Sen. Mike Lee’s Amendment to Safeguard Religious Liberty for Americans Who Hold to Traditional Marriage Fails By One Vote

Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) religious liberty amendment to the Democrats’ same-sex marriage bill failed by just one vote, 48-49, an outcome that, if the legislation is signed into law, could give a green light to the federal government’s retaliation against nonprofit faith organizations, such as schools and businesses, whose religious beliefs are incompatible with gay marriage.

Senate Democrats voted Tuesday, 61-36, to codify same-sex marriage into federal law with the help of 12 Republicans, as the Senate Press Gallery noted.

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Ohio Lawmakers Aim for Strict Rules for ‘Clean Energy’ Lending Programs

Ohio lawmakers will consider this far adding consumer protections to “clean energy” lending programs in a response to concerns that they can burden vulnerable homeowners.

Last year, a statewide clean-energy lending program stalled prior to making any loans. Republican lawmakers aim to add protections for consumers in the instance the program resurfaces.

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Ohio Governor Awards $4.8 Million in Grant Funding to Rape Crisis Centers

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Tuesday that rape crisis centers and sexual assault survivor programs in Ohio will receive $4.8 million in grant funding.

Twenty-five rape crisis centers and survivor service providers from 24 Ohio counties received grant funding.

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Ohio Mayors, Cities, and Planning Agencies Support Reconnecting the State Through Passenger Rail

In a display of support of passenger rail service in Ohio, a bi-partisan alliance of Ohio mayors in partnership with several of Ohio’s regional planning agencies, have formally requested the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to include a list of Ohio rail lines in its Corridor Identification Program (CAP).

According to FRA, the CAP, established earlier this year, institutes a pipeline of projects ready for funding, allowing them to be implemented faster and with greater coordination. The Corridor ID Program is anticipated to help expand intercity passenger rail service beyond the Northeast Corridor.

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Maine Fisherman Rips Whole Foods for Ending Purchase of Lobsters: ‘We Have Done Our Due Diligence’

Maine fisherman Jason Lorde joined a chorus of others who are denouncing a decision by upscale supermarket chain Whole Foods to stop purchasing Maine lobsters for its stores due to environmentalist pleas for the safety of the rare right whale, a move that affects the livelihood of hundreds of lobstermen.

The decision by Whole Foods has sparked outcry toward what many are describing as an example of environmental extremism.

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Ohio House Hears Package of Seven Bills Restricting Traffic Cameras

A package of Republican-backed bills designed to crack down on municipalities that employ photo-monitoring devices to enforce traffic, received its first hearing before state lawmakers Tuesday at the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

State Representative Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) is a long time critic of traffic cameras. He says that traffic cameras are a scheme that funnels cash to camera-friendly towns and does little to protect Ohio’s roadways.

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Buckeye Institute Urges Ohio Legislators to End Late-Summer Special Elections

The Ohio Senate Local Government and Elections Committee held its third hearing on Tuesday regarding legislation to end the state’s late-summer special elections, drawing supportive testimony from Buckeye Institute Research Fellow Greg R. Lawson. 

Lawson’s Columbus-based center-right policy outfit backs the effort to eliminate these elections which feature nominating contests for state legislative offices, state-party committee votes and many ballot initiatives. The bill, sponsored by state Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township), passed the state House of Representatives 68-22 last December and must pass the Senate and receive Governor Mike DeWine’s (R) signature in December to become law. All House members who opposed the measure last year were Democrats. 

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Commentary: FTX and the Root of Our Financial Crisis

Both liberal and conservative commentators, whether talking about the Great Recession, the financial collapse and bailouts of recent vintage, or now the FTX cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme, have neglected the cultural and moral reasons for these repeated episodes of economic mess and criminality. Unless those causes are addressed, all the finger pointing and proposed “solutions” will be about as helpful as putting a bandage on a tumor. 

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Seattle Subjected White City Employee to ‘Racially Hostile Work Environment,’ Lawsuit Alleges

A former Seattle municipal employee filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle earlier in November for allegedly creating a “racially hostile” working environment.

The plaintiff, Joshua Diemert, alleges that he was denied opportunities in his career in Seattle’s Human Services Department because of his race, forced to sit through race-based training sessions, urged to join “race-based affinity groups” and accused of benefiting from “white privilege.” Diemert seeks a declaration that Seattle’s policies and practices violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as damages up to $300,000.

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Remote School Districts Saw Larger Enrollment Declines, Report Finds

School districts that stayed remote as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic saw larger drops in their enrollment compared to in-person school districts, according to a Monday report by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

During the 2021-2022 school year, remote learning school districts lost at least half a million more students than school districts that returned to in-person learning, according to a report by AEI. Remote school districts’ enrollment dropped 1.3% more than school districts that were in-person 90% of the year.

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Commentary: The Horrors of the Holodomor Must Not Be Forgotten

Maria Katchmar was 7 when the troops came to her farm. 

The soldiers entered her home in Cherkasy Oblast — a region of Ukraine along the Dnieper River — and immediately began to break everything. Windows and doors. Paintings and linens. Even pots for cooking. Her father was ordered to drown his livestock. When he refused, he was sent to Siberia — and the Soviet troops confiscated the animals anyway.

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Poll: Most Americans Trust Elections Less If Results Take ‘Days or Weeks’

Americans are less likely to trust the fairness and accuracy of an election if results take “days or weeks” to be counted, according to a new poll.

When asked if results that took “days or weeks” to tabulated were more or less trustworthy, 33.9% of respondents said that it is “much less likely,” and 20.9% said that it is “somewhat less likely,” according to the Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action poll. Across party lines, 62.7% of Republicans, 27% of independents, and 10.4% of Democrats said that they were “much less likely” to trust results that took “days or weeks” to tabulate.

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Disney CEO Pledges to Double Down on LGBT ‘Storytelling’ in Animated Kids’ Movies

Bob Iger, the newly appointed CEO of Disney, pledged to double down on LGBT “storytelling” in the company’s animated kids’ movies during a Monday town hall with employees, according to The New York Times.

Iger served as CEO for 15 years before retiring in late 2020; he was brought back in about a year later after his successor, Bob Chapek, was fired, according to the NYT. Tumbling stock prices marked Chapek’s tenure as CEO, as did public outrage over the company’s political engagement in Florida and its alleged efforts to inject sexual content into children’s shows, particularly through gay and transgender characters.

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Twitter Quietly Stops Enforcing COVID-19 ‘Misleading Information’ Policy

Twitter has quietly halted enforcement of its COVID-19 misinformation policies, with Twitter users first discovering the change Monday night, according to CNN.

Twitter issued a variety of measures since the pandemic’s onset in 2020, including a policy that allowed users to report misinformation directly to Twitter to another taking action against tweets that alleged vaccinated individuals could still spread COVID-19. The policy, which has suspended more than 11,000 accounts and removed more than 90,000 pieces of content on the social media platform, was praised by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy as a model for how other companies could combat misinformation, according to CNN.

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Walmart’s Walton Family Funds LGBT Events for Kids in Arkansas

Second- and third-generation heirs of Walmart founder Sam Walton’s fortune have funneled millions of dollars into LGBTQ-related causes in their home state of Arkansas.

Among other things, these Walton-funded groups and the Walmart Foundation have sponsored local drag shows and story hours for kids; “teens only” events for LGBTQ-identifying youth; and other progressive causes such as diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in public schools and the state university in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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Thousands of Pedophiles Released from California Prisons After Less than a Year: Report

More than 7,000 pedophiles convicted of “lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age” were released from California prisons the same year they were convicted, according to the Daily Mail.

The crimes included child rape, continuous sexual abuse of a child, sodomy with a child under 16 and kidnapping a child under 14 “with intent to commit lewd or lascivious acts,” according to the Daily Mail. The outlet analyzed data on thousands of convicts in California’s Megan’s Law database and found that individuals convicted of sexually abusing children were serving only months in jail or prison; Megan’s law requires that certain information about convicted sex offenders be made public.

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Senate Passes Respect for Marriage Act

The Senate on Tuesday evening passed the Respect for Marriage Act to require that states recognize lawful marriages from other states while providing protections for religious liberty.

The bill passed with crossover support from Republicans, allowing it to clear the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. It will now move to the House of Representatives, which previously passed a similar package. The final count was 61-36.

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Senator Sounds Alarm for Same-Sex Marriage Bill as It Clears Another Hurdle with GOP Support, ‘Without Sufficient Protections for Religious Liberty’

A bill that would enshrine same-sex marriage in federal law progressed further in the Senate Monday evening with significant Republican support, but without sufficient religious liberty protections, and is now headed to a vote on Tuesday.

The Senate voted, 61-35, with four senators not voting, to end debate on the House-passed bill, dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage in federal law as between one man and one woman.

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Transgender Psychologist: ‘Serious Error in Judgment’ for Schools to Hide Gender Transitions from Parents

A transgender psychologist from Berkeley, California, has filed an amicus brief against a Maryland school district that allegedly hid children’s gender transitions from parents.

“It’s well established that one of the most important factors in helping gender-questioning children is family support,” the psychologist, who now uses the name Erica Anderson, Ph.D., told Fox News Digital. “So to deliberately deprive a child of support at a time potentially when they most need it is, I think, a serious error in judgment.”

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Ohio State University President Suddenly Resigns after Investigation

Ohio State University (OSU) President Kristina M. Johnson PhD, announced Monday night that she will transition out of her role as president in May 2023 at the end of the current academic year.

According to reports by The Columbus Dispatch, the university’s board of trustees asked Johnson to resign after an investigation was conducted by an outside firm into concerns about her which were raised by staff. What those concerns consisted of and the details of the investigation are not clear. Johnson allegedly had a contentious relationship with several members of the board and reportedly is being held personally responsible for the departure of at least two high-ranking university officials.

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Ohio Bill Looks to Require Dementia Training for Police and First Responders

In order to ensure Ohioans with dementia receive proper treatment lawmakers are working to pass a bill requiring police officers and first responders to be educated in effective communication tactics.

House Bill (HB) 23 sponsored by State Representatives Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Thomas West (D-Canton) aims to develop education and require specialized training for first responders addressing difficult situations for individuals with dementia.

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Republican Derek Merrin Elected as New Speaker for the Ohio House of Representatives

State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) has been elected as the new Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 135th General Assembly as reported by a release from the Ohio House.

The GOP Caucus selected Merrin, a 36-year-old Realtor, and real estate investor as the House Republicans’ pick for speaker over two rivals. State Representative Bill Dean (R-Xenia) organized and led the leadership election. The caucus’ newly elected and returning members participated in the vote.

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Large Number of Criminal Juveniles Entering U.S. Through DACA: Report

Democrats and immigration activists have long claimed that amnesty for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children wouldn’t include young people with a criminal history, but many of the juvenile beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) were affiliated with gangs and had arrest records when granted the program’s benefits, according to a new report.

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Ohio Lawmakers Look to Increase Penalties for Strangulation from a Misdemeanor to a Felony

Ohio lawmakers are working to pass a law that would help protect domestic violence survivors and make strangulation a felony in the state. 

Senate Bill 90 introduced by co-sponsors State Senators Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), aims to prohibit impeding breathing or circulation of family members.

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Ohio Governor DeWine Awards Another Round of Violent Crime Reduction Grants

Governor Mike DeWine announced that 24 local law enforcement agencies will receive a total of $11.7 million to help prevent and investigate incidents of violent crime including domestic violence, gun violence, and human trafficking.

The grants represent the 10th round of the Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program. Since the initiation of the program last year, Governor DeWine has awarded close to $70 million to 146 Ohio law enforcement agencies. Approximately $100 million will be awarded to local law enforcement agencies as part of the grant program in total.

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Over Half of America’s Top Medical Schools Now Teach Critical Race Theory

Many of America’s top medical schools have implemented Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a part of their mandatory programs, according to the Critical Race Training in Education database.

Approximately 58 of the top 100 medical schools ranked by the U.S. News & World report include CRT in their courses and student training, according to the Critical Race Training in Education database. Of the top schools, 46 provide students and staff with resources by Robin DiAngelo, the author of “Nice Racism,” a book about how progressive white people perpetuate racial harm, and Ibram X. Kendi, the author of several books on antiracism including “Stamped.”

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Mass General Brigham Speech Code Includes Blacklist on Care

A wealthy Massachusetts healthcare system that went on a controversial advertising spree to justify its encroachment on cheaper hospitals is now sending patients a different message: Watch your language.

“Words or actions that are disrespectful, racist, discriminatory, hostile, or harassing are not welcome” at Mass General Brigham (MGB), according to a “Patient Code of Conduct” imposed this fall after a year of development.

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Ohio Congresswoman Brown Pushing Bill to Expand Government Role in Healthcare

U.S. Representative Shontel Brown (D-OH-11) is leading a charge among members of Congress in favor of a measure to expand the federal government’s role in healthcare, particularly regarding mental-health-related comorbidities. 

The Cleveland-area Democrat is cosponsoring her Mental and Physical Health Care Comorbidities Act with House colleague Brendan Boyle (D-PA-2). Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) has introduced a version of the legislation in his chamber. 

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Commentary: The House GOP Majority Will Be at Least 221 Seats When All of the Counting is Done

There are just a few more results coming in from the 2022 Congressional midterms, and with just one more race to call — Republican John Duarte is narrowly leading Democrat Adam Gray by just 593 votes in California’s 13th Congressional District — House Republicans will take the gavel in the U.S. House of Representatives in January with either a 222 to 213 seat majority (nine seats) or a 221 to 214 seat majority (seven seats).

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Commentary: The Administrative State Can Put a Bug in Your Phone

n the age of cellphones and the internet, consumers often face a simple choice: convenience or privacy? Do we let Big Tech have access to our private communications and free email accounts because it’s so easy?

Once you’ve said yes — and who among us has not? — it’s not a stretch to think that Big Data already has almost all your information, so why get picky at the next juncture?

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National Science Foundation Gives Tens of Millions to Fight COVID ‘Disinformation,’ Populism

Government efforts to squelch purported misinformation and disinformation on the most contested subjects in American politics don’t stop with Cabinet-level agencies.

The National Science Foundation has awarded at least $39 million in grants and contracts in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 for projects that target misinformation or disinformation, frequently pertaining to COVID-19 and elections.

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U.S. Bans Chinese Tech That Allegedly Lets China Spy on Military Sites

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday announced a ban on new imports of Chinese-owned telecommunications equipment, including the equipment suspected of surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites.

The new rules, prohibiting U.S. sales and imports of equipment from companies including Huawei and ZTE, are the first to be implemented on the grounds they pose “unacceptable risk to national security,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said Friday. U.S. authorities have expressed concerns that Beijing could exploit the companies’ telecommunications installations across the country to collect data from U.S. sites, including nuclear and military sites in the U.S.

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Lawsuit Moves Forward from Professor Fired for Gender Ideology Criticism

A federal lawsuit against the University of Louisville for the demotion and dismissal of a professor who questioned transgenderism moved forward.

Professor Allan Josephson’s attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom argued his case the first week of November in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The university dismissed him in 2019 after several years of controversy stemming from his participation at a Heritage Foundation event on transgenderism.

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Goldman Sachs Issues Stock Market Warning

U.S. investors are significantly underestimating the risk of a recession, potentially increasing the impact of a recession next year, economists at Goldman Sachs warned in a Monday research note, according to Bloomberg.

Researchers at Goldman estimate a 39 percent chance of a slowdown in U.S. growth, but risk assets only account for an 11 percent chance, Bloomberg reported. By underestimating the chance of a recession, investors are increasing their exposure to the effects of “recession scares” in 2023, the analysts warned.

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Ohio Bill Aims to Permit Use of Ivermectin and Alternative COVID-19 Drugs

A bill in support of the use of alternative COVID-19 treatments received its first hearing in Lame-duck session at the Ohio Statehouse.

House Bill (HB) 631 sponsored by State Representative Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander), named the COVID-19 Health Care Professional-Patient Relationship Protection Act, aims to protect the use of doctor-patient relationships in Ohio by codifying the authority for healthcare professionals to administer alternative drug therapies for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or one of its variants.

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Two Estonian Citizens Arrested for Alleged Involvement in $575 Million Cryptocurrency Fraud

The Department of Justice announced on Monday that two Estonian citizens were arrested on Sunday in Tallinn, Estonia on an 18-count indictment for alleged involvement in a $575 million cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering conspiracy. 

The two men, Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turõgin, both 37 years old, allegedly defrauded hundreds of thousands of people out of money by convincing victims to enter into fraudulent equipment rental contracts with the defendants’ cryptocurrency mining service called HashFlare.

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Report: 41 Percent of Small Businesses Can’t Pay Rent in November

More than 40% of U.S. small business owners say they couldn’t pay rent on time or in full for the month of November, the highest this year.

The small business network group Alignable released the survey, which found that the hardship varies by industry. A notable 57% of beauty salons said they couldn’t make rent as well as 45% of gyms, 44% of retail and 44% of restaurants.

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Franklin County, Ohio Court Soon to Decide Whether to Continue Voucher Case

In the next few weeks, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jaiza Page (D) is poised to decide whether a lawsuit against Ohio’s private-school choice program will go forward. 

Litigation against private school choice in the Buckeye State has been in the works since last year when dozens of school districts under the aegis of Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding posited that the state’s EdChoice program harms the state’s ability to properly fund its public schools. The districts suing the state, which now number more than 130, filed their action in January. 

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Labor Department Approves Investing Pensions in ‘Woke’ ESG-Only Funds

The U.S. Labor Department announced plans to allow pension fund managers to “consider climate change and other environmental, social and governance factors,” also known as ESG, when choosing investments. 

In an announcement about the final rule last week, the agency criticized the Trump administration, stating, “the department concluded that two rules issued in 2020 … unnecessarily restrained plan fiduciaries’ ability to weigh environmental, social and governance factors when choosing investments, even when those factors would benefit plan participants financially.”

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Education Unions Say Ohio Legislature Should Focus on Funding, Not on Curriculum Regulation

Two Ohio teacher’s unions who are keeping tabs on the Ohio legislature’s handling of education say they hope the General Assembly focuses on funding and attracting new teachers, rather than bills that regulate curriculum and “divisive” issues.

Controversy has erupted in public education decisions over the past year on how to teach about race and how schools should approach students who identify as gay or transgender. In the mid-term election, The liberal teacher’s unions, the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) and the Ohio Education Association (OEA), contributed tens of thousands of dollars to help the campaigns of their Democratic candidates to secure support for their left-leaning agenda.

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Commentary: Congress Needs to Investigate Whitmer Kidnapping Hoax

A federal judge next month is scheduled to sentence two men convicted of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer from her lakeside cottage in the fall of 2020. Adam Fox, the alleged ringleader, and Barry Croft, Jr. face years in prison.

During the first trial in April, Fox and Croft received a hung jury while two co-defendants were acquitted on all charges based on extensive evidence of FBI entrapment. A jury found Fox and Croft guilty after a second trial in August thanks to the same judge putting his thumb—body?—on the scale in favor of the government.

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Commentary: Predictably, the Republicans Form Their Circular Firing Squad

With the disappointing midterms, Republicans have lost a major battle in the fight to restore American greatness. We are now rapidly approaching the final standoff between the flailing Republican Party and the reenergized Democratic Party. The Democrats survived what should have been a political bloodbath in 2022, and the Right seems to be in the most vulnerable position since the 1960s, when Republicans were essentially a permanent minority in Washington.

It could happen again. Whether the GOP returns to minority status in two years will depend on the party determines who will be its nominee in the next presidential election. While many on the Right assume it will be Donald J. Trump, there are other candidates in the offing.

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Commentary: Mob Rule and the Death of Trust

It’s been clear to millions of Americans for decades that the media was biased, that the Democratic Party and their government employee union allies controlled and corrupted big city elections, and that the “climate crises” and the threat of “white supremacy” were being oversold. These and other annoyances were perennial. But for many skeptics, the level of mistrust remained tolerable. The system itself was resilient. Nothing is perfect. The tide can turn. The good guys could still win. The 2015 arrival of Donald Trump on the national political scene changed the rules. The system not only revealed itself to be even more fraudulent than most people had previously believed, but it became malevolent.

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Farmers Can Expect High Interest Rates and Higher Costs Next Year

Farmers borrow short term money up front every year to pay for inputs and operating expenses. At harvest time when they sell their crops, they pay back their operating notes.

For the first time in 20 years, fast-rising interest rates have doubled the cost of short term operating notes, an impact a lot of farmers have never seen before.

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U.S. Senate to Vote on ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ as Several Groups Question its Constitutionality

Several groups argue the Respect for Marriage Act (ROMA) currently before the U.S. Senate is unconstitutional, and if enacted, will eventually be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bill, HR 8404, was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, on July 18 and passed by a vote of 267-157 the next day. The U.S. Senate took it up on November 14.

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Chinese Drone Threat Raises Foreign Espionage Concerns Among U.S. Officials

Enough Chinese-made recreational drones have been spotted in restricted airspace in the Washington, D.C. area to raise foreign espionage concerns among U.S. government agencies and lawmakers alike.

The drones, which are manufactured by DJI and sold at major retailers, can be altered by users to override the geofencing limitations that prevent the devices from flying over sensitive locations. 

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Commentary: Large Racial Reading and Math Performance Gaps Persist as Children Age

The dominant response to the recently-released NAEP Report Card on 4th and 8th grade proficiency scores has been to focus on the adverse effects of school closures: declining competencies, particularly for the lowest performing students. What is buried in the report is the continued alarmingly low black student scores on both reading and math sections and their inability to close the racial gap as they move from the 4th to 8th grade.

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