Commentary: A Call to Amend Section 230 for Social Media Transparency

Smart phone opened on home screen

Amid growing bipartisan agreement that increased regulation of social media platforms and their content moderation policies is needed, the path forward remains murky. Should Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be discarded or strengthened? Should companies be broken up using antitrust laws? Should government set speech rules for the web? Should users decide them? Or should there be no rules at all?

There is no shortage of solutions being put forth to solve the challenge of social media censorship. The problem is that without a better understanding of how social platforms invisibly shape the public square of democracy today, we don’t know which of these possible solutions might have the greatest impact. In short, to fix social media, we first need a better understanding of its ills: Section 230 must be amended to legislate social platform transparency.

A new RealClearFoundation report, “Transparency Is the First Step Toward Addressing Social Media Censorship,” outlines the public data sets we need to usher in transparency and better understand the challenges we face.

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U.S. Navy Preparing to Discharge Unvaccinated Sailors

Sailers saluting one another

On Thursday, the United States Navy announced its intentions to discharge any and all sailors who have not yet taken the coronavirus vaccine, according to Fox News.

The Navy’s press release on the matter declares that November 14th is the final deadline for sailors to receive the vaccine, while the deadline for reservists is December 14th. In addition to being discharged, sailors who refuse to get the vaccine may also lose some of their veterans’ benefits.

“Those separated only for vaccine removal,” the statement reads, “will receive no lower than a general discharge under honorable conditions. This type of discharge could result in the loss of some veterans’ benefits.” In addition, the statement said that the Navy “may also seek recoupment of applicable bonuses, special and incentive pays, and the cost of training and education for service members refusing the vaccine.”

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New January 6 Related Police Records, Transcripts Appear to Show Babbitt Clearly Unarmed Before Shot

Ashli Babbitt Memorial

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Thursday that it has received over 500 pages of documents from the D.C. Metropolitan Police regarding the fatal police shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in May after District officials failed to respond to requests made in April to the city’s police department and its Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for information related to Babbitt’s death.

The 35-year-old Babbitt was fatally shot trying to enter a secured area inside the U.S. Capitol Building. The 14-year Air Force veteran was unarmed at the time, as she tried to climb through a broken door window near the House chambers.

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Far-Left Activists Plan to Further Harass Kyrsten Sinema at Boston Marathon

Kyrsten Sinema

Radical far-left activists publicly announced their plans to continue harassing Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) over her opposition to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, this time with plans to follow her around at the Boston Marathon, Fox News reports.

The Green New Deal Network, an alliance of 15 far-left groups, issued a press release declaring their intent to follow and harass Sinema at the annual event on Monday, in an act known in politics as “bird-dogging.” The pressure from radical activists stems from Sinema’s refusal to support the “Build Back Better Bill,” an effort to shove through many far-left agenda items through the legislative process known as reconciliation; reconciliation, which is often reserved exclusively for budgetary matters, cannot be filibustered and thus only requires a narrow majority of 51 votes in order to pass.

Sinema, along with Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), has repeatedly refused to support a bill that costs as much as $3.5 trillion, instead advocating for a reduction in the overall cost.

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Democrats’ Budget Set to Include Global Minimum Tax, Treasury Secretary Says

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that she is confident that the Democrats’ budget will include a global minimum tax for corporations just days after nearly 140 countries endorsed the measure.

“I am confident that what we need to do to come into compliance with the minimum tax will be included in a reconciliation package,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told ABC News on Sunday. “I hope that it will be passed and we will be able to reassure the world that the United States will do its part.”

Though the United States and 135 other countries signed the agreement, each nation must pass its own legislation to enact the minimum tax rates. Democrats are currently crafting the budget, a spending package that would reshape the social safety net, but the process has slowed by disagreements between the party’s moderate and left wings.

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U.S. to Provide Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

Afghan people

The U.S. will provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan but won’t recognize the Taliban as the country’s leaders, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.

U.S. and Taliban officials met for the first time since American forces left the county in August in Doha, Qatar, according to the Associated Press. U.S. officials said they would provide aid to Afghanistan, which faces an economic disaster, at the meeting’s conclusion.

U.S. officials said the leaders “discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people,” the AP reported. The aid was promised after officials agreed it didn’t mean the U.S. would officially recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s government.

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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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Ethics Watchdog Wants Probe of Possible Improper Gift to Senate Panel Chasing Trump-Russia Hoax

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin

A watchdog group is calling for a Senate ethics investigation into a Democratic staffer for the Armed Services Committee regarding the Russia collusion hoax.

Empower Oversight sent a letter of complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics requesting an investigation into Thomas Kirk McConnell, a staffer on the Armed Services Committee, for asking for and receiving professional services from former FBI analyst Dan Jones and his nonprofit, The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), in the Russia collusion investigation, which were performed at no cost to the committee.

TDIP, rather than just providing information to the Armed Services Committee, “appears to have obtained the nonpublic data used for its analysis from the Committee itself,” to use for its final report, the letter reads.

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Trump Lets Loose on Biden Border Policy, Dems’ Socialist Agenda and Spineless Republicans

Donald Trump

Though still undeclared, former President Donald Trump used his latest rally to shape a potential 2024 platform with sharp attacks on Joe Biden’s border policies, congressional Democrats’ socialist spending plans and Republican weakness on the debt ceiling.

In vintage campaign form, Trump electrified a capacity crowd at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday night, putting on display his continued high popularity in America’s first voting state while imploring Republicans to do more to fight the Biden-Democrat agenda.

“We must declare with one united voice that we cannot allow America to ever become a socialist country,” he said in urging defeat of $4.5 trillion in spending plans pending in Congress.

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Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Depends on Occupational Safety and Health Act Emergency Regulation

woman with a hard hat and safety glasses on

President Joe Biden is using what one court opinion called “the most dramatic weapon in OSHA’s enforcement arsenal” to back up his COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers. 

But relying on this bureaucratic weapon could be a risky strategy in the face of litigation threats, since courts have struck down all or part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency regulations in four of the six legal challenges so far. 

Biden mentioned OSHA’s role Thursday in a speech promoting the need for Americans to get COVID-19 vaccinations during a trip to Elk Grove Village, Illinois, near Chicago. 

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Trump to Hold Weekend Rally in Key Balloting State Iowa

Donald Trump

Former President Trump is scheduled to host a rally Saturday evening in key presidential balloting state Iowa, a move considered another significant sign that he’ll seek reelection again in 2024.

The Iowa Cause is the first-in-nation balloting in each presidential election cycle, with the Republican and Democratic winner of the balloting getting an early lead on the field of candidates, toward winning the respective party nomination.

The turnout and crowd reaction at the rally is also expected to be a good indication on whether Trump’s support extends beyond loyalists and into the more traditional GOP base.

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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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Manchin Condemns Schumer’s GOP Bash After Parties Compromise on Debt Limit, Says ‘Civility Is Gone’

Joe Manchin

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was once again at odd with his party Thursday evening, as fellow Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer laid into his GOP colleagues during a floor speech following a vote to approve legislation that would temporarily raise the debt ceiling.

“Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work,” said Schumer, beginning a series of remarks that would target his colleagues across the aisle, including 11 of whom voted to end debate on the debt ceiling measure, allowing for the full vote to happen.

Manchin, who could be seen seated direct behind Schumer, as the New York lawmaker made his remarks, appeared at first to be shaking his head disapprovingly before placing his head in his hands.

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Poll: 44 Percent of Republicans Want a Trump Presidential Bid in 2024

Donald Trump smiling

A Wednesday Pew Research Center poll found that nearly half of Republicans would like to see former President Donald Trump launch another presidential bid in 2024.

At least 44% of Republicans stated they would like to see Trump start a second presidential campaign in 2024. Furthermore, 67% of Republicans would like to see Trump remain a major political figure “for many years to come,” according to the poll.

Of the 67% of Republicans who want Trump to maintain his status as a major political figure, 22% stated they would rather Trump use his influence “to support another presidential candidate who shared his views in the 2024 election rather than run for office himself,” according to the poll. The poll also showed that 32% of Republicans would prefer Trump not “remain a national political figure for many years to come.”

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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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Commentary: The Senate Must Defeat Communist Saule Omarova for Comptroller of the Currency

 
Every so often we receive a comment to the effect that we are paranoid and should stop seeing a Communist under every bed, however, it appears that based on the views expressed by Prof. Saule Omarova, President Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, our concerns about the takeover of the Democratic Party by Socialists and Communists have received some very solid confirmation.

Indeed, Omarova is so far out in Communism’s Left Field that Janet Yellen, Biden’s Treasury secretary (a garden variety liberal Democrat) raised concerns about her taking the post.

And Secretary Yellin’s concerns are amply justified.
In 2019, Omarova posted to Twitter in support of the “old USSR” where there was “no gender pay gap.” She attempted to do damage control after being criticized for it, but failed to fully condemn the Soviet Union.

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‘We Will Use the Full Range of Tools’: Trade Representative Says U.S. Will Enforce Phase One Trade Deal with China

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, sign the U.S. China Phase One Trade Agreement Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the Biden administration would enforce the Phase One trade agreement negotiated by the Trump administration with China while giving a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday.

“For too long, China’s lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world,” Tai said in prepared remarks. “China made commitments that benefit certain American industries, including agriculture, that we must enforce.”

China has fallen short on the purchase totals it agreed to as part of the agreement, increasing its purchases by only 69% as of July 2021, according to the non-partisan Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).

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Commentary: Vaccine Hesitancy, the Medical Establishment, and the COVID Apocalypse

This month the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report. As with the previous five reports, it is bursting with dire “projections” about the future of the planet and civilization (they never say “predictions” because there is always some accountability and embarrassment when a prediction turns out to be wrong). 

I’m no climate scientist, so I can’t claim to hold a research-based opinion on “global climate change,” as it is now known. But I remember exactly when I started taking the “projections” of bodies like the IPCC with a grain of salt. It was when the “Climategate” scandal came to light in 2009, in which a hacked server resulted in a leak of internal emails from climate scientists at the prestigious Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.

The leaked emails clearly showed that researchers were withholding important information from the public—information that would undermine the apocalyptic claims of climate scientists. For example, illustrious expert Kevin Trenberth acknowledged to his colleagues that “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty.” But rather than admit this uncertainty, researchers colluded to “hide the decline” from the public. 

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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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Inflation Hits Another Multi-Decade High After Fed Boosts Projection

A key economic index used by the Federal Reserve to measure inflation surged to another 30-year high in August as Americans continued to experience sticker shock.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index increased 4.3% over the 12-month period ending in August, according to a Department of Commerce report published Friday. The figure represented the index’s highest increase since January 1991 when it surged at an annual rate of 4.5%, government data showed.

Minus energy and food prices, which are notoriously more volatile than other sectors, the PCE index increased at an annual rate of 3.6% in August, the Commerce Department reported. That is also the highest increase in more than 30 years.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: Youngkin’s Parents vs. McAuliffe’s Union Bosses

Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin

The Virginia governor’s race may be developing into an argument with a clear choice that has real implications for campaigns across the country in 2022.

Tuesday night’s debate clarified the dramatic gap between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. It is clear Youngkin stands with parents who care about their children’s education, and McAuliffe stands with the union bosses who want total control of our lives.

During the debate, McAuliffe made what may be an election-collapsing mistake. He spoke honestly about the degree to which he would exclude parents from their children’s educations.

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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 Lawmaker Arrested, Accused of Harassment, Violating Protection Order

Kevin Boyle

State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Philadelphia, was arrested late Friday by city law enforcement on charges accusing him of harassment and violating a protection from abuse order.

Court documents show the 41-year-old lawmaker was arraigned in the early hours of Saturday morning. A trial date is set for Tuesday.

The news comes just days after Spotlight PA reported that House Democratic leadership stripped Boyle of his committee chairmanship and limited his access to the state capitol building.

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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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Commentary: Democrat Elites Can’t Have It Both Ways on the ‘Great Replacement’

A rubber-banded newspaper with Joe Biden on the front

Tucker Carlson sent the Left into a predictable frenzy of self-righteous rage this week by making a true, but politically incorrect, observation. 

The invasion that is unfolding at the southern border, Carlson said, is purposeful. Joe Biden and his Democratic allies have embraced open borders because they want to change America’s racial demographics. They see their political destiny in replacing white conservatives with poor, non-white dependents from the Third World who will remain loyal to Democrats. By doing this, Democrats hope to secure permanent control of our political system. 

Carlson, of course, was immediately denounced by the usual media hall monitors for promoting the “Great Replacement Theory.” Except Carlson was not saying anything that prominent Democrats do not already discuss, very publicly, and with unabashed enthusiasm. His only sin was suggesting that the Great Replacement might not be a good thing.

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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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Businesses Push Back Against Biden Plan to Track All Bank Transactions over $600 Through the IRS

Joe Biden outside

A major component of President Joe Biden’s plan to raise revenue to pay for his trillions of dollars in new federal spending is now under fire from trade associations across the country.

The Biden administration has made clear its plan to beef up IRS auditing by expanding the agency’s funding and power. Biden’s latest proposal would require banks to turn over to the Internal Revenue Service bank account information for all accounts holding more than $600.

In a sharp pushback against the proposal, more than 40 trade associations, some of which represent entire industries or economic sectors, signed a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., raising the alarm about the plan.

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House Budget Committee Advances $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan as One California Democrat Breaks Ranks to Oppose

Rep. John Yarmuth

In a rare weekend session, the House Budget Committee approved a $3.5 trillion spending plan loaded with progressive policy changes, but one Democrat defected to join Republicans in opposition.

The 20-17 vote Saturday afternoon came as Democratic leaders aim to schedule a vote on the House floor this week, even as the package divides members of its caucus, especially moderates worried about its mammoth size.

Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., sought to gloss over GOP and moderate Democrat concerns, touting the potential help he said would come to working and poor families and liberal causes.

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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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Commentary: Our Indispensable Man

Angelo Codevilla

“The graveyards are full of indispensable men,” goes the old saying, and who could argue? The sun rose this morning as it did yesterday and will again tomorrow. Life goes on, as always, for better and often for worse. But now it is a life bereft of the remarkable intellect and insight of Angelo Codevilla, a patriot who despised what he saw his country becoming and who sought to rouse and educate his fellow Americans to resist.

Truly, he was our indispensable man.

He was remarkable, too, for his energy. It isn’t quite correct to say he was indefatigable. At 78, he couldn’t help but slow down a bit. But this was a man who survived two heart transplants and a number of recent health challenges. Even when he was sick, he kept writing and working.

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Commentary: National Sabotage by Immigration

As the first year of a Biden presidency that has felt like a decade nears its end, only the most ardent Democratic partisans still insist that the country is on the right track. The rest of us are left to debate whether the rancid fruit of this regime is a result of incompetence or design. By analysis of this administration’s immigration agenda alone, the inescapable conclusion is that it is indeed the latter. The macabre consequences of this fact threaten to take America into one of the darkest chapters in its history.

These kinds of conclusions run contrary to the traditional American ethos. Those who grew up with Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” imagery or John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier vision experienced leadership that sought the best for America and its citizenry. In those eras, politicians from both major parties seemed to prioritize the good of the country; they only disagreed on the means to get us there.

Such notions seem quaint given today’s realities. Beneath the surface of Biden’s genial Uncle Joe schtick is an executive branch controlled by some of the most dogmatic left-wing apparatchiks ever seen in American politics. Among their witch’s brew of radical ideas, they have seized upon immigration as one of the quickest and most effective ways to transform the country to their vision.

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Commentary: An American Horror Story

Close up of Capitol with Trump and America flag in the wind

Thomas Caldwell’s wife awakened him in a panic at 5:30 a.m. on January 19.

“The FBI is at the door and I’m not kidding,” Sharon Caldwell told her husband.

Caldwell, 66, clad only in his underwear, went to see what was happening outside his Virginia farm. “There was a full SWAT team, armored vehicles with a battering ram, and people screaming at me,” Caldwell told me during a lengthy phone interview on September 21. “People who looked like stormtroopers were pointing M4 weapons at me, covering me with red [laser] dots.”

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Commentary: The Bidenization of America

Joe Biden

Day by day, as the Biden Administration crashes into utter shambles and a cloud of dust reminiscent of 9/11, the Bidenization of America becomes more stark and horrifying. 

I can remember no more pitiful words from a senior American government official in 65 years than Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s complaint that the Taliban government in Kabul was disappointing in its lack of “inclusiveness.” (To be sure, that is not all it lacks, and that could hardly have been a surprise.) 

Nor can I think of any diplomatic initiative by a senior American government official more certainly doomed to ludicrous failure than environment ambassador John Kerry’s recent trip to China requesting the collaboration of the People’s Republic in this administration’s hell-bent-for-leather assault on what it is trying to identify as climate change. 

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At Least 18 Republican Governors Support Biden’s Afghan Refugee Resettlement Plan

Afghan women refugee settlment

After the Biden Administration announced its intentions to resettle at least 95,000 Afghan refugees in the United States, over a dozen Republican governors have voiced their support for his plan, as reported by Breitbart.

Last week, the White House declared that at least 36,000 Afghans will be resettled in the United States across 46 different states. The only four states that will not be receiving any refugees are Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming, as well as Washington, D.C.

In August, only about 10 Republican governors supported the proposed resettlement, including well-known “moderate” Republicans such as Larry Hogan in Maryland, Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Doug Ducey in Arizona, and Phil Scott in Vermont. But since then, eight more Republicans have joined in their support for the plan. In total, the 18 states with Republican governors that now support refugee resettlement are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont.

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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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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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Dow Plummets More Than 500 Points at Monday Open, Following Three Straight Weeks of Losses

U.S. stocks shed more than 500 points as the markets opened Monday morning as emerging risks continue to become the September story for Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 570 points – its biggest single day drop since mid-July. The S&P 500 lost 1.4%, while the tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6%.

The sell-off comes as a the result of a number of investor concerns. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will begin a two-day meeting, which investors are worried will result in a decision that will pull stimulus funds as inflation continues to surge.

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Commentary: The Tedious Work of Politics

In his crystalline column about the California recall and, by extension, the center-right populist movement in general, American Greatness Managing Editor Ben Boychuk singled out what must be done, namely “the tedious work of politics”:

That means laboring and building at the local level—beginning in our own neighborhoods. That means not only attending school board and city planning meetings but also running for those seemingly low-level posts because that’s how real candidates for higher office are made . . . [I]t is an argument for seeing the state as it is and changing course accordingly . . . Nobody was ever coming to save us. We can only save ourselves.

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Internet Watchdog Says Ex-Intelligence Community Officials Are Echoing Big Tech Talking Points

A warning by former national security officials about the dangers of regulating technology companies is in lockstep with arguments made by Big Tech chief executives, according to a report from an internet watchdog group.

A group of former intelligence community officials sent a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arguing against the passage of a series of antitrust bills advanced in the House Judiciary Committee in June. The warnings echo talking points made by groups lobbying for the tech industry and major tech firms themselves, according to a report by the Internet Accountability Project, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group focused on issues related to Big Tech.

The intelligence community officials argued the bills would make the U.S. less competitive with China and could even compromise America’s national security. 

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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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