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Items filtered by date: Saturday, 20 May 2017
If you want to see what divides Republicans in Congress, don't look at the struggle to repeal and replace Obamacare. Look at spending.
The House's narrow passage of a partial repeal of Obamacare dominated media for days. Happening at the same time, but receiving relatively little coverage, was the Senate's approval of a $1.1 trillion spending bill that revealed -- far more than Obamacare -- the deep differences among Republicans in both houses of Congress.
The story is in the numbers. On Obamacare, 217 Republicans voted for partial repeal, while just 20 -- a little under 10 percent of the House GOP conference -- voted against it.
On the spending bill, just 131 Republicans voted yes, while 103 GOP lawmakers -- about 43 percent of the House GOP conference -- voted no. In the Senate, 32 Republicans voted yes, while 18 GOP senators -- about one-third of the Republican side -- voted no.
Lawmakers gave several reasons for rejecting the leadership's spending deal with Democrats. "This bill funds sanctuary cities, funds Planned Parenthood, it funds Obamacare and I think that was unfortunate and it's a real missed opportunity," Sen. Ted Cruz -- a no vote -- told San Antonio radio host Trey Ware. "There is a reason Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are celebrating, because the spending measure funds everything they want and funds virtually none of the priorities we were elected to fund."
"I think the Democrats cleaned our clock," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, another no vote. "I'm for comprehensive immigration reform, but sanctuary cities go untouched. Obamacare continues to be funded in a way that we all say is illegal."
"Drain the swamp, right?" asked Rep. Dave Brat, another no vote, in Buzzfeed. "Where is that in the budget? Nowhere. We fully funded the swamp."
Another House Republican no vote pointed to a provision in the spending bill that would double the number of so-called H-2B visas to allow temporary low-wage foreign workers into the U.S. -- a move a number of experts said would lower wages for American workers.
"H-2Bs will be an issue and will cause a loss of conservative support for the bill," the member said shortly before the vote. "Very un-Trumpian to ban border wall construction and fund sanctuary cities while also expanding foreign labor!"
Foreign labor was a key factor in the no vote of Sen. Tom Cotton. In a floor speech Thursday, the Arkansas Republican explained that he recognized the good parts of the bill, in particular more defense spending. But he focused on the H-2B provision, not just because it is bad policy -- he explained at length what that is so -- but because it "shows just how bad this process is."
"It's not necessary," Cotton said of the visa expansion's inclusion in the bill. "It has nothing to do with funding the government, nothing. It hasn't been vetted. It hasn't gone through the normal legislative process, which would be the Judiciary Committee, where the chairman and the senior Democrat both have written that they oppose this measure. I don't even know how it got in (the bill)."
And yet there it was. And President Trump signed it into law.
In the end, the spending bill votes revealed significant divisions among Republicans about the amount of spending -- more precisely, the amount of deficit spending -- they can tolerate. Those differences extend far beyond their conflicts over Obamacare repeal. A grand total of 20 GOP House members split with their leadership on health care, while 103 did so on spending. In the Senate, where the Republican majority is so narrow they have just two votes to spare, the GOP lost 18 votes. Those are signs of problems ahead.
Byron York
Published in Politics
Do college students -- and their parents -- truly understand how thoroughly left-wing professors dominate the humanities side of academia?
Many people know that most professors are liberal, but the degree to which the left wing rules is jaw-dropping. A study published last September in Econ Journal Watch, "Faculty Voter Registration in Economics, History, Journalism, Law, and Psychology," documents the overwhelming left-wing nature of the voter registration of college profs at 40 leading universities. An examination of voter registration in five departments found that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 11 1/2-to-1. Even in economics, where one would think that views would be driven by data, not politics, Democrats outnumbered Republicans 4 1/2-to-1. History was practically foreign terrain for Republicans, as Democrats outnumbered them 33 1/2-to-1.
And it's getting worse. A 1968 study put the Democrat-to-Republican ratio in history departments at 2.7-to-1. This latest study found that among profs 65 and older, Democrats outnumber Republicans by 10 to 1. But for scholars under the age of 36 the ratio is 22.7-to-1.
In 2012 the California Association of Scholars published the results of a two-year study about the bias of professors in the University of California system. The study claims that professors' bias "corrupts" education, turning schools into indoctrination camps. According to the National Association of Scholars: "The report documented curricula that promote political activism, in violation of UC regulations. For example, one course aims to be a 'training ground' for 'advocates committed to racial justice theory and practice.'" The CAS report also cited earlier studies that found that associate and assistant professors, those waiting in the wings, are ever more likely to be registered as Democrats. Among UC Berkeley's associates and assistants, said the report, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 49-to-1 in all departments -- including sciences. 
What about commencement speakers?
Of the political speakers, left-wingers dramatically outnumber conservatives. The student political advocacy group Campus Reform looked at last year's commencement speakers for the top 100 colleges and universities from U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of best colleges. Of the then-announced speakers associated with political messages, 40 were liberal and 10 conservative, a ratio of 4-to-1 in favor of Democrats. 
What about political contributions?
In the 2012 presidential election, a Campus Reform study found that 96 percent of the Ivy League's faculty and staffers who made campaign donations sent their checks to Barack Obama. At Brown University, just one professor contributed to Mitt Romney's campaign. Employees of the eight prestigious schools sent more than $1.2 million to President Obama, but contributed just $114,166 to Romney's campaign -- a ratio of more than 10-to-1 in favor of Obama.
This brings us to what can only be described as Trump Derangement Syndrome, campus style. UC Berkeley claims, in effect, that it cannot protect students and property, therefore "incendiary" conservative speakers like Ann Coulter and David Horowitz -- who actually attended graduate school there -- had to cancel their proposed speeches. Meanwhile, at Claremont McKenna College in California, students blocked entry to those who came to hear pro-cop researcher Heather Mac Donald. "Activists" called Mac Donald a "white supremacist fascist," among other things, for researching and concluding that, no, cops are not engaging in illegal racial profiling. At Middlebury College, a professor who co-sponsored the invitation to conservative Charles Murray, which prompted a riot, apologized -- to the rioters! Another California human psychology professor called Trump's election "an act of terrorism." 
Dartmouth recently conducted a field survey of nearly 500 of its students and found that 45 percent of the students who self-identified as Democrats said they would be "uncomfortable" rooming with a conservative, while only 12 percent of Republican students said that they would be "uncomfortable" with a liberal roommate. 
The question is whether left-wing professors create left-wing students. To say there is no effect is to say teachers don't matter. Consider this. In an attempt to quantify the effect of media bias, UCLA economics and political science professor Tim Groseclose writes: "(The) average voter received approximately 8.2 percent of his news from Fox, and 79.9 percent from establishment media (defined as all outlets except Fox, the internet and talk radio). Thus, the 'reach' of establishment media is approximately 10 times that of Fox News." He says in presidential elections, liberal media bias gives Dems an advantage of eight to 10 points. Were the media truly fair and balanced, concludes Groseclose, the average state would vote the way Texas does.
Is it not reasonable to assume that professors have at least some measure of influence on their students? Have many professors crossed the line from education to indoctrination? Will opposing views be tolerated and respected? Does a student run a risk of facing grade retaliation by a Trump-hating poli-sci professor?
Campus activists have long complained about "microaggressions," for which they demand "safe spaces." Is there any place where a left-wing student can feel safer than a college campus, where conservatives are not just unwanted but cannot even speak?
Larry Elder
Published in National

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