Is The Fed Trying To Inflate Away US Debt? thumbnail

Is The Fed Trying To Inflate Away US Debt?

By Peter C. Earle

Inflation has risen for nearly two years now. The Consumer Price Index drifted from 2 to over 4 percent in April 2021. In May 2021 it hit 5 percent, in October 2021 it surpassed 6 percent, and in December 2021 it crossed the 7 percent level. From Feb 2022 through May 2022, the monthly CPI changes were the largest they’d been in decades; in fact, there hadn’t been a 1 percent monthly CPI headline change since mid-2008. The same applies to two alternative measures of inflation: the GDP Deflator and the Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index. All three inflation measures spent years oscillating within narrow ranges, only to rise steadily to multiples of their long-held values between early 2021 and late 2022.

Headline CPI, Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index, and GDP Deflator, all year-over-year (2012 – present)


(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

In the period after the massive fiscal and monetary programs employed to address the effects of pandemic mitigation measures, officials at the Fed must have been tracking prices and other data points closely. In all likelihood, they were watching more closely than usual. Several times in the summer and early fall of 2021 they publicly addressed the rising price levels, categorizing them as “transitory.” But no measures, other than assurances of their watchfulness, were undertaken to stem or slow the inflationary upsurge until March of 2022.

The delay in intervention has led to accusations of both incompetence and intentionality. Certainly, central bankers face a vast marshaling of barriers ranging from clumsy “tools,” to lag effects, to political pressures and beyond, impacting the crafting of effective monetary policies. It seems fairer to summarize those difficulties as unavoidable aspects of the insurmountable barriers associated with central planning rather than simple ineptitude, but that is a separate issue. 

The latter explanation tends to be associated with the idea of the Fed or central banks more broadly as saboteurs. Rather than overmatched technocrats, central bankers are seen as cartoon villains, imbued with expert skills and inspired by tireless malevolence. To increase the population’s dependence upon government programs, to more deeply entrench elites, or for any of a number of other alleged purposes, the story goes, the Federal Reserve and other central banks are purposely permitting or even causing inflation to rise. Ironically, as in the case of 9/11 conspiracy theories, crediting governments with the ability to execute massive, intricate, perfectly timed, and executed plots–with the purported involvement of thousands of people keeping secrets for months or years—is an unabashed endorsement of the competence of bureaucrats and the feasibility of central planning.

A more reasonable explanation is that the Fed chose to let inflation run up a bit in order to accelerate the recovery from COVID lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. They overshot, though, and the increase in the general price level happened faster than expected. Additionally, those increases were difficult to distinguish, first, against broad relative price increases associated with widespread supply chain problems (late 2021), later amid price increases following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia (early 2022). And while there is now an effort to get prices back under control, the erosion of the $31 trillion pile of US debt is an unintended, but welcome, side effect.

Inflation is an acknowledged, historically vindicated salve for high and rising government debt levels. Historically, though, the effectiveness of debt debasement via inflation has depended upon several variables. Obviously, the level and persistence of inflation itself is the foremost factor. Another is the structure of the debt as measured by weighted average maturity (WAM). The WAM of US government debt has fallen from roughly 70 months (5.8 years) before the pandemic to about 65 months (5.4 years) presently. Our debt is therefore highly concentrated at the short end of the yield curve. Rising inflation tends to impact longer-term debt more than short-term debt, but some corrosive effects of decreased purchasing power will manifest in short-term government securities.

If the Treasury were to start issuing longer-term debt in noticeably longer maturities, pushing the WAM of US public debt off into the future, investors would note and likely avoid the heightened inflation vulnerability of those newer issues. Hilscher, Raviv, and Reis (2014) note the role that financial repression has played in previous episodes where debt was inflated away in real terms.

One way to increase maturity, albeit ex post, is to [bring about a] situation where the private sector is essentially forced to hold long-term debt at below-market interest rates … [I]f holders of the debt are forced to receive as payment required reserves that must be held at the central bank for N years, then this is equivalent to an ex post maturity extension. If N is as long as 10 years, then 2.5 percent more inflation on average over the next 30 years–which previously lowered the real value of debt by 3.7 percent–now lowers it by 23 percent of GDP, almost half the value of privately held debt. Of course, the side effects of such extreme repression on financial development might well be large.

What does it all amount to? Superficially, it decreases the debt to GDP ratio and makes the debt service more manageable. But lenders are fully aware that their interest payments are coming in more debased currency than was lent, which may impact their willingness to extend their outstanding loans or lend more in the future. In the current political environment, melting debt via inflation is less likely to be undertaken as fiscal housecleaning than as a measure to facilitate incurring more debt. For the government, a more pressing issue will emerge if disinflation takes longer than expected: investors will expect higher interest rates on future bonds or other securities, potentially setting up problems down the road.

US Treasury Public Debt outstanding and US GDP quarter-over-quarter (2012 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

More importantly, though, debt deflation via inflation threatens the economic health of citizens no less than three times in one fell swoop. Under such a policy, not only do our taxes go toward repaying debt, our purchasing power is expressly whittled away to decrease the real value of the outstanding debt load. And if the effects are successful, the government can and likely will take on more debt as a consequence. And for those troubles, citizens face a rapidly increasing chance of a recession in the next year or two. Globally, after some amount of time, demand for the US dollar would likely suffer.

The ease with which the concept is expressed as if the debt were an ice cube left on a driveway on a summer day, betrays the numerous costs associated with such a scheme. And that holds whether the undertaking is intentional or not.

*****

This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

21 Attorneys General Want U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Immigration Law thumbnail

21 Attorneys General Want U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Immigration Law

By Tom Joyce

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is leading a group of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief regarding federal immigration law.

The attorneys general are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold a federal statute to enforce federal immigration law in United States v. Hansen.  

“In the middle of this man-made disaster at our southern border, we need every tool and law available,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a press release. “The last thing we need is anyone incentivizing migrants to come here illegally and further straining our social safety net. Border communities are being overwhelmed by the influx of people.”

A grand jury charged California resident Helaman Hansen with multiple crimes in 2017 for scamming hundreds of noncitizens out of more than $1 million by promising them a nonexistent path to citizenship.

According to the release, Hansen was charged under a federal statute for encouraging people to come to the United States illegally for “commercial advantage or private financial gain,” according to the release.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals then struck down the statute arguing that the words “encourage” and “induce,” in the law are too broad.

General Brnovich and the attorneys general argue in their amicus brief that the Ninth Circuit decision jeopardizes the constitutionality of criminal law in all 50 states. They worry that the decision may cause other state and federal courts to invalidate existing criminal laws.

The other attorneys general who signed the brief is from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Eleven Most Extreme Policies of Democrat Mark Kelly

By Wendell Husebo

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Don’t Take the Bait thumbnail

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Don’t Take the Bait

By Liberal Guy

Some  friendly liberal advice to  Republicans.

I want to offer my sincerest apologies for your present illiberal treatment by the Democrats, especially progressive Democrats. Your rights as Americans are being violated—in speech and in deed and in broad daylight. If present trends continue, it’s not going to end well for America.

May I offer you some advice? I know the nature of what you are up against. Progressives are bullies. They don’t like liberals either. Progressives don’t like the idea or reality of dissent. They are impatient with the democratic process and persuasion. It’s either their way or the Substack way. They are unbearable.

Heads up: they are goading you to a prime-time slaughter. A mild-mannered historian, Jon Meacham, framed a Bull Connor of a barn-burner speech for President Biden. As the race-baiting segregationist Connor once sought to do with blacks, Biden’s speech looked to put the deplorable outside our civic and social order as enemies of the people.

Meacham’s speech had a message for two groups of Republicans.

To the mainstream, populist-adjacent Republicans, the message was: It’s time to bend the knee and join the Liz Cheney, Democrat-sanctioned Republican future.

To the “ultra MAGA” Republicans, the message was an intended provocation—a poke in the chest, a double-dare to stand up and push back.

The progressives are ready and want you to show up for a fight. They want you to show yourselves as the animals that they say you are. They are provoking folks who see themselves as American patriots so that they can cast them as domestic terrorists.

Don’t take the bait. They are looking to provoke a civil war. Instead, give them a civil rights response: peaceful and nonviolent protest is the only way forward. That’s the proven way to fight the oppression of greater power with asymmetrical advantages.

It’s good to know the extent of the power behind the provocation, and the comparative strength of your arms.

With regard to voters, the United States is still evenly divided, but below the voter waterline, Democrats and Republicans are far from equals. Democrats have institutional arms that Republicans can’t match and don’t fully appreciate. The commanding heights of education, entertainment, media, Big Tech, big business, Wall Street, advertising, and the permanent state—these are all solid assets of Democrats. Even if Republicans win, and win, and win again, the Democrats are in a different weight and fight class. In their own heads and in reality, they are Leviathan.

One would think, looking at politics through this lens, that Democrats would calm down and ride the arc of history to eventual victory. The Republican frog is being slowly boiled. Why spike the heat and have them jump out? Just give it time. Instead, they are raising the heat to encourage the frog to jump.

Why would they do that? Because they can. They have the collective power to pull it off.

Parties and politicians rise and fall, but Washington has a permanent administrative class that defends its own interests, which appear completely aligned with Democrats and against Republicans.

Once upon a time, Republicans could think that the CIA and FBI, the Justice Department, and the military were balanced, even favorable to their interests. No longer. Once upon a time, the media and the Democratic Party were deeply suspicious of these institutions; now they are the cheerleaders and apologists for them and regard their personnel as trusted experts whose patriotism is beyond reproach.

Maybe Al Gore did create the Internet. Before tech was Big Tech, it presented itself as a rival to all the Davos hierarchies; now it is their tool. Business rivals work in concert with one another against those they find deplorable, looking to erase them in a world that otherwise catalogs everything.

All these institutions—and their tectonic, aggregated influence—are in Democrat’s hands. They and their commanding partners understand their asymmetrical superiority, and they think it’s in their short- and long-term interest to demonstrate it now.

Why? The biggest threat that progressive politics faces are the consequences of progressive legislation. Progressivism comes on the scene as a luxury good. The immorality of “poverty in the midst of plenty” is their platform to re-imagine society. But in the end, they always drive out prosperity and make poverty more pathological. Look at New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco—this is the logic of progressive government made real. It doesn’t poll well or perform well at the ballot box.

Democrats should take a hit this November—so they are flexing their muscles across the commanding-heights marketplace to solicit an advantageous response. Their prospects improve with political violence. Preceding Biden’s speech was the legally sanctioned raid of former President Donald Trump, who is widely expected to pursue one more presidential campaign. After the speech, the FBI legally served and netted all the president’s men, with no blowback at all from the mainstream press. Poke, poke.

Don’t take the bait. If you do, you’ll be playing into the trap set for you.

If you find yourself mad as hell and you don’t want to take it anymore—for the sake of what you hold dear, stand down. You should be suspicious of anyone calling for kinetic action. There is good reason to think that that person is an FBI agent. Big Tech and the FBI are watching, waiting, and enabling. They want a super-sized Ruby Ridge. Don’t give it to them.

An eyes-wide-open understanding of this asymmetrical distribution of power calls for a civil disobedience response—peaceful, nonviolent resistance. Let them show their illiberal nature. Don’t give them a diversion that distracts from the consequences of their horrible policies.

This is the path to short- and long-term Republican gains. For all that we have at stake, please commit to this path. We rise and fall together.

*****

This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Don’t Take the Bait thumbnail

Don’t Take the Bait

By Liberal Guy

Some  friendly liberal advice to  Republicans.

I want to offer my sincerest apologies for your present illiberal treatment by the Democrats, especially progressive Democrats. Your rights as Americans are being violated—in speech and in deed and in broad daylight. If present trends continue, it’s not going to end well for America.

May I offer you some advice? I know the nature of what you are up against. Progressives are bullies. They don’t like liberals either. Progressives don’t like the idea or reality of dissent. They are impatient with the democratic process and persuasion. It’s either their way or the Substack way. They are unbearable.

Heads up: they are goading you to a prime-time slaughter. A mild-mannered historian, Jon Meacham, framed a Bull Connor of a barn-burner speech for President Biden. As the race-baiting segregationist Connor once sought to do with blacks, Biden’s speech looked to put the deplorable outside our civic and social order as enemies of the people.

Meacham’s speech had a message for two groups of Republicans.

To the mainstream, populist-adjacent Republicans, the message was: It’s time to bend the knee and join the Liz Cheney, Democrat-sanctioned Republican future.

To the “ultra MAGA” Republicans, the message was an intended provocation—a poke in the chest, a double-dare to stand up and push back.

The progressives are ready and want you to show up for a fight. They want you to show yourselves as the animals that they say you are. They are provoking folks who see themselves as American patriots so that they can cast them as domestic terrorists.

Don’t take the bait. They are looking to provoke a civil war. Instead, give them a civil rights response: peaceful and nonviolent protest is the only way forward. That’s the proven way to fight the oppression of greater power with asymmetrical advantages.

It’s good to know the extent of the power behind the provocation, and the comparative strength of your arms.

With regard to voters, the United States is still evenly divided, but below the voter waterline, Democrats and Republicans are far from equals. Democrats have institutional arms that Republicans can’t match and don’t fully appreciate. The commanding heights of education, entertainment, media, Big Tech, big business, Wall Street, advertising, and the permanent state—these are all solid assets of Democrats. Even if Republicans win, and win, and win again, the Democrats are in a different weight and fight class. In their own heads and in reality, they are Leviathan.

One would think, looking at politics through this lens, that Democrats would calm down and ride the arc of history to eventual victory. The Republican frog is being slowly boiled. Why spike the heat and have them jump out? Just give it time. Instead, they are raising the heat to encourage the frog to jump.

Why would they do that? Because they can. They have the collective power to pull it off.

Parties and politicians rise and fall, but Washington has a permanent administrative class that defends its own interests, which appear completely aligned with Democrats and against Republicans.

Once upon a time, Republicans could think that the CIA and FBI, the Justice Department, and the military were balanced, even favorable to their interests. No longer. Once upon a time, the media and the Democratic Party were deeply suspicious of these institutions; now they are the cheerleaders and apologists for them and regard their personnel as trusted experts whose patriotism is beyond reproach.

Maybe Al Gore did create the Internet. Before tech was Big Tech, it presented itself as a rival to all the Davos hierarchies; now it is their tool. Business rivals work in concert with one another against those they find deplorable, looking to erase them in a world that otherwise catalogs everything.

All these institutions—and their tectonic, aggregated influence—are in Democrat’s hands. They and their commanding partners understand their asymmetrical superiority, and they think it’s in their short- and long-term interest to demonstrate it now.

Why? The biggest threat that progressive politics faces are the consequences of progressive legislation. Progressivism comes on the scene as a luxury good. The immorality of “poverty in the midst of plenty” is their platform to re-imagine society. But in the end, they always drive out prosperity and make poverty more pathological. Look at New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco—this is the logic of progressive government made real. It doesn’t poll well or perform well at the ballot box.

Democrats should take a hit this November—so they are flexing their muscles across the commanding-heights marketplace to solicit an advantageous response. Their prospects improve with political violence. Preceding Biden’s speech was the legally sanctioned raid of former President Donald Trump, who is widely expected to pursue one more presidential campaign. After the speech, the FBI legally served and netted all the president’s men, with no blowback at all from the mainstream press. Poke, poke.

Don’t take the bait. If you do, you’ll be playing into the trap set for you.

If you find yourself mad as hell and you don’t want to take it anymore—for the sake of what you hold dear, stand down. You should be suspicious of anyone calling for kinetic action. There is good reason to think that that person is an FBI agent. Big Tech and the FBI are watching, waiting, and enabling. They want a super-sized Ruby Ridge. Don’t give it to them.

An eyes-wide-open understanding of this asymmetrical distribution of power calls for a civil disobedience response—peaceful, nonviolent resistance. Let them show their illiberal nature. Don’t give them a diversion that distracts from the consequences of their horrible policies.

This is the path to short- and long-term Republican gains. For all that we have at stake, please commit to this path. We rise and fall together.

*****

This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Weekend Read: Democracy and Liberty thumbnail

Weekend Read: Democracy and Liberty

By Baldy Harper

Editors’ Note: This article was originally penned in 1949.  Yet, it has amazing applicability today.  Democrats are making quite a plea right now, that they support “democracy”. It is the buzzword of the 2022 Mid-term election cycle. Adrian Fontes has a promotional sign saying to vote Democrat to “support democracy.” Without a real definition of what they mean, it is hard to know what they are talking about but it sure sounds good. But is it good and is it what you think democracy means? Does forcing you to agree with them on how you wash your dishes, your clothes, how much water to use in your toilet, how you heat your house, what kind of car you drive, what you can eat, and what your children are taught, and even what you think about sex, down even to the words you are permitted to use, sound like democracy to you? Does taking half of your income and tracking closely how you spend what is left sound like democracy to you? Does conducting elections where illegal aliens can vote, thus canceling your vote, sound like democracy to you? Does conducting elections where voter rolls are not clean, where the custody of ballots is not secure, and where the tally is not accurate, sound like proper procedures for democracy to function? Does sending the FBI after parents who dare to question school officials sound like democracy? Moreover, to hand over state and police power to determine the aforementioned life-controlling decisions to unelected judges and unelected bureaucrats, sound like democracy?  It should be obvious, in the “democracy” constructed by Democrats, most of the government decisions that govern minute parts of your life are enforced by a permanent bureaucracy: people who were never voted into office and who cannot be removed by voters from office. Beyond that, do humans have some unalienable rights determined by either their inherent nature or God, that cannot be taken from them, even if by majority vote? If the majority of 51% of your neighbors vote that you may not practice your religion, is that right? In short, are there limits to democracy that cannot transgress your personal liberty? It is clear that “democracy” is now a term to be used to club Republicans, even while the “democracy” constructed by Democrats, in reality, looks closer to rule by the unelected elites in a model of American socialism.

It is generally accepted that a government can enslave the citizens. Enough kings and emperors and generalissimos and führers have done so to establish that fact quite conclusively.

But the belief prevails that “It is impossible for liberty to be lost under a democratic form of government. Democracy assures that the will of the people shall prevail, and that is liberty. So long as democracy is preserved we can rest assured that liberty will be continued to the full.”

The more a person leans on an unsure support, the more certain he is to fall. Edmund Burke observed that people never give up their liberties except under some delusion. Probably no other belief is now so much a threat to liberty in the United States and in much of the rest of the world as the one that democracy, by itself alone, guarantees liberty.

Willis Ballinger’s study of eight great democracies of the past—ancient Athens, Rome, Venice, Florence, the First and Third Republics of France, Weimar Germany, and Italy—reveals how unreliable is this hope. He reports that liberty perished peacefully by vote of the people in five of the eight countries; that in two of them it was lost by violence; that in one of them a dictatorship was established through the buying of the legislature by a fraudulent clique. One who would understand the problem of liberty must understand why it is possible for liberty to be lost even in a democracy, and how to guard against it.

The “democratic” form of government refers to one of the mechanisms by which the scope of government—the things to be done by government—is to be determined and how its management is to be selected. This may be done directly by decisions of the people themselves (in a “direct” or “absolute” democracy), as when a direct vote is taken on an amendment; or it may be done by delegating the power of decision in these matters to certain “elected” representatives (in a “representative” democracy or “republic”). There is an important difference between these two types of democracy but that distinction is not the object of our present concern.

In both instances, the plan rests on widespread sovereignty at its base. Decisions as to either the issues or the delegations of power are rendered according to the majority—or some other predominant proportion—of the opinions expressed.

The features that distinguish a democracy from any other form of government have to do with the mechanical design of the government, as distinguished from the composition of the load of authority that it carries. This is the same sort of difference as that of the design of a truck as distinguished from its load, or the shape of a cup as distinguished from its contents. In speaking of liberty, what we are really concerned about is what government does—the nature of the load—rather than the style of wheels on which it rides, or some other feature in the design of the vehicle; we are concerned, for instance, with whether or not the government should control prices rather than the department which shall do the job or the name of the person who is to head the department.

If an act of government in any country violates the liberty of the people, it is of little importance who did it or how he came to have the power to do it; it is of little importance whether a dictator gained his power by accident of birth, by force, or by the vote of the people.

Liberty has been defined as the right of a person to do whatever he desires, according to his wisdom and conscience. It specifies the right to do what he desires, rather than the obligation to bow to the force of others in doing what they desire him to do; otherwise slavery becomes “liberty,” and true liberty is lost. It makes no difference whether the transgressor of liberty carries the title of slave master, or king, or führer, or president, or chairman of the county committee, or whatnot.

Historical enterprises that violate liberty are not restricted to instances of complete dictatorship, nor are they all political. The only difference between the aggressive bully under anarchy and the similar acts of the dictator is its formalization into governmental authority. That may make the acts of the dictator legal, in a technical sense, but it does not make them proper or wise in any other sense.

Small dictatorships precede large ones, and destroy liberty to whatever extent they exist. “Power,” which replaces liberty, is the irrevocable authority over others. One person’s opinions, decisions or actions become substituted for those of another, for a long or short time, for a wide or narrow scope. This is the material of which dictatorships, either large or small, are made. The means by which power is acquired, whether by the “democratic” process or by conquest, does not change its status as power. It is true that under persuasion or demonstration, one person may influence the ideas or actions of another, but, as mentioned before, if there is no irrevocable grant of authority—even temporarily or for one single instance—it is not power.

Suppose, as illustration of encroachment on liberty, that I desire to produce some wheat on my land, with which to feed my family. I shall have lost my liberty in that connection whenever I am prohibited from doing so. The loss of liberty would be the same whether the prohibition was by taking my land, or by prohibiting me from growing wheat on it, or by taking the wheat away from me after it was grown. Nor would it make any difference what official title happened to be attached to the person who enforced the edict, nor how he gained his throne of authority. Further, and most important to the subject now under discussion, it makes no difference whether or not some of my neighbors approved of that act, or how many of them approved of it. It makes no difference because, in any event, my liberty in this respect would be gone.

It should be clear from what has been said that the citizens of a democracy have in their hands the tools by which to enslave themselves.

This is a far cry from the common belief that democracy offers any definite and automatic protection of liberty. This illusion, that the democratic process is the same as liberty, is an ideal weapon for those few who may desire to destroy liberty and to replace it with some form of authoritarian society; innocent but ignorant persons are thereby made their dupes.

Under the spell of this illusion, liberty is most likely to be lost and its loss not discovered until too late. Liberty can easily be taken from the individual citizen, piece by piece and always more and more, as more and more persons under the spell of the same illusion join in the Pied Piper proceedings. Finally, all liberty is gone and can be recovered only by a bloody revolution.

Liberty does not mean the right to do anything that is the product of a democratic form of government. The right to vote, which is the sovereignty feature of democracy, assures only the liberty to participate in that process. It does not assure that everything done by that process shall automatically be in the interests of liberty. A populace may commit both political and economic suicide under a democracy.

Anyone who will defend his liberty must guard against the argument that access to the ballot, “by which people get whatever they want,” is liberty. It would be as logical to assert that liberty in the choice of a wife is assured to a person if he will put it to the vote of the community and accept their plurality decision, or that liberty in religion is assured if the state enforces participation in the one religion that receives the most votes in the nation.

There is no certainty whatever that liberty in a country with the democratic form of government is at a level higher than in a country having some other mechanism of government. There is no certainty that liberty will be maintained where the founders of a democracy may have hoped that it would be preserved.

The illusion that liberty is assured so long as a democratic government is preserved is well illustrated by an event recently reported in the newspaper. Items to illustrate the same point can be found in the newspapers daily. A news dispatch reports that an increase in rent ceilings has been “turned down” by “top administration officials.” The mere fact that some officials have acquired the power to deny this liberty to those who own this particular form of property is evidence of the fact that liberty in this respect is already gone; no process of selecting the officials who made the decision can make it not gone.

But let us pursue the matter further. It is argued that, since this act occurred in a “democracy,” the “will of the people” has prevailed and liberty has thereby been assured. Did you participate in this decision of “top officials”? Did anyone ever ask your opinion about whether this increase should be granted? Was the person who made the decision elected by the voters, or appointed by someone—perhaps by someone who was himself appointed by someone? And finally, coming to the elected official, did you vote for him or for the other fellow? Did you approve of his advisers, or were they perhaps defeated candidates for office of former years?

Actually all these considerations are beside the point anyhow, so far as liberty is concerned. Even if there had been approval all along the line, it is a violation of economic liberty and of liberty in general for me, a nonowner, to be able to control the rent charged by a neighbor to a third party.

Being able to review a decision or to request its review, under the democratic design of government, does not assure that liberty will be protected. Reinstatement of lost liberty can be requested and refused time and time again, without end. A slave, similarly, might ask his master for his freedom time and time again; he is not considered to be free by reason of the fact that he is allowed to ask for liberty.

Consider in detail all the acts of all the units of government for one day. How many among them were the proper functions of a liberal government as you would judge it; of those that were, in how many instances did you have any opportunity or right to participate in the decision; if you disagreed with the decision, in how many instances was there anything that you could do about it?

Strange indeed is this concept of “democratic liberty,” which has gained such widespread approval! Strange is a concept of “liberty” which allows you to be forced to pay the costs of promoting acts of which you disapprove or ideas with which you disagree, or which forces you to subsidize that which you consider to be slothfulness and negligence. Your “liberty” in the process is that you enjoy the right to be forced to bow to the dictates of others, against your wisdom and conscience!

Being forced to support things directly in conflict with one’s wisdom and conscience is the direct opposite of liberty, and should under no circumstances be allowed to parade under the esteemed banner of liberty. It should be labeled for what it is.

The people of the United States now live under a president who was elected to that office by the expressed preference of only one person out of six in the land; by only one person out of four who were eligible to vote; by less than half of those who voted. And many of those who voted for this candidate will certainly disapprove of many of his official acts. This illustrates how the democratic process is a far cry from guaranteeing the liberty of the people.

Professor F.A. “Baldy” Harper was the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education.

*****

This article was published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Borrower Sues to Stop Biden’s Unfair, Illegal Student Loan Bailout thumbnail

Borrower Sues to Stop Biden’s Unfair, Illegal Student Loan Bailout

By Adam Kissel

Probably the most common legal argument against the Biden administration’s student loan bailout plan is that the federal Department of Education simply doesn’t have the authority to accomplish it.

That’s a core argument in a new lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of an employee whose student debt is affected by the bailout plan.

Putting aside the issues of unfairness, the legal arguments have always been persuasive. The challenge has been to find a plaintiff who will suffer a legally recognized injury necessary to get into court.

The Pacific Legal Foundation has found a whole group of plaintiffs.

The organization’s client, Frank Garrison, has been paying down his education debt using Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program that will forgive his remaining debt after he makes 120 qualifying payments. He’s about halfway through. He also is using the Income-Driven Repayment program, which caps his monthly payment based on his discretionary income.

Various problems with such federal programs and loan forgiveness, in general, have been described elsewhere, but here these programs mean that Garrison would have had his loan balance zeroed out after about 60 more months, with modest payments along the way.

Now, the loan bailout would automatically cancel $20,000 of Garrison’s debt instead, subjecting him to Indiana’s income tax, while doing nothing to improve his monthly payment due to his Income-Driven Repayment participation. He will owe about $1,000 to Indiana simply because the U.S. Department of Education is changing the rules.

Since several states treat loan forgiveness the same way, there are people across all of those states in the same boat. There are probably a lot of borrowers, among the 8 million qualifying Public Service Loan Forgiveness borrowers nationwide, who also are using the Income-Driven Repayment program in these states.

That’s enough for Garrison and the others to get into court. The key point of the HEROES Act is that borrowers “are not placed in a worse position financially” in relation to their student loans because of war or other national emergencies, but the Department of Education is causing, not remedying, economic harm to people like Garrison.

That means several additional arguments get into court, too:

  • The HEROES Act, on which the Department of Education is relying for the bailout, violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, as well as the nondelegation doctrine. That means that Congress cannot give away its legislative power to the executive branch. The law purports to give the secretary of education the power to modify or amend the law regarding repayment requirements, subject only to the conditions in the rest of the HEROES Act, violating those core constitutional principles.
  • Even if the HEROES Act were constitutional, it does not give the Department of Education the power to cancel repayment of student loans in this case. For one thing, the HEROES Act requires that the cancellation be “necessary” and targeted to economic harm that is “a direct result of a … national emergency.” But it’s not. Student loan borrowers are not, the plaintiff quite reasonably claims (quoting the law), “directly ‘affected individuals’ who ‘suffered direct economic hardship as a direct result of a war or other military operation or national emergency.’” And mass cancellation of debts is “hardly ‘necessary’ to mitigate the economic harms of the pandemic.”
  • The Department of Education’s sweeping decision includes many people who are not any worse off because of the pandemic (and probably a lot who are better off, depending what companies they work for). And for those who are worse off today than when the pandemic emergency was declared years ago, they may not be any worse off “relative to their federal student loans” or due in any way to the pandemic in the first place.
  • Even if the HEROES Act were not only constitutional but also able to sweep in such a variety of borrowers, the cancellation is so economically and politically significant that it violates the “major questions doctrine.” The U.S. Supreme Court has been using this doctrine recently in, for example, West Virginia v. EPA, which stopped the Environmental Protection Agency from (improperly) discovering a huge regulatory power in an ancillary part of environmental law.

The Department of Education is making the same error here.

The major questions doctrine,” the plaintiff notes, “requires a clear authorization by Congress of such an economically and politically significant action, which is lacking here. … Without a valid source of authority, the Secretary [of Education] ‘literally has no power to act’” (quoting a different case).

Congress gave no clue that hundreds of billions of dollars in a massive loan bailout was in the HEROES Act, because it isn’t.

Overall, the HEROES Act was never meant for massive cancellation of the obligation to pay back student loans. Furthermore, the bailout plan’s income cutoffs, its relief amounts unconnected to the pandemic emergency, and its arbitrary provision to double the relief amount if the borrower had ever received a Pell Grant (even decades ago), as I have written elsewhere, further show the Department of Education’s abuse of power—if it was properly delegated any such power in the first place.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Free Enterprise Club Announces Its Ballot Measure Endorsements for the November 2022 Election thumbnail

Free Enterprise Club Announces Its Ballot Measure Endorsements for the November 2022 Election

By Arizona Free Enterprise Club

This November, Arizonans will decide on 10 ballot measures. The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is endorsing four of these measures: Propositions 128, 129, 132, and 309. Each of these are necessary and critical to make common sense election integrity reforms and protect Arizonans from the influence of out-of-state special interests that exploit the initiative process to put bad policy on our ballots. We encourage Arizonans to vote YES.

On the other hand, Propositions 209, 211, 308, and 310 include tax hikes, programs for government to dox and harass private individuals for donating to causes they believe in, exacerbating the invasion at our border, and increasing inflation. These measures will harm Arizona families and businesses, and we encourage voters to vote NO.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club endorses and asks Arizonans to vote YES on the following measures:

Prop 128 (VOTE YES) allows the legislature to amend ballot measures that the Arizona or U.S. Supreme Court determine contain unconstitutional or illegal language. Out-of-state special interests flood Arizona with millions of dollars to knowingly put unconstitutional measures on our ballots. Prop 128 ensures we aren’t stuck with their broken laws. Learn more here.

Prop 129 (VOTE YES) requires ballot initiatives to pertain to a single subject, the same requirement for bills passed in the legislature to protect our ballots against radical, sprawling initiatives imported from other states to confuse and logroll voters. Learn more here.

Prop 132 (VOTE YES) requires any new tax or tax increase on the ballot to receive at least 60% of the vote to pass. Currently, a tax increase at the legislature requires support from a 2/3 majority of members to be enacted, but only a simple majority of the electorate on the ballot. Prop 132 protects taxpayers from a small majority raising taxes on the rest, crushing our economy. Learn more here.

Prop 309 (VOTE YES) creates universal Voter ID requirements ensuring no matter when, where, or how we vote, ID is required. It requires all in-person voters to show valid, government-issued photo ID, creates ID requirements for voting by mail, and waives the fee for a government ID for those who need it for voting. Learn more here.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club opposes and asks Arizonans to vote NO on the following measures:

Prop 308 (VOTE NO) allows individuals residing in Arizona illegally to receive taxpayer subsidized tuition at our universities. Sold as providing in-state tuition to “DREAMERs” who have been here since they were young children, the actual language of the measure is much broader and far reaching, only requiring the person to have been in Arizona illegally for two years and graduate from an Arizona high school to receive taxpayer subsidized tuition.

Prop 310 (VOTE NO) increases the statewide sales tax by 0.1%, resulting in a nearly $200 million tax hike to fund fire districts statewide. Many of these fire districts have mismanaged their budgets, and wastefully and recklessly spent tax money in the past. Prop 310 is not the solution, as it increases taxes on all Arizonans to subsidize a few and does not include reforms to ensure responsible and accountable use of taxpayer money in the future. Learn more here.

Prop 209 (VOTE NO) excuses people from having to pay their debt, which will increase inflation, make it harder to access credit, and shift the burden to taxpayers who do pay their bills. Funded entirely by California unions, it is sold as impacting only medical debt, but the language of the initiative actually shields all kinds of debt, not just medical. Learn more here.

Prop 211 (VOTE NO) requires private organizations to disclose donors to the government if they spend more than a certain amount in any given election, violating the constitutional right to privacy and association so that government can target, harass, and dox their political opponents. Unsurprisingly, the measure exempts Big Tech, the media, and labor unions from these same disclosure regulations. Learn more here.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

FBI, Justice Department Twist Federal Law to Arrest, Charge Pro-Life Activist thumbnail

FBI, Justice Department Twist Federal Law to Arrest, Charge Pro-Life Activist

By Hans von Spakovsky and Cully Stimson

In an early morning raid Friday in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, about two dozen FBI agents with weapons drawn pounded on the door of Mark Houck’s home, where he lives with his wife and seven children.

The FBI agents arrested Houck based on a federal indictment. Sounds serious, right? Is Houck a domestic terrorist, an American jihadist, a dangerous militia member, a violent felon, or someone with a prior history of violence toward law enforcement who would require such an overwhelming show of force?

Not even close.

Houck is a pro-life activist and president of The King’s Men, a Catholic ministry. He has no prior criminal record. He was arrested Friday morning for an alleged violation of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, known as the FACE Act.

Again, sounds potentially serious. But given the Obama-Biden administration’s prior abuse of the FACE Act, as well as what we know already about the facts, we have serious reasons to doubt that this is a legitimate case and prudent use of federal law enforcement resources. More likely, it is a politically motivated abuse of federal law by both the FBI and the Justice Department. 

It is not a coincidence, we suspect, that this takedown of someone who, at best, committed a misdemeanor assault came almost exactly three months after the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overruled Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand in America. The FBI’s raid of Houck’s home was designed to send a warning to pro-life activists engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment.

The FACE Act (18 U.S.C. § 248) forbids physically obstructing, injuring, intimidating, or interfering with anyone “obtaining or providing reproductive health services.” But Congress specified that the FACE Act doesn’t “prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibitions by the First Amendment to the Constitution,” including the “free speech or free exercise clauses,” occurring “outside a facility.”  

Houck apparently would regularly drive two hours from his home to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia to pray and speak outside the facility, often taking his 12-year-old son with him.

The federal indictment claims that almost a year ago, Houck “verbally confronted” and “shoved” an escort for an abortion patient “to the ground” and “intentionally injured, intimidated and interfered” with the escort.

What the indictment fails to mention, say Houck’s wife and a family spokesman, is that on multiple occasions this pro-abortion escort said “crude … inappropriate and disgusting things” to the Houcks’ son, such as “your dad’s a fag” and other vulgar slurs.

Houck kept telling the escort to stop harassing his son, they say, but the escort refused to stop and when the foul-mouthed vulgarian got too close to his son, Houck protected him by shoving the escort away.

The escort fell down, but, according to Houck’s family, the only injury he suffered required “a Band-Aid on his finger.”

The incident occurred Oct. 21, 2021. The assault claim against Houck is so weak that not only did Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a Soros-backed rogue prosecutor, refuse to file any misdemeanor charges against Houck, but, the family says, a civil lawsuit filed by the escort was thrown out of court.

Now, almost a year later, the FBI shows up at Houck’s home in force and the Justice Department charges him with two felonies for an injury that required a Band-Aid. His conviction could result, according to the Justice Department, in a maximum penalty of “11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $350,000.”

No doubt, Houck’s defense attorney will explore any and all defenses, starting with whether the man shoved by Houck even falls within the “obtaining or providing” requirement of the federal statute. It also may be a clear case of self-defense, since Houck apparently was defending his 12-year-old son from an adult who was harassing and intimidating a minor.

The fact is that the Justice Department, under Democratic administrations, has a history of misusing the FACE Act to go after abortion opponents.

In 2012, for example, a federal judge in Florida tossed out a FACE Act indictment against Mary Susan Pine, a  pro-life activist who had been conducting peaceful sidewalk counseling outside an abortion clinic for many years. The judge excoriated the Justice Department for the behavior of its lawyers, saying that the indictment seemed to be the “product of a concerted effort between the government and the [abortion clinic] … to quell Ms. Pine’s activities” rather than to enforce the statute.

The timing of this indictment of Houck also is suspect and calls into question the motive behind the Justice Department’s move. If this situation played out the way the Justice Department claims, even viewed in the light most favorable to the government this was, at best, two minor incidents of misdemeanor assault.

It’s significant that local authorities, including the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, decided not to file charges against Houck. It means that, for whatever reason, they didn’t even think Houck’s conduct warranted a misdemeanor assault charge, much less the two felony charges that he now faces.

Most likely, the local authorities didn’t file charges because, upon examining the facts, it was, at best, a case of “mutual combat” in which two adults got out of hand and ended up in a minor scuffle. In such cases, typically neither party is charged, and the case goes away. 

If this was such an important violation of the FACE Act, what took the Justice Department 337 days to indict Houck? This is the simplest of simple, factual cases. Houck either pushed the escort twice, unprovoked, or he didn’t.

Perhaps the more important number is 91. That’s how many days elapsed between the day the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs and Houck’s indictment. Or maybe it’s 49—the number of days between Houck’s indictment and the mid-term elections.

And why did the Justice Department decide to send armed FBI agents to Houck’s house in a show of force? Houck has no criminal record, is a man of faith, and is the father of seven children. He is no threat whatsoever.

Contrast this prosecution with the fact that vandals physically have attacked and damaged roughly 70 pro-life pregnancy centers, which also are protected under the FACE Act’s definition of a facility that “provides reproductive health services.”

So why hasn’t the Justice Department filed a single FACE Act indictment against anyone for those crimes?

Clearly, the leadership of the FBI and the Justice Department should be asked these and other important questions surrounding this case, as well as their lack of action against real threats.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

House GOP: Venezuela Deliberately Releasing Violent Criminals, Sending Them to U.S. Border thumbnail

House GOP: Venezuela Deliberately Releasing Violent Criminals, Sending Them to U.S. Border

By Bethany Blankley

A coalition of House Republicans led by U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, is “demanding answers about Venezuela releasing violent prisoners early and pushing them to join caravans heading towards our southern border” in a letter sent to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“We need transparency and accountability from this administration,” Nehls tweeted when publishing a letter he and his colleagues sent late last week.

In their letter, the group expressed “serious concern” about a recent DHS intelligence report “received by Border Patrol that instructs agents to look for violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.

“It has been widely reported that the murderous narco-terrorist Maduro regime in Venezuela is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of ‘murder, rape, and extortion,’ and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States. Some of the released prisoners have already been spotted within migrant caravans traveling from Tapachula, Mexico, toward our southern border as recently as July of this year, meaning they could already be in our interior.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, between October 2021 and July 2022, more than 130,000 Venezuelans were encountered illegally entering the U.S. across the southern border.

“DHS confirms that Venezuela empties prisons and sends violent criminals to our southern border,” Nehls previously argued. “President [Donald] Trump warned us about this years ago.”

Trump reiterated his claims last June at an event in the Rio Grande Valley with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He said federal security officials in his administration thwarted drug dealers and smugglers and halted much illegal activity across the border as a result of deals he made with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

As a result of these agreements, criminals from these countries weren’t allowed to enter the U.S. or these countries would stop receiving financial aid from the U.S. government.

Under the Obama administration, when MS13 gang members and other criminal foreign nationals were deported, their home countries wouldn’t take them back, Trump said.

“For years, these countries wouldn’t take them back,” Trump said, which is one reason why he halted financial aid to these countries. Then he got calls from their leaders, he said, who told him, “Sir, you’re not paying us anymore.’ And I said, ‘That’s right.’

They said, ‘Sir we would love to have MS13 back in our country. We think they are wonderful people,’” Trump said.

“And we were bringing them in by the thousands getting them out. And now they’re sending them back because what they are doing is they are opening their prisons and prisoners, murderers, human traffickers, all of these people, drug dealers, they’re coming in through the caravans, not everybody, but are coming in illegally,” he added.

The members of Congress asked Mayorkas to provide information about what precautions DHS was taking to prevent criminals from Venezuela from entering the U.S., if DHS was aware of the current location or final destination of released prisoners, how many Venezuelan nationals have already entered the U.S. at the southern border since President Joe Biden took office and how many of them have criminal records.

The letter comes after Mayorkas in July extended by 18 months Temporary Protected Status for eligible Venezuelans.

He said doing so was “one of many ways the Biden administration is providing humanitarian support to Venezuelans at home and abroad, together with our regional partners. We will continue to work with our international partners to address the challenges of regional migration while ensuring our borders remain secure.”

The 18-month TPS extension became effective Sep. 10 and lasts through March 10, 2024. Only beneficiaries under Venezuela’s existing designation, and who were already residing in the U.S. as of March 8, 2021, are eligible to re-register for TPS under the extension. Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. after March 8, 2021, are not eligible for TPS. Approximately 343,000 individuals are estimated to be eligible for TPS under the existing designation of Venezuela, DHS says.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

EXCLUSIVE: Anti-Semitic Democrats Backed By Katie Hobbs Used Tax Dollars To Screen Anti-Israel Propaganda And Pro-BDS “Boycott” Film At Arizona Capitol (VIDEO) thumbnail

EXCLUSIVE: Anti-Semitic Democrats Backed By Katie Hobbs Used Tax Dollars To Screen Anti-Israel Propaganda And Pro-BDS “Boycott” Film At Arizona Capitol (VIDEO)

By Jordan Conradson

Democrats in the Arizona Legislature and the ACLU hosted the screening of the anti-Semitic film “Boycott” at the Arizona Capitol Museum on Thursday. They used the film to promote the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) hate movement against United States ally, Israel.

State Senator Martin Quezada and State Rep. Athena Salman hosted the event and delivered remarks in support.

The Radical Left’s BDS movement discriminates against Israel in an attempt to destroy their economy.

“Boycott” was later played at Arizona State University’s law school.

This is the same University that has allowed calls for violence against Israel on campus.

The Gateway Pundit previously reported that Anti-Semitic Arizona State University students with Palestinian flags publicly called for the destruction of Israel on campus at ASU.

Democratic State Rep. Alma Hernandez, and three other Democrats, released a memorandum on Wednesday warning, “The BDS Movements’ links to terror organizations and use of antisemitic propaganda has been well documented in evidence-based reports,” and “Boycott seeks to promote public misunderstanding of anti-BDS laws that have been passed on a bi-partisan basis in 36 states.”

Hernandez tweeted their memorandum, alerting others about the “anti-Israel” film and condemning her fellow democrats.

Even some Democrats know this is wrong.

Kimberly Yee, the Republican nominee for Arizona Treasurer, shared this memorandum and slammed her opponent, Democratic nominee Martin Quezada, for his anti-Israel and antisemitic positions.

Yee has previously fought back against woke Morningstar, Inc. for “using anti-Israel and antisemitic sources to negatively impact the [environmental, social, and corporate governance] scores of companies doing business in Israel and Israeli-controlled territories.”…..

…..Martin Quezada is Radical Leftist Katie Hobbs’ gubernatorial campaign treasurer.

Trump-Endorsed Arizona Gubernatorial Nominee Kari Lake released the following statement from Jewish Voices for Kari Lake denouncing Martin Quezada and calling on Katie Hobbs, who has a record of voting for anti-Israel legislation, to condemn the screening. Hobbs has not denounced her Democratic colleagues or their hateful stances…..

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Gays Against Groomers Get Financially Deplatformed

By Rod Dreher

This is how soft totalitarianism works: no gulags, no jail time, just being excluded from the marketplace. We are rapidly approaching the point where one may not buy or sell without permission of the Regime.

This is also how soft totalitarianism works: the “Regime” is not the State alone, as in the earlier iteration of totalitarianism. It is rather the informal coalition of elites in government, media, finance, academia, and private industry (Yarvin’s term “the Cathedral” is also good) who share the same illiberal left-wing convictions, and act in concert. It is Venmo’s and PayPal’s right to do what they’re doing. But the effect is bad for democracy.

It’s like with Amazon, when it decided not to sell Ryan T. Anderson’s book critical of transgender ideology, and similarly-themed books. It’s Amazon’s right –– but if Amazon, with its dominant market share of the book market, decides that it will not sell a certain kind of book, then that kind of book will not be published.

It’s entirely legal. Do you want a system in which a bookseller is forced to sell books he finds immoral? I don’t. But in Amazon’s case, making a fully legal decision has dramatic consequences of freedom of speech and debate.

I don’t know how this should work, in terms of legislation to solve the problem of financial deplatforming. But this is an issue conservative, libertarian, and authentically liberal politicians should start talking about –– and, when workable policies and laws present themselves, then acting on them. If not, people who dissent from the Regime’s ideology will find themselves more and more driven to the margins, and forced through non-violent means to comply.

I’m on my way to Canada now to give a couple of LNBL-themed speeches. I have more to talk about now. I do every day.

ESG Financial “Leaders” Live In La-La Land thumbnail

ESG Financial “Leaders” Live In La-La Land

By Mandy Gunasekara

This week, I virtually attended “The ESG Leadership Forum 2022” co-hosted by the Wall Street Journal Trust and Nasdaq. Panel discussions covered everything from accelerating the energy transition to how to model climate risks into climate strategy to getting to net-zero with tips on how to “actually deliver” on ESG promises.

Speakers earned an “A+” in leadership lingo and managerial theory, but a big “F” in reality. There was a creative high point where win-win was reimagined as wind-wind to describe one company’s “winning” approach to wind energy. (Get it?) In their defense, it is winning from the C-suite perspective. These companies are guaranteed to reap the benefits of government-backed dividends promised by President Biden through trillions of mismanaged taxpayer dollars. 

In reality, however, we the taxpayers will be stuck with the consequences of the ESG movement, and, most notably, the “path to net-zero,” which is both damaging and delusional. It is behind efforts to shutter reliable and affordable energy—mainly coal, oil, and natural gas—and replace it with less reliable, more expensive alternatives. The arbitrary deadlines to reach this goal are forcing the early closure of energy sources without adequately replacing them. As a result, our degraded energy grid now regularly delivers blackouts and brownouts, especially during heat waves and cold snaps when we the regular people consume it the most. This isn’t because of climate change. It can be attributed to poor planning and blind allegiance to ESG principles that constantly overpromise and underdeliver.  

As Team Biden implements its whole-of-the-government effort to shutter U.S. oil and natural gas, ESG investing is maximizing its effect. Government-mandated red tape, coupled with leasing bans, has increased operating costs. At the same time, ESG investors are limiting access to the very capital these companies need to upgrade, expand, and ultimately keep up. The resulting oil market imbalance of suppressed supply is the leading reasonfor the high costs we pay at the pump. The strained natural gas supply, which accounts for 37% of electricity production, has led to the largest 12-month increase in over 40 years and is why one in six families is now behind on utility bills. 

Adding insult to injury, this will have no impact on the climate. Some reports found that a net-zero U.S. would reduce temperatures by only 0.137 degrees in 2100. Recall that a warming temperature is the purported key driver of the change these financial gurus are fighting. 

The real problem is that these ESG elites are in charge of trillions of dollars of investments and their decisions—even the damaging and delusional ones—have a broad reach. They should not be celebrated, but rather held to account—starting with the fire-fire approach. (See what I did there?)

That is fighting fire with fire. Leading this is Strive Asset Management, a company that offers investors the ability to partake in good old-fashioned planning, where maximizing value takes precedence. Strive CEO Vivek Ramaswamyeven has the audacity to let those that reap the benefits of his fund’s returns use their own money to be the change in the world they want to be.

Americans are starting to wake up to the ESG fraud. To find out more about ESG, what it is, and how states are starting to rightfully push back, check out our comprehensive communications kit on ESG Investing.

*****

This article was published at Independent Women’s Forum, and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

EXCLUSIVE: Trump-Endorsed Arizona Attorney General Nominee And Former Prosecutor Abe Hamadeh HAMMERS Woke Anti-Police Radical Kris Mayes During AG Candidate Forum (VIDEO) thumbnail

EXCLUSIVE: Trump-Endorsed Arizona Attorney General Nominee And Former Prosecutor Abe Hamadeh HAMMERS Woke Anti-Police Radical Kris Mayes During AG Candidate Forum (VIDEO)

By Jordan Conradson

Editors’ Note: As the 2022 midterm election approaches (November 8th), mail-in ballots are to be mailed out on October 12th. The Prickly Pear asks all readers and all Arizonans two simple questions: Is Arizona to be a state like California where there is widespread crime, homelessness, defunding of police and rapid deterioration of the quality of life for hard-working citizens as its “brand”? Is Arizona a state where fundamental liberties, safe streets, quality, civic minded education for our children and a thriving economy with opportunity for all is our “brand”? 

The Democrat party, its policies and certainly its 2022 candidates like Katie Hobbs, Adrian Fontes, Mark Kelly and Kris Mayes answer the first question in the affirmative, often trying to hide the truth of their radical progressive ideology. The Prickly Pear recently published the reasons to support all the Republican candidates on your ballot as a yes answer to the second question above. Kari Lake as Governor, Blake Masters as U.S. Senator, Mark Finchem as Secretary of State and Abe Hamadeh as Attorney General will all deliver an affirmative answer and fight to ensure we keep Arizona the state it is and can be rather than a slide into woke, leftist chaos and a place liberty loving citizens and families escape from. 

Trump-Endorsed Arizona Attorney General Nominee Abe Hamadeh shredded his opponent, radical pro-defund the police leftist Kris Mayes, during the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Attorney General Candidate Forum on Thursday, September 15.

“Stacey Champion is a kook, Kris… She has said all law enforcement officers equals killing black people, and I’ve not heard you denounce that,” Abe exclaimed while speaking about the Attorney General’s duty to support law enforcement and enforce Law and Order in Arizona.

Abe later told TGP, “Kris Mayes claims she does not support ‘Defund The Police’ but has surrounded herself with consultants and groups that have publicly supported this dangerous policy. Her media consultant has said vile things on social media about our police, and she has done nothing to disavow or detach herself from these groups and has yet to fire her consultant or rescind any endorsements — this is why law enforcement agencies from around the state overwhelmingly support Abe Hamedeh for Attorney General.” 

The Gateway Pundit previously reported that liberal Kris Mayes, running for the Chief Law Enforcement Official in the State, does not even support law enforcement. Her campaign PR consultant, Stacey Champion, actually hates the police and has tweeted, “We live in a country where ‘law enforcement’ = killing black folks and arresting women who need to buy tampons.”

“Killing black folks and arresting women who need to buy tampons.” What the hell does that even mean?

Stacey Champion has also been an outspoken advocate for legalizing homeless street camping and for climate action with “an equity lens” while promoting her 2030 agenda.

These fear-mongering leftists don’t care about the truth or the law.

We recently reported that an Arizona Judge has ruled that the State can enforce its ban on abortion following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade.

Abortion is now illegal in the State, and anybody can still buy tampons. And pro-choice women can also choose to abstain from sex or use legal contraceptives like condoms and birth control.

However, During the forum, Kris Mayes promised not to enforce any current Arizona abortion laws if she is elected.….

*****

Continue reading this article at The Gateway Pundit.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Apparent Victory Rings Hollow for Group Opposing School Choice thumbnail

Apparent Victory Rings Hollow for Group Opposing School Choice

By Jason Bedrick

Editors’ Note: It is pretty clear that much of our society’s ills stem from our educational system. The rot started in the universities and has now penetrated down into K-12. With school lockdowns during Covid, many parents finally got to see, with their own eyes, the poor quality and ideologically based and indoctrinating education their children are receiving. Many parents object not only to the curriculum but also discovered the attitude that government schools have concerning sex education, classroom discipline, testing for student progress, and teacher training. As such, it has become clear that a good school board, one that keeps left-wing ideology out of schools is vitally important. But between the teacher’s unions, teachers’ colleges, textbook publishers, and Federal interference, reforming the government-run school system will be a lengthy and contentious process. No matter how much money taxpayers provide, student achievement continues to decline. No matter how much money taxpayers provide, government schools seem determined to brainwash students with left-wing ideology. More funding rarely goes to teacher salaries, but rather to expanded bureaucratic bloat. School choice thus is absolutely necessary to allow parents to opt out of poor quality government schools or seek educational choices more suitable to their children and their own family values. Choice and competition will make all educational institutions better than they currently are. In education, one size does not fit all. Education really should not be a partisan issue but teacher’s unions, are the largest contributors to Democrats. Therefore, whether we like it or not, the reality is it now is a partisan issue. Republicans must make school choice, and school reform, the number one priority in local elections.

The effort to block a massive expansion of education choice in Arizona appears to be running out of steam.

Beth Lewis, executive director of the anti-school choice group Save Our Schools Arizona put on her best game face Friday afternoon as she announced that her group has gathered enough signatures to put the recent expansion of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program on the ballot for voters to decide.

But it wasn’t hard to detect Lewis’ disappointment.

Earlier this summer, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed a bill sponsored by Arizona House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, to expand eligibility for the state’s ESA policy to all 1.1 million of the state’s K-12 students.

That would mean all families could receive about $7,000 to use for educational expenses such as private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, homeschool curricula, online courses, special-needs therapy, and more.

The program is widely hailed as the gold standard of education choice, cementing Arizona’s first-place ranking for education choice in The Heritage Foundation’s new Education Freedom Report Card. Arizona placed second nationwide for education freedom overall (including rankings of education choice, academic transparency, regulatory freedom, and return), behind only Florida.

Lewis’ group acted quickly to contest the ESA expansion. Under Arizona state law, voters may refer recently enacted legislation to the ballot for voter approval if they gather the signatures of registered Arizona voters equal to at least 5% of all votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

In 2018, Save Our Schools Arizona ran a similar referendum campaign, in which it gathered about 111,000 signatures—comfortably exceeding the threshold of about 75,000 valid voter signatures. This year, sending the issue to referendum required about 119,000 valid signatures.

“Valid” is the key word. Signatures may be invalid for a variety of reasons—for example, if the signer isn’t registered to vote in Arizona, the signature or address doesn’t match what’s on file, and so on.

According to Ballotpedia, the average signature validity rate of ballot initiative petitions such as this one is 75.3%. Even with an 80% validity rate, Save Our Schools would need about 150,000 signatures to meet the threshold.

But Save Our Schools turned in only about 142,000 signatures Friday afternoon. Unless the group achieved an unusually high validity rate—84%—it is likely that it has failed to obtain enough valid signatures.

It appears that Save Our Schools Arizona already sees the writing on the wall. Earlier this week, Lewis offered a litany of excuses to the left-wing media outlet Salon, complaining about the higher signature threshold relative to 2018, the 80-day window to collect signatures, and likely scrutiny from the legal system.

But Lewis reserved her greatest ire for the efforts of school choice groups such as the Goldwater Institute and the American Federation for Children, to protect the expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Salon reported:

‘They’re already signaling massive legal battles,’ said SOS Arizona director Beth Lewis, who said that petitions are frequently challenged over not just issues like duplicate signatures but also incomplete addresses for signees and smudged notary markings.

Lewis appeared especially aggravated by the pro-ESA grassroots activists who urged voters to decline to sign her group’s petitions. According to Salon, she accused these activists (without evidence) of being backed by the Goldwater Institute and American Federation for Children:

In the meantime, the final weeks of petition gathering have turned hostile, as groups backed by the Goldwater Institute and AFC have launched a massive ‘Decline to Sign’ campaign, holding protests at petition gathering spots, urging supporters to call businesses near petition sites to complain that ‘this is hurting our children’s education’ and videotaping both petition circulators and voters who sign, posting clips of those interactions online. In this atmosphere, petition volunteers say they’ve been surrounded, harassed and followed for blocks on end, while pro-ESA protesters say they’ve been insulted or sworn at by referendum supporters.

While Lewis said there wasn’t ‘any organized opposition’ to the [2018] petition process … this year, ‘It’s like a war zone at some of these events.’

The “Decline to Sign” protesters, who want to protect the ESA program, see it differently.

“Hundreds of volunteer parents from all different backgrounds have come together to peacefully hold signs and talk to voters about the ESA program,” said Taylor Hoffman, a mother of two from Gilbert, Arizona, including one child with special needs.

Hoffman described how she and fellow protesters have had great success in persuading voters not to sign the Save Our Schools petitions. In one case, they approached a father who was considering signing.

“We brought up the fact that Save Our Schools has a history of fighting against multiple school choice laws in Arizona, including the original ESA program that helps special-needs students,” Hoffman said. “The dad decided not to sign and walked away.”

One of the greatest hurdles for Save Our Schools Arizona is voter support for education choice, which has reached all-time highs in the wake of prolonged school shutdowns, Zoom school, and concerns over-politicized classrooms.

Morning Consult poll released in August found that 66% of Arizonans and 75% of parents of school-age children said they support Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Meanwhile, only a third of voters said they believe that their local district schools are on the “right track.”

Save Our Schools’ assault on education choice at a time when parents need it most may have awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.

“The grassroots movement of Decline to Sign not only slowed down SOS signature gatherers, but it created a community of like-minded folks that genuinely care about what is best for kids,” said Grant Botma, a father of three from Gilbert, Arizona. “No politics. No hidden agenda. Just parents fighting for what is best for their kids and kids in the community.”

The coming weeks certainly will see signature challenges and likely will see litigation. One thing is for certain: Arizona parents will be watching.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

BREAKING: NEA Resources Discuss ‘Sadomasochism,’ ‘Bondage,’ and Other Sex Acts

By Garion Frankel

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

Court Allows Arizona’s Near-Total Abortion Ban To Go Into Effect

By Trevor Schakohl

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

To Our Conservative and Moderate Friends thumbnail

To Our Conservative and Moderate Friends

By Kim Miller

Are you considering voting for a Democrat, or not voting for a Republican because you think they’re crazy?

If you’re someone who votes according to the “candidate I like,” rather than the political party, consider what RESULTS your vote will bring to America, Arizona, and your family. A candidate’s likability and respectfulness mean nothing if their actions bring destruction.

You may like a Democrat as a person, and they may seem “reasonable” compared to the Republican alternative, but gone are the days when you could assume both parties have the same goals for America with different ideas to achieve them. Today’s Democrats have the opposite vision for America than Constitutional Republicans.

What is your vision for America, for your everyday life, for your family’s well-being? Don’t give your vote to a politician who will dismantle and eventually destroy your vision. Check the voting record and statements of ANY Democrat. (I’m not saying every Republican is wonderful; only that they will at least do far less damage than any Democrat.) Think I’m exaggerating? Look at what Democrat ideas have done to your daily reality:

THIS is what EVERY Democrat represents—no matter how “reasonable” a person they seem to be. Just look at the results of President Biden, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and virtually every Democrat in power—including every Congressperson. And don’t forget about Mark Kelly who ran as a moderate but votes 94% of the time with Democrats. Mark Kelly = Joe Biden. Katie Hobbs = woke insanity.

This is a different America than we had 20, 10, or even 1 year ago. And the main reason is a Leftist long march through the institutions,(Christopher Rufo) and a long strategy grounded in communism and socialism which has overtaken the Democrat party, big business, education, culture, law, and even medicine. Think about it. This is not the America we could have imagined even a few years ago.

Conrad Black sums up the RESULTS of Leftist Democrat policies:

“A disastrous and shaming flight from Afghanistan is described by President Joe Biden as ‘a triumphant success,’ while Dr. Anthony Fauci retires with dignity after doing terrible damage to the country with his nonsense about shutting schools, ‘droplets,’ the ups and downs of masking, the ‘abolition of hand-shakes’—almost all of it now thoroughly discredited.

Six years ago, no one could have imagined that these outrages would have occurred, much less that they would be accepted by a bedraggled, degraded, demoralized United States, its federal government in the hands of lawless and authoritarian myth-makers, applauded by the complicit national political media. Can this be America?”

What will your kids and grandkids experience if we keep putting Democrats in power?

It will only get worse.

That’s why a return to Constitutional Americanism is the only way to restore sanity, dignity, productivity, and hope to America.

And the surest way there is to elect Republicans (no matter how flawed one may be) to replace the destructive RESULTS of Democrats (no matter how nice one may seem).

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.

ATF Agent Caught Creating Illegal Gun Registry With Personal Cellphone

By Lee Williams

Dave Nagel, one of three co-owners of Black Metal Firearms in Mesa, Arizona, said there was something odd about the inspector the ATF sent to audit his gun shop late last year.

Pamela Scott, an Industry Operations Investigator, or IOI, from ATF’s Phoenix Field Division, showed up in December, 2021. Her audit lasted two months and concluded in February, which ruined more than a few Christmases.

“People ask me why I waited until July to go public about this,” Nagel said. “The public needs to know that the crazy stuff the government is accused of doing, they’re actually doing.”

Nagel and Scott clashed from the very beginning. All of his records are on paper. Nothing is computerized.

“She asked me why our stuff wasn’t digital,” Nagel said. “I told her I wouldn’t trust her with our digital info.”

During another exchange, Scott told Nagel he had a lot of “gun nuts” frequenting his shop.

“I told her we prefer ‘gun enthusiast,’” Nagel said. “She said she prefers ‘gun nuts,’ and she works for the ATF?”

Scott found nothing in the shop’s books other than a few minor clerical errors. There were no missing firearms or other significant problems.

“She said she was going to put us in for revocation, and that it may change as it goes up the chain, but that was her recommendation,” Nagel said. “We didn’t sell guns to the drug cartels like the ATF did. Everything we deal in is something that can readily be sold to a customer. There’s nothing here outlandish. We sell normal stuff to the common man, and she treated us like drug dealers.”

An illegal gun registry

Nagel noticed that Scott always had two cell phones – a government-issued phone and her personal cell.

This became important when he caught her copying pages from his A&D Book – using her personal cell phone.

The ATF requires gun dealers to maintain an Acquisition and Disposition book – a log of every firearm that’s acquired by the shop, as well as personal information of the buyers.

“Once she started recording the information from our books, I confronted her. I was concerned she was creating a database,” Nagel said. “She claimed that copying our records with her personal cell phone was ‘part of the purview of her investigation.’”

Nagel has retained Scottsdale, Arizona attorney Derek Debus to help him fight the revocation of his Federal Firearm License.

Debus reacted strongly when told of Scott’s actions.

“There’s no reason for her to be taking photographs of my client’s data,” Debus said. “It’s illegal. There are rules against it.”

Nagel took several videos of Scott copying his records and posted them on his social media. The videos have gone viral.

ATF declines to comment, again

Scott declined to comment.

“Thank you for the email and yes, I see that you are calling me. I would appreciate you contacting our division PIO Cody Monday with any questions regarding my inspection of Black Metal Firearms.  He may be able to answer any questions that you have at this time,” Scott said in an email.

Cody Monday, public information officer for ATF’s Phoenix Field Division, said he could not comment because the investigation was ongoing.

Brendan Iber, ATF’s Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office similarly declined to comment.

Takeaways

The ATF has recently come under fire for warrantless home inspectionsquestionable arrestsignoring federal open-records laws, and inflating “ghost gun” numbers, in the hopes that Congress will inflate its budget.

The agency is clearly ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s war on “rogue” gun dealers, which has caused FFL revocations to skyrocket a staggering 500%.

The Black Metal Firearms audit and the actions of ATF’s IOI clearly show – yet again – the agency is out of control.

The ATF is willing to do whatever it takes for a pat on the head from the current administration – even to violate the law. This needs to be stopped immediately. They need to be brought under control because their history proves that the ATF’s mistakes often end in bloodshed.

*****

This article was published by The Second Amendment Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

Stealing Our Voting Rights from Us thumbnail

Stealing Our Voting Rights from Us

By Bruce Bialosky

One of the most annoying aspects of our modern political discussions is how Democrats or their media mouthpieces are constantly pointing out that our Democracy is in danger. This came on the heels of The Washington Post’s immensely stupid new slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Once again Democrats in California are actively attempting to take voters’ rights away. This time they are asking voters to do it themselves.

California’s overwhelming Democrat Legislature in 2017 passed the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act. Jerry Brown, then Governor and the great protector of people’s rights, signed it into law. This had as much to do with transparency and fairness as The Inflation Reduction Act has to do with inflation. The bill stole rights away from Californians.

The Board of Equalization (BOE) has five elected members.  This bill emasculated their responsibilities and gave them to career bureaucrats. The BOE previously handled reviews of any sales tax and income tax appeals. The Office of Tax Appeals (OTA) now hears all those appeals. Of the twenty-four appointed judges, just five were not government employees prior to setting up this new structure. Instead of being responsible to the people of California as the elected officials are, these people are responsible to the governmental structure of the state. Since so many factors are subjective, it seems clear your rights were emasculated unless you think that career government workers are ruling more in the favor of the residents of the state.

A new taking of the right of voters is on the ballot in November. Los Angeles County — which by population would be the seventh largest state in the union — has five elected county supervisors that control the county. The residents have been able to elect the County Sheriff. The current county sheriff is Alex Villanueva, and the Board of Supervisors has been in a constant battle with him. This is even though Mr. Villanueva is a Democrat. Though the Board of Supervisors is a nonpartisan position, four of the five are Left-wing Democrats. Only one is not.

Currently, the county residents have the right to recall the Sheriff if they do not like the job he (or she) is doing. That is not good enough for the County Supervisors. They initiated a motion that directs County Counsel to draft an ordinance for a special election that will allow voters to decide on an amendment to the County Charter that would grant the Board of Supervisors the authority to remove a Sheriff who violates the law or abuses power by a four-fifths vote.

Notice that four-fifths vote. If you did not have any idea of what goes on with the LA County Board of Supervisors, you might say that is a tall hurdle. I dare you to find a meaningful vote by the Board in the last eight years that did not have at least four (the upset left-wing Democrats) voting for it. These people vote in lockstep with each other. As expected, the vote to put this taking of voters’ rights was passed by 4-1 with Supervisor Kathryn Barger dissenting.

If Mr. Villanueva were to win his reelection, how long do you think it would take for the Board of Supervisors to yank him from office? They will find any excuse since they have frequently battled the last few years and especially since the woke movement castrated L.A. law enforcement.

You can easily see a dispute happening between the Supervisors and the reelected sheriff.  They drum up a phony process to exorcise Villanueva. Then they would have to replace him with someone. Who would that be? Since all of them endorsed Villanueva’s opponent, Robert Luna, lo and behold who would they pick to be the new sheriff?

This is not just for this election and this dispute; this initiative is forever. In twelve years when there would be two completely different sheriff candidates, who would they be more beholden to – the residents of the county or the members of the Board of Supervisors? My money is on the supervisors.

We would have to be out of our minds to approve this initiative and give our rights away. Talk about being undemocratic. Where are all those Dems now talking about the “danger to our democracy”? They are not around because they are the danger.

*****

This article was published in Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

TAKE ACTION

Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.

Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

The only viable and timely solution at this critical point is to vote – yes, vote correctly and smartly to retake the U.S. House and Senate on November 8th and to prepare the way to retake the White House in two years. Vote and help everyone you know to vote. Please click the TAKE ACTION link below – we must vote correctly and in great numbers to be sure our votes are counted to diminish the potential for the left to rig and steal the midterms and the 2024 elections as they are clearly intending to do after their success in 2020.