Big Brother Is In Control Of Most Social Media

It may be years before we fully appreciate what Elon Musk has done by buying Twitter. He may have put a stake in the ground to protect Americans from government-controlled media.

On Monday, The Daily Caller reported the following:

The Department of Homeland Security has left open a special feature that allows government officials to flag Facebook posts for misinformation after scrapping a controversial advisory board tasked with developing guidelines for social media censorship, the Intercept reported Monday.

DHS announced plans for a Disinformation Governance Board to “develop guidelines, standards, guardrails to ensure that the work that has been ongoing for nearly 10 years does not infringe on people’s free speech rights, rights of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in May, according to The Hill. While DHS shuttered the initiative after an onslaught of bipartisan opposition decrying the potential censorship, the Intercept found through an analysis of public and leaked documents that government efforts to police tech companies goes on.

On Tuesday, The Western Journal reported:

Twitter and other social media platforms have been cozy with the Department of Homeland Security to squelch what DHS calls “misinformation,” “disinformation” and “malinformation,” or “MDM,” according to an investigative report published Monday by The Intercept.

But you knew that.

And maybe Elon Musk did in his purchase of Twitter last week.

Job one for Musk was to not only fire CEO Parag Agrawal but also Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and the individual responsible for booting former President Donald Trump off the platform and for censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story in the run-up to the 2020 election.

You probably remember a few months ago when DHS rolled out what it called its Disinformation Governance Board, designed to go after “MDM” on social media. A firestorm of bad publicity meant the Biden administration had to quickly yank it offstage.

But the concept is still around and Gadde has been part of it.

Please follow the links above to read both articles. It is obvious that the government has interfered in the free speech rights of Americans. America has had a biased media for a long time, but social media should have been a neutral platform. For further information on the relationship between our government and Twitter, please go to The Conservative Treehouse and read the articles about Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop.

The Democrats Claim A Successful Two Years Of The Biden Presidency

On Friday, Issues & Insights posted an article listing the accomplishments of the Biden administration that Democrats are planning to highlight in the mid-term elections.

The article includes the list:

So, will they try to run on their record of “accomplishment”? Brent Budowsky, a columnist for The Hill, says they should. In a piece headlined: “A closing message for Democrats to win,” he says they just need to ask voters: “Do you want to build on, or reverse, the achievements of Biden and the Democratic Congress?”

What achievements? Budowsky lists them. Democrats, he says:

    • lowered prescription drug costs,
    • created tens of millions of high-wage jobs,
    • made “dramatic” improvements in veterans’ health care,
    • “important” progress to combat gun violence, and
    • “historic” progress climate change,
    • strengthened the Violence Against Women Act,
    • passed the American Rescue Plan,
    • expanded Child Care Tax Credit,
    • and got a bipartisan infrastructure law passed.

Wow. The article explains how each of these so-called accomplishment has not only had a negative impact on the majority of Americans, most of them have not actually been accomplished.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is an illustration of how media consultants can spin failure so that it sounds like success.

The Classic Definition Of Chutzpah

On Tuesday, The Hill reported the following:

The group of Venezuelan migrants flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., last week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) filed a class-action suit against the governor and the state’s transportation secretary on Tuesday.

The suit provides a detailed account of how the migrants came to board the two planes allegedly under false pretenses, arguing the relocations violated their Fourth and 14th Amendment rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

People who broke the law to get here and are here illegally have rights? Wow. Does America have the right to arrest them for breaking into our country?

The article continues:

The suit, filed in a federal trial court in Massachusetts, asks a judge to declare DeSantis’s relocations illegal under the Constitution as well as federal and state laws. It also asks the judge to prevent Florida from inducing immigrants to travel across state laws by fraud and misrepresentation.

Did Martha’s Vineyard have the right to move them to another part of Massachusetts?

The article reports:

Alianza Americas, a network of groups supporting immigrants, filed the class action suit with three unnamed migrants DeSantis relocated, claiming the scheme also constituted intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and fraud.

Boston-based group Lawyers for Civil Rights said its attorneys, who have been on the island since last week, are representing the plaintiffs.

Are any of those lawyers offering to house any of the illegal immigrants?

The article concludes:

The plaintiffs said the migrants boarded the flights with the belief they would land in Washington, D.C. or Boston, but they were told while in the air they would instead be arriving in Martha’s Vineyard.

They were also allegedly given a brochure that outlined support services in Massachusetts, but the programs referenced had “highly specific eligibility requirements” that the migrants did not meet, the suit said.

“Once the individual Plaintiffs and class members landed, it became clear that the promises made to induce them on the planes were in fact bold-faced lies,” it stated.

The migrants have since been relocated to a military base elsewhere in Massachusetts. 

DeSantis has said the flights were “just the beginning” of relocation efforts.          

I believe it is noteworthy that the migrants were removed from Martha’s Vineyard less than two days after they arrived. It is off season on the Vineyard, and it would have been very easy to put 50 people up in hotel rooms. However, that was not allowed to happen. I wonder if the year-round residents of the Vineyard will now take down their yard signs that say everyone is welcome here and hate has no place here. It’s very easy to welcome everyone when you are an island only accessible by plane or boat.

Promises Made, Promises Broken

On Friday, The Hill posted an article about more than 70 House of Representatives Democrats reneging on the promise they made to Senator Joe Manchin in order to persuade him to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act.

The article reports:

More than 70 House Democrats are signing on to a letter pressing Democratic leaders to not include a side deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on reforming the permit process for energy projects in a bill funding the government.

The permitting reform language was offered to Manchin to win his vote on the massive climate, tax and health care bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act that was signed into law by President Biden last month.

Manchin provided the critical support to get that bill through the evenly divided Senate after winning concessions from Democratic leaders.

But in the new letter, the Democratic lawmakers are asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) not to include the permitting reforms championed by Manchin into a stopgap funding measure that Congress is expected to take up this month.

Without a stopgap funding measure, the government will shut down on Oct. 1.

“The inclusion of these provisions in a continuing resolution, or any other must-pass legislation, would silence the voices of frontline and environmental justice communities by insulating them from scrutiny,” they lawmakers wrote. 

“We urge you to ensure that these provisions are kept out of a continuing resolution or any other must-pass legislation this year,” they added in the letter that was spearheaded by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

The opposition from Democrats is a significant problem. If the group follows through on the letter, Democrats might not have the votes to pass a government funding bill if it includes the language backed by Manchin. 

Budget by continuing resolution is garbage. Between 1975, when the current budget process took effect, and 1998 Congress never failed to pass a budget. Since then, Congress has failed to pass a budget in 7 of the last 15 fiscal years. It’s time to go back to each governmental department having a budget passed individually. The reason that is not currently happening is that in Washington, money is power. The more money you control, the more powerful you are considered to be. Continuing resolutions take away accountability and have pretty much eliminated budget cuts. The threat of a government shutdown if a continuing resolution is not passed can be used to justify almost anything, and it will be this month.

The Need For American Energy Independence

The Hill reported Monday that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) will be decreasing its production in October in response to declining oil prices.

The article reports:

Oil-producing alliance OPEC+ announced on Monday it will slightly lower oil production in October, eliminating the 100,000 barrel per day increase that began this month.

OPEC leaders made the decision after gathering for a meeting, where they noted the 100,000 barrel per day increase was only intended for September. OPEC produces around 28 million barrels per day.

In researching this article, I came across the following chart from oilprice.com:

Two of the reasons for the increase under President Obama were the use of fracking and the fact that the drilling was occurring on private land. President Trump was still dealing with a Congress that blocked some of his plans to increase American energy production (despite the fact that under President Trump we did achieve energy independence).

Note that the chart reflects changes–not total barrels. Under President Trump, crude oil production hit 10.038 million barrels per day (per The Western Journal). Do you think that level of production would help alleviate the price hikes that are coming because of the OPEC move to decrease oil production?

The article at The Hill continues:

The price for a crude barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil climbed 3 percent after the announcement, reaching $90 per barrel, while Brent crude was also up 3 percent to $96 per barrel.

President Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia, the second largest OPEC member nation, over the summer as high gas prices beleaguered Americans and sunk his approval ratings.

After Biden met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and fist-bumped the Saudi leader, OPEC announced a mostly symbolic increase of 100,000 barrels per day for September.

Energy independence would stabilize oil prices for Americans and the ability to export oil would also fight inflation and improve the American economy.

Where Is The Transparency?

On Monday, The Hill reported the following:

The Justice Department on Monday told a federal judge that releasing the law enforcement affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for former President Trump’s home would jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

Federal prosecutors submitted a court filing opposing any efforts to unseal the document laying out probable cause for the search. The filing came just days after they agreed to release a copy of the warrant itself as well as a receipt listing the materials that were seized during the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

“The affidavit supporting the search warrant presents a very different set of considerations,” the filing reads. “There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed.”

Prosecutors typically submit affidavits from law enforcement officials when seeking a judge’s authorization for a search warrant. These documents are meant to provide an overview of evidence collected during an investigation that would support the probable cause needed to obtain a warrant under the Fourth Amendment.

The court filing submitted Monday — which was signed by Jay Bratt, the head of the DOJ’s counterintelligence office, and Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida — argued that disclosing the affidavit used to secure the Mar-a-Lago warrant would cause “significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”

I hate to be cynical (but I am getting good at it), but I translated that as ‘give us more time–we are trying to invent some evidence.’ The term ‘ongoing investigation’ is always used when the Justice Department is avoiding transparency.

The article notes:

They argued that revealing sensitive information about the investigation could also affect law enforcement’s ability to secure cooperation from potential witnesses and risk revealing identifying details about any witnesses who are already working with investigators.

This is not the Justice Department of a free country.

Has This Lady Read The U.S. Constitution?

On Friday, The Hill posted an article about a recent comment by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

The article reports:

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said on Thursday at a conference that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is tied to its conformity to public opinion, Reuters first reported.

“I’m not talking about any particular decision or even any particular series of decisions, but if over time the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that’s a dangerous thing for a democracy,” Kagan said at a judicial conference in Montana.

…Kagan said at the conference that the court earns its legitimacy by remaining impartial and nonpartisan.

“Overall, the way the court retains its legitimacy and fosters public confidence is by acting like a court, is by doing the kinds of things that do not seem to people political or partisan,” she said.

Kagan referenced times in history when Supreme Court justices failed to discipline themselves and instead “attempted to basically enact their own policy or political or social preferences,” saying that this puts court legitimacy at risk.

This is an amazing statement. The only thing the Supreme Court is required to be tied to is the U.S. Constitution.

On Saturday, Ed Morrissey posted the following at Hot Air:

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan said on Thursday that it would be a “dangerous thing for a democracy” if the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court loses the confidence of the American public.

Speaking in public for the first time since the court’s momentous ruling last month that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, Kagan stressed the importance of the justices staying in their proper roles as judges and not dictating public policy.

The problem with Roe v. Wade actually had very little to do with abortion. The problem with Roe v. Wade was the Tenth Amendment.

The Tenth Amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Abortion is an issue that needs to be determined by every state–by legislators voted in by the people of that state and answerable to the people of that state. The Supreme Court simply overturned a decision that was unconstitutional. They did not end abortion–they simply left it up to each state to make the laws that the people in that state want.

Promises Made, Promises Broken

On Thursday, The Financial Post reported that the Biden administration had failed to deliver the proposed five-year offshore oil and gas development plan that had been promised by the end of the month, according to sources.

The article reports:

Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland in May had vowed to unveil the draft proposal ahead of the June 30 expiration of the current plan. The department will not be able to hold any offshore oil and gas lease sales until a new plan is finalized.

Briefings with officials meant to take place Thursday ahead of a public announcement were unexpectedly delayed, according to sources. The reason and length of the delay were unclear.

I will be honest, I am not a big fan of offshore drilling, but it is a fact of life, and it needs to be planned and controlled. The Biden administration’s dragging their feet on this is not helping anyone.

The article notes:

Interior had recommended to the White House that all federal offshore oil and gas drilling auctions over the next five years be located in the Gulf of Mexico, where the drilling industry has already been focused for decades, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The White House could make changes to include other regions.

The expected proposal comes as U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to balance his goal to transition the country away from fossil fuels against a Congressional requirement to hold regular drilling auctions, and intense political pressure to boost energy supplies to ease soaring inflation.

In recent years, the Interior Department has leased areas off the coast of Alaska. And former President Donald Trump had proposed a vast expansion of drilling sales to cover more than 90% of coastal waters, including areas off California that had not been offered since the 1980s and new zones in the Atlantic and Arctic. Those plans were blocked by legal challenges.

Just for the record, we do not currently have the technology to transition from fossil fuels to green energy. If the government would get out of the energy business, the free market would probably develop the technology, but we do not currently have it. Currently, the quest for green energy resembles the historic quest for a perpetual motion machine. The laws of physics make that an impossible dream. In 2021 more than 200 people lost their lives in Texas due to a cold snap that stopped the windmills they depended on for power from providing electricity. In 2014 I posted an article about what happened when Spain tried to transition to green energy. It wasn’t pretty. We don’t need to repeat their mistake.

UPDATE:  On July 1st, The Hill reported:

The Biden administration is punting a decision on whether to open up more lease sales for offshore drilling.

    • In a statement issued Friday, the administration said it is still working on a plan, and that when issued it could include as many as 11 specific lease sales for offshore oil and gas drilling or as few as zero.
    • An Interior Department official said equal weight is being given to scenarios with zero sales, some sales or all 11 sales.

The statement and department’s proposal for the program’s future was issued one day after a previous five-year offshore drilling plan expired. That plan had been launched by the Obama administration.

The Gun Bill Has Passed The Senate

On Wednesday, The Daily Wire posted an article about the gun bill that was rammed through the Senate on late Tuesday.

This is the list of the Republicans who voted to end the filibuster (from The Hill):

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) 

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) 

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) 

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) 

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) 

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) 

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) 

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) 

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) 

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) 

It should be noted that most of these Republicans are not running for re-election. I suspect the polling on restricting gun rights shows that voting to move forward with this bill does not reflect popular opinion. All of these people should be voted out of office for not protecting the U.S. Constitution.

The Daily Wire posted a list of problems with the current bill as detailed by the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC):

Red Flag Laws

  • Incentivizes local disarmament proceedings, of which many states currently employ secret ex-parte hearings.
  • Calls only for standards equivalent only to civil court.
  • For all the bluster in the measure about protecting due process and the constitutional rights of the subjects of the hearings during the “appropriate phase,” it implies that states will still be able to hold secret ex-parte hearings to deprive the People of their rights.
  • Entitles the subject to an attorney “at the appropriate phase,” but it must be at the subject’s expense.

Private Sales

  • Expands the definition of “engaged in the business” by striking “with the principal objective of livelihood and profit” in the current definition and replacing it with “to predominantly earn a profit.”
  • This confusion could lead to new and successful prosecutions of private sellers who may fall under the broad and vague definition of “engaged in business” and therefore the need to be licensed.

New Misdemeanor Firearms Prohibitions

  • By expanding the definition of a prohibiting misdemeanor domestic violence in such a vague, broad, and subjective way it invites confusion, and potential firearms prohibitions.

Transfers and Straw Purchases

  • Prohibits the government from arming drug cartels, unless the government exercises more oversight on said drug cartels, thus allowing the free flow of arms to these cartels to continue in perpetuity.

Employer Background Checks

  • Allows all employers to ask for a firearms background check prior to employment or during current employment, regardless of its connection to job duties.

Americans need to wake up and realize that this bill is an infringement on our rights as Americans.

 

A Bridge Too Far

On Tuesday, The Hill reported that Senator Joe Manchin has stated that he does not support President Biden’s plan to tax the unrealized gains of billionaires, which would set a new precedent by taxing the value an asset accrues in theory before it is actually sold and converted into cash.

The article quotes Senator Manchin:

“You can’t tax something that’s not earned. Earned income is what we’re based on,” he told The Hill. “There’s other ways to do it. Everybody has to pay their fair share.”

“Everybody has to pay their fair share, that’s for sure. But unrealized gains is not the way to do it, as far as I’m concerned,” he added.

Manchin’s opposition means Biden’s proposal is likely dead only a day after the White House unveiled it.

It could be significantly restructured to avoid taxing unrealized gains, which would pose the big challenge of trying to make up the lost revenues.

The article notes:

The problem with taxing just the regular income of billionaires is that many of the nation’s richest individuals, such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, have been able to pay little or nothing in income tax by not declaring income.

Instead, the ultra-rich often can take out loans secured by the value of their assets to finance their lavish lifestyles.

“Here’s what they do. They go to their accountant. They tell their accountant, ‘Make sure I don’t make any income, any salary.’ And then they say, ‘Make sure I can buy, borrow and die.’ And nobody knew anything about that years ago, and now people are pretty up on it,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has announced his own proposal to tax the unrealized gains of billionaires.

Wyden says that imposing a minimum 20 percent tax on billionaires is about making sure they pay a similar percentage of their wealth in taxes as middle-class Americans.

Raising taxes does not generate revenue–lowering taxes generates revenue. All that raising taxes does is give Washington bureaucrats more money and thus more power. The Democrats need to study the Laffer Curve.

Avoiding A Possible Solution

When America cut her energy production, the price of oil and gas soared. When the price of oil and gas soared, the amount of money going into Russia increased dramatically. Russian gas and oil money are now being used to fund the invasion of Ukraine. So what is the best way to end that invasion? Cut off the money.

On Friday, One America News reported:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged NATO leaders to take immediate action using the SWIFT international payments system to impact Russia’s President Putin and his regime, his office said following a call with NATO leaders on Friday.

Johnson urged leaders to take immediate action with SWIFT “to inflict maximum pain on President Putin and his regime,” his office said on Friday.

Not allowing Russia to use SWIFT would definitely stop the flow of money into Russia.

On Thursday, The Hill reported:

President Biden on Thursday defended maintaining Russia’s access to an international messaging system for banks despite pressure from Ukrainian leaders.

The U.S., United Kingdom and European Union on Thursday announced strict new penalties on the Russian economy, financial institutions and influential elites close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the Western allies did not bar Moscow from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), even after Ukrainian government officials urged them to do so Thursday morning.

“It is always an option, but right now that’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take,” Biden told reporters after announcing new sanctions Thursday.

…The Biden administration also announced plans to impose sanctions on individuals and entities in Belarus, accusing the nation of supporting and facilitating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Banks across the world use SWIFT to finalize transactions and transfers. Cutting Russia off from SWIFT would make it incredibly difficult for its banks to operate efficiently, but could also wreak economic havoc for European nations who depend on Russian oil and natural gas exports.

I would like to note that the European nations would not be dependent on Russian oil if the Biden administration had continued President Trump’s policy of American energy independence. There were a lot of bad decisions made by the Biden administration that led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Some Early Speculation

On Wednesday, The Hill posted a list of the ten Republicans most likely to run for President in 2024. It’s an interesting list.

Here is the list:

Donald Trump

Ron DeSantis

Mike Pence

Chris Christie

Nikki Haley

Ted Cruz

Mike Pompeo

Kristi Noem

Tom Cotton

Larry Hogan

Please follow the link to read the entire article. Each candidate has his/her own list of strong and weak points. The problem with choosing a candidate (in either party) is trying to sort out who is a member of the Washington swamp and who isn’t. The swamp includes both parties, and we need to nominate and elect someone who will drain the swamp rather than be part of it.

This May Be A Problem For The NATO Alliance

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949. The alliance was originally formed to stave off the possibility of the Soviet Union annexing more of Europe. In 1952, Turkey and Greece were added to NATO. Greece left NATO in 1974 when Turkey invaded Cyprus and NATO did not react (Cyprus was not a member of NATO, so no response was triggered). Greece rejoined NATO in 1980. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became President of Turkey in 2014 and has been moving Turkey toward an Islamic dictatorship since he took power.

Yesterday The Hill reported that President Erdogan has called on his foreign minister to banish 10 ambassadors from Western countries, including the United States, after they called for the “urgent release” of a Turkish philanthropist, Reuters reported.

The article reports:

Earlier this week, ambassadors from the embassies of 10 countries called on a resolution for the case of Osman Kavala, who has been in prison for several years after facing charges both in 2013 and 2016 for allegedly financially backing the 2013 protests and for his supposed involvement in a 2016 attempted coup.  

Those charges have been disputed by Kavala, and he was originally absolved of his 2013-related charges; however, earlier this year, the 2013-charges were reinstated along with charges from the 2016 incident, according to Reuters. 

“Today marks four years since the ongoing detention of Osman Kavala began. The continuing delays in his trial, including by merging different cases and creating new ones after a previous acquittal, cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judiciary system,” according to a statement issued on Monday through the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.

“Together, the embassies of Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America believe a just and speedy resolution to his case must be in line with Turkey’s international obligations and domestic laws,” the statement continued. “Noting the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter, we call for Turkey to secure his urgent release.”

Erdoğan claimed in his speech Saturday that the countries will “know and understand Turkey,” adding that “the day they do not know and understand Turkey, they will leave,” according to Reuters.

This is something to watch to see if President Erdogan’s actions have an impact on Turkey’s relationship with NATO. Since becoming President, Erdogan has drawn closer to the Muslim world and pretty much cut his friendly ties to Israel. I truly believe that it is President Erdogan’s intent to reestablish the caliphate that was the Ottoman Empire (with Turkey at the head). That will be interesting as Iran also plans to reestablish that caliphate with Iran at the head. Stay tuned.

How Does This Make Sense?

On Friday, The Hill reported the following:

The Biden administration on Friday lifted sanctions on two Iranian entities involved in military missile programs.

The sanctions, targeting the Mammut Industrial Group (Mammut Industries) and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel, were originally imposed by the Trump administration in September 2020 as part of efforts to increase a maximum pressure campaign of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activity and actions in the region criticized as malign and destabilizing.

The delisting appears to be related to legal proceedings on behalf of the law firm Ferrari & Associates.

“Happy for the delisting of our clients today, and proud of all our team who worked on this. Don’t listen to the hype from any purported “experts.” This is not a political action, its one that followed established legal processes and norms,” tweeted Erich Ferrari, founder and principal attorney of Ferrari & Associates.

Ferrari did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Hill.

Ferrari’s bio on the firm’s website lists Mammut Industrial Group and related parties as a client and that the firm has removed three of the five designees targeted under the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The entities were identified as being “key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs.”

The article notes:

The Biden administration is seeking to restart indirect talks with Iran in Vienna over efforts to bring both parties back to the JCPOA. 

The Biden administration says that the JCPOA is the best chance at putting a ceiling on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and preventing it from building a nuclear bomb. Iran maintains its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes but have exceeded limitations on uranium enrichment and research and development put in place by the deal in opposition to the U.S. sanctions. 

The New York Times reported last month that Iran may be within a month’s timeline of creating enough material to power a nuclear weapon. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international nuclear watchdog, also reported last month that restrictions on its ability to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities was “seriously compromising” its ability to monitor Iran’s adherence to the JCPOA limitations. 

The U.S. and Iran last engaged in discussions in Vienna in June but have yet to resume talks over a host of disagreements and delays. This includes Iran’s insistence that the U.S. lift all sanctions imposed by the Trump administration and delays over the transition to a new government headed by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. 

Iranian officials in recent days have said they would return to Vienna “soon,” but the ongoing delays have frustrated Biden officials.

Based on what I am seeing, I don’t think I would let the Biden administration negotiate a deal on anything for me. I don’t think they understand the idea of negotiations–they have confused bargaining with giving away the store.

Learning From The Chinese Social Credits System

China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. American supported the move. There were a few reasons for admitting them to the organization. The first was the belief that there would be an economic gain for America when Chinese markets were fully open to Americans and vice versa. The other reason was the hope that through trade China would become more free under the influence of commerce with America. The economic gain was limited due to the manipulation of the Chinese currency by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and freedom has consistently been squelched in China by the CCP. Obviously, we had good intentions, but we were wrong. Instead of exporting freedom, we may be on the verge of importing their social credits system.

Yesterday The Hill posted an article with the following headline, “Coming soon: America’s own social credit system.”

The article reports:

The new domestic “War on Terror,” kicked off by the riot on Jan. 6, has prompted several web giants to unveil predecessors to what effectively could become a soft social credit system by the end of this decade. Relying on an indirect hand from D.C., our social betters in corporate America will attempt to force the most profound changes our society has seen during the internet era.

China’s social credit system is a combination of government and business surveillance that gives citizens a “score” that can restrict the ability of individuals to take actions — such as purchasing plane tickets, acquiring property or taking loans — because of behaviors. Given the position of several major American companies, a similar system may be coming here sooner than you think.

Last week, PayPal announced a partnership with the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to “investigate” the role of “white supremacists” and propagators of “anti-government” rhetoric, subjective labels that potentially could impact a large number of groups or people using their service. PayPal says the collected information will be shared with other financial firms and politicians. Facebook is taking similar measures, recently introducing messages that ask users to snitch on their potentially “extremist” friends, which considering the platform’s bias seems mainly to target the political right. At the same time, Facebook and Microsoft are working with several other web giants and the United Nations on a database to block potential extremist content.

The article notes:

The potential scope of the soft social credit system under construction is enormous. The same companies that can track your activities and give you corporate rewards for compliant behavior could utilize their powers to block transactions, add surcharges or restrict your use of products. At what point does free speech — be it against biological males playing in girls’ sports, questioning vaccine side effects, or advocating for gun rights — make someone a target in this new system? When does your debit card get canceled over old tweets, your home loan denied for homeschooling your kids, or your eBay account invalidated because a friend flagged you for posting a Gadsden flag?

The article concludes:

Until and unless there is an organized pushback, our future could track with those of increasingly illiberal societies. Just last week, the British government announced its own version of a health social credit system. China’s system was announced only seven years ago. Considering the growth of algorithms and dependence on tech giants, the ability to track, censor and eventually punish ordinary citizens will be mindboggling by 2030. America’s descent into a 21st century Gilded Age directed by tech titans isn’t an inevitability. However, do you know anyone who would take a 5 percent Amazon coupon in exchange for a “call to action”? Or someone who would replace their Facebook profile picture to avoid being locked out? 

Peer pressure, trendy movements, and the ability to comply with the new system with the click of a mouse combine all of the worst elements of dopamine-chasing Americans. As it grows in breadth and power, what may be most surprising about our new social credit system won’t be collective fear of it, but rather how quickly most people will fall in line.

There are several problems with this other than the fact that it totally ignores the freedom and rights of Americans protected under the U.S. Constitution. Who defines extremism? Is extremism the belief in principles that were considered the norm only fifteen years ago–men in men’s sports, women in women’s sports, marriage between one man and one woman, etc.? We are heading down a dangerous path. I am personally aware of someone’s PayPal account being closed because the company became aware that she was in Washington, D.C. on January 6th. She was nowhere near the Capitol Building, but she was in the city. That is what we have to look forward to if we don’t stand up for our Constitutional rights.

 

Have You Seen This Anywhere On The News?

Yesterday The Hill reported that the legal limit on how much debt the U.S. government can owe was reimposed Sunday.

The article reports:

A two-year deal to suspend the debt ceiling lapsed at midnight following inaction from Congress and President Biden to give the U.S. more borrowing authority. The Treasury Department will now begin taking what it refers to as “extraordinary measures” to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt.

Those steps are likely to avert a default until October or even November before Biden will need to sign a bill to raise or suspend the limit again.

Think about this in terms of your personal finances. You have reached the top of your borrowing authority and have to cut back on expenses for the moment. However, you plan on expanding the amount of money you can borrow in the fall (or suspending any limit on your borrowing for some length of time). Meanwhile you are considering trillion dollar spending bills. In what universe does this make any sense?

The article continues:

The expiration of the debt limit has triggered numerous partisan standoffs over the past decade, most recently in 2019. Each time, Congress has raised or suspended the debt limit. But the weeks before a potential default have often been the most tense, both for financial markets and administration officials.

“I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting as soon as possible,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a letter to congressional leaders last week, warning that they risked “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans” by delaying action.

There is no clear path to a bipartisan agreement as Republicans hold out for spending cuts that Democrats refuse to consider.

While Democrats have slim majorities in both the House and Senate, they will still need the support of 10 GOP senators to avoid a filibuster on legislation to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.

Republican leaders have told Democrats that there can be no bipartisan debt ceiling agreement without a slate of debt reduction measures targeting the roughly $28 trillion national debt. Several GOP lawmakers have floated a deal similar to the 2011 Budget Control Act, which ended a debt ceiling standoff shortly before the U.S. suffered its first ever credit downgrade.

We simply cannot continue our current rate of government spending. At some point the dollar will collapse. It is interesting that none of the news shows I watched this morning mentioned the debt ceiling.

Twisting The Concept Of Voting Rights

I would like to go on the record to say that my definition of voting rights is that every American who is legally entitled to vote would be able to cast their vote without government interference and that every person in America who is not legally entitled to vote would be prevented from voting. Every illegal vote cast cancels out a legal vote. Most Americans want their votes to count. Unfortunately there are those in power in America who do not share my definition.

On Friday, The Hill posted an article about the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act which is currently proposed in Congress (it seems that HR1 is not receiving the support needed to pass it).

The article reports:

Beware the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — a backdoor way of implementing some of the worst provisions of H.R. 1 and stopping commonsense election reforms like voter ID.  

This legislation summons the ghost of Eric Holder, the former attorney general who abused federal power under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to badger states such as Texas, South Carolina, Florida and North Carolina over election integrity laws. 

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is a permanent, nationwide provision that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Section 5 was a temporary measure that required the worst states — places like Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi — to get pre-approval (or preclearance) of any changes in their voting laws from the U.S. Justice Department. The conditions prevailing there in 1965 justified this impingement on state sovereignty, but those conditions no longer exist.  Eight years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out Section 5, ruling in Shelby County v. Holder that 40-year old data did not justify continued federal oversight.  

The newly introduced act would resurrect the Section 5 preclearance process and give control over state elections to leftwing lawyers in the Biden Justice Department. Lawyers in the voting section of the civil rights division — where both of us once worked — would have the power to approve or reject the smallest change in state election procedures, from polling locations to redistricting to voter ID laws. 

We witnessed this power being abused while we were at Justice. But, the Holder Justice Department took abuse of preclearance power to a whole new level, blocking states from implementing citizenship verification and voter ID requirements. 

Please follow the link to the article to see exactly how this power would be used.

The article concludes:

In the entire history of the Justice Department, it has never interfered with, nor investigated, a single election audit. That’s because it has no legal authority to do so. Karlan (Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan) even made the claim that auditors can somehow retroactively “intimidate” voters whose ballots were already cast.  

The DOJ’s actions in the Arizona case exemplify the dangers to come under any Voting Rights Advancement Act scenario that would give partisan political appointees in the civil rights division the power to veto any state election law or rule they don’t like — without having to go to court to prove that it is actually discriminatory.   

Leftist voting groups may be willing to trade H.R. 1 in the short run for the Voting Rights Advancement Act today. Doing so would return the center of gravity back to D.C. on voting process issues and remove power further from the people, which is exactly what they want.  

Unfortunately under the Biden administration, our elections and our freedoms are at risk.

Figures Don’t Lie, But Liars Figure

On Friday, The Hill posted an article headlined, “Biden hits 59 percent approval rating in Pew poll.” Considering the crisis at the border, the diplomatic flubs, the end of energy independence, etc., that strikes me as amazing. This is the link to the methodology used in the poll.

This is a screenshot of the group polled:

That’s almost 2 to 1 Democrats polled. Isn’t it interesting that President Biden’s approval rating in the poll was roughly 2 to 1. Frankly, I think that all this poll shows is a nation divided on party lines.

The article at The Hill, of course, has a bit of a spin:

A majority of Americans — 59 percent — approve of President Biden‘s handling of his job as he approaches 100 days in office, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Friday.

The poll found Biden’s job approval is up 5 percentage points from 54 percent in March, while 39 percent of those surveyed said they disapprove of his work thus far.

Biden’s 59 percent approval rating is 20 percentage points higher than that of former President Trump‘s in a Pew poll from April 2017 and is similar to the approval ratings of former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush in April of their first terms.

The article concludes:

The Pew poll surveyed 5,109 adults from April 5 to 11, which was days before the Biden administration recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The poll has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.

Public polling in Biden’s first months in office has generally shown the public gives him high marks on his handling of the pandemic and his overall approval rating.

I wonder what President Trump’s approval ratings would have been had the media covered him fairly.

When You Find Yourself Moving In The Wrong Direction, Should You Turn Around?

The Biden administration began with a flurry of executive orders. Many of them were questionable at best, and some have resulted in lawsuits against the administration. One executive order shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Is is possible that the decision will be revisited?

Yesterday The Hill reported the following:

The Biden administration could decide Friday whether or not it is up to them to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

In January, a federal appeals court determined that the government did not adequately evaluate the environmental impacts of a 2017 easement that enabled the pipeline’s construction, and ordered the government to do a more robust analysis. 

The closely watched question on whether to stop the pipeline’s operations during this process is politically fraught, as as progressives have called for a shut down, while conservatives want to keep its oil flowing.

It may be that the only way to deal with the overreach of the Biden administration is through the courts.

The article notes that any decision is going to make someone unhappy:

Biden is facing pressure from both the left and right on the issue.

The pipeline’s critics say that it violates tribal treaty rights, while supporters argue that it helps transport U.S. energy.

Thirty-three Democrats recently wrote to Biden saying he should stop the pipeline from carrying crude oil between North Dakota and Illinois.

“By shutting down this illegal pipeline, you can continue to show your administration values the environment and the rights of Indigenous communities more than the profits of outdated fossil fuel industries,” they wrote.

Indigenous activists and celebrities have also recently urged the administration to do the same.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are supportive of the pipeline, and would likely push back on any moves to disrupt it.

The article concludes:

“The Army Corps of Engineers should be allowed to proceed as they are without political interference from the Biden Administration,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said in a statement in January. “This is not another opportunity to wage war on North Dakota’s energy producers.”

Republicans have staunchly criticized other recent moves made by the administration on energy, including the revocation of a border-crossing permit for the Keystone pipeline and temporary pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands. 

The Biden administration might want to consider the consequences of giving up the energy independence America achieved during the Trump administration. Many Americans are old enough to remember the oil embargo of the 1970’s and are not interested in repeating the chaos that resulted from it.

When You Think Your Zoom Meeting Is Private But It’s Not

Yesterday The Hill posted an article about the recent resignations of the members of the board of trustees for the Oakley Union Elementary School District. It seems that the private Zoom meeting they were having was not private, and they made some comments that were both inappropriate and offensive.

The article reports:

In the call, part of which was posted to Twitter by NBC News Bay Area reporter Bigad Shabad, trustee Kim Beede could be heard saying, “Are we alone?” before adding, “B—- if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to f— you up.”

The president of the school board, Lisa Brizendine, then went on to describe the criticism they have received in letters from parents pushing for schools to return to in-person classrooms. The elementary school district is currently only allowing distanced learning amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Brizendine said in the call, “They forget that there’s real people on the other side of those letters that they’re writing,” and then added, “It’s really unfortunate that they want to pick on us, because they want their babysitters back.”

Another school board member, Richie Masadas, then chimed in that his brother had a delivery service for medical marijuana and that his primary clients were parents with school-age children. 

“When you got your kids at home, no more smoking,” he added.

Beede eventually could be heard saying, “Uh-oh. We have the meeting open to the public right now.”

“Nuh-uh,” Brezendine responded, after which the meeting was then switched to private.

Lest we forget, I would like to remind you of the list of demands from the Los Angeles Teachers’ Union that they required met before they return to school. The information below is from an article in The Daily Caller on July 13, 2020:

The United Teachers Los Angeles union called for the defunding of police, a moratorium on new charter schools, new wealth taxes on California’s millionaires and billionaires and Medicare-for-All at the federal level in a research paper issued Thursday.

…The UTLA also called for a moratorium on new charter schools, saying that the charter schools already operating in the city of “double-dipping” by accepting federal CARES act funding while also receiving state funding, which did not decline amid the pandemic.

I think we need to examine the actions and motives of our teachers and school board members and work to put people in administrative roles whose priority is actually to educate our children.

 

Freedom Wins

I understand that the coronavirus is serious. Recently updated statistics about the survival rate of the coronavirus show that age is a major factor:

For people age 0-19 the survival rate is 99.997%, for people age 20-49 the survival rate is 99.98%, for people age 50-69 the survival rate is 99.5%, and for people over the age of 70 the survival rate is 94.6%. These are the CDC numbers reported at Breitbart on September 25, 2020. So why are we quarantining everyone?

Meanwhile the lockdowns are having a negative impact on not only the economy but also the mental health of Americans. Oddly enough, the lockdowns seem to be highlighting the differences between blue and red states.

The Hill is reporting today that the Rose Bowl will be moved from California to Texas because of the growing number of Covid cases in California. California has some of the strictest lockdown orders in the country, and yet the number of Covid cases there is increasing. Could it be that lockdowns don’t actually work?

The article reports:

California’s ban on spectator sports has caused a College Football Playoff (CFP) semifinal game to move from Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena to AT&T Stadium in Texas.

“The game in Dallas will still be played in the mid-afternoon window on New Year’s Day,” said CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock in a statement. “We are pleased that parents and loved ones will now be able to see their students play in the game.”

According to Hancock, the decision to move the game was mutually made by the CFP’s management committee and the Tournament of Roses, citing the “growing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern California.”

The article concludes:

The Rose Bowl’s inability to accommodate players’ families had caused coaches and school officials to complain, the AP noted, with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly even going as far as to say the school’s players would boycott the game if they were selected and their families couldn’t attend.

Notre Dame is now scheduled to play Alabama in the game. 

According to Hancock, it has not been determined if the game played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington would still be referred to as the Rose Bowl. If not, this would be the first time since 1916 that the Rose Bowl has not been played.

I also suspect the game is being played in Texas so that it would not be subject to the whims of the Governor of California who seems to have no logic behind his shutdown orders. At least in Texas the teams involved can be pretty sure the game will be played.

 

 

This Seems Very Questionable To Me

The Hill reported yesterday that billionaire Michael Bloomberg has reportedly raised more than $16 million in an effort to help convicted felons in Florida register to vote.

The article notes:

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition estimated Bloomberg’s fundraising push has already paid off monetary obligations for 32,000 felons, Axios reported

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told the news outlet. “Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it.”

Florida passed a law in 2018 reinstating voting rights for felons that dictated they could register only if they pay all fines, fees and restitution — sometimes totaling more than $1,000 — owed to the government. 

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Florida, last week ruled to uphold the law. 

Last week, several television networks also pledged to donate money to the cause. 

Bloomberg, who ran in the Democratic primary for president, has endorsed the party’s nominee, Joe Biden, and has donated at least $100 million to the former vice president’s campaign to defeat President Trump

This may not be illegal, but it definitely is sleazy. I wonder how the average resident of Florida feels about this.

 

 

Symbolism Over Substance

Yesterday WRKO AM 680 posted an article about a recent directive from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The article reports:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is taking seriously Gov. Tony Evers’ order that everybody in the state must wear a mask while indoors. The department sent out an email to employees reminding them of the order, which took effect on August 1.

In addition to wearing masks while working at DNR facilities or in the field, Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole told employees they should also wear one while on video conference calls, even if they are home alone.

Are they afraid the computers will catch the virus? Seriously, this is an employer attempting to control the actions of employees while the employees are in their own homes. That sets an awful precedent.

The article continues:

“Also, wear your mask, even if you are home, to participate in a virtual meeting that involves being seen — such as on Zoom or another video-conferencing platform — by non-DNR staff,” Cole wrote, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Set the safety example which shows you as a DNR public service employee care about the safety and health of others.”

The agency said they want their employees to set an example to others and demonstrate how vital it is to wear a mask in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“By wearing a mask while video conferencing with the general public, we visually remind folks that masking is an important part of navigating the business of natural resources during this tumultuous time,” DNR spokeswoman Megan Sheridan told McClatchy News.

She also said that the agency is concerned that screen grabs of high-ranking employees not wearing masks could be misconstrued to insinuate that they are not following the governor’s order.

On August 7th, The Hill reported the following:

An Illinois school district is cracking down on remote learning dress codes, disallowing students from wearing pajamas while attending online classes.

The Springfield Public Schools Board of Education approved the district’s new handbook this week, which applies in-person dress codes to remote learning settings, NBC News reported.

“We don’t need students in pajamas and all those other things while on their Zoom conference,” Director of School Support Jason Wind said during a virtual school board meeting on Monday.

Does anyone else feel that this is a bit intrusive? I really don’t like the idea of any government agency trying to control what I wear or don’t wear in my own home.

Bad Reporting Is One Of The Things That

Today The Gateway Pundit posted an article that illustrates how misquoting a person can create a totally false impression of the person and of what was said. The thing to keep in mind here is that the mainstream media attacks those who it considers to be a future threat to their narrative and their hold on power.

The article reports:

The far left media is making up completely fraudulent quotes now to smear the Republicans.

The Hill reported on Saturday that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem called the removal of Confederate statues was an effort to “discredit” our Founding Fathers.

This would be quite a quote if it was true.
But it’s not true.
It was completely made up to make the popular Republican governor and the Republican party look racist and stupid.

The tweet is still up over 24 hours later.

The article posts the actual quote:

Here are Governor Noem’s actual words:

“Across America these last several weeks, we have been witnessing a very troubling situation unfold. In real time, we are watching an organized, coordinated campaign to remove and eliminate all references to our nation’s founding and many other points in our history. The approach focuses exclusively on our forefathers’ flaws, but it fails to capitalize on the opportunity to learn from their virtues. Make no mistake, this is being done deliberately to discredit America’s founding principles by discrediting the individuals who formed them so that America can be remade into a different political image.”

As you can see, there is no reference to the Confederacy or the statues. This is a blatant attempt to stop the forward political progress of a woman who has served her state well, both in Congress and as Governor. This is the sort of reporting that divides rather than informs.

An Alternative View From A Doctor

Dr.

The article states:

The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase. Tens of thousands of Americans have died, and Americans are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts. Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function.

Dr. Atlas lists five key facts that he feels are being ignored as the lockdown continues:

(the above summation of Dr. Atlas’ statement was posted in The Daily Caller on Friday).

The article at The Hill concludes:

The appropriate policy, based on fundamental biology and the evidence already in hand, is to institute a more focused strategy like some outlined in the first place: Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation. Let’s stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models. Facts matter.

It’s time for common sense to make a comeback.