CFACT squares off with JP Morgan CEO at shareholder meeting thumbnail

CFACT squares off with JP Morgan CEO at shareholder meeting

By Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow

CFACT’s Greg Neff directed a pointed question to CEO Jamie Dimon at a shareholder meeting on Thursday, May 23, taking aim at JP Morgan’s involvement with the “Net-Zero Banking Alliance” (NZBA). NZBA is a network that represents 40% of the global banking institutions that have come together to commit to financing projects that will transition the world economy to net zero by 2050.

“Agriculture officials from at least 11 states have raised concern about JP Morgan’s involvement with the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), saying that the policies promoted by this group will likely lead to food shortages and huge price increases for consumers. Is it wise for this board to step outside its expertise and make commitments to push forward the NZBA’s extreme agenda?” Neff queried.

It was immediately clear that this question had hit a nerve with the CEO. As it was read, Dimon gave a distinct sigh of annoyance and then proceeded to give an abbreviated non-answer that didn’t address a single point made in the query.

The CEO stated, “We dance to our own music here and we report that in our ESG report. Obviously, we care about the environment, farmers, and agriculture.” ESG refers to the controversial Environmental, Social, and Governance score program that has become all the rage on Wall Street in recent years. This scoring system of companies and individuals rates their adherence to many of the Left’s most sacred dogmas.

In addition to the Q&A period, CFACT also used its position as a stock owner in the company to vote on various proposals. The first of note sought to have JP Morgan create a report evaluating potential humanitarian crises being fostered by the forced transition to “green” energy. CFACT voted in favor of it. The second proposal sought to give additional rights to indigenous tribes, or more accurately leftwing organizations acting in the name of indigenous tribes, to veto any funding for fossil fuel projects in the name of environmental racism. CFACT voted against this one. Both proposals were ultimately defeated, landing CFACT a mixed bag of results.

CFACT will continue attending and reporting back on various shareholder meetings in which it holds shares. The broader implications of such engagements touch upon fundamental issues of environmental responsibility and economic viability. By challenging the radical left’s influence, CFACT aims to promote a balanced approach to corporate decision-making.

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CFACT challenges Citigroup’s “sustainable financing” during shareholder meeting

CFACT challenges Citigroup’s “sustainable financing” during shareholder meeting

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

No, Joe Biden is not in charge of the federal government, but has any president since Nov. 22, 1963, really been ‘in charge?’ thumbnail

No, Joe Biden is not in charge of the federal government, but has any president since Nov. 22, 1963, really been ‘in charge?’

By Leo Hohmann

President Joe Biden made a lot of embarrassing gaffes in his so-called “Big Boy press conference” last night, Thursday, July 11, including his referral to Donald Trump as his vice president. Earlier in the day he had referred to Ukraine’s illegitimate (unelected) dictator Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “President Putin.”

But he made one other slip of the tongue that was perhaps the most telling of all and has not elicited much coverage in the corporate media. Watch video clip below.

Biden confirmed what we already have known for nearly four years, that he is not the one in control of policies, he is just following orders. He has his own “Commander in Chief,” as he stated. Even though he is theoretically holding the position of commander in chief, he has his own Commander in Chief, a superior officer to whom he reports, most likely on a daily, if not hourly, basis. He is being run.

But let’s be honest. Almost all presidents have been in this same position, to one extent or another. They all received the message that was sent very clearly on November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was brutally assassinated in what many believe was a CIA hit job.

In case future presidents still didn’t get the message, another one was sent on March 30, 1981, when President Ronald Reagan took an assassin’s bullet but survived.

If they still somehow didn’t get the message, another was sent when President Donald Trump had his entire administration undermined through false accusations about being a Russian “asset,” among other idiotic and uncreative assaults on the truth (OK, I admit the plandemic was pretty creative). The point is, the globalist deep state can literally make up anything and enough people will believe it because these same intel agencies who control the web of bureaucracies also control the corporate legacy media and the major social media platforms. They control the flow of information. They define what is regarded as accurate news and what is deemed “conspiracy theory.”

So, maybe Joe Biden is not just a doddering old fool. I mean, he is that, but due to his lack of a filter he often babbles his private thoughts out loud into a public microphone. I, for one, do not believe that all of his private thoughts are to be dismissed as the incoherent babblings a man who lacks all of his faculties. Some of what he says is dead-on truth that he simply wasn’t supposed to let leak.

Because he is not fully in control of his faculties, he is not as guarded in his speech as the previous presidents post 1963, which is when the initial coup took place, when our military and executive branch was ceded to the globalists in the intelligence agencies. That hidden hand still runs the show today in Washington, D.C.

Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer told us who was really in charge of Washington when he admitted to a corporate news journalist more than three years ago that the CIA has “six ways from Sunday of getting back at you” if you defy them. That was yet another dire and truthful warning to American politicians, presidents especially, who disobey their orders. Watch Schumer’s ominous warning below about the CIA and its unchecked power over Washington politicians.

Sure, some presidents have been more in charge of White House affairs than others. Men like President George Herbert Walker Bush were probably much more in charge of things because Daddy Bush came to the Oval Office straight out of the CIA and had been groomed his whole adult life for the presidency. I believe Barack Obama also was groomed from an early age by the intel agencies. But those who snuck up on the office and were not groomed, or were less groomed, had to be put in their place and were put in their place.

©2024. . All rights reserved.


Please visit Leo’s Newsletter Substack.

How the Radical Left Wrecked the Housing Market thumbnail

How the Radical Left Wrecked the Housing Market

By The Daily Signal

Home affordability just hit a 17-year low, which means the dream of homeownership remains unattainable for the average person. Amid a cost-of-living crisis, saving enough for a down payment and then affording a monthly mortgage payment has become a Sisyphean task—and radical leftist policies are to blame.

Adding up the monthly cost of principal and interest on a mortgage, property taxes, and insurance amounts to half the average wage earner’s monthly take-home pay. That would be a stretch even in good economic times, but it is downright impossible when the prices of necessities such as food and energy have exploded over 20% and 50%, respectively, in less than four years.

When people are already borrowing on credit cards just to pay for groceries, spending half your income on housing just is not doable.

Even scarier, the cost to own a home in about one-third of the country requires more than 60% of the average wage earner’s take-home pay: more than twice the recommended guideline.

But the problem is also widespread: In 98.8% of counties nationwide, homes are less affordable than their respective historic averages.

Today’s stratospheric homeownership costs and the frozen housing market resulted from the fatal combination of record-high home prices and rising interest rates. Both factors are the result of the radical Left’s big-government agenda.

Forty-year-high inflation was created by a profligate Congress and White House spending trillions of dollars that the nation did not have. In 2020, the year before the radical Left took control of the federal government, prices rose just 1.4%. Just 18 months later, prices were rising almost that fast in a single month.

Just as the predictable result of government overspending was inflation, so, too, was the rise in interest rates that followed. The sheer size of the multitrillion-dollar deficits of the last several years caused prices and interest rates to jump significantly.

That means you not only need to borrow more when buying a home, but you will pay more interest on the loan too. The result is a monthly mortgage payment on a median price home that’s twice as high as it was in January 2021.

Ordinarily, high sale prices would entice home builders to construct more houses and increase their profits. But inflation has driven up the input costs for building a home to record highs, eating away at homebuilders’ profit margins. That means fewer new homes are being added to the market.

Simultaneously, many existing homeowners have a huge incentive not to sell: They can’t afford to lose their ultralow interest rate. Millions of people got mortgages or refinanced loans at around 2% or 3% in 2020 and 2021. Selling their home today means losing that interest rate in exchange for one at 7% or 8%.

Since that’s prohibitively expensive in many cases, sometimes doubling the monthly mortgage payment, homeowners are locked in with the golden handcuffs of yesterday’s low interest rates. That means fewer existing homes are being added to the market, in addition to the shortage of new homes.

The situation is so bad that home sales have plummeted to the lowest level of the 21st century, even below the numbers seen during the government-imposed lockdowns of 2020, when it was illegal just to go home shopping in many states.

Today’s housing market would be painful enough if it happened in a vacuum, but the policies of the radical Left have made virtually every aspect of life more expensive, not just homeownership. This has created a divide between those who were fortunate enough to buy a home before the radical Left implemented their agenda and the rest of America who seem doomed to rent forever.

The only way to change that bleak fortune is to reverse the public policies that got us here. Before the dream of homeownership can be restored, the big government nightmare must end.

Originally published by Restoring America

AUTHOR

EJ Antoni

EJ Antoni is a public finance economist and the Richard F. Aster research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget. EJ on X: @RealEJAntoni.

The Extraordinary Chevron Case: Part 2 thumbnail

The Extraordinary Chevron Case: Part 2

By John Droz, Jr.

Major Good News that the Mainstream Media is not publicizing. 

For the first time ever, I’m basically repeating a post (from July 2nd).

Four reasons: a) many US readers were away last week for July 4th vacations, b) this is an exceptionally important matter that will affect everyonec) this ruling was a stab in the back against the deep state (unelected bureaucrats), and d) it once again shows the extreme importance of critical thinking — e.g., the appreciation that the President’s policies are a thousand times more important than his/her personality.

Re “b” this decision should have a major positive effect on energy policies, climate policies, environmental policies, medical policies, etc. Below is a medical example to show how horrifically bad the situation had gotten — e.g., the FDA’s “experts” formally approving a drug needed in a life-and-death situation, that was only 1%± effective. If the FDA was genuinely interested in saving lives, they would have alerted citizens to multiple other options that were scientifically more beneficial.

[FYI #1: I added some good sample references at the end. These were not part of my initial post as I was one of the first to write about this major development.]

[FYI #2: Comments for the initial post are not carried over, so see them here.]

To understand this matter, I’ll use the FDA as an example of a government agency losing its way. How has it gone astray? Start with its own Mission Statement:

“The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human drugs…”

Let’s say that scientists, medical professionals, etc. have solid scientific evidence that the FDA is NOT “ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human drugs” on some matter. After being unsuccessful in approaching the FDA directly, they try to fix this by suing the FDA for deviating from their statutory obligations. However, thru June of 2024, they then ran up against courts allowing the FDA to use the Chevron defense.

This basically meant that courts would not get involved in adjudicating the scientific evidence or the merits of technical policies (medical, energy, climate, etc.), as they deferred to the “experts” at various federal agencies (FDA, CDC, DOE, EPA, etc.). As a result, 99% of lawyers would give up before even filing such a case.

The Net effect is that this gave federal agencies free rein to do just about whatever they wanted, as they had little fear of courts over-ruling their policies. Considering the competence level and politicization of most federal agencies, this situation led to some horrifically unscientific results (e.g., here).

This poor legal ruling also led to a death sentence for many Americans during COVID. The FDA declared that COVID was an emergency matter (it was), which meant that the FDA could shortcut its normal testing protocol. What resulted were “Emergency Use Authorizations” (EUAs) for COVID treatments and vaccines.

This in turn led to compromised safety and efficacy. However, due to the Chevron deference, no one would have any success in overturning these EUAs, no matter how unscientific (unsafe & ineffective) they were… REALLY BAD!

Effectively the courts had ruled that federal agencies: 1) were always providing scientific policies, and 2) such policies were always consistent with their statutory obligations and in the best interest of the public. What nonsense!

Let’s look at an example: the use of Remdesivir for treating COVID in hospitalized patients. Here is the initial FDA’s EUA. It said a variety of self-serving things:

“FDA’s emergency authorization of remdesivir, two days after the National Institutes of Health’s clinical trial showed promising results, is a significant step forward in battling COVID-19… From day one, the FDA has been committed to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments. Today’s action is an important step in our efforts to collaborate with innovators and researchers to provide sick patients timely access to new therapies where appropriate, while at the same time supporting research to further evaluate whether they are safe and effective.”

“Based on evaluation of the emergency use authorization criteria and the scientific evidence available, it was determined that it is reasonable to believe that remdesivir may be effective in treating COVID-19, and that, given there are no adequate, approved, or available alternative treatments, the known and potential benefits to treat this serious or life-threatening virus currently outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug’s use.

So what was the scientific basis for this EUA? The FDA’s site showed these studies. To the untrained eye, it looks like there is scientific legitimacy for this EUA. However, once the wheat is separated from the chaff, the takeaway is that the effectiveness of Remdesivir was about 10%. TEN PERCENT!

It gets worse. In an unprecedented move, five short months later the FDA then upgraded their EUA to an Approval (their top level of endorsement). The FDA said:

As a public health agency, FDA uses the best scientific information available to make decisions through a deliberative process.  Drugs must undergo a rigorous evaluation of safety, quality, and effectiveness before they can be approved for use in the United States.

There is no publicly available evidence that the FDA subjected remdesivir to “a rigorous evaluation of safety, quality, and effectiveness.”

There are at least two takeaways from this:

  1. Normally the FDA does not Approve a drug (or vaccine) unless it has at least 50% effectiveness. That the FDA gave an EUA to a 10% effective drug — and then an Approval(!) — showed how low their standards had become.
  2. What is important is the NET consequence — i.e., Benefits minus Liabilities. The FDA did not appear to calculate that, as with only 10% Benefit, the Liabilities were likely in excess of that small number. (See the FDA’s remdesivir warnings.) [Note: here is a later Study identifying numerous remdesivir adverse side effects.]

There are predictable results from taking major scientific shortcuts.

A lot of the concerns with remdesivir were known relatively early on. Consider this 2022 Lancet Study. It compared the outcomes of Remdesivir + Standard Care to Standard Care by itself (!). The clear conclusion:

“In this randomized controlled trial, the use of remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was not associated with clinical improvement at day 15 or day 29, nor with a reduction in mortality, nor with a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 RNA.” (!!!)

Was the FDA Approval subsequently withdrawn? No, it still exists today!

And it gets even worse. After the remdesivir EUA, independent scientists started conducting studies to assess the effectiveness of remdesivir. The current score is that after some seventy-two (72) studies of 187,000± subjects, the efficacy is only 1%!

ONE PERCENT!

[To see these studies plus lots more data about COVID treatments, see my webpage. To see a more detailed technical assessment of remdesivir’s effectiveness, read this.]

The point of all this is not to expose remdesivir as being ineffective, as the cited studies do that. Rather, this debacle is an indictment of the FDA’s unscientific actions that were contrary to its statutory requirements. It reinforces the extreme importance of citizens being critical thinkers, and not robotically deferring to authority.

A primary source of the blame here is due to Chevron. The evidence indicates that the FDA likely acted irresponsibly because they felt shielded by the Chevron deference.

I’ll end on a positive note.

As of 6-28-24, the US Supreme Court overturned the Chevron precedent! The implications of this are profoundly important.

This should mean that lawyers who were intimidated from suing a federal agency might now find the courage to do so. That in turn will hopefully mean that scientific aspects of technical federal policies will be more likely resolved based on scientific evidence, rather than a blanket deference to authority…

Some may argue that courts should not get involved with adjudicating scientific questions. However, considering how bad the current situation is, it would have to go a long way before it is worse than now.

The other benefit of this new ruling is that scientific arguments will now be publicly made in court. Forcing federal agencies to spell out the claimed science behind their technical policies is unquestionably a good thing.

Some sample good references —

©2024. John Droz, Jr. All rights reserved.

Here are other materials by this scientist that you might find interesting:

Check out the Archives of this Critical Thinking substack.

WiseEnergy.orgdiscusses the Science (or lack thereof) behind our energy options.

C19Science.infocovers the lack of genuine Science behind our COVID-19 policies.

Election-Integrity.infomultiple major reports on the election integrity issue.

Media Balance Newsletter: a free, twice-a-month newsletter that covers what the mainstream media does not do, on issues from COVID to climate, elections to education, renewables to religion, etc. Here are the Newsletter’s 2024 Archives. Please send me an email to get your free copy. When emailing me, please make sure to include your full name and the state where you live. (Of course, you can cancel the Media Balance Newsletter at any time – but why would you?

AEI One on One with Robert Doar: Ed Pinto on the Housing Market thumbnail

AEI One on One with Robert Doar: Ed Pinto on the Housing Market

By Edward Pinto

The American Enterprise Institute‘s Ed Pinto joins Robert to talk about the state of the American housing market. They discuss the harmful effects of government regulation, policies that can increase affordability, and advice for homebuyers today.

Ed is a senior fellow and the co-director of the AEI Housing Center. His work focuses on the role of federal, state, and local policy in housing markets and the use of light touch density to foster affordable and inclusionary communities. Read the Housing Center’s latest work on first-time homebuyerslight-touch density, and current housing market indicators.

©2024. Edward Pinto. All rights reserved.

Survey Finds Two-Thirds of GOP Voters Want to Keep or Strengthen Party’s Pro-Life Platform thumbnail

Survey Finds Two-Thirds of GOP Voters Want to Keep or Strengthen Party’s Pro-Life Platform

By Family Research Council

, D.C. /PRNewswire/ — Family Research Council Action today released the results of a commissioned survey conducted by WPA Opinion Research showing that 66 percent of Republican voters agree that the party should keep (32%) or strengthen (34%) the platform position protecting unborn human life. Only 19 percent say the party should “talk about the issue less.”

Additionally, the survey found 62 percent of GOP voters say the party’s strong positions on unborn human life, strengthening the family, and religious freedom would impact their vote in the fall. On the issues of strengthening families and religious freedom, 74 percent want to see the party keep (23%) or strengthen (51%) the party’s position.

On Monday, the Republican Platform Committee will meet to decide the 2024 Republican Party platform. Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins, who is serving as a platform delegate from Louisiana, made the following comments in response to the survey:

“This survey demonstrates a bold, clearly articulated platform that continues to embrace life, promotes the family, and defends religious freedom matters to voters.

“The platform not only gives insight to voters, it gives direction to Republican elected officials. According to research by Dr. Lee Payne, the parties follow their platforms. Between 1980 and 2004, Republican lawmakers followed their platform 82 percent of the time.

“As Ronald Reagan noted, ‘There are cynics who say that a party platform is something that no one bothers to read, and it doesn’t very often amount to much.’ But he said ‘a banner of bold unmistakable colors with no pale pastels’ would reveal the difference between Republicans and the other party.

“America is an unprecedented place of moral and cultural confusion and is in dire need of leadership and moral clarity. The Republican Party must once again communicate a clear and hopeful contrast between the parties by painting a message for voters on the foundational issues–life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–not in pale pastels but in bright, bold colors,” concluded Perkins.

Family Research Council Action, in conjunction with scores of other conservative groups, last week launched of the Platform Integrity Project. This coalition seeks to work with the RNC and the Trump campaign for an open process that will help ensure the preservation of the GOP’s solidly conservative platform that contains longstanding pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Israel planks.

©2024. Family Research Council Action. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: Launch of Platform Integrity Project Seeks to Keep Conservative Planks ahead of GOP Convention

Biden Regime to Let Migrants from 7 Jihadi Regions, Denied Visas Under Trump’s National Security Order, Can Reapply for Free thumbnail

Biden Regime to Let Migrants from 7 Jihadi Regions, Denied Visas Under Trump’s National Security Order, Can Reapply for Free

By The Geller Report

Because we don’t have enough problems.

Written by Alza Kryeziu, Visa Guide,  June 14, 2024:

Almost 25,000 people from seven Muslim nations who were refused visas under Turmp’s travel ban can now reapply for free.

Under the new rules, the US will accept new nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applications for 365 days, provide fee credits, and schedule consular appointments.

From 2017 to 2021, when Donald Trump enacted the Muslim ban, the US denied about 41,000 visas.

After the US visa denial of nearly 25,000 immigrants from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen under President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban”, they are currently allowed to reapply for free.

The decision came under a deal between immigrant groups and the Biden administration, which was approved by a federal judge in San Francisco, VisaGuide.World reports.

Over 41,000 Visas Denied Under Trump’s Travel Ban Between 2017-2021

In January 2021, when Biden rescinded former President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrant visas, it was also revealed that over the past four years, more than 41,000 visa applications have been denied.

Individuals from the above seven Muslim countries were denied a visa under Proclamation 9645 between December 8, 2017, and January 20, 2021, but they did not receive a waiver and have not received a visa since.

The settlement stipulates that the Department of State must notify class members within 30 days and provide final instructions within 80 days. Class members are entitled to submit new visa applications and receive a one-time, non-transferable fee credit. The Department is required to accept new nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applications from class members for 365 days, provide fee credits, and schedule consular appointments.
US Business Immigration Attorneys

New Opportunities for Visa Applicants Affected by Trump’s Travel Ban

According to Reddy Neumann Brown PC (Houston’s largest immigration law firm), the following parameters will be used to identify class members:

Individuals who filed a nonimmigrant visa application or immigrant visa application and were denied under PP 9645 between December 8, 2017, and January 20, 2021

No waiver of that visa refusal was issued

The individual was ultimately not granted a visa for the same visa application after Proclamation 9645 was revoked

The visa requested and denied under PP 9645 was NOT a diversity visa application

Since the cancellation of PP 9645 on January 20, 2021, the applicant has not made another application for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa

During his 2016 campaign, Trump declared that “Islam hates us” and would ban all Muslim immigration to the US. At the same time, he released his first version of the travel ban a few days after taking office, barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

In response to this decision two months later, federal courts struck it down as discrimination based on religion and nationality. However, when Biden took office, he reversed the ban, but people are still affected.

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

Another Nation Adopts Mandatory Biometric Digital ID System thumbnail

Another Nation Adopts Mandatory Biometric Digital ID System

By Leo Hohmann

Vietnam is the latest country to start implementing a mandatory biometric digital ID system.

The Vietnamese Law on Identity went into effect July 1 and will establish a detailed digital citizen identification system that will touch every citizen.

The iris biometric details of citizens will be collected along with fingerprints and facial images when citizens apply for an ID card, according to an article by BiometricUpdate.com, a website that tracks the global movement toward digitization of all things, including human beings.

Vietnam’s Identity Law introduces several key changes, including the mandatory collection of biometric information for citizens applying for ID cards. A clause in the law mandates that assigned state agencies will collect identification data, including facial images, fingerprints, and irises, from applicants. The government says the move is designed to bolster security and accuracy of identity verification processes.

According to Biometric Update:

“The introduction of this law is expected to have widespread implications across various sectors, particularly in banking, which is at the forefront of Vietnam’s digital transformation. With 87 percent of adults in Vietnam holding at least one bank account, according to VOV World, and 95 percent of transactions being processed digitally by many banks, the integration of advanced biometric data into identity verification processes is poised to further streamline digital banking services and enhance customer security.”

The article goes on to state that, “The Law on Identity encompasses several key provisions designed to achieve its objectives including the establishment of a centralized national database that stores the biometric and personal information of all citizens, and provision for the creation of digital identities that citizens can use for online transactions and interactions with government services.”

Being able to digitize every person’s identity marks the cornerstone of the globalists’ craving for complete control of all human activity. They tout digital IDs as the wave of the future in terms of payment systems for all goods and services, as well as for all travel, all dispensing of healthcare, government benefits, financial services, and of course you being in compliance with the globalized national-security state at airports, train stations and other points of entry.

This globalized national-security state is merging with the globalized surveillance state and there’s a lot of money being made by the private corporations contracting with governments to set up the infrastructure of digital slavery. The ability to track the movement of everything in real time centers on the adoption of this one thing — the biometric digital ID. The parallels to Revelation Chapter 13 in the Bible are uncanny and it’s all happening right in front of our faces. They will tell us it’s all about our safety, security and convenience, but that is nothing but a misdirection tactic to get us to ignore the dark side of this technology.

©2024. Leo Hohmann. All rights reserved.


Please visit Leo’s Newsletter Substack.

Is America Becoming Fascist? thumbnail

Is America Becoming Fascist?

By Leo Hohmann

Government spies are watching you from some of the least expected PRIVATE companies. Companies are getting rich by contracting with the government to keep tabs on your movements and actions 24/7.

In fascist America, many of the corporations we do business with on a daily basis are in fact acting as secret agents of the government.

Facebook, Instagram, Google-YouTube, TikTok, etc., are all working with the government at every level. Your education data, your health data, your financial data, almost all of it can be requisitioned by the government at a moment’s notice and it will be turned over.

But some companies are turning over your personal data where you would least expect it. Remember, the very definition of fascism is when the private sector corporations are colluding with government agencies to oppress the people. Keep that in mind as we look at a shocking story that broke over the weekend that impacts almost every American.

The Daily Mail, citing an article in Forbes magazine, has a shocking story about FedEx using AI-powered cameras installed on its trucks to serve as the watchful eyes of police departments nationwide.

The private postal-delivery firm has partnered with a $4 billion surveillance startup company based in Georgia called Flock Safety, Forbes reported.

Flock specializes in automated license plate recognition and video surveillance, and already has a fleet of around 40,000 cameras spanning 4,000 cities across 40 states.

FedEx has teamed up with the company to monitor its facilities across the U.S., but under the deal it is also sharing its Flock surveillance feeds with law enforcement. And it is believed to be one of four multi-billion-dollar private companies with this type of arrangement.

Critics liken the move to rolling out a mass surveillance network – as it emerged that some local police departments are also sharing their Flock feeds with FedEx.

Here is a short exposé on Flock and its founder.

Jay Stanley, a policy analyst with the ACLU, told the Virginian Pilot: “There’s a simple principle that we’ve always had in this country, which is that the government doesn’t get to watch everybody all the time just in case somebody commits a crime.”

He adds that, “The United States is not China. But these cameras are being deployed with such density that it’s like GPS-tracking everyone.”

In response to Forbes’ report that FedEx was part of Flock’s nationwide surveillance system, he told the outlet: “It raises questions about why a private company…would have privileged access to data that normally is only available to law enforcement.”

He went on to describe it as “profoundly disconcerting.”

Flock Safety’s cameras are used to track vehicles by their license plates, as well as the make, model, and color of their cars. Other identifying characteristics are also monitored, such as dents and even bumper stickers.

Lisa Femia, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, warned that FedEx’s participation is open to abuse because private firms are not subject to the same transparency laws as police.

This, she told Forbes, could “leave the public in the dark, while at the same time expanding a sort of mass surveillance network.”

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee confirmed its partnership with Flock in an email to Forbes, stating:

“We share reads from our Flock license plate readers with FedEx in the same manner we share the data with other law enforcement agencies, locally, regionally, and nationally.”

He also confirmed his department had access to FedEx’s Flock feeds.

So, in essence, FedEx is an arm of the government. More accurately, it’s the eyes and ears of the government. Treat it accordingly. If you’re able to install a gate across your driveway that would require them to leave packages there, do it. If not, make sure all garage doors, blinds, etc., are closed whenever you are expecting a delivery from this company.

©2024. Leo Hohmann. All rights reserved.


Please visit Leo’s Newsletter Substack.

Supreme Court Delivers Crippling Blow To Permanent Bureaucracy’s Power Over Americans’ Lives thumbnail

Supreme Court Delivers Crippling Blow To Permanent Bureaucracy’s Power Over Americans’ Lives

By The Geller Report

The Supreme Court handed small fishing companies a victory Friday in their lawsuits against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), overturning a decades-old precedent that expanded the power of the administrative state.

Siding 6-3 with the fishermen, the Supreme Court reversed its 1984 landmark caseChevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, which lower courts relied on to uphold NOAA’s rule forcing companies to doll out $700 per day — around 20% of their revenue — to pay the salaries of federally mandated on-board observers. The principle of Chevron deference, rooted in the landmark case, instructed courts to defer to reasonable agency interpretations of statutes when the language is ambiguous.

“Chevron is overruled,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority ruling. “Courts must exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority, as the [Administrative Procedure Act] requires.”

Small fishing companies sued NOAA after the agency required businesses to pay for the on-board monitors based on its interpretation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the law governing fishery management. In both Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce, lower courts deferred to the agency’s interpretation of the law, citing the Chevron ruling.

Roberts called Chevron “a judicial invention that required judges to disregard their statutory duties.”

“Perhaps most fundamentally, Chevron’s presumption is misguided because agencies have no special competence in resolving statutory ambiguities,” Roberts wrote. “Courts do.”

Critics of Chevron argued the doctrine, in practice, enabled agencies to assert their interpretations of the law without resistance from the judiciary, giving the government the automatic upper hand when challenged in court and raising significant separation-of-powers concerns.

New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association (NEFSA) highlighted the burden NOAA’s rule placed on businesses in an amicus brief. The short training sea monitors receive does not equip them for the rough conditions on board, the association argued, creating safety concerns and forcing crews to shoulder the burden.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the dissent that the majority “disdains restraint, and grasps for power.”

“Its justification comes down, in the end, to this: Courts must have more say over regulation over the provision of health care, the protection of the environment, the safety of consumer products, the efficacy of transportation systems, and so on,” she wrote. “A longstanding precedent at the crux of administrative governance thus falls victim to a bald assertion of judicial authority.”

New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) President Mark Chenoweth said that “the dismantling of the unlawful Administrative State has officially begun.”

“NCLA’s fishermen clients have landed the biggest catch of their lives by persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to take its thumb off the scale when ordinary Americans are contesting unlawful government regulations,” Chenoweth said in a statement. “When NCLA was founded less than seven years ago, taking down Chevron deference was priority number one, because agencies have used it so often to violate people’s civil liberties. That ability ends today!”

AUTHOR

KATELYNN RICHARDSON

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Supreme Court Finds No First Amendment Violation In Denying ‘Trump Too Small’ Trademark

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


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

U.S. Supreme Court says it’s OK for federal government to outsource online censorship to Big Tech, curtailing free speech of all Americans thumbnail

U.S. Supreme Court says it’s OK for federal government to outsource online censorship to Big Tech, curtailing free speech of all Americans

By Leo Hohmann

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Wednesday in Murthy v. Missouri that challengers alleging the Biden regime colluded with social-media companies to remove content the government viewed as unfavorable did not have the legal right to sue and did not rule on the merits.

The High Court determined neither the Louisiana and Missouri attorneys general nor the five private individuals who brought the lawsuit had standing to seek an injunction against any of the government defendants.

The challengers attributed the restrictions they experienced on social media to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and dozens of other Biden administration officials from The White House, FBI, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They alleged a “coordinated campaign” between the officials and Big Tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, to censor content dealing with opposition to government narratives about COVID-19, the validity of the 2020 election, the Hunter Biden laptop story, abortion, gender discussions, and more.

The Supreme Court noted that while the social media platforms had their own “independent incentives to moderate content,” the government was indeed influential in those choices but rejected the assertion that there was a “concrete link” between the free speech injuries and the government.

Here’s my bottom line takeaway from this case: This was a cowardly move by the Supreme Court. Six of the nine justices lack the will to decide on a major question of how speech gets regulated and censored in America. It’s done not directly but every bit as convincingly as any dictatorship. The U.S. government, because it is constrained by the Constitution’s First Amendment from limiting the speech of free Americans, that same federal government has outsourced the censorship to private social-media platforms, threatening them with the financial handouts that make running a major social media company very profitable, and then hiding behind a façade of innocence, claiming it’s not at all involved in the censorship because it extorted a third party to do its dirty work of shutting down free speech.

This amounts to a major defeat for free speech. As a result, I lament, it amounts to another nail in the coffin of our constitutional republic. I say that because the government has found an end-run around the Constitution that enables it to shut down the free flow of information in this country, and without vital information flowing to the public, enabling it to make educated electoral decisions, there is no democracy nor is there any constitutionalism. And any government that succeeds in such a devious route toward the trampling of its own Constitution, the very document meant to keep it in check, cannot be called either a democracy or a republic. We now live under a dictatorship. Full stop.

We actually saw how this devious method of government censorship already has affected at least one presidential election. In 2020, when a factual article about candidate Joe Biden’s son having incriminating evidence of crimes committed on his laptop — a story that was deliberately supressed by both social media and legacy media. Opinion polls later indicated that many Americans would not have voted for Biden had they known about this story, which was reported factually by the New York Post, a newspaper that to this day stands behind the story and has never been ruled by any court to have defamed or libeled the Biden crime family.

To rule on standing and refuse to even hear the merits of the case brought by the states of Missouri and Louisiana, shows in living color that the U.S. Supreme Court is a captured institution. The majority of its members are either too intellectually weak or they are lacking in courage to take on the biggest issue of the day right now in a country under distress — the people’s and the press’s freedom to speak out critically of their government. Without the freedom of speech and press, there is no freedom at all, because the government controls the narrative and is able to quash dissent and make a mockery of the truth. The deep state must have these six justices very afraid. And that’s not how free countries roll.

Again, it was the Trump appointees to the Supreme Court who let us down. Two of the three, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, voted with the liberals.

Justice Barrett authored the majority court opinion stating it was a “tall order” to associate government actions with the injuries or even with “a substantial risk of future injuries.”

“To establish standing, the plaintiffs must demonstrate a substantial risk that, in the near future, they will suffer an injury that is traceable to a Government defendant and redressable by the injunction they seek. Because no plaintiff has carried that burden, none has standing to seek a preliminary injunction,” wrote Justice Barrett.

“The plaintiffs treat the defendants as a monolith, claiming broadly that ‘“the government’” continues to communicate with the platforms about ‘“content-moderation issues,”’ continued Justice Barrett. “But we must confirm that each Government defendant continues to engage in the challenged conduct, which is ‘coercion’ and ‘significant encouragement,’ not mere “communication’… “The plaintiffs, without any concrete link between their injuries and the defendants’ conduct, ask us to conduct a review of the years-long communications between dozens of federal officials, across different agencies, with different social-media platforms, about different topics. This Court’s standing doctrine prevents us from ‘exercis[ing such] general legal oversight’ of the other branches of Government.”

Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the majority opinion. Justice Alito in his dissent stated that the evidence was “more than sufficient” to establish the right to sue.

“These past and threatened future injuries were caused by and traceable to censorship that the officials coerced, and the injunctive relief [the plaintiff] sought was an available and suitable remedy,” wrote Justice Alito. “This evidence was more than sufficient to establish [the plaintiff’s] standing to sue, and consequently, we are obligated to tackle the free speech issue that the case presents. The Court, however, shirks that duty and thus permits the successful campaign of coercion in this case to stand as an attractive model for future officials who want to control what the people say, hear, and think.”

Justice Alito quoted another Supreme Court decision from earlier this month which stated that government efforts to “dictate” or “suppress” protected speech are “presumptively unconstitutional” even when it involves a “third-party intermediary.”

“As we said there, ‘a government official cannot do indirectly what she is barred from doing directly,’ and while an official may forcefully attempt to persuade, ‘[w]hat she cannot do . . . is use the power of the State to punish or suppress disfavored expression,’” wrote Justice Alito. “If the lower courts’ assessment of the voluminous record is correct, this is one of the most important free speech cases to reach this Court in years.”

Perhaps the court did leave a small crack in the door, open to a future case that would resolve its issues about the plaintiffs not having standing. But until I see another case that the Court is willing to accept, I see this as a cowardly cop out at a moment in history when we the people needed the court to make a hard stand in favor of free speech. If the Court is saying that we the people can’t sue because we lack standing under the Constitution, then who was the Constitution written for? Not we the people. Not in the eyes of the Court.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Censoring viewpoints is a direct affront to free speech and offensive to the First Amendment. Once standing can be established, this government censorship of social media will end.”

I hope Staver is right. But I think he’s being overly optimistic on what kind of message the High Court delivered today. The way I see it, we the people don’t count for anything, and this was one branch of government (judicial) agreeing with another branch of the government (executive) saying it’s OK for the government to collude with Big Tech elites in a way that shuts down free speech in America. Another nail in the coffin.

©2024. Leo Hohmann. All rights reserved.


Please visit Leo’s Newsletter on Substack.


RELATED ARTICLE: What Today’s SCOTUS Ruling on a Temporary Injunction To Forbid Pressuring Social Media Companies To Censor Free Speech Means

Congress Inches Closer To Unshackling American Nuclear Energy thumbnail

Congress Inches Closer To Unshackling American Nuclear Energy

By The Daily Caller

The Senate sent one of the most significant pro-nuclear energy bills in recent history to President Joe Biden’s desk this week, but the bill alone is unlikely to spur a nuclear renaissance in the U.S.

The ADVANCE Act passed the Senate on Tuesday by a strong 88-2 bipartisan vote to the applause of pro-nuclear organizations who described the bill as a major step forward for America’s energy future. The bill is a first step toward freeing up a nuclear industry that has long been shackled, but it does not address some impediments the industry faces, according to nuclear energy experts.

The bill is designed to bring down the costs of nuclear licensing, create new opportunities for old industrial sites to eventually be converted to host reactors and give the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) more staffers and resources to execute their mission, according to the office of Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a key architect of the bill. The bill is a welcomed development for the nuclear industry, which has struggled to expand for decades despite growing momentum — especially on the environmental left — to decarbonize the U.S. power system and wider economy.

“This bipartisan legislative package ensures the U.S. maintains its leadership on the global stage and helps meet our climate and national energy security goals,” Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), said of the bill. “The passage of the ADVANCE Act allows us to bolster U.S. international competitiveness at this crucial junction, accelerate the domestic deployments of innovative advanced nuclear technologies, and modernize the oversight and licensing of the operating fleet of reactors.”

However, the bill is not a total victory for those hoping to see a speedy expansion of the technology’s footprint, as issues like the NRC’s general attitude of risk aversion and a lack of robust financial protection against cost overruns are not addressed directly by the legislation.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made recent progress to become more efficient while maintaining its focus on safety, but there is more work to be done,” Korsnick added. “The bill will support efforts to further modernize the NRC as it prepares to review an ever-increasing number of applications for subsequent license renewals, power uprates and next generation nuclear deployments.”

John Starkey, the director of public policy for the American Nuclear Society, told the DCNF that the bill is a “step in the right direction,” but probably will not be enough to singlehandedly usher in a nuclear renaissance.

“ANS applauds the long awaited passage of the ADVANCE Act. This bill provides common sense direction to enable the accelerated deployment of advanced nuclear reactors needed to meet the world’s clean energy goals,” Starkey told the DCNF. “The bill alone won’t open any floodgates, but it’s a necessary step in the right direction due to added workforce and the streamlined approach the NRC can take when regulating advanced reactors.”

While the NRC is set to get a boost from the new bill should it be signed into law, the institution is thought by some energy experts — including Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research — to be too conservative and risk-averse in its approach to regulating the industry. Kish believes that the NRC has created a “regulatory morass” out of risk aversion over time that holds nuclear power back by significantly driving up costs, as he previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

As of August 2023, there were 54 operational nuclear power plants and 93 commercial reactors in America, which together provide approximately 19% of America’s power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The average nuclear reactor is about 42 years old, while licensing rules limit their lifespans to an upper limit ranging from 40 to 80 years, according to EIA.

Nuclear power capacity grew rapidly between roughly 1967 and 1997, but it has generally stayed flat since then, according to the EIA. Only a handful of new nuclear reactors have come online in the past twenty years, but nuclear generally remains a more reliable low-carbon source of power than solar and wind, an important consideration when taking stock of the Biden administration’s goals to decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035 and the overall economy by 2050.

Grid watchers have warned consistently that the nation’s grid may not be able to sustain considerable growth in electricity demand amid simultaneous retirement of reliable fossil fuel-fired generation and its replacement with intermittent solar and wind, for example. Hence, nuclear power may hold the keys to recognizing the decarbonized future Biden and his appointees are pursuing with aggressive regulation and spending.

To that end, the Biden administration evidently recognizes the promise of nuclear power, and is making a big push to advance it.

The Biden administration signed onto a pledge at last year’s United Nations climate summit to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050, and has also extended “billions and billions and billions” of dollars to spur a nuclear revival in the U.S., as Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said at a nuclear energy conference in June. On Monday, Granholm’s Department of Energy (DOE) announced $900 million in funding to advance deployment of next-generation small modular reactors.

Two of the most recent nuclear reactors to come online are Unit 3 and Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, a nuclear power plant located in Georgia. Those reactors finally came online after years of delays and billions of dollars of cost overruns, demonstrating the challenges that the complex nature of nuclear engineering and construction can pose.

Tim Echols, a commissioner on the Georgia Public Service Commission, also praised the bill, but he raised different issues than other energy sector experts who focused more on the role of the NRC. Echols was involved in getting the Vogtle projects over the finish line in his capacity as a commissioner for the entity regulating the state’s utilities.

“What I am most encouraged about with ADVANCE is the bipartisan support for nuclear. For too long, only Republican-run states have been interested in new nuclear — and those times seem to be coming to an end,” Echols told the DCNF. “While ADVANCE doesn’t have the federal financial backstop I have been asking for, which would protect against overruns caused by bankruptcies, it still is very positive. “Speeding up licensing will allow the technology to be deployed sooner — assuming you have states stepping forward with the courage to build new nuclear.”

The backstop that Echols describes would be some sort of federal bankruptcy protection, which would incentivize policymakers and developers to move forward with new projects because “building new nuclear power is still incredibly risky,” and  utility commissioners across America may hesitate to do so without some protection against what we went through in Georgia.”

“Clearly, ADVANCE, and the recent White House efforts on behalf of nuclear energy represent a push to accelerate new nuclear deployment in the United States that we haven’t seen since I was a boy,” Echols told the DCNF.

The DOE did not respond immediately to a request for comment, and the NRC declined to comment because the legislation has yet to be signed into law.

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor.

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


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Is the land of the free and the home of the brave sliding towards dictatorship? thumbnail

Is the land of the free and the home of the brave sliding towards dictatorship?

By MercatorNet – Navigating Modern Complexities

How can the United States, of all places, be vulnerable to despotism?

It would no longer be sensible to deny the danger, and not only because of Donald Trump. The former Land of the Free now has a government capable of trampling people’s rights in ways big and small and a populace in a state of mutual hostility and loathing not seen since the runup to the Civil War.

Is it ripe for a man on horseback and, if so, what nation is safe?

For most of its history any sane person would have said America was the last place that could become dictatorial; its government was too small, its powers too separated and constrained, its people too devoted to freedom.

Concerns about tyranny are not new, of course. There was paranoia about the “slave power” before the Civil War and about bankers and plutocrats in the late 19th century and so on. People said the most extraordinary things about Richard Nixon, a man who as I have argued in the Dorchester Review was possessed of outsized virtues and outsized vices. But he was no Henry VIII including in the threat he posed to liberty. The American system even then simply did not permit it. The legislature was too independent of the executive, and the judiciary of both, and Americans were jealous of their liberty.

Today many people are not so sure.

As The Economist recently editorialized:

“Feckless war-making, a financial crisis and institutional rot have let loose a ferocity in America’s politics that has given presidential contests seemingly existential stakes. Americans have heard their leaders denounce the integrity of their democracy. They have seen fellow citizens try to block the transfer of power from one administration to the next. They have good reason to wonder how much protection their system guarantees them against the authoritarian impulse rising around the world.”

Institutions that no longer work

Actually a great many Americans no longer think their system protects them. They think it oppresses them. And with some reason.

As in Canada, a former night-watchman state whose purposes and procedures were very much in keeping with the popular mood and understanding now often resembles an occupying force, imposing an endless array of stupid regulations with heartless and inefficient ruthlessness, and worse besides, including on COVID. (To give one trivial example, I recently got a photo radar ticket for going 61 in a 50 zone. Robert Peel’s citizen police would never enforce such a thing. Today’s courts tell me bluntly I may not challenge it – on Charter of Rights grounds.)

In America today the prosecutorial juggernaut is a horror story. Ask Martha Stewart or Conrad Black, not to mention the millions every year bullied into pleading guilty by the tyrannical piling on of charges. Its legislature is a mess, incapable of fiscal responsibility. And its executive branch is massive, arrogant and inept, spewing regulations in quantities that violate John Locke’s maxim that:

“freedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, where the rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man: as freedom of nature is, to be under no other restraint but the law of nature.”

Nearly everything about the modern American state violates Madison and Hamilton’s warning in number 62 of the Federalist Papers that:

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.”

An expanding state

To put such powers in the hands of Donald Trump may well be called madness. But the problem is not the man. It is the powers – and those who celebrate them while lamenting the danger that someone not of their sort might somehow wield them.

The roots of the problem lie in the massive expansion of the state, in terms of ambition, powers and money. In America, clever men in the 20th century undid what wise ones had created in the 18th century. This happened in two main waves, in the 1930s and the 1960s. Bent on giving the government power to do good, they did not reflect that a government big enough to give you whatever you want is also big enough to take whatever you have. Or in some cases they did, but not in a good way.

As The Economist observed in its feature lamenting the current situation:

“For most of the first century of presidenting, the idea that one man could rule the country seemed absurd. The office was too weak for that. Under Washington the entire executive branch consisted of four cabinet secretaries and five actual secretaries. It was not until after the first world war, when the federal government had grown dramatically and fascists and communists were taking over European democracies, that the question started to seem relevant and the idea even vaguely plausible. By the end of the second world war the number of federal employees had increased to 2.5m.”

Here let me quote a leading exponent of constitutionalism that his was “A land, perhaps the only one in the universe, in which political or civil liberty is the very end and scope of the constitution.” As I try to baffle my students by revealing, this author was not American but British, the great commentator William Blackstone, writing a decade before the American Revolution – which was staged by people who considered themselves British and wanted their traditional British liberties.

That America was dictator-proof. And its founders, great and small, were neither fools nor sentimentalists, including in their reading of history. Britain really was the “Mother of the Free” that Land of Hope and Glory proclaimed as late as 1902, with an amazingly small and effective government well into the 19th century. To verify this claim, I invite sceptical readers merely to peruse the Sherlock Holmes stories to see how casually characters put privately owned handguns in their pockets.

Britons launched the industrial revolution, imposed Pax Britannica and created a culture that included everyone from Hogarth to Elgar to Dickens, not to mention having a professional novelist as Prime Minister (Benjamin Disraeli) who was also a master of the insult, without so much as compulsory schooling let alone a welfare state. Then came Labour with its politics of envy and the UK declined into economic, cultural, and military squalor. The United States is doing likewise, and as it does so, it is losing all that made it exceptional, including its resistance to tyranny.

If America is to be exceptional, it must be as the Home of the Free. And if it is not the Home of the Free, it will not be exceptional – including in its resistance to tyranny. To a remarkable degree American exceptionalism has long consisted of a ferocious devotion to liberty, even among people who agreed on little else from religion to cuisine. And they did not fight with reckless passion to dominate the state – because it wasn’t worth dominating.

That compact has since been broken. And not by Republicans or at least not primarily, though many are now thoroughly at home in the swamp. Remember words from Barack Obama early in his presidency when asked by a British journalist, “could I ask you whether you subscribe, as many of your predecessors have, to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy? And if so, would you be able to elaborate on it?” Without hesitation, Obama replied: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

To Obama America was just one nation like any other, neither more admirable nor more free nor less parochial. Many Americans both hate this view and feel helpless before it. Many liberals seem to forget that eight years of Obama-style hope and change had so upset their fellows that they elected Trump. It didn’t happen in a vacuum. But if America is not exceptional, why should it be exceptionally tyrant-resistant … and how?

The United States still is not Iran or Russia. But one even fears that the exceptional political vigour of the United States would make tyranny there more dangerous because it would be more effective than in, say, Italy or France. Certainly the many virtues of German culture did not mitigate but amplified first autocracy and then evil tyranny. Even Bismarck once decried the lack of civic courage among his countrymen. And we all paid dearly for it.

Let’s talk about Joe

Here a curious danger is all those people who will neither shut up about Trump nor speak up about Biden.

I yield to no one in my dislike of “The Donald”; I have said since he first became a serious political threat in 2016 that he was unsuited to the Presidency temperamentally, intellectually and morally. And he certainly has not grown better since then.

But I also consider Biden to be not only senile but also dishonest and his VP is, as one Australian commentator put it, a “cackling nincompoop”. If you didn’t like Spiro Agnew next in line for “The Button”, what about Kamala Harris?

Those pundits who seem to think that negative comments on Biden must be avoided lest they help Trump are showing a perilous lack of civic courage. And often snobbery, and I’m not just thinking here of David Frum and Andrew Coyne. But given the fault lines that are giving rise to populism, this is reckless. As I’ve been saying all along, Trump is the wrong answer to the right question.

And to deny the validity of the question is to invite disaster. Why are they willing to? Why can’t the Democrats get rid of Biden and Harris? And what ever became of liberty on the left, civil or otherwise? How did the Democrats become the party of bigger and less constrained government on every issue – only to howl when someone else got astride the monster they had created?

In this regard I dispute part of what the Economist said next:

“if Americans believe that their constitution alone can safeguard the republic from a Caesar on the Potomac, then they are too sanguine. Preserving democracy depends today, as it always has, on the courage and convictions of countless people all across America – especially those charged with writing and upholding its laws.”

In my view this claim, too, overemphasizes the state and its power to shape culture. It is not legislators who are the mainstay of resistance to political chicanery or worse. It is “We the People”. If they are determined to become a mob like that of so many other countries, legislators cannot stop them. And if they are determined not to, legislators cannot make them.

Remember the famous quotation, at least famous in part, from the preposterously named Judge Learned Hand in a 1944 speech “The Spirit of Liberty”, namely that “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.”

Again I think his final sentence overstates it. In our fallen world, even the noblest of sentiments must be incarnated in institutions, as the progression from Magna Carta to the United States Constitution shows. But he continued: “And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty and leads straight to its overthrow.” And indeed a society where liberty has become licence, and an angry demand that the state force everyone to validate their self-image, is one that cannot but descend into “a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few”.

Liberty and licence

Well, if liberty has become licence, whose fault is it? Not, surely, the party of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater nearly so much as that of Edward Kennedy and Bill Clinton. And while The Economist worried about, among other things, the powers the President may assert by declaring an emergency, the big problem isn’t what the Constitution grants to a leader in a crisis. It’s whether a populace will demonstrate civic courage to resist or will acquiesce in their unjust use – as many Canadians did when Justin Trudeau spuriously invoked the Emergencies Act to deal with a vaguely unruly protest.

What, The Economist asked, would happen if a president who had stacked the senior officer corps refused to vacate the Oval Office. As it said: “The United States has 247 years of history, but its constitution was copied by several young Latin American republics in the 19th century and they succumbed to strongmen.”

Here one has only to imagine the fate of a President in days of yore who refused to vacate the Oval Office, especially in a country with more guns than people.

A good test case is, again, FDR, who broke what was not then a constitutional rule but a convention by running for a third term in 1940. That he regarded himself as above George Washington appalled some and amused others. But he did win the 1940 election, even after a damaging clash with the Supreme Court in 1937 when he threatened to “pack” it to undermine its crucial power to rein in legislative and executive encroachment on Constitutional rights. Had he lost, the regular forces would have refused to support a coup backed by a few crooked generals, let alone citizens.

As The Economist noted in another piece, it wasn’t just the Republican fever swamps from which foul-smelling dictatorial bubbles emerged in those days: “In the inter-war years, dictatorship had a certain chic among elite Americans. Eleanor Roosevelt suggested to her husband that the country might need a ‘benevolent dictator’ to drag it out of the Depression. ‘If ever this country needed a Mussolini, it needs one now,’ declared a senator from Pennsylvania. This sort of talk was only silenced by the attack on Pearl Harbour.”

The Establishment

In that piece, The Economist worried a great deal about Trump and his predilections.

But what of Biden? And what of the modern prosecutorial juggernaut? For all his obnoxious qualities, Trump is surely a symptom not a cause, not least because of his notoriously unfocused lack-of-work ethic. And it is not helpful, quite the reverse, that people who get the vapours three times a day about Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 election ignore or excuse Hillary Clinton’s precedent-setting claims that the 2016 election was stolen. Not to mention Al Gore’s fancy tongue-work about 2004.

A crucial cause of America’s current trouble, and its vulnerability, is the large number of people who feel that the system is not working for them, despises them, and lies to them. They mostly vote for Trump, of course, because he’s abrasively anti-Establishment whereas Biden is the Establishment.

But every example of the mendacity, hypocrisy, arrogance and abuse of power by Biden partisans drives Trump supporters into a worse frenzy. This includes their refusal to admit that Biden is patently senile.

The Economist also notes two amendments designed to constrain the power of the presidency, the 22nd that limited anyone to two terms after FDR served three and part of a fourth, and the 25th that permits removal of the president if Congress decides he is incapacitated. And it might actually help the Republic considerably if Biden were to be removed, since he is a major argument in favour of Trump and the refusal of his partisans to admit anything, from senility to his entanglement in Hunter Biden’s preposterous business dealings, reinforces the paranoid notion of a “Deep State” and a conspiracy.

But with Kamala Harris waiting in the wings, one can understand the reluctance.

Americans or not, we all have a huge stake in this matter. Twenty years ago, during a State Department-sponsored tour of swing states for the 2004 election, in which we only went to Democratic states and talked to liberals, I had a chat with a woman in Portland, Oregon who pondered whether the US should in fact split. Not violently, as in the 2024 indie film Civil War but peacefully, into the United States of Canada and Jesusland or one of those parody maps. I told her that I found the thought of the 21st century without the power of a united United States terrifying. To my surprise she burst out in gratitude that nobody ever seemed to talk that way.

It is also a back-to-the-wall situation because the centre of Western Civilization has been moving west, as tracked in the Percy Jackson fantasy novels, from Greece to Rome to Britain to the United States and it has run out of room. Or as Joan Didion once put it in Slouching Toward Bethlehem about California:

“Sacramento is California, and California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things had better work here, because here, beneath the immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent.”

Here, too, is where we run out of democracy if we are going to. If not, if America is not to become one more squalid tyranny, it must be because they, and we, stop treating liberty as some embarrassing anachronism and once again hoist and rally to its banner.


Is an American civil war just a preposterous fantasy? Leave your comments below.  


AUTHOR

JOHN ROBSON

John Robson is the Executive Director of the Climate Discussion Nexus, a documentary film-maker, a columnist with the National Post, the Epoch Times and Loonie Politics, and a professor at Augustine College. He holds a PhD in American history from the University of Texas at Austin. 

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

New EPA Rule Is a Death Sentence for American Energy thumbnail

New EPA Rule Is a Death Sentence for American Energy

By The Daily Signal

The Environmental Protection Agency plays judge, jury, and executioner—and its newest-issued rule is a death sentence to American energy and energy-producing states.

Meanwhile, states like Pennsylvania, which will be disproportionately harmed by the rule because of our abundant natural gas production, hold the key to America’s increasing energy needs, generating immense economic development and reducing the very emissions targeted by this heavy-handed agency.

The EPA unilaterally issued a final rule establishing draconian emission standards that target existing coal and new natural gas power plants nationwide. It requires 90% carbon capture for power-generating facilities by 2032.

Aside from its questionable legality, the new rule is unfeasible. The EPA proposed impossible standards. Current carbon-capture technology—a water- and energy-intensive process that filters and sequesters emissions—neither meets this standard nor projects to do so in the next decade.

Research suggests that current technology could achieve, at best, 10% capture, which still doesn’t factor in the immense implementation costs. No utility-scale natural gas carbon capture plant exists today, so forcing a transition to nonexistent technology within a decade is unreasonable.

This egregious federal overreach will not stand in court. In West Virginia v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the agency lacked the legal authority to devise such emissions caps. As the current legal challenge works through the courts, our highest court will likely strike down this new rule, too.

National energy forecasts show rising demand with a plummeting capacity for our existing energy infrastructure to deliver. Because of bad policies in the name of climate radicalism, early retirements of fossil fuel-based power-generating facilities are already catapulting us to an electrical grid reliability crisis. Meanwhile, utility bills increase as power generators chase federal subsidies to overbuild unreliable, weather-dependent wind- and solar-based electrical generation facilities.

Because of this, two-thirds of the United States risks major blackouts in the next few years. Yet, the EPA doesn’t consider grid reliability when creating its regulations, much less safeguard it.

Per agency protocol, the EPA “does not conduct operational reliability studies,” meaning the agency ignores the widening gap between supply and demand.

The failure to defend grid reliability is a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, disaster has already struck. In 2022, a winter storm in Texas caused 4.5 million people to lose power, killing 246 people who couldn’t heat their homes in subzero temperatures. Increased capacity—namely, more natural gas pipelines—could have saved lives in Texas. The North American Electric Reliability Corp. warned lawmakers that the lack of pipelines and infrastructure leaves the country susceptible to similar tragedies.

Natural gas remains the most economically feasible option to meet that demand in time. (Meanwhile, work must continue to leverage other energy sources, such as nuclear, to accommodate our growing need for baseload power, which is the minimum amount needed to maintain and power our grid.)

To understand the benefits of natural gas, Pennsylvania, the second-largest producer of natural gas and the largest energy exporter in the nation, provides ample evidence.

In the last two decades, the Keystone State’s energy generation sector has increased energy production and reduced emissions—all thanks to natural gas.

The share of Pennsylvania’s electricity production that comes from natural gas increased from 5% in 2005 to 59% in 2022. During that same period, overall energy production emissions dropped 46%, including the most significant year-over-year decline on record.

Transitioning to natural gas proved to be a boon to public health in Pennsylvania. This transition removed about 12.5 million tons of nitrogen and sulfur oxides—emissions associated with respiratory ailments like asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and lung cancer.

Using the EPA’s methodology for quantifying the health impact of removing these emissions from the atmosphere, Pennsylvania’s increased use of natural gas yielded between $450 billion and $1.04 trillion in public health benefits for residents.

Despite natural gas’ benefits, Pennsylvania still endures the same worrisome trend of pernicious eco-fundamentalist policies. Pennsylvania lawmakers flirt with onerous “cap and trade” schemes, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or the newly proposed Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Initiative. By slapping a carbon tax on energy production, these two initiatives guarantee increased utility bills for inflation-weary Pennsylvanians.

The EPA’s rule is like these initiatives on steroids. The rule will not only lead to blackouts and brownouts nationwide but also will force the economies of energy-producing states to forego supporting—and benefiting from—our ever-growing energy demands.

Instead, policymakers must remove the regulatory barriers that hamstring energy-producing states and prevent the energy industry from providing reliable, clean power.

Moreover, Congress must advance the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, a policy supported by 68% of Americans, to boost accountability and transparency with federal regulators. The act would require Congress to approve administrative rules that would have significant financial impacts before they could take effect.

A future without fossil fuel-generated power is a myth. Almost 80% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuel sources. Rather than obstruct clean, reliable energy, the EPA must allow natural gas to light the way to American energy independence.

AUTHORS

Andre Beliveau

André Béliveau is the senior manager of energy policy at the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania’s free-market think tank. On X: @therealbeliveau.

Amy Cooke

Amy O. Cooke is president and chairwoman of the Board of Always on Energy Research. On X: @TheRightAOC.

Christian Court Victory, Biden Abandons Americans, and More: 5 Stories You Missed thumbnail

Christian Court Victory, Biden Abandons Americans, and More: 5 Stories You Missed

By Family Research Council

The news this week focused on a glut of truly momentous stories: President Donald Trump’s norms-breaking conviction, Joe Biden’s loophole-ridden executive actions at the border, and Biden’s attempt to draft D-Day veterans into his war to maintain the White House. But a week of consequential news often drowns out genuinely significant developments, as well.

This week, that included a transgender theorist’s admission that her work does target children, the unreported facts behind this week’s “strong” jobs report, the U.S. government’s war against a Christian business, a touching act of charity as a wounded politician publicly forgives his would-be assassin, and Joe Biden’s abandonment of Americans in yet another theater of combat.

1. A Christian business wins a small tag-of-war with the Biden administration.

As President Joe Biden used the venerable surviving veterans of D-Day as a backdrop for a domestic-themed speech, Christian businesses fought his administration’s attempts to deny the unalienable constitutional rights those veterans fought to preserve.

Shields of Strength began producing replicas of Army, Air Force, and Marines dog tags, inscribed with a Bible verse, in 2012. Their work brought comfort and solace to those killed in America’s decades-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins described in 2020:

“Her son, Sgt. Cole Wixom, was killed on duty — almost one year ago today. His body was flown home to Michigan a week later, but along the way, his mom says, someone gave the soldier accompanying his remains a dog tag with a Bible verse on it. In a letter, [Wixom’s mother, Robyn] tells Kenny Vaughan, the founder of Shields of Strength, that she’s ‘worn it ever since, along with the dog tag that was attached to his coffin. I can barely see the writing anymore. It’s tarnished, but I know what it says. It says, “I will be strong and courageous. I will not be afraid. I will not be discouraged.” You have no idea,’ the grieving mom said, ‘what this little piece of metal has meant to me…’”

Comforting the grieving proved too great an offense for the atheist activists at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which claimed the dog tags “poison[ed] the constitutionally mandated separation of Church and State.” In 2019, the Army withdrew its permission for the Christian company to recreate the faith-themed dog tags. They were followed by the Marines. Soon, the Department of Defense accused the company of trademark infringement.

This week, the Christian business cut a small hole through the enemy’s lines. With the help of First Liberty Institute, the business argued the Pentagon’s actions violated the freedom of speech rights recognized by the First Amendment. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, allowed the company’s First Amendment case to proceed.

It’s a small victory, but true warriors know: Small victories lead to great triumphs. Yet the company should not have to prevail in court: The federal government can reverse its fear-filled attempt to placate secular maximalists and rescind its objections. The Biden administration should end its war against Christian retailers as precipitously as it did its war against Afghan terrorists.

2. Transgender theorist: Actually, we do groom children.

This Tuesday, during a little-viewed presentation, two largely obscure academics blurted out one of the most noteworthy if inadvertent confessions in the history of the transgender movement.

The moment came during an exchange between queer theorists Judith Butler of Berkeley and Judith “Jack” Halberstam of Columbia. Halberstam opened their conversation, hosted by Pioneer Works and Dia Art Foundation, by condemning a “strange set of accusations that people who believe in [extreme] gender [ideology] are trying to destroy the family [or] they are pedophiles themselves.”

Halberstam and Butler then proceeded to admit, in essence, many of their foes’ accusations are true.

“I was identified as representing gender ideology and a threat to children. My work would indoctrinate them. Or my work would license pedophilia. Or my work and the work of gender more broadly would teach them how to become homosexual or teach them they must become homosexual,” groused Butler.

“Which is kinda true,” replied Halberstam, who giggled as Butler cracked a smile. “Kinda worked, yeah!”

Butler confessed, “Of course, we know Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick said, ‘Yes, we do teach that!’ And that is one answer. If that is your desire, and you’re looking for ways to live according to that desire, come along, and we’ll make that easier for you.”

She proceeded to deny that, “as a group, people who advocate policy or teaching Gender Studies are in favor of indoctrination or unwanted seduction. In fact, we spend most of our time criticizing both.”

Charges that LGBTQ theory will erode basic societal guards against pedophilia are “a projection of ‘the Church’” trying to find evidence of its own crimes in those they [sic] wish to persecute.”

“This is how priests confess,” Butler averred.

In reality, Butler has personally written that it may “be necessary to rethink the prohibition on incest,” since “incest [is] necessarily traumatic.” Moreover, laws banning incest make it more difficult to realize “lesbian and gay forms of parenting.” As such, laws against incest may become the “instrument of a violation.” In her 2004 book “Undoing Gender,” Butler wrote:

“I do think that there are probably forms of incest that are not necessarily traumatic or which gain their traumatic character by virtue of the consciousness of social shame that they produce. … One of the symbolic consequences of the law [against incest] so formulated is precisely the derealization of lesbian and gay forms of parenting, single-mother households, blended family arrangements in which there may be more than one mother or father … It is important to note that not all forms of incest are necessarily traumatic … It might, then, be necessary to rethink the prohibition on incest as that which sometimes protects against a violation, and sometimes becomes the very instrument of a violation” (pp. 157-160).

Examples of LGBTQ literature glorifying adult-child sexual relations became so numerous that scholar Mary Eberstadt categorized them in a 1996 article titled “Pedophilia Chic.” Among them is Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” possibly the play that has enjoyed the single greatest amount of adulation from Gender Studies departments. In its original form, Ensler’s play featured a positive portrayal of a 24-year-old woman raping a 13-year-old girl. (The child’s age was subsequently raised to the still-illegal age of 16.) Similarly positive portrayals of pedophilia occur in Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” a book in many school libraries, which contains a boy fondly reminiscing about performing fellatio on a grown man.

Butler’s hero, Gayle Rubin, defended child pornography and “boylovers” in her 1984 essay, “Thinking Sex,” in which Rubin wrote, “The laws produced by the child porn panic are ill-conceived and misdirected.” For example, “some child pornography laws prohibit even the private possession of any sexual material involving minors.”

Rubin’s inverted moral compass depicted police as viciously devouring adult men who happen to have sex with underage boys:

“Like communists and homosexuals in the 1950s, boylovers are so stigmatized that it is difficult to find defenders for their civil liberties, let alone for their erotic orientation. Consequently, the police have feasted on them.”

Critiquing laws that prevent adults from sexually exploiting minors’ vulnerable mental state, Rubin believed children could be sexualized “in a caring and responsible manner”:

“The law is especially ferocious in maintaining the boundary between childhood ‘innocence’ and ‘adult’ sexuality. Rather than recognizing the sexuality of the young, and attempting to provide for it in a caring and responsible manner, our culture denies and punishes erotic interest and activity by anyone under the local age of consent. The amount of law devoted to protecting young people from premature exposure to sexuality is breath-taking.”

Rubin’s ideology would infect queer theory root-and-branch. Ten years after these words were written, Judith Butler interviewed Gayle Rubin, telling Rubin, “[Y]ou set the methodology for feminist theory, then the methodology for lesbian and gay studies.”

3. About that ‘strong’ jobs report ….

President Joe Biden continues to build a strong economy for illegal aliens and their employers.

The legacy media described the May 2024 jobs report as “strong,” a “blowout,” and “much-better-than-expected.” And Biden dubbed it evidence of “the great American comeback.” Those evaluations seem difficult to sustain, since the report actually shows:

  • 299,000 fewer native-born Americans held a job this year compared to last May.
  • 637,000 more foreign-born immigrants (legal or illegal) held a job during the same time period.
  • Bidenomics destroyed 625,000 full-time jobs since April — or 1.16 million year-over-year.
  • The Biden economy produced 286,000 more part-time jobs in one month — or 1.51 million since last May.
  • Consequently, 16,000 more people worked two or more jobs in May than in April — 629,000 more than last May.

Particularly, the benefits reaped by non-citizens does not represent a new trend: U.S. citizens hold fewer jobs today than before the pandemic, while foreign-born workers hold significantly more. “[A]ll post-pandemic job growth, coinciding with the millions of illegal aliens allowed into the country by the Biden administration, has gone to foreign-born workers,” notes the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

A “great American comeback” is precisely what unemployed and under-employed Americans need most.

4. A president forgives his would-be assassin.

One of the unreported stories this week involves a world leader who exercised the Christian virtue of forgiveness on an incalculable scale. On May 15, a gunman shot Robert Fico, president of Slovakia, four times in a failed assassination attempt. On Wednesday, Fico responded.

“It’s time for me to make the first move. And that is forgiveness,” said the wounded president during a 14-minute-long video posted on Facebook. “I feel no hatred towards the stranger who shot me. I will not take any legal action against him, nor will I seek damages compensation.”

“I forgive him,” said Fico. “Let him sort out what he did and why he did it in his own head.”

Such effusive displays of forgiveness have become exceedingly rare in our secularizing world. Fico joins a distinguished list of public officials who let their love of neighbor overcome an attempt on their lives, including:

  • Pope John Paul II, who met his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison, holding his hand.
  • President Ronald Reagan, whom son Michael revealed wanted to meet John Hinckley Jr. in prison in 1981. The former president would publicly express his forgiveness in 1990, saying, “I added him to my prayers that, well, if I wanted healing for myself and maybe he should have some healing for himself.”
  • Former Alabama Governor George Wallace, who wrote a touching letter to Arthur Bremer 23 years after Bremer’s attack left the 1972 presidential hopeful paralyzed. Wallace wrote, “I am a born-again Christian. I love you. I have asked our Heavenly Father to touch your heart, and I hope that you will ask Him for forgiveness of your sin so you can go to heaven like I am going to heaven.”

Fico said the man was “only a messenger of evil and political hatred,” which he accused his political opponents of stoking “to unmanageable proportions.” An official pre-trial detention order records that his attacker, 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, “decided to act,” because he views the Euroskeptic Fico “as a Judas toward the European Union” wants Fico to approve “military assistance to be given to Ukraine.”

Speaking of Ukraine ….

5. Biden abandons U.S. citizens in Ukraine, too.

Although Congress has approved $174.8 billion in aid to Ukraine in two years, the Biden administration is standing idly by while the President Volodymyr Zelensky attempts to draft U.S. citizens into his army.

As the Russian military takes its toll and Ukrainian opposition to prolonging the conflict grows, Zelensky has widened the population he’s drafted into the war effort. Zelensky signed legislation making every man between the ages of 18 and 60 eligible for military conscription. He’s also required every Ukrainian male between the ages of 18 and 60 to register with the government and carry registration documents with them at all times.

How does this affect U.S. citizens? Some Americans hold both U.S. and Ukrainian citizenship. Unfortunately for them, Ukraine does not recognize dual citizenship. Zelensky treats them as potential conscripts.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy essentially told U.S. citizens entangled in Zelensky’s laws that they’re on their own:

“U.S.-Ukrainian dual citizens are therefore treated solely as Ukrainian citizens while in Ukraine and are subject to the rights and obligations of Ukrainian citizens. Under Ukraine’s martial law, men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not permitted to leave the country. Previously, dual U.S.-Ukrainian citizens in this group could enter and then depart Ukraine if they had deregistered their Ukrainian residency and registered their U.S. residency. According to our information, this exception was revoked as of June 1.”

As a result, “There is an extremely high risk you will not be allowed to depart, even with a U.S. passport.”

“The U.S. Embassy is limited in our ability to influence Ukrainian law,” said the memo.

A casual observer might believe the United States has $175 billion worth of influence over Ukrainian law, which it might exert on behalf of its own people. Instead, Biden personally apologized to Zelensky that the U.S. democratic process helped up aid delivery to his country. The apology came as his government announced it would send $225 million more U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Zelensky government. Zelensky, in turn, criticized the U.S. and other nations for not training Ukrainian pilots to fly the U.S.-provided F-16s faster.

Biden’s ill-executed withdrawal from Afghanistan left thousands of Americans trapped by the Taliban. As of this writing, Hamas still holds eight U.S. citizens hostage in Gaza. The first American hostage freed from Gaza, four-year-old Abigail Mor Edan, is the niece of a Biden donor who purchased one of Hunter Biden’s “artwork.”

This week’s underreported stories show, in war as in the economy, the Biden administration always abandons America first.

Bonus stories:

  • Psst, on Wednesday House Republicans issued criminal referrals for Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James Biden, for allegedly lying to Congress. Curiously few legacy media outlets chose to juxtapose President Trump’s conviction with the legal troubles of his opponent’s family.
  • After years of denialism, The New York Times ran an op-ed on Monday titled, “Why the Pandemic Probably Started in a Lab, in 5 Key Points.”
  • On Tuesday, 500 non-U.S. citizens voted in the District of Columbia’s elections.
  • Democratic Rep. Gabe Vasquez (N.M.) used an anti-black slur in a phone call to his former employer in 2004.
  • New Jersey Democrats voted for a dead man in Tuesday’s primary. Although former Rep. Ronald Payne Jr. died of a heart attack in April, he won his party’s nomination this week.
  • Joe Biden has threatened to veto funding for America’s veterans, because House Republicans stripped out funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out abortions, promote transgender procedures, and promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Globalist War on Food Ramping Up: Idaho SHUTS DOWN FARMERS’ access to water; ‘We’re all going to fail’ thumbnail

Globalist War on Food Ramping Up: Idaho SHUTS DOWN FARMERS’ access to water; ‘We’re all going to fail’

By Leo Hohmann

The situation in Idaho is truly remarkable, and we will see more water deprivation in the months and years ahead. Why? Because the globalists have long sought to control water resources. It’s part of the U.N. Agenda 2030 strategy, which is really a strategy for the culling of humanity and much tighter control over those who are left.

Please watch and share the video below from an Idaho potato farmer.

Notice, the farmer in the above video states that the reservoirs, streams, creeks and rivers are all full in Idaho and the mountains have plenty of melting snow draining into the valleys. Yet, we see poor water-management practices (whether intentional or due to incompetance) limiting critical water supplies to farmers, rendering their land worthless. If a farmer can’t get access to water, he’s done. It’s all part of the globalist plan to depopulate the earth, through endless wars, poison in the food and water, toxic vaccines, and engineered famine.

And it’s not just farms that are going to be affected.

Business Insider reports that Mexico City is on the brink of a water catastrophe. Experts predict that the city of 8.8 million people could run out of drinking water later this month.

Mexico City is not the first city with a water crisis and it won’t be the last. Of course they’re blaming climate change.

But Aditi Mukherji, director of the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Impact Action Platform, told Business Insider the biggest factor that makes a city vulnerable isn’t climate change, it’s poor water management.

She said:

“It’s not so much about the absolute quantity of the water per se, but it’s about how the available water is distributed. Water scarcity at the end of the day boils down to issues of policies and governance.”

According to the World Resources Institute, there are 11 other cities at high risk of running out of water. Many are located in the 25 most water-stressed countries – housing one-quarter of the world’s population. These countries regularly use up almost their entire available water supply. At least 50% of the world’s population — around 4 billion people — live under highly water-stressed conditions for at least one month of the year, including India, Mexico, Egypt and Turkey.

Liz Saccoccia, a water scarcity associate with WRI, told Business Insider via email:

“Even a short-term drought puts these places in danger of running out of water and sometimes prompts governments to shut off the taps.”

Are you prepared in the event that your state or local water authorities “shut off the taps?”

©2024. Leo Hohmann. All rights reserved.

Rep. Mark Green Leads Bid To Reverse Biden Admin’s ‘Politically Motivated’ Gun Restrictions thumbnail

Rep. Mark Green Leads Bid To Reverse Biden Admin’s ‘Politically Motivated’ Gun Restrictions

By The Daily Caller

Republican Tennessee Rep. Mark Green on Wednesday took action to reverse a Biden administration rule placing new restrictions on firearm exports.

The rule, released by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on April 30, makes a number of changes to licensing requirements that could make it more difficult for firearm manufacturers and sellers to conduct business. Green, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the rule, along with 69 other Republicans.

“Congress cannot abandon American firearm exporters to the whims of an administration hellbent on undermining their businesses, their livelihoods, and their constitutional freedoms,” Green told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Congress has the authority to rein in rogue federal agencies—it’s time we used it.”

Republican Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty is introducing the Senate’s version of the CRA.

“This rule is another Operation Choke Point—a politically motivated effort that significantly harms Tennessee manufacturers—and will consequently destroy U.S. jobs and small businesses that support the firearm and ammunition industry,” Hagerty said in an April 30 statement. “The Biden administration has made clear that its goal is to damage the firearm industry that supplies the products that allow Americans to exercise their constitutional freedom. Crushing American exports is just a means to skirt the legislative process and do damage to yet another Biden-disfavored industry.”

The CRA comes on the heels of Green’s introduction of the Stop the Bureaucratic Ineptitude Shuttering Respectable and Upstanding Lawful Exporters Act (Stop the BIS RULE Act) bill in early May, which would prevent federal funds from being used “to finalize, implement, or enforce” the rule.

Green previously told the DCNF the rule would “harm American business owners, hinder the right of people overseas to protect themselves, and will allow China and Russia to fill the void.”

The rule lowers export license validity to one year rather than four, inserts a “crime control” licensing requirement that factors in crime in other countries and applies a “presumption of denial” to export applications to 36 countries deemed high-risk.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement announcing the new rule that it was designed to protect “America’s national security by making it harder for criminals, terrorists, and cartels to get their hands on U.S.-made firearms,” which she noted “fall into the wrong hands and end up being used in ways that directly undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

BIS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, issued the rule following a 90-day pause on new export licenses for civilian firearms, which was announced in October but ultimately lasted over 180 days.

President Joe Biden has a long history of supporting gun control. As a senator in 1994, he helped pass a ten- year ban on “assault weapons” and continues to advocate for a federal ban.

AUTHOR

KATELYNN RICHARDSON

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Biden Proposes Increasing Budget Of Agency Pushing Gun Regulations By 30%

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


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Vast Majority Of Small Business Owners Worried Biden’s Economy Will Force Them To Close thumbnail

Vast Majority Of Small Business Owners Worried Biden’s Economy Will Force Them To Close

By The Daily Caller

A large portion of small business owners are concerned about their future amid wider financial stress under President Joe Biden, according to a new poll from the Job Creators Network Foundation (JCNF) obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Around 67% of small business owners were worried that current economic conditions could force them to close their doors, ten percentage points higher than just two years ago, according to the JCNF’s monthly small business poll. Respondents’ perceptions of economic conditions for their own businesses fell slightly in the month, from 70.2 to 68.1 points, with 100 points being the best possible business conditions, while perceptions of national conditions increased from 50.4 to 53.2 points.

“Small businesses are more vulnerable to high taxes and costly regulatory environments compared to their large corporate counterparts,” Elaine Parker, president of the JCNF, told the DCNF. “That’s why it’s no surprise that 26% of small businesses say they’ve considered relocating to a different state or city to chase more favorable tax rates and escape government red tape. This is an opportunity for free-market minded governors to continue making their states stand out from the crowd by implementing pro-growth policy reforms that will ignite Main Street.”

Around 46% of all workers in the U.S. are employed by small businesses, totaling 61.6 million people, according to Forbes Advisor.

Small businesses are also increasingly dealing with the effects of crime, with 44% of owners saying that crime has increased in their area, while only 39% said that it has stayed the same, according to the JCNF. The most likely group to say crime has increased were businesses generating less than $100,000 a year at 55%, while those with $1 million or more in revenue were the least likely to say that crime is increasing.

Inflation remained the biggest concern for small business owners, rising slightly to 49% in May compared to 48% in March, followed by the general health of the economy and client spending, according to the JCNF. Inflation continues to remain elevated, measuring 3.4% in April, with prices increasing 19.3% since Biden first took office in January 2021.

The share of small business owners who said that complying with local, state and federal regulations is time-consuming jumped to 58% in May, higher than the 54% that responded that way in April, according to the poll.

The Biden administration has finalized regulations imposing costs of over $1 trillion in just the last few months as agencies rush to protect their regulatory actions from possible rollback measures in the event that Biden loses the 2024 election.

Owners also held a overwhelmingly negative view of the president’s performance in helping small businesses, with 60% rating his performance negatively in May compared to 38% who rated it positively, according to the poll. The most common grade given for Biden’s performance by those surveyed was an “F” at 36%, followed by a “C” at 18%.

Americans as a whole also hold a negative view about Biden’s handling of the economy and inflation, with a poll conducted in early May showing that 49% of voters thought that the president’s policies had hurt the economy compared to 28% who thought they had helped. Around 80% of voters surveyed put inflation in their top three financial stressors.

Many businesses are still reeling from the loss of economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 34% of small businesses closing from January 2020 to May 2021, according to the World Economic Forum.

The poll is a national survey of 400 small business employers conducted between May 2 and 19, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9%.

The White House did not respond to a request to comment from the DCNF.

AUTHOR

WILL KESSLER

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: America’s Astronomical Home Prices Could Get Even Worse If Biden Gets His Way, Experts Say

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


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PODCAST: Trump verdict Makes NYC ‘Venezuela-on-the-Hudson’! thumbnail

PODCAST: Trump verdict Makes NYC ‘Venezuela-on-the-Hudson’!

By Conservative Commandos Radio Show

GUESTS AND TOPICS

HANS VON SPKOVSKY

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues – including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform — as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. His analysis and commentary have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Politico, Human Events, National Review Online and Townhall. Along with John Fund, he is the co-author of “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk“, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department. And Their newest book is, “Our Broken Elections: How the Left Changed the Way You Vote

TOPIC: Trump verdict Makes NYC ‘Venezuela-on-the-Hudson’!

EMILY RAY

Emily Rae is a Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center, where she litigates cases to protect individual liberties, prevent government overreach, and preserve other constitutional rights. She currently is the lead attorney for LJC in the California v. Chino Valley Unified School District case. Before joining Liberty Justice Center, Emily was a Senior Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where she started her career in 2015. While at Orrick, Emily practiced law with the following legal groups: Employment; White Collar, Investigations, Securities Litigation & Compliance; and General Litigation, before ultimately specializing in the firm’s Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution group, focused primarily in the areas of contract disputes and business torts. Emily also devoted hundreds of hours to pro bono cases concerning important constitutional law issues.

TOPIC: California Assembly Bill 1955.

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‘Fool The American People’: Biden’s Immigration Order Has More Holes Than The Border, Experts Say thumbnail

‘Fool The American People’: Biden’s Immigration Order Has More Holes Than The Border, Experts Say

By The Daily Caller

President Joe Biden was met with a wave of criticism from both the left and the right after announcing Tuesday an executive order that aims to clamp down on illegal immigration at the southern border.

In an announcement at the White House, Biden unveiled an executive order that aims to control the daily illegal crossings taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border. The presidential proclamation, which is expected to go into effect on Wednesday, follows 6 million southern border encounters during his presidency.

The order will temporarily suspend the entry of foreign nationals across the U.S.-Mexico border once the number of average border encounters exceeds 2,500 a day over a week time period, according to the White House. This will stay in effect until two weeks after there has been a seven-day average of fewer than 1,500 encounters along the southern border.

The order — which largely draws its authority under 212(f) and 215(a) from the Immigration and Nationality Act — will make it easier for Border Patrol agents and other Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to quickly remove foreign nationals who have no legal basis to remain in the country.

However, the announcement was met with near universal criticism from immigration hawks who argued it would fail to properly address the crisis and immigration advocates who argued the order is dangerous for asylum seekers.

“This executive order is nothing more than [Biden] trying to fool the American people and hide the results of his disastrous immigration policies,” Joe Chester, communications manager for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Chester noted that the executive action still allows 1.8 million illegal crossings annually, provides exemptions to illegal immigrants crossing at ports of entry using the CBP One app, and does not apply to parolees or unaccompanied minors, among other “loopholes” that will allow exemptions for migrants.

“This executive order is nothing more than ‘smoke and mirrors’ to create Democrat talking points for the election on immigration and border enforcement,” John Fabbricatore, a retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office director, said to the DCNF following the announcement. Fabbricorte argued the Biden administration could’ve issued such an executive order months ago “if this had been a serious effort,” but is doing so now because his polling is down.

James Massa, the CEO of NumbersUSA, also took umbrage with the “blanket waivers” allowed under the executive order, making mention of the fact that any alien who uses the CBP One app is excluded from its restrictions.

In addition to those who seek entry to the U.S. via ports of entry using the CBP One app and unaccompanied minors, those exempted from the executive order are victims of a “severe form” of trafficking and those who face immediate medical emergencies or imminent threats to their safety, according to the White House.

The proclamation is vaguely similar to legislation introduced by Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Lankford earlier this year. However, that bill was quickly shot down by Republicans in the House.

“This executive order does three things, none of which include securing the border,” Lora Ries, border and immigration director for the Heritage Foundation, said to the DCNF. “It: (1) allows Biden to claim he ‘did something’ regarding the border; (2) allows Biden to try to blame Congressional Republicans for legislative inaction (never mind that the House did its job by passing H.R. 2); and (3) whistles to the Administration’s ally leftist groups to sue the executive branch to halt implementation of this exception-riddled order.”

“Right on cue, the ACLU has already stated it will sue,” Ries continued. “I’d bet the Biden Admin gave advanced copies to these groups.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — a liberal advocacy organization that became an ardent courtroom foe of the Trump administration’s immigration agenda — did make an immediate announcement on Tuesday, declaring that they would be suing the Biden White House to stop the order.

“We intend to challenge this order in court. It was illegal when Trump did it, and it is no less illegal now,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a Tuesday statement.

Other pro-migrant organizations were also unenthusiastic in their reaction. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, while not overtly critical in their statement, stressed the importance of providing a “fair and efficient process” for asylum applicants who arrive at the southern border, in a Tuesday announcement.

Between courtroom challenges and other factors, it’s yet to be seen how long this executive order will last. Tom Homan, who led ICE during the Trump administration, said he expects the order to go away as soon as the election is over.

“It’s terrible — it does nothing to stop catch and release, and it does nothing to stop child trafficking,” Homan said to the DCNF. “The most disgusting part of the whole thing is that it’s temporary and if [Biden] wins re-election, this thing will go away on day one. This is nothing but a political stunt to get him re-elected.”

The southern border crisis has raged on, proving to be a headache for the administration. Recent polls indicates illegal immigration is now a top concern for Americans and most voters believe former President Donald Trump would better handle the issue than the current occupant of the White House.

However, not everyone had critical reaction to the Tuesday announcement. The Migration Policy Institute, an organization focused on unbiased analysis of migration issues, said the order would likely have an effect on encounter numbers, at least in the short term.

“This executive order will make it harder to access asylum,” MPI spokeswoman Michelle Mittelstadt said to the DCNF. “Fewer people will pass credible fear interviews with the higher standards. This could also have a deterrence effect in the short term.”

“That said, the reality is that until Congress fully funds all elements of the border management enterprise – including the immigration courts and asylum processing functions at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as ICE removal capacity – any administration is going to face very significant challenges at the border given the vast diversification of nationalities and the changed characteristics of arriving migrants,” Mittelstadt said.

The Biden administration did make a concerted effort to show that his proclamation wields some measure of support. This was demonstrated in the slate of border mayors who attended his Tuesday announcement.

Additionally, even mayors who were not at the event expressed support for the move.

“My office did not receive an invitation to the ceremony,” Sunland Park, Arizona Mayor Javier Perea said to the DCNF on Tuesday. “Regardless, I am glad someone is taking action to address the issue.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

AUTHOR

JASON HOPKINS

Contributor.

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


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.