Commentary: A Closer Look at a Supreme Court Case That Could Help Decide the Legality of Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Every now and again, an otherwise arcane legal topic suddenly becomes relevant to contemporary political debate. At that point, general commentary suddenly becomes filled with newly minted experts with strong positions on what is typically a nuanced issue. Thus, at various points during the past decade, Twitter saw a flood of hitherto undisclosed connoisseurs on the intricacies of the Logan Act, a constitutionally problematic piece of legislation that emerged from the same 18th century administration that brought us the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, some observers suddenly expressed deep-seated opinions on the Jones Act, a complex piece of maritime law most people had probably never heard of prior to 2017.

So it seems to be with Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the previously obscure 116-year-old precedent – it barely warrants a footnote in most constitutional law treatises – that people have taken to citing whenever anyone questions the legality or constitutionality of vaccine mandates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Jacobson is not some sort of argumentative checkmate. If the decision were actually taken to the lengths that some of its proponents suggest, it would be a truly terrifying ruling.

Although I drafted most of this article before encountering Josh Blackman’s excellent law review article on Jacobson (available here), I did rely on it for some of the procedural history of the case, as well as some of the cases from the pandemic that relied upon Jacobson. It is well worth a read for anyone else interested in learning more about the case.

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Republican Leaders Push Back Against Global Business Tax

Mike Crapo and Kevin Brady

Republican lawmakers are pushing back against the Biden administration’s plan to join a global compact implementing a tax on U.S. corporations regardless of where they operate.

One hundred and thirty six136 countries agreed Friday to implement a global business tax, and G-7 finance leaders agreed to the plan Saturday. President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised the plan.

Proposed by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization, the global tax is necessary to respond to an “increasingly globalized and digital global economy,” OECD said.

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Commentary: If Polls Are Right, Democrats Are Doomed But If They’re Wrong, It’s Worse

In less than three months, President Biden’s approval rating has tumbled from a remarkable position in a polarized nation to the lowest of all but two presidents since 1945. Democrats are panicked though refusing to course-correct, hoping the pandemic will retreat, the economy will rebound, and their agenda will pass through Congress and turn out to be popular down the line.

The standing of the party with voters, at this time, isn’t in doubt. It’s awful. Biden’s average job approval rating on July 20 was 52.4% in the RealClearPolitics average before tanking precipitously and taking the party’s fortunes with him as the delta variant surged and American troops withdrew from Afghanistan in a deadly and tragic exit. RCP currently has him at 43.3%. His approval in Gallup has dropped 13 points since June, six points in this last month. The latest Quinnipiac University poll had Biden’s approval/disapproval at 38/53, down four points in three weeks. Specific findings on leadership questions were dreadful, with Biden’s numbers falling since April by nine points on the question of whether he cares about average Americans, seven points on whether he is honest, and nine points on whether he has good leadership skills.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico findings from last week showed Biden’s approval underwater across the board, at 45% approval overall, at 40% on the economy, 44% on health care, 40% on national security, 33% on immigration and 36% on foreign policy. The only number not underwater was Biden’s COVID approval of 49%-46%, 30 points lower than it was last spring. Across all polling Biden’s approval on the questions of competence and accomplishment have suffered. And that Morning Consult/Politico survey stated, “The shares of independent and Democratic voters who say Biden has underperformed expectations have doubled over the past three months.”

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Vaccine Mandate Enforcement Threatens to Create a Second Economic Crisis

President Joe Biden announced a vaccine mandate on Sept. 9, causing experts to debate the potential economic impact of the rule.

Biden directed the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a rule requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to require that employees get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

The new mandate would affect roughly 100 million Americans, specifically private employees, health care workers and federal contractors who have yet to receive a vaccine, the Daily Caller reported.

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Commentary: McAuliffe’s War on Parents

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe thought his run at a second non-consecutive term for Virginia’s executive mansion would be a cake-walk. It would no doubt set him up for a serious run for president in 2024 or 2028. And why not? Virginia Democrats have won 14 statewide races in a row dating back to 2012 by ever increasing margins. VA DEMS won a House of Delegates majority in 2019, just three years after Republicans commanded a super-majority. They also captured the state senate in 2019. 

Republicans nominated an unknown business executive with no political experience, Glenn Youngkin for governor after a very contentious caucus selection process. McAuliffe meanwhile eviscerated several up and coming African-American candidates in a blow-out primary win. 

With all the money he could ever spend in a blue state that now rivals California, what could go wrong? 

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Commentary: Hyde Amendment Is New Obstacle to Biden Spending Plan

The White House is once again at odds with the senior senator from West Virginia.

Joe Manchin has made clear for months that the administration’s sprawling $3.5 trillion social spending package is too large, and just as progressives seemed to agree that the top-line number could be whittled down somewhat, the moderate Democrat drew another line in the sand, this one underscoring the Hyde Amendment.

The amendment represents a decades-long agreement by both parties that prohibits federal dollars from funding abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. Manchin wants it included in the spending bill. The White House does not. Thus has emerged another obstacle to passing the president’s legislative agenda.

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Commentary: To Save America, Durham Must Reveal the Whole Russiagate Story and Punish the Guilty

A bit more information has emerged from the John Durham investigation into Russiagate (or “Spygate,” as it is known hereabouts).

This is due to what is likely a leak from one or more of the targets to their loyal propagandists at CNN. (In the article, the reporters do their best to downgrade the scandal they fanned for years as no more than a trivial “dirty trick” that all campaigns do. There’s a well-known word for that adapted into the English language.)

The import of these leaks is usually to soften the impact on the target(s), but it also gives us another indication Durham is still active.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: Bold Big Government Socialism vs. Timid Big Government Socialism

President Joe Biden and Personal Aide Stephen Goepfert walk through the Colonnade, Friday, August 6, 2021, on the way to the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The power struggle we are watching in the Democratic Party over President Joe Biden’s spending (and taxing) bill is not between moderates and Big Government Socialists. It’s between timid Big Government Socialists and bolder ones.

There are no moderates left in the Democratic Party. In August, every single Democrat in the House and Senate voted to move forward with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ $3.5 trillion spending bill – which is really $5.5 trillion when scored honestly. And every one of them voted for the $3 trillion tax increase to help pay for it – every one of them.

After trillions of dollars in supposed emergency spending over the last two years, the current argument is not over whether we will spend $3.5 trillion or spend nothing. The fight is between $3.5 trillion and $1.2 trillion. The final bill, which could get the so-called moderates’ votes, will likely be $2 trillion.

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Biden, Congress Seek to Chip Away at Gun Rights with United Nations Arms Treaty, Military Red Flag Law

handgun with ammo

Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration are attempting to nibble away at the Second Amendment from both within and without the U.S., gun rights advocates warn, as Congress seeks to pass a red flag law for military members and the president eyes signing on to a United Nations arms treaty.

Red flag laws that would apply to military members were slipped into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the House of Representatives last week with the help of 135 Republicans.

Red flag laws are “essentially bypassing due process,” Gun Owners of America’s Director of Outreach Antonia Okafor told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Wednesday. “It is going from one person who says they accuse you of being a danger to yourself, or to somebody else, and then going to a judge that then gets reasonable suspicion, right, that you are a danger to yourself or somebody else.”

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Groups Warn of Supply Chain System Collapse, as California Ports Face Record Backlogs

Seaport

The International Chamber of Shipping, a coalition of truck drivers, seafarers, and airline workers, recently warned heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly that if restrictive COVID policies don’t change and freedom of movement isn’t restored to transportation workers, a supply-chain collapse is imminent.

Industry leaders representing some 65 million transport workers asked the United Nations and heads of government to “take meaningful and swift action to resolve the crisis now.”

“Global supply chains are beginning to buckle as two years’ worth of strain on transport workers take their toll,” they wrote in an open letter signed by the International Air Transport Association, the International Road Transport Union and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

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Washington Governor’s Boast He’s ‘Only’ Person Saving Lives from COVID-19 Triggers Backlash

Jay Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he singlehandedly is saving lives with his powers as the state’s top executive.

In an interview with TVW’s Mike McClanahan, Inslee gave an in-depth look into his perspective when it comes to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TV host questioned Inslee, well into his second year of governing by emergency declarations, about dozens of legal challenges to his executive authority.

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Commentary: John Durham’s Vast Conspiracy

John Durham

Special Counsel John Durham’s 27-page false-statement indictment of lawyer Michael Sussmann avers a thus-far uncharged conspiracy by Democrat operatives, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and others to fabricate, leak, and purvey the most successful and destructive political smear in American history.

Judging from the detailed contents of the indictment, Durham appears to be well on his way to exposing the lies and corrupt schemes that were used to kneecap Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president and hamstring his administration for the next four years.

This article is the second in a series regarding the Sussmann indictment which, given its detailed content, strongly indicates that Durham has in hand documentary and supporting evidence to prove how Sussmann and others conspired to impair, obstruct, and defeat the lawful functions of the United States government by dishonest means in order to, among other goals, subvert our political and electoral processes, including the 2016 presidential election.

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Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Making California a Permanent ‘Vote-by-Mail’ State

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed a bill into law that permanently enacts “vote-by-mail” procedures in every state election, including automatically mailing out ballots to every single registered voter in the state, the Daily Caller reports.

The drastic mail-in voting measures, which are highly susceptible to fraud and manipulation, were originally enacted as an emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic, and ostensibly aimed to make it safer to carry out elections. However, State Assembly Bill 37 sought to permanently extend this procedure for all California elections, after the original coronavirus-based procedures were set to expire on June 1st, 2022.

In addition to automatically mailing out ballots to all voters in every election from now on, the new law extends the post-election day window in which late ballots can still be received. Prior to the pandemic, voters had up to three days after election day to submit their ballots and still have their votes counted; now, voters have up to seven days to do so.

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Commentary: The Proposed Methane Fee Is an All-Downside Proposal

Person filling up red car with petrol/gasoline

The Methane Emissions Reduction Act of 2021 has been proposed as a “pay-for” – a source of revenue – in the reconciliation infrastructure package. It would impose a “fee” on methane emissions from natural gas and petroleum production systems and related processes, but not on such emissions from agricultural and other operations. Accordingly, it is worse than a mere money grab: it’s a blatant exercise in punitive politics directed at the fossil-fuel energy sector, a tax on conventional energy.

Not so, says Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), as summarized by the Washington Examiner:

“This is not a tax. It’s a fee on natural gas waste,” adding oil and gas operators have the technologies to combat methane leaks at low cost. “The smart players want to prevent waste because they can capitalize it to make money. Customers won’t be paying a fee on gas delivered. The only fee will be paid [by an operator] on what doesn’t make it to the consumer.”

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Pennsylvania Leaves Schools in the Lurch on Enforcement of Masking, Quarantine Policies, Educators Say

Teacher up front, giving lecture to students in a school classroom

A number of Pennsylvania educators said Thursday the Department of Health hands down COVID-19 mitigation orders and doesn’t back them up when it comes to enforcement, leaving schools in a difficult spot.

Michael Bromirski, superintendent of Hempfield School District in Lancaster County, told the Senate Education Committee that since pandemic mitigation rules lifted earlier this summer, school districts no longer handle quarantine orders for students exposed to the virus after the department told them it’s the state’s responsibility – and authority – to do so.

Except, parents rarely receive such instructions, generating confusion and frustration.

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Republican Lawmakers Say China’s Cryptocurrency Crackdown Is an Opportunity for America

Person holding phone with cryptocurrency info on screen

Republican lawmakers say China’s recent crackdown on financial technologies could offer an opportunity for the U.S. to press its advantage in innovation.

China’s central bank issued a statement Friday morning declaring all cryptocurrency transactions and services illegal, banning coin mining operations and vowing to crack down on its citizens’ use of foreign crypto exchanges.

Several Republicans say China’s loss could be the United States’ gain.

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Defense Bill Sails Through the House with $24 Billion Increase

Supreme Court and Capitol building

The House late Thursday passed the National Defense Authorization Act after a marathon day of voting on hundreds of amendments as Congress continues work toward a government funding bill with a potential shutdown one week away.

The $768 billion defense bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, with 316 lawmakers voting in favor. It now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass and soon after become law as it has yearly for nearly six decades.

It provides an additional $24 billion for the defense department compared to last year’s legislation, an amount touted by both Washington Democratic Rep. Adam Smith and Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, the House Armed Services Committee’s chair and ranking member.

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In Close German Election, Angela Merkel’s Bloc Sees Worst Election Results Since 1949

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc is in a tight race with the Social Democrats, as projections showed her party endured its worst result in parliamentary elections since 1949.

ARD public television projected that according to early counting and exit polls, Social Democrats, whose candidate is outgoing Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, had 25.5% of voter support, The Associated Press reported. Merkel’s Union bloc was at 24.5% with her would-be successor Armin Laschet, governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany.

Projections from ZDF public television put Social Democrats at 25.7% to the Union bloc’s 24.6%. Both sets of projections had the environmentalist Greens at third place with about 14%.

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Group of State Attorneys General Urge Passage of House Bills Targeting Big Tech

Smartphone with display of social media apps

A bipartisan group of 32 state attorneys general sent a letter to leading lawmakers in the House and Senate on Monday urging the passage of a series of antitrust bills targeting major technology companies.

The letter, led by attorneys general Phil Weiser of Colorado, Douglas Peterson of Nebraska, Letitia James of New York, and Herbert H. Slatery III of Tennessee, was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The attorneys general urged Congress to modernize federal antitrust laws and enhance consumer protections by passing a series of bills introduced in the House Judiciary Committee in June that target big tech companies.

“A comprehensive update of federal antitrust laws has not occurred in decades,” the attorneys general wrote. “The sponsors of these bills should be commended for working to ensure that federal antitrust laws remain robust and keep pace with that of modern markets.”

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UK Court Decides Kids under the Age of 16 Can Take Puberty Blocking Medication Without Court Approval

Bink, a gender non-conforming 10 year old child playing outside.

Doctors can now prescribe puberty blocking medication to children under the age of 16 without a judge’s approval, Britain’s Court of Appeals ruled on Friday.

The decision reverses last year’s ruling that children seeking gender reassignment aren’t mature enough to give informed consent to take puberty blocking medicine, the Associated Press reported. The decision said that doctors should seek court approval before prescribing the medication because the drugs were still experimental.

The Tavistock and Portman National Health Service (NHS) trust, Britain’s only gender identity development service (GIDS) for children, appealed last year’s ruling, the AP reported. The Court of Appeal sided with the trust Friday, ruling it was “inappropriate” for the high courts to issue their guidance, and it was up to the doctors to “exercise their judgment” regarding patients’ consent.

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26 Governors Seek Meeting with Biden over Border Surge

More than half of the country’s governors would like a moment of the president’s time – and soon: Twenty-six Republican governors are urging Joe Biden to do more to address the deteriorating situation along the southern U.S. border.

“As chief executives of our states,” they write in a letter postmarked for Monday and first obtained by RealClearPolitics, “we request a meeting with you at The White House to bring an end to the national security crisis created by eight months of unenforced borders.”

The GOP chief executives are requesting an audience “within 15 days” given that the “the crisis that began at our southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens.”

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Commentary: Epitaph for the ‘War on Terror’

Twenty years after the U.S. government declared war on terrorism, it consummated its own defeat in Kabul and Washington, in a manner foreseeable, foreseen, and foreshadowed in 9/11’s immediate aftermath. Fixation on itself and unseriousness about war are the twin habits of heart and mind that disposed the ruling class to defeat. The practical explanation for why and how it accepted defeat is found in the overriding interest each part of the ruling class has in doing what it wants to do. 

On the night of September 11, 2001, Muslim governments strictly forbade public celebrations of the carnage. The Palestinian Authority, anticipating that outraged Americans would destroy them to avenge the day’s events, even called the attacks al nachba—“the disaster.” But as the U.S. ruling class made clear that it was accepting defeat, the Muslim world’s media and streets celebrated.

Two decades later, after that defeat’s logic had worked its way through and transformed American life, and as the government’s self-humiliating exit from Afghanistan consummated it, much of mankind followed Muslim crowds in celebrating—including prominent Americans. 

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Manchin Reportedly Calls on Democrats to Push Budget Back to 2022

Joe Manchin

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly said in private that the “strategic pause” he has pushed for regarding his party’s budget should last through the end of the year.

Manchin’s remarks, first reported by Axios, would mean a sharp departure from Democrats’ long-stated goals, which include passing both the budget and the bipartisan infrastructure bills before the end of September.

His remarks align both with a Wall Street Journal op-ed he wrote earlier this month and recent comments he made calling for a “pause” on the budget as Congress addressed other priorities ranging from a messy Afghanistan withdrawal to multiple natural disasters.

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Pennsylvania Senate Democrats File Suit, Allege GOP ‘Overreaching’ in Election Subpoena

Anthony Williams and Jay Costa

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats filed a legal challenge in Commonwealth Court against what they call an “overreaching” subpoena of election records containing personal information for nearly 7 million voters.

The lawsuit filed late Friday alleges Republican members of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee – including Chairman Cris Dush, R-Wellsboro and President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte – broke the law when they issued a subpoena against the Department of State seeking the name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number and partial social security number of each and every resident that voted by mail or in person during the last two elections.

In a joint statement, the Democratic members of the committee – including Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Pittsburgh; Minority Chairman Tony Williams, D-Philadelphia; Sen. Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia; and Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-Lower Makefield – said the consequences of the subpoena “are dire” and leave the personal information of residents in the hands of an “undisclosed third party vendor with no prescribed limits or protection.”

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Blinken Replaces ‘Controversial’ Pro-Hong Kong Tweet with Milder Statement

Antony Blinken

Secretary of State Antony Blinken took down a tweet he posted Thursday saying the U.S. would “stand with the people of Hong Kong,” the South China Morning Post reported.

“Beijing should let the voices of all Hong Kongers be heard. The PRC’s disqualification of district councillors only weakens Hong Kong’s long-term political and social stability,” Blinken said in the tweet, as shown in screenshots from the South China Morning Post.

“We stand with the people of Hong Kong & continue to support their human rights & fundamental freedoms,” he added. Blinken took down his tweet on Friday, later replacing it with a milder message, South China Morning Post reported.

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Arizona Senate Candidate Blake Masters’ Plans to Tackle Big Tech’s ‘Predatory’ Business Practices

Woman in a red suit on Smartphone

Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to break up Big Tech and ban their business practices he believes are harmful.

“I think Republicans need to reacquaint themselves with their history of antitrust enforcement, and realize huge concentrations of power in private hands can violate people’s liberties just as much as government,” Masters said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Masters, who announced his candidacy in July, serves as chief operating officer at investment firm Thiel Capital and runs the Thiel Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He competes in a crowded Republican primary with fellow candidate and current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.

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Voting Reform Bill Reintroduced after Pennsylvania Governor’s Veto

Seth Grove and Tom Wolf

The prime sponsor of a vetoed voting reform bill said Friday he reintroduced the measure after Gov. Tom Wolf shifted his public opinion on some components of the legislation over the summer.

Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said House Bill 1800 would bolster voting rights “through three broad concepts of increased access, increased security and modernization.” 

“We know access and security are not mutually exclusive,” he said.

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Commentary: Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Could Rise or Fall Based on 2012 Roberts Ruling on Obamacare Individual Mandate

“Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.”

That was Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion ruling in 2012 that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was unconstitutional under Congress’ Article I, Section 8 power to regulate interstate commerce.

And yet, the mandate was rescued in the very same decision by Roberts, ruling that penalty under the individual mandate was a valid exercise of Congress’ Article I, Section 8 power to collect taxes.

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Wisconsin Lawmakers Look at Opt-out Option for Parents on Gender and Sex Classes

Girl student standing and holding books in hand in a classroom

Wisconsin lawmakers are wrestling with the question of who should talk to their kids about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Assembly Committee on Education on Thursday held a marathon hearing on a plan that would allow parents to opt their kids out of classes on both.

“This is merely just a way to give parents a choice,” Rep Bob Whitke, R-Racine, said. “Because there are a lot of concepts now that are coming out in school … it’s being done in a way that parents don’t understand, and parents aren’t notified.

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Commentary: Biden’s Medical Apartheid

Joe Biden

Events this weekend showcased the intense bifurcation of America into two separate realities. As our country observed the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, former presidents gathered, sans Donald Trump, in New York for a solemn ceremony — wearing masks even though they are fully vaccinated and were outside. In Shanksville, Pa., George W. Bush leveraged the occasion to take a not-very-veiled shot at the MAGA movement, comparing its most fervent adherents to the 9/11 terrorists.

Meanwhile, at stadiums across America, massive crowds of rowdy, unmasked college football fans tailgated, packed into stadiums, and also recalled the grim events of 2001, but in far more boisterous displays of patriotism.

This same-day divergence highlights the sharply divided nation of 2021. That chasm will now only widen as Joe Biden targets many of those same people, the ones unwilling to live under the thumb of onerous government virus mitigation restrictions. These ineffective mandates may nominally emanate from science, but they moreover stem from a preference for coercion and control by Democrat politicians, all with the assistance of powerful business interests, including Big Tech and Big Pharma.

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Democrats Plan to Hike Taxes to Pay for Their $3.5 Trillion Budget

House Democrats will consider nearly $3 trillion in tax hikes over the next decade in an attempt to pay for their $3.5 trillion budget that includes most of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda and would overhaul the nation’s social safety net.

The hikes are predominantly focused on wealthy Americans and large corporations. Among the increases is a top income tax bracket of 39.6%, up from 37%, which Democrats say would raise $170 billion in revenue over the next decade.

A summary of the proposals leaked Sunday, and was first reported by The Washington Post.

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Democrats Introduce Another Voting Bill, But Odds of Becoming Law Are Slim

Tim Kaine and Amy Klobuchar

Senate Democrats are set to release their new, trimmed down voting bill, but despite unanimous support from their caucus it faces a steep climb to become law.

The bill, titled the Freedom to Vote Act, is Democrats’ response to a series of voting restrictions passed in Republican-controlled states across the country. But despite its framework, constructed around a compromise plan proposed by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, it must still clear a filibuster to pass the Senate, meaning at least 10 Republicans would have to sign on in support.

The legislation, introduced by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, drops some of the more contentious provisions included in the For the People Act, Democrats’ previous legislation that fell to a GOP filibuster in June. While the new bill would no longer restructure the Federal Election Commission and requires a nationwide voter ID standard, it includes automatic registration provisions and would make Election Day a national holiday.

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Commentary: Americans Can’t Afford Joe Biden’s America

Americans are tapped out. They are struggling to pay for higher prices at the pump, the grocery store, and just about everywhere else. Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics August Producer Price Indexes  report showed on an unadjusted basis, the final demand index rose 8.3 percent for the 12 months ended in August, the largest advance since 12-month data were first calculated in November 2010.

The Producer Price Index is a precursor to what retail prices will be doing in months ahead, and the August report is more bad news. The 8.3 percent annual increase in final demand signals that Americans will be paying much more for goods and services in coming months and verifies what everyone who pays their own bills already knows, Joe Biden’s America is a much more expensive place to live and it is going to get worse.

It is time for Congress to just put a stop to the madness and refuse to pass the budget reconciliation bill. Our nation cannot afford to hit the accelerator when we are already feeling the inflation pain from our prior debt excesses.

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Alaska Airlines Fired Flight Attendants for Saying Democrat Transgender Bill Harms Women

N615AS Alaska Airlines 2000 Boeing

Alaska Airlines fired flight attendants for questioning its support of a proposed federal law that would open women’s spaces to biological males, according to complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Their union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, allegedly refused to defend their Title VII employment rights against religious discrimination during the proceeding and “disparaged” the employees’ Christian beliefs.

The Seattle-based air carrier, which once decorated a plane with the logo of Nirvana’s first music label Sub Pop, did not respond to queries from Just the News about the allegations and why employees shouldn’t fear official retaliation for expressing their views.

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Justice Breyer to Those Pushing Court Packing: ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’

Justice Stephen Breyer

Justice Stephen Breyer issued a stark warning to those pushing to pack the Supreme Court: “what goes around comes around.”

Breyer made the remark during an interview with NPR published Friday, ahead of the release of his new book, “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.” He has pushed back on calls to add seats to the court — and on progressives urging him to retire — on multiple recent occasions.

“What goes around comes around,” he said. “And if the Democrats can do it, then the Republicans can do it.”

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Senators Cotton, Hawley to Work on Bipartisan Bills Aimed at Breaking up Big Tech

Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley

Senate Republicans are joining with Democrats to work on a series of antitrust bills aimed at breaking up and regulating major tech companies.

Sen. Tom Cotton is working with both Democrats and Republicans in developing complementary legislation to several of the antitrust bills the House Judiciary Committee advanced in June, a spokesman for Sen. Cotton told the Daily Caller News Foundation, including the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act.

The House’s version of the act, one of a series of antitrust bills introduced by bipartisan members of the House Judiciary Committee, sought to prevent major tech platforms from consolidating their market share by acquiring smaller competitors. Under the law, the burden of proof would be on big tech companies to prove their mergers are lawful.

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Kentucky Lawmakers Override Governor, Ditch School Mask Mandate

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

Kentucky’s Republican legislature overrode the state’s Democratic governor late Thursday and repealed a statewide public school mask mandate.

The move, reported by the Louisville Courier Journal, came on the final day of a special session called by Gov. Andy Beshear. The mask mandate was repealed as cases in the state increased for the 10th straight week, and as over 30% of Kentucky’s new cases Thursday were in people 18 and younger, according to state data.

The legislature last month moved to significantly limit Beshear’s pandemic-related power, an action that was upheld by multiple judges in the state.

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California Lawmakers Send Newsom Bill That Could Ban Gas Generators

Gas powered Honda generator

Legislation to restrict the use of gas-powered landscaping equipment in California also would outlaw portable generators in a state only a year removed from rolling power outages amid deadly heat.

Lawmakers have sent Gov. Gavin Newsom Assembly Bill 1346. The bill’s sponsor, Assembly Member Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, said the legislation would phase out the sale of new gas-powered small off-road engines (SOREs) in California.

“Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and other equipment with small gas-powered engines emit staggering levels of air pollution,” Berman said in a statement. “These noisy machines are terribly disruptive to communities across California, and the workers who breathe in exhaust from this equipment day in and day out face disproportionate health risks, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.”

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Commentary: Joe Biden’s Poor Leadership During the COVID Era

“Get vaccinated,” whispered the doddering, white-haired failure of a president before beating a hasty retreat from the podium. Reporters barked questions at him which neither he nor his handlers had interest in answering, because they have no answers.

Joe Biden has no answers for COVID-19. What Joe Biden has is blame and Otherization for Americans not invested in the tired narratives of his handlers and the managerial elite he represents so badly.

That’s clear. It’s the only true takeaway from the disgraceful, alarming speech Biden gave Thursday.

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Commentary: The Vaccine Mandate Assault on the Common Good

Joe Biden

As Joe Biden launches via executive order a sweeping vaccine mandate for all federal government workers, and now a brand-new initiative for private-sector mandates, the issue has once again risen to the forefront of the national dialogue. 

United Airlines, for example, recently became the first U.S. airline to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all its employees. United Airlines’ mandate takes effect on September 27, and it might augur a broader trend: A poll conducted last month by insurance and advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, for example, suggests that 52 percent of private-sector employers surveyed expect to have a workplace vaccine mandate by the end of 2021. As Biden’s brand-new announcement of a Department of Labor rule for private sector vaccination requirements now makes clear, that poll was prescient.

Against this backdrop, several Republican-leaning states have advanced laws or executive orders that prohibit private sector vaccine mandates for employees, customers, or in some other respect. That tally is now at least eight states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Texas, South Carolina, and South Dakota. The legal mechanics and specifics differ from state to state. But the highest-profile and most mechanically straightforward Republican-led assault on vaccine mandates is the one in my new home state, Florida. 

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Commentary: The Unchanging Telos of the Democrats

Afghan people

Watching the Biden Administration bring into the country tens of thousands of unvetted Afghans, who are neither U.S. citizens nor native Afghans who assisted American troops, I am coming to wonder whether Biden was actually wrong to describe the withdrawal of American forces as an “immense success.” It was, in fact, exactly what Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other Democratic operatives said it was: a success that will move the Democrats toward their goal of creating a one-party state. 

Like the illegal aliens streaming across our southern borders and the efforts to remove restrictions against voting fraud, the influx of Afghan refugees is intended to increase the number of votes that will likely go to the Democratic Party, no matter how badly they mismanage the country. 

Looking at these coordinated steps, I am reminded of an idea put forth by Aristotle in book six of the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle famously insisted on a distinction between technical expertise (e.g., building a house) and deeper, more foundational forms of knowledge. The most primal wisdom is sophia, which deals with universal knowledge that underlies all other true modes of knowing. But Aristotle also raises the question of whether there are not forms of techne that are so well developed that they reflect sophia. The two examples that he cites are Phidias’s work as an architect and Polykleitos’s achievements as a sculptor. According to Aristotle, the excellence that characterizes their technical skills indicates their creators are truly wise.

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Newly Released Documents Show Fauci Was ‘Untruthful’ About Wuhan Coronavirus Research, Infectious Disease Expert Says

A trove of newly released documents detailing U.S.-funded coronavirus research in China prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shows that Dr. Anthony Fauci was “untruthful” when he claimed that his agency did not finance gain-of-research in Wuhan, an infectious disease expert said Sunday.

Documents published by The Intercept on Sunday show that Fauci’s organization, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), provided federal funds to the U.S. nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology to construct laboratory-generated SARS and MERS-related coronaviruses that demonstrated enhanced pathogenicity in humanized mice cells, according to Rutgers University professor of chemical biology Richard Ebright.

“The documents make it clear that assertions by the [National Institutes of Health] Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful,” Ebright said in a tweet Sunday evening.

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Commentary: To Win Elections, Politicians Should Focus on Family-Friendly Policies

Things stopped working in this country about 50 years ago. But it wasn’t really noticeable until a few decades later. I like to date the beginning of the decay to the summer of 1969, though it’s impossible to put a precise date on it. Still, the summer of 1969 was an inflection point much more important than 1967’s “Summer of Love.”

Consider: On July 20, 1969, Apollo XI landed on the moon and 39 minutes later, on July 21, Neil Armstrong became the first man to stand on its surface. A few weeks later, on the night of August 8, the Manson family broke into Roman Polanski’s Hollywood Hills home and murdered his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, their unborn baby, and three friends who were at the house. The following Friday, August 15, the Woodstock music festival began in upstate New York. A good argument could be made that Woodstock was the culmination of the ’60s, but in reality, the ’60s had ended a week earlier. Woodstock wasn’t the final flowering, it was an aftershock.

This isn’t the time for a full exploration of the summer of ’69 (look out for that in the future), but it’s worth noting that a lot changed after that. Things had already peaked. For example, the two fastest ever commercial aircraft had both flown for the first time earlier in 1969; the 747 in February and the Concorde in March. In fact, the average speed of commercial air travel has been declining ever since. (Though that may be changing for the better.) Then, in the early 1970s, the median real wages of American workers entered a period of extended stagnation characterized by exceptionally low growth which made it impossible for the average person (who, by the way, is not an entrepreneur) to get ahead. It’s still true today, which is why so many families require two incomes if they want to remain in the middle class.

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Commentary: The Supreme Court’s Ruling on Texas’ Abortion Law Is Another Sign That It May Overturn Roe

Couple kissing, holding up ultrasound in front of them

Just before midnight on Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued an order denying injunctive relief to the Texas abortion providers who had sought to halt Texas’ new abortion law which prohibits abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. 

The majority opinion said the Court would not intervene because the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate whether the defendants, including state judges, can or will seek to enforce the law against them. The five conservative justices in the majority, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett, noted that federal courts have the power to enjoin people tasked with enforcing laws, and not laws themselves. 

The Texas law gives citizens the power to sue abortion providers or anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion after six weeks gestation. This structure provided the legal technicality which allowed the near-ban on abortion to remain in effect. 

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Texas’ Elections Bill Clears State House, Setting Stage to Become Law

Texas State Capitol building

Texas’ controversial elections bill cleared the state House Friday afternoon, clearing its way to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk after a months-long battle that drove Democrats to flee the state in an attempt to block its passage.

Senate Bill 1 was lauded by Republicans as a means to better secure future elections, but was chastised by Democrats as an effort to restrict voting access following former President Donald Trump’s discredited claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. It passed on an 80-41 vote that fell largely along party lines.

The Texas House considered dozens of amendments during a marathon session Thursday, and the bill now heads to the Senate for the provisions adopted to be approved before heading to the governor’s desk. Abbott, a Republican who has championed the issue, has vowed to sign it.

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Commentary: Between Afghanistan and Joe Biden, It Is a Struggle to See Which Fell Faster

Joe Biden

While the disadvantages of aging are often lamented and discussed, there are a few perks. One of which is having actual memories of events about which younger people can only read about or view on YouTube. For me, one of those memories etched indelibly in my mind is that of American helicopters airlifting diplomats and workers off of rooftops in Saigon as it fell.

I watched Vietnam fall with the voice of Walter Cronkite narrating. The symbolism of that long and failed endless American war was so vivid and so devastating that for me, like others in my generation, I was left to hope that the United States would never let something like that happen in the future.

Now, as I watch the scenes out of Afghanistan, I am put in mind of the immortal line given to us by New York Yankee legend Yogi Berra: It’s déjà vu all over again.

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House Lawmakers Set to Square off with White House, Treasury Department over ‘Stifling’ Crypto Tax Plan

House lawmakers are set to return from recess Monday and will likely take up the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate passed last week — and with it, a controversial and last-minute cryptocurrency tax provision.

The bill contains a tax reporting mandate forcing cryptocurrency “brokers” to disclose gains and transactions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of a scheme designed to help cover part of the infrastructure bill’s cost. However, the bill’s definition of “broker” has been criticized by the cryptocurrency community and pro-crypto lawmakers as vague, expansive and potentially unworkable, with many fearing it could stifle the industry and force crypto companies to collect personal information on their customers.

The provision defines a broker as “any person who is responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person,” and forces brokers to report transactions to the IRS in a form similar to a 1099. This means brokers have to collect and report customer information such as names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers.

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Biden Administration Won’t Push Pandemic Unemployment Bonus Extension

The Biden administration signaled to Capitol Hill lawmakers Thursday that it will not support an extension of pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

President Joe Biden won’t advocate for an extension of the $300 unemployment bonus given to millions of out-of-work Americans on a weekly basis, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh wrote in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which was implemented in March 2020 and extended by Democrats’ recent American Rescue Plan, is set to expire in early September.

“As President Biden has said, the boost was always intended to be temporary and it is appropriate for that benefit boost to expire,” the secretaries wrote.

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Biden Administration Won’t Say If It Will Reimburse Americans Who Were Charged Thousands to Board Flights out of Afghanistan

Joe Biden

The State Department said it will “no longer” charge Americans thousands of dollars to board evacuation flights out of Afghanistan, but it did say if it will reimburse those that have already been charged.

State Department spokesman Ned Price issued a statement to the press Thursday afternoon saying the Biden administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.” But as of late Friday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after Price issued his statement, Americans seeking to secure evacuation out of Kabul continue to be told in a required government form that they’ll need to reimburse the U.S. government upwards of $2,000 or more for their evacuation.

“Repatriation flights are not free,” question 14 of the Repatriation Assistance form stated late Friday afternoon. “A promissory note for the full cost of the flight, which may exceed $2,000 per person, must be signed by each adult passenger before boarding.”

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Court Rules Against Catch and Release for Migrants

A federal trial court in Texas ruled against the Biden administration’s directives to catch and release some migrants on Thursday.

A Texas federal judge blocked Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials from enforcing the Biden administration’s Jan. 20 and Feb. 18 memoranda prioritizing certain migrants for detention over others, granting Texas and Louisiana’s motion for a preliminary injunction, according to the court opinion.

“The States point out that the priority categories enumerated in these Memoranda omit certain others—namely, aliens convicted of serious drug offenses, aliens convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, and aliens subject to a final order of removal,” the opinion continues.

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