Tag: policy

Good judges see questions of law. ACB’s Democratic critics see only policy outcomes.

Sometimes Democratic senators tell on themselves. In today’s Amy Coney Barrett nomination hearing, many Democrats made it clear that they see the role of judges as passing or killing policy based on whether they like or dislike the policy.



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That’s not what judges should do, and nobody has presented an ounce of evidence Barrett has or would. But Democrats, by basing their entire argument against Barrett on the Affordable Care Act, basically admitted that their vision of a judge is as a superlegislator.

Democratic senator after Democratic senator appeared with a picture of a constituent and a story of how that constituent benefited from Obamacare. This is the core of their planned partisan attack against Barrett.

The assertion: Barrett would strike down the Affordable Care Act if confirmed to the Supreme Court. This is very unlikely, as the ACA case on the docket is unlikely to overturn Obamacare. See my colleague Phil Klein’s explanation.

Where do they get this idea? Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden falsely states, “This nominee has said she wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.” That’s simply not true. Biden either made that up or misspoke badly and didn’t correct himself. Democrats might just view this as a useful message.

What do the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats rely on for evidence? They point to a law review article in which Barrett expressed a mainstream opinion that does not bear on the current case.

Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts in his case upholding Obamacare’s requirement that everyone buy health insurance. Here’s what Barrett wrote:

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute. He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power; had he treated the payment as the statute did—as a penalty—he would have had to invalidate the statute as lying beyond Congress’s commerce power.”

She’s exactly right. Barrett knows that Roberts couldn’t stomach the Democrats’ argument — that a person not buying health insurance, which can’t be purchased across state lines anyway, counts as interstate commerce. She also says that the law didn’t create a “tax,” as Roberts asserts, but it created a mandate with a penalty.

It takes a creative or activist judge to swallow either (a) the Democrats’ argument that intrastate non-commerce is interstate or (b) Roberts’s argument that the mandate isn’t a mandate, but merely its penalty is a tax.

As Sen. Chuck Grassley said in his opening statement: “Even the Democrats who forced it through Congress insisted it wasn’t a tax. Jeffrey Toobin wrote that Roberts’s tax argument was ‘not a persuasive one.’ President Obama even said, ‘I absolutely reject that notion that it was a tax.’”

Barrett was taking the same side as Obama there.

More importantly, what bearing does this have on the current ACA case? None. It’s just that for Judiciary Democrats, there

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Qatar- Low-carbon society possible with right policy: GECF

(MENAFN – The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha: The current energy saving goals and renewable energy policy in East Asia Summit (EAS) countries will contribute to reduce fossil fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions mitigation, a senior official from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) said. 

Speaking at the Doha-based GECF (Gas Exporting Countries Forum) Monthly Lecture Series on ‘EAS Energy Outlook’ held recently, Special Advisor on Energy Affairs to ERIA President Shigeru Kimura, said that unless two of its heavyweights, the US and China, take the lead on this transformation, any shift towards the low carbon society will be inadequate. 

‘Further, seeing the ASEAN transition from 2017 to 2050, the region is actually increasing coal, increasing natural gas, and increasing oil, but the renewables only get a little bit rise. That is the ASEAN reality, Kimura said during the online lecture. 

EAS is a regional grouping of 18 countries, which brings together the ASEAN nations and countries in the Pacific Ocean, including Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States. The Jakarta-based ERIA has worked extensively with the EAS, particularly with its Energy Cooperation Task Force (ECTF) in driving its three major streams of promotion of energy efficiency and conservation (EEC); penetration of biofuels; and renewable and alternative power generation with research and data. ERIA also compiles the biennial energy outlook of the EAS. GECF Secretary-General Yury Sentyurin added: ‘The suggestions made regarding the low carbon society are important for the GECF because we recognise the vital and crucial role that natural gas will play in energy transition and sustainable development, as well as in post-pandemic recovery.

‘ERIA’s own projections (2015-2050) show that energy consumption in this important region of the world will increase by 2.5 times whilst power generation demand will increase by three times during the same period.

Here, I see potential for fuel substitution, especially in the power generation and transport sectors, if gas-based infrastructure affordability grows and more favourable policy measures are undertaken, added Sentyurin. 

He went on to highlight that the recommended steps are in line with the 2019 Malabo Declaration of the 5th GECF Gas Summit of Heads of State and Government, which also emphasises the importance of cooperation amongst various stakeholders. 

The latest edition of the EAS Energy Outlook (2019-2020) estimates that the East Asia Summit countries will witness 3.1 percent increase in economic growth annually between 2017 and 2050, while its population will increase from 3.89 billion in 2017 to 4.43 billion in 2050. At the same time until 2050, the share of fossil fuels in the EAS will be more than 80 percent in the business-as-usual scenario and 70 percent in the case of alternative-policy-scenario. 

The EAS Energy Outlook also forecasts that between 2017 and 2050 the share of natural gas in the final energy consumption of the EAS region will increase from 12 percent to 14 percent. 

According to Kimura, policymakers make informed decisions when they are fed the factual data. Forecasting

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Former Chinese government official ran TikTok’s content policy as app went global

A former Chinese government official in his late twenties was in charge of deciding what content should be allowed on TikTok as the short-video app became a smash hit around the world, according to two people close to the company.

Cai Zheng, who worked in China’s embassy in Tehran for four years according to a now deleted LinkedIn profile, ran ByteDance’s global content policy team in Beijing until early this year, when the company accelerated a move to let its biggest markets make their own decisions about what videos should be removed. 

The revelation that Mr Cai was at the heart of TikTok’s policymaking team raises questions about repeated denials from ByteDance, the app’s Beijing-based owner, that the Chinese government has any influence over TikTok’s operations. 

TikTok has been painted as a security threat to the US by Donald Trump and the app is trying to restructure its ownership and operations in partnership with Oracle and Walmart to avoid a total ban. It has been banned in India, previously its largest market by number of users.

Mr Cai joined ByteDance in 2018, at a time when the company was under intense scrutiny by Beijing for the videos it was running on TikTok’s Chinese sister app, Douyin, among other issues. The pressure forced chief executive Zhang Yiming to issue an apology and to tack closer to the government line. 

The former diplomat sat within ByteDance’s global trust and safety team in Beijing and wrote guidelines for what videos were acceptable on TikTok and other international apps including Helo and Vigo Video.

According to the people close to the company, Mr Cai was far from being a Communist Party ideologue, but his background and training may have influenced how he, and a team of young mostly Chinese policy analysts, implemented a strategy to keep controversial content off the short-video app.

During his stint, TikTok was accused of suppressing videos that upset Beijing’s sensitivities, including one by a teenage American girl which sought to raise awareness of the mass imprisonment of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region. TikTok has denied suppressing politically sensitive videos and said the video was removed in error. 

Last September, documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper, and confirmed as authentic by the people close to the company, suggested that TikTok banned videos about Tibetan and Taiwanese independence, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the Falun Gong movement.

TikTok said these policies were out of date and the documents were labelled as historical, although one person said content moderators still had access to them at the time of the leak.

“Cai Zheng was not involved in developing the policies [ . . .] as these policies predated him,” said a TikTok spokesperson. “He worked with our growing regional and local teams on localisation of our early content policies.”

Mr Cai could

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