July 4, 2022

The World and Everything in It – May 30, 2022

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

A veteran is denied medical benefits because the VA made a mistake. Can the veteran challenge that years later?

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.

Also on the Monday Moneybeat, econ questions for David Bahnsen from our students at World Journalism Institute.

Plus the WORLD History Book. Today is the 100th anniversary of an iconographic American memorial.

REICHARD: It’s Memorial Day, 2022. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Time now for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden visits Uvalde as DOJ announces review of police response to shooting » AUDIO: [CHOIR]

Many gathered for an outdoor service Sunday in Uvalde, the Texas town still gripped by grief after last week’s massacre at an elementary school.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden were in town yesterday, where they visited a memorial to the 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary.

Meantime, questions continue to mount about the police response in the moments following the shooting. Many are asking why officers did not move in more quickly.

Democratic Congresswoman Val Demmings told CBS’ Face the Nation

DEMMINGS: We all know, post-Columbine, there’s no time to waste, that the officers on that scene are expected to go into those active shooter situations.

And the Department of Justice announced on Sunday it will review the law enforcement response.

DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said the Uvalde mayor requested the review. He said the goal is “to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions” and “to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare” for future active shooter events.

Top Republicans call for tighter school security at NRA convention » Top Republicans over the weekend condemned the horrific shooting in remarks at a National Rifle Association convention in Houston. Among them, former President Trump…

TRUMP: As we gather this week, citizens across this state and across this nation are filled with grief in the wake of the heinous massacre.

He called for stepped-up security at schools across America. That was a message common among most of the speakers.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz echoed another prevailing theme …

CRUZ: What stops armed bad guys is armed good guys.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not attend the event as originally planned. Instead, he delivered a video message focusing his remarks on praising the teachers and staff at Robb Elementary School and on healing from the tragedy.

Outside the convention, Abbott’s rival in the upcoming November election, Beto O’Rourke joined a crowd of protesters. O’Rourke was among many Democrats who called on the NRA to cancel the event in the wake of the shooting.

Russians storm city, shell east Ukraine as Zelenskyy visits » Russian and Ukrainian troops traded heavy fire on Sunday as Moscow’s forces stormed a city in eastern Ukraine. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.

JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Russian troops charged into Sievierodonetsk after trying unsuccessfully to surround it.

Russian soldiers advanced as the ground quaked from intense shelling. The fighting knocked out power and communications in the city of about 100,000 people.

The area has emerged in recent days as the epicenter of Moscow’s quest to conquer all of Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region.

Meantime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a rare visit to the frontline of the war in the city of Kharkiv.

Zelenskyy’s forces pushed the Russians back from positions near the city several weeks ago.

The president visited Ukrainian soldiers stationed near Kharkiv and posted a statement on social media saying—quote—”I feel boundless pride in our defenders. Every day, risking their lives, they fight for Ukraine’s freedom,”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

Sudanese military to release pro-democracy activists after deadly crackdown » In Sudan, the ruling military says it’s letting pro-democracy protesters out of jail and lifting a state of emergency. The move is reportedly meant to jumpstart talks between the military and the pro-democracy movement.

The announcement follows another violent crackdown on protesters in the streets of the capital city.

Sudanese forces fatally shot one demonstrator in Khartoum. Another suffocated after inhaling tear gas.

Roughly a hundred people have died in government crackdowns on protesters since the military seized power back in October.

But on Sunday, a top general announced that the ruling sovereign council recommended lifting the emergency declaration and releasing all detainees.

Top Gun: Maverick delivers biggest Cruise opening ever » At the weekend box office, it was the biggest opening ever in Tom Cruise’s career. And that is saying something.

TRAILER: Your reputation precedes you. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting an invitation back. They’re called orders, Maverick.

Top Gun: Maverick finally debuted after repeated delays throughout the pandemic, hauling in an estimated $151 million over the holiday weekend.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness finished second with another $21 million. It has now raked in about $375 million in four weeks of release.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: reversing a government error.

Plus, demonstrating at the Lincoln Memorial.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday, May 30th. This is The World and Everything in It from WORLD Radio, and we’re glad you’ve joined us today. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It is Memorial Day and today we honor the men and women who have died serving our country and defending our freedoms.

We also thank their families for the sacrifices they made in supporting their loved ones who served.

It’s time now for Legal Docket.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two opinions last week.

The first one, unanimous. It involved a Taco Bell franchise owner who sought to enforce an arbitration agreement employees signed. But the owner didn’t act right away. Instead, he waited eight months before demanding to arbitrate and in the meantime had begun the litigation process and discussed possible settlement.

The justices remanded the case to lower court to figure out whether the franchise knew that delaying its arbitration demand amounted to a waiver of the right to use it.

REICHARD: The second opinion came down 6-3 against two men on death row in Arizona for crimes they committed against children.

Their claims arise from the Sixth Amendment to the constitution relating to protections for criminal defendants, specifically its guarantee of effective assistance of counsel.

The inmates say their lawyers either failed to pursue evidence of innocence or did not present mitigating factors that could have resulted in a sentence less than death.

The majority justices pointed to federal law that sets out how to pursue claims of ineffective assistance of counsel: the law requires inmates to develop the factual basis in state court proceedings, so that wouldn’t require a further evidentiary hearing after the fact.

EICHER: The ruling will make it harder for death-row inmates to raise claims of ineffective counsel after they are convicted.

A vigorous dissent from the three liberal leaning justices called the opinion perverse and illogical. They reasoned that inmates will have a hard time proving their lawyers were no good on the advice of lawyers who are no good. They would allow a court to review evidence of ineffective counsel in cases like this.

REICHARD: Alright, onto the last of the oral arguments this term. If you’ve listened every Monday since October, you’ve heard something about every merits case the justices heard.

The first case involves veterans benefits.

Here are the facts. Kevin George joined the Marines in June 1975. He passed the entry physical, but shortly after that, he suffered a psychotic episode and received a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

The Marines discharged him and he eventually filed for VA benefits. The VA found that George’s military service had aggravated a pre-existing condition and so denied him benefits. The problem here is that the agency’s erroneous interpretation of the law resulted in the denial.

It comes down to what kind of mistake that is, and whether that kind of mistake allows a veteran to challenge an old decision of the VA.

Melanie Bostwick argued on behalf of the Marine:

BOSTWICK: There is no dispute that a clear and unmistakable error has occurred when VA adjudicators misapply the terms of a plain statute. As this Court has said over and over, an agency regulation has the force of law only if it is consistent with Congress’s command.

Lawyer Anthony Yang for the VA argued that the board made no mistake at the time of its original decision.

YANG: For nearly 60 years now, the regulation governing clear and unmistakable error provided that such error cannot be based on a change in interpretation of the law. And what petitioner is suggesting is a real radical change here.

Justice Neil Gorsuch posed a hypothetical to test the reasoning of that:

GORSUCH: But let’s say the — the regulation, since you want a regulation, says that — that a certain standard for disability applies in — in a segregated Army differently based on race. That couldn’t qualify as a clear and unmistakable error? 

YANG: No, but there are other ways to correct that error. 

GORSUCH: My question is could a later court correct that or not? And I think on your interpretation the answer has to be no. 

YANG: No. It could do so in a prospective way.

Gorsuch called that “a remarkable claim, but okay.”

And he had an ally in Justice Stephen Breyer, equally skeptical of the government’s argument.

BREYER: I’ll just tell you this. This is the most clear and unmistakable error I’ve seen in 40 years. I can’t think of another one. Now what is it like? It’s like a statute that says you get a thousand dollars, veteran, if you served in Korea — in the Philippines in World War II or Korea, and they leave out Korea. 

Stephen Breyer going on to say even the government with all its resources couldn’t sort this out before now.

If the court decides veterans can challenge VA decisions that were based on regs later found invalid, then other veterans similarly denied benefits could also seek revision in their cases.

Okay, these last two cases involve death penalty jurisprudence.

Raymond Twyford received the death penalty for murder in 1993. Fast forward a quarter century to the year 2018, Twyford asked for a brain scan that might bolster his claim of problems resulting from severe childhood abuse. A suicide attempt when he was a teenager left 20 fragments of a bullet lodged in his brain.

So that raises a question that didn’t come up in trial: whether Twyford was competent to stand trial in the first place.

Twyford’s lawyer requested and a federal court ordered that Twyford get that brain scan and that the prison warden should transport him to the appointment.

But the state of Ohio argues such an order is overreach that delves into state matters. State Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers for Ohio:

FLOWERS: The injury we’re suffering is the sovereign interference with the safe operation of our prisons. That we cannot remedy on appeal, plus the threat to public safety. Once we transport him, we have sustained all of those harms. There’s no unringing that bell after the fact.

But Twyford’s lawyer, David O’Neil, pointed out his client had been taken to the medical facility over a dozen times with no problems. Not only that:

TWYFORD: The jury never heard any evidence about the effect of a point blank gunshot wound on Mr. Twyford’s cognition and therefore his culpability. They didn’t hear anything about that because counsel never bothered to investigate it.

Finally, another question involving death-penalty procedures.

It asks: what’s the proper procedure to challenge the way a state intends to put a convicted capital offender to death?

Michael Nance is on death row in Georgia for bank robbery he committed in 1993 and killing someone as he fled.

But he says Georgia’s planned method of execution will amount to cruel and unusual punishment in his case. That’s because of health problems that left his veins in such poor condition that he’ll need an IV line put in his neck to administer the lethal dose. So he wants a firing squad instead, but Georgia doesn’t authorize that method.

He filed his suit as a civil-rights violation under this provision of federal law: 42 United States Code section 1983. That provides an individual the right to sue state government employees for violations of civil rights.

Here, the legal question is whether that’s the right law under which to bring this litigation.

Georgia says it’s not. Here’s Stephen Petrany, the state’s solicitor general:

PETRANY: Execution is a distinct form of custody. That’s why prisoners can challenge capital punishment in habeas to begin with. And, here, Nance seeks to bar his custodian from exercising that custody over him. That’s habeas relief. It doesn’t matter whether someone someday might be able to execute Nance if Georgia were to authorize a different criminal punishment. The relevant point is that he seeks to bar death by lethal injection, the only state-authorized punishment he’s actually subject to.

Basically, the state argues that because Georgia only authorizes one method of execution, and this man challenges that one method, then what he’s really challenging is the sentence of death itself.

So the argument goes that he’s required to file a writ of habeas corpus, not make a civil-rights claim. Habeas corpus is a fancy legal term that means to bring a prisoner before the court to determine whether his imprisonment is lawful.

But Nance’s lawyer Matthew Hellman says the civil-rights claim is perfectly legitimate in this case. You’ll hear Hellman make reference to the “1983 question.” In context, that just means the “civil-rights question.”

HELLMAN: Method-of-execution claims of all stripes involve alternatives where there will be a question about what the warden can or cannot do on his own or her own, for example, whether or not the warden could obtain a particular drug, whether or not the warden would need approval from some other regulatory entity, perhaps a federal entity or a state entity, in order to carry out the execution. Making the habeas/1983 question turn on the answer to that inquiry, which will often require factual findings and complicated assessments, is a recipe, as I said at the beginning, for delay, confusion, and arbitrariness in these cases.

Chief Justice John Roberts worried about prisoners not being allowed to raise new claims when new facts arise, especially those that could change their death sentence.

ROBERTS: And now that does seem like a pretty daunting Catch-22.

However the court decides, the circuit courts disagree on the fundamental question of what kind of case this is: Civil rights or habeas corpus?

And now with that, we’ve touched on every single oral argument this term. If you heard them all, congratulate yourself: I hereby bestow upon you an honorary juris doctor from the Reichard School of Jurisprudence.

And that’s this week’s Legal Docket!

NICK EICHER, HOST: Imagine being parked at a Sonic fast-food drive-in when suddenly every employee breathlessly sprints out of the building at the same time.

That was the scene in Brunswick, Georgia after workers discovered something hiding behind the deep fryer.

Brunswick police Lt. Matthew Wilson found employees of the Sonic drive-in huddled in the parking lot when he arrived to investigate last Saturday.

On the phone they had described the culprit as brown with diamonds on its back.

But Wilson said—quote—“When I saw it, I could tell it was just a ball python and not a rattlesnake.”

Well, I’m glad for officers like Lt. Wilson, because I’m with the employees. I say safety first, reptile biology second.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER, HOST: We are into week two here at the World Journalism Institute, our host university is Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa. We’re working with some very gifted students from all over North America and Eastern Europe as well. And several of our students had expressed interest in posing not only culture questions, but questions on economics as well.

So let’s bring in financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen. He is on the line now. Good morning.

DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good morning, Nick, good to be with you.

EICHER: Time is short, so David let’s hear from our students.

ELIZABETH RUSSELL, STUDENT: I’m Elizabeth Russell from Patrick Henry College. And my question for you is now that Russia is only taking payment for natural gas in rubles from countries that are deemed unfriendly. Do you think that this will weaken the U.S. dollar?

BAHNSEN: No, I don’t. I think that there is a threat in how oil is bought worldwide to the dollar. But it isn’t about the ruble. That is merely a mechanism of Russia trying to protect its own currency. Russian oil was never paid for in U.S. dollars. So that isn’t the direct threat. But related to the question is Saudi and other OPEC countries recently expressing a willingness to denominate oil and gas with Asian currencies, particularly China with the yuan. And so that would represent over time, I think, a weakening of the dollar. But I don’t think the ruble represents an imminent concern whatsoever.

AVA WOODWORD, STUDENT: My name is Ava Woodward and I go to Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. In high school, my teachers advise us to invest money to have extra security in retirement. I have looked around for accounts with compound interest but I have not found a high compound interest option. Is there a company who offers an account that you recommend to invest money into or is there another way you recommend to invest money.

BAHNSEN: Yeah, I mean, retirement money being invested to compound at an early age really should never be done with a savings account. And first of all, not only is it true that the interest is so low, that you’re not going to compound very much interest. But more importantly, you’re not getting any growth on the underlying principle. And so to compound the return, that’s where different kinds of mutual funds or ETFs, dividend stocks, you know, depending on what money one is starting with, I would be compounding through something in an equity market investment. And of course, we’re big believers in doing that by compounding the reinvestment of dividends. So the long answer is sort of a stock mutual fund is a good way to compound interest for a long term retirement savings.

ZOE SCHIMKE, STUDENT: Zoe Schimke from Colorado State University Pueblo here. To what extent do you think modern inflationary problems are the cause of fractional reserve banking?

BAHNSEN: Yeah, there’s basically two types of inflation. And I think that, um, monetary inflation is always in forever a monetary phenomena. So the way I answer the question is by saying that I believe inflation to be too much money chasing too few goods, and I don’t think fractional reserve banking has to necessarily mean too much money. But it often has meant that, and then I certainly don’t think it has to mean too few goods. I think those are what we call the supply side of the economy. And that’s certainly what we’re dealing with right now, where demand is picked back up, and you don’t have a necessary level of supply, because of too few workers supply chain problems, you know, not enough oil and gas production, those things. So it’s a mixed bag. But when you look at the two different causes of inflation, monetary policy can definitely be a huge factor.

EICHER: Excellent questions and we do have some David Bahnsen fans here in this WJI class who wanted to talk economics with you. You’ve got to feel good about that!

BAHNSEN: Well, of course, it’s very flattering, but it’s also encouraging, not because of involving me, but just involving the topics – you know, to hear young people have an enthusiasm for this. And it’s the great passion of my life to see people become animated about matters related to markets. I think markets matter because the human person matters.

EICHER: In our remaining two minutes, David, I’ll throw it open: What were the big stories on your screen last week?

BAHNSEN: Yeah, well, I’ll give you two quick tidbits. The stock market was up over 2000 points this week, it was one of the larger increases we’ve seen in the market in a long time. And so you got kind of a rebound from the really bad week markets had had the week before. And this is sort of the volatility that we expect to continue. It doesn’t mean things are bad, it doesn’t mean things are good, it means things are just kind of in that moment of uncertainty. And so you know, roller coasters go up and down. And that’s where we are right now.

The other thing I’d point out is, I really feel somewhat validated about one of my forecasts this year, which was not that inflation was gonna get all better and everything would go back to one to 2% inflation, but that it would directionally change and that politicians would immediately start wanting to take credit, and I thought that would be near the end of the year. But I gotta tell you, I never thought that I’d see the president send a tweet bragging about the inflation rate in the PCE, which is the personal consumption expenditures, it’s the index the Fed uses even more than CPI, the consumer price index. The PCE went from 5.2% to 4.9. So it did go down directionally, which is what I expect will continue. And the President came out and said it went from about six to about four. Okay, so he’s somehow by rounding up and rounding down, got .3%, to look like 2% and tweeted it. And this to me is what you should be expecting more of throughout the rest of the year is disinflation, meaning a high inflation rate becoming a lower inflation rate, becoming a big story and ultimately, it’s what I think the central bank will use to justify stopping their tightening of monetary policy. But I was intrigued by that this week. Those are a couple of takeaways from the week that was.

EICHER: All right, David Bahnsen, financial analyst and advisor, head of the financial planning firm The Bahnsen Group. He writes at DividendCafe.com. David, thanks!

BAHNSEN: Thanks so much, Nick.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, May 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up the WORLD History Book. Today Dr. Death is released from prison. And NATO welcomes a member for the first time in a quarter century. But first, one of America’s most recognized memorials celebrates a milestone. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR: We begin today in Washington D.C.

NEWSREEL: Every American has two hometowns. His own and Washington. The nation’s capital is a reminder of the history we share in common and the men whose dreams made a great nation. The Lincoln Memorial…it’s graceful columns represent the states of the union…

The Lincoln Memorial sits on the western end of the National Mall in Washington D.C. It celebrates its 100th birthday this week. On May 30th, 1922, U.S. Chief Justice William Howard Taft dedicated the memorial in front of a crowd of 50,000 onlookers. The large neoclassical marble memorial is made up of stone from across the country.

Mike Litterst is the National Mall Spokesman for the National Park Service. Audio here from the Associated Press:

LITTERST: Massachusetts granite is used on the stairs. There is marble from Georgia that used to construct the statue itself. The ceiling tiles are from Alabama, all of those from across the country, from states north and south. joining together to build this great memorial to Abraham Lincoln, just as Lincoln himself reunified the states at the end of the Civil War.

In the 100 years since its completion, the Lincoln Memorial has been the site of many significant civil rights events and protests. The first took place on Easter Sunday, 1939.

NEWSREEL: The nation’s most impressive Easter demonstration. 75,000 amass before the Lincoln Memorial to hear Marian Anderson…make her capital debut at the great emancipator shrine. Refusal of the DAR to let her use their hall fanned a countrywide controversy with this great gathering as the climax…here to listen to the voice claimed by many as the finest within a century.

The concert lasted less than an hour, but it cemented the site as a symbolic memorial to the nation’s foundational truth: that all people are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Next, May 30th, 1982—NATO welcomes its newest member. Audio here from the opening ceremony held 10 days later at the NATO summit in Germany:

CEREMONY: Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great moment in NATO history because we are celebrating the alliance’s 16th member: Spain.

High ranking government officials from each of the other 15 NATO nations attend the ceremony. Including United States President Ronald Regan, the first lady, and British Prime Minister Maragret Thatcher. It had been 27 years since a country joined the alliance.

THATCHER: While the accession of Spain to the North Atlantic Treaty offers fresh and convincing cause for a renewed faith in the future of the Alliance we must not be complacent…

Internal tensions within Spain delayed its planned entry into NATO. Both the Spanish Socialist and Communist parties opposed the move.


Some NATO members also doubted whether the young democracy was really ready to enter. But many nations within the alliance believed admitting Spain would be a strategic step to stabilizing the region. It also proved an important step toward the eventual creation of the European Union.

And finally, June 1st, 2007:

NEWSCAST: Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the man who claims to have helped 130 people die, is leaving prison a happy man…

Eight years earlier, a Michigan jury found Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder after he ended the life of Thomas Youk—a 52-year old man with ALS. Kevorkian videotaped Youk’s death. CBS’s 60 Minutes program aired portions of that video.

60 MINUTES: First the doctor gave him seconal to put him to sleep quickly. Then he injected a muscle relaxant to stop his breathing.

INSIDE EDITION: [KEVORKIAN] My intent was not to murder Thomas Youk. [ANCHOR] In 1999 he was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison—but was released after 8 years on the condition that he would no longer help people end their lives…

After his release for good behavior, Kevorkian quickly became a sought after speaker on the lecture circuit. He was a frequent guest on television news programs and documentaries as doctor assisted suicide bills worked their way through various state legislatures. He even ran for Congress in 2008.

A year before his own death, he sat down for an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

GUPTA: For many people, life is a gift. KEVORKIAN: It’s a gift? Who gave it to you?

Jack Kevorkian learned the answer to that question on June 3rd, 2011—when at 83 years old, the days of his life were complete and he met his maker.

KEVORKIAN: I am for absolute autonomy. You got that? There’s nobody who’s got more autonomy in mind than I have. That’s what’s wrong with this life…

That’s this week’s WORLD History Book, I’m Paul Butler.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: mourning with those who mourn. We’ll take you to Uvalde, Texas, where Christians are ministering to families devastated by last week’s school shooting.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

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The Apostle Paul wrote: urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech. (Titus 2:6-8 ESV)

Go now in grace and peace.

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