Afghan takeover reminds Europe: It has no unified refugee plan

“Six years ago, the European Union descended into in-fighting as it struggled to process asylum seekers fleeing war-torn Syria. Over 1 million refugees and migrants crossed the sea to reach Europe in 2015.

Officials vowed to reform, to create a system that would process and distribute asylum seekers efficiently across the Continent. Next time, they wanted to be prepared.

That never happened.”

How The Rise Of White Identity Politics Explains The Fight Over Critical Race Theory

“support for the Republican presidential candidate has steadily grown by 12-to-15 percentage points since 2012 among white Americans who think there’s at least a moderate amount of anti-white discrimination in the U.S.”

“Meanwhile, the reverse is true among white Americans who don’t think there’s much anti-white discrimination: Support for the Republican presidential candidate has steadily dropped. The same pattern holds even after accounting for several factors that are also strongly correlated with presidential vote choice, such as partisanship, ideology and racial resentment.”

“In fact, white grievance politics now explains more than just vote choice. Sides, Vavreck and I found in a 2021 working paper that perceived anti-white discrimination increasingly predicts public opinion of people and policies connected to the former president, like Pence or repealing the Affordable Care Act. We also find that perceived anti-white discrimination is increasingly associated with Americans’ partisan attachments”

“These findings dovetail with the important research of Duke University political scientist Ashley Jardina. Her book, “White Identity Politics,” argues that white racial grievances more strongly influence political beliefs when white people perceive themselves as under threat, which is one reason why Trump was so effective in his many appeals to the cultural, economic and physical threats that they were supposedly facing. And Republican attacks on critical race theory follow the same playbook, framing its teachings as an anti-white “existential threat to the United States.””

How The House Got Stuck At 435 Seats

“There have been 435 seats in the House for so long now that it might seem as if the Founding Fathers had foreseen it as a natural ceiling for the chamber’s size. But that isn’t the case: 435 is entirely arbitrary. The House arrived at that number because of political expediency — and it has stayed there because of it, too.

Up until 1910, when the chamber expanded from 391 to 435 seats,4 the size of the House had experienced a mostly unchecked pattern of growth. Only once, after the 1840 census, did the number of seats in the House not increase; 1910, however, marked the last time the House grew, even though the U.S. population has more than tripled since then, from over 90 million in 1910 to over 330 million today.”

“In 1910, the largest state, New York, had about 9 million more people than the smallest — that is, least populous — state, Nevada. But today, the largest state, California, has nearly 39 million more people than the smallest, Wyoming.

This staggering gap makes it far more likely for states to end up with wildly unequal district populations thanks to the Constitution’s requirement that each state have at least one congressional district. The Supreme Court requires districts to have equal populations, but this applies only to the districts within a state — not between states. So even though the average House district will have just over 760,000 people after this round of reapportionment, each state’s average district will vary quite a bit, especially as states get smaller in size.

Take the smallest and largest states with only one representative: Wyoming and Delaware, respectively. Wyoming, with just under 578,000 people, winds up overrepresented because it’s guaranteed a seat despite falling well short of that 760,000 national average. Conversely, Delaware has nearly 991,000 people, which leaves it underrepresented because it isn’t quite large enough to earn a second seat. Meanwhile, Montana has only about 95,000 more people than Delaware, but that’s enough for the apportionment formula to eke out a second seat, meaning Montana will have two districts to Delaware’s one and an average district size of just over 542,000, making its constituents the most represented in the country.

State lines make perfectly equal districts across the country impossible, but there’s no question that increasing the size of the House would help reduce how unequal district sizes among states have become. Expanding the House could also make districts smaller, which in turn could help with representation, as the average number of people living in a congressional district has grown by about 520,000 people from 1920 to 2020 — three times more than the total shift from 1790 to 1910.”

“each member of the House represents far more people on average than legislators in most other large, developed — or developing — democracies.”

“Regardless of the potential benefits of a bigger House, though, there would likely be steep opposition to expanding it because of some of the tradeoffs — and potential downsides — involved. For instance, a larger House would by necessity mean a bigger government and more spending. House members make $174,000 per year, and after five years of service they are also eligible for a pension. Combine that with new staff, new construction for office space, perhaps even a roomier House chamber and you’re talking about many millions or even billions of dollars.

There could also be consequences for governing, too, such as more gridlock and partisanship. “By increasing the number of players who have to be satisfied in the legislative game, you make arriving at the kind of majorities — or, in most cases, supermajorities — that you need to pass legislation more difficult,””

“a bigger House might produce fewer competitive seats thanks to partisan sorting and fewer representatives open to compromise. “You would have even less of an incentive as an individual member of Congress to try to do things on a bipartisan basis,” said Overby, “because your district would be increasingly homogeneous — increasingly Democratic or increasingly Republican.””

State Governments Are Creating Their Own Drug Cartels

“some states legalized it, hoping to put an end to the black market. But legalization hasn’t ended the violence.

Why? Because many states impose so many unnecessary rules.

California is one of the worst.

“The illicit market is approximately two to three times the size of the legal market,” says cannabis industry lawyer Tom Howard in my new video.

Illegal sales thrive in California because politicians make distribution pointlessly difficult.

Howard advises clients who want to open a dispensary, “You have to have a $50,000 safe, a $200,000 security system, and a $100,000 consultant help you make an 800-page application.”

Every single plant must be weighed, tagged, and tracked from seed to sale.

This information is “not being used to benefit anybody,” complains grower Jason Downs. “It’s just a waste of everybody’s time, money.”

While legal sellers struggle, clueless California Gov. Gavin Newsom complains: “Illegal cannabis grows! They’re getting worse, not better.”

His solution: California taxpayers now will spend $100 million to bail them out!”

“Illinois’ rules are probably the worst.

“Only ‘social equity veterans’ in Illinois can get a license,” explains Howard. In other words, new licenses are supposed to go to prior “victims of the drug war.”

But the bureaucrats’ rules are so complex that a full year after legalization, zero new licenses have been issued.

Meanwhile, politically connected people grabbed every existing license.

One billionaire from the Wrigley gum family “paid $155 million for six dispensary licenses,” says Howard. Illinois is “creating a cartel.””

“Other states have bad rules, too.

“Florida and Arizona are millionaires’ clubs,” says Howard. “You have to not only grow it; you have to be able to produce it and process it. You have to own your own dispensary. If you have $40 or $50 million, it’s great.”

Massachusetts requires all dispensaries to black out windows lest anyone see the marijuana. Stores must also check everyone’s IDs multiple times.

Legalization doesn’t have to be stupid.

Oregon and Colorado have reasonable rules, and in Oklahoma, “anyone can get a cannabis license,” says Howard, “provided you’ve lived in Oklahoma for two years.”

The result?

“You get a lot more innovation—more entrepreneurs coming into market. Some go out of business, and some do very well….It’s free market capitalism.”

That works!”

Texas Cops Realized They Raided the Wrong House. They Kept Searching Anyway.

“In November of 2018, Lucil Basco of Bexar County, Texas, awoke to a thunderous boom, followed by a parade of eight cops barging through her front door. She was handcuffed, and, with her screaming child, removed from the premises. The officers soon realized they made a mistake: They had the wrong house, based on incorrect information from a confidential informant. Yet they continued the operation anyway.”

“Deputies arrived and broke into Basco’s home that evening, despite there being no reason to believe such force was required. Though it appears they did not do the requisite research to confirm she was involved in the drug trade, they did conduct plenty of surveillance: “Officers conducted a traffic stop of Mrs. Basco shortly before the raid during which they searched her vehicle and learned that she is a nurse,” writes Pulliam. “And officers were surveilling the home both when Mrs. Basco left to collect her child and when she returned with him.””

“It is not uncommon for police departments to leverage confidential sources to carry out violent, no-knock raids. The Chicago Police Department, for example, is well-known for its so-called John Doe warrants, based solely on anonymous tips.

In 2019, a cadre of male cops knocked down the door to a Chicago apartment, handcuffing a naked woman while they ransacked her home. The officers elicited nearly 100 misconduct allegations during that one raid because they had the wrong address and had not bothered to do rudimentary verification beforehand. The city has a pile of similar suits.”

More Than 53,000 American Companies Sought Exemptions From Trump’s China Tariffs. Almost All Were Denied.

“The bureaucratic process established by the Trump administration to determine which American companies should be exempted from paying tariffs on imports from China is a black box of “inconsistencies” and poorly documented decision-making, according to a new audit.

In a report published last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) cast a critical eye on the so-called “tariff exclusion process” created in 2018 as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to slap tariffs on a wide range of imports from China. The process, overseen by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, allowed American businesses to appeal to the federal government for permission to not pay tariffs if they could demonstrate that a given product was not available from other sources, or if a business faced “severe economic harm” due to the tariffs.

Between 2018 and 2020, American businesses submitted more than 53,000 exclusion requests. The vast majority—87 percent—were denied, and most of the denials were on the grounds that the company failed to demonstrate sufficient economic harm to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the GAO found.

In other words, federal bureaucrats reviewed tens of thousands of statements from companies pointing out how the Trump administration’s tariffs would cause economic harm—because, yes, Americans paid for the tariffs—then discarded most of those requests because the harms were not “severe” enough.

What’s even worse is that there’s very little in the way of objectivity or due process afforded to companies that had their exclusion requests denied. Soon after the tariffs were imposed, members of Congress warned that the exclusion process lacked “basic due process and procedural fairness” and that it could be “abused for anticompetitive purposes.” As Reason previously reported, business owners have complained that simply getting a decision one way or the other can take months. And there is no way to appeal the rulings.

The new GAO report confirms some of those concerns.”

“tariffs are always about protecting certain industries, and protecting certain industries always invites influence-peddling.”

The Government Says These Missouri Men Are Innocent. It Won’t Release Them From Prison.

“Kevin Strickland, Christopher Dunn, and Lamar Johnson all have something in common: they all have spent decades in the Missouri prison system, they all maintain their innocence, and the cases that led to their convictions have all fallen apart. Yet the men remain behind bars with no release in sight despite various government actors suggesting they should have their verdicts overturned.

It’s hard to cook up a more nightmarish scenario.”

“The fates of Johnson and Strickland are in the hands of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who insists on Strickland’s guilt and says that Johnson exhausted all his appeals.

If Schmitt does not petition for their verdicts to be overturned, it would be up to Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, to issue executive clemency. Parson yesterday released a list of pardons that included Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who attracted national media attention after waving their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis.

In the spirit of forgiveness and redemption, their pardoning makes sense; his failure to also pardon Dunn, Strickland, and Johnson does not. If Parson wants to make a point about prosecutorial overreach, he should grant mercy to prisoners incarcerated for crimes the government concedes they did not commit.”