Imagine Electric Vehicles in Bad Weather thumbnail

Imagine Electric Vehicles in Bad Weather

By Ronald Stein

With more than forty percent of the EV’s in America being in California at the end of 2020, the EV popularity in California has gotten President Biden so excited to want the rest of the country to follow California’s lead that Biden issued a new executive order that pushes for half of all new cars sold in America by 2030 to be electric vehicles.

Imagine being stuck on a frigid night inside your car, like those stopped on Interstate 95 in Virginia in a 48-mile backup for nearly a 24-hour standstill because of snow. Imagine being trapped in a frozen electric car with a long dead battery!

Even with the great California year-round weather, the states’ EV user’s experiences do not bode well for projected EV sales in America as the states’ EV users may be sending a caution-to-the-wind (no pun intended) message to America that the EV usage in the state reflects very conservative notices to future EV owners. A few reasons why Californians may be sending the wrong message to America are:

  1. The limited usage of the EV’s of about 5,000 miles per year is a reflection that the EV is a second vehicle, for those that can afford them, and not the family workhorse vehicle.
  2. The primary owners of EV’s are the highly educated and financially well off, and not representative of the majority.
  3. EV owner incomes rank among the highest in the country which may be a reflection of home owners that have easier access to charging their EV from their multi-car garages, or for those folks living in new apartments that may have access to more convenient EV charging capabilities. Most car owners park in the street.
  4. According to ValuePenguin insurance, because electric vehicles cost more outright and are more expensive to repair, the average car insurance for an electric vehicle is about 23 percent more expensive than the cost for the equivalent combustion model.
  5. The ethnicity of Tesla owner’s skews toward Caucasians, at 87 percent. Owners who identify with Hispanic ethnicity make up 8 percent of Tesla owners, leaving 5 percent to other ethnicities.
  6. From that limited elite ownership group, there is a growing percentage of those California EV users that are switching back to gasoline cars, which is sending a message that may further deflate EV growth projections.

EVs are still a luxury product that attract the Benz and Beemer crowd, not low- and middle-income consumers. The average household income for EV buyers is about $140,000. That’s roughly nearly twice the US median, which is about $63,000.

Here are a few examples of inclement weather conditions, that will most likely never occur in the idyllic year-round weather of sunny California’s EV “capital” of America:

  • Imagine Florida with a hurricane coming toward Miami. The Governor orders an evacuation. All cars head north. They all need to be charged in Jacksonville. How does that work? If all cars were electric, and were caught up in a three-hour traffic jam with dead batteries, then what? Not to mention that there is virtually no heating or air conditioning in an electric vehicle because of high battery consumption.
  • If you get stuck on the road all night, no battery, no heating, no windshield wipers, no radio, no GPS (all these drain the batteries), all you can do is try calling 911 to take women and children to safety. But they cannot come to help you because all roads are blocked, and they will probably require all police cars will be electric also. When the roads become unblocked no one can move! Their batteries are dead.
  • How do you charge thousands of cars in the traffic jam? Same problem during summer vacation departures with miles of traffic jams. There would be virtually no air conditioning in an electric vehicle. It would drain the batteries quickly. Where is this electricity going to come from? Today’s grid barely handles users’ needs.
  • Frigid driving conditions: Did you know that 17 percent of car crashes in the United States happen in winter conditions? EV batteries must work harder in the cold, which is why they drain quickly in extreme temperatures. Low temperatures, such as 40 degrees or below, can decrease the driving range for EVs by 40 percent.

As Pew Research reported in June, “In each of the past three years, EVs accounted for about 2% of the U.S. new-car market.The reasons why EVs aren’t grabbing consumers by the tailpipe are many, but the main ones are affordability, charging and range functionality and the possible exposure to inclement weather.

Another challenge for EV growth is the EV charging dependence on intermittent electricity generated from breezes and sunshine. Adding EV charging loads onto the grid that is becoming more unstable is like putting salt in the wound. Power outages are now commonplace in California and Texas with more to follow throughout the nation as we adjust to a life dependent upon the time of day and the weather.

Amid tougher emissions regulations worldwide, established automakers are racing to add more EVs to their lineup, but until the current elite owners can demonstrate to the middle-income and those on fixed incomes that their EV’s are their primary family workhorse vehicles, the less fortunate will most likely remain reluctant to buy into the EV evolution.

Growing the supply chain for EV’s without a corresponding growth in demand, could be an economic disaster in the works.

*****

This article was first published by CFACT, The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and is reproduced with permission.

Rand Paul: Federal COVID Stimulus to Blame for Record Inflation thumbnail

Rand Paul: Federal COVID Stimulus to Blame for Record Inflation

By Casey Harper

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., released a new report Tuesday detailing the effects inflation has had on families and businesses around the country and calling it a “hidden tax” on Americans.

In the report, Paul blames the federal COVID-19 stimulus spending for record-high inflation.

“$4.9 trillion in COVID-19 stimulus spending has led to one of the highest and most sustained levels of inflation in U.S. history,” Paul said. “While government stimulus spending was intended as a form of relief, and low and middle-income families, as well as small business owners, were promised that their taxes would not increase, Americans everywhere are now paying a hidden tax called inflation.”

In particular, lower-income families and small businesses have been the hardest hit, according to the report.

“This report concludes that, though no formal tax has been levied to pay for the government’s recent spending trends, a hidden, regressive tax has been levied on the American public, charging more from low and middle-income families and small businesses and less from wealthy families and big businesses,” the report said.

The report comes after record increases in prices in recent months. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released new inflation figures for December showing the price of goods and services have risen at the fastest rate since 1982.

“The all items index rose 7.0 percent for the 12 months ending December, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982,” BLS said. “The all items less food and energy index rose 5.5 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending February 1991. The energy index rose 29.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 6.3 percent.”

Meanwhile, the consumer price index data released this month showed the fastest rise in decades.

“This was the sixth time in the last 9 months it has increased at least 0.5 percent,” BLS said. “Along with the indexes for shelter and for used cars and trucks, the indexes for household furnishings and operations, apparel, new vehicles, and medical care all increased in December. As in November, the indexes for motor vehicle insurance and recreation were among the few to decline over the month.”

Small businesses have been hit hard by rising prices. The National Federation of Independent Businesses released a report last week showing that the recent spike in inflation is among small businesses’ top concerns.

The NFIB report found that 22% of small business owners point to inflation as the biggest problem for operating their business, a 20% increase from the year prior.

Paul’s report says that “82 percent of small businesses reported raising prices in the last several months, 42 percent reported raising prices by 20 percent or more” while “45 percent of small businesses reported taking out a loan to cope with the pressures of inflation in this last year.”

“Large corporations have reported consistent profit margins,” the report adds.

Paul’s report also highlights how higher prices on things like gasoline and food disproportionately affect poorer families.

“Low and middle-income families spend a larger portion of their income on high-inflation items, such as gasoline, used cars, and food,” the report said. “Families in the lowest income quartile spend nearly 40% of their annual income on these three categories. As a means of comparison, families in the top quartile spend only 10% of their annual income on these categories.”

Paul said the prices will likely only increase.

“In recent months, prices on nearly everything from gas, food, and clothes to electricity, car prices, and rent, have all increased, and unfortunately it’s only going to get worse,” Paul said. “Congress needs to realize that further spending at this time of rapidly rising prices is only going to continue the trend of rising prices on this nation’s already vulnerable businesses and families.”

*****

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

Liz Cheney and the 14th Amendment Strikeout thumbnail

Liz Cheney and the 14th Amendment Strikeout

By Dan Brophy

Editors’ Note:  As the charade of the January 6th hearings continue, readers need to appreciate how deeply flawed the process is, and how some Republicans gave cover to radical Democrats so that a patina of required bipartisan representation could be maintained. But the main Republican in question, is a biased as the Democrats. For us in Arizona, this is not fully appreciated, hence we appreciate the perspective of someone familiar with Wyoming politics.

Washington DC’s very own congressman “from Wyoming” has told us that Donald J Trump tried to overthrow the US government and, under provisions of the 14th Amendment, he must be banned from ever running for public office. Heck, maybe prosecuted for sedition! She knows all this because she was there in the House chambers on January 6, 2021. You weren’t, so you don’t know. In her world of the Elites of the Imperial City, her accusation equals guilt. Period, end of discussion.

Madam Attorney Cheney incessantly lectures us dim Wyoming voters that “it’s the Constitution”. You see, we are all ignorant. President Trump had no right to claim the election was stolen (it was, and he did). He had no right to attempt in January 6 proceedings in the House to refer a number of disputed state election results to their respective legislatures (he absolutely did).

When the January 6th riot occurred, this woman, who for years so energetically encouraged US intervention in overseas conflicts, experienced what’s probably the first flicker of fear in her sheltered life. Eager to send tens of thousands of soldiers into combat, where they experience real fear and some die, her personal exposure to potential violence sure did not sit well with her. How much sympathy did she express for the victims of hundreds of riots throughout the country during 2020? None. She brays that she is the defender of the People’s House, but as for your house, your family’s safety, your business, she could care less.

From election day 2020 through the Biden inauguration in January 2021, Cheney told us the courts heard and dismissed election fraud claims. She knows this is false. Numerous courts were presented with claims, and all were turned down for procedural reasons – generally “lack of standing”. No court heard evidence (there are reams of it from numerous states). It’s worse today, 14 months later: to my knowledge, not a single federal court has yet reviewed a single piece of evidence. Strikeout, Liz.

I learned recently that, on January 6, Republican teams in the House and Senate were prepared to present evidence of fraud – state by state – in 12-hour congressional sessions. Cheney knew it all along. The riot disrupted those plans. How convenient. Somehow I never heard Cheney mention these facts. No doubt because this makes her false claim about evidence look….well… false. Strikeout, Liz.

She tells us she “voted her conscience” to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” on January 13, seven days before the end of his term. The Constitution she claims to respect sets a due process expectation and standard for ANY citizen. A House colleague of hers, a friend of mine who sits on Judiciary, confirmed to me that the entire impeachment process took under 7 hours, from the first hearing until the impeachment vote. 7 hours! President Trump had no opportunity to present a defense. For Cheney, once again, the accusation is the conviction, and evidence be damned. If that’s “the Constitution” and “conscience” then the Nazi Josef Mengele was a physician following the Hippocratic oath. Strikeout, Liz.

Now Cheney sits on Pelosi’s Select Committee to investigate January 6th. An investigation is a deliberate process of pursuing facts. But she and her colleagues will see to it that Committee finds President Trump guilty of “insurrection”. Did I miss the exchanges of gunfire? The artillery barrages of the rebels hitting the Capitol? The takeover of radio and TV stations in DC? Does she care that, among all the accused rioters, not a single firearm was found? No, she doesn’t. Strikeout, Liz.

She accepted an appointment by House Democrat leadership as vice-chair of the Committee. The Committee has no minority party (Republican) representation, meaning it has no authority under the rules of the House to proceed with its work, much less issue subpoenas. Her sense of fair process, including the right of persons under investigation to have advocates among the ranks of the Committee, simply does not exist. She applauded when Pelosi expelled Reps. Jordan and Banks as Republican members of the Committee. She remained on the Committee even when Republican leadership, realizing the Committee’s mission is not an objective inquiry but an inquisition rightly withdrew all Republican nominations. This violates House rules; nothing of the sort has ever happened in US history. Strikeout, Liz.

Hundreds of January 6 protestors languish in jail for months, many in conditions befitting Soviet gulags: 23 hours/day locked down in their cells; denial of attorney and family visits; denial of phone calls; retribution for getting these conditions into the public eye.  Lacking medical care and good nutrition, and even suffering beatings. Most have families, none have criminal records. Biden officials call them “domestic terrorists”, but not a one has been charged with insurrection. Does Cheney ask about their treatment? No. Let them rot. Strikeout Liz.

Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chairman of the Committee (Cheney is Vice-Chair) supported a radical secessionist group responsible in the late 1960s for cop shootings and at least one officer murder. The group was found storing arms and explosives. He has never renounced this association. Cheney has never mentioned it, objected to it, or criticized him. He’s her valued ally because he hates Trump too. Strikeout, Liz

The Committee’s tactics are appalling, dishonest, vicious. Demanding documents from anyone remotely associated with President Trump (under threat of criminal indictments), it vacuums up private records of hundreds of innocent people. She and her Democrat colleagues know the man, so they will find the crime. Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) was caught altering text messages of Rep. Jordan – a felony offense in any jurisdiction other than the Sewer that Congress has become. While busy calling January 6 protestors terrorists, Pelosi refuses to release her communication records related to the security arragements for the Capitol for that day. Cheney says nothing. Strikeout, Liz.

Over two hundred years ago, President George Washington first invoked executive privilege, a doctrine repeatedly affirmed by the Supreme Court that protects former presidents from political prosecution following their term in office. That principle protected Dick Cheney’s vice-presidential records from partisan examination by his many enemies. Just as it should protect President Trump’s records and in the future, President Biden’s records. She doesn’t care about two centuries of valid precedent. She’ll burn it all down to “get Trump”. So what the heck, let’s sift through her dad’s records – we’ll find something there we can use against someone!

Attorneys trying to defend some of the accused “rioters” have asked for release of 14,000+ hours of video recordings collected within the Capitol during the event. These demands have all been denied under the ridiculous claim that the videos are classified information. The few hours of video released by the intervention of the courts show police allowing protesters to enter the Capitol, and protestors being brutally beaten in the tunnel entrance to the Capitol. The death of Roseanne Boyland, a “police riot”, was falsely described by the DC medical examiner as an “overdose”. Video shows her struck dozens of times by one police officer (he has been identified), using a hard stick or baton. She finally collapsed underneath a crowd packed in the tunnel. Witnesses who tried to help her say she was unconscious and was trampled to death. Will Cheney demand release of the thousands of hours of video? Or an investigation of Ms. Boyland’s death? Will she insist that defense attorneys have access to all those hours of video, giving them a reasonable chance to find exculpatory evidence for their clients? Nope. She does not care. Strikeout, Liz.

Cheney is at the center of abuse after abuse of rights, process, and the Constitution. Strikeout after strikeout.

The work of two diligent investigative reporters, Darren Beattie (Revolver News) and Julie Kelly (American Greatness), is destroying the false “insurrection” narrative. Now Cheney’s Committee claims they interviewed Ray Epps, whose name is now prominently in the news as an instigator of the riots. We are simply to accept their word that Epps is not a federal agent-provocateur. But no flip assurance from her or the dishonest Committee staff can answer the obvious question: how did Epps drop off the list of the “Most Wanted” January 6 protestors without being arrested like 700 other people? Her underhanded game is just about up. Mr. Beattie cleverly but accurately labeled January 6 as the “fedsurrection”. Cheney’s “insurrection” looks increasingly like a setup engineered by multiple federal agents in the crowd. If you trust her and her Committee to dispassionately seek the truth, you trust Iran’s leaders with nuclear bombs.

When Cheney appeared on the Wyoming scene in 2014, she passed out the book “Cowboy Ethics” at her early fundraising events. We still have a copy on our living room table. We assumed the book meant she lived by the principles in the book, the old “Code of the West” that demands strict integrity in one’s life, never betraying trust, and fair play. Now we know the book was a prop for her. She mouthed its principles to get elected, but in fact, she lives by the opposite code of corrupt Washington.

For five years, she deceived us and every Wyoming Republican, including her opponent Harriet Hageman. We all should have understood that someone who can raise hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars with a few phone calls, would harbor loyalty to DC interests, not to Wyoming voters. Research her resume – it couldn’t be more clear that she advanced through DC circles using the contacts of Daddy’s Little Girl. Now we find that she accepts funds from The Lincoln Project, a false-front “Republican” organization that has worked for years to undermine the Trump agenda. Stooping even lower, it turns out that our “warrior for the Constitution” accepted an award from a Chinese Communist-affiliated group.

Washington is not “the Swamp”. It is a putrid Cesspool. Dishonor and dishonesty permeate the Committee. Dishonor cloaks Liz Cheney. She was elected to bat for us, her constituents. Turns out she bats for the opposite team. She is the worst of Washington. Her dishonorable conduct demands her removal from office, public shaming, and her humiliating defeat.

*****

The article was first published by Wyoming.net and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest in Phoenix, December 2021 thumbnail

Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest in Phoenix, December 2021

By Ellie Fromm

Editors’ Note: The Prickly Pear welcomes this review by Ellie Fromm, a new citizen journalist and young patriot committed to the values we share as America-loving citizens: faith, family, a strong work ethic and devotion to liberty and individual sovereignty. Ellie represents the best in her generation who will lead this nation forward in the years and decades ahead and away from the progressive darkness and divisiveness that, for many, shrouds our political and cultural understanding of America.

Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest was was held in Phoenix, Arizona 12/18/21 – 12/21/21. AmericaFest is an event bent on inspiring and empowering young conservatives, especially those in Gen Z (born 1997-2012), to take back both our country and our culture. Turning Point USA spared no expense to create a truly inspiring event for attendees. Each day I looked forward to hearing the leaders of our movement speak and meeting other like-minded individuals. Seeing so many young conservatives there gave me hope. “U.S.A” chants were prominent, and being among so many patriots who stand for the flag at a time when kneeling for the flag is praised reminded me that many others my age are also extremely proud of our wonderful nation. At times I feel as if I am one of the few young conservatives fed up with the road our country is on. However, AmericaFest showed me that I am not fighting alone.

Hosted by Turning Point USA in Phoenix, Arizona, AmericaFest was an event for patriotic Americans, both young and old, from all over the States. 10,000 people from all 50 states attended this 4-day event. Speakers of the event include prominent conservative figures such as Kayleigh McEnany, Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump Jr., Charlie Kirk, Congressman Madison Cawthorn, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Senator Ted Cruz, Kyle Rittenhouse, and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. There were also concert performances by Lee Greenwood, Adam Doleac, Russell Dickerson, Dustin Lynch, RaeLynn, Brantley Gilbert, and DEEJAY SILVER.

I was not expecting the show Turning Point USA put on. I was expecting everyone to be sitting in a big hall listening to these speakers but certainly not 10,000 people to be in attendance. In reality, there were lights, confetti, fireworks, and audio and visual displays introducing each speaker all held in a concert hall. AmericaFest is the largest conservative multi-day event in history. Also, every morning we sang the national anthem and a speech by Ronald Reagan played with images highlighting America’s history showing on the screens. It was amazing and blew everyone away. Outside the exhibit hall where the speeches took place was ‘media row’, with live media such as Fox News and TPUSA LIVE. The liberals are typically making false claims against this event, but one undisputed fact is that Turing Point USA knows how to impress their attendees and put on a show.

Although Donald Trump did not speak at AmericaFest, Donald Trump Jr. did. It has been rumored within conservative circles that, someday, Don Jr. will run for President. With how he presents himself in the political sphere, I certainly think he will. However, he is not the only potential future presidential candidate who spoke. Congressman Madison Cawthorn came on stage with passion and integrity. He believes in America first, not China first, and genuinely cares about his fellow Americans. The fact that he works for the People, not the government, was repeated and made clear throughout his speech. Congressman Cawthorn may not know this yet, but he sounded and acted as a presidential candidate.

Being a 4-day event, many “counter-radical” statements, which are just plain common sense, were made, such as “only woman can become pregnant” and “boys and girls are different”. Are you absolutely and completely offended yet by conservatives preaching this basic biology? I’m not. Ask any girl who plays high school sports – the boys are always faster and stronger than a girl who puts in the same amount of effort and hours. This is because men and women are different and are created with different purposes in mind. The fact that these are controversial statements is ridiculous. This shows how out of touch the left is with reality. While the right wants to empower young people to stand for their country and their flag, the left seeks to turn them into a fearful mob who will destroy out of fear. Young conservatives are proud of their flag, display it proudly, and never apologize for it. The conservative party is now the party of “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. We refuse to be governed by fear.

Esther 4:14 says “Perhaps you were born for such a time as this” and this message was shared multiple times throughout the conference. Generally, when God is trying to send a message, He shares the same verse through many different materials and people to get his point across. For example, Kayleigh McEnany’s book on sale at the meeting is titled ‘For Such a Time as This’. Apparel was being sold with ‘born for such a time as this’ printed on them, and many speeches revolved around this verse. I believe God was sending a message to Gen Z about their role in the world and in finding purpose. It has not been easy for us having school canceled, losing friends over the COVID nonsense, sports being canceled, forced muzzling, and the fear the media has been shoving down our throats. I believe God is telling us He put us here for a reason, that we were born for such a time as this in America. The fact that we are all on this earth, at the same time, in the same country, and the same generation is a miracle in itself. This is no coincidence. I also think God put George Washington, William Bradford, and Abraham Lincoln on earth at their specific times for such times as they were facing. They were not a stroke of luck – they were a stroke of God. As written in the Bible, perhaps we were born for such a time as this.

A sense of community was present at AmericaFest, a sense that we will fight this regime together because no one fights alone. Yes, the speakers were the faces, but we are the movement to take back America. True American patriotism is alive. Gen Z will continue to defend not only American freedom but traditional American culture. We will fight to make this country even better for our future children than it has been for us. The greatest generation has set the bar high, but we will, and must, become the next greatest generation and save this country from self-destruction. The baton of liberty will be passed on, but only if we fight and NEVER LET UP. As the great Dr. Suess wrote, “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”. We care, and AmericaFest showed us that we cannot and should not wait any longer to take a stand.

Is Ukrainian Democracy Worth War With Russia To Save? thumbnail

Is Ukrainian Democracy Worth War With Russia To Save?

By Bradley Devlin

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is now under investigation for high treason. His predecessor was convicted for it. Is this unstable democracy worth risking war with Russia to protect? The answer is a resounding no.

Recently, Ukrainian authorities announced former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko under formal investigation for high treason, the same charge his predecessor was convicted of just two years ago. Does this sound like a kind of democracy worth shedding American blood to save?

The treasonous activity, according to Ukrainian officials, is his alleged material support of pro-Russia separatist forces in the Donbas. The investigation into the Ukrainian former President emerged from similar charges brought against Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian lawmaker in the For Life Party with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, for allegedly working with officials in Poroshenko’s administration to buy coal mines in the Donbas to finance separatist efforts. The For Life Party has denied any wrongdoing by Medvedchuk, who has spent the past six months under house arrest.

Poroshenko’s European Solidarity Party has also stood behind the former President. A statement from European Solidarity Party’s Oleksander Turchynov claimed that the allegations against Poroshenko were a fabrication from current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and would “turn into a farce just like all the previous ones.”

The allegations against Poroshenko are shocking, much less because he staked the precipice of his political career on taking back the Crimean Peninsula from Russia and quashing the separatists, whom he called terrorists and likened to Somali pirates, in the Donbas. During his tenure, Poroshenko ratcheted up Ukraine’s war in the Donbas to put the screws on Russia-backed separatists.

Poroshenko is now the second consecutive Ukrainian president to face accusations of high treason after leaving power. His predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, was convicted of high treason, among other crimes, in January of 2019 for his actions against the Euromaidan demonstrators and his capitulation to the Russian military that wanted to intervene to support him. His sentence, handed down in absentia because he still resides in exile in Russia, was 13 years in prison.

Yanukovych was ousted from power in February 2014 after violent clashes between Euromaidan demonstrators and Ukrainian police forces, which resulted in the deaths of well over 100 protestors and 18 police officers. The Euromaidan demonstrations broke out in the wake of Yanukovych’s decision to back away from the Association Agreement with the European Union after Russia gave the Ukrainians an economic ultimatum and Brussels refused to acknowledge the reality of the destabilizing unrest.

It’s easy to write off Yanukovych, an ethnic Russian, as another Putin puppet, as the western media and political establishment has since his ousting. But Yanukovych’s tenure is much more complex than his opponents would have you believe. An ethnic Russian himself, Yanukovych was elected in 2010 by getting just over one-third of the country’s vote, primarily from ethnically-Russian regions. Instantly, Yanukovych found himself between a rock and a hard place. His constituents from ethnically Russian areas were not as keen on furthering European integration as western Ukrainians were, and neither the Association Agreement nor a customs union deal with Russia had the support of a majority of Ukrainians. Yanukovych was expected to continue down the path of European integration and did for quite some time before the aforementioned ultimatum given to him by Putin.

Rather than recognizing the bind that Ukraine found itself in and that Yanukovych had successfully enacted a number of hotly-contested liberal reforms Brussels demanded with two-thirds majority support in the Verkhovna Rada, the E.U. continued to make big asks of Ukraine. One such demand was dialing back the criminal prosecution brought against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for abusing her power during a negotiation of a gas deal with Russia in 2009, which resulted in a seven-year prison sentence in 2011. The U.S. and a number of European countries, even Russia, suggested it was a political prosecution. Brussels claimed Ukraine jeopardized a trade agreement with the E.U. if it failed to release Tymoshenko from prison to receive medical treatment abroad. However, the Rada failed to pass a motion for Tymoshenko’s release.

The negotiations now laid in shambles, and though Yanukovych called for a trilateral negotiation between Ukraine, the E.U, and Russia, but Brussels refused. Thus, the Euromaidan protests, openly egged on by the United States and other western nations, continued to gain momentum, causing Yanukovych to turn to Russia in a last ditch effort to prevent further destabilization. The effort obviously failed.

Certainly, the western liberal establishment bears responsibility for Ukrainian democracy’s current shortcomings, where former leaders are summarily charged with high treason. The truth is that Ukraine is just another country our foreign policy blob destabilized so they could say they saved it sometime in the future. Now, the foreign policy establishment thinks that time has come, and wants us believe that protecting this democracy is worth risking a war with Russia, in which an untold number of American soldiers will die.

*****

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

Biden Admin Threatens COVID Funds over Arizona’s School Mask Mandate Ban thumbnail

Biden Admin Threatens COVID Funds over Arizona’s School Mask Mandate Ban

By Cole Lauterbach

Arizona has two months to let schools force mask mandates or risk losing its share of COVID-19 aid from the federal government.

In a letter from the U.S. Treasury Department sent to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office Friday, the Treasury reiterated its position stated in October 2021, warning that the state is using federal COVID-19 relief funds improperly and risks forfeiting part of the $4.2 billion the state received last year.

At issue is a $163 million Education Plus-Up Grant program Ducey announced on Aug. 17, 2021. These funds would be available to district and charter schools but only if they followed all state laws and remained open for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. Schools that return to remote learning would be disqualified.

“The Education Plus-Up Grant Program requires grantees to distribute funds to schools that do not require the use of face coverings. The COVID-19 Educational Recovery Benefit Program is available only to families if the student’s current or prior school requires the use of face coverings during instructional hours and on school property,” the letter said.

Ducey’s office said Friday morning that none of the $163 million had been spent, as it would only be distributed after the school completed the entire year in person.

The governor, fresh off of announcing his final budget proposal, responded to Friday’s warning from Washington DC.

“This letter is the latest example of a President that is completely out of touch with the American people,” Ducey said. “First, a failed attempt to mandate vaccines. Then, a complete disregard for the public safety and humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Now, attempting to rewrite rules around public dollars that will result in LESS funding to schools and kids – particularly in low-income communities.

“When it comes to education, President Biden wants to continue focusing on masks. In Arizona, we’re going to focus on math and getting kids caught up after a year of learning loss. We will respond to this letter, and we will continue to focus on things that matter to Arizonans. President Biden should do the same, and he can start by addressing the crisis at the border.”

U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Arizona, initially brought the matter to the administration’s attention in August.

“The state should be giving schools every possible resource to get children back in the classroom safely, not punishing them for following the science,” Stanton said in an Oct. 14 statement.

Fellow Rep. Reuben Gallego, a Phoenix Democrat rumored to be considering a challenge to U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over her refusal to end the filibuster, reacted to the letter Friday afternoon.

“Throughout this pandemic, [Ducey] has misused COVID-19 relief funds to further his own partisan agenda rather than help AZ families in need,” he tweeted. “I applaud [Treasury] for holding him accountable and urge our governor to finally put AZ families, students, and public health first.”

If Ducey doesn’t change the programs in 60 days, the letter said Treasury officials will begin to recoup funds they deem are being misused. The department said it would also withhold any funds that Arizona has yet to receive until the state is compliant.

According to the New York Times, Arizona has received nearly $1.2 billion of the total $4.2 billion it’s slated to receive in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act.

*****

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

World Health Organization: ‘No Evidence At All’ That Healthy Children, Adolescents Need Boosters thumbnail

World Health Organization: ‘No Evidence At All’ That Healthy Children, Adolescents Need Boosters

By Ryan Saavedra

The World Health Organization’s top scientist said during a media briefing on Tuesday that there is no evidence that healthy children and adolescents need booster shots and that the goal needs to be protecting specific vulnerable populations.

“The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying,” the W.H.O.’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said. “Those are our elderly populations, the immunocompromised, people with underlying conditions, but also health care workers because if a lot of health care workers get infected as we see now, they can be out sick and we don’t want them getting severely ill.”

“There’s no evidence right now that healthy children or healthy adolescents need boosters,” she added. “No evidence at all.”

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director for the W.H.O.’s health emergencies program, said they have not determined how many doses of the vaccine that they will say people need or how often people will need to get shots.

“I think people do have a certain fear out there that this booster thing is going to be like every two or three months and everyone’s going to have to go and get a booster,” Ryan said. “And I don’t think we have the answer to that yet.”

CNBC reported:

He said scientists may eventually redefine how many doses are required in the primary series of Covid shots. While most healthy people may need just two shots, he said the elderly or immunocompromised may need three or four.

Swaminathan’s and Ryan’s comments come roughly two weeks after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved booster shots for adolescents aged 12 to 17 amid the current surge in coronavirus cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant.

The remarks come as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has rapidly spread across the world, leading to a surge in cases while also appearing to not be as deadly as previous strains…..

*****

Continue reading this article at The DailyWire.

They’re Now Saying Lockdown Spending Erased Poverty thumbnail

They’re Now Saying Lockdown Spending Erased Poverty

By John Tamny

Some would say it’s the education system’s failings, but the view here is that confusion is a bullish signal of prosperity. Staggering amounts of it enable the kind of sloppy thinking that would be rather impolitic to express during times of relative desperation.

All of this and more came to mind while reading a Wall Street Journal account of the economic implications of the 2020 shutdowns. According to a cheery report on page A1, they “threatened to ruin Americans’ finances”, but “for many, the opposite happened.” Based on this summation, Congress has a magical ability to extract resources from somewhere else, not on planet earth. More realistically, for an individual to be bailed out some other individual must be bailed in, a lot or a little. Looking back to 2020, tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs amid political nailbiting that was remarkable even by Washington’s standards, not to mention the millions of businesses that saw their fortunes either severely impaired or erased altogether.

And then there were the rich. They account for the vast majority of Congress’s spending power, and spend Congress did to paper over its panic, and also to subsidize it. About the latter, does anyone seriously think lockdowns could have lasted two weeks let alone multiple months absent the long fingers of the national political class? The question pretty easily answers itself. After which, it should be said that a $2.9 trillion spending bill had to come from somewhere. In order for the finances of some Americans to be bolstered, the finances of others had to be shrunk. The others are consequential in this case, as they always are.

That’s the case because the Journal’s Rachel Louise Ensign comically informed readers that the “first two rounds of stimulus payments lifted 11.7 million people out of poverty.” Except that “stimulus payments” could never eradicate poverty. If they could, as in if spending money could break the scourge that is poverty, there wouldn’t have been anyone to lift out of poverty in 2020 to begin with.

More realistically, poverty is erased by economic opportunity either born of individual initiative, or work opportunities that are a consequence of capital formation that leads to businesses that need employees. Extra “stimulus payments” could never realistically lead to capital formation precisely because they’re “spending money” or helicopter drops of money. Translated for those who need it, no business is going to expand or attract investment for expansion based on a helicopter drop. What Ensign presumes to have pulled 11.7 Americans out of poverty did no such thing. It was fake, artificial, or insert your adjective here. For businesses to expand, they need savings.

All of which brings us to a worthwhile counterfactual: what if politicians had wisely done nothing in March of 2020? Some will scoff at the notion, but the people are the marketplace, and it’s rare that substitution of limited knowledge for that of the marketplace turns out well. It certainly didn’t in 2020. As even Ensign acknowledges, absent the shifting of wealth from one set of pockets to another set (bailing out by bailing in), the political reaction to the virus “threatened to ruin Americans’ finances.” Ok, so let’s imagine politicians going against type and not “doing something.”

If so, it’s not unrealistic to suggest a high number of Americans still lock down. As the New York Times reported in the teeth of the lockdowns, the states that locked down last (you know, the red states that don’t believe in science) were populated by people who were responding to the virus the most, and on their own. What was true in the U.S. was also true outside the U.S. Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal reported that while Angela Merkel was still downplaying the virus, shelves in German stores were bereft of masks and hand sanitizer.

Back to the U.S., without a political response Americans were to varying degrees going to lock down in total for months or more, stay home voluntarily for weeks on end, some were going to wear masks, some weren’t, and some were going to live their lives as they had before. Amen to 330 million different choices. Absent variety, and in particular variety of choice that rejects expert opinion, we’re blinded to what causes a virus to spread, what is the best or worst way to avoid illness, or perhaps to the reality that caution amid a rapidly spreading pathogen is of no consequence at all. Who knows?

What we know is that based on the variety of choices we Americans would have made on our own, savings for all too many of us would have voluntarily grown a great deal. Ensign reported on how “Savings, Debt Levels Strengthen for Many,” but that was going to happen regardless. People were scared. Force was superfluous on the matter of savings.

Of course, not all of us were going to morph into shut-ins. This would have been good for certain businesses. Likely operating with staffs that would have voluntarily shrunk (workers, like anyone else, have varying perceptions of risk), they would have adjusted to a lower-cost, lower-customer count interim. Not all would have survived, but business failure is the norm in the best of times. The main thing is that rather than having their decisions guided by the culture that gave us the Post Office and the DMV, businesses would have been free to innovate on their own.

All of which brings us to the others, as in the rich. A nothing response means they keep their trillions as opposed to being relieved of them. Brilliant. Talk about individuals who were going to spend less during self-imposed lockdowns. Imagine reduced “rich” spending combined with shorter political fingers. Imagine all the savings that would have been directed toward businesses and entrepreneurs.

In other words, imagine all the poverty that could have been erased in 2020 by reduced spending voluntarily arrived at, and that would have flowed directly to businesses and entrepreneurs in need of capital. Talk about poverty erasure. Ensign tiptoed around this truth but missed that spending could never be a cure for poverty. Only savings can be. Imagine if savings had been allowed to reach much greater, much more natural heights in 2020.

*****

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

Recent Breakthroughs in 2020 Election Probes Undercut Narrative that Legal Avenues Are Exhausted thumbnail

Recent Breakthroughs in 2020 Election Probes Undercut Narrative that Legal Avenues Are Exhausted

By Natalia Mittelstadt

Mounting evidence of irregularities and rigged rules has emerged through state and local investigations, court decisions, financial disclosure, and audits in the 14 months since the election.

More than a year after the disputed 2020 presidential election, a series of legal breakthroughs in the investigation of the electoral process in decisive swing states — including official inquiries, court rulings, audits and finial disclosures — has unfolded in rapid succession recently, even as election integrity opponents continue to insist that all legal avenues for questioning the outcome have long since been exhausted.

Interviewing former Trump senior economic advisor Peter Navarro about the election earlier this month, MSNBC TV host Ari Melber argued that the “outcome was established by independent secretaries of state, by the voters of those states, and legal remedies had been exhausted with the Supreme Court never even taking, let alone siding with, any of the claims that you just referred to.”

Melber’s assertion echoed a mainstream political and media narrative firmly in place since Donald Trump’s large Election Day leads over Joe Biden in key swing states evaporated over the course of the ensuing week, when The New York Times reported, “Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race.”

However, as Navarro and others have argued, many of the election integrity cases brought before courts were dismissed because they lacked standing. Out of 90 cases related to the 2020 presidential election, only 25 were decided on the merits, and 18 of those were won by Trump and/or the GOP party in the lawsuit.

In the 14 months since the election, abundant evidence of irregularities has emerged through audits, investigations, and court decisions — much of it surfacing within the past month.

In Pennsylvania this past week, for instance, a panel of judges ruled that Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro must comply with a subpoena seeking personal information of about 9 million voters from the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee investigating the 2020 general election and 2021 primary.

The Iowa-based firm Envoy Sage is reviewing the elections, and the Senate committee contended that the auditors needed voters’ driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers from the Pennsylvania Department of State to verify the identities of voters.

The court, however, did block the immediate release of the voter information, citing “a substantial factual question surrounding the federal protection requirements and the capability of the Senate Committee’s contracted vendor, Envoy Sage, LLC, to protect the infrastructure information.”

In December, a Pennsylvania judge ordered that Fulton County’s Dominion voting machines be sent to the state Senate for inspection this month, after Shapiro and Democratic acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenreid sued to prevent it. However, the state Supreme Court this past week temporarily blocked the inspection until the full court can consider it, according to KDKA, a local CBS affiliate……

*****

Continue reading this article at Just the News.

California District Pays Nearly $170k For Curricula Teaching Children To Become Leftist ‘Co-Conspirators’ thumbnail

California District Pays Nearly $170k For Curricula Teaching Children To Become Leftist ‘Co-Conspirators’

By Spencer Lindquist

This California school district isn’t just indoctrinating children, it’s teaching them how to be leftwing revolutionaries.

California’s Jefferson Elementary School District will be the first district in the United States to implement ethnic studies courses in all of their elementary and middle schools, and their new curriculum for this includes teaching children to become leftwing “co-conspirators.” The district’s curriculum that brings new state requirements for high school into the earliest grade levels was created by Community Responsive Education, a leftwing organization run by critical race theorists at San Francisco State University.

The district, which is located in Daly City, California, and serves roughly 6,000 students across ten elementary schools and four middle schools, has agreed to pay the organization nearly $170k in taxpayer money.

Public Dollars to Make Leftist ‘Co-Conspirators’

District documents note that the radical curriculum will be piloted in the 2021-2022 school year. It was presented by Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, a professor at San Francisco State University and the co-director of Community Responsive Education. The presentation was given during a school board meeting in July 2021 and began with a land acknowledgment that described the Ohlone people, not the United States, as the rightful stewards of the land that JESD is on.

Tintiangco-Cubales, who uses the pronouns “she/her” in addition to “siya,” a Filipino word that means both male and female, explained that she is “a settler, an uninvited visitor” on Ohlone land before going on to note that JESD is America’s first district that “is committed to rolling out Ethnic Studies in all of their middle and elementary schools.” In late 2021, California passed a state mandate that “ethnic studies” be taught in all public high schools.

The presentation explains that the curriculum is designed to “eliminate racism and other forms of oppression” by “creating, learning, listening, uncovering, and sharing of the his/herstories, experiences, and current conditions of those who have been racially marginalized, underrepresented, and/or silenced.”

The curriculum is divided into four different units, labeled “self,” “systems,” “social movements,” and “solidarity.” Each unit is accompanied by a corresponding set of “essential questions” and “enduring understandings.”

One such “enduring understanding” under the “self” unit reads: “Learning about our own identities and those of others allows us to become more empathetic and builds our capacity to go from being allies to co-conspirators/accomplices in the elimination of oppression.”

Teaching Kids America Is Inherently Evil

The second unit condemns America as institutionally racist and teaches children that white supremacy is entrenched in American systems such as education. The unit also indicts white people as the beneficiaries of racism, claiming that they use the system of white supremacy to maintain their “wealth, power, and privilege.” Additionally, students learn that “institutional racism is the way in which white supremacy continues to oppress non-white people.”

Children are then turned into ambassadors for critical race theory at the end of the unit when they are tasked with creating a public service announcement that “denounces systems that are oppressive,” which could, according to the curriculum, include American education systems if not America itself.

Directly after accusing America’s systems of being fundamentally racist and condemning white people as beneficiaries of racism who maintain white supremacy, teachers tell children how to mobilize and engage in “transformational resistance” in the third unit.

The unit focuses on social movements and blatantly aims to turn students into racially motivated leftist revolutionaries. Tintiangco-Cubales notes that special emphasis is placed on “the notion of transformational resistance.” Students are asked, “How do we build social movements to create change and impact society?”

The final unit teaches children how they can “pursue true liberation” through an understanding of “solidarity, liberation, collective action, intersectionality, and dismantling systemic oppression.” Children are also taught that “To achieve true liberation, we must actively and collectively work together to dismantle various systems of oppression (ie: institutional racism, white supremacy, etc.).”

Making Children Into Political Agitators

Students’ transformations into leftist activists are completed with their “solidarity praxis project,” where students create a campaign to address a problem in their community. Even the presentation’s imagery leaves no doubt regarding the curriculum’s intent. Each unit is introduced by a cartoon-esque flat art character holding a protest sign.

District Pays Nearly $170k For CRT Courses

Tintiangco-Cubales presented the curriculum on behalf of Community Responsive Education, an organization that offers “professional and curriculum development services for community organizations and educational institutions to begin or sustain the journey of becoming community responsive.”

At a meeting in February 2020, the district agreed to pay Community Responsive Education $40,000 in taxpayer dollars to facilitate the development of Ethnic Studies units and lessons to be piloted in Jefferson Elementary School District,” according to the meeting’s public records.

Then in August 2020, Jefferson Elementary School District unanimously approved a motion to pay the organization $28,502 for “services during the 2020-21 school year to facilitate the development of Ethnic Studies units and lessons to be piloted in Jefferson Elementary School District,” according to the school board meeting’s minutes.

The district also voted to pay Community Responsive Education an additional $100,000 “for Ethnic Studies Curriculum and Teacher Development for both Middle and Elementary school teachers beginning on July 1, 2021, until June 30, 2023” for a total of $168,502.

The concept of “community-responsive education” from which the organization draws its name, just like “culturally responsive education,” is effectively a rebranding of critical race theory. The curriculum from Community Responsive Education is predicated on a belief that U.S. institutions are defined by racism and that collective action must be taken to dismantle them, a core tenet of critical race theory.

Furthermore, CRE, just like CRT, takes the traditional Marxist dichotomy that pits the oppressed proletariat against the oppressive middle class and reapplies it to race, thereby designating moral value, victimhood, and collective guilt on people as a result of immutable characteristics.

A Dangerous Model for Extremists In Education

As America’s first school district to implement ethnic studies curriculum in all of its elementary and middle schools, Jefferson Elementary School District could have a significant influence on other ethnic studies curricula across California and America.

Without sacrificing any of the usual extremism inherent to CRT, this curriculum may mark a shift towards a more strategically oriented method of instruction. Rather than simply indoctrinating children with the beliefs of systemic racism, privilege, and oppression, this course is blatantly designed to create the next generation of extreme leftwing activists operating from these false premises.

This model will not be specific to Jefferson Elementary School District. In fact, a report from Parents Defending Education found that Community Responsive Education has a foothold in a variety of other school districts, including six others in California and one each in New York, Texas, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

A number of other California districts have also taken steps to indoctrinate children with CRT. One Bay Area school district promoted materials that told children to use witchcraft against people who say “all lives matter.” The Los Angeles Unified School District lied in claiming that CRT is not taught in its K-12 institutions despite hosting a critical race theorist who taught staff to “challenge whiteness” and inviting the director of UCLA’s Center for Critical Race Studies to give input on their ethnic studies curriculum.

This overt leftwing takeover of government schools has led some California parents to support a bipartisan campaign that would enshrine school choice and tether taxpayer dollars to students. Should it receive the required number of signatures and pass a vote, the initiative would allow parents to take their children — and their money — out of schools that prioritize indoctrination over education.

Neither school board President Clayton Koo nor Tintiangco-Cubales responded to requests for comment.

*****

This article first appeared in The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

What’s With the False Reporting, Inside Climate News? Polar Bears Are Doing Well thumbnail

What’s With the False Reporting, Inside Climate News? Polar Bears Are Doing Well

By H. Sterling Burnett

A Google News search of the phrase “climate change,” today turns up a story in Inside Climate News claiming polar bears are declining due to climate change. Nothing could be further from the truth. Data show polar bear numbers have grown significantly during the recent modest warming.

The story, “Warming Trends: Climate Threats to Bears, Bugs and Bees, Plus a Giant Kite and an ER Surge,” covered a lot of topics, not all of them related directly to climate change. The first section of the story, however, claimed later than usual freezing conditions in the Hudson Bay in 2021 threatened the polar bear populations there.

Inside Climate News writes:

The Hudson Bay in northern Canada froze up later than normal this year, delaying polar bears’ hunting season by two to three weeks, a nonprofit polar bear conservation organization found.

When the ice on the bay is thick enough, polar bears living in Hudson Bay migrate out onto the ice to hunt for seals.

Last year marked the second-latest freeze-up on record of the Hudson Bay, after 2010.

Contrary to what is implied in the Inside Climate News story, data show polar bear numbers across the arctic region and for most sub-populations have increased dramatically since the 1970s, during the period of modest warming. The increase has occurred despite waxing and waning sea ice extent and normal historical variation in freeze up dates.

Research presented in Climate at a Glance: Polar Bears shows polar bear populations have increased dramatically during recent decades as the planet has warmed, quadrupling since 1950s. Polar bear populations have risen from between 5,000 and 10,000 bears in 1950 to between 22,000 and 31,000, today based on an estimate of the Polar Bear Monitoring Group.

Polar Bear researcher Susan Crockford, Ph.D., puts the present number of polar bears even higher writing in her report, State of The Polar Bear Report 2020:

[A] plausible and scientifically defensible ‘best-guess’ estimate at 2018, extrapolated from ‘known’ to ‘unknown’ subpopulations within sea ice ecoregions …, would be about 39,000 (range 26,000-58,000), although a more pessimistic best-guess based on a greater variety of ecosystem traits (including prey diversity and sea ice cover) came out much lower, at 23,315 (range 15,972-31,212).

Polar bears evolved between 6 million years ago and 350,000 years ago, surviving and thriving in much warmer climate than today. Most recently, polar bears survived during the Holocene climatic optimum, from 9000 to 5000 years ago, which proxy data indicate was much warmer than at present.

Breaking the polar bear population numbers down by subpopulations, of which polar bear experts count 19 based on the different eco-regions they inhabit, 14 populations are best considered “presumed stable or increasing,” two subpopulations have “increased” or “likely increased,” and populations in three ecoregions are “stable or likely stable,” Crockford’s survey of the literature shows.

Inside Climate News restricts its reporting to the polar bear subpopulation in the Hudson Bay, saying Polar Bear International reports, in 2021, the ice did not form until early December which was the 2nd latest freeze-up since detailed records have been kept in the Hudson Bay. Yet in 2020, Crockford reports, “the freeze-up of sea ice on Western Hudson Bay came as early in the autumn as it did in the 1980s (for the fourth year in a row) and sea-ice breakup in spring was also like the 1980s; polar bears onshore were in excellent condition.” Annual fluctuations in the timing and extent of sea ice formation are normal.

Inside Climate News fails to distinguish between the Southern Hudson Bay and the Western Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulations. Crockford’s report indicates although seasonal polar bear populations declined in the Western Hudson Bay between 1987 and 2004, their numbers have stabilized since then. The seasonal Southern Hudson Bay sub-population has been stable at around 1,000 bears since the 1980s. Contrary to later forming sea ice representing a threat to polar bear survival and thriving, Crockford reports:

Primary productivity in the Arctic has increased since 2002 because of longer ice-free periods (especially in the Laptev, East Siberian, Kara, and Chukchi Seas, but also in the Barents Sea and Hudson Bay), but hit records highs in 2020; more fodder for the entire Arctic food chain explains why polar bears, ringed and bearded seals, and walrus are thriving despite profound sea ice loss.

Groups, like PBI, fundraising off of the threat climate change supposedly poses to polar bears, have been warning of an impending collapse in polar bear numbers for nearly three decades now. Their predictions are refuted by the measured increase in polar bear numbers. Polar bears are thriving amidst modest warming: a fact, Inside Climate News, if it were being honest, would be reporting.

*****

This article was published by the Climate Realism, a production from the Heartland Institute,  and is reproduced with permission.

Can Government Fix Their Messes? thumbnail

Can Government Fix Their Messes?

By Bruce Bialosky

There are two overriding issues in Los Angeles as there are in most cities – 1) crime and 2) people living on our streets under the misnomer “Homeless.” You may recall I have worked on clearing an encampment in Studio City, CA, as laid out in my column, The Homeless Are More Important Than We Are. The saga continued and unfortunately remains an issue complicated by layers of government.

The county supervisor’s office became aware that when you look up the words “junkyard dog” in the dictionary, a picture of me adjoins the definition. I kept driving the issue to rid the area of these dangerous squatters. In the interim, a criminal had jumped my neighbor’s high, spiked fence and started roaming their yard. When the police arrived, I had a wonderful discussion with them where they told me a series of break-ins had occurred and were tied to the squatters that the county government had condoned.

On another visit to the site, county personnel were there. I had a discussion with a couple of them that was quite illuminating. These were people who worked with squatters who are homeless all over the county. They knew this issue firsthand. They informed me the site was being cleared the following week. They also confirmed the rat infestation – something that naturally accompanies trash piles and people relieving themselves without proper facilities. They told me the LAPD statement about the burglaries was accurate.

Then they confirmed something I had suspected since digging into this issue many years ago. They stated that most of these people were neither local residents nor even state residents. They came to Los Angeles for two reasons. The first being the obvious one – the weather. The other one is because of all the free things they receive in the area. The city, county, and state are spending billions on resolving the Homelessness issue when what it is really doing is attracting more people through its services. 

I have said for a while there is a simple answer as to why this problem exists in our communities – tolerance. Our elected officials and their handpicked government wonks have a policy of tolerating this behavior, and we suffer the consequences. 

After the clearing of the site, I wrote Sheila Kuehl’s Local Director with a couple of questions:

  1. Are we fumigating for rats?  They were pervasive there.
  2. There appear to be some squatters just to the east of the lot. Are they being addressed?

This was the response I received:

“Thank you for your message. The County lot was completely cleaned and the people experiencing homelessness (PEH) on the lot housed as of Friday, December 17th. The adjacent property is the jurisdiction of the state. Our office has reported the condition of the site to Caltrans already. You are also welcome to connect with your state office to follow-up. In addition, if the PEH you are referring to are on the street, please contact your City of LA Councilmember. Please also note that due to LA County redistricting, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl no longer oversees the community of Studio City. I’ve cc’d people with the office of Supervisor Katherine Barger (Studio City County Supervisor). Please connect with them moving forward regarding the site and any other County matters.”

My response to this nonsense:

“If we don’t move those people they will move back onto the lot. Those people need to be moved off and they were caused by the county allowing the Park and Ride lot to become a host site. Telling me I must chase after other governmental entities is exactly why people do not get involved. It is a Freddie Prinze situation – “not my job.” Not an acceptable answer.The County caused this;the County needs to resolve this.”

The good part of this is Supervisor Barger is someone I worked with prior to her role as chief of staff for Mike Antonovich (in office for 36 years). The initial response of personnel in Barger’s office was less than loving so I sent a “Dear Mike” email to Antonovich, and he made a phone call for me. Instant response after that.

The director of the local office has personally visited the site. I had no confidence anyone from Kuehl’s office ever did. Unfortunately, they must coordinate matters with the state and local City Council office, but they are on the job.

Results are what we are looking for. A new encampment has moved just off to a side street. The two lots and the land in between look like a modified garbage dump. See for yourself with the accompanying photos recently taken.

It is unfortunate we must experience this. It is bad political leadership, but we put these people in office.  We are the ones that can force a change.

Unpacking Supreme Court Justices’ Reasoning in Vaccine Mandate Decisions thumbnail

Unpacking Supreme Court Justices’ Reasoning in Vaccine Mandate Decisions

By Sarah Perry Parshall and Paul Larkin

For nearly 100 million American workers waiting breathlessly for an answer, a Thursday Supreme Court decision delivered good news for many, although not all.

In a rare late-day release of opinions, the Supreme Court issued its rulings in a pair of federal vaccine mandate cases that went to the court on an emergency basis.

In the first case—anticipated to have applied to approximately 84 million employees—and by a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court in National Federation of Independent Business v. OSHA stayed the implementation of the vaccination mandate that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had issued in November 2021, requiring all businesses with 100 or more employees (with very limited exceptions) to direct their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask at work and provide weekly negative tests for the disease.

In an unsigned opinion, the majority concluded that the government was not likely to prevail on its argument that OSHA possesses the authority to issue the vaccination mandate. It wrote that neither OSHA nor Congress had ever imposed such a requirement and that, “although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.”

“As its name suggests,” the court explained, “OSHA is tasked with ensuring occupational safety—that is, ‘safe and healthful working conditions.’” That means OSHA is only empowered “to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures,” and according to the justices, “no provision of the Act addresses public health more generally, which falls outside of OSHA’s sphere of expertise.”

The court classified the COVID-19 virus as not an “occupational hazard,” but a “universal risk” that “is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, filed a concurring opinion. He emphasized that under the court’s “Major Questions Doctrine,” the court will not presume that Congress empowered an agency to resolve a question of broad economic or social policy without expressly authorizing in the statute’s text the authority to do so. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, he concluded, grants OSHA no such power.

Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented. Breyer concluded that because “COVID-19, in short, is a menace in work settings,” as proved by the number of people it has sickened or killed, OSHA could adopt a vaccination or mask-and-test requirement for businesses.

The Daily Signal’s parent organization, The Heritage Foundation (which had filed an application with the Supreme Court to halt the OSHA mandate), reacted to the news Thursday. Heritage President Kevin Roberts trumpeted the victory in a public statement, saying:

The federal government has no business dictating the private and personal health care decisions of tens of millions of Americans, nor does it have the authority to coerce employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. By striking down the Biden regime’s unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Supreme Court has signaled its agreement with this basic tenet of a well-functioning and free society.

While the OSHA mandate is stayed for now, litigation on the merits of the government’s employer vaccine rule will continue in the lower court (the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals).

In its second opinion of the afternoon, the court—in Biden v. Missouri, another unsigned opinion, but this time, by a 5-4 vote—allowed the Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccine mandate (administered through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for workers at federally funded health care facilities to take effect.

The court wrote that a global pandemic “provide[s] no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have.” It noted that as a condition of receiving federal funds, Congress authorized the secretary to promulgate such “requirements as [he] finds necessary in the interest of the health and safety of individuals who are furnished services in the institution.”

The court noted that it would be the “very opposite of efficient and effective administration for a facility that is supposed to make people well to make them sick with COVID-19.” It also concluded that the vaccine rule was not, as the states had claimed, arbitrary and capricious, and that the longer, more complicated notice-and-comment period as required by the Administrative Procedure Act (ensuring transparent rule-making from the federal government) would have been impossible.

Thomas, joined by Gorsuch, Alito, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, dissented, saying that the statutory provisions relied on by the government did not support its vaccine rule.

The justices noted that those provisions direct the “administration” of Medicare and Medicaid and are those that serve “the practical management and direction” of those programs, but there was no connection to that administration and a rule requiring “millions of healthcare workers to undergo an unwanted medical procedure that cannot be removed at the end of the shift.”

Thomas wrote that the government had a shaky foundation for its virtually unlimited vaccination through the Department of Health and Human Services, and if Congress had wanted to grant the agency the power to impose a vaccine mandate across all facility types and upset the state-federal balance (because only the state possesses the police power to mandate vaccination), it would have specifically authorized one.

In both cases, the question before the court was not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so.

For now—and until the litigation in the appellate courts below comes to an end—the answer is clear.

*****

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

Voting Rights and Wrongs in Georgia thumbnail

Voting Rights and Wrongs in Georgia

By Joseph Knippenberg

I’m usually glad that I live in Georgia, but this election season, not so much. Republican election officials have been charged with virtually every kind of “voter suppression” scheme under the sun, with claims being made by activists and Democratic candidates, repeated in the press (both local and national), and alleged in lawsuits. I would love to say that our political nightmare is over, with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams’ speech conceding that her Republican opponent Brian Kemp is legally entitled to occupy the governor’s office.

But not so fast: in her concession speech, Abrams was careful to distinguish between “legal” and “legitimate,” implying serious defects in both the laws governing elections in Georgia and in the ways those laws were administered. She also announced an organization—Fair Fight Georgia—to carry on her campaign. And yesterday, as she also promised she would do in her speech, Abrams filed a federal lawsuit alleging a host of constitutional and legal violations in the state’s conduct of the 2018 general election.

If that weren’t enough to prolong our electoral agony, since Georgia’s laws require runoffs between the top two contenders in the event that no one receives a majority of the ballots cast up to Election Day, we have to vote again by December 4th, when two statewide contests will be decided, one of them for the Secretary of State—the office at the center of all of our controversies. Christmas can’t come soon enough for this Georgia voter.

I wrote earlier this month about some of the deeper philosophical issues underlying our disputes—in Georgia and across the country—about voting. Here, I lay out some of the legal issues federal judges in Georgia have been asked to resolve in this election season.

There have been at least six separate lawsuits filed challenging various aspects of Georgia’s election laws and their administration. The first, Curling et al. v. Kemp et al., sought, rather late in the day, to force Georgia to exchange its aging touchscreen voting machines for voting technology that both is less easily hacked and provides a paper record of every vote. While Judge Amy Totenberg agreed with the alarming security concerns of the plaintiffs, she declined in her September 17th ruling to order the state to replace the old machines with paper ballots in an election where early voting was set to start in less than a month. The most immediate effects of the lawsuit were to raise questions about the administrative competence of the Secretary of State’s office, led by Brian Kemp, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, and to test the capacity of the state and local elections offices to deal with the blizzard of paper ballots that followed from the security concerns it raised. Indeed, encouraging absentee voting was one of the pillars of the Abrams campaign. What’s more, when local voting officials, out of an abundance of caution, restricted the number of touchscreen machines deployed on election day, some precincts were overwhelmed by the much higher-than-expected turnout.

The next case, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda v. Kempdealt with one aspect of Georgia’s “exact match” law, which requires that the information provided on voter registration forms be verified by comparison with records maintained by the Georgia Department of Driver Services or by the Social Security Administration. Whenever a voter registration application fails exactly to match these records, the applications are held as pending and applicants are notified and have 26 months to cure the defects. While much has been made of the “disparate impact” of this measure on minority voters, for the vast majority of those who have that status, the cure is as simple as showing up at one’s polling place with precisely the same kind of photo identification as is required of everyone else. Those whose pending status is due to there being no record of U.S. citizenship are required to present proof of citizenship at the polling place to a “deputy registrar.” Judge Eleanor Ross found that this requirement severely harmed the affected individuals’ right to vote and ordered the state to increase the number of officials to whom this proof could be shown. Once again, it is hard to regard the initial regulation as an intentional effort to suppress votes.

The next case is Common Cause Georgia v. Brian Kempwhere Judge Totenberg ruled on an issue arising from the treatment of provisional ballots, of which slightly over 21,000 were cast in the 2018 election, amounting to approximately 0.54% of all ballots cast. While it is impossible at the moment to say precisely why all these voters were required to vote with provisional ballots, the evidence available at the time (by November 12th) suggests that about 40% may have encountered issues with their registration and another roughly 40% showed up to vote in the wrong precinct. Judge Totenberg found that database glitches caused some consternation and difficulty for some voters. These difficulties were compounded by errors made by workers at polling places and at county boards of elections. Her order required county elections supervisors and the Secretary of State’s office to make every effort to ascertain the registration status of those voters who had to use a provisional ballot for that reason, and required the production of all the evidence required to assess the treatment of these provisional ballots for a hearing at a later date.

One day later (November 13th), Judge Leigh Martin May ruled in Martin, et al. v. Crittenden, et al.a case that follows an earlier oneMartin, et al. v. Kemp, et al. (October 24th). Both deal with the treatment of absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots. While the earlier case addressed signature mismatch issues, the later one dealt with a host of issues regarding the information voters are required to provide accompanying their absentee ballot. Judge May crafted a reasonable solution to problems that arose from signatures on absentee ballots or applications that didn’t match what the county had on file: voters were to be given prompt notice of the mismatch and offered an opportunity to cure the defect; no longer would counties be permitted summarily to reject these applications and ballots. This strikes a reasonable balance between the right to vote and concerns about ballot security and fraud that prompted the signature requirement in the first place. In the later case, the plaintiffs sought much more extensive relief than Judge May ultimately granted. Rather than agree that “so-called ‘immaterial errors or omissions,’ such as the failure to provide the voter’s year of birth, failure to sign the oath, or other clerical mistakes,” should not lead to the rejection of the ballot, she enjoined one large suburban Atlanta county from rejecting absentee ballots that did not have the voter’s correct year of birth supplied. Assuming that other information provided in the absentee ballot application or in the material accompanying the absentee ballot itself was sufficient for establishing the voter’s identity, she held that requiring the correct year of birth was superfluous. Perhaps it is, though I wonder if her assumption that the person who submitted the absentee ballot application is the same as the person who submitted the absentee ballot is entirely sound and justifiable. In any event, it is interesting here that the voting rights advocates could not convince a generally sympathetic federal judge that dispensing with almost all the informational gestures required of absentee voters was warranted by the Fourteenth Amendment. While they would have expanded ballot access almost entirely at the expense of ballot integrity and security, Judge May held the line.

Finally, in Democratic Party of Georgia v. CrittendenJudge Steve C. Jones extended the holdings of the two aforementioned Martin cases to every county in the state. In so doing, he agreed with Judge May in refusing the Democratic Party’s plea for more extensive relief. Furthermore, he turned back the Party’s request that people who sought to vote in the wrong county be treated the same way as those who sought to vote in the wrong precinct within a county. He accepted the defendant’s claim that the state’s compelling interest in preventing election fraud justified rejecting out-of-county provisional ballots as a “’reasonable, nondiscriminatory restriction’ upon the right to vote.”

I don’t know how many times I have read or heard the litany of complaints regarding “vote suppression” in Georgia. Having read all these rulings, here’s what I am led to conclude. Georgia’s inattention to modernizing its voting technology produced problems in 2018, largely because local voting officials were unprepared for the unprecedented increase in turnout fueled by a very effective Stacey Abrams voter registration and get out the vote effort, not to mention the countermobilization (at least outside Georgia’s metropolitan areas) organized by the Brian Kemp campaign. No federal judge has yet found anything wrong with the laws governing voting in Georgia, though some administrative practices were found wanting. While voting rights advocates and the Democratic Party wanted to make it as easy and convenient as possible for voters to cast their ballots, the federal judges for the most part took seriously state concerns with the security and integrity of the election.

*****

This article was first published in Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

In Praise of Kyrsten Sinema thumbnail

In Praise of Kyrsten Sinema

By Neland Nobel

It is likely that Senator Sinema and yours truly would have significant policy differences. She remains in a political party that has drifted so far leftward that sensible people like Sam Nunn and Joseph Lieberman would not be welcome. That she remains with such a party would indicate that she still generally agrees with its agenda but apparently not all its tactics. Therefore, she is likely not an ideal Senator for a right of the center state.

In her Senate speech provided in the video section, she repeats baseless charges that two Democrat impeachment proceedings against President Trump were to protect our Constitution (not a plot hatched by Hillary Clinton) and the January 6th riot was “an insurrection”, while not mentioning a peep about Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots that gripped the country for more than six months. She says she is in favor of the John Lewis Act, which would federalize our elections, which are a state function.

It is hard to know if this was just necessary verbiage to prove her liberal bona fides, or whether she really believes these things.

Why then should be praised?

Because despite her lip service to the Progressive agenda, she knew full well that her vote would stop the left-wing pendulum from swinging further. The speech then needed to say to Democrats that she is still one of them, but feels the extremism of the party is out of control. Both she and Senator Manchin know full well their two votes stand in the way of the Progressive juggernaut and both have chosen to stand on conviction.  She knew it effectively guts substantial parts of the Biden agenda and slows down their desperate attempt to ram through Constitution changing legislation before the mid-term election. She went ahead and did it anyway.

Thank you Senator Sinema for your common sense and historical perspective.

She seems to have a sense of decency about her and a sensible view of what government can and should do. She knows that America was never designed as a popular democracy. It is a representative democracy or more properly, a republic. She seems to appreciate how badly divided the country is now and would like to do some healing that President Biden promised to do.

Majority rule can be tyrannical and the Founders knew it. She seems to know it as well and respects the wisdom of the separation of powers. Although the filibuster is not part of the Constitution, it serves in much the same spirit as the separation of powers, a governor on the passions of factions.

Since the direct election of Senators a century ago made the Senate more like the House, important changes in the governing structure of the country should require more than just a one vote majority in both Houses, but instead, a substantial consensus before legislation is passed.  This forces all groups to negotiate with each other rather than ram through legislation with the thinnest of margins.

In her remarks upholding the Senate filibuster, she recognized the Senate was supposed to be the deliberative body further from the passions of the immediate than the House. The Senate is supposed to balance the House, not imitate it. She respects the Senate and its crucial function of buffering extreme legislation by forcing opposing parties to seek compromise and consensus.

She deserves praise for her courage. Reading what other Democrats are saying about her is disturbing; calling her a “traitor”, a white supremacist, and racist, must be hurtful. She is being harassed by left-wing activists that interrupt her personal time at a wedding and these zealots even had the temerity to follow her into the bathroom. You can bet with assurance she is being pressured by the Progressive press and party leadership. That she is willing to take these extremists on for the sake of conviction is commendable.

They thought their bare knucke tactics would break her. So far, they have not. Good for her.

The timing of her recent remarks cannot be just accidental. Coming just after President Biden gave one the most vicious and divisive speeches perhaps ever for a President, it seemed to be her answer to him.  

Peggy Noonan, a reliable Trump critic at the Wall Street Journal called the speech “aggressive, intemperate, not only offensive but meant to offend.” Indeed, it was uncommonly low demagoguery, even for a Progressive. More than rhetorical flourishes, Biden has turned the Department of “Justice” and the FBI lose on political opponents, sort of secret police to enforce views that object to Black Lives Matter or want to say something to their local school board. It is one of the most frightening developments one can contemplate.

He compared all that disagreed with his agenda to insurrectionists, enemies of the state, white supremacists, and compared his Republican opponents to famous bigot Democrats such as Jefferson Davis, Bull Connor, and George Wallace.

Senator Sinema’s message was one of bringing the country together not tearing it apart. She knows that many Arizonans that are not Democrats are in fact decent people who just happen to have a different point of view.

One wonders if the Progressive wrath that has been set loose on herself has served to be a kind of epiphany to her. She has been on the receiving end of their bullying tactics and has seen the ugly underbelly of her party, and she has rightly become concerned and horrified.

She should be praised for her modesty.  In her remarks, she acknowledges that while she was selected as Senator and hired to make judgment calls on arcane legislation, she still has an important function to represent her constituents. It is not all about her, it is about listening to others and representing the broad spectrum that makes up the state of Arizona. She knows most Arizonans do not want the filibuster to be abandoned and moderates and conservatives accused of being domestic terrorists.

She apparently listens beyond her party leadership and the echo chamber of the left-wing press.  That is a good trait.

Today, it seems most political leaders pay lip service to this representative function, except when they approach election time. Then suddenly they recognize “we the people”, instead of “we the lobbyists” or “we the party”. Since she is not up for immediate election, that she would think of actually representing the views of her citizens, is refreshing. It indicates she really believes in that important responsibility and it is not just posturing.

What a contrast she is to our other Senator, Mark Kelly, who is silent as a fence post as his party labels all political opponents as terrorists.  As a former fighter pilot and astronaut, you would think he would be a tough guy, but the Senator with courage from Arizona is a tough gal.

To be sure, she will likely continue to vote for the Administration’s nominees for important posts, and will also likely vote largely with her party on legislation as she has in the past. Therefore, she will continue to disappoint those more conservative than she is. She is, after all, a Democrat.

But it seems only fair to praise her for her courage and conviction. She is standing tall right now. And she is doing so with some of the nastiest and most ruthless people hounding her around the clock. She could have caved in but she didn’t.

She also likely knows a lot more about the political pulse of Arizona than Clueless Joe Biden. She knows the next election cycle will be a disaster for Democrats. She not only is more moderate than Biden, but she is also a far smarter politician.

Bully for her. Meanwhile, if she ever wants to change her political philosophy and switch parties, I am sure she could be accommodated.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling On Vaccine Mandates Is Frighteningly Weak thumbnail

The Supreme Court’s Ruling On Vaccine Mandates Is Frighteningly Weak

By Margot Cleveland

Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh both acquiesced in the Biden Department of Health and Human Services’ power grab.

It’s long been axiomatic in the legal profession that tough facts make bad law. Yesterday’s forked decisions from the Supreme Court in two vaccine mandate cases now add a corollary to that principle: Quick cases make milquetoast opinions.

The Supreme Court heard the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Medicare/Medicaid mandate cases in tandem on an expedited basis last Friday. Although court observers expected lightning-fast decisions, the opinions in National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor and Biden v. Missouri didn’t drop until Jan. 13.

The high court issued both decisions as per curium, or “by the court,” unsigned opinions, with a 6-3 majority staying the OSHA de facto vaccine mandate in National Federation and a 5-4 majority in Biden v. Missouri allowing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ rule requiring vaccines for medical facility workers to take effect. Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh switched sides to join the court’s leftist members in the Medicare/Medicaid case, with Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito issuing separate dissents joined by Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch in Biden v. Missouri.

In National Federation, the six-justice majority entered a stay to prevent OSHA’s “emergency temporary standard,” requiring employers with 100 or more employees to either compel their employees to become vaccinated or to test weekly for Covid and wear masks at work, from going into effect. The court concluded that­ the employers, states, and other entities and individuals challenging the rule were “likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Secretary lacked authority to impose the mandate.”

The nine-page majority opinion methodically detailed the backdrop to the Biden administration’s OSHA work-around and the procedural history. That saw the case going from the Fifth Circuit, where the federal appellate court had stayed the rule, to the Sixth Circuit, where after all of the cases challenging the rule were joined the Cincinnati-based court removed the stay.

After laying out these details, the National Federation court then analyzed the rule at issue and concluded that the challenge to OSHA’s emergency vaccine mandate was likely to succeed because the federal agency “lacked authority to impose the mandate.”

While correct, the majority opinion said little of matter. Yes, “administrative agencies are creatures of statute” and “have only the authority that Congress has provided.” And, no, in passing the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, Congress did not plainly authorize OSHA “to order 84 million Americans to either obtain a COVID–19 vaccine or undergo weekly medical testing at their own expense.”

Merely adding that OSHA’s rule was “no ‘everyday exercise of federal power,’ but “instead a significant encroachment into the lives—and health—of a vast number of employees” that required Congress to “speak clearly” provided little upgrade to the opinion: Given the breadth of the overreach and the offense to our constitutional republic, passion was required, not pedanticism.

Justice Gorsuch’s concurrence, joined by Justices Thomas and Alito, dabbled more directly in first things, from the separation of powers to federalism to self-governance.

“There is no question that state and local authorities possess considerable power to regulate public health,” Gorsuch began, before stressing that “the federal government’s powers, however, are not general but limited and divided.” Thus, the federal government must both “invoke a constitutionally enumerated source of authority” and “act consistently with the Constitution’s separation of powers.”

On this latter point, Gorsuch provided a much-needed exposition. Article I of the U.S. Constitution provides that “the national government’s power to make laws” belongs “with the people’s elected representatives.” If Congress seeks to provide its legislative powers to unelected officials, Justice Gorsuch continued, it must do so clearly and purposefully.

“But the Constitution imposes boundaries here,” he stressed, for “if Congress could hand off all its legislative powers to unelected agency officials, it ‘would dash the whole scheme’ of our Constitution and enable intrusions into the private lives and freedoms of Americans by bare edict rather than only with the consent of their elected representatives.”

Called the non-delegation doctrine, it prevents “government by bureaucracy supplanting government by the people,” Gorsuch wrote, quoting the late Justice Antonin Scalia, before stressing the importance of that principle to the case at hand: If OSHA had the power to mandate vaccines or testing, as it asserted, “that law would likely constitute an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority.”

Sadly, Gorsuch’s concurrence could not garner the agreement of the majority of justices, leaving the bland opinion put forth for the court in National Federation to control.

The real tragedy came, however, in the companion case of Biden v. Missouri. That case was argued the same day, but with the Supreme Court ruling on Jan. 13 that the Department of Health and Human Service’s vaccine mandate for medical facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding could go into effect.

While at first blush the cases seem substantially different, with National Federation concerning an emergency rule issued by OSHA and Biden v. Missouri addressing a mandate applying only to recipients of federal Medicare and Medicare funds, at the core the cases involve identical concerns: Whether Congress did, or could, grant unelected bureaucrats such broad power over Americans.

Unlike the National Federation case, in Biden v. Missouri, Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh both acquiesced in the Department of Health and Human Services’ power grab, based on “a hodgepodge of provisions.” Justice Thomas exposed that reality in his dissent, which Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett joined.

The mandatory vaccination rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) failed to find statutory support in the governing statutes, Justice Thomas explained. While Congress authorized the CMS to “publish such rules and regulations . . . as may be necessary to the efficient administration of the [agency’s] functions,” and to “prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the administration of the insurance programs,” the vaccine mandate has no more than a “tangential” connection to the management of Medicare and Medicaid, Thomas wrote.

Nor did the various random statutory provisions grant HHS the authority to “require[] millions of healthcare workers to choose between losing their livelihoods and acquiescing to a vaccine they have rejected for months,” Justice Thomas explained, before stressing: “Vaccine mandates also fall squarely within a State’s police power, and, until now, only rarely have been a tool of the Federal Government. If Congress had wanted to grant CMS authority to impose a nationwide vaccine mandate, and consequently alter the state-federal balance, it would have said so clearly. It did not.”

‘Today, however, most federal law is not made by Congress. It comes in the form of rules issued by unelected administrators.’

Congress’s failure to expressly authorize the CMS to mandate vaccines at Medicare- and Medicaid-funded facilities represented but one of the problems with the rule. Justice Alito, in a separate dissent joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Barrett, added to the analysis a discussion of CMS’s failure to comply with the notice-and-comment mandates Congress established before agencies could promulgate regulations. That violation, Alito explained, doomed the vaccination mandate because there was no “good cause” to sidestep those requirements.

In finding the CMS violated the notice-and-comment rule, Alito stressed, as did Gorsuch in his National Federation concurrence that, “under our Constitution, the authority to make laws that impose obligations on the American people is conferred on Congress, whose Members are elected by the people.”

“Elected representatives solicit the views of their constituents, listen to their complaints and requests, and make a great effort to accommodate their concerns,” Justice Alito continued, noting, “today, however, most federal law is not made by Congress. It comes in the form of rules issued by unelected administrators.” Under these circumstances, then, the notice-and-comment period proves indispensable, Alito explained—unless, that is, you are the Biden administration.

The Biden v. Missouri dissents, however, did not go far enough. The same separation of powers problems plaguing the OSHA regulation apply equally in the context of the CMS rule. Yet the dissenting justices gave short shrift to those concerns.

The question is, why? Also, why did Gorsuch’s concurrence in the OSHA case only garner three votes, including his own? Was it the procedural posture of the case: A hearing not on the merits but on the propriety of a stay? Was it the time crunch? Was it a desire for more detail and nuance?

Or was it because reaching a truly conservative five-justice majority is as elusive as an end to this pandemic?

*****

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

Biden Brings Us Record Inflation, It Impacts Your Taxes Too thumbnail

Biden Brings Us Record Inflation, It Impacts Your Taxes Too

By Gary Polland

Inflation rages due to runaway Federal spending by Joe Biden and his Democrat allies. John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics uses the numbers based on how CPI was calculated from 1980 and 2017 (real numbers), before the politicians took out a number of factors that results in the understatement of inflation.

For 2021, actual inflation rate was 15%. It does not just result in higher prices, but inflation also drives your taxes higher.

Here is a list of federal taxes not indexed for inflation:

1. Mortgage debt cap to which interest is deductible1.

2. Exemption for sale of a home

3. State and local tax deduction

4. Deductions for capital losses

5. Thresholds for the 3.8% surtax on net investment income

6. Threshold for paying taxes on Social Security payments, not adjusted since

1994!

7. No adjustment for inflation’s impact on investment income

*****

This article was published in Texas Conservative Review, and is reproduced with permission.

The Consequences of Obsessive Category Disorder thumbnail

The Consequences of Obsessive Category Disorder

By Craig J. Cantoni

In the name of diversity, America’s racial classifiers obliterate diversity.

Long ago, long before the diversity movement and the sprouting of departments of diversity and inclusion in academia, government, media, and industry, I lived in a San Antonio barrio, where my friends and neighbors who were Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans, referred to themselves as “Mexican,” and where I referred to myself as “Italian.”

Since then, I’ve lived in Phoenix for 30 years and am now living in Tucson, where Mexicans still refer to themselves as Mexicans, unless they’ve had the misfortune of being miseducated in college and/or working as a programmable automaton in Big Media, Big Academia, Big Business or Big Government. 

In these big institutions of conformity and appalling ignorance of history and anthropology, Mexicans are agglomerated with other distinctly different nationalities and ethnocultural groups and plastered with the labels of “Hispanic,” “Latino,” or the latest linguistic monstrosity of “Latinx.”

This labeling is done by people who see themselves as educated, enlightened, and open-minded, but prove otherwise in their thoughtless parroting of utterly ridiculous “racial” concoctions. (The penultimate word in the preceding sentence is in quotes because today’s racial categorization is mostly anti-science, in that it has little basis in evolutionary science, genetics, or anthropology.)

Inanity, and possible insanity, also can be seen in the other “racial” labels that have become the lingua franca of those with a pathological need to reduce the rich diversity of the nation and the world to six categories that are an incongruous mix of skin color and geographic origin. In addition to the official and specious category of Hispanic are the official and specious categories of White, African American, Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander.

Given current trends, it may come to pass someday that people will be required to wear their assigned label on their backside, like a bumper sticker for humans.  

I’ll return to the other catch-all categories momentarily but will first finish the discussion on Hispanics (aka Latinos, Latin Americans, or Latinx).

The word “Latinx” was masterfully ridiculed in a December 19, 2021, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. I can’t do a better job than the op-ed and letters in exposing the silliness of such nouveau terms as “Latinx,” so I won’t try; but I will mention some facts about Latin America apparently not known by those inflicted with Obsessive Category Disorder, or OCD.

One fact is that an estimated 30 million people of Italian descent live in Brazil, which is the largest country by population in Latin America. To that point, here are questions for those with OCD:  How should these Italian Brazilians be classified—as Hispanic, White, Latino, Latinx, or Latin American? And for the millions of Italians who have intermarried with black, Spanish, and indigenous Brazilians, are their offspring considered to be people of color, and if so, what color? (If you’re not sure what color is produced from mixing the colors of olive, black, brown, beige, and white, you can call a color expert at Sherwin-Williams or your local hardware store.)

Even miseducated college graduates might know enough to understand that the Romance languages spoken in Latin America have their etymological roots in the Latin language, which is how Latin America got its name. (Given that I studied Latin for four years in high school, I’m an honorary Latin American.)

Another explanation for how Latin America got its name can be found in the wonderful work of history, The Last Emperor of Mexico, by Edward Shawcross. Unfortunately, directors of diversity and inclusion won’t read the book, because it’s three standard deviations above the average IQ for the “profession.”

Anyway, Shawcross explains that in the 1850s, under the reign of Napoleon III, French thinkers invented the term “Latin America” to rally southern Catholic peoples against a feared onslaught from northern Protestant peoples. He goes on to write, “Soon after a French journalist used it in print in 1856, a Columbian living in Paris wrote a poem warning that the Anglo-Saxons, as he referred to the United States, were the mortal enemies of Latin Americans.”

This dovetailed with a belief of Catholic monarchs that due to cultural and historical differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, Anglo-Saxon nations were better suited to democracy and liberalism while Latin nations were better suited to monarchies. In turn, this became a pretext for French, Spanish, and Habsburg monarchs, who, fearing republicanism and American hegemony in the New World, to attempt to recreate their own hegemony, by taking the side of Mexican rebels who wanted to overthrow the fledgling Mexican republic and restore the monarchy.

On a personal note, although I am not an Anglo-Saxon Protestant or an apologist for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and colonialism, I’ve long held that the parts of the Americas where Latin-Catholic culture is more dominant than Anglo-Saxon-Protestant culture are less free, less prosperous, and less liberal, in the classical sense. This also applies to certain parts of the United States, which I won’t identify here, because it’s too easy to be misunderstood without writing a long dissertation on the subject.

Having covered the official category of Hispanic, let’s turn now to the other official categories of White, African American, Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander. As with the Hispanic category, those inflicted with OCD have reduced a large number of distinct nationalities and ethno-cultural groups to this handful of categories. Then, in violation of equal rights and equal opportunity laws, they discriminate against those in the concocted White category, and more recently, against those in the concocted Asian category, in college admissions and in hiring and promotions, in the name of diversity and inclusion.

Note the incongruous and inconsistent way that the categories are organized. Only one of the categories, the White category, refers to skin color. The rest refer to the geography of origin: Africa for African Americans, Asia for Asians, the Americas for Native Americans, the Pacific Islands for Pacific Islanders, and Europe’s Hispanic Peninsula, or the Iberian Peninsula, for Hispanics. The only exception is when African-American category is called the Black category.

Whoever coined these categories should be arrested for committing a crime against the field of anthropology. The crime has resulted in absurdities, in people having their heritage overlooked or insulted, and in much political mischief.

Take the Asian category, where scores of unique nationalities and ethnocultural groups are lumped together as if they are homogenous. 

To see firsthand how absurd this is, try convincing Filipinos and Koreans that they are the same as the Japanese. Or, following the lead of corporations, appoint a Han Chinese or East Indian Hindu to a board of directors or senior management position to represent all peoples who hail from Asia, including Uyghurs, Mongolians, Eastern Russians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, and many others.

This is as ridiculous and insulting as believing that Boston Brahmins or the Pilgrims or the Chesapeake Bay colonists were no different from my poor Italian ancestors or the ancestors of Albanian Americans, Iranian Americans, Jewish Americans, Walloon Americans, and so on for hundreds of other groups force-fitted into the White category and stereotyped as privileged, bourgeois, racist, and oppressive.  Yes indeed, that certainly describes my immigrant grandfather, who worked as a coal miner in southern Illinois; or my wife’s grandfather, who worked as a field hand in the oil fields of western Pennsylvania.

To circle back to the subject of diversity on corporate boards, a board would need thousands of directors to represent all of the world’s peoples. To get an idea of how many peoples there are, go to the following link, scroll through the list of ethnic groups that come up, and click on the names of the various ethnic groups to get the names of the sub-groups within each one.

Only those with Obsessive Category Disorder can believe that they are furthering racial enlightenment and diversity by obliterating this rich diversity and by using such fatuous words as “Latinx”.

Military Documents About Gain of Function Contradict Fauci Testimony Under Oath thumbnail

Military Documents About Gain of Function Contradict Fauci Testimony Under Oath

By Editorial Staff

  • Military documents state that EcoHealth Alliance approached DARPA in March 2018 seeking funding to conduct gain of function research of bat borne coronaviruses. The proposal, named Project Defuse, was rejected by DARPA over safety concerns and the notion that it violates the gain of function research moratorium.
  • The main report regarding the EcoHealth Alliance proposal leaked on the internet a couple of months ago, it has remained unverified until now. Project Veritas has obtained a separate report to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, written by U.S. Marine Corp Major, Joseph Murphy, a former DARPA Fellow.
  • “The proposal does not mention or assess potential risks of Gain of Function (GoF) research,” a direct quote from the DARPA rejection letter.
  • Project Veritas reached out to DARPA for comment regarding the hidden documents and spoke with the Chief of Communications, Jared Adams, who said, “It doesn’t sound normal to me,” when asked about the way the documents were buried.

[WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jan. 10, 2022] Project Veritas has obtained startling never-before-seen documents regarding the origins of COVID-19, gain of function research, vaccines, potential treatments which have been suppressed, and the government’s effort to conceal all of this.

The documents in question stem from a report at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, which were hidden in a top-secret shared drive.

DARPA is an agency under the U.S. Department of Defense in charge of facilitating research in technology with potential military applications.

Project Veritas has obtained a separate report to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense written by U.S. Marine Corp Major, Joseph Murphy, a former DARPA Fellow.

The report states that EcoHealth Alliance approached DARPA in March 2018, seeking funding to conduct gain of function research of bat-borne coronaviruses. The proposal, named Project Defuse, was rejected by DARPA over safety concerns and the notion that it violates the basis gain of function research moratorium.

According to the documents, NIAID, under the direction of Dr. Fauci, went ahead with the research in Wuhan, China and at several sites across the U.S.

Dr. Fauci has repeatedly maintained, under oath, that the NIH and NAIAD have not been involved in gain of function research with the EcoHealth Alliance program. But according to the documents obtained by Project Veritas which outline why EcoHealth Alliance’s proposal was rejected, DARPA certainly classified the research as gain of function.

*****

Continue reading this article at Project Veritas.

Some Timely Satire: No Left-Wing Extremists in the US thumbnail

Some Timely Satire: No Left-Wing Extremists in the US

By Craig J. Cantoni

Judging by media coverage, there are only right-wing extremists.

Groucho Marx said that he didn’t want to be a member of any club that would have him. To paraphrase the comedian, I don’t want to be a member of any political tribe that would have me, especially not the control freaks who want to remake America into their extreme image and subjugate me and my loved ones and take our stuff and constitutional rights.

Thankfully, there are no longer any extremists on the left for me to guard against—at least according to the mediaExtremists only exist on the right.

That explains why the pejorative “right-wing” is used in the media ten times more or so than “left-wing.” It also explains why there has been an avalanche of stories about the threat of right-wing extremists and white supremacists and no stories about left-wing extremists and white Marxists.

One can only conclude that there is no one on the left like the Arizonan who, along with other numbskulls, stormed the Capitol wearing an animal skin and Viking horns—a freak who made me ashamed to be an Arizonan.

The unbathed, scraggly rioters in Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, and other cities must’ve been on the right, despite their claim that they were Antifa, or anti-fascists, because extremists are only on the right. 

Being learned people with an exceptional knowledge of history, the Antifa no doubt knows that the right is often the left, and vice versa. Journalists certainly know this, considering that they are even brighter and more versed in history than the Antifa, due to having a degree in the toughest major in college next to an education major.

Here’s a quick history lesson for the unlearned who don’t have the intellect of Antifa or journalists: The word “fascism” got its name in Italy from the bundle of sticks called “fasci,” a symbol of the collective nature of Benito Mussolini’s fascism. As with Hitler’s National Socialists, fascism was a combination of nationalism and socialism. The fascists may not have owned the means of production, but they didn’t have to, because they controlled the capitalists, which is the dream of control freaks like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Elizabeth Warren.

Are AOC and EW right-wingers?

More history: Starting with the Progressive Era in the early twentieth century and continuing for a few decades, white eugenicists led the powerful eugenics movement, which had the mission of stopping undesirables from reproducing, through forced sterilization and other measures. They called themselves progressives but must’ve been right-wingers in disguise, because progressives would never have resorted to such an abuse of government power.

Likewise, President Woodrow Wilson, a former Ivy League academic, called himself a progressive but must’ve been a right-winger. After all, no one on the left would’ve passed the Sedition Act and arrested reporters for speaking out against American soldiers being slaughtered in the First World War. Similarly, no one on today’s left would cancel people or get them fired for exercising their First Amendment right of free speech.

Senator Joe McCarthy was indeed a right-winger (and a drunk). He was so extreme that he went after lovey-dovey Kumbaya Americans who wanted to turn America into a Communist paradise like the Soviet Union and Red China, which, combined, starved and executed tens of millions of people. He is so vilified for what he did that the word “McCarthyism” is synonymous with “right-wing extremism.” Funny thing, though, the word “Wilsonism” or “eugenicism” did not enter the political lexicon as being synonymous with “left-wing extremism.”

All of this shows that the left is smarter than the right. Progressives and their fellow cadres in the copycat media have commandeered the language to their advantage and convinced America’s youth that the only threat to their freedom and well-being comes from the right.  

Speaking of right, Groucho Marx was indeed right. Americans should not want to be a member of a political tribe on either the right or left that harbors extremists, even if the tribe would have them.