Photo: UPI/Mike Theiler

Speaking to Congress yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that a nuclear deal with Iran would not stop the country from developing nuclear weapons. In fact, he said, the Obama administration’s hoped-for deal may even catalyze the development of such weapons.

Heritage Foundation expert James Carafano agrees with Netanyahu that this deal is not a “realistic plan for peace:” 

A real peace plan would demonstrate that all sides were committed to not adding more nuclear weapons powers to the Middle East. The deal as it stands does the opposite—it preserves the nuclear option for Iran—and as result will prompt other regional powers to hedge their bets and prepare to go nuclear as well rather than live in Tehran’s nuclear shadow.

Do you agree that the deal with Iran is a bad deal? 

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission enacted rules that reclassify broadband Internet providers as public utilities. The FCC’s goal is to use New Deal-era legislation to enforce “net neutrality,” a longtime liberal goal.

Under net neutrality, Internet providers like Verizon or Comcast would have to treat all online content equally. This sort of regulation would tend to limit competition for online services and deter innovative business practices that benefit consumers, Heritage’s James Gattuso and Michael Sargent write.

The regulations simply aren’t necessary, since the problems they address “have been vanishingly rare,” Gattuso and Sargent explain. “And any provider that does abuse its position would be constrained by competitors or by existing antitrust laws.”

The fight isn’t over, Gattuso writes in the Daily Signal:

With the FCC’s vote, the battle over how (and whether) the Internet will be regulated by Washington moves to two new but familiar venues. The first is Congress, where members will want to—and arguably have a duty to—have a say. Congress’s options, however, are limited, given the likelihood of a White House veto of any bill that overturns the FCC. There are approaches worth exploring, however, such as attaching a reversal to other must-pass legislation such as an appropriations bill.

Do you think the FCC should regulate the Internet or allow free enterprise to guide the Internet’s development?

Late last week the House quietly pulled a bill to reauthorize the George W. Bush-era education law known as No Child Left Behind until 2021.  NCLB is frequently cited as one of the biggest failures of the Bush administration, and as Heritage expert Lindsey Burke has pointed out, the bill proposed by the House missed several opportunities to advance meaningful reforms.

The withdrawal of the legislation, which Burke dubbed “No Program Left Behind,” is a win for education freedom. It shows the power conservative ideas can have — despite what we hear from the progressives and the establishment.

What’s the alternative? Burke has a suggestion: “Conservatives in Congress should pursue the A-PLUS approach in order to restore educational decision making to state and local leaders, who are better positioned to make informed decisions about the needs of their school communities. ”

Do you think stopping NCLB reauthorization was a success for the conservative movement?

The Supreme Court this week sided with a fisherman who faced up to 20 years in federal prison for throwing undersized fish into the ocean. He was charged under a law passed after the Enron scandal designed to prevent the shredding of financial documents.

The ruling for fisherman John Yates was a victory against overcriminalization, Heritage Foundation legal expert John Malcolm writes. Overcriminalization, in which ordinary activity is subject to severe penalties, is a real problem:

It is not uncommon for prosecutors to stretch the law beyond the breaking point by charging defendants with violating a broadly-worded statute that carries an unusually stiff penalty even though it seems self-evident that the particular statute was not designed to address the factual situation presented.

Yates’ legal team sent the following message to Heritage after the court’s ruling:

On behalf of Mr. Yates, the Yates team, and the entire Middle District of Florida, Federal Defender’s Office, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to you for your support on Mr. Yates’ case.  The decision, as it turns out, was a close one, and undoubtedly your support helped carry the five votes at the end of the day. We cannot express how valuable we found your moot to be and how much we gained from that experience.

Do you think the government has too many laws on the books regulating Americans’ lives?

A report from Britain’s House of Lords on the Arctic, an increasingly contested region of the world, cites Heritage Foundation scholars:

Luke Coffey of The Heritage Foundation warned that the decrease of sea ice would mean “a larger military presence by more actors than ever before”, although other witnesses disagreed over the Arctic’s military-strategic importance and the significance of decreasing sea ice as a causal factor. Greenlandic independence from Denmark might further increase geopolitical interest in the region, especially if an independent Greenland decided not to become a member of NATO and remained outside the EU.

The Thatcher Center’s Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis both gave written testimony to the Select Committee on the Arctic, and were cited 12 and 23 times, respectively.

Do you think America and our allies should engage in defending access to this important region of the world?

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