Commentary: The Right Should Not Protect Woke Capital

Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

For nearly 70 years, families have traveled to Disney for vacation, not indoctrination.

Sadly, America’s preeminent entertainment company has joined a growing list of corporations bent on pushing woke ideologies.

For decades, Congress has unthinkingly supported these companies. Conservatives need to reassess whether Disney’s bottom line is worth protecting.  

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Georgia Gov. Kemp Used Lieutenant to Block Ban on Zuckerbucks, State Senator Alleges

Geoff Duncan and Brian Kemp

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R), the chair of the state Senate, refused to bring up an election integrity bill for a vote on Monday because Republican Gov. Brian Kemp wanted it scrapped, Senate GOP leadership said, according to state Sen. Brandon Beach.

Senate Bill 89 would have dealt with chain of custody for ballots and prohibited private, “Zuckerbucks”-like donations from going directly to counties by routing them first through the State Election Board for distribution.

However, a vote on the bill was blocked by Duncan on Monday, the last day of the 2022 legislative session.

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House Passes National Marijuana Legalization Bill

Person making a marijuana joint

The Democrat-led House on Friday passed legislation to legalize marijuana nationwide, eliminating the longstanding criminal penalties for those who distribute and possess it.

The bill passed primarily along party lines (220-204), with all but three Republicans voting ‘no,’ and all but two Democrats voting ‘yes.’

The legislation will now head to the Senate where it will likely face an uphill battle toward passage, but has a powerful ally in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is working with several of his colleagues to introduce a twin bill sometime this spring.

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Jen Psaki Will Leave White House Podium for MSNBC: Report

Jen Psaki

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will reportedly depart her official administration job this spring and join MSNBC, according to a report from Axios.

Psaki has been rumored to be in discussions with corporate media outlets for months. Her White House departure is also no surprise; the mother of two always expressed a desire to stick with her current role for about a year before pursuing other options.

Axios reports that Psaki has been in close contact with the White House counsel’s office about her imminent departure and has not signed any contracts that would put her in messy ethics territory. Though, sources say that Psaki has shared her plans to join MSNBC with some senior White House officials – the deal is reportedly close to being finalized.

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Iowa House Passes Bill Requiring Schools to Post Curriculums, Materials Online for Parent Review

The Iowa House voted 60-30 in favor of passing a bill that would require Iowa public and charter schools to post their curriculum and books online for parents to review.

Some educators have argued that the bill (HF2577) will limit their ability to “adapt and meet the individualized needs of their students.”

The bill will give parents the ability to review instructional materials and request that their children opt out of certain reading materials. If the schools materials do end up changing, teachers will be required to update the information online by week’s end or be subject to a fine between $500-$5,000.

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Abbott Blasts Biden Administration’s Latest Immigration Policy, Saying It Endangers Americans

Greg Abbott

 Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blasted President Joe Biden Friday for making what he called another “reckless” immigration policy decision to terminate the public health rule known as Title 42. By doing so, the number of illegal immigrants expected to enter the country will more than double those who entered illegally last year, law enforcement officials estimate.

“President Biden’s open-border policies are an unmitigated disaster for national security,” Abbott said in a statement. “His recklessness has forced the State of Texas to take unprecedented steps to fill the gaps – including deploying Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and over 10,000 Texas National Guard soldiers, jailing illegal immigrants who are charged with trespassing, and becoming the first state ever to build a wall to secure the border.

“Instead of listening to the millions of Americans that his administration has endangered – and instead of enforcing immigration laws passed by Congress – President Biden has chosen to jeopardize the safety and security of those very Americans he swore to protect and defend by ending Title 42 expulsions.”

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Commentary: Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Soft Spot for Drug Dealers, Pedophiles and Terrorists

Ketanji Brown Jackson

If confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, she vowed to limit the government’s “overreach” in punishing criminals and enforce the guarantees offered the accused under the Bill of Rights.

That said, Jackson testified, “It’s very important that people be held accountable for their crimes, so if they’re not, then it would be a problem for the rule of law.”

Her idea of the best way to hold criminals “accountable” is a key issue the Senate will have to weigh as it votes to confirm her confirmation early next month.

As the count stands now, it appears she has enough votes to squeeze past an evenly divided Senate. But Republicans are pressuring Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to release documents they say shed more light on Jackson’s record on the bench, as well as the sentencing commission. Democratic Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin refuses to turn over even redacted copies of the presentencing reports generated in the child sex offender cases Jackson presided over. He also will not release her emails and other internal correspondence from her time on the commission. The White House, moreover, is withholding an additional 48,000 pages of documents that likely include some of her commission emails.

“Why are Democrats hiding her record? What is Judge Jackson hiding?” Davis asked.

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Commentary: GOP Must Promise Inquisitions, Not Meaningless Task Forces

Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows

Using the pretext of the so-called insurrection on January 6, 2021, the long knives are out for Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Post-election text exchanges between Mrs. Thomas and Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief-of-staff, recently were leaked by the January 6 select committee to none other than the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, who darkly described the communications as proof that “Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election result.”

The small cache of texts—29 total—shows Thomas expressing frustration at the election’s outcome. There is nothing sinister, and certainly nothing criminal, about the messages.

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Commentary: America’s Domestic Politics Hampers Ability to End Ukraine War

family with signs protesting the war on Ukraine

In my past role as founder and CEO of Varsity Brands, I came across every old business adage in the book.  Some were cheesy, some were over simplified, but many had wisdom as their foundation.  One such phrase that’s commonly used is, and with which I struggled because of my compassion for my employees, is, “Don’t bring your problems from home into the office with you.”    

There is a variation of that phrase that should be introduced to our political leaders in Washington, albeit a bit too late.  Their version of the “leave it at the doorstep” rule needs to be, “Leave your domestic political problems at your shores when conducting foreign policy.”

It is the violation of that rule, committed by members of the Democrat Party, the mainstream media, and never-Trump Republicans, that has put the United States in a position of pure international impotence with regard to playing a meaningful role in ending the current war between Russia and Ukraine.  We are unable because of our recent obsession in trying to manufacture a collusion narrative between former President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

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Trump Levels Blistering Attack on Democrats, and Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee

Donald Trump speaking

Sounding ever more a candidate seeking the White House again, former President Donald Trump on Saturday night attacked Democrats as a party of “socialists and communists” so extreme that they chose a Supreme Court nominee who “can’t even say what a woman is.”

“A party that’s unwilling to admit that men and women are biologically different in defiance of all scientific and human history is a party that should not be anywhere near the levers of power in the United States,” Trump told a raucous rally in rural Georgia.

In a 90-minute speech, Trump also rallied Republicans to get behind gubernatorial candidate David Perdue and football star-turned-Senate candidate Herschel Walker and to defeat incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.

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10 Republican-Controlled States Reach Record-Low Unemployment Rates

As the peak of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have passed, ten Republican-led states have all recorded the lowest unemployment rate on record.

According to The Hill, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows ten different states with unemployment rates as low as just over 2 percent. Nebraska and Utah are tied for the lowest percentages in the country, at 2.2 percent each. They are followed by Indiana with 2.4 percent, and Kansas with 2.6 percent. The remaining six states are: Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

All ten states’ unemployment rates are currently the lowest on record since BLS first began tracking state-by-state percentages in 1976. Of these ten states, only one has a Democratic governor, with Laura Kelly in Kansas. All ten states have Republican majorities in their respective state legislatures.

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Shrinking Food Supplies, Soaring Prices Could Trigger Global Unrest, Key GOP Lawmaker Warns

Rep. Austin Scott

With U.S. and world food prices set to soar due to inflation and supply shortages stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a key GOP lawmaker is asking the Pentagon to study the potential for conflict if the global food supply shrinks by 5%.

U.S. farmers will pay $300-$400 more per acre to grow crops this year due to inflation and costs associated with the war in Europe, Georgia Republican Rep. Austin Scott warned Monday on the Just the News TV show.

Shipping is another issue, as trade is throttled by war-related disruptions and tough economic sanctions against Russia.

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Iowa Is Second State in 2022 to Ban Men from Women’s Sports

Women's volleyball game

On Mar. 3, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed House Bill 2416, which bars men from competing against women in sports at “all school levels.”

“The bill also requires that only female students, based on their sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls,” the new legislation reads.

“This is a victory for girls’ sports in Iowa,” Reynolds said on Mar. 3, surrounded by a room of female athletes as the bill was officially enacted. “No amount of talent, training or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology.”

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Commentary: Reject Liz Cheney’s War

Liz Cheney

After nearly two weeks, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues with the Russian military steadily gaining ground and methodically taking control of key assets such as highways, bridges, airports, and power plants. As the Russians advance, they are also encircling and cutting off the main concentrations of the Ukrainian military. If those encirclements are completed, it could get ugly.

It’s into that cauldron that U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) would plunge the United States. On “Face the Nation” last week Cheney was nothing short of bellicose calling for escalation across the board.

Cheney wants Biden to expand already sweeping sanctions and seize the Russian Central Bank’s foreign reserves. Weaponizing the dollar and the banking system in this way, she apparently fails to realize, carries with it risks to dollar-supremacy and the global dominance of American financial institutions. As other nations watch America use the dollar and important elements of the international banking infrastructure such as the SWIFT system as weapons, they will realize their own vulnerability and take steps to protect themselves from U.S.-dominated financial systems. China already offers alternatives and Biden’s actions are the best advertising for those systems they could ask for.

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Governor of Iowa Signs Bill Banning ‘Transgender’ Individuals from Women’s Sports

Kim Reynolds

On Thursday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) signed a bill that will completely ban so-called “transgender” individuals from competing in girls’ and women’s sports, forcing them to remain with the teams of their actual biological gender.

The Hill reports that the bill, House File 2416, had previously passed the Iowa State House in February and was passed by the State Senate on Wednesday. Both chambers are controlled by Republican majorities.

The new law declares that “only female students, based on their sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.” The bill clearly defines “sex” as the “biological sex” listed on the individual’s birth certificate, and encompasses sports teams at all levels of school, community college, and college.

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Massive Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Legislation Banning Russian Oil Imports

Senator Joe Manchin speaking at a press conference

A group of bicameral Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would prohibit the U.S. from importing Russian oil and petroleum products.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin unveiled the Banning Russian Energy Imports Act which would ban the import of Russian oil and petroleum to the U.S. amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. More than a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers announced their support for the bill.

The U.S. imported more than 670,000 barrels of oil per day from Russia in 2021, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed. That figure represented a 24% year-over-year uptick compared to 2020.

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Head Start Teachers in Ohio, Virginia, and Louisiana Suing over Biden Administration’s COVID Vaccination Mandate

Head Start teachers in Louisiana, Ohio and Virginia are suing the Biden administration over a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination mandate for the federally funded program.

Elizabeth Etherton, a preschool teacher at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court over a threatened termination Monday for failing to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Missouri’s Auto Inspections Phased Out in Proposed Bill

Steering wheel of a Honda

After gradually reducing requirements for automobiles to pass a mechanic’s inspection before obtaining a registration, a bill in the Missouri state legislature would eventually end the program.

Currently, motor vehicles with more than 150,000 miles and 10 years from their manufacturing model year must pass a biennial safety inspection. House Bill 2499, sponsored by Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville, changes the law to exempt motor vehicles with less than 150,000 miles and manufactured after Jan. 1, 2012.

During testimony on Wednesday before the House Downsizing State Government Committee, Eggleston said legislators in 2019 considered eliminating the inspection program but compromised instead and loosened requirements.

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Postal Service Legislative ‘Fix’ Will Dump Workers on Medicare

A bill to “fix” the troubled United States Post Office (USPS) is on the verge of passage in the Senate but does it solve more problems than it creates? The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, H.R. 3076 was scheduled for a vote earlier this month but was blocked by Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) on a procedural technicality.  “We can’t afford to add stress on our already enormous national debt with poor financial planning, which I think this bill absolutely does,” Scott said of the bill.

Now it’s back and on track for a vote in the Senate.

The biggest financial liability facing the USPS is the legal requirement to fund 75 years of retirement health benefits in advance for its workers. Congress has found a way around that by dumping the future postal workers on to Medicare.

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Lawmakers Call for Investigation, Criticize Federally-Funded Critical Race Theory Program

Gus Bilirakis

Republican lawmakers blasted a federally funded education program that trains researchers and teachers in critical race theory after The Center Square’s investigation broke news of the program. Now, one Florida U.S. Congressman is calling for an investigation into whether the program violates state law.

Newly uncovered Department of Education grant documents show that the department awarded $1,020,800 in a 2017 grant and $1,498,620 in a 2021 grant to a Florida-based program called Partners United for Research Pathways Oriented to Social Justice in Education (PURPOSE).

The taxpayer-funded program – led by Florida State University, which has partnered with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – offers participants one-year fellowships. Participants receive training in a range of issues, including critical race theory, during the fellowships.

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Blue States Consider Letting Anatomical Males into Women’s Prisons, Hiding Their Backgrounds

barbed wire fence, outiside of a prison yard

As West Coast states deal with the fallout of putting anatomically male inmates in women’s prisons, the East Coast is looking to join the club.

Maryland is considering legislation similar to a California law that lets inmates choose their correctional facility based on self-declared gender identity, an option that concerned even transgender inmates in the Golden State.

A purported draft executive order by President Joe Biden would do the same to federal prisons, prompting GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to introduce opposing legislation.

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Virginia Senate Committee Advances Parole Board Transparency Bill

David Suetterlein

A Virginia Senate committee advanced legislation that would increase parole board transparency by making their votes on whether someone receives parole available to the public upon request.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke, advanced through the General Laws and Technology Committee on a 14-1 vote with substantial bipartisan support. Current law does not prohibit the parole board from disclosing information regarding parole votes, but does not give them any obligation to do so.

Speaking to the committee, Suetterlein said his legislation would simply make the votes public, which is similar to almost every other action undertaken by the state government.

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Commentary: The GOP Can Reclaim the Child Tax Credit – And Use it to Win in 2022

family of three eating pizza

As part of his Contract with America, House Speaker (and my former boss) Newt Gingrich helped first introduce the Child Tax Credit (CTC), passing it in 1997. Originally the idea of President Ronald Reagan, the CTC was founded on the conservative principles that raising children is God’s work, and parents should not be punished or held back for choosing family in a country that is always moving forward. President Trump continued this tradition by doubling the CTC in 2017. As Speaker Gingrich said during a 1995 speech, “We believe that parents ought to have the first claim on money to take care of their children rather than bureaucrats.”

Democrats reformed the CTC in 2021, as part of their wildly overdone American Rescue Plan. They’ve sought to continue their changes to the CTC in the even-more-overdone Build Back Better Act (BBB), a hulking Frankenstein of bad Democratic ideas. But the new version of the CTC may be an exception. It continues fulfilling Speaker Gingrich’s contract, empowering families to work and earn, and to raise their children with their own values. The spirit and core of that policy is even better reflected by flat, poverty-busting monthly disbursement of the credit. It’s the only salvageable ship in the sinking BBB fleet.

The CTC – in its 2021 form – does not stray too far from the $500-per-child tax cut that was initially passed in 1997. The payments, which provided eligible families with up to $300 per month for each qualifying child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each qualifying child aged 6 to 17, stimulated regional economies, protected families from rising costs, provided direct cash relief, and removed bureaucratic hurdles.

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Commentary: The End of America Is Not That Hard to Imagine

Black Lives Matter Protest in DC

Lately, we keep hearing about this or that “threat to the republic,” ironically mostly involving something Republicans are doing or purporting to do, but I’m starting to think maybe (stop me if you’ve heard this before) the real threat is a cabal of powerful people who don’t want to give up power.

My recent column about the parallels between a science fiction novel and the Biden White House raised a couple of key questions: How much of what we know “for certain” is just a reflection of dubious assertions we have been told so often that we take them for granted? Assertions that, if not lies, are untested allegations and assumptions that fit a narrative we have been programmed to accept at face value?

In other words, how much of what we know for sure is just wishful thinking (ours, or someone else’s)? Are we living in some kind of mass psychosis that lets us forget about real and present dangers to our nation and our future while we focus on boogeymen?

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Biden-Buttigieg DOT to Tap Infrastructure Spending to Promote Speed Cameras Nationwide

Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “National Roadway Safety Strategy” includes promoting the use of speed cameras in cities and towns as a “proven safety countermeasure.”

DOT received $6 billion to issue grants to “help cities and towns” with road safety, which was part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Congress passed.

“That law creates a new Safe Streets and Roads for All program, providing $6 billion to help cities and towns deliver new, comprehensive safety strategies, as well as accelerate existing, successful safety initiatives,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a speech on Thursday about the launch of DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy.

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Iowa Schools Must Require Masking to Accommodate Students with Disabilities

 Iowa schools must require masking when necessary as a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis ruled Tuesday.

The court cited the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 in its determination.

What’s more, Iowa statute currently allows masking when federal law requires it, the court ruled, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said in an explainer of the ruling.

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Commentary: $800 Billion Stimulus Program Failed Terribly and Mostly Benefited the Wealthy, MIT Economist Finds

Close up of federal check

The federal government has spent an astounding $42,000 per federal taxpayer on so-called “stimulus” efforts since the pandemic began. Where did all that money go? Well, as it turns out, one of the biggest stimulus programs, the Paycheck Protection Program, failed miserably.

At least, that’s the finding of a new study from MIT economist David Autor and nine coauthors. They examined the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which gave “loans,” most of which won’t have to be paid back, to businesses. It was created by Republicans and Democrats in Congress alike in hopes of helping businesses preserve their employees’ jobs for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The study tracks the money to see where it ended up and what it achieved. The results… aren’t pretty. 

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Judge Denies Missouri AG Request to Stop St. Louis County Mask Requirement

Eric Schmitt

A Circuit Court Judge on Wednesday denied Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop a mask requirement approved by the St. Louis County Council on Jan. 5.

Democrat Rita Heard Days, chair of the Council, didn’t know what to expect from the court.

“At this particular point, I’m not surprised about anything,” Days told The Center Square after an event in Hazelwood on Thursday. “This thing has taken a life of its own. People are trying to cope with all of this. We just hope we can get over this and move on.”

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MidAmerican Energy Files $3.9B Renewable Energy Project with Iowa Utilities Board

Field of wind turbines

MidAmerican Energy announced Wednesday it filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board to build a $3.9 billion renewable energy project in Iowa.

Wind PRIME would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation, a news release from the Des Moines-headquartered company claims.

MidAmerican estimates the project will create more than 1,100 full-time jobs during construction and another 125 ongoing full-time positions for operations and maintenance, along with $24 million in local property tax payments on wind turbines and solar facilities and $21 million in annual landowner easement payments. The company plans to complete construction by the end of 2024, if it receives IUB approval.

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Commentary: The Democrats Embrace Voter Intimidation

Person voting in poll booth

Joe Biden has claimed “democracy is under attack” and that to save “democracy” we must annihilate Senate norms such as the legislative filibuster. If you don’t believe that this crisis exists and act immediately, his argument goes, the sun won’t rise ever again; the oceans will dry up, and you’re an evil racist like Jefferson Davis, Bull Connor, and George Wallace (Democrats every last one—and Biden actually sought Wallace’s support back when Biden wanted to be liked by the Wallaces and Byrds of the Democratic Party.) But why let facts get in the way of a good Grandpa Dementia bedtime story? 

Of course the real reason for the shrieking hysteria from Biden and the Left is that they’re confronting what is likely to be an electoral tsunami in the fall. Most Americans with half a brain have realized after a year under the Biden presidency that the Left’s policies and politicians are absolute failures. That’s why Biden has a 33 percent approval rating. And it’s why moderate Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) want nothing to do with Biden, his policies, or his efforts at rewriting Senate rules.

Progressives of course had a premonition that their policies would wreak havoc upon the American people. To protect themselves from electoral accountability they immediately introduced a bill to federalize election law for the Left’s partisan advantage. This comes as no surprise from the Democratic Party of Tammany Hall, which has a long, sordid history of rigging election laws to hang onto power through the intimidation of voters. 

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Missouri Legislators Remain Divided over Critical Race Theory Bill

Bob Onder and Nick Schroer

If criticism of two Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives is any indication, a bill to ban critical race theory (CRT) will face challenges.

More than a thousand people filed digital testimony forms on the bill and the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee’s hearing lasted more than four hours.

State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon and a candidate for the term-limited Senate seat of Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, testified on HB1474 on Tuesday. State Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, joined Schroer as they teamed to combine the banning of critical race theory with Richey’s “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” HB1995.

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Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End U.S. Reliance on Chinese Minerals

Mark Kelly and Tom Cotton

A Republican and Democratic senator introduced legislation Friday that aims to end U.S. reliance on rare-earth metals sourced from and produced in China.

The Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths (REEShore) Act would prevent supply disruptions and bolster domestic production of the minerals, according to Sens. Tom Cotton and Mark Kelly, the bill’s sponsors. They said the legislation is important for American national security and development of advanced technologies.

“The Chinese Communist Party has a chokehold on global rare-earth element supplies, which are used in everything from batteries to fighter jets,” Cotton said in a statement. “Ending America’s dependence on the CCP for extraction and processing of these elements is critical to winning the strategic competition against China and protecting our national security.”

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Pennsylvania Republican Lawmakers Planning Bill to Relocate Illegal Aliens from Covert DHS Flights to Delaware

person sitting in airplane seat

In Pennsylvania, Republican members of the state legislature are drafting a bill that would forcibly relocate illegal aliens brought into the state by Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and instead move them to Biden’s home state of Delaware.

Fox News reports that the legislation was first mentioned in a memo by State Senator Mario Scavello (R-Penn.), who informed his colleagues of his intentions to introduce the bill.

“In the very near future, I intend to introduce legislation to address the influx of illegal immigrants being relocated into Pennsylvania,” Scavello stated. “How many illegal immigrants has the president relocated to his own home state of Delaware? If it is good enough for Pennsylvania, then why not redirect the relocation to Delaware?”

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Analysis: Democrats in D.C. Brace for Two Winter Storms as Voting Bills Near Certain Failure

The U.S. Capitol on a snowy day

As Washington, D.C., prepares for its second winter storm in as many weeks, Democrats in Congress are all-in on their bid to pass their voting legislation and, if it fails, to abolish the Senate filibuster to advance it.

Their strategy has almost zero chance of success. Though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has brought his party’s voting bills to the floor throughout 2021, they have faced insurmountable opposition from Senate Republicans every time, who have relied on the filibuster to tank the legislation that they describe as a federal takeover of elections that could invite voter fraud.

In response, Schumer and most Senate Democrats have endorsed scrapping the 60-vote threshold, but in their way stand Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. The two centrist Democrats have said time and time again that they will not support abolishing the filibuster, denying Democrats the unanimous support they need to adopt the change even though they support their party’s voting legislation.

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Vaccine Mandate Critics Urge Highest Court to Defend Individual Freedom

Supreme Court reflecting on the pool at the National Mall

President Joe Biden’s series of controversial federal vaccine mandates faced their first day before the U.S. Supreme Court Friday, and critics are urging the justices to side with personal freedoms over what they call executive branch overreach.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, the first of two cases heard by the court Friday, considers a vaccine mandate on private employers with 100 or more employees. The second case, Biden v. Missouri, challenges Biden’s mandate on health care workers.

“Today was one of the most important moments in our nation’s history,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, which has joined the legal challenges to Biden’s mandate push, said. “The Biden administration, and many on the far left, believe that the federal government has the right and the authority to dictate personal and private medical decisions to the American people, and coerce their employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. This overreach is a fundamental violation of the American spirit of freedom and personal responsibility and represents the left’s assault not just on common sense, but our constitutional rights.”

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Announces Intent to Regulate Lying

Jay Inslee

Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Thursday to introduce legislation that would regulate candidates and elected officials from spreading lies about elections that are likely to result in violence.

The legislation, which is still being written and has yet to be released, would be “narrowly tailored” to cover “false statements” made for the “purpose of undermining the election process or results,” according to Inslee’s announcement.

“This legislation attempts to follow the relevant U.S. and state supreme court opinions on this issue. We’re talking about candidates and elected officers knowingly throwing bombs at democracy itself when doing so is likely to result in violence,” Inslee said in a statement.

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Manchin Says He Won’t Vote for Mass Spending, Climate Bill, Dealing Blow to Biden

Senator Joe Manchin speaking

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., declared Sunday he won’t vote for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, saying he feared the bill’s mass spending and climate provisions may worsen inflation.

“This is a no,” Manchin told Fox News Sunday, “I have tried everything I know to do.”

The West Virginia Democrat’s decision all but dooms Biden’s signature legislation in an evenly divided Senate.

Manchin said he was concerned about the continuing effects of the pandemic, inflation, and geopolitical unrest. His decision came after an intense lobbying campaign by the president and fellow Democrats failed to change his mind.

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Phill Kline Commentary: It’s Not Good When Public Officials Fear Transparency

Politics is getting in the way of government transparency, preventing the sort of accountability on which our governing institutions depend for maintaining public trust and legitimacy.

In Wisconsin and elsewhere around the country, public officials are steadfastly refusing to answer basic questions about their official conduct from the people’s elected representatives. These are not salacious questions about their personal conduct, or fishing expeditions designed to stir up political scandal. Legislators are merely seeking to better understand how appointed bureaucrats and elected officials administered the 2020 elections amidst a pandemic and an unprecedented, and in many cases unlawful, infusion of private monies into public election offices.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, for instance, has sued to block a legislative subpoena seeking voter information as part of an investigation of the state’s voter registration system, known as SURE. Even though there is ample precedent for disclosing this type of information, the AG’s lawsuit argues that it would violate citizens’ right to privacy, as though allowing lawmakers to access government records would automatically compromise the security of that information.

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Congress Wants to Make Big Tech Responsible for Online Speech

Person on space gray iPhone

While there is agreement between large factions of both Republicans and Democrats that social media companies should be liable for certain third-party content hosted on their platforms, the parties differ on what that content should be, and why platforms should be liable in the first place.

Congress appeared no closer to finding common ground following a House Energy and Commerce hearing Wednesday, in which lawmakers considered several bills seeking to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Wednesday’s hearing made clear that Republicans and Democrats have drastically different solutions to hold Big Tech accountable,” Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who serves as Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Republicans are fighting for free speech, while Democrats continue to push for more censorship and control. Bipartisanship will not be possible until Democrats agree that we need less censorship, not more.”

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Report: Pennsylvania Taxpayers Spend Tens of Millions on Government Lobbying

People shaking hands

A Pennsylvania government watchdog group is highlighting how the incestuous relationship between local government entities and lobbyists is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The Commonwealth Foundation also is supporting legislation designed to put an end to the practice.

The Commonwealth Foundation issued a report Monday that reveals Pennsylvania taxpayers paid at least $42 million in lobbying expenses between 2007 and 2020 to advocate for more government spending, though the actual cost is likely substantially more.

The foundation sent public information requests to 1,518 government entities to collect data on taxpayer-funded lobbying, which involves boroughs, cities, counties, school districts and state agencies that hire lobbyists or pay dues to associations to lobby other areas of government.

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California’s Gavin Newsom Goes on Vacation to Mexico After Extending ‘State of Emergency’ Order

Gavin Newsom

Just one week after declaring that he would extend a statewide “state of emergency” order, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) left for a vacation to Mexico with his family, as reported by the Daily Caller.

Newsom, his wife Jennifer, and their children left the state on Monday, and will not return until November 28th. On November 15th, Newsom signed another executive order extending numerous restrictions and other “emergency” measures that he first implemented in March of 2020, as the Chinese coronavirus first began to spread in the United States. Under his latest order, the rules and restrictions now will not expire until March of next year, with the added possibility that they may be arbitrarily extended again.

Despite some of the heaviest restrictions in the nation, including mask and vaccine requirements, California continues to see some of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases out of all the other states. In early November, California saw twice as many new cases as Florida, a state with virtually no restrictions remaining.

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Democratic Senate Bill Allocates $5 Million for ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ at National Science Foundation

Black scientist with safety goggles and mask on

A Senate bill that ostensibly focuses on strengthening American competition with China includes a provision between the lines that would designate $5 million for funding of a new “chief diversity officer” position at the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The bill is the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The bill aims to address the ongoing economic rivalry and supply chain crisis between the United States and China, by increasing domestic manufacturing and tightening supply lines in the United States.

According to the bill, the duties of the NSF’s new “chief diversity officer” would include “establishing a strategic plan for diverse participation” in the foundation’s various programs, as well as collecting information on the demographics of the NSF’s staff and patent applicants, in order to know which demographics to hire to offset alleged “inequity.” The bill would direct states to close such “equity gaps” by giving subgrants to students in computer science education classes who face “systemic barriers.”

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Legislation Expands Options for Pennsylvania Home-School Students

The Pennsylvania House has advanced legislation introduced by Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford, to expand educational offerings for home-school students.

House Bill 1041 amends the Public School Code of 1949 to permit home education students to take advantage of their local high school by attending up to four academic courses in a school day and participating in co-curricular activities. They also would have access to programs offered at career and technical education centers.

Pennsylvania home-school students currently are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities at the high school in their district.

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Democrat-Led House Planning to Vote on Biden’s $2 Trillion Social Spending Bill by Friday: Hoyer

Steny Hoyer

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday that House leadership plans to hold a vote on final passage of President Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better Act by Friday at the latest.

Biden’s social spending bill contains new federal benefit programs and about $550 billion for climate change initiatives.

“I expect to consider most of the debate, perhaps not all, but most of the debate on Build Back Better on Tuesday, excuse me, on Wednesday, today’s Tuesday, on Wednesday, tomorrow,” Hoyer said during a news conference.

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Sen. Cruz: Skyrocketing Inflation in U.S. Comparable to 1970s under Carter

Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says that skyrocketing inflation and long lines at gas stations are a result of President Joe Biden’s policies and are returning the U.S. to the days of high inflation, high cost of living and gas lines under President Jimmy Carter.

Eleven months into Biden’s term, inflation reached a 31-year high and gas prices surpassed a seven-year high.

“I’ve got to tell you the trillions that are being spent, the trillions in debt that’s being racked up, it is historic and not in a good way,” Cruz told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

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Commentary: An Overview of the 2022 Election Cycle

"VOTE ONE MORE TIME" sign on an electric pole in Atlanta, Georgia

It is now less than a year to the 2022 elections, with this, more stories about the midterms are developing. Below are the latest updates.

State

In California, Progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin will face a recall. Conservatives have tapped into anger over his decisions not to prosecute certain cases. Meanwhile, CA Governor Gavin Newsom is facing controversy over his lack of public appearances.

In Wisconsin, Republicans are continuing their 2020 election audit, even amidst criticism that the audit is too partisan and unruly. Republican Senator Ron Johnson is set to decide in the next few weeks over whether he will seek re-election

In New Jersey, Powerful Democratic State Senate President Stephen Sweeney has conceded in his race for re-election. Sweeney’s race caused national headlines because it was so shocking.

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Commentary: Biden Targets the Religious Freedom of Federal Contractors

Joe Biden is systematically eliminating the religious freedom protections that Donald Trump established. The latest example of Biden’s secularist program comes from his Labor Department, which is planning to undo Trump’s policy of defending the religious freedom of federal contractors.

Trump’s Labor Department protected federal contractors who “hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose.”

“Religious organizations should not have to fear that acceptance of a federal contract or subcontract will require them to abandon their religious character or identity,” said Trump’s Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia.

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Pennsylvania Republicans Want to Create a New Bureau of Election Audits

Pennsylvania Capitol Building

Pennsylvania Republicans want to create a new Bureau of Election Audits to conduct result-confirming audits of every election, as well as performance audits of elections operations, systems and processes at least every five years.

House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, laid out the legislation during a hearing in the General Assembly’s State Government Committee this week, arguing the current system of allowing county election offices to audit themselves is not sufficient.

Local election officials “must be held to a standard of accountability,” Cutler said.

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Wyoming Governor Signs Bill Funding Legal Defense Against Federal Vaccine Mandate Challenges

Mark Gordon

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday signed legislation prohibiting public entities from enforcing the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

House Bill 1002, which was the only piece of legislation passed during the Wyoming Legislature’s special session, also provides $4 million in funding for any legal challenges against federal vaccine mandates.

“No public entity shall enforce any mandate or standard of the federal government, whether emergency, temporary or permanent, that requires an employer to ensure or mandate that an employee shall receive a COVID‑19 vaccination,” the bill reads.

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Commentary: Dogma, Not Facts, Risks the Navy’s Readiness to Defend the Nation

Airplanes in the air above Navy ships

After the 2020 summer of riots, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations stood up Task Force One Navy (TF1N) on July 1, 2020. After a six-month effort, the final 142-page report was submitted on January 28, 2021 Its two operating assumptions are, first, that the Navy, as an institution, is systemically racist, and, second, that “Mission readiness is stronger when diverse strengths are used and differing perspectives are applied.” Notwithstanding several key military principles—such as unit cohesion, strict discipline across the chain of command, and, well, uniforms—the Navy is now ideologically committed to the mantra that “diversity is strength.”

Not surprisingly, considering the key entering assumptions, the task force report identified problems with Navy systems, climate, and culture; and submitted almost 60 recommendations aligned with four lines of inquiry: Recruiting, Talent Management/Retention, Professional Development, and Innovation and STEM (as well as a fifth line for miscellaneous recommendations).

One should be skeptical, however, about the entire exercise and the recommendations that flow from it. It inaccurately depicts the proud institution of the United States Navy as systemically racist—a slander that has more potential to undermine morale, good order, discipline, and military effectiveness than any geostrategic adversary. 

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