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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Roger Simon Commentary: Time to Stop ‘Communism, American-Style’

Some will remember that comedy classic from 1961, “Divorce, Italian Style,” starring Marcello Mastroianni. Unfortunately, 60 years later, we seem to be moving toward, even living through, a far less funny, real-life “Communism, American Style.”

What is “Communism, American Style”? As yet one would think it bears little resemblance to the Soviet kind with its gulags and so forth.

Or does it?

On Oct. 6, the Los Angeles City Council proclaimed, nearly unanimously (11–2), COVID-19 mandates that require proof of vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, movie theaters, salons, shopping centers, and just about every other public indoor space you could think of in the entertainment capital.

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‘Devastating’: Biden Ignores Lawmakers’ Pleas, Orders Massive Expansion of Utah Monuments

President Joe Biden will order the Department of the Interior Friday to vastly expand two Utah monuments which the Trump administration reduced in size.

The president will restore protections for both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments located in Utah, the White House announced. Biden’s order will re-expand the monuments from their reduced size of slightly more than 1 million acres to 3.2 million acres.

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Commentary: The Treacherous Road to Runaway Inflation

In January, 2001, America had a balanced budget, low debt, and was at peace. Here, briefly, is what lay ahead: war, financial crisis, civil unrest, massive growth of the federal government, and now severe inflation.

Never in the history of America has our government in its ineptitude created such a false economy, risking hundreds of years of hard work on unsound and unworkable economic policies. The Founders wisely relied on dispersion of power. They knew there would be dishonest and incompetent politicians but, in this case, the entire government is infected with deceptive leaders.

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Ohio Redistricting Commission Fails to Produce 10-Year Map

Vernon Sykes

Republicans blamed the federal government and Democrats blamed Republicans after the Ohio Redistricting Commission failed to pass a new state legislative boundary map that would last for a decade.

Instead, the commission passed a four-year map with the group’s two Democrats voting “no” after long hours of negotiations and recesses Wednesday, the constitutional deadline to pass new maps.

The 5-2 party line vote came early Thursday morning shortly after the 11:59 p.m. Wednesday deadline. The approved map likely preserves the Republicans’ veto-proof majority in the Senate and House.

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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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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: How States Could Assume Abandoned Responsibilities of the National Government

The COVID pandemic has witnessed the exercise of state “police powers” on a scale and scope unprecedented in America’s peacetime history. Out of fear of contagion, massive amounts of private property in the form of shops, restaurants, bars, and other businesses were peremptorily seized and shuttered. The rights of landlords to collect rents and evict tenants were suspended. The ability of people to cross from one state to another was hobbled by regulations, quarantines, and delays. And most of this was accomplished by governors and mayors acting by decree, with only the most tenuous of statutory authorizations.

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Majority of Independent Voters Says Federal Government Reporting on COVID Vaccines Is Biased

COVID Testing station

Anew poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group in association with Convention of States Action, finds that Americans are losing confidence in the ability of the federal government to present unbiased information about COVID-19 vaccine efficacy.

Just over half of U.S. voters are, at this point, not confident that the federal government is reporting unbiased information related to the Covid-19 vaccines; 44.5% remain confident in the government’s ability to do so.

Those figures are further broken down by political affiliation to reveal that among Independents, the feds are underwater. Among the politically unaffiliated or affiliated with a non-mainstream party, 53.4% of voters said they are not confident in the unbiased nature of government vaccine information – 40% of those polled specified they were “not confident at all.”

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: The Higher Inflation and Bigger Debt Act

United States currency

The $3.5 trillion spending bill set up to follow the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill (which has little to do with infrastructure) should be called what it really is: The Higher Inflation and Bigger Debt Act.

The Democrats would like you to believe it is only a reconciliation bill. This is vital to them because a reconciliation bill only takes 50 senators and the vice president to pass the U.S. Senate.

However, this additional $3.5 trillion comes after trillions of emergency spending prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider what the Congressional Budget Office has written about the fiscal situation before the $1.1 trillion and $3.5 trillion bills are passed:

Here is what the Congressional Budget Office forecasts (not counting Biden’s enormous spending plan): 

“By the end of 2021, federal debt held by the public is projected to equal 102 percent of GDP. Debt would reach 107 percent of GDP (surpassing its historical high) in 2031 and would almost double to 202 percent of GDP by 2051. Debt that is high and rising as a percentage of GDP boosts federal and private borrowing costs, slows the growth of economic output, and increases interest payments abroad. A growing debt burden could increase the risk of a fiscal crisis and higher inflation as well as undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar, making it more costly to finance public and private activity in international markets.”

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Commentary: Pennsylvania Is a Microcosm of America’s Housing Crisis

A modern home with a light blue roof and matching siding

In recent years, an acute housing crisis has engulfed both America’s coastal metros and Rust Belt regions. California’s Bay Area, for example, confronts a crisis of affordability and limited supply that hastens a population exodus. Midwest cities like Detroit face low real-estate prices and low demand, intensifying urban decline.

Pennsylvania is a microcosm of such alarming housing trends, especially east of the Susquehanna River, which is seeing an influx of metro New Yorkers relocating to the area.

From the Keystone State’s middle-class suburbs to its post-industrial locales, the housing crisis is a major challenge. In the midstate, most notably in Harrisburg and Lancaster, housing has become significantly more expensive. In the northeast’s anthracite coal region, anchored by Scranton, rents are spiking. And in suburban Philadelphia’s Lansdale, a townhouse went for nearly $500,000.

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Biden Requiring Federal Government Workers to Show Proof of Vaccination

COVID-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine vial and NHS record card

President Joe Biden on Thursday said his administration will require all federal employees and contractors to show proof of vaccination, a move met with swift opposition from Texas elected officials.

Federal workers or contractors who can’t show a proof of vaccination will be required to wear masks, practice physical distancing, and be subject to twice-weekly COVID-19 tests under the new rules.

Biden encouraged the private sector and professional sports leagues to follow suit in an address on Thursday.

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France Warned the U.S. in 2015 About the Wuhan Lab It Helped Build, Former COVID-19 Investigator Claims

Wuhan Institute of Virology

The U.S. federal government should have stopped funding research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2015 when China reduced its cooperation with the French in building and operating the lab, according to the leader of an investigation into COVID-19’s origins by the State Department under the Trump administration.

In 2015, French intelligence officials warned the U.S. State Department and their own foreign ministry that China was cutting back on agreed collaboration at the lab, former State official David Asher, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

By 2017, the French “were kicked out” of the lab and cooperation ceased, leading French officials to warn the State Department that they had grave concerns as to Chinese motivations, according to Asher.

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Commentary: One State Can Make a Difference

Farmer on a tractor, tilling field

Late last month, Montana ended its participation in the extended federal unemployment benefits program. No surprise this event was little noted in the national press, since Montana’s decision to exit the program had a direct effect on fewer than 20,000 people (the total unemployed population of Montana). Yet Montana’s decision had an enormous effect on the country as a whole.

Particularly for those inside the Beltway, it is easy to focus on Washington, D.C. as the only place where policymaking matters. And with an administration desperate to centralize power as it prints ever-growing piles of money with which it hopes to bribe or threaten states and localities, such an attitude is understandable. Recent developments in states like Montana far outside the beltway, however, show how national political innovations can be driven by states with smaller populations far from the beltway swamp and present conservatives with a path for political success. 

While elections in Montana often are driven by local and idiosyncratic issues as well as personal relationships (understandable in a state with some of America’s least populated state house and senate districts), Montana is and has long been a very red state. The only Democratic presidential candidate since 1948 to win a majority here was Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 landslide win over Barry Goldwater. It is much easier to convince and move 1 million people in Montana than 332 million Americans. And yet by moving 1 million Montanans (or 800,000 South Dakotans) or 1.8 million Idahoans, the Right can often exercise an outsized influence on the national debate. 

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Black Lives Matter Issues Statement of Support for Cuba’s Communist Regime

Miguel Diaz-Canel

The official Black Lives Matter organization is facing widespread criticism after releasing a statement in support of the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation issued its statement earlier this week, amidst the sudden grassroots protests that broke out in Cuba against the incumbent regime. In it, the organization claims, with no evidence, that “the U.S. government has only instigated suffering for the country’s 11 million, of which 4 million are black or brown.”

BLM further claims that the ongoing American embargo on Cuba, which has been in effect since the Cold War, is “at the heart of the crisis,” and went on to praise Cuba’s “strong medical care.” The far-left group’s rhetoric closely matches that of Cuba’s current dictator, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who explicitly blamed the United States for the protests.

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Federal Bill Would Ban Vaccine Database in Response to Biden’s ‘Door-to-Door’ Pledge

Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced a bill that would prohibit the federal government from creating and maintaining a federal database of every American who has received COVID-19 vaccines.

Cruz introduced the bill after White House officials announced a plan to use taxpayer dollars to pay individuals to go door-to-door in regions of the country where there are relatively low vaccination rates.

In response to statements made by President Joe Biden and White House press secretary Jen Psaki about the door-to-door outreach initiative, Cruz tweeted, “When the Biden admin calls for ‘targeted’ ‘door-to-door outreach’ to get people vaccinated, it comes across as a g-man saying: ‘We know you’re unvaccinated, let’s talk, comrade.’ My bill to ban federal vaccine passports prohibits the feds from maintaining a vaccine database.”

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15 Governors Oppose Biden Plan to ‘Conserve’ 30 Percent of All US Land and Water by 2030

Scenery of the mountains and waterways in Asheville, North Carolina

Governors from 15 states are sounding the alarm over an executive order issued by President Joe Biden tasking his administration to “conserve” 30% of all land and water in the U.S. by 2030.

Known as the “30 x 30 plan,” the directive is part of a United Nations Agenda 2030 land and sustainable development goal, which directs nations to conserve land and water to combat climate change.

Biden refers to the policy as part of the United State’s acceptance of rejoining the Paris Agreement, a deal former President Donald Trump pulled out of.

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Majority of Americans Want the Government to Fight Income Inequality, Poll Finds

Group of people gathered, talking next to an office desk

A majority of respondents believe that the federal government should push policies that reduce income inequality in the United States, according to a poll released Friday by Axios.

The Axios poll shows 66% of respondents say the government should work to lower the level of income distributed unevenly, up 4% compared to 2019.

Republicans surveyed who agreed the government should tackle income inequality increased by 5%, and Independents who responded similarly increased by 2%, according to the poll. Democrats saw an increase of 7% in favor of such policies compared to 2019.

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Commentary: Recent History Suggests FBI Involvement in January 6

Remember Christopher Steele?

The author of the infamous 2016 “dossier” was an impeccably credentialed former British intelligence officer who, we were assured, had the goods on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. Nearly every major news and opinion outlet vouched for his reputation and reliable sources inside the Kremlin.

Steele frequently was described as an “ex-spy” in charge of a well-respected global consulting firm in London; he was alternatively a victim of Trump’s public taunts and a hero willing to risk his life and reputation to spare America the election of a Putin puppet.

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Commentary: The Biden No-Go Zones

Joe Biden

In American journalism, there are supposed to be some clear, nonnegotiable third-rails. 

One is zero tolerance for overtly racist language and comportment among our movers and shakers. Reporters, for example, for four years damned Donald Trump for his neutralizing summation that there were both “fine people” and extremists mingled among the hordes of protestors during their occasionally violent encounters in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

It mattered little to the media that Trump added qualifiers of “many” and “both” sides of the protests: 

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides . . . And I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally—but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, OK? . . . Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats—you had a lot of bad people in the other group, too.

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Eighteen Months Later, Democrats’ First Trump Impeachment Tale in Tatters

In the first of their two drives to impeach Donald Trump, Democrats had a simple storyline: The then-president abused his power by requesting an investigation of Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine when Joe Biden’s son had done nothing wrong.

That mantra carried through the 2020 election, repeated by Democrats and sympathetic news anchors.

“President Trump has falsely accused your son of doing something wrong while serving on a company board in Ukraine,” CNN anchor Anderson Cooper claimed as he set up a question during an interview with Joe Biden last year. “I want to point out there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either one of you.”

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Biden Administration Threatens to Sue If Texas Governor Closes Migrant Detention Centers

The Biden administration threatened to sue Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott if the state follows through with plans to stop working with the federal government to detain migrant minors, according to a letter from federal officials Monday.

Abbott issued a disaster declaration on May 31 that ordered all facilities operating on federal contracts to house migrants who entered the country illegally to close. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Abbott’s declaration illegally discriminates against the federal government’s 52 state-licensed facilities operating in Texas to house unaccompanied migrant minors.

“The May 31 Proclamation discriminates against the Federal government by targeting the licenses held only by those entities providing shelter to ‘unlawful immigrants or other individuals not lawfully present in the United States under a contract with the federal government,’” according to HHS.

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Commentary: Benefits Under Biden’s ‘America Last’ Policies

People protesting

Many of the independent, undecided and even Democrat voters who chose Joe Biden over President Trump last November did so in hopes that his “moderate” demeanor would signal a return to some sort of “normalcy.”

However, from the moment he took office on January 20th, Biden has proven himself to be anything by moderate. So far Biden seems far more concerned with pandering to the “AOC” wing of his party while the American people pay the price.

On day one of his presidency, Biden rescinded permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, killing an estimated 40,000 high-paying American jobs with the stroke of a pen. He followed this blatant swipe at the American worker again last week by voicing his approval for Vladimir Putin’s plans to build a similar pipeline through Russia and Germany. Critics say this will only strengthen Russia’s dominance over Western Europe’s gas supply. All this while America went from energy independence under Trump, to gas shortages and price hikes under Biden.  Lunch Bucket Joe supports Russian jobs over American workers. And we were led to believe the other guy was the “Russian asset.”

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Commentary: Be Very Skeptical About Sen. Warren Throwing More Money at the IRS

Elizabeth Warren

Closing the “tax gap,” or revenue owed to the federal government that goes uncollected, has long been a favorite deus ex machina for lawmakers who want more revenue without having to raise rates. But Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Chuck Rettig really put dollar signs in lawmakers’ eyes when he claimed the tax gap could be as large as $1 trillion. Always eager to appear knowledgeable on policy issues, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is putting forward a plan to collect extra revenue that only gets worse the deeper you dig into it.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand how far off on an island Rettig is with his estimate. The IRS’s last official estimate of the size of the tax gap placed it at a far, far lower $381 billion. Even considering that this estimate may not have factored in underpayment from cryptocurrencies, offshore holdings, and pass-through businesses, the tax gap still remains far closer to $500 billion than to $1 trillion.

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Commentary: Paul Ryan Was an Ineffective Leader of the Republican Party

Paul Ryan

We aren’t actually governed by Paul Ryan, whose brief time as House Speaker ended in what can only be described as a surrender. Ryan bolted from the Speaker’s chair the minute the 2018 elections were over. He was happy to leave Congress to take a “cashing-in” job on the Fox Corporation board while his party took an electoral bath in those midterms he could blame on Donald Trump.

But as readers of The American Spectator know, in this space we’ve been exploring the premise that Americans are governed by people who suck. And Ryan put himself in that category even from outside the elective-office sphere this week when he offered up a tired and tiresome narrative about the future of the Republican Party.

What is it with these washed-up politicians, who are clearly the party’s past, demanding the GOP follow their instructions as to its future? Do we have to exhume the remains of Nelson Rockefeller and Thomas Dewey or conduct seances with them for guidance in how to defeat the 21st-century Left?

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Two Ohio Lawmakers Want State to Call for Convention of States

Rep. Riordan McClain

Two Ohio lawmakers plan to introduce a resolution next week calling for a convention of states to address the size of the federal government.  

State Reps. Riordan McClain, R-Upper Sandusky, and Craig Riedel, R-Defiance, said they plan to introduce the resolution, which would create a convention that could discuss the topics of “limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, term limits for Congress and other government officials, and fiscal restraints for the federal government.”

“The size and scope of the federal government have long been unsustainable, and we have waited long enough for Congress to fix itself,” McClain said.

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Senate Republicans Expand Investigation into ‘Woke Mission Creep’ of Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve

Senate Banking Committee Republicans have expanded an investigation into regional Federal Reserve banks over their alleged “woke mission creep.”

Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee sent letters to regional Federal Reserve banks in Minneapolis, Boston and Atlanta demanding a briefing with leaders and documents related to a recent “Racism and the Economy” initiative, GOP staffers said during a press briefing Monday morning. Engaging in political advocacy is out of the Fed’s purview, the letters said.

“Of course, racism is abhorrent and has no place in our society…. I recognize the interest in studying economic disparities along demographic lines, such as race and gender,” Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey wrote in the letters sent Sunday.

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Commentary: The Representation of Paycheck Americans

Donald Trump speaking at his rally

Like an aging diva, blinded by the lights that obscure an empty auditorium, U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) desperately imitates her supposed rivals to woo her already-departed fans. Robust and confrontational, the Reagan-style ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and optimism are poison to her beltway cocktail circuit. Cheney’s recent speech is a clinic in the Republicans’ second-place strategy that has kept them out of power in Congress for most of the post-war era.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” Cheney said. “We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution, and I think it’s very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution.”

What a load of crap. Cheney has shirked her constitutional duty to check uniparty power and the right of citizens to challenge leftist authority.

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Commentary: Remote Work’s Impending Transformation of Middle America

Computer with video chat on screen and mug next to laptop

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a great deal about America and Americans. Most have acquiesced to anything and everything government bureaucrats asked for in the name of public safety. Masks have been donned, churches have been shuttered, and many of us stayed at home for months, working remotely.

This last item may end up being the largest and most permanent transformation of the United States. The mobility that comes with remote work may end up transforming middle America as left-coast technologists migrate inward. Freed from the work-based ties that bind them to Silicon Valley and New York City, they can now easily take their jobs and their left-wing politics to the heartland, ushering in a transformative moment in American politics.

Thomas Edsall, writing for The New York Times, discusses how many from densely populated urban areas on the coasts are finding that remote work enables them to have big city paychecks while living in suburban or rural areas with lower costs of living. 

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House Approves Bill Aiming to Address Anti-Asian Hate Crimes; Biden Has Previously Pledged to Sign

Person with "stop Asian Hate" sign on Capitol steps

The House of Representatives on Tuesday decisively passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a bill that seeks to address hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.

The House approved the measure in a 364-62 vote. The legislation, which had been passed last month in the Senate by 94-1, will head to President Biden who has previously pledged to sign it.

“For more than a year, far too many Asian Americans have woken up each morning increasingly fearful for their safety and the safety of their loved ones,” Biden said in an April statement. “They have been scapegoated, harassed, and assaulted; some have even been killed. It has been over a year of living in fear for their lives, as acts of anti-Asian bias and violence have accelerated from coast to coast — an unconscionable burden our fellow Americans have been forced to bear, even as so many Asian Americans serve their communities and our nation tirelessly on the front lines of the pandemic.”

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House GOP Members Want Answers on January 6 Probe

Jan. 6 United States Capitol riot

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Representatives Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) asked for information about the Justice Department’s abusive investigation into January 6.

“Those that damaged property and assaulted police officers on January 6th should rightfully face justice,” the pair wrote in a letter sent May 14. “However, the public outcry and hyper-politicization of the events on January 6th may incentivize prosecutors to use overly aggressive tactics, overcharge, and abuse the power of the federal government in order to satisfy favored political groups.”

Roy and Massie asked Garland to schedule a briefing with Congress before the end of the month to address several concerns, including how plea deals are arranged, the FBI’s use of force in raiding the homes of nonviolent protesteors, and the Justice Department’s request to hold defendants behind bars pending trial. “[C]ongressional oversight of these prosecutions is essential as a check and balance on that power.”

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Dozens of House GOP Reps Urge Pelosi to Drop Masking Rules Following Revised CDC Guidance

Nearly three dozen House GOP representatives this week urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to formally drop the House’s strict mask mandate, citing recently updated masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the Friday letter, issued from the office of Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs, 34 Republicans “urge[d] [Pelosi] to immediately return to normal voting procedures and end mandatory mask requirements in the House of Representatives.”

“CDC guidance states fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting except where required by governmental or workplace mandate,” the letter declares. “It is time to update our own workplace regulations. Every member of Congress has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and you have indicated about 75 percent have taken advantage of this opportunity.”

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Commentary: Biden Must Reverse Course on Iran Before It’s Too Late

President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade with the Combatant Commander nominees U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson on Monday, March 8, 2021, along the Colonnade of the White House.

Media outlets around the world recently reported on leaked audio comments in which Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif admitted that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps controls all of Iran’s foreign policy decisions.  Although President Joe Biden was careful to mention neither Zarif nor Iran in his speech before Congress last month, Zarif’s embarrassingly candid revelations have direct implications for Biden’s entire Iran policy: namely, it underscores that reducing economic sanctions in order to moderate the Iranian regime cannot work.

For decades, U.S. policy toward Iran has produced disappointing results, largely because American administrations have underestimated the entrenched ideology of Iran’s theocratic dictatorship and mistakenly assumed the regime can be tamed by conciliatory diplomacy.  Western efforts to placate Tehran have failed consistently since the revolutionaries took power in 1979, yet recent reports indicate President Biden is in the process of repeating this failure. 

Just as the Obama administration did with its disastrous 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Biden administration is now seeking to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for temporary commitments from Tehran to curb its nuclear program.  A senior State Department official recently revealed that the Biden administration is reviewing all U.S. terrorism and human rights sanctions on Iran since 2017 to assess whether those sanctions were “legitimately imposed,” and that some sanctions will need to be lifted to ensure Tehran is “benefiting” from the nuclear deal.  Like Obama, Biden hopes that relaxing economic pressure can convince the regime to put aside its nuclear ambitions, focus on Iran’s economy and people, stop bankrolling terrorist proxies, and become a normal member of the international community. 

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Commentary: The Government Hiding January 6 Video Footage and Why

Jan. 6 capitol riot

Joe Biden calls it the worst attack since the Civil War. Attorney General Merrick Garland compares it to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The FBI is breaking down the doors of Iraq War veterans and small business owners who have no criminal records, and some are hauled off to rot in solitary confinement in a fetid D.C. jail, for their involvement in the alleged travesty.

The event, of course, is the roughly four-hour-long disturbance at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. As mostly nonviolent Americans dared to protest Congress’ certification of a clearly fraudulent presidential election in a place that once was considered “The People’s House,” lawmakers scurried for cover as reporters and photographers captured part of the ruckus on video and still shots to wield as political ammunition against Donald Trump and his supporters.

But have we seen a full and fair depiction of exactly what happened that day? The answer, as evidenced by an ongoing coverup by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Justice Department, clearly is no.

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D.C. Jail Treatment of Capitol Riot Defendants Draws Bipartisan Outrage

Ashort drive from the U.S. Capitol, 1,500 inmates are stuck in their jail cells 22 hours a day. Until last month it was 23, and they were also barred from going outside.

A smaller group of inmates may have it even worse: those awaiting trial for alleged crimes in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. They’ve been placed in “restrictive housing,” a maximum-security designation.

The plight of nearby inmates has received surprisingly little attention on Capitol Hill for the better part of a year, since the District of Columbia Department of Corrections issued its “medical stay-in-place” policies for COVID-19 mitigation.

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Commentary: The U.S. Economy and Its Lack of Sustainability

American flag with $100 bills and stethescope

Is the economy booming or is it riding a wave of paper money with no real underlying sustainability? That is the question which policy makers in Washington, DC should be considering.

The truth is no one actually knows, but that is exactly why this discussion must be had.

Since the China virus was inflicted upon the world, it is indisputable that the federal government has authorized $5 Trillion between the Trump spending of $3.1 Trillion to meet the crisis and Biden’s recently passed additional $1.9 trillion so he could sign checks to people too. This is on top of the $1 Trillion in planned deficits during the 2020 fiscal year.

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Commentary: Championing America’s First Freedom

Person waving flag outside of window

The right to worship freely is often called America’s first freedom.  Our founding fathers understood religious freedom not as the state’s creation but as an unalienable right from God.

This universal right is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”

Today, however, religious freedom is threatened or restricted entirely for millions of people around the world.  Over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high or severe restrictions on religious freedom.  In far too many places across the globe, governments and others prevent individuals from living in accordance with their beliefs.

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Commentary: ‘Bipartisan Border Solutions’ Bill Lacks Solutions

No disrespect to its border-state sponsors, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and House members Henry Cuellar and Tony Gonzales (both Texans, Democrat and Republican respectively), but there are better names for the “Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.”

The “Bipartisan Band-Aid for Biden’s Border Mess” works. It’s a little long, but more descriptive than the current title.

Given the severe overcrowding at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shelters, building four new regional processing centers along America’s southern border, as the legislation calls for, may be necessary at this point.

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John Kerry Vehemently Denies Sharing Secret Intel About Israel with Iran

John Kerry

Former Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday vehemently denied providing Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif with secret information about Israeli strikes on Iranian interests in Syria, an allegation which Republicans seized on to call for Kerry’s ouster from the Biden administration.

“I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false. This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since,” Kerry tweeted in response to reports of his interactions with Zarif.

Iran International, a London-based outlet, and The New York Times reported that Zarif said in a secret audio recording that Kerry had informed him that Israeli forces had struck more than 200 Iranian targets in Syria.

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Senator Josh Hawley Introduces Antitrust Legislation Aimed at Big Tech

Joh Hawley

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a new bill on Monday that would break up several large companies in the United States, with a particular focus on the Big Tech companies, as reported by the Daily Caller.

The bill is called the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act,” and aims to combat “anti-competitive big business” such as “Big Banks, Big Telecom, and Big Pharma.” In his press release announcing the new legislation, Hawley said that “a small group of woke mega-corporations control the products Americans can buy, the information Americans can receive, and the speech Americans can engage in.”

“These monopoly powers control our speech, our economy, our country,” Hawley continued, “and their control has only grown because Washington has aided and abetted their quest for endless power.”

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Commentary: Biden Border Policy Goes South

Border Surge

When the inevitable assessments of President Biden’s first 100 days in office begin to appear, his precipitous actions pursuant to illegal immigration at the southern border will be judged by most honest observers to have been his worst blunder. That is certainly the perspective of the majority of Americans, according to three recent public opinion surveys. An NPR/Marist poll, for example, found that 53 percent of respondents disapproved of Biden’s handling of immigration. An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 57 percent were dissatisfied with his management of the situation, particularly as it affects unaccompanied minors. An AP/NORC poll found that 56 percent were unhappy with Biden’s performance on immigration.

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Arizona State Legislature Opposes Federalized Elections, Passes Strong Election Integrity Bills

State Rep. Jake Hoffman

In the wake of Georgia’s passing of a sweeping anti-voter fraud bill into law, Arizona is among the states that has followed suit and passed similar measures to strengthen election integrity, as reported by Breitbart.

On Tuesday, the Arizona State Senate passed HB 2569, which bans the use of private funds for election administration and management. The bill passed in a party-line vote after having previously passed through the State House of Representatives in a similar party-line vote. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) for his signature.

On Wednesday, the State Senate passed a resolution, HCR 2023, which reaffirmed Arizona’s opposition to the provisions in the federal bill H.R. 1, introduced by Democrats in the United States Congress in an effort to dramatically increase federal control over the nation’s election process. The resolution had already been approved by the State House, with its passage in the State Senate officially codifying it as a formal resolution by the Arizona state legislature.

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Commentary: Too Much of a Unity

“The city comes in to being for the sake of life, but it continues for the sake of the good life. ” — Aristotle, Politics

“[The Declaration of Independence] was the word, “fitly spoken” which has proved an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple — not the apple for the picture.”—Abraham Lincoln, “Fragment on the Constitution and Union”

The crisis of our time requires clear thinking about political means and ends, and the ways they are connected. The two epigraphs above address this central question of practical wisdom—the first from the general perspective of theory, the second as relates to the particular nation of the United States. Both quotations may be familiar to educated conservatives, and particularly to those students of political philosophy broadly associated with the Claremont school of thought. Yet there is a danger that such familiarity may breed, if not contempt, then the forgetfulness that settles on “sonorous phrases” which lapse into clichés. I would like to reconsider these arguments made by Aristotle and Lincoln—along with some related observations by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson—not as hackneyed commonplaces but as genuine insights that remain relevant and even urgent. Circumstances in the coming years may require new or unusual means to secure the ends of liberty and justice. Our thinking must be appropriately radical.

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Commentary: Save America From Action Civics

Booker was about twelve when he first set foot in a classroom and discovered that he needed a last name. He invented one on the spot, and for the rest of his life, he was Booker Washington. It was then and still is a civics lesson for America. As a slave born on the Burroughs Plantation in 1856, he was simply Booker. But as a freed individual determined to make something of himself, he chose to identify with his country’s founder. 

Booker T. Washington—he added the T later—spent the rest of his life getting educated and educating others, black and white. He is out of fashion these days because he preached black advancement through relentless hard work and veered away from challenging the racist public policies of his time. But he still has something to teach us, namely that Americans have to own their history.

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House Preps to Pass Two Immigration Bills, Dreamer Pathway to Citizenship, Agricultural Worker Visa Reform as Border Crisis Intensifies

The House will vote on two immigration bills this week as the numbers of migrant families and children detained at the southern border surges.

The first bill, dubbed the Dream and Promise Act (DPA) would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, immigrants who have lived in the U.S. illegally since being brought as young children.

The second, the Farm Modernization Workforce Act (FMWA), would create a certified agricultural worker status and streamline the H-2A visa application process. President Joe Biden has also announced a sweeping immigration reform plan in addition to the two bills, though Republicans have labeled it a non-starter.

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CBO Says Budget Deficit Will Hit $2.3 Trillion in 2021

The U.S. budget deficit will be larger than expected because of the $900 billion stimulus bill passed in December, a whopping  $448 billion larger than was projected in September, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday.

According to Breitbart, the CBO forecasts that the federal government will borrow $2.26 trillion this year making it the second-largest deficit since World War II. Last year’s $3.1 trillion was the biggest in absolute numbers and also the largest as a share of gross domestic product.

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President Biden Reinstates Race-Based ‘Diversity Training’ in the Federal Government

Just hours after being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden signed a slew of executive orders, reversing many Trump-era policies, including a ban on Critical Race Theory training for employees of federal agencies and federal contractors, which include colleges and universities.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg in Woke Government Training

The Trump Administration put critical race theory on notice this month. The White House issued a directive outlawing the inclusion of exercises based on this theory in government training. “These types of ‘trainings’ not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce,” the directive declared.

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Treasury Department: States, Local Governments Spend Only 25 Percent of CARES Act Subsidies

As deliberations continue in Congress over how to allocate another $1 trillion worth of stimulus money, governors and mayors say they need more than the $139 billion already allocated to their states in March to cover revenue shortfalls.

A total of $150 billion was allocated to help state, local and tribal governments with specific COVID-19 response programs.

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