: The deployment of Russian peacekeepers could, in practice, lead to Russian administration over Nagorno-Karabakh, the very territory Armenia is fighting for.
This may seem outlandish today. Yet back in 1989, when the troubles started, the Soviet regime for some time applied direct administration over Nagorno-Karabakh. Only last year, that model was resuscitated by Modest Kolerov, a former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Gazprom-affiliated Regnum news agency.
Mr. Kolerov claimed that Nagorno-Karabakh faced either incorporation into Armenia or military conquest by Azerbaijan. Neither option, he argued, would provide the territory with its purported right to a “dignified state existence.” His solution was for Nagorno-Karabakh to have a form of statehood under Russian tutelage, outside either Armenia or Azerbaijan — something similar, perhaps, to that of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, or Transnistria in Moldova.
Mr. Lavrov’s suggestion of Russian peacekeepers may very well be the first step in applying the Kolerov model to Nagorno-Karabakh — something that would freeze the conflict and give Moscow enormous influence over both Armenia and Azerbaijan. This is not the way forward. It has been clear for years that the festering conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was primed to explode sooner or later, and Western policy shares part of the blame, not least because it has tolerated Russia’s role as a co-mediator while Moscow has simultaneously been manipulating the conflict. Simply put, Russian policies are a key reason for the violence we are witnessing presently. A greater Russian role is therefore definitely not the solution.
What, then, is? The conflict requires a serious international effort that aspires not only to freeze the conflict anew, but to resolve it once and for all. This can only be achieved by a joint U.S. and EU effort that combines American hard power to provide security, and the EU’s financial clout for the reconstruction of the conflict zone.
Anything less amounts to a dangerous half-measure — and an opening for Moscow.
• Svante E. Cornell is the director of the American Foreign Policy Council’s Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, co-founder of the Institute for Security and Development Policy and a Policy Advisor to JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Strategy.
Twitter and Facebook are quickly backpedaling after suppressing a New York Post story damaging to former Vice President Joe Biden, but that doesn’t erase the fact that just weeks before an election, the social media platforms continue to enforce their rules differently for those with whom they disagree politically.
When the Post published a story last week that Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, allegedly made money from providing access to his father when he was vice president, it seemed like Twitter and Facebook all of a sudden “got religion,” as we say in the South. The platforms said they spiked the story because it contained links to documents — allegedly from Hunter Biden’s personal computer — that they claimed might have been hacked or illegally obtained or that the story might be outright disinformation.
Boy, that’s a great standard to have, but it’s funny how they didn’t seem to have that same standard when it came to left-wing news outlets reporting on near-daily anonymous leaks from within the federal government and other stories that would seemingly fall under the same rules.
In particular, Twitter’s excuses for taking down the Post link and blocking anyone who shared it just didn’t hold water.
The problem with the excuse that the article may have violated policies against sharing hacked material is that, so far, there’s no evidence the emails were hacked or otherwise illegally obtained. In fact, neither Joe Biden nor Hunter Biden claimed Hunter was hacked, nor did they dispute the facts of the reporting. The Post reported that the computer was turned over to a computer shop for repairs and never claimed, which meant it became the property of the shop owner.
The other problem with that excuse is that Twitter allows hacked information from WikiLeaks and other sources all the time.
Even if down the road it turns out the Post was fed disinformation or the information was hacked, Twitter and Facebook preemptively took down the story before anyone could offer proof it wasn’t true. Have Twitter and Facebook preemptively taken down stories from The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed or others?
Twitter also claimed that its concerns about the article were due to the “lack of authoritative reporting” from the New York Post. Although it has a conservative bent, the Post is one of the largest mainstream newspapers in the country. Again, has Twitter expressed concern about the lack of authoritative reporting from The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed or others?
Clearly, there is bias here.
The Heritage Foundation has seen firsthand how Big Tech companies block or otherwise limit the reach of our own content — even medical information provided by licensed doctors — because that information doesn’t agree with certain platforms’ social or political agendas. They do it through politicized fact-checks, contrived labels, removing posts, or even blocking users.
We’ve also seen how just last week, Amazon Prime’s streaming service announced that it won’t carry conservative Shelby Steele’s new documentary, “What Killed Michael Brown?” The film examines the left’s use of a false racial narrative after Michael Brown’s 2014 death to divide a nation, setting off riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and around the country. While the film is timely and informative, the narrative it debunks is the very narrative that Amazon and many in Big Tech have been promoting.
One can certainly understand that Twitter and Facebook and other platforms have rules to protect users, to prevent the spread of false information and foreign propaganda, and to otherwise provide a safe user experience. But they have politicized these rules, and the evidence continues to mount that their application of these rules is dependent on whether they agree with the user’s political viewpoint. The result is a collapse in public trust and a significant impact on the American electoral process.
According to recent polling by Pew, an astounding 72% of Americans think it’s likely that “social media platforms actively censor political views that those companies find objectionable.” While 85% of those on the political right believe this bias is real, 62% of those on the left also share this concern.
Regardless of one’s political views, the suppression of a major news story from a reputable news outlet is very troubling.
While Twitter said that it’s changing its policies to prevent similar incidents from happening again, Americans are no longer interested in repeated apologies or promises that these platforms will do better. They demand action.
Social media platforms need to leave their biases out of their business models and apply their rules and standards fairly and impartially, or they risk being overtaken by a tidal wave of government action, public criticism and competing alternatives the free market is already creating to take their place.
• Kay C. James is president of The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).
As soon as Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, the left predictably pounced. A little less predictable were the merciless and inaccurate accusations about her involvement in People of Praise, a charismatic Christian group in which she held the role of a “handmaid.” Progressives saw this as their “gotcha” moment, because of course it was evidence that she would chip away at reproductive and women’s rights if confirmed to the court.
In reality, the handmaid title was given to women who counseled others on significant life events, such as marriage and child rearing. Realizing the term’s connotations have significantly changed over time — having been linked inextricably to the dystopian society created by feminist author Margaret Atwood — People of Praise changed it to “leaders.”
Regardless, liberal activists across the country came out in droves this past weekend, many donned in handmaid outfits, to protest Judge Barrett’s nomination for fear of what they believe will lead to a loss of women’s equality and rights.
Ironically, many of the progressives who denounce Barrett are the same people who advocate for a system of governance that would impede the hard earned progress of women. They fight for a system that believes more government — not civil society or an individual’s own merits, productivity or perseverance — is the answer to every critical issue confronting the country.
This is a system that promises free education, health care and daycare but in return, assumes more control over one’s life.
A woman who’s been nominated to the highest court in the land because of her commanding intellect and impressive credentials is no more a handmaid than women in the purported future that protestors believe is in store should she be confirmed.
It is policies such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, that require greater subservience to the government and less reliance on individual initiative and industry.
Those who believe in such a system ignore the overwhelming body of evidence that the free market system has liberated more women than any social policy. Further, policies that support economic freedom lead to greater gender parity.
According to The Heritage Foundation’s 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, there is a strong correlation between economic freedom and gender equality. This makes sense. The more economically empowered that women are, the more likely they are to advance professionally and in other areas of life, closing the gap between their male peers.
The United Nations too, stresses the wide ranging benefits of economic empowerment to women and a country’s overall economic health, saying that it is “central to realizing women’s rights and gender equality.” In fact, they’ve made women’s economic empowerment as key to achieving their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Female entrepreneurship thrives when there are fewer impediments to starting a business, something that would be much more difficult under the barriers of a socialist system. Currently there are 11.6 million women-owned firms in America, representing 39% of all private businesses, generating $1.7 trillion in sales. No other nation comes close to matching this level of female entrepreneurship. Women have started billion-dollar companies such as Spanx, Eventbrite and Cisco, something that is unheard of in socialist countries.
An abundance of statistics demonstrate the financial gains made among women under the free market system. In America’s 50 largest cities, single females own more homes than do single men. Today, women control more than $10 trillion in U.S. household financial assets, a number that is likely to triple within a decade.
At the start of this year, women outnumbered men in the U.S. paid workforce for just the second time. Unfortunately, the pandemic has eliminated many of the job gains women have made the past decade. The last thing women need are anti-growth policies.
Astonishingly, women — especially younger women — are increasingly inclined to support socialism. An Axios poll last year found that 55% of women in the 18-54 age group said they would prefer living in a socialist country. Yet at no other time in world history have women had as much freedom, wealth or success as they have in America today.
The economist John Attarian once wrote that it is not capitalism that is ruthless, but socialism, which makes a society ruthless by denying individuals the ability to make their own decisions and turning government into the master.
The attacks on Judge Barrett are wrong. A woman who has nearly made it to the highest court in the land is not subservient, nor would she rule in favor of policies that would have prevented her own success.
That aside, activists making accusations against her must consider which system is more likely to reward women for the fruits of their initiative and which one is more likely to treat us all as if we are handmaids?
• Christine Czernejewski is a Milwaukee-based public relations consultant who served in the George W. Bush administration and as an aide on Capitol Hill. The views expressed are her own.
President Donald Trump said in a rally over the weekend that if Joe Biden wins the White House, be prepared for a canceled Christmas season.
That’s the truth. Christmas 2021 — and beyond.
Biden and his buddies on the socialist side of the political aisle can’t wait to get their grips on America to first stifle, then redistribute, then assume the position of Most High Picker of Winners and Losers. That’s the Biden plan for the economy: Tax the rich to give to the poor to ultimately decide who gets to be rich versus who has to be poor. China has got a check in the rich column, that’s for sure.
Small business owners?
Hard-working Americans trying to reach the next financial goal for their families?
Blue-collar types and white-collar types alike, pressing hard to maintain self-sufficiency?
Sorry. S.O.L., as the saying goes. Shoulda given more when the ol’ Democratic National Committee came a-callin.’
The fact is Biden’s plan sells as a populist message that helps the lower-income — but as everybody knows, taxes on business trickle down as higher prices for consumers. The real way to help Americans with their household bottom lines is to remove regulation that stifles growth, creativity, entrepreneurship and, ultimately, sales.
Biden’s plan doesn’t do that.
Biden’s plan is little more than the predictable leftist Robin Hood approach.
“Income tax rates for high-income taxpayers are returned to the pre-Trump level,” the Goodman Institute wrote of Biden’s tax policy.
“Biden’s tax plan … increases the corporate income tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent,” the Tax Foundation wrote.
The nonprofit went on to note the economic fallout from Biden’s plan would “reduce the economy’s size by 1.47 parent in the long run … shrink the capital stock by just over 2.5 percent and reduce the overall wage rate by a little over 1 percent, leading to about 518,000 fewer full-time equivalent jobs.”
The good news is that long before Biden’s economic devastations could take root and spread, his coronavirus ideas would already have knocked out any signs of GDP positives.
Or, as Trump said: “Under the Biden lockdown, the lights of Reno and Las Vegas [would be] extinguished. Carson City will become a ghost town. If he comes in, Carson City will become a ghost town, and the Christmas season will be canceled.”
No doubt. This is the guy after all who wants to put all of America in face masks — by government mandate, Constitution be danged. This is the guy who said he’ll listen to the so-called scientists at all costs — regardless if said so-called scientists say to completely shut down the economy and tell everybody to stay at home. America, with Biden at the helm, would be lucky to make it to Christmas 2021.
In between COVID-19, tax-the-rich and green energy, Biden and his team of economy-killing cranks would have a veritable ball running roughshod over the capitalistic enterprises of America. And for him, that’d be the Christmas gift that kept on giving: a downer of an economy, courtesy the kindly bureaucrats who want nothing more than to kill capitalism, one face mask mandate at a time.
Merry Christmas, ya’ll.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
President Trump has caused the Chinese immense difficulty. He was the first American president to call them out for their unfair trade practices, theft of intellectual property and military expansionism. Particularly since the revelation that they were responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, the president in both word and action — by using sanctions, tariffs and other restrictions — has made the Chinese pay a very high price for their actions. It is only rational for them to want someone other than Mr. Trump.
In contrast, former Vice President Joe Biden has shown himself to be open to family enrichment from the Chinese, by way of his son, as exposed by the just-released emails and prior admissions and evidence. The fact that Mr. Biden made the requested introductions and appeared to influence American policy to be more pro-China would naturally make him a Chinese favorite.
Mr. Biden’s defenders claim that there is no evidence that any of the money Hunter Biden received from the Chinese made its way to the former vice president’s pocket. The flow of money is traceable because there are bank records of all international transactions and domestic bank transfers, which are kept in an electronic form. Once the authorization is made for the release of the records, it should be only a matter of hours before the facts are verified.
All of those who have been demanding the release of Mr. Trump’s tax returns, in addition to his very extensive financial disclosures, ought to be equally demanding of the Biden family records — given the seriousness of the charges and the apparent evidence that he took bribes and tried to launder the money.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin also is very likely to prefer Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has put much tougher sanctions on Russia than Obama-Biden ever did. It is only logical to expect that Mr. Putin sees Mr. Biden as much easier to negotiate with than Mr. Trump.
There is nothing new about countries trying to interfere with other countries’ elections — or ruler selections. The practice has gone on forever. All major countries do it — even the U.S. If one candidate for leadership in a foreign country seems to be more hospitable toward your country than another candidate — it only makes sense to try to help the most likely friend.
Countries try to influence elections by funneling money into the preferred candidate’s campaign in an unidentified way (money laundering). Countries often supply disinformation, as was done against Mr. Trump by the Russians in 2016, through government channels, through friendly reporters who may or may not be on the take, and through business people who have vested interests.
Many people in government, other than elected officials, find it useful to obtain dirt on both those in charge and the opposition for purposes of career advancement, or position protection, or even the ability to engage in implied or explicit blackmail. Some foreign governments are skilled at identifying such individuals and are often in a position to supply useful information as a quid pro quo.
Members of the news media are often in a position to make or break the career of those in government, and hence can influence public policy by making someone a hero or goat. Sophisticated operatives of foreign governments understand that many members of the press are easily influenced by money, sex, food and drink, travel and useful information.
Business people who have or desire to have commercial relationships with foreign countries are often susceptible to making their domestic political choices in a way that will please their foreign partners. For instance, the NBA receives a major portion of its revenue from China and has been overtly kowtowing to the Chinese in recent months. It is doubtful that many NBA players or owners are going to support Mr. Trump.
It is frequently asked why so many major company executives are supporting Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump given that Mr. Trump’s economic policies are much more pro-business and economic growth. One merely needs to look at how much of their revenue is dependent on China one way or another — which is particularly true of the media conglomerates. Despite the (largely false) image of the independent principled reporter or news writer, most of them quickly adapt to the company line (Mr. Trump’s bad, Mr. Biden and China are good) because understandably they desire certain job security.
All of this easily explains why the massive cover-up of the Biden family money scandal. Those who own or control most of the mainstream media properties — successful swamp creatures — had decided that President Joe Biden was in their interest — he could be both bought and managed. Once that decision was made, disquieting facts that could undermine their candidate had to be suppressed, or explained away as “old news” or “not important” no matter how important.
This also explains why the press has spent more effort on trying to sell the notion that Rudy Giuliani is unreliable — who brought the emails to the public forum — than on the authenticity of the emails.
Mr. Trump scares the establishment, not because they think he is going to get us into an unnecessary war or screw up the economy, but because he understands their soft corruption — and might well eliminate some of it along with the attendant money and power.
• Richard W. Rahn is chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and Improbable Success Productions.
It was President Nixon who said in the midst of the enveloping Watergate scandal: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I earned everything I’ve got.”
That standard should be applied to Joe Biden before the election. He should be pressed to explain his son’s financial dealings in Ukraine and Beijing.
In a rare moment when a reporter is able to ask Mr. Biden a substantive question, Bo Erickson of CBS News wanted to know the candidate’s response to a New York Post story that alleges a Hunter Biden laptop discovered at a repair shop in Delaware contains damning evidence of the Biden family profiting from Hunter’s relationship with the Ukraine gas company Burisma and sharing some of the money with his father, reportedly referred to in a Hunter Biden email as “the big guy.”
Sounds preposterous? Then if the story is false, as Joe Biden supporters claim, why, according to a story in The Washington Times, has the owner of the repair shop confirmed to a Senate committee that it was Hunter Biden, himself, who dropped off the laptop?
Joe Biden didn’t deny the story, but claimed to Mr. Erickson, “it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask.”
Not exactly. The media have almost universally been in the tank for Joe Biden and his running mate, the equally invisible and inaccessible, Sen. Kamala Harris. Over the weekend, Biden campaign surrogate Jenna Arnold repeatedly refused to deny the authenticity of the alleged Hunter Biden emails. When asked by Fox News’ Leland Vittert if they were genuine, Ms. Arnold responded, “I don’t think anybody is saying they are inauthentic.”
It was reported last January by the New York Post that Hunter Biden, his father and other family members profited from Joe Biden’s positions in government. The story cited Peter Schweizer’s investigative book “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite”: … “no less than five family members benefit[ed] from his largesse, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even US taxpayer dollars.”
As the political journalist Michael Kinsley observed in 1986, “In Washington, the scandal isn’t what’s illegal; the scandal is what’s legal.”
If true, Mr. Biden’s influence and positions in government were used by himself and his family for profit. People who have not yet voted deserve to know whether a man who might be elected president is a crook, or not, or at a minimum if he traded his influence for cash, even if it was technically legal. There is, after all, the matter of propriety and setting a good example for others, two assertions by Mr. Biden as to why he is a better choice than President Trump.
Thursday’s debate moderator, Kristen Welker of NBC News, has an obligation to press Mr. Biden on this question, as George Stephanopoulos failed to do in his ABC News town hall with Mr. Biden. The former vice president should not be allowed to get away with the claim that he is being smeared, especially when the smear appears to be coming from his own muddy hands.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan, January 2020).
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, a Democrat, has her hands full.
One is trying to stem the tide of COVID-19, and the other is wrestling with crime and young people hellbent on wreaking havoc at one of Maryland’s most lucrative economic development projects.
National Harbor, a U.S. Census-designated site, is being overtaken by youths and nefarious ne’er-do-wells, including partygoers, restaurant-goers who skip out on their bills and — get this — parents and other adults who rent hotel rooms for the careless young people.
The problem is so acute that Ms. Alsobrooks put herself in the hot seat regarding hooligans at National Harbor — again. In 2019, swarms of illegal ATV drivers terrorized motorists and pedestrians at the Harbor, whose popular sites include hotels, gambling sites, restaurants and watering holes.
This year, the major sticking points are hundreds upon hundreds of young people whose favorite weekend pastimes include stiffing their foodie tabs, partying and brawling as if no adults were in sight.
Yet they were. In fact, the grown folk rented some of the hotel rooms, and adults were seen dropping off the young folk.
Ms. Alsobrooks, bless her surveillance, has uncovered that many of the attendees at what she dubbed “super large parties” have used ridesharing transportation. She also has said that some parents have been ordered to collect their children for participating in such unlawful behavior.
Humph. 2020 tough love?
In no way should this behavior be tolerated, and Ms. Alsobrooks knows as much. Prepare for the county to provide more activities, including sports and online games.
For her part, Ms. Alsobrooks, a mother of a teen daughter, espoused another aspect of her soft-hearted take, “because I understand what our kids are going through.”
And therein lies the lack-of-leadership rub: to admonish to do as I say, which liberals too often refuse to stand and deliver.
The illegal and uncontrolled behavior on display subtracts from the launch of the “Social Distance Here” campaign in September to capitalize on not only countywide COVID-19 practices but to lure tourists and other Marylanders.
Sure, National Harbor, hard by the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, has scenic views and great shopping experiences. But not in the absence of law and order.
Mother Nature might offer a reprieve this weekend, as rain is predicted for Saturday and Sunday. However, while that may delay outdoor activity, ne’er-do-wells will surely exploit indoor possibilities. So inquiring minds should, well, think like criminals now and plan.
After all, National Harbor is more than a destination; it’s home to an estimated 4,300 people. And according to 247WallSt.com, the total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities for a single adult in National Harbor is $45,479 a year — greater than the annual cost of living for Maryland of $43,414 and greater than the national figure of $38,433.
And if there are but two takeaways for Ms. Alsobrooks regarding the hooligans on behalf of hardworking home ownsers and renters, COVID-19, cooped-up grown folk, it’s leave their money alone and keep them safe.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat, said he will be watching closely if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court to see if she delivers judicial decisions that satisfy dark money donors to Republicans in the Senate.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she will be watching closely to see if Judge Barrett was honest when she said in the hearings she did not “have an agenda” to overthrow Roe v. Wade.
But others, such as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, will be watching for more personal reasons. The McCloskeys are the St. Louis couple who got arrested for pointing their gun at protesters who had broken into their gated community and threatened to destroy property there as they searched for the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
Earlier this month, prosecutors announced the McCloskeys had been indicted on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. This week, the McCloskeys entered not guilty pleas to all charges.
At issue will be a question likely to confront courts continuously in coming years: What constitutes acceptable use of force for self-defense.
Judge Barrett is both a purist and an originalist. She believes, as did her mentor, Antonin Scalia, that the U.S. Constitution says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say. She joined a 37-page dissent in the 7th Circuit that argued felony convictions were not by themselves sufficient to deny people of their Second Amendment rights.
So, Judge Barrett’s arrival at the Supreme Court can’t come soon enough for the McCloskeys or anyone else who cares the Second Amendment.
Like a lot of American institutions, the Second Amendment is under serious and sustained attack. The McCloskeys can’t stand in their yard with guns to protect their property without being charged with multiple felonies. Judges debate the tether of the Second Amendment, and many find little to nothing that qualifies as a legitimate expression of the right to self-defense.
Others contend we need not let civilians own firearms … that they can call the police if something bad happens. Modern police forces, especially in cities of any size, are sufficiently equipped and staffed to take over the task of self-defense from citizens, the argument goes.
But, as we have seen since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in June, police forces often can’t or won’t respond to citizens’ calls. The mayor of Seattle ordered her police force to surrender a four-block area of town, in which police responded to no calls as businesses were looted, burned or harassed for protection payments and relented only when murders and rapes within the area began to pile up.
The police chief finally gave up and quit when the city council voted to stop use of tear gas and other non-lethal crowd control techniques, reduce funding by half and the number officers by a third.
The Second Amendment’s lifeline now is that people have realized in a way that hasn’t been obvious for decades that police might not be able to protect them. And finally, thanks to the appointment of Judge Barrett — and before her Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — and the work of some tenacious scholars, the case for the Second Amendment and the case against weakening it in any way has gained intellectual heft.
David Bernstein, a scholar at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Virginia, has taken on the current situation directly with a paper titled “The Right to Armed Self Defense In The Light of Law Enforcement Abdication.” The GMU law school has been a titan in defending conservative values in the nation’s capital, and Mr. Bernstein follows in that tradition.
He argues in the paper that District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court decision that held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to a handgun, was the beginning, rather than the end, of the fight for true Second Amendment rights.
The law it invalidated “amounted to an ‘absolute prohibition of handguns held … for self-defense in the home,’” Mr. Bernstein wrote, and there are still those who think the only lawful use of a handgun is to carry from one room to another in one’s house. Heller prevailed by just a 5-4 margin, meaning just one seat on the court falling into the wrong hands could mean it would be overturned.
The courts will be deciding a number of cases on what constitutes self-defense in coming months and years. We need to know we have justices who understand the Constitution to mean what it means and scholars such as Mr. Bernstein to keep score and keep us honest on the implications of the courts’ decisions.
• Brian McNicoll, a freelance writer based in Alexandria, Virginia, is a former senior writer for The Heritage Foundation and former director of communications for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.