A Gallon of Gas Now Costs More Than the Federal Minimum Wage in These US Cities thumbnail

A Gallon of Gas Now Costs More Than the Federal Minimum Wage in These US Cities

By Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

High fuel prices are a painful reminder that there’s a price to overlooking secondary consequences, even in a country as wealthy as the United States.

As nearly 40 million Americans prepare to travel for Memorial Day weekend, they’re confronted with an unpleasant reality: gasoline prices are through the roof.

Last week, for the first time ever, gas prices topped $4 in every single state. On Wednesday, Florida hit a new record high—$4.57 a gallon. That’s a lot, but it pales in comparison to California, where the average price per gallon was $6.06 as of Monday. In some parts of the Golden State, however, prices are even much higher.

A CBS News article published Tuesday pointed out that the price of a gallon of gas at many California service stations was higher than the federal minimum wage. According to GasBuddy, the following locations were $7.25+.

Chevron at 901 N. Alameda St. in Los Angeles: $7.83 a gallon

Chevron at 51557 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.39 a gallon

Chevron at 712 North CA-127 in Shoshone: $7.39 a gallon

Shell at 453 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.39 a gallon

Valero at 377 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.35 a gallon

Mobil at 8489 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles: $7.29 a gallon

Shell at 51424 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon

Mobil at 22 Vista Point Drive in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon

Chevron at 3600 Alameda Drive in Menlo Park: $7.25 a gallon

Many people would look at the figures above and come to a simple conclusion: the federal minimum wage needs to be increased!

Unfortunately, it’s precisely that kind of economic thinking that landed Americans with $7.25 gasoline.

The urge to mandate “good” things and ban “bad” things is at the root of many of the greatest problems facing America today. Both of these actions share a common, unwelcome bedfellow: unintended consequences.

The historian Niall Ferguson has noted that “the law of unintended consequences is the only real law of history”—and for good reason. It’s an idea that stretches back to philosopher John Locke, economists Adam Smith and Frédéric Bastiat, and beyond.

When politicians raise the minimum wage, the intended consequence is clear: a higher wage for workers. The unintended consequences get less attention: less employment, higher consumer prices, reduced benefits, and in many cases lower compensation for workers.

Similarly, when politicians kill oil pipelines, restrict fracking, cancel drilling leases, and pass a slew of energy regulations that can hardly be counted, the intended consequence is (sort of) clear: less reliance on fossil fuels. The unintended consequences, however, are painful: higher energy prices.

This is why the great writer Henry Hazlitt, the author of Economics in One Lesson, said it was imperative to consider the secondary consequences of a given action, something people often fail to do.

“This is the persistent tendency of men to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group,” Hazlitt wrote in his seminal work, “and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.”

High gas prices won’t stop my family from enjoying our annual Memorial Day mini-vacation.

We’ll be traveling to Appleton, Wisconsin for some R&R with friends and family. There will be lots of swimming, cornhole, meat sizzling on the grill, and some cold, frothy beverages for the adults. But we’re in the fortunate position; we don’t feel gasoline prices as much as the average American family. My wife and I both work and are in our prime earning years. Our cars and student loans are paid off. The kids are all out of daycare.

But I wonder how many families around the country will struggle to fill that tank this Memorial Day weekend, and how many might have to skip their vacation altogether because they just can’t make ends meet.

It makes me sad to think about it, frankly.

Still, it’s a good reminder that even in a country like the USA, which has so much, there’s a price to pay for overlooking secondary consequences. It’s also a good reminder that bans and mandates are not the path to a prosperous future.

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

The Devil Went Down to Texas: The Utter Evil of the Uvalde Massacre thumbnail

The Devil Went Down to Texas: The Utter Evil of the Uvalde Massacre

By Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

To massacre children is literally Satanic.

Paul Harvey: If I were the Devil…


It’s hard to know what to say in the wake of a heart-rending tragedy like Tuesday’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas. It would be easy—but irresponsible—to interpret the event conclusively when so little is known. It would be easy—but wrong—to try, in spite of that ignorance, to force one’s narrative framework on it in pursuit of an agenda.

But our attention is irresistibly drawn to such a horror. We are compelled to stop and silently reflect. But, after reflecting, it is imperative that we talk about it—to express condolences and outrage, yes, but also to learn from it as best we can. To truly honor the victims, we must figure out how to prevent similar atrocities from happening again.

Especially at this early stage, it is impossible to know exactly what would lead a person to do something so evil. But certain revelations about the 18-year-old killer raise societal issues that, even if they weren’t the decisive factors in this case, are tremendously important regarding the issue of violence—and evil—in general.

The Daily Beast reports:

Although Salvador Ramos was described as “quiet” by numerous people who knew him, a young woman who worked with him at Wendy’s until March detected an aggressive streak. Several former friends said he had stopped showing up at school and was not going to graduate with the senior class this year.

“He would be very rude towards the girls sometimes, and one of the cooks, threatening them by asking, ‘Do you know who I am?’ And he would also send inappropriate texts to the ladies,” said the former co-worker, who did not want her name used.

“At the park, there’d be videos of him trying to fight people with boxing gloves. He’d take them around with him.

Some would attribute such an “aggressive streak” to males being broadly socialized to be forcefully assertive and competitive. They largely blame this culture of “toxic masculinity” for mass shootings and violent crime in general, both of which are predominantly committed by men.

This blame is misplaced, however. As Jordan Peterson wrote in 12 Rules for Life:

“Those who put forward such theories assume, first, that aggression is a learned behaviour, and can therefore simply not be taught, and second (to take a particular example) that, ‘boys should be socialized the way girls have been traditionally socialized, and they should be encouraged to develop socially positive qualities such as tenderness, sensitivity to feelings, nurturance, cooperative and aesthetic appreciation.’ In the opinions of such thinkers, aggression will only be reduced when male adolescents and young adults ‘subscribe to the same standards of behavior as have been traditionally encouraged for women.’”

Peterson above quotes “Prescription for reduction of aggression,” a 1980 paper published by L.D. Eron in The American Psychologist.

But as Peterson points out, “it is not the case that aggression is merely learned.” Aggression is an innate part of human nature that can manifest very early in life (emphasis added):

“…it appears that a subset of two-year-old boys (about 5 percent) are quite aggressive, by temperament. They take other kids’ toys, kick, bite and hit. Most are nonetheless socialized effectively by the age of four. This is not, however, because they have been encouraged to act like little girls. Instead, they are taught or otherwise learn in early childhood to integrate their aggressive tendencies into more sophisticated behavioural routines. Aggression underlies the drive to be outstanding, to be unstoppable, to compete, to win—to be actively virtuous, at least along one dimension. Determination is its admirable, pro-social face. Aggressive young children who don’t manage to render their temperament sophisticated by the end of infancy are doomed to unpopularity, as their primordial antagonism no longer serves them socially at later ages. Rejected by their peers, they lack further socialization opportunities and tend towards outcast status. These are the individuals who remain much more inclined toward antisocial and criminal behavior when adolescent and adult.

“Outcast status”—the bottom of the pecking order—is a dreadful place to be trapped, especially for a young man. Judging from reported testimony, that is exactly where Ramos resided. As The Daily Beast related:

Former friend Santos Valdez Jr., told The Washington Post that the two had been close friends until Ramos’ behavior started to “deteriorate.” He said Ramos, who was often bullied over a speech impediment that included a stutter and lisp, once cut up his own face with a knife “just for fun.”

Some men become so resentful of their lowly place in “the order of things” that they seek to bring the whole structure crashing down, even if it means their own destruction. They are desperate for appreciation and respect: to feel high-status. But they have failed to learn how to earn it by channeling their assertive and competitive impulses in pro-social directions. So they decide to go out in a blaze of infamous “glory,” to, just for once and however fleetingly, feel “powerful,” even if they are too cowardly to assert their dominance over anyone other than little children.

Such a wicked deed is to say literally, “to Hell with it.” To Hell with society, with morality, with the structure of Being itself. It is to say, as Satan did in Paradise Lost when, resentful of his status, he tried to overthrow God, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” To commit such nihilistic rebellion is to embody the archetype of the Devil, the Adversary, the Villain.

Again, I don’t know if that’s what happened in the case of Salvador Ramos. But I wonder if it is. And in any case, I do believe the potential for such evil is inherent to the human condition and must be guarded against by us all.

But the preventative for that evil is not to try to repress (or disarm) the assertive, competitive, and ambitious energies that can feed it, as many efforts to address so-called “toxic masculinity” end up doing. The solution, as Peterson explained, is to channel those energies toward the good: toward individual accomplishment, enterprise, great deeds, and heroic service.

If we want people—young men especially—to reject the role of the Villain, we must encourage them to embrace the role of the Hero.

AUTHOR

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez is the Director of Content at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and the editor-in chief of FEE.org.


This article was adapted from an issue of the FEE Daily email newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free-market news and analysis like this in your inbox every weekday.


EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

How to Assassinate a Former President: Open the Border thumbnail

How to Assassinate a Former President: Open the Border

By The Daily Skirmish – Liberato.US

You may have heard in the news the FBI foiled an Islamic State-connected plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush.  What you might not have heard is how Joe Biden’s open borders policies made the plot possible.

The plot involved smuggling four Islamic State-linked terrorists from Iraq across the southern border, a border now leaky as a sieve under Biden.  The plot mastermind entered the U.S. on a visitor visa, then applied for asylum.  Under Trump, he most likely would have been detained, then deported if his claim failed.    But under Biden, illegal aliens filing asylum claims are routinely released into the interior of the country and told to show up in court years later.  Surprise, surprise – not everyone does.  What self-respecting terrorist would?

FBI Director Christopher Wray just testified to Congress yesterday, “any porous point of entry is a potential vulnerability that bad actors of all sorts, including national security threats, can seek to exploit.”  And so they do.  Recently, it was reported 42 illegal aliens on terrorist watch lists have been caught at the border since Biden took office.   Nobody knows how many more suspected terrorists are among the 600,000 known ‘gotaways’ now freely roaming the U.S. after entering the country on Biden’s watch.   We do know the Border Patrol released a suspected terrorist from Colombia into the U.S. in April who was not apprehended for three weeks.  It doesn’t take three weeks to travel from the border to Dallas, where the plot to assassinate George W. Bush was to take place.

It’s undeniable the Biden administration has opened the border to a considerable degree.  I’ve documented and compiled in previous commentaries the numerous policy changes the Biden administration has instituted to open the border [Daily Skirmish – 4/28/22].  But all we get out of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is gaslighting.  He’s on record telling the nation “The border is closed, the border is secure.”  In reality, accommodating new arrivals and moving them through the asylum pipeline as quickly as possible is the plan and will remain the plan when the rush to the border begins after COVID restrictions there end.

One interesting feature of the plan is the increasing reliance of the Biden administration on left-wing activist groups to perform governmental functions to alleviate the problems Biden’s loose immigration policies have caused.  The DHS is giving out $150 million in grants to outside groups to deal with the increasing numbers of new arrivals.  Full employment for Lefties – that’s just great, and you’re paying for it.

Undoubtedly, some of this money will find its way to left-wing groups in D.C. meeting the buses Governor Greg Abbott is sending from Texas.  These groups are providing new arrivals with food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.  One account portrays all this as being done by volunteers taking action because the government has done nothing in response to the buses.  But it won’t be long before these groups pick up the scent of government grant money, if they haven’t already.  The pattern is likely to repeat, once Florida starts sending illegal aliens to Biden’s home state of Delaware when COVID restrictions at the border end.

So, the Biden administration gets to pay a little money and avoid responsibility for the immigration mess it has created.  In fact, Biden and Mayorkas come out ahead because they get to reward their Lefty friends with government contracts, thus ensuring their loyalty and making the Left stronger all around.

Cronyism and terrorism, just two of the consequences of Joe Biden’s ruinous open borders policies.

Visit The Daily Skirmish and Watch Eagle Headline News – 7:30am ET Weekdays

©Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.

WHO, WEF, SDG, JRB…WTF thumbnail

WHO, WEF, SDG, JRB…WTF

By Mark T. Cicero

This summer, the elites of the World Economic Forum (WEF) will convene in Davos Switzerland for Klaus Schwab’s annual confab of the Lear jet set. Part of this meeting is to ratify and endorse the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest draft of the International Health Regulations (IHR). This treaty has had virtually no coverage and it deserves scrutiny at the most minute level.

Background: The WEF is determined to create a more ‘perfect world’ by advancing their “Great Reset” for the purpose of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 (SDG). If you are not aware of this plan, you really need to get a better grasp of this. The SDG is the blueprint for global totalitarianism on a level never before seen on this planet. It was originally intended by Klaus Schwab et al. to be the Millennial Development Goals of 2000, but the world didn’t cooperate. Hence, the new 2030 deadline to make this happen. One of the key elements in their toolkit is the WHO. After all, who could object to an organization devoted to boosting global health?

WHO is run by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is an Ethiopian administrator (noted for his Marxist activism) with questionable credentials to put it mildly. He is completely in the thrall of the Chinese and Xi Jinping. Tedros helped promote the notion that Covid 19 did not originate in China, he praised their transparency and candor in dealing with the virus. He doesn’t have the medical qualifications to manage this organization other than his willingness to kowtow to the Chinese and Bill Gates.

Back to the subject at hand: the IHR as amended by good old Uncle Joe and his new representative to the WHO, Anthony Fauci.

Here are but a few of the gems from this:

1. WHO’s latest release pushes new digital vaccine passports to be used on a global scale.

2. The WHO openly states these personalized digital documents could “be extended to capture vaccination status to protect against other diseases” and may “be used for continuity of care or as proof of vaccination for purposes other than health care,” such as employment, university education and international travel.

3. Empower WHO’s Director-General to declare health emergencies or crises in any nation and to do so unilaterally and against the opposition of the target nation.

4. According to the Forward to WHO’s regulations, there is no specific limit to what constitutes a health emergency, and it is certainly not limited to pandemics. WHO’s domain includes: “8. a scope not limited to any specific disease or manner of transmission, but covering “illness or medical condition, irrespective of origin or source, that presents or could present significant harm to humans… “5. The WHO will have the unilateral power to determine if any member country warrants their intervention, whether the target country agrees or not.

There is a lot more buried in this text but the net result is the same: if codified, the USA will have voluntarily given up its sovereignty to a Chinese puppet: Tedros. If you missed it this week, our vaunted head of the DHS, Mayorkas, has shelved his plan for a Disinformation Governance Board. This is less surprising now that the details of the new IHR become clearer: it has a far more stringent censorship program built into it.

If this is permitted to go forward, this country will have freely erased our Constitution and abandoned the Bill of Rights. Make no mistake, the first amendment will be suspended under this, the second amendment will be next. We begin an eighteen-month review countdown after this is ratified in Davos (which is when this becomes international law) so the time to act is now. Contact your Congressional representatives and let them know that this is not acceptable. This treaty will fundamentally change this country from the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” to the “Land of the Entitled Billionaires and the serfs who serve them”.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

How the United States Conquered Inflation Following the Civil War thumbnail

How the United States Conquered Inflation Following the Civil War

By Lawrence Reed

Americans today are once again the victims of price inflation brought on by runaway government spending and printing of unbacked paper money.

According to the most recent polling data, the American public’s approval of Congress stands at a dismal 21 percent. Almost four times as many people disapprove of the job it’s doing.

That’s par for the course in recent decades. It’s the major reason the Washington sausage grinder earns so little praise. To be fair, though, let’s review an occasion when lawmakers got something right. I’m prompted to share this story now because its lessons are especially relevant considering today’s concerns about rising price inflation. The year was 1875.

The Civil War (1861-65) produced disastrous hyperinflation in the Confederacy and considerable currency depreciation of paper greenbacks in the North as well. A decade after Appomattox, Congress still had not made good on its promise to make its paper money redeemable in gold. But in January 1875, alarmed by the rise of pro-inflation agitators (the “Greenbackers,” later to become “silverites”), Congress passed the Specie Payment Resumption Act, which President Ulysses S. Grant later signed into law.

Politicians often break their promises, and this was yet another opportunity to do so. Congress could have declared, “We don’t have the gold necessary to honor our pledge, so we’ll pay gold for greenbacks at 50 cents on the dollar.” But lawmakers chose to be honest for once, and to meet their obligations fully. The Act provided that all paper greenbacks would be redeemable on demand “at par” (100 percent of the earlier promise), beginning on January 1, 1879.

When Rutherford B. Hayes succeeded Grant as President in March 1877, he knew his administration had less than two years to prepare the Treasury and the nation’s banks for redemption. He and his Treasury officials believed the best way to avoid a run on the banks in January 1879 was to shore up the country’s gold reserves. They did so largely by selling bonds to Europeans in exchange for gold.

Redemption Day came amid rumors that people would flood the banks with their paper greenbacks and demand the promised gold, but just the opposite happened. Hardly anybody showed up at bank teller windows asking for the yellow metal. Why? Because the Treasury had accumulated more than enough gold to take care of convertibility, and the public knew it. The lesson? When people have good reason to believe their paper money is “as good as gold,” they prefer the convenience of paper.

Former United States Circuit Judge Randall R. Rader writes,

The year 1879 brought the resumption of the redeemable currency. The consumer price index stabilized at 28 in that year. For more than three decades thereafter (World War I interrupted the price tranquility), the index never rose above 29 or dipped below 25. The index remained at 27 for a decade. Never did it rise or fall more than a single point in a year. The gold standard worked throughout that entire period to keep prices remarkably stable.

Americans today are once again the victims of price inflation brought on by runaway government spending and the printing of unbacked paper money. Does the Specie Payment Resumption Act of 1875 offer a model that could solve the problem? Yes and No.

Certainly, tying the dollar to a precious metal would exert a discipline desperately needed in monetary policy. Putting the Federal Reserve out of business would be a meaningful and positive reform as well; since its inception in 1913, it has given us one Great Depression, a bunch of recessions and a currency worth maybe 1/20th of its 1913 value. The Fed is an inflation factory, stumbling and fumbling from one self-inflicted crisis after another. Gold convertibility, as the 1875 act provided, would signify a restoration of integrity and monetary sanity that we haven’t seen in a hundred years.

But two big, fat elephants ensure that an 1875-like reform would immediately collapse unless they are summarily escorted out of the room. One is dishonest politicians. Washington is overrun with them—people who are interested first and foremost in short-term power and re-election and least of all in the long-term economic health of the country. Many are (pardon my bluntness) economic morons, oblivious to the red ink even as they drown in it.

The other elephant—the presence of which is a confirmation and consequence of the first—is a massive, annual budget deficit.

For half a century from 1865 until World War I, the federal government ran an almost unbroken string of budget surpluses. Today, it produces trillion-dollar deficits without batting an eye, and the President demands trillions more in spending and debt. If he announced today that the dollar would henceforth be backed by gold, the world would laugh, and you and I would rush to the banks with our paper before the gold ran out.

In other words, monetary discipline goes hand in hand with fiscal discipline. A return to sound money is impossible without a simultaneous return to sound budget management. In the face of a monstrous budget deficit and an even more frightening $30 trillion national debt, Congress just voted to ship $40 billion to Ukraine without cutting so much as a penny from anything else.

We have neither a Congress nor a President, and perhaps no public consensus either, that would permit anything remotely resembling the 1875 Specie Payment Resumption Act.

And until we do, the dollar is destined for further depreciation. Just as elections have consequences, so do destructive monetary and fiscal policies.

*****

This article was published by FEE, Foundation for Economic Education and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

FBI Deceived Its’ Agents: Bombshell Document shows Trump-Russia Collusion Claims came from the DOJ thumbnail

FBI Deceived Its’ Agents: Bombshell Document shows Trump-Russia Collusion Claims came from the DOJ

By The Geller Report

It’s Long Past Time For Congress To Break Up The FBI

The FBI is irretrievably broken. Having weaponized its immense power against law abiding Americans, It is a threat to our democracy. And the Trump Russia hoax was one step further – it was treason.

FBI wrongly told its agents Trump-Russia collusion claims had come from DOJ: document

Hillary Clinton OK’d sharing Trump-Russia ‘data,’ campaign manager says

  • Clinton campaign aides try to ‘protect the queen’ at ex-lawyer’s trial: legal expert
  • Sen. Johnson says Sussmann trial reveals corruption of Clinton’s 2016 campaign
  • Elon Musk calls out old Clinton campaign tweet as ‘hoax,’ asks Twitter for answers
  • Clinton lawyer hid Trump-Russia ‘data’ tie to ‘Steele dossier’ firm: FBI official

By Ben Feuerherd and Mark Moore, NY Post:

WASHINGTON — FBI agents probing since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between Donald Trump and a Russian bank believed that the allegations had originated with the Department of Justice — when in fact they came from Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, who had shopped them to the bureau’s then-general counsel days earlier.

In the latest revelation to emerge from Sussmann’s trial in DC federal court on a count of lying to the FBI, special counsel John Durham’s prosecutors revealed that investigators had received an electronic communication citing a referral from the DOJ “on or about” Sept. 19, 2016, the same day Sussmann met with James Baker, then the FBI’s top lawyer.

The document, a record of the investigation being opened by agents Curtis Heide and Allison Sands and dated Sept. 23, 2016, did not mention Sussmann as the source of the allegations.

“In that referral, the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE provided the FBI with a white paper that was produced by an anonymous third party,” the communication said, before adding: “According to the white paper, a U.S.-based server that is owned by the TRUMP ORGANIZATION has been communicating with the Russian-based ALFA BANK organization in Moscow, Russia.”

The document was circulated to several top FBI officials — including Peter Strzok, who oversaw the probe of Clinton’s email server as well as the Trump-Russia investigation, and was famously fired from the bureau in 2018 after the emergence of text messages he sent to his colleague and mistress Lisa Page in which he vowed to help “stop” Trump from winning the White House.

Sands, who testified late Monday afternoon, told jurors that she believed Heide had told her the referral came from the Department of Justice.

The error was seized on by Sussmann’s defense attorney Michael Bosworth, who grilled Sands about whether Heide had lied to her — or if someone had lied to him about the source of the material.

AUTHOR

Pamela Geller

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Anglo-Saxons should be cancelled, and you’re a white supremacist if you object thumbnail

Anglo-Saxons should be cancelled, and you’re a white supremacist if you object

By MercatorNet – Navigating Modern Complexities

European history is too white, according to University of Toronto based academic Mary Rambaran-Olm, who has criticised a former colleague for his involvement in a recent book exploring the history of medieval Europe.

Rambaran-Olm submitted a negative book review of Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry’s The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe (Harper Collins, 2021) to the Los Angeles Review of Books. When the magazine declined to publish her review, Rambaran-Olm did what academics to best: she got into a Twitter spat with those who wronged her, deflected blame, and locked her Twitter account.

She then posted the review on her Medium blog. It’s a review worth reading if in 2022 you still find indiscriminate accusations of racism compelling.

“While the book recognizes the existence of Indigenous peoples, it also reinforces the idea that they exist on the periphery of European history,” writes Rambaran-Olm. Yes — kind of how Europeans likewise existed on the periphery of Asian, African and Middle Eastern histories.

“Europe, Christianity, and whiteness remain central themes of the book,” Rambaran-Olm mourns. What else did she expect when cracking open a book of medieval European history?

In reporting on her review and subsequent online tit-for-tat, Breitbart noted that Mary Rambaran-Olm has previously enjoyed the media spotlight — in 2019 for urging medieval historians to abandon the term “Anglo-Saxon”.

Arguments for and against this proposal notwithstanding, historian Tom Holland cautions that “the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is inextricably bound up with the claim by Alfred to rule as ‘rex Angul-Saxonum’, his use of Bede to back-project a shared Anglian-Saxon identity, and the emergence of England.”

In other words, “Anglo-Saxon” is how Anglo-Saxons described themselves, defined their culture and history, and perceived their place in the context of Europe and the wider world.

It takes a lot of disdain for whiteness — whatever that is — to retrospectively cancel a group of poor, powerless, agrarian folk, and take away the ability of past generations to speak authentically about themselves.

Moreover, it takes a lot of disdain for whiteness to ignore that, far from being a monolithic entity, Anglo-Saxon-ness was a complex fusion of migrating Germanic tribes and Indigenous Britons — including their cultures, languages and histories.

If Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry had done more to discuss non-Europeans, non-Christians, and women in their book, perhaps Rambaran-Olm would have approved?

Apparently not. “Simply naming women who remained subsidiaries in a patriarchal society,” Rambaran-Olm scolds, “or referring to auxiliary figures who were Muslim, Jewish, Mongols, or pagans (never mind the near erasure of trans or queer folk) in order to demonstrate how Christianity developed is nothing less than Christian apologia.”

Rambaran-Olm was likewise unimpressed by the book’s description of Jesus Christ as a “Jewish refugee from the eastern Mediterranean who once crossed into Africa”.

Her rebuke is scathing: “descriptions like this try to de-Christianize Christianity, making it seem ‘hip,’ international and inclusive”. She adds that “The Bright Ages goes to lengths to over-emphasize “otherness” in an attempt to normalize it, as though somehow describing Jesus in a way that medieval Christians would never have described him serves to appeal to a more liberal sensibility.”

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

When Gabriele and Perry focussed exclusively on the two main females in Beowulf, offering what she describes as “a white feminist reading about power and powerlessness,” this was merely evidence of a “consistent pandering to a white feminist audience” according to Rambaran-Olm.

To the extent that the book’s authors highlighted other cultures or relied on non-white scholars, Rambaran-Olm is convinced that these “two white male scholars are capitalizing on race and otherness for profit”.

Their “unspoken white entitlement and authority… masquerades as progressive,” and betrays their apparent belief that “history is only validated through the lens and voices of white men”.

In other words, it would have been better if Gabriele and Perry hadn’t written the book at all.

Because of course, only people without European ancestry, or people who have a grudge against Europe, or scholars who write through the lens of critical race theory, can write accurately about European history.

Everything else is white supremacy. And you’re a white supremacist if you disagree.

AUTHOR

Kurt Mahlburg

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate… More by Kurt Mahlburg

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Attack on the Justices of the Supreme Court is the Real Insurrection thumbnail

The Attack on the Justices of the Supreme Court is the Real Insurrection

By Ellie Fromm

The motto of the U.S. Supreme Court states “Equal Justice Under Law”. While everyone can agree with this simple statement, recently there has been no application of justice for the Justices of the Supreme Court. The protesters at the homes of the Justices have not been arrested. Remember, protesting outside of Justices’ homes to intimidate them is completely illegal. Along with illegally protesting on private property, pro-abortion groups and demonstrators have interrupted Catholic Mass in many churches, vandalized Catholic churches, and targeted pro-life groups, individuals, and businesses.

Lately, Jen Psaki, the former White House press secretary, has run herself in circles trying not to endorse nor renounce these illegal protests. While she encouraged peace, she never said to stay away from Justices’ homes. Senator Schumer, the Senate majority leader, has endorsed these “peaceful protests”, even though what they are doing is illegal. These protesters are angry, hateful, and screaming obscenities. They have also been threatening the Justices, their families, and the Supreme Court building. Protesting on the grounds of the U.S. Supreme Court, a public federal building, and protesting on Justice’s private homes are completely different. Justice Alito, whose draft was leaked, and his family have even been moved to an undisclosed location due to threats on their well-being from these protesters.

This is an insurrection against our Republic. Yes, I know, I said it. We frequently hear the “AN ATTACK ON OUR DEMOCRACY”! chant Democrats scream while claiming Jan. 6 was an insurrection. If that was an insurrection, then this attack on the Justices of the Supreme Court is an insurrection on steroids. The difference is that the people on January 6 went to the capitol building, which is known as the People’s house. Now, these protesters are going to private homes and intimidating not only the Justices but threatening their children too.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade would not outlaw abortion. It would give the decision back to the states, many of which already have abortion laws in place. The Constitution asserts that anything not explicitly written in the Constitution goes back to the states to be decided by the states. This allows for differences between the states within a united nation. It would be hard to create an amendment for abortion in the Constitution because, without the right to life, all our rights written in the Constitution are void. The right to life is the most basic, without which none of the others exist.

Some say they only support abortions in cases of incest or rape. Incest accounts for less than 0.5% of abortions and rape for 1% of abortions. On the other hand, 74% of abortions occur because women said the child would ‘dramatically change their life’. Since 1973, over 60 million babies have been aborted. Based upon that number, roughly 44.5 million of these babies have been aborted because they would be an inconvenience, or the mother didn’t want them. While some claim it is only a fetus, fetus is a Latin word that, when translated means ‘offspring’. Remember, as Dr. Suess once wrote, “A person’s a person no matter how small”.

For all 233 years of the Supreme Court an opinion draft has never been leaked. There has always been respect for Supreme Court Justices by the clerks of the court, even if they disagreed with them. They understood the rules that keep this democracy intact. Yet, all those years of respect have now been lost because of one rogue clerk who put his or her personal feelings, beliefs, and outrage above the welfare of the country. The clerk, when discovered, will have destroyed his or her career.

Hypocrisies are all too common within the Democrat Party today. It seems that if you don’t have the correct religion, skin tone, political party, or sexuality, you are of no use. Take Larry Elder for example. The left assumes every black person is a grateful Democrat. Yet Larry Elder, a conservative black man, runs against Gavin Newsom for governor of California and is suddenly the face of white supremacy. A black man. The face of white supremacy. Crazy!

If a Republican clerk of the Supreme Court had leaked an opinion, their name would already be all over the media and the FBI would be showing up at their residence. Yet, we still don’t know who leaked this document, let alone if they will be held accountable. It’s sad – it is unknown if we will find out who leaked this opinion or if they will be held accountable. Between the Covid pandemic, the 2020 federal election and the Biden administration, the past three years of our government have taken away pretty much all the faith and trust I had in our government. Over the last six years, with politicians going unpunished for crimes everyone knows they committed, it seems as if there are two sets of laws in this country. One set for the politicians, the high-tech oligarchs, and elite liberals, and one set for us, We the People.

This behavior is not normal but for those of us in Generation Z (born between 1997-2012), this is all we have ever known. Since I began paying attention to the news when I was 10, and even more as I became older, I have noticed that no one can seem to get along or even be civil. One night, when I was talking to my parents about two years ago, I mentioned how exhausting it must be to work in the political sphere because it is always so amped up. Everything seems to be a crisis, and there is never an end to the number of crises. Also, none of the politicians seemed to be able to work together, even if their beliefs are the same. Someone always managed to get offended by the other. I genuinely thought this was normal behavior because it is all I have ever known. My parents assured me it is not normal and they have not seen this degree of incivility and tribalism before. We must inform and stress to younger generations that this behavior, these politics, and this culture is un-American and are not normal or if not changed we will never know better. We need to normalize civility and bring back honor to politics.

The left has put their own agenda above what is good and right for the country and the American people. George Washington warned against this exact behavior in his farewell address, where he said, “They serve to organize Faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force – to put in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party: often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the Community”. These illegal protests are a scare tactic, meant to intimidate us into submission instead of standing up for our beliefs and the rights of unborn children. This is very similar to how the riots of summer 2020 began when BLM and Antifa began their intimidation and fear tactics. No more interrupting Mass, targeting pro-lifers, and intimidating judges. That is not the public square. Conservatives must take a stand for their country and their beliefs. Make no mistake, we are in a culture war. This heinous attack on the judiciary is an insurrection and must not be tolerated.

*****

Ellie Fromm is currently serving at The Prickly Pear as a Journalism Intern. Ms. Fromm is entering her senior year in high school and has been home schooled since preschool. 

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

Should President Biden Be Impeached? thumbnail

Should President Biden Be Impeached?

By Neland Nobel

Something big is going on in Trumpland. Recently a poll taken by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that over two-thirds of Republicans believe President Joe Biden should be impeached if Republicans take control of both houses of Congress in the coming mid-term elections. You can read more details about the poll by clicking here.

Rather than commenting on the poll or its methodology, we would rather ask a basic question. Is impeachment a good idea?

We have to admit after two impeachment proceedings against our guy, President Trump, the opportunity to pay back is tempting. As they say, karma can be a bitch.

This is particularly the case because Democrats impeached the President for colluding with Russia, which is something the Democrats made up as a campaign dirty trick. It would seem only just to pay them back for this perfidy.

But do we really want to go down that road?  By lowering the bar on impeachment some contend, we could make this simply part of an ever-deteriorating electoral process, to wit, the sore loser simply wants to paralyze their political opposition. Do we want to regularize such behavior?

This would result in constant political warfare within a country already deeply divided. Elections would hardly settle political issues, they would simply mark the first phase of protracted conflict. If this became normalized, we could make ourselves ungovernable.

Just because the Democrats set a bad precedent is no reason for Republicans to use that precedent. We could recognize it for what it was, that it was a very bad precedent, and therefore avoid using it, even if justified.

It could be argued that the very stability of our governance is at stake and that other means can be found, particularly at the ballot box to redress grievances.  And, maybe the judicial system will start to work at putting some guilty people in jail.

However, the bar was not so much lowered in the case of Trump as it was exploited in a way very destructive to the system. In this case, the Democrats did not have weak evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, they virtually manufactured the controversy and paid for it out of official Democratic campaign funds. They then conspired with the press and launched a bogus proceeding. They committed crimes in the process.

Maybe the Durham investigations will finally get at the bottom of the crimes far worse than Watergate and Hillary can try out a new orange jumpsuit. But it would seem, that the wheels of justice not only grind slowly, they sometimes don’t grind at all.

Many cases will be tried in Washington D.C., where the jury pool already looks like it is being rigged. One of the great frustrations of our era is many guilty parties are never charged, and if they are, they will get off. It would be nice to have confidence that the law would be impartially and judiciously applied, but there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.

It is pretty clear the FBI, the FISA courts, the CIA, and the Department of Justice, in fact, the entire judicial mechanism at the Federal level, have been compromised. After 8 years of Obama appointments, the Department of Justice became part of the conspiracy. Can we reasonably look to them to prosecute wrongdoers? The permanent bureaucracy protected by civil service rules runs the show, regardless of the possibility of a new incoming Republican Attorney General. Under this set of factors, getting justice from the judicial system seems like a low percentage bet.

Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised. We certainly hope so. It would be better for the system if Durham is wildly successful.

But if the system is so compromised, would that not argue for impeachment, which is both a political and judicial process, and it is done outside of the compromised law enforcement structure of the executive branch? It would seem to be the only alternative likely to achieve some kind of justice.

Then there are just the plain political optics of the thing. Increasingly, Republicans can frame Democrats as the party of hateful extremists, sexual deviants, Chinese Communist sympathizers, inflationists, and just plain incompetent. Most elections of late are actually won by which party successfully convinces the independent voter since Republicans and Democrats are so evenly matched.

Democrats have also made a hash out of our foreign policy by pulling prematurely out of one war and quickly getting us into conflict with the largest country in landmass, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and a nuclear power.

Democrat policies are directly responsible for the war on energy, resulting in near-run-away inflation and a food crisis. No matter how friendly the press, they can’t hide from Americans what is going on with food and fuel, something consumers buy every day.

Democrats are riding low in the polls.  Do we really want to do anything to distract them from self-destruction?

In short, Republicans can look like the sensible party compared to the Democrats. Even if some voters have some problems with us, we look more reasonable than they do. That will attract what conservative Democrats are left and many independents.  Hispanics are trending our way and we are likely to make progress with Asians and Blacks as well. It should propel Republicans to victory.

Would impeachment ruin that narrative? Would it make us look just as wacko as they appear?

Maybe, but maybe not. Where Biden is really vulnerable is his failure as the chief law enforcement officer to simply enforce the law fairly and without discrimination. We have immigration laws that are simply being ignored. If you don’t like the law, change it.  But until it is changed, his constitutional duty is to enforce the law. He just can’t pick and choose which laws he wishes to enforce. If he does, he is not faithfully executing his Constitutional executive functions.

He also is violating the law by brazenly calling his opponents’ white supremacist terrorists and using the intelligence and enforcement power of government to criminalize his political opposition, even down to the school board level. This is highly dangerous because if his followers believe it, the government will have to act against “terrorists.” In short, he is just one breath away from imprisoning his political opposition. For that, he deserves to be impeached because he is saying this over and over again.

Thus, this is not a case of just vindictive tit for political tat. This is not really political in the partisan sense, it is structural. Our chief law enforcement officer is breaking the law and failing to carry out the duties of his office. That is not a policy position, it is fact.

If framed in this way, does impeachment really look like we are being vindictive? Or, are we using the Constitution to remove a lawbreaking President because neither the Judicial branch nor the Justice Department can really operate under such circumstances? Notice how he threatens the independence of the Judiciary, another impeachable offense.

There are other areas of vulnerability such as selling his office for money in collusion with his son and possibly even hiding his declining mental condition.  But that might look petty while failure to honor his oath of office looks justifiable.

It is a tough call and we offer these thoughts for your consideration. Republicans better start thinking carefully about whether this is something they really want to do, and whether the political optics can be managed knowing full well the press will not be on our side. If the poll is correct, it would seem many have prematurely reached a conclusion without thinking things through.

We had better think carefully or we could do more harm than good to our cause.  If impeachment is to be done, it has to be for good cause, not spite.

Clearly, the first order of business is to win big in November. If we don’t, the whole argument is moot.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

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Government’s Stupid Plan While Big Business Greases the Wheels

By Bruce Bialosky

All too often there is a proposal for a government plan that just makes one stare in disbelief at the proposing legislator’s gross ignorance. When you then see that the business community is complicit with said ridiculously stupid plan, it becomes obvious why many people no longer trust big organizations. Following is such a situation.

We have a housing crisis in California. It is not unlike what is going on across America. It is estimated there is a shortage of approximately 1.5 million units. Development has slowed down since the housing crisis that occurred in 2007-08. In California, the housing crisis has driven up prices and caused an exodus of many businesses along with the middle class. The only reason the population has not gone into free fall is the growth of two groups – illegal immigrants and the homeless. The government is taking tax dollars and developing homeless units for $500,000 and up – per unit.

Instead of resolving the underlying problems costs burdened by the government and restricting the development of new units created by the government, as usual, there is a new proposal. It does not address those problems but manages to create a solution so amazingly brainless that you just must stand there with your mouth agape.

Senator Toni Atkins is a powerful member of the California State Legislature. She was formerly the Speaker of the Assembly and is now head of the Senate. People listen when she makes a proposal.

She now has a proposal for a 10-year, $10 billion revolving fund where an individual or family may receive a down payment to purchase a home. The program allocates state funds to provide first-time homebuyers with an interest-free loan of 17% of the purchase price. The money must be repaid when the home is refinanced or sold and only then. As always, it sounds nice on its face, but let us look at the facts.

I understand how difficult it is to gather the down payment for your first home. The Beautiful Wife and I experienced that ourselves in 1987 when acquiring our first home. It has become even more challenging as the price of housing in California has soared. Times have changed and this is where this plan becomes dangerous.

The further you get away from an event the more people forget the pain that was inflicted. We had a housing collapse in 2007-08 that nearly brought our economy to its knees. The government, as always, blamed businesses for bad policies, but concurrent with the events of the time I documented that the root cause was federal government housing and loan policies.

People were simply walking away from their homes or rental properties because they had put little or none of their own funds into the property, per the government’s policy. That caused the collapse. With the decline of housing values, they were “underwater” and just gave the property to the lender with its government-insured loan.

I wrote at the time that some in our federal government had wanted to further expand the acquisition of homes by people with no “skin in the game.” Maxine Waters, one of our most “esteemed” members of Congress is now chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Ms. Waters stated just prior to the collapse that “If you can afford rent, you can afford a mortgage,” a statement so amazingly ignorant it still fascinates and especially now since she is in such a prominent position regarding the nation’s financial affairs.

Ms. Atkins wants to further Congresswoman Waters’ dream of having people with no skin in the game acquire a home. It is not hard to see these same people walk away once things again go bad. They have invested nothing so why should they care? In a repeat housing collapse these loans would just exacerbate the collapse.

Ms. Atkins’ ignorance is understandable. She has zero experience in the real estate market. However, she does excel at taking our money and redirecting it somewhere whether it makes no economic sense.

The ignorance of real estate people is inexcusable. That did not stop the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) from endorsing this dangerous plan. Their board supports this plan. Otto Catrina, C.A.R.’s president, stated “Many Californians can afford a monthly payment but need assistance with the down payment and closing costs, we are pleased to support a plan that provides an opportunity for financial security and housing stability so all Californians can realize the economic and societal benefits homeownership provides.”

After being a licensed real estate broker for 35 years and having a CPA practice with a substantial focus on real estate, it is obvious why I have not joined this organization.

When I contacted the organization, I asked their spokesperson whether the board had forgotten about the last housing crisis. She refused to answer the question. I then asked the second reason that makes this plan so amazingly egregious. I stated I would expect Senator Atkins not to know that the problem with the housing market is an issue of supply; not demand. Did the board not know this when they endorsed the proposal?

Every home sale in California becomes an auction. There are multiple bidders on each home driving the price up as they try to be the winning bidder. There is a severe lack of supply with demand far exceeding the supply. Why anyone would create a program to further increase demand staggers the imagination. Why C.A.R. would not counsel Senator Atkins on this defines how big business goes along with government programs only to feather their own nests.

When I asked the spokesperson why the C.A.R. endorsed this plan in the face of the severe supply shortage, she asked “Don’t you support people owning their own homes, the American dream?” I answered I believe every American should be able to own a 4,000 sq. ft. home (true). She scoffed at that.

It is understandable why Senator Atkins would make this proposal. Her understanding of the housing market is a millimeter thick. It is the obligation of a big trade organization to educate the legislators on the facts. The history of no-money-down home acquisitions and the upside-down supply and demand issues in the market make this plan outrageously ill-advised, yet the C.A.R. has gone along with it.

It is no wonder Californians and people across America no longer trust the government and big business, and believe they are simply lining each other’s pockets.

*****

The article was published by Flash Report and is reproduced with the permission of the author.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

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Yuma, Dinesh D’Souza and Election Integrity in Arizona

By Shawnna Bolick

Editors’ Note. The following is a message to the supporters of AZ Representative Shawnna Bolick (LD 20) who is currently a Republican candidate for the Arizona Secretary of State. We share Ms. Bolick’s deep and ongoing concern about the integrity of Arizona elections, ballot harvesting, and fraudulent voting with the readers The Prickly Pear. Secure and fair elections are a primary role of the Arizona Secretary of State, Arizona’s Chief Election Office.

Yuma, Arizona has mass voting fraud caught on tape.

2000 Mules, a film by Dinesh D’Souza which debuted in early May, exposed the depth of the organized election fraud that occurred in the 2020 Presidential election and 2021 Georgia runoff election. Using the same cell phone proximity data that law enforcement uses to catch criminals, they found that “mules” were collecting ballots and stuffing ballot boxes in multiple key swing states, including Arizona. Up to 400,000 fraudulent votes, enough to flip many states, were involved in this criminal enterprise because these “mules” were being paid between $10 to $40 per ballot.

When I saw the movie and considered the evidence D’Souza showcased, I was disappointed, but not entirely shocked. When we passed a law prohibiting ballot harvesting, the DNC unsuccessfully sued Arizona to keep the practice alive. The practice is flourishing. Democratic Party-aligned non-profits have historically harvested ballots, but the scope of their fraud in 2020 was more extensive than we could ever imagine.

We will continue to have question marks about the 2020 election. It is clear to me that the ballot box stuffing was highly organized. Yuma’s law enforcement has raided these non-government organizations for false voter registrations, duplicate voting, fraudulent use of absentee ballots and impersonation fraud.

I’ve been rallying our efforts to secure elections in the legislature since I was elected, but I’m running into a lot of opposition. Before 2000 Mules released, we were offered an informational hearing in the House to hear the evidence they presented to the FBI and the AG’s office, but Speaker Bowers denied the hearing. I can be forward thinking and assist in passing laws to secure our future elections, but there are obstructionists preventing Arizona from truly improving the integrity of the process. That’s why I’m running for Arizona’s Chief Election Officer—the Secretary of State—to prevent 2020 from happening under my watch.

ICYMI [In Case You Missed It] a few weeks ago, my legislative office received six public records requests from left wing organizations, including one from The Washington Post. Afterall, it is an even year (aka an election year). We were asked to forward all communications my office had with Ginni Thomas. The Left went crazy over my response to an auto-generated form email sent. You can read it here for yourself.

I bet many other legislators across the US received similar emails from millions of frustrated voters after the November 2020 election. Why are the lazy lamestream reporters requesting such items now?

Hold firm, Justice Clarence Thomas!

*****

Learn more about Shawnna Bolick at www.bolickforarizona.com.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

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U.S. Election Crisis Addressed in New Model Legislation

By Dr. Rich Swier

American Voter’s Alliance releases bipartisan roadmap for legislators to ensure free and fair elections.


AMHERST, Va. /PRNewswire/ — Election experts today released model legislation to address unprecedented voting irregularities in the 2020 election in an effort to ensure transparent, inclusive, and accountable elections and to restore public trust in elections.

Jacqueline Timmer, “This model legislation will better hold public officials accountable and correct the egregious irregularities and unlawful behaviors such as ballot harvesting seen in 2020.”

The Amistad Project and the American Voters’ Alliance have long investigated the causes for election failures in 2020 to develop an effective response. The model legislation creates bipartisan election oversight committees, expands transparency requirements to the USPS, requires voter marked paper ballots, creates penalties for ballot larceny, requires equal treatment of voters’ and ballots, and prohibits private monies from being used in government election offices.

“Amistad and The American Voters’ Alliance have a great understanding of the importance of transparent, inclusive, and accountable elections, and have fashioned a comprehensive approach that addresses the challenges of modern elections which deserves bipartisan support,” commented Ken Blackwell, former Secretary of State of Ohio.

“Good government requires connecting legal authority to public accountability and, unfortunately, state legislators across the nation have ceded their constitutional and legal authority to manage elections to unaccountable and unelected local bureaucrats,” stated Jacqueline Timmer, Executive Director of The American Voters’ Alliance. “Our model legislation makes legislators accountable through a joint-standing committee which must issue a public report after each election identifying all violations of law and irregularities after each election.”

“Nobody has done a comprehensive model law like this until now,” explained John Loudon, a former Missouri state representative and state senator who helped devise the model legislation. “We took a systemic approach that anticipates loopholes others have never imagined while also closing loopholes that have been exploited in past elections.”

“The American Voters’ Alliance and The Amistad Project have created a detailed roadmap for state legislators to protect all voters on a bipartisan basis which protects vulnerable voters,” said Lori Roman, President of American Constitutional Rights Union Action Fund. “The ACRU created the Vulnerable Voters Project in 2020 which revealed illegal or unethical intimidation of elderly nursing home voters and ballot harvesting in numerous senior care facilities. The AVA and Amistad proposals address these concerns.”

“In 2020 election officials kicked America out of the counting room and invited billionaires in while creating egregious breaches in ballot chain of custody and treating voters and ballots differently, creating unparalleled lawlessness in the election. The refusal of local election officials to be open to review of their management of the election and to respond to reasonable demands for transparency continue to diminish faith in the election process and violate a hallmark of democratic government by rejecting accountability,” added Phill Kline, former Kansas Attorney General and Director of the Amistad Project. “This legislation will once again allow American citizens to hold government officials accountable for how they manage elections.”

For more information, please visit: AVAModelLaw.org and follow @ProtectYourVote on Twitter and Instagram.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.


AVA MODEL ELECTION REFORM LEGISLATION

Elections Reform

Citizens have a right to secure and fair elections that are accountable, transparent, and inclusive.

MODERN ELECTIONS:

U.S. election codes are largely antiquated and out of touch with the current technologies and procedures used in election administration.  It is essential that we enact meaningful and comprehensive reform that upholds our federalist system of government, protecting the proper jurisdictional authority in our institutions while addressing the needs and concerns of modern day elections.

  1. Standing Committee

The legislature should establish a Joint Standing Committee.  The Joint Standing Committee should include an equal number of representatives from both legislative houses and both major political parties. The Committee will stay in session during elections, certify final election results by a simple majority, must issue a report on the legality of the election, and possess investigative power, including subpoena power.  The Committee members shall be chosen at random rather than by the leadership of any political party.

The Committee’s role leading up to and during an election is one of oversight.  The Committee should act as a watchdog and accountability body overseeing local elections.  When localities are not following the law, the Committee may investigate and under serious circumstances, intervene and place a locality that disregards legal practices into receivership to ensure that the election is run properly.  Thus, the Committee must be funded to allow for investigations.  The Committee may also intervene in election challenges and suits filed by candidates and independent groups.  Finally, the Committee is responsible for receiving and announcing the total number of overall received ballots to be counted at the closing of the polls to ensure that fraudulent ballots cannot be submitted after the closing of the polls.

Election Report:

An election report shall be issued after each election that examines whether election laws and procedures were followed uniformly across the state prior to certification.  The report is best issued by a Joint Committee of the legislature.  Alternatively, the Secretary of State or state election’s office shall issue the report, with legislative approval.

The report should detail all facets of the election and whether statutes were complied with.  This should include:

  • Voter roll updates properly cleaned and implemented;
  • Written and verifiable chain-of-custody records of eligibility documents and ballots;
  • Ballot drop box records and live video footage of drop boxes in real time;
  • Poll watcher compliance and complaints;
  • HAVA compliance;
  • Any evidence of local officials amending the process contrary to state or federal  statute;
  • Allocation of private funding, etc.
  • A review of the implantation of the state election plan required by the Help America Vote Act and a statement post-election regarding any violations of the plan.  The report shall also include any recommendations to improve election accountability, transparency, and inclusion.  In all other areas, the committee shall operate under the normal rules of the House and Senate.

This information should be disclosed in public hearings.

Remedies for Violations:

Material violations of the state election law will render city or county officials responsible for funding forensic audits by disappointed candidates by the auditing firm of their choice.  Such provisions shall not replace criminal culpability.  Remedies may also include the power to stay election results or grant injunctive relief when necessary.  States should also have appropriate standing for those who need to intervene.  Receivership may also be an option as a last resort.

  1. Res Ipsa Loquitur (Civil Rights / Standing)

As part of the Joint Standing Committee, legislators shall issue a report on the election with a recommendation on whether to certify the election. If a recommendation is made not to certify the election, the burden to show that the election results were valid, and that the election laws and procedures were substantially followed, shifts to election officials. Such a recommendation also allows standing for the losing candidate to file an election challenge in the appropriate court.

  1. Polling Access: USPS Facilities, Preprocessing Facilities (clerk’s office), Counting Facility USPS facilities handle all mail-in ballots.

For this reason, the federal government should enable states to adopt legislation that allows observers to begin watching the process of ballot design, printing, and delivery to, and collection in federal mail sorting facilities.

  1. Citizen Avenue for Cleaning Voter Rolls

States should expand standing to allow a voter to challenge incorrect voter registrations in the appropriate court upon a showing of good cause.  A voter’s ability to challenge voter registrations upon a showing of good cause should be allowed to occur throughout the year.

States should also establish a citizen avenue for a registered voter to challenge the voter registration of another voter if evidence is brought to the appropriate governing elections official (generally the clerk) who finds, upon a showing of good cause, that a voter on the registration rolls is improperly registered. The clerk or appropriate official will take action to remove or revise the address of the voter registration in accordance with state and federal law.

EQUAL TREATMENT OF BALLOTS AND VOTERS:

Equality before the law and equal treatment by the law are foundational to a free society. The Constitution and federal legislation (HAVA) require all citizens be treated equally and given the same access to vote without undue burdens placed upon them.

  1. State Election Plan

Each state must submit a state election plan in accordance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) for national election contests.  This report shall serve as the basis for an annually published state elections plan.  This plan must be approved by the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President.  The annual state election plan must be publicly posted and made available for public comment within a specified timeframe prior to implementation.

Additionally, the governing election authority must publicly publish any rule changes, guidance, and training manuals used at the local municipal level as part of the state election plan.  Any changes that need to be made to the plan must be done in accordance with HAVA and be approved by the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President.  Any and all changes must be publicly posted and made available for public comment prior to implementation.

The state election plan shall be designed to promote the equal treatment of citizens and ballots and the promotion of transparent, inclusive, and accountable elections.

  1. Private Funding

No state or local government, government official, or elections board or authority, or any other government entity shall accept, receive, or appropriate private monies for election purposes, unless said funds are expressly received and appropriated by the state legislature.  This funding prohibition shall include but is not limited to the following: election administration, voter registration, get out the vote efforts, election training, election materials, designs, or technical assistance. Moreover, in-kind contributions and services are expressly prohibited in any and all election processes, procedures, and administration.  This section shall not be construed to prohibit the operation of a polling place in a facility furnished by a private individual or nongovernmental entity that otherwise meets the requirements for polling places provided by state law.

  1. Government Funding

Any state  or local government acceptance of federal funds and assistance in the administration of the election, voter registration, or to promote voter turnout shall only be accepted consistent with a state plan approved by the legislature detailing the equal and fair use of such funds so that all voters, constituent populations, and the ballots of all individuals within the state are treated equally under the law. No funds shall be accepted upon conditions which creates disparate treatment of citizens.

Any state effort to assist in voter registration and to enhance voter turnout shall also be consistent with a state election plan approved by the legislature which provides for the equal treatment of citizens in the expenditure of such funds and resources.

  1. Friendly lawsuits / Sue and Settle

Executive branch officials such as the Attorney General or Secretary of State sometimes enter into “consent decrees” wherein the government official agrees to a lawsuit that changes the practical application of the law.  These suits are usually filed by parties friendly to the executive branch official’s position, allowing the executive branch official to agree to a judicially made change to legislation that bypasses the legislature.  For this reason, these types of unilateral “sue-and-settle” agreements should be prohibited as a general rule.  If, however, consent decrees are adopted, such decrees must be approved by the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President.

  1. Uniform Terminology and Treatment of Vote and Voter

All ballots and all voters within a state should be treated uniformly.

  1. Protected Persons: Incapacitated, Elderly, Citizenship / Non-Citizen

Voting is a citizen’s solemn right.  There are specific populations susceptible to exploitation, states must protect these vulnerable populations. It shall be illegal to coerce, mislead, and / or pressure any person to vote or to vote in any particular manner.

INCAPACITATED: It is unlawful for any person to cast a ballot on behalf of an incapacitated person, or coerce, mislead, and / or pressure any person under a diminished mental capacity that may be under the protection of a court ordered power of attorney.

NURSING HOME RESIDENTS: A nursing home resident’s next of kin or emergency contact on record shall be notified (a) when a nursing home resident requests an absentee ballot, and/or (b) when the local elections clerk’s office collects (or any other entity) ballots from the nursing home or residential care facility.

No one may request an absentee ballot on behalf of any person in a residential care facility who has not requested the ballot because of their diminished mental capabilities.  Furthermore, it is illegal to fill out the ballot for any person who is unable to fill out the ballot because of diminished mental capabilities.

When the elections clerk’s office collects ballots from a nursing home or residential care facility, it shall dispense two poll workers, one from each of the two political parties obtaining the most votes at the prior two consecutive statewide elections.  The local clerk or board of elections shall post 14 days in advance the date, time, and location of when and where the dual set of poll workers will collect ballots from residents, and furthermore maintain a list, available to the public upon request, of each home or facility where the two poll workers have been dispatched.

The residential care facilities may not turn over absentee ballots to any outside group whether for profit or nonprofit.  Absentee ballots should only be collected by election officials as prescribed above.

Observers must be able to confirm that proper procedure is used without in any way interfering or influencing or being noticed by voters while voting.

Defrauding a disabled or elderly person of their vote, whether by discarding the ballot or filling it out in an unlawful manner falls under the category of ballot larceny and shall be treated as such.

NON-CITIZEN: Non-citizens illegally present in the US are vulnerable to being taken advantage of by being incorrectly registered.  States should encourage immunity policies for illegal residents who report legitimate election fraud.  Harvesting a ballot from a person illegally present in the country and not eligible to vote is a crime.  The person voting has immunity from such charges if the person truthfully reports and/or cooperates with an investigation.  Harvesting a ballot from an incapacitated person is a crime, and immunity is available to any person truthfully reporting and/or cooperating with investigators regarding said crimes.

  1. Ballot Harvesting

Every voter shall transport and deliver his or her own ballot, with exceptions for the Post Office handling of ballots.  If a voter is not able to transport his or her mail-in ballot prior to election day, the voter may appoint a ballot transporter.  However, the transporter may not transport more than one ballot per election cycle and must fill out and sign an affidavit to do so and present ID at the time of ballot delivery.

BALLOT INTEGRITY:

An election is only as secure as the ballots.  The ballot as a representation of a citizen’s voice must be completely secured and protected throughout the process.

  1. Paper Ballot
  2. Voter-Marked Paper Ballot

Votes shall be marked on a paper ballot by the voter who is casting the vote.  Voting should not be on computers or touch screens.  All voters, unless there is an accommodation for disability, should vote on paper ballots.

All votes should be cast on voter-verified, hand-marked paper ballots.  The voter should be able to determine whom he or she voted for by looking at the ballot (or using an assistive reading device), and the machine should tabulate votes based on those hand-made markings.  This also provides for a permanent paper record suitable to be used in a manual recount.

Nothing in this section prevents the state or local election officials from making appropriate accommodations for the disabled or visually impaired who are unable to mark or read their selections on a paper ballot.

  1. Mail-In and No Excuse Absentee Ballots

Mail-in voting is prohibited without a legal exception. Exceptions are as follows:

(1)        Health exception or physical disability;

(2)        Age exception (65 or older);

(3)        Religious exemption, the days conflict;

(4)        Work-related travel will take the voter out-of-state, OR the voter is going to be an election worker on election day;

(5)        Is overseas, or away serving in the military;

(6)        A college student away at college

The following requirements must also be met:

SWORN WITNESS: The voting of an absentee ballot must be accompanied by a sworn witness verifying the voter’s identity and photo ID.

NO EARLY COUNTING: Eligibility decisions for remote voters may be performed upon receipt of the ballot packet but the enclosed ballots may not be removed for scanning until election day and aggregate results may not be reported until after polls close.

SAME DAY REGISTRATION ANNOUNCED: Voter name, residence address, YOB, and precinct split for remote voters and same-day registration voters (where applicable – never recommended), except for those in Address Confidentiality Programs, should be provided within 24 hours to the public.

SEPARATED BY PRECINCT: Remotely voted ballots must be organized and separated by precinct and transported to the precinct on the day that voting equipment is transported to the precincts.  Political parties must be given notice and opportunity to be present for transportation of these ballots.

NO PERMANENT LIST: There shall be no permanent list of absentee ballot voters.  Voters should request an absentee ballot each election cycle.

ENVELOPES: Absentee ballot return envelopes may not include any visible holes or openings once sealed that could allow observance of the ballot inside of the envelope. All voter ID (including return address, if for some reason used,) must be located on one side of the envelope. If a signature is required, the voter name must be placed adjacent to the place where the signature belongs.

PARTY DESIGNATION: Neither the originally mailed envelope nor the return envelope should identify the voter or ballot’s political party.

MARKING ENVELOPE: No absentee envelope should be marked to reflect a voter’s behavior by election workers.  For example, in the 2021 California recall election, the ballots of voters who did not wear a mask were marked “COVID.”

DOUBLE VOTING: In a state that allows absentee mail-in voting, a clear process should be established for when a voter is shown to have voted twice.  In the case of a voter being shown as voting by mail, who then presents in person to vote, a provisional ballot should be given to the voter.  The voter should then be given the opportunity to cure a returned in envelope ballot prior to the canvass and certification of the ballot.  All campaigns on the ballot should also be notified of the provisional ballot voters and given the opportunity to motivate a cure.  In order to ensure that all mail-in ballots can be found under these circumstances, absentee ballots must be segregated and sorted by precinct.

III. Ballot Larceny

It shall be illegal for any person to vote a ballot assigned to another voter.  This provision shall not preclude the assistance of a disabled voter to receive assistance in his/her precinct in the presence of a Republican and Democrat observer/worker.  Illegal ballot trafficking and intentionally voting under another registered-voter’s ballot shall be a felony offense

  1. Ballot Fraud Countermeasures

Ballots today lack modern, industry-standard security features, which leave ballots susceptible to being duplicated.  Each ballot should have at least a unique identifying number within a limited universe of ballots.  This should be done by “sheet-style” or other measures in order to protect voter privacy.  A state may consider a detachable number or separating challenged ballots to make these ballots easier to locate at the final canvas.  Paper ballot circulation and printing should be controlled, and the process should be transparent.  States should consider a combination of security measures to protect ballots from being illegally duplicated.

  1. Handling / Chain of Custody
  2. Ballot Storage and Transportation and Recording of Ballot Handling

A chain of custody must be established for every batch of ballots.  This will enable authorities to track a ballot at every stage of the election process.  In order to achieve this end, a mandatory record of (a) who handled a ballot, (b) the reason the ballot was handled, (c) where the ballot was transported, and (d) the date and time of the handling, should all be recorded and in the presence of a member of each political party.  An evidence form should travel with the box/batch of ballots so that the location and handling of the ballots can be accounted for at each stage of the process.  Additionally, there must be a mandatory recording of ballot handling with its video record maintained for five (5) years after the election. Uncompleted ballots, completed mail-in ballots, and completed early ballots being transported should be in the presence of a member of both of the two major political parties at all times.  The locations of all ballot storage facilities should be made public in advance and be staffed by a member of each of the two major political parties at all times when any person is present. Records of chain of custody should be stored adjacent to but not locked within the record containers.

  1. Drop Boxes

There shall be no unattended ballot drop boxes, for example outdoor 24/7 boxes.  Mail-in ballots can be dropped off through USPS mailboxes.  If an election office accommodates after-hour drop-off, then there shall be video, and a chain-of-custody log specifying the worker who handled the ballots, time, date, and number of ballots.  Preferably the video of the area around the box will be recorded from the box itself, and chain of custody started by logging the specific envelope dropped.  The log and recorded materials are subject to FOIA.  Failure to maintain records shall automatically subject ballots in question to 100% audit and recount.  A breach in the chain-of-custody creates an automatic challenge unless the ballots in question exceed the margin.  In that case, the losing party holds the burden of proof to demonstrate the ballots’ validity.

  1. Curing
  1. Mail-in Ballot Curing.

Manual “curing” or “fixing” of ballot envelopes shall be unlawful.  States should adopt statutory standing to allow suits to be filed on behalf of voters in neighboring jurisdictions, against non-compliant jurisdictions when ballot curing exceeds what is allowed under state law.  Envelope curing has a history of being unfairly and unequally applied.  Disparate treatment of a voter’s ballots violates the Voting Rights Act and should therefore be avoided.

Photo identification, voter signature, witness signature, privacy envelopes, and other identifying information of the voter are precautions taken to ensure that a voter’s sacred voting right is protected. When a mail-in ballot lacks a witness or voter signature, photocopy of a photo ID, privacy sleeve, etc., legal integrity measures have not been met.  When a voter fails to comply with the law, states must issue guidance that ensures that all voters are treated equally.  Curing ballots in one jurisdiction as opposed to another creates unequal treatment of voters resulting in disparate impact.  Accordingly, ballot curing shall be prohibited due to both security and equal treatment concerns.

If a state chooses to include ballot envelope curing measures, with envelope curing defined as the process of an election worker contacting the voter and having the voter confirm the details of the cure, then it must include the following measures:

(1)        Mail-in ballots cannot be held to a lower legal standard than in-person voting ballots.

(2)        Political party observers from both of the two major political parties are allowed to watch during the process.

(3)        Whenever ballots are being cured, each ballot duplication must be agreed upon by a member of each political party.

(4)        Duplicated ballots should have a corresponding number to the original ballot.

(5)        Duplicated ballots must be segregated from other ballots.

(6)        Any and all ballot curing measures shall be implemented identically within the state.

(7)        The disparate implementation of ballot curing measures shall be sufficient to justify an independent cause of action by any voter within the state and/or any agency of government, as a violation of that voter’s civil rights.

(8)        All cured envelopes, duplicated ballots, and challenged ballots shall be maintained and segregated in such a fashion that the envelope, duplicate and/or cured ballot or ballot image is accessible with the newly created ballot and challenged ballots accessible with any related challenge logs or forms.

  1. Military / Overseas Ballot Duplication

Oftentimes, military and overseas ballots are required to be duplicated in order to be counted.

In these circumstances:

(1)        Ballots must be duplicated on numbered paper ballots and kept segregated and recorded for later review.

(2)        Members appointed by both major political parties must be appointed to duplicate every ballot in consultation with each other in bi-partisan pairs.

(3)        Poll observers must be able to watch the process in a manner that allows the observer to witness the duplication process and with his or her own eyes that the ballot was properly duplicated

(4)        The duplicated ballot must have a number or identifying mark that allows the duplicated ballot to be matched to the original overseas or military ballot.

(5)        Duplicated ballots must be segregated from other ballots.

III. Military Ballot Access and Security

Every reasonable effort must be made to ensure overseas military personnel receive ballots in a timely manner suitable for the election. Additionally, ballot secrecy and chain of custody must be protected.

VOTER VERIFICATION:

Verifying voter identity ensures all our voices are protected and equally heard.

  1. State-Issued Photo I.D.

Voter ID laws are only as good as the ID itself. A physical government-issued photo ID that indicates citizenship is required to be presented and verified to receive a ballot in-person or by mail/absentee for every election.

States should require a strong government-issued voter ID requirement for in person, absentee and mail-in ballots, with at a minimum, a photo, matching name, DOB, and physical (residential) address as well as his/her apartment number if applicable.  This provision applies to mail-in ballots and mail-in ballot applications – where mail-in ballots are permitted.  For voters without required ID, the voter is able to fill out a provisional ballot with the ability for the voter to cure later prior to certification of that contest.  States shall issue physical photo identifications at no-cost to low income residents.

  1. Wet Signature Verification

A voter must physically sign a wet signature – e.g. by ink- in front of an official] [prior to or as part of a request for a ballot delivered by mail. No mail-in or absentee ballot can be accepted without a comparison of two or more wet signatures for verification or another process that serves electors incapable of signature or replicates the integrity of the process of in-person check-in.

  1. “Motor Voter” / Opt-In Voting

Politicians in a growing number of states have made voter registration an extension of obtaining a driver’s license.  Some states have created an “opt-out” system where driver applications are presumed to be voters and must affirmatively take action to opt-out of voter registration.  This can lead to double registrations, registration of underage residents, and registration of illegal aliens, etc.  Accordingly, there should be no automatic voter registration.  Instead, residents must affirmatively opt-in to voter registration.

ELECTION ADMINISTRATION:

The individuals, processes, and procedures are accountable to the voter for being in accordance with law and the principles of accountability, transparency, and inclusion.

  1. Appointment of Local Election Boards

Some states allow the judicial branch or administrative bureaucracy to appoint local election officials to local city or county election boards.  When state law allows for the appointment of local election officials, appointments should be made by political parties and/or elected officials pursuant to state law.  Appointment of local members of boards of elections by judicial branch or unelected officials creates a veneer of “independence,” but very little transparency and accountability to voters.  Appointed election boards should reflect [equal] representation of major parties.

  1. Election Officials

Election officials should be bipartisan, with an equal number of the two major political parties being hired.  While most states have required both political parties to be present at in-person precincts, mail-in procedures have created layers of ballot handling without any bipartisan accountability.  All processes of ballot handling should take place in the presence of workers appointed by both political parties.  Additionally, a list of all election officials should be published 90 days before appointment, and the source of compensation must be disclosed to the state campaign finance authority.

  1. Consolidated Counting Centers

Mail-in ballots should be prohibited for persons not in one of the exempted categories of voter eligibility.  However, where mail-in ballots are allowed, the following processes should be followed.  Mail-in ballots should be processed and counted with in-person ballots to avoid disparate treatment of voters.   Therefore, mail-in ballots should be mailed back to their local clerk’s offices, collected and transported to the local precinct the day before the election along with the election machines.

Chain-of-custody must be maintained.  In light of this, there should be no central count centers where all the mail-in ballots for the entire jurisdiction are counted in one arena or community center.

Counting of ballots must occur at the precinct level by hand.  This will eliminate the need for central count centers and large warehouse storage facilities.

If mail-in ballots are to be used, they will be sent to the county clerk’s office and stored unopened until election day equipment is transported to the local precincts.  At that point, mail-in ballots can be transported, in the presence of appointed representatives from the two major political parties, to the precincts with the equipment.  Statutory right of poll observers is to be present and follow the transportation of ballots. All ballot handling should be recorded on ballot transfer sheets kept with but not locked inside ballot containers.

The number of outstanding ballots to be counted should be announced by 10 p.m. on election night.  If a state allows ballots to come in after closing of the poll.

  1. Same Day Voting

A single day of in-person precinct voting is the preferred election model.

  1. Early In-Person Voting

AVA recommends a system based around in-person, election day voting at one’s neighborhood precinct.  However, the move to expand opportunities to vote has led to the adoption of widespread mail-in voting.  Mail-in and other forms of remote voting are demonstrably more susceptible to voter fraud.  If states must expand the opportunity to vote beyond election day, early in-person voting is preferable to no excuse mail-in voting.  If a state has no-excuse mail-in absentee voting, early in-person voting should be encouraged as a method of voting which mitigates the chain of custody and eligibility determination issues present with mail-in voting.

If early in-person voting is allowed, it should be at one central location for a city / county where voters adequately authenticate themselves in-person and present a state issued photo I.D.. Early in-person voting is an extension of the election administration process.  Accordingly, all laws and regulations pertaining to voters, ballots, election administration, etc. apply equally.  All laws pertaining to any polling place or election office apply to early voting center, including but not limited to observers, parity, etc.

The following requirements must also be met:

(1)        Early In-Person voting is not to exceed 45 days.

(2)        Ballots should be submitted by voter into a scanner and delivered to a secure ballot storage container. The scanner should in future reveal the ballot image to the voter and also the cast vote record for confirmation of accuracy. A digital signature should be created of the image that becomes a matter of public record to prevent any modification of the ballot image.

(3)        The ballot storage container should remain locked or tamper-proof sealed and votes not aggregated until election day.  On election day, early votes may be counted at early voting precincts, but not reported before polls are closed.

(4)        Daily Machine Ballots Counted Subtotal Report should be posted online which shows the number of ballots tabulated by each machine.

(5)        Daily Poll Book Report of the voters who voted, not including how the ballot was cast, will be made available to at least the two major political parties and the campaigns represented on the ballot.

(6)        Daily Public Poll Book Report should be posted online which includes the number of votes by precinct of residence.

(7)        The precinct report must distinguish and show as separate categories the number of election day, and early in-person ballots cast and the number of mail-in ballots received and approved for counting as well as those returned from other remote voting methods such as UOCAVA and disability and emergency and undeliverable.

  1. Poll Book Management

Poll Book management must be: (1) open and transparent for observers to physically read the name of the voter and address in the poll book during the check-in process of voting; (2) inputs and / or changes should be done by workers appointed by both political parties, (3) changes made in the poll books must create a historical record of the change, (4) poll books should track provisional ballots status.

  1. Challenges Made by Any Eligible Elector

The eligibility to vote on contests included on ballots may be challenged for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, ineligible voter, late arriving ballot, incorrect ballot style, fraudulent ballot, suspected ballot harvested ballot, etc.  Observers may challenge eligibility decisions  upon a showing of good cause.

CHALLENGE OF REMOTELY VOTED BALLOTS: When a challenge is received, that ballot shall be segregated, left uncounted and unopened if applicable, logged into the poll book, and treated as provisional to be reviewed prior to and up until the end of canvassing  Challengers should be given an identification number for the challenged ballot/envelope; this identification number should be reflected in the poll book for ease of followup observation and verification.

CHALLENGE OF IN-PERSON VOTERS: The status of a person casting a ballot may also be challenged at in-person voting for non-compliance with eligibility requirements. For example, this includes but is not limited to illegal registration, or failure to prevent physical state-issued photo identification.

MACHINES:

You can’t count or verify what you can’t see.  There will always be a barrier to assessing the accuracy of election results when machine[s are used to determine voter eligibility or interpret voter marks or tabulate and report interpretations of votes. Where machines are used there are mitigating strategies to prevent vulnerabilities and make systems more secure.

***If machines are used, the following (A-E) applies:

  1. Proprietary Ownership

Vendor contracts lack transparent accountability to voters.  Vendors often claim proprietary ownership over software and hardware and even ballots and other election artifacts and evidence that ought to be public record that inhibits the public’s understanding of the elections process.  Voters must be allowed to know how scanners and tabulator machines operate.  Therefore, no vendor contracts shall prohibit access to ballots or any other vote representations, software, hardware, or computer logs as part of election verification including public observation of process including any audit or any election challenge.

  1. Internet Connectivity / Capability

Tabulators, scanners, and optical ballot readers shall not have internet capability.  These machines should be air-gapped, having no network interfaces, wired or wireless, that could be connected to outside networks.  This applies to all tabulators, including but not limited to precinct tabulators / scanners and high-speed tabulators / scanners.  Precinct results should be agreed upon as certified in writing by every election worker in the precinct before transmission.  Precinct results should be transferred under bipartisan oversight to the county / city election office.  Precinct results should then be posted at the polling or tabulation location and online.  County results must also be agreed upon as certified in writing by at least one deputized representative from each major political party, manually reported  at a publicly accessible well known county location, and posted online.

  1. Logic + Accuracy Testing with observer access (prior to election)

Localities must hold public “logic and accuracy” tests of every tabulation machine prior to every election.  The county or applicable district party chairman of each of the two major political parties at the last two statewide elections must be notified of the testing and the same notification published on the applicable election website.  Prior to the testing, the elections office will load new ballot software for the upcoming election in full public view.  Then, designated testers with the optional participation of attending public must run a series of tests by running various completed ballots through the machine to test accuracy.  (This is already done as a matter of course in most states).

  1. Posted online (software / updates USB).

As part of the Annual State Election Plan, the state must collect and report on plans and schedules for software updates that will be uploaded onto voting machines, tabulators, and scanners prior to each election.  This will be published and approved as part of the annual plan.

  1. Optical Readers and Scanners.

Voting machines, scanners, and tabulators must rigorously comply with HAVA including the most recent Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines of the Elections Assistance Commission.

ADMINISTRATION REVIEW:

Post-Election Day verification processes are necessary to ensure that all votes were properly counted and the final result accurately reported.

  1. Reconciliation

As a bank or business must account for every dollar in the safe, election officials must account for every ballot in and out of circulation.  Prior to the certification of elections, local precincts or county or city-wide canvassing boards must reconcile and report on all ballots.  This is simple fractional math: the numerator and denominator should match.  The locality should report how many ballots are produced.  That is the denominator.  The locality must then account for all these ballots.  Some of the ballots will be (1) voted; (2) other ballots will be left blank; (3) a number of ballots will show mistakes and be voided / spoiled; some ballots will be mail-in ballots that were not returned; (4) some ballots will be used in the duplication process.   These ballots should be tracked, reconciled, and reported.  The number of voted ballots + spoiled ballots + the amount of unused ballots + the number of unreturned mail-in ballots = the number of produced ballots.

In rare circumstances, print-on-demand ballots may be necessary when a precinct runs out of ballots.  These ballots, along with any test ballots in circulation must be accounted for and categorized appropriately in the reconciliation process.

  1. Forensic Audit

All data from election machine vote scanners/tabulators shall be available to audit including risk-limiting audits.

A post-election review and audit should include a review of voter roll procedures, ballot creation and handling procedures, the treatment of voters, and the use of machines.  Many of these items can be covered under the components of the JSC.  However, machines are best reviewed through the use of “Risk-limiting audits” or “RLA” with an appropriate level of ballots tested and from every precinct.  A small sample of ballots from a few precincts would not uncover a ballot harvesting scheme at other precincts.  An RLA must be thorough.  In addition, a much higher number of ballots should be chosen for review than in previous years.  This will provide mathematical certainty in election results. The same RLA process should be applied to a post-election door-to-door canvassing effort in the year after an election. By choosing neighborhoods to canvass and check against voter registration rolls, officials can determine whether rolls are being kept current or require further scrutiny.

Optical Readers and Scanners (audits):

The most efficient way to review machines is through Risk Limiting Audits. An RLA is an audit protocol that makes use of statistical principles and methods and is designed to limit the risk of certifying an incorrect election outcome.  By taking a sample of a number of ballots run through a certain ballot scanner/tabulator, and comparing the number to election night totals off of that machine, authorities can evaluate the accuracy of the count to a mathematical certainty.  Many recent RLA’s have under sampled races, machines, and ballots.  This yields the same results that an under sampled poll would produce — imprecise results.  RLA’s should adhere to general RLA principles of random sampling.  However, RLA’s should review 20-33% of machines in EVERY jurisdiction.

If an election jurisdiction uses machines to count ballots the jurisdiction shall, in each election, conduct a scientifically valid RLA of the election.  Candidates and representatives of both political parties shall have access to witness said audit.  If the audit is not conducted consistent with scientific principles and the margin of difference of the candidates is less than 7%, a hand recount of the ballots shall occur.

RECORD MAINTENANCE:

Citizens have a right to know how their elections are conducted.  Accordingly, all records, contracts, computer logs, and election reports must be maintained in a public online database.

  1. Tabulation + Machine / Computer Logs

Machine tabulators / scanner results must be made public.  This includes each tabulation device’s zero and results printout tape.  Precinct reports should not only be posted on the door of the precinct, but also online. Localities can contract with independent auditors to perform audits.  Election systems, ballot tabulators, etc., shall provide machine logs within 24 hours of the closing of the polls to political candidates and respective parties.  All computer data from vote tabulation shall be available to audit including risk-limiting audits.  Each local precinct shall print an election tally report off the machine at the end of election day and post the results online within an hour of the final tally.  If the final tally is not yet completed, the precinct shall report the number of counted ballots and candidates as tallied to that point, as well as the number of remaining ballots.

  1. Voter File Transparency

States should allow for transparent access to voter files by any political party or voting rights and / or election integrity organization free of charge.  Requesting party or organization must reside in or be based in the locality of the requested list.  List must include all voting designations, such as indefinitely confined, permanent mail-in (if applicable), etc.  The list should contain monthly updates that reflect who has dropped off of the list and who has been added.

Commercial use of the list for non-election purposes is expressly prohibited.  Upon request, voter’s name and / or address information can be redacted from the public list upon showing cause or if under a protective order.  Name, address, and other identifying information would be substituted with an anonymous Voter ID where applicable.

  1. Ballot Image

All ballot images as recorded by the voting tabulator/scanners should be uploaded on the state’s website within 24 hours of results being reported. In parallel a digital hash or signature of each side of each image should be created under public oversight and published as soon as practical after scanning. The ballot images should be identified by precinct split and tabulator.  The ballot images cannot and should not in any way identify who the voter of a certain ballot was.  These images should be searchable by precinct.  Ballot images are public record and subject to FOIA.

  1. Dual Reporting

Election reports are periodically reported incorrectly and subsequently corrected.  This can create the impression that election records have been altered.  Precincts should dually report results on election night to two different entities.  This will allow the public to track where mistakes were made and have confidence in the election outcome.  These final tallies are often posted on the door of the precinct, the only difference will be that these numbers will be reported directly to the public, posted on each state’s statewide elections website.

As election administrators upload election results on election night, the raw totals should be reported both to the statutorily recognized state election authority as well as a legislative committee formed to review incoming results.  This election records should also be made available in real time to the public.  As part of the public record, the information shall also be subject to FOIA.

  1. Record Retention

All election records shall be retained for a minimum of two years, in compliance with federal law. All should mean all.  This includes ballots, envelopes, affidavits, applications, ballot images, cast vote records, pollbooks, access logs, all physical precinct tally sheets, machine receipt/tape reports, video recordings, and manual chain-of custody record logs, etc.

“Election records” include records kept as software , or in digital form such as databases, and electronic pollbooks.  Subsequent machine software updates shall not overwrite any digital data that has not yet been separately archived in a manner suited to forensic evaluation.  Therefore the following must be maintained for a minimum of seven years: lists of active registrations, inactive registrations and voters actually voting by each election cycle, all ballot images or original ballots, publicly available (personal identifying data redacted), backup copies of all databases before every software update.

Lack of voting machine memory capacity is not an excuse to override, overwrite, or delete any data not adequately archived.

  1. Maintenance of Accurate Voter Rolls

Required Activities Include:

(1)        Withdrawing from ERIC and finding an alternative substitute.

(2)        Cleaning interstate double-registrants;

(3)        Cleaning Intrastate double-registrants;

(4)        Using the Social Security Death Index and publishing plan & names removed monthly;

(5)        Removing “USPS undeliverable” registered voters from the active rolls;

(6)        Using the federal “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements” or SAVE database to remove illegal aliens;

(7)        Checking DOB’s & verifying against state records to ensure legal age to vote;

(8)        Publish monthly plan to remove felons;

(9)        Collect jury refusal data;

(10)      Report the number of registered voters 120 days before an election in a locality, that way it can determined if it exceeds 100%.

(11)      Each election jurisdiction creates access for one appointed custodian of the voter rolls to add/subtract voters.  Larger jurisdictions may allow an additional custodian for every 100,000 voters.  The appointed custodian would be in charge of list maintenance for the locality, further promoting transparency and government accountability. This work, as any election work, should be done with bipartisan oversight.

A state’s voter registration rolls should be regularly evaluated weekly to ensure that voters who have moved, passed away, or stopped voting for an extended period of time are removed from the master list of registered voters.  Persons who should no longer be registered to vote should be taken off  the voter rolls.  If persons are discovered who were ineligible due to non-citizenship, they should be flagged to prevent re-registration.

States and localities sometimes refuse to remove false voters from the voter rolls.  Therefore, states should create voter standing to file lawsuits in the appropriate court to remove false voters from the voter rolls upon a showing of good cause.

Localities should conduct periodic door-to-door field operations to canvass residences to confirm voter eligibility. and require a full canvass  within a 4-year cycle.  When localities fail to perform duties properly, they should automatically be put into receivership by authority of the state legislature.

VENDORS AND THIRD-PARTY ACTORS:

Any agent conducting business on behalf of the government must be subject to the same laws and rules that apply to government actors performing that same function.

  1. Private Consultant Disclosure

All private party vendors and consultants who assist in elections in any way must be disclosed to the public within thirty days.  Contracts should also be posted on the state board of election / Secretary of State website within thirty days of being awarded.  Private experts and consultants must be disclosed to the public in a similar manner to comparable government roles such that their activities are made subject to open records requests.  Additionally, any associations of election officials shall also be subject to FOIA.

  1. Private Parties and Administrative Access to Voter Registration List

No third parties should have administrative access to a state’s voter registration database.  No third parties are allowed to use a Web Application Programming Interface that allows access to voter registration lists.  If third parties obtain applications for voter registration, these applications should be presented to local election offices who will then register (or not register if improper) the voter.

Voter registrations shall only be entered by election officials designated by law with such authority.  The state and local officials shall not enter into any data-sharing agreements or other contracts allowing private parties to alter or enter data into the state’s voter registration database.

Nothing in this act prohibits private parties from conducting voter registration drives and providing such information to election officials for data-entry.  Election officials shall maintain any data provided for voter registration from private entities in a manner that allows a third-party to identify voter registrations created with the private group providing the information.

No election official or government agency shall enter into any contract with any vendor for services in managing the election or the counting of votes which prohibits candidates, the media or the public from having access to any information, computer logs, documents, etc. that are necessary to validate the proper completion of the contracted services and/or the election result.

  1. Vendor Performance + Accountability

Vendors must be more accountable to voters and taxpayers.  Vendors should be more transparent about what ballot software is loaded onto scanners/tabulators, ballot printers, and electronic eligibility devices such as epollbooks and signature verification or envelope scanner/sorter devices.

Outside consultant assistance must be disclosed.

Any organization receiving appropriated funds by the legislature to perform government functions is subject to FOIA in all services rendered to perform said functions, including contracts, agreement, communication with government officials, equipment, and software.

Any organization receiving appropriated funds by the legislature to perform election administration processes is subject to the same rules of transparency, accountability, and access that applies to that service as though the government were performing that function, including citizen observers, etc.

ACCESS:

Citizens have a right to be in the counting room.  Government accountability increases with citizen and multi-partisan observation and involvement.

  1. Poll Observers’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

All states must have a poll observer provision that allows voters access to witness and verify the integrity of the handling and counting of all ballots, not only to observe, but to challenge decisions and process that in good faith that should have been handled differently.

FUNCTION AND PURPOSE: Poll observers are a vital part of the American election process to provide transparency, accountability, and citizen participation. Elections are becoming more centralized and mechanized. These trends, along with increased remote voting means the average voter never sees and understands the process and likewise the system does not see the voter and therefore is unable to protect the integrity of voting and casting. For all these reasons, deliberate access for citizens to the election process behind closed doors is increasingly needed.

PUBLIC OBSERVERS: General citizen observers unaffiliated or not appointed by a party, candidate, or issue committee shall have access to observe without the power to challenge a ballot.  Where capacity limits are reached, observers from the official slate from the parties will be given preference and ensured equal access.  Observers from outside the local jurisdiction shall be allowed.

OBSERVERS WITH POWER TO CHALLENGE: If a state chooses to distinguish between a public observer and a party / campaign appointed observer with the power to challenge ballots, it shall allow: observers from the two major political parties with the most votes in the last two consecutive statewide elections, observers from the two local major political parties with the most votes in the last two consecutive statewide elections, and observers from the campaigns on the ballot.  Observers from outside local jurisdiction shall be allowed.

DISCRIMINATION: Poll observer applicants may not be discriminated against based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, disability, vaccination status, or decision whether or not to wear a mask.

EVIDENCE COLLECTION: Poll observers shall be allowed to possess and use cell phones and/or cameras in all areas of the elections process.  Observers should not photograph a voter while voting or record a voter’s information, unless a challenge is made to an individual voter registration upon a good cause belief and shall cover the social security number.

ACCESS: Election observers shall have access to all areas where completed ballots are being printed, stuffed, labeled, delivered, received, accepted for counting, pre-processed, counted, cured, duplicated, audited, recounted etc.  Access shall mean that observers can see what the election worker can see on the paper ballot and see and hear the actions the election worker is taking with respect to any election artifact such as a ballot envelope,] a ballot and the poll book  or other equivalent eligibility determination process.

CHALLENGES: Election observers should have the ability to challenge a ballot’s ability to be counted.  Challenges don’t have to be accepted if the challenge is not proper.  However, the challenge must be logged in the poll book, and the ballot must be identifiable and accessible at the canvass.  When a challenge to a ballot is accepted, the challenged ballot shall be segregated.  An accepted ballot challenge requires the ballot be segregated and recorded as challenged, but not counted in the tabulation.  The voter has a right to appeal the challenge during canvassing.

HARASSMENT: Observers shall not harass other observers or election officials or staff.  Violators will be denied access.  Election officials shall not harass anyone including voters and observers.

RECOURSE: Evidence of the intentional or wrongful exclusion of observers shall be immediately reported to the special standing committee, which shall have the authority to appoint a special master to manage observer access at the location engaged in the improper conduct.  Special master appointment shall be made by a tie or majority vote.  If both the Chair and Vice-Chair of the standing committee declare an emergency under this section, the Chair and Vice-Chair shall have the authority to appoint a special master.  The selection of the person to serve as special master shall be by a majority committee vote or by agreement between the Chair and Vice-chair if an emergency is declared.  If the committee cannot agree, or if in the case of an emergency the Chair and Vice-Chair cannot agree, two special masters shall be appointed, one each by the party members of the two major political parties.  States may require observers to obtain credentials by an appointing authority to enter into rooms with the most sensitive voter data.  Observers should not be required to stand in limited locations with poor visibility or ability to hear and should not be required to be escorted.  Observers must be allowed to speak with and ask questions to obtain answers from designated elections officials.

  1. Media

A rotating press pool shall be allowed for recording of the ballot handling process. The process must allow observation and recording by a wide cross-section of print, podcast, and television media to observe ballot counting and the process at any and all ballot counting areas or locations where there is a presence of election staff. Special considerations to preserve voter privacy are needed when voters are present and when voter intent is in the vicinity of voter identity information.

SECURITY:

All systems have points of vulnerability.  Mitigating that vulnerability ensures a secure election.

  1. Voter Registration

Voters should register to vote in-person with a state-issued photo identification that indicates citizenship.  Voter registration should close one month prior to election day.  Voters who will be 18 years of age by Election Day will be allowed to register to vote in that election.

  1. Hotline

A statewide hotline maintained by the JSC/AG/SOS should be established to receive tips of illegal election and voter fraud issues.

  1. Machine Accessibility.

Poll observers are allowed to observe software update and attachment of security seals during the Logic & Accuracy Testing. Poll observers must also be allowed to observe certification testing if applicable and all other election software updates up until, through, and after election day.

  1. Physical Server Presence.

Jurisdictions including states should store and report election results on internal government-operated servers physically located within the United States. Other devices used for central eligibility determination and vote count should likewise be under government control and preferably in facilities operated by the appropriate governing authority.

REMEDIES:

When a law is not being followed, citizens have a right to seek remedy in order to hold officials accountable to the rule of law.

  1. Expand Standing

Standing to file election challenges should be expanded.

(1)        Election challenges when a result is in doubt may be filed by local or statewide political parties, candidates, and incorporated election integrity organizations.

(2)        Voting rights are civil rights.  When a voter is denied the right to vote or observe an election, it should be viewed as a civil rights violation.  States should ensure statutory standing to be filed on behalf of voters that are denied their right to vote, observe, or challenge illegal processes.

(3)        Legislatures should define “harm” to enable these suits.  If the citizenry loses faith in its election system, harm results.  If one illegal ballot is counted, or a legal ballot is voided — this represents a legal harm.  Standing for civil rights claims should be expanded.

  1. Rocket Docket

Once early voting or mail-in ballots are sent out, election challenges and all suits related to elections should take precedence in court.  Courts must prioritize these suits by scheduling preliminary hearings within 24 hours and holding the hearing within 72 hours of the challenge.  Challenges should be heard within 24 hours of filing in the week before and after election day.  Injunctions should be issued stopping the challenged conduct until the court can rule.  Localities should consider creating a specific docket dedicated to these challenges during election season.  Courts should be empowered and encouraged to issue injunctive relief upon good cause.  Challenging candidates should have legal recourse to demonstrate harm as harm is occurring.  No state should require the certification process to be completed prior to allowing a challenge or presentation of proof of harm. State legislatures should all review statutes and regulations to ensure that they do not obstruct the opportunity for potential litigants to obtain the evidence that would be needed to establish standing for purposes of election litigation.

  1. New Election

In criminal law, a constitutional violation of a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights may result in the exclusion of evidence.  Constitutional and statutory violations must present the opportunity in law to be remedied. State law should allow for a new election in circumstances where the appropriate authority (JSC, legislature, appropriate court) orders a new election.

  1. Law Enforcement Investigations and Multijurisdictional Investigative Grand Juries

Failure to follow election law and / or election fraud impacts more than only the locality in which it occurs.  An illegally cast ballot on one side of the state undermines and erases a legally cast ballot on the other side of a state.  For this reason, jurisdiction for the investigation and prosecution of election fraud should be broadened.  Prosecutors should be given jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election fraud claims that could impact election outcomes in their jurisdiction.

For example, a prosecutor may live in a state house district that consists of two separate counties.  If voter fraud is alleged in the prosecutor’s neighboring jurisdiction, the prosecutor should be allowed to investigate and charge in the prosecutor’s county.  While the fraud may not have occurred within the boundaries of the prosecutor’s county jurisdiction, the voter fraud is likely to impact the election held within the prosecutor’s jurisdiction.

DEFINITIONS:

  1. Ballot – A piece of paper or paper equivalent that is used to record someone’s vote.
  2. Election – A formal and organized choice by vote of a person for a political office or other position.
  3. Election Challenge – When an observer formally calls into question a voter’s credentials to vote or the legality of a ballot. The challenger may be questioning the eligibility of the voter to cast a ballot in an election. Challenges can be lodged against voters in both in-person and absentee/mail-in voting settings.
  4. Machines – A mechanical device used for recording and counting ballots or votes cast in an election.
  5. Cast – To record a vote in an election.
  6. Reconciliation – the action of making precinct ballot counts consistent.  All ballots – voted, unvoted, spoiled, etc., must be accounted for following an election.
  7. Envelope Curing – the process of an election worker contacting the voter and having the voter confirm the details of the ballot envelope that may have appeared missing or incorrect.
  8. Ballot Curing – the process of an election worker or preferably a team of election workers interpreting the vote of an absentee voter who is not present, based off of the markings on the ballot.  This often arises in the case of a damaged ballot that is unable to be read by the tabulator.  The ballot will be cured by having election workers transpose the voter’s original markings from the damaged ballot, onto a new ballot that is not damaged.
  9. Sheet – a “sheet” is a piece of paper that is used in creating a paper ballot. Some ballots are composed of a single “sheet”, while others contain multiple sheets.”  Sheet, as used in this document, refers to a single sheet of paper that serves as a component of the ballot.
Déjà Vu All Over Again: China’s Wuhan Lab Does it Again. First Covid now Monkeypox! thumbnail

Déjà Vu All Over Again: China’s Wuhan Lab Does it Again. First Covid now Monkeypox!

By Dr. Rich Swier

We’re here because of China’s experiments. Is this Déjà vu all over again?


Here we go again. China, China, China. Wuhan Lab, Wuhan Lab, Wuhan Lab. Covid, Covid, Covid. Monkeypox, Monkeypox, Monkeypox.

The National Pulse in a May 22nd, 2022 article titled “EXC: The Infamous Wuhan Lab Recently Assembled Monkeypox Strains Using Methods Flagged For Creating ‘Contagious Pathogens’ reported:

The Wuhan Institute of Virology assembled a monkeypox virus genome, allowing the virus to be identified through PCR tests, using a method researchers flagged for potentially creating a “contagious pathogen,” The National Pulse can reveal.

The study was first published in February 2022, just months before the latest international outbreak of monkeypox cases which appear to have now reached the United States.

[ … ]

Monkey pox viruses – referred to as “MPXVs” in the paper – have strains that are “more pathogenic and [have] been reported to infect humans in various parts of the world.”

Read the full article.

Here is the research paper:

The Chinese are now the number one spreader of dangerous and deadly diseases.

What is interesting is that the Biden administration’s Center for Disease Control issued this warning to gay and bisexuals men:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday alerted gay and bisexual men that monkeypox appears to be spreading in the community globally, warning people to take precautions if they have been in close contact with someone who may have the virus and to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Dr. John Brooks, a CDC official, emphasized that anyone can contract monkeypox through close personal contact regardless of sexual orientation. However, Brooks said many of the people affected globally so far are men who identify as gay or bisexual. Though some groups have greater chance of exposure to monkeypox right now, the risk isn’t limited only to the gay and bisexual community, he cautioned.

“We want to help people make the best informed decisions to protect their health and the health of their community from monkeypox,” Brooks said.

Is this déjà vu all over again?

In a June 12th, 2003 National Geographic article titled “HIV Originated With Monkeys, Not Chimps, Study Finds” Stefan Lovgren reported:

Scientists now say that the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), which is believed to have been transmitted to humans to become HIV-1—the virus that causes AIDS—didn’t start its life in chimps.

Instead, it was a product of separate viruses jumping from different monkey species into chimps, where they recombined to form a hybrid virus, according to a new study.

Researchers believe the chimpanzee virus is a hybrid of the SIVs naturally infecting two different monkeys, the red-capped mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus) and the greater spot-nosed monkey (Cercopithecus nictitans). Chimps eat monkeys, which is likely how they acquired the monkey viruses. The hybrid virus then spread through the chimpanzee species, and was later transmitted to humans to become HIV-1.

The study suggests striking parallels between SIV infection of chimps and HIV infection of humans. Just as chimps acquired viruses from two different sources, humans are infected by two distinct AIDS viruses: HIV-1 and the less virulent HIV-2, which humans acquired from sooty mangabey monkeys.

“Because of the similarity between chimpanzees and humans, any virus that successfully adapts to spreading among chimps would be a candidate for a further jump to humans—a potential HIV-3,” said Paul Sharp of the Institute of Genetics at University of Nottingham in England, who led the study.

Read the full article.

So, China’s Wuhan Lab experimented again and created the Monkeypox that, like HIV/AIDS infects gay and bisexuals. Hmmmmm.

Hunter Biden, China and the Monkeypox

Perhaps it is time to sanction China, but wait, Hunter Biden has benefitted from China’s largesse.

NBC News reported on the exciting adventures of Hunter Biden.

Biden made $5.8 million, more than half his total earnings from 2013 to 2018, from two deals with Chinese business interests.

Daniel Greenfield asks:

The underlying question is what was Hunter Biden and the larger clan doing to make all that money from these [Chinese] guys?

It’s implausible that Hunter Biden, an unstable crackhead with no self-control, was getting paid a fortune [by the Chinese] for any skill other than his political connections. If Joe Biden had been a retired Senate member, it’s unlikely that Hunter would have gotten this kind of payday.

There’s no scenario in which this was anything except an attempt to use Joe Biden’s crackhead son for his political connections. And those connections all go through Joe.

Thus ends the story on how and why the Chinese have gotten a pass on first creating the Covid pandemic and now exposing the world to the Monkeypox.

Monkey see, monkey do. No pun intended.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: CDC officials sound alarm for gay and bisexual men as monkeypox spreads in community

Price Controls on Fuel Would Be Disastrous for Americans thumbnail

Price Controls on Fuel Would Be Disastrous for Americans

By Daren Bakst and Jack Spencer

In classic Washington style, liberals in Congress are advancing a bill that most assuredly would make a bad situation much worse.

In response to soaring fuel prices, liberals seek to shift blame away from Bidenflation and onto producers through the so-called Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act.  A more appropriate title would be the “Driving Up Prices and Fuel Rationing Act,” because that is exactly what it would do. 

The bill would empower state and federal authorities to bring civil actions against fuel suppliers who engage in what the bill terms “unconscionable pricing.”

By using highly subjective and undefinable terms to trigger action against fuel suppliers (over unlimited timeframes), the bill would provide politicians and bureaucrats near limitless power to interfere with energy markets.

The result would be a federal price control system for consumer fuel. The United States attempted price controls at the pump during the 1970s, and it was an unmitigated disaster. Why would Congress want to take us back to the ’70s, with interminable gas lines and “sold out” signs at station after station?

Prices are important signals that convey information to the marketplace. High prices tell companies to produce more, and low prices tell them to produce less. By interfering with that natural market process, this proposal actually could make gasoline shortages worse, forcing companies to lose money or even risk prosecution for trying to expand production while covering their costs.

Congress needs to understand that unforeseen market shifts can happen, causing a misalignment between supply and demand. This affects prices, and those prices are how markets bring alignment between consumers and producers.

These price fluctuations aren’t the problem, they’re the solution. Stop prices from adjusting and the misalignment between supply and demand will continue or even worsen into shortage. And then, watch out!

When government policy, such as this legislation, prevents producers from offering products at market prices, producers may produce less of the product (or even stop producing it altogether) and limit capital investment to provide for future demand.

When prices don’t reflect corresponding supply reductions, consumer demand will fail to adjust, instead of chasing a dwindling supply. Fewer goods with high demand are a recipe for shortages.

The Federal Trade Commission knows this and has warned: “If natural price signals are distorted by price controls, consumers ultimately might be worse off, as gasoline shortages could result.”

The economic carnage of price controls is bad enough. But layering them over the Biden administration’s anti-energy agenda would make meeting the artificially high demand for gas even more difficult. 

Indeed, the bill is just an extension of the left’s war on energy. The chilling effect it would have on investment and innovation would not only impact fuel prices today but well into the future. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers reportedly called this price-gouging bill “dangerous nonsense.”

Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow for environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, makes the point about the nonsensical nature of the price-gouging argument in this way: “If major oil companies can simply manipulate gas prices upward, why would they have endured six years of considerably lower prices prior [to] 2021?”

It isn’t just nonsensical and flawed economics. The bill is also harmful because it diverts attention from the actual problems and the real solutions.

And many of the actual problems when it comes to gas prices aren’t hard to identify. The Biden administration and liberal legislators are pushing a war on conventional fuels that is driving up prices.

The Biden administration has been trying to blame the high gas prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the public hasn’t been buying this misinformation campaign, properly recognizing that gas prices were soaring well before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Retail prices for regular gasoline already had risen by 48% from the week ending Jan. 25, 2021 (when President Joe Biden took office), to the week ending Feb. 21, 2022 (three days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine).

Currently, gas prices are over $4 per gallon, and in some areas of the country, they exceed $5 per gallon.

Liberals, though, act as if they have nothing to do with what’s happening. Blame is the name of the game, not responsibility. Now the left’s blame game is turning up the heat on the oil and gas industry.

But this is hardly new. Like clockwork, when there are higher than normal gas prices, liberal legislators and administrations (such as the Obama administration) will try to blame it on price gouging instead of their own failed inflationary policies.

The Federal Trade Commission, though, consistently has found that allegations and claims of gas price gouging and related anti-competitive concerns are unfounded.

Policymakers need to remove government intervention that is driving up prices, not try to pass a bill that would double down on heavy-handed government.

*****

This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

China Starting Next Global Crisis By Gobbling Up Sri Lanka

By Gordon Chang

On May 12, India confirmed that it would provide a desperate Sri Lankan government 65,000 metric tons of urea, pursuant to an existing $1 billion credit line. The sale, which overrides New Delhi’s ban on the exports of the commodity, relieves severe pressure on the government of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka since the end of March has been wracked by violent protests.Shoot-on-sight” orders have for the most part restored order, but the unrest has led to the replacement of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, once the country’s dominate political figure. His brother, the president, is unlikely to survive the tumult. The ongoing economic and financial crisis is Sri Lanka’s worst since independence from Britain in 1948.

Sri Lanka is only the world’s opening act. Disturbances there constitute the first in a series of crises about to engulf vulnerable countries, perhaps even large ones. The war in Ukraine, aggravating underlying problems in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, is shaking just about every corner of the planet.

Events in Sri Lanka also highlight how China is going about dominating the world. Beijing is corrupting national leaders, drowning them in debt, and ultimately destabilizing their governments. Beijing, it appears, is particularly targeting democracies.

India’s urea, a fertilizer, will allow Sri Lankan farmers to plant in the May-August Yala cultivation season. It comes at a time of critical need. The country was spending about $400 million annually to import fertilizer but had not been able to make purchases recently due to the lack of foreign exchange. The government last year, to conserve currency reserves, banned chemical fertilizer.

The finance ministry reports that the country has only $25 million in usable foreign reserves on hand, hardly sufficient to service obligations. Sri Lanka is scheduled to repay $7 billion in debt this year, a part of the $26 billion due by 2026. The country’s total foreign debt is $51 billion.

The chemical fertilizer ban forced farmers to abandon paddies, and some joined the recent protests.

There is, as a result, hunger in the country, and soaring food prices have fueled protests. “I’ve been living in Colombo for 60 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Vadivu, a domestic worker, to AFP in March. “There’s nothing to eat, there’s nothing to drink.” This month, food prices there, Sri Lanka’s most-populous city, tripled in the space of a few days.

The new prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said he would ensure that everyone had three meals a day. “There won’t be a hunger crisis, we will find food,” he told the BBC.

That is a promise Wickremesinghe may not be able to keep. Sri Lanka cannot solve its problems on its own. The COVID-19 pandemic ended tourism, a main source of revenue. Moreover, the Russian invasion of Ukraine—both countries are big sources of tourists for Sri Lanka—killed hopes for a recovery this year.

The issue, however, goes beyond tourist arrivals. The Ukraine war looks as if it is ending a decades-long period of globalization, and this transition is going to be difficult for countries that are especially dependent on others. The Sri Lankan crisis, therefore, is only the beginning. “Sri Lanka is the first country to buckle under the mounting economic pressures triggered by the war in Ukraine,” London’s Guardian stated. “It is unlikely to be the last.”

Sri Lanka also faces another difficulty: China. The dominant Rajapaksa clan, long thought to be in Beijing’s pocket, borrowed heavily from Chinese sources for misconceived ventures. Many of the “white-elephant projects” are in the Hambantota district, the home of the Rajapaksas.

The Hambantota port, losing $300 million in six years, was ill-conceived from the beginning. Port operators, therefore, were unable to service $1.4 billion in loans from China. Close to the port is a rarely used $15.5 million conference center. Thanks to a $200 million loan from China, Sri Lanka was able to build the nearby Rajapaksa Airport, which could not pay even its electricity bills.

In Colombo, there is Sri Lanka’s answer to Dubai: the Chinese-funded Port City, an island of 665 acres of landfill and a “hidden debt trap.” In that city is also the never-opened-to-the-public Lotus Tower, also funded by China. “What is the point of being proud of this tower if we are left begging for food?” asked Krishantha Kulatunga, the owner of a small stationery store near the landmark. “We are neck-deep in loans already.”

China extended around 17% of the country’s total debt. Very few know the full extent of the indebtedness to Chinese parties because there are hard-to-track loans to Sri Lanka’s state firms and to the country’s central bank.

Whatever their amount, Chinese loans have broken Sri Lanka. In April, it declared a suspension of repayment of foreign debt. The BBC reports that the suspension, the first default since independence, is “largely because it cannot service loans from China that paid for massive infrastructure projects.”

China is the world’s predatory lender, something evident from its Belt and Road Initiative, also known as BRI. Beijing’s grand infrastructure project specializes in roads, ports, and railroads that have, like the Sri Lankan projects, little or no commercial justification. So far, 146 countries have signed BRI memo agreements with Beijing. Some of them find themselves in hock to the Chinese.

The Chinese have established a pattern. “China extends debt on onerous terms, backs up authoritarian governments when there are financial collapses or civil disobedience, and then takes everything it can find,” Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Gatestone.

This pattern is evident in Sri Lanka. In December 2017, Beijing took control of the Hambantota port, grabbing 70% of the equity and signing a 99-year lease, after that project could not repay high-interest loans extended by China. Now there are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base.

China’s admirals have long eyed Sri Lanka: In both September and October 2014 the Sri Lankan government allowed a Chinese submarine and its tender to dock at the Chinese-funded Colombo International Container Terminal.

A base in Sri Lanka would allow Chinese aircraft and surface combatants as well as submarines to cut sea lanes in the Indian Ocean and force next-door India to divert military assets to a threatening presence.

It is no coincidence that Djibouti, also heavily indebted to Chinese parties, is now the site of China’s first offshore military base.

“This pattern is deep, entrenched, and expanding, and so it’s like the dominoes have all been set up and Beijing is perfectly happy to have them fall down so that it can come to the rescue economically and politically and entrench itself even more,” Paskal noted.

Sri Lanka is now looking for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, but that is not necessarily a good idea. The international community should not be helping a voracious China gobble up small, vulnerable societies.

“It’s not financial restructuring that you need, it’s political restructuring that you need before you should put in any more money,” Paskal said. “If the IMF bails out Sri Lanka without ensuring that it is no longer aligned with Beijing, it will have subsidized Chinese investment and politically reinforced a country that becomes a Chinese proxy.”

*****

This article was published by the Gatestone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

A Supermarket Checker on Prices, Life and Whole Foods thumbnail

A Supermarket Checker on Prices, Life and Whole Foods

By Craig J. Cantoni

One of the many jobs that I held before and during my college years in order to pay my college bills was a supermarket checker. Maybe that’s why I like to strike up a conversation with checkers to see how they’re feeling about their job and issues of the day.

A recent visit to a local Tucson supermarket was no exception. During checkout, I asked the forty-something checker if customers were complaining about rising prices for groceries.

“Oh, yeah,” she replied, “but I can’t blame them, as I have the same complaint. If prices get any higher, I finally might be able to stick to a diet and lose weight.”

She added, “Even worse, although I live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in the ghetto, my rent was just increased from $830 to $1,150 per month. A Florida company owns the apartment complex and must think that it’s beachfront property.”

Continuing, she said, “I haven’t been able to afford to fix the air-conditioner in my car for two years, so when I get off work this afternoon, the car will be hot enough to cook a roast, if I could afford a roast.”

Listening to her woes, I felt fortunate that groceries aren’t a financial burden to my wife and me, although we’re retired and spend about $800 a month on them.

The conversation with the checker occurred on the day of our weekly shopping at Basha’s supermarket, a local chain with prices comparable to Safeway or Fry’s (Kroger). The bill was $116.67. Produce accounted for $69.21 of that amount, and bread, yogurt, cheese, lemonade, half-and-half, spices, and three pork steaks accounted for most of the remainder of $47.46. At $2.90 a pound, the steaks were a bargain.

Every three weeks we drive 20 minutes to a Walmart to stock up on canned goods, crackers, snacks, dairy products with a long shelf life, paper products, cleaning supplies, health and beauty products, and maybe a bottle or two of wine. Most of these items cost 30% to 50% less than their cost at Basha’s. Our total Walmart bill is typically about $250, or, on a weekly basis, about $84.00.

This means that we’re spending a little over $200 per week on groceries and associated items ($116 or so at Basha’s and $84 or so at Walmart). On a monthly basis, that comes to about $800, not counting a restaurant meal or two a week.

No doubt, grocery bills are considerably higher for people who buy a lot of prepared foods, snacks, designer water, soda, sports drinks, and liquor. Of course, the bills are even higher for those with kids at home.

Costs must be out of sight for those who buy groceries, snacks, and booze at convenience stores, which, amazingly, account for something like 30% of all grocery spending in the US. Many of the patrons are working-class guys, who, one would think, can least afford the high-mark-ups in convenience stores. Some of them pull up to the gas pumps at convenience stores in a humongous pickup truck and fill the tank with $100 or so of gas.

My 11-year-old RAV-4 looks like a 90-pound weakling next to the behemoths, and I probably look like a dork. Or maybe I look like a 90-pound weakling and my car looks like a dork.

The prices at Whole Foods are even higher than the prices at convenience stores and are way over my level of frugality, for quality that isn’t noticeably better than the quality at Basha’s, or, for that matter, at Walmart. For the few times that I’ve gone into a Whole Foods, I’ve gotten lightheaded from hyperventilating at the prices and pretentiousness. Not only that, but my RAV-4 develops an inferiority complex when I park next to a Tesla, Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes, or other luxury brands that dominate the parking lot.

Judging by bumper stickers, many patrons of Whole Foods are progressives, which means that they see themselves as caring about the poor, social justice, and climate change.

I wonder how checkers see them.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

Princeton President Conspires to Fire Tenured Prof Who Defended Free Speech thumbnail

Princeton President Conspires to Fire Tenured Prof Who Defended Free Speech

By Jihad Watch

Joshua Katz, a respected linguist at Princeton, is not being fired because of an alleged relationship in 2006, but because he criticized woke abuses in 2020.

At Quilette, Katz had courageously condemned efforts to silence free speech and eliminate academic freedom.

“Independence of thought is considered the hallmark of academia, but everyone deserves it. In the United States, thank heavens, freedom to think for oneself is still a right, not a privilege,” he concluded.

In typical fashion, the radical leftists whom he had criticized in a restrained, civil and respectful fashion, unleashed the full fury of cancel culture and set out to destroy him.

What followed was Lavrentiy Beria’s “Show Me the Man and I’ll Show You the Crime.”

Since none of the false claims that Katz was in any way a racist or had engaged in hate speech, could go beyond impotent fuming they had to find something else.

And all this witch hunt came up was this…

Princeton University’s president has recommended that the school’s board of trustees fire a tenured classics professor, concluding he didn’t cooperate fully in a sexual-misconduct investigation, according to a copy of his letter to the board’s chair reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Salem witch trial judges would be embarrassed by this.

The report said that in 2018, Dr. Katz didn’t fully cooperate with investigators examining a consensual sexual relationship he had with an undergraduate student beginning in 2006, after her junior year, and continuing until her graduation. The student declined to participate in the investigation at that time.

We know exactly why Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber wants Katz fired. He told us so himself in an op-ed in 2020, deeming his speech “irresponsible and offensive.”

“Our policies, however, protect Katz’s freedom to say what he did, just as they protected the Black Justice League’s. He can be answered but not censored or sanctioned,” Eisgruber claimed.

Now he grubbily seeks to bypass those policies.

“Show Me the Man and I’ll Show You the Crime.”

AUTHOR

DANIEL GREENFIELD

RELATED ARTICLES: Biden Dumped $122,000,000,000 on Schools, $113,460,000,000 is Unspent

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Federal Judge Halts Biden Administration from Revoking Title 42 Immigration Enforcement thumbnail

Federal Judge Halts Biden Administration from Revoking Title 42 Immigration Enforcement

By Neland Nobel

A federal judge in Louisiana on Friday stopped the Biden administration from revoking Title 42, a public health authority that allows illegal immigrants to be quickly deported during a health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays in the Western District of Louisiana issued the order in a case filed by the attorneys general of Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri. The case later grew to 21 states. Texas also filed a separate lawsuit in a federal court in Texas. The attorney’s general argues ending Title 42 violates federal law and places an unfair financial burden on the states.

The administration announced it was ending Title 42 effective Monday, May 23, and estimated that roughly 18,000 people would enter the U.S. illegally a day once it was lifted.

In response to the judge’s ruling, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said, “I’m so proud of the lawyers from our office who just got our Temporary Restraining Order to keep Title 42 in place. We will continue to fight the Biden administration’s open border policies.

“Title 42 is one of the last tools we have left in our toolbox to stop an even greater flood of illegal immigration into our country,” he said. “While this is a good win, we gotta keep fighting. I’m going to do everything I can to stop the overreach of the Biden administration; and make sure that we enforce our immigration laws and … do everything we can to protect American taxpayers.”

The Biden administration later Friday said it disagreed with the ruling and would appeal it. “The authority to set public health policy nationally should rest with the Centers for Disease Control, not with a single district court,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. However, in compliance with the court’s injunction, the administration will enforce Title 42, she said. “This means that migrants who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will be subject to expulsion under Title 42, as well as immigration consequences such as removal under Title 8.

“As the appeal proceeds, the Department of Homeland Security will continue planning for the eventual lifting of Title 42 in the light of CDC’s public health judgment, at which point anyone who attempts to enter the country unlawfully will be subject to Title 8 Expedited Removal proceedings if they do not have grounds to remain in the United States.”

The lawsuit that led to Friday’s ruling is one of many filed by Brnovich and other attorneys general in response to the Biden administration’s open border policies. Since Biden took office, an estimated 2.5 million people have entered the U.S. illegally even with Title 42 in place.

Due to widespread nonenforcement of immigration laws by the administration, the number of people entering illegally continues to break new records nearly every month.

Last month, more than 234,000 people were encountered entering the U.S. illegally, the greatest number in a single month in recorded U.S. history. That’s a 1,376% increase from the 17,106 encounters reported in April 2020 under the Trump administration.

These numbers exclude at least one million who’ve entered the U.S. illegally and evaded capture, known as “got aways,” according to estimates previously reported on by The Center Square. Last month, there were between 58,000 and 71,000 got aways recorded by Border Patrol, numbers that aren’t published publicly.

At a news conference in the Rio Grande Valley this week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas maintained that ending Title 42 wouldn’t “mean the border is open on May 23,” KHOU 11 News Houston reported. “We continue to enforce the laws of this country,” he said. “We continue to remove individuals who do not qualify for relief under the laws of this country.”

Deportation was down last year by 70%, and at least 1.2 million people with deportation orders remain in the U.S. and haven’t been deported. Mayorkas has begun gutting Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation units across the country, according to recently retired ICE officials and law enforcement officers who’ve reached out to The Center Square. Last fall, Mayorkas also instituted widespread immigration policy changes, including declaring that being in the U.S. illegally isn’t a crime, even though federal law says it is.

Mayorkas has also radically altered the asylum process by granting administrative personnel judicial authority to adjudicate claims when Congress has only authorized judges to do so. Fourteen attorneys general, also led by Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri, sued over this policy, hoping to halt it.

“Right now, immigration judges who are suffering a 1.6 or 1.7 million case workload, now they have exclusive jurisdiction,” Mayorkas said. “We are giving the asylum officers that jurisdiction. That is going to take what is now on average a six-to-eight-year-plus process between the time of encounter and the time of ultimate asylum adjudication to under a year.”

In the meantime, the attorney’s general said they will take the win handed to them on Friday.

“Once again, the courts rule against Joe Biden’s lawless agenda,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “Title 42 is one of the last remaining protections we have from a deluge of illegals coming across our border. I am glad for our state and our nation that It will remain in place.”

The administration will appeal the ruling, and the matter is likely to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

11 Examples of Defensive Gun Use Dispel NYC Mayor’s Concerns on Open Carry thumbnail

11 Examples of Defensive Gun Use Dispel NYC Mayor’s Concerns on Open Carry

By Amy Swearer

Any week now, the Supreme Court will render its decision in the pivotal Second Amendment caseNew York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, where a majority seems poised to strike down New York laws that effectively prohibit law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms in public for self-defense.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, recently lamented the likely outcome of the case, telling reporters that city residents should be “very concerned” and noting that his administration “did our job of getting the guns off the streets.”

Respectfully, Mr. Mayor, your city’s soaring violent crime rates prove that you haven’t succeeded in getting guns off the streets. In fact, New York’s entire legal framework succeeds only in rendering law-abiding New Yorkers defenseless in the face of criminals who continue to illegally carry firearms and use them to commit heinous acts.

This reality was made painfully obvious during recent mass public shootings in New York state, including one Saturday in Buffalo where the perpetrator’s manifesto explained in detail how New York’s strict gun laws “put him at ease” by ensuring that his victims, even if armed, would have a more limited capacity to fight back.

The right to keep and bear arms plays a pivotal role in protecting law-abiding Americans when the government cannot or will not be there at the moment those Americans are victimized.

Almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times annually, according to the most recent report on the subject by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For this reason, The Daily Signal each month publishes an article highlighting some of the previous month’s many news stories on defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read other accounts here from 2019, 2020, 2021, and so far in 2022.)

The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in April. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.)

  1. April 1, St. Paul: A man fatally shot his daughter’s ex-boyfriend after he kicked in the family’s front door in the middle of the night and threatened her, police said. The former boyfriend had a long history of domestic violence, including three prior convictions for domestic assault dating to 2006. He was facing additional domestic violence charges—all related to alleged physical assaults against the man and his daughter—and had active warrants out for his arrest.
  2. April 5, Somerset, Kentucky: A man was assaulting his girlfriend inside their home when a juvenile came to the woman’s defense, retrieved a handgun, and fatally shot her assailant, local officials said.
  3. April 7, Brownsboro, Texas: A would-be burglar who broke into a house by smashing through glass in the front door found himself face-to-face with the homeowner, who—armed with an AR-15—held him at gunpoint until police arrived. The burglar was arrested, but police said they were unable to locate a second, female suspect believed to be his accomplice.
  4. April 8, Melbourne, Florida: A man sitting in his truck outside a friend’s house was confronted by an acquaintance who, angry about an earlier argument, opened fire on him, police said. The man grabbed his own handgun and shot back. When the handgun jammed, the man—still under fire—grabbed an AR-15 from his backseat. During the ensuing shootout, he got out of the truck to use it as cover. He eventually retrieved a second AR-15 from his trunk and maintained his defensive fire until his assailant ran away. Police were able to find, arrest, and charge the man with several felonies.  No one was injured during the shootout, police said.
  5. April 11, Las Vegas: A teenager was arguing with someone on a residential street when a neighbor, who was walking his dog, tried to intervene, police said. The teenager pointed a gun at the man and threatened him, but he was legally carrying his own gun and fatally shot the teen. Police said the man acted in lawful self-defense, wasn’t arrested, and won’t face charges.
  6. April 14, Charleston, South Carolina: A man called police to say that another driver had shot at him, but his story quickly fell apart when other witnesses reported that he was, in fact, the aggressor in a violent road rage incident. Officers arrested the man, who is accused of tailgating a female driver, throwing a soda can at her car, and then threatening her with a gun before firing several rounds at her. She grabbed her own gun from the glovebox and shot back in self-defense, police said.
  7. April 17, Philadelphia: Two armed men with fake badges impersonated police officers, forced their way inside a home, and attempted to zip-tie a resident’s hands, police said. The resident quickly realized that the men were not real cops, drew his own gun, and fatally shot one of them. The second intruder, who fled, was not immediately captured. The resident encouraged fellow Philadelphians who can legally own guns to buy one to protect themselves from violent crime.
  8. April 21, Brentwood, Tennessee: When a woman’s estranged husband violated a protection order and showed up at her apartment without permission, she called her father and brother for help, police said. When they arrived, the husband lunged at them, so the brother shot him three times, wounding him. Police said the husband would be charged with stalking and violating a protection order when he is released from a hospital.
  9. April 25, Cleveland: A man held a store employee at gunpoint and grabbed cash from an open register, police said. As he turned around to flee, another employee tried to follow him out, so he shot at her. This employee, however, was armed. She returned fire, striking the robber in the leg. Responding officers couldn’t find the injured robber, but recovered his abandoned backpack with the gun still inside.
  10. April 27, Princeton, West Virginia: A homeowner discovered a man breaking into his vehicle in the middle of the night, then held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Responding officers found several items in the man’s possession that had been stolen from area residents, including the backpack in which the man had placed the other items.
  11. April 29, Miami: An employee at a demolition and trash hauling company confronted a man who was trying to steal a catalytic converter from a car in the company lot, police said. Instead of fleeing, the would-be thief ran at the employee while wielding a saw, so the employee drew his firearm and shot him. The wounded thief dropped the catalytic converter and fled, but police later found him and his stolen getaway car.

It’s clear that, try as they might, law enforcement officers simply cannot be there to defend most citizens from violent crime at the moment they are victimized. The Second Amendment enables these innocent Americans to have more of a fighting chance against criminals who would harm them.

And what’s more, the data is clear that concealed carry permit holders are, as a class, one of the most law-abiding segments of the population.

Mr. Mayor, New York has nothing to fear from a future where its law-abiding citizens are allowed to defend themselves in public with firearms.

New York’s violent criminals, on the other hand? They should feel a little more afraid.

*****

This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.

Banned on Twitter; Nothing Compared to Washington Post thumbnail

Banned on Twitter; Nothing Compared to Washington Post

By Bruce Bialosky

I quit Twitter at the same time I abandoned Parler — right after Big Tech ganged up on that site to kill it off because it was presenting a different voice. I found Twitter to be an angry wasteland of malcontents. Then came the eruption with the acquisition of Twitter by the new Darth Vader (Elon Musk).

We don’t need to analyze that entire saga as the matter has been thrashed over ad nauseum. We do know that one of Twitter’s problems is angry, low-quality communication. The Twitter people determined anything you (conservatives) might say is “hateful” while allowing anyone to spew any ugly words formerly banned in public communications with impunity.

I subscribe to the Washington Post because I am into self-flagellation. I have always believed in reading people of varying viewpoints to understand what they are thinking and saying instead of going on others’ analyses. As you know, a remarkably successful entrepreneur owns WAPO. The paper does not seem to ever be questioned as to how it addresses issues. WAPO’s “quality” has reached the level Twitter’s nastiness.

Below, I have copied a recent week’s worth of WAPO’S various headlines and sub-headlines in editorials and opinion pieces. The items below include a wide array of their opinion writers and an editorial by the Editorial Board. We know that in a publication like this the headline for a column is not written by the columnist, but it does closely resemble the tone of the column. The sub-headlines do come from the columnist. Obviously, the editorial page editor and the Editor-in–Chief endorse this kind of writing.

The job Kevin McCarthy sold his soul for might elude him

When you’ve lost Tucker Carlson, you know you’ve probably lost the speakership.

By Jennifer Rubin

The Republican primaries have gone off the rail.

What happens when some of these clowns get elected?

By Paul Waldman

Michigan Republicans put truth vs. lies on this year’s ballot

Opinion ● Opinion by the Editorial Board

More Sean Hannity texts, more corruption

The bottomless trove of journalistic corruption that is Sean Hannity’s text history.

By Erik Wemple

McCarthy’s lying at the border cements him as the Great Prevaricator

It’s easy to tell when McCarthy is lying: His lips are moving.

By Dana Milbank

A Speaker Kevin McCarthy would mean only more debacles like this one

McCarthy is a dissembler who isn’t shrewd enough to cover his tracks.

By Karen Tumulty

The GOP war on democracy is working. Just look at Ohio

Republicans tell their state supreme court to stuff it, and Trump federal judges give them a thumbs-up.

By Paul Waldman

Amend the Constitution to bar senators from the presidency

The Senate has become a theater of performative behaviors by senators decreasingly interested in legislating and preoccupied with using social media for self-promotion.

By George F. Will

This used to be a serious newspaper. It seems like it has reoriented itself by needing to be in with the nasty Twitter crowd.

George Will’s column is included not because it is nasty, but because it is a stunning waste of print space. Really, why would he write something that is never going to happen?

The headlines are nasty enough, but the sub-headlines are something that should not ever be in a serious publication. Of course, one of the headlines wrote about the war on democracy. Other than that being tiresome, it likewise displays a childish attitude of small thinking. If you don’t support my ideas and my candidates you are destroying the fabric of the country. Instead of suggesting people like Speaker Pelosi stop with the disgusting language, they are echoing it. To get an interview with her?

That is the nicer writing of the headlines sampled above. Dana Milbank used to be a reasoned columnist but went over the edge when Trump was elected. He is calling the minority leader of the House of Representatives a liar, the same elected leader most analysts believe will be the new Speaker of the House come January 2023. Not only does he call him a liar but states in a callow comment that McCarthy lies anytime he speaks. This is sophisticated writing?

As bad as Milbank is he pales in comparison to the unctuous Karen Tumulty. She calls McCarthy a dissembler on which I had to refresh myself. A dissembler is a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold to conceal his or her real thoughts or motives. Otherwise, she is stating McCarthy purposely deceives us, and he is deceiving himself. Though she really has no knowledge of his thinking in this regard, she is just projecting.

By far the most egregious is loathsome Paul Waldman who uses his perch as a WAPO columnist to try and outdo the hatemongers on Twitter. He used this opportunity to call a broad group of Republican candidates clowns. He doesn’t just disagree with them or think their opponents more worthy – they are simply clowns. And his editors published that.

I have not even mentioned one columnist calling all Michigan Republicans liars who are intentionally misleading the residents of their state and the one who says Sean Hannity is corrupt or Minority Leader McCarthy is the newest version of Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO. If you read further into the columns, they are filled with hate. A different hate than the kind they characterize on Twitter, but it is hate as indicated by the headlines. Actual hate that radiates from the pages unlike the characterized hate that Twitter frames.

I consider there to be three nationally significant newspapers – the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Washington Post. I know the WSJ would never allow this kind of writing. I left out the various columns attacking Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

There is nothing that could be said on the new Twitter that is worse than is said on the Washington Post op-ed pages.

*****

This article was published in FlashReport and is reprinted with the permission of the author.

TAKE ACTION

America is now aware of the Department of Homeland Security’s new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called disinformation a “threat” that needs to be addressed with federal law enforcement power. (Is it coincidental that Elon Musk will shortly take Twitter private and re-establish a free speech platform in America?)

This new DHS office is the Biden Speech Police and represents an existential threat to our First Amendment and our Republic. Please click the adjacent red TAKE ACTION link for the resources to inform your Senators and Representatives about this unconstitutional and tyrannical assault on American Free Speech and our fierce rejection of it.