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Free Speech Under Threat (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) July 5, 2017

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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This summer, Commentary magazine published a forum on the question: Is free speech under threat in the United States?

Ironically, in a country where the Constitution and the courts carefully protect free speech, many people do not feel free to speak freely. Why? Because of a smothering blanket of political correctness that starts in our colleges and permeates our society.

Speakers with points of view that differ from the liberal orthodoxy are not welcome on many campuses, and in some cases have been subject to threats and violence. Students are supposed to be protected from so-called trigger words and microaggressions in the classroom. So much for free speech and the open debate of competing ideas.

The problem is that the First Amendment protects free speech from limitations by government, but the big challenges to free speech come from our culture and our campuses. It will take a strong fight to protect free speech, which is clearly under threat.


The Future of Freedom (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) June 30, 2017

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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A new survey by the Fund for American Studies reminds us that millennials do not understand economics. The same group that does not know basic civics—such as who their senator is or whether Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court—also doesn’t get how free markets work.

While 60% of millennials said they would choose liberty over security, in turn 54% want more government, not less. A majority of even Republicans and conservatives believe government should regulate oil and drug company prices, and place tariffs on goods coming from overseas.

This survey is described as a “freedom index” but millennials really favor more government regulation. I suppose it’s no surprise that young people who have grown up knowing nothing but big government fail to see the connection between more government regulation and less freedom.

Young people who value freedom in their personal and social lives need to understand that political and economic freedoms are necessary to sustain that.


Tax Reform Should Not Increase the National Debt (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) May 24, 2017

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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This is David Davenport of the Hoover Institution for Townhall.com.


One more dilemma for our leaders in Washington is that we desperately need tax reform, but we can’t afford to increase the national debt.

The debt is already large and growing. Our leaders say it’s nearly $15 trillion, but that doesn’t count another $5 trillion of debt to our own government, making the real number closer to $20 trillion. And Senator Ben Sasse has recently reminded us that even that number doesn’t count entitlement bills coming due that we can’t pay, perhaps pushing the number as high as $75 trillion.

But there are reasons to worry that it’s about to get worse. First, rising interest rates could make the debt more expensive. Second, Trump’s tax reform could bring in even less revenue. He’s counting on stimulating growth, but it will take a lot of growth to pay for lower tax rates.

Senator Mitch McConnell is right to say that tax reform must be revenue neutral to keep from growing the national debt.


Congress Needs to Step Up Its Game (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) May 23, 2017

Posted by daviddavenport in Politics, Radio Commentaries.
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While everyone was evaluating Donald Trump at 100 days, we also should have been grading Congress.  With significantly lower approval ratings than the president, Congress has done very little.

With the same political party controlling the White House and Congress, how can that be?  The answer is that Republicans in Congress are no longer following their leaders but instead are beholden to political caucuses.  The moderate Tuesday group and the conservative Freedom Caucus now hold as much power as the Speaker of the House or a committee chair.

Leaders no longer even try to work with members of the other party, instead settling for party-line votes on everything.  Only five times in history has the president’s party avoided losses in mid-term elections, so Republicans now have about a year and a half to get it together.  Otherwise what should have been a period of power and influence will have been wasted.


Trump’s First Hundred Days: Doing What He Promised (National Radio Commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 25, 2017

Posted by daviddavenport in Politics, Radio Commentaries.
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Since Franklin Roosevelt, presidents have been evaluated at the end of a hundred days.  Donald Trump drafted his own report card in a campaign speech last fall, saying what he would do in his first hundred days.

And here’s the surprising thing:  he’s doing what he said.

•    Appoint judges who would uphold the Constitution.  Neil Gorsuch. Check.
•    Construct a wall and limit illegal immigration.  No wall yet, but plenty of restrictions.
•    Reassess trade agreements—withdrew from the TPP, check.
•    Repeal Obamacare—no check, but working on it.
•    Impose term limits on Congress—no.
•    Remove restrictions on energy—yes.
•    Eliminate gun-free zones—not yet.
•    For every new regulation, eliminate two old ones.  Check, by executive order.
•    Instruct the Joint Chiefs to develop plans to protect America.  Check.
•    Label China a currency manipulator—maybe, but doubtful.

After 100 days, he’s batting .500 or more, which is better than my teams are doing.


Why Hasn’t International Law Stopped Chemical Weapons in Syria? (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) April 18, 2017

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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Where is international law when you need it? The Syrian government has again used chemical weapons on its own people, despite signing the international convention banning chemical weapons as well as a specific agreement to destroy them.

So why is this still happening? It’s one thing for countries to sign treaties but, if they turn out to be against their interest, they simply violate them later. Unfortunately there is very little enforcement of international law. The U.N. Security Council is usually blocked from acting by the veto of one or more of its permanent members.

So the U.S. is left to come to the rescue of international law and the Syrian people. One could question one nation taking it upon itself to enforce a treaty, but the soft nature of international law has never been strong on enforcement. It also doesn’t stop unilateral enforcement either if there’s a consensus that such action is appropriate.

Stay tuned, the legal questions are likely to get more complicated in Syria.https://w.soundcloud.com/player?url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F318118022&visual=true&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false



Bad News from the Index of Economic Freedom (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) March 21, 2017

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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The 2017 Index of Economic Freedom has been released and it contains some bad news for Americans.  The U.S. dropped 6 positions in the ranking of economic freedom around the world to #17, its lowest level since these studies have been published.  While most nations of the world increased their economic freedom, the U.S. saw a significant decline, rated now not “free” but only “mostly free.”

The main contributor was a new category in the study called “fiscal health.”  This shows that a shocking 38 percent of our gross domestic product now goes to government and also emphasizes our growing national debt and deficit.

Milton Friedman, the greatest economist of the 20th century, said that the country that puts equality ahead of freedom will end up with neither, but the nation that puts freedom ahead of equality will end up with a great measure of both.

Clearly we need more economic growth, less government spending and less debt.  In other words, more freedom.



States Could be Winners with Trump (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) December 28, 2016

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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Since Ronald Reagan, Republican and Democrat presidents alike have grown the federal government and its role in our lives. From No Child Left Behind to environmental laws, the pattern has been more and more federal regulation.

The Trump administration may finally swing the pendulum of government power back toward the states.  As a conservative former governor, vice president Mike Pence will champion state control. The new Secretary of Education favors vouchers, which means less government power over education. The heads of Energy and the Environment are both state officials who have fought federal power.

The most important questions the Trump administration can ask are:  should the government act and, if so, which branch and which level? When the federal government has taken over everything from healthcare to the environment and education, it’s high time for an administration that asks those important federalism questions and returns power to individuals and to the states, as promised in the 9th and 10th Amendments.



California Seceding From President Trump’s U.S. (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) December 10, 2016

Posted by daviddavenport in Politics, Radio Commentaries.
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To the list of 23 celebrities who have said they are leaving the country if Donald Trump became President, we can now add one of the 50 states.  An effort is under way for California to secede from Donald Trump’s United States. “Calexit” seeks a ballot initiative or a constitutional amendment for California to leave the Union.

Perhaps they should study their American history because the last time this was tried, by the Confederate States in the 1860s, it ended rather badly.  There is simply no constitutional basis for nullification or exit from the Union.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Mayor said they are doubling down on being a sanctuary city, openly welcoming and harboring people who violate the federal immigration laws.  San Franciscans are incensed that Trump might pull their federal money for this.

Californians live in a bit of a dream world, voting radically differently than most any place else in the U.S.  But even California must learn that elections have consequences.


To listen to the podcast:  www.townhallreview.com

Why Not Prosecute ISIS for War Crimes and Genocide? (National radio commentary, Salem/Townhall) October 12, 2016

Posted by daviddavenport in Radio Commentaries.
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International courts love to take on political cases, such as those against Israel or the U.S., but when there are obvious and serious international crimes, they often take a pass. The latest examples of obvious war crimes and genocide come from ISIS … but there is no prosecution in the works.

Investigators have collected evidence of kidnapping women as sex slaves, genocide against ethnic Kurdish religious communities and other atrocities, yet no one wants to bring these matters to court. They clearly constitute war crimes of the worst sort and the ISIS leadership is nothing but a criminal syndicate.

The U.N. Security Council could refer these matters to the International Criminal Court which, frankly, needs more to do. Or a special court in the region could be established for this purpose.

It’s time for international law to stop talking and do something useful. Bringing cases of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity against the ISIS leadership would be a good place to start.

To listen to the audio: http://www.townhallreview.com