Fireworks! Watch Rand Paul crush Stephanopoulos on 'stolen' election

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Video screenshot)

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., got into a ferocious “stolen election” battle with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during the Sunday broadcast of “This Week.”

The heated exchange began when Stephanopoulos asked the Republican senator if the accepted that the 2020 presidential election was “not stolen.”

“What I would say is that the debate over whether or not there was fraud should occur, we never had any presentation in court where we actually looked at the evidence. Most of the cases were thrown out for lack of standing, which is a procedural way of not actually hearing the question,” Paul explained.

“There were several states in which the law was changed by the secretary of state and not the state legislature. To me, those are clearly unconstitutionally and I think there’s still a chance that those actually do find their way up to the Supreme Court.”

Paul added: “Were there people who voted twice? Were there dead people who voted? Were there illegal aliens who voted? Yes, and we should get to the bottom of it.”

“I have to stop you there. No election is perfect. But there were 86 challenges filed by President Trump and his allies in court, all were dismissed. Every state certified the results,” Stephanopoulos said. “Can’t you just say the words, this election was not stolen?”

George Stephanopoulos and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Video screenshot)

Paul responded: “What I would suggest is that if we want greater confidence in our elections, and 75 percent of Republicans agree with me, is that we do need to look at election integrity and we need to see if we can restore confidence in the elections.”

The ABC host, who is a former press secretary for Democratic President Bill Clinton, claimed Republican voters were “fed a big lie” by the president that the election had been stolen, adding that former U.S Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, has claimed there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

“George, where you make a mistake is that people coming from the liberal side like you, you immediately say everything’s a lie instead of saying there are two sides to everything,” Paul said. “Now you insert yourself in the middle and say that the absolute fact is that everything that I’m saying is a lie.”

“This election was not stolen!” Stephanopoulos angrily asserted. “The results were certified in every single state after counts and recounts.”

“You’re saying there was no fraud and it’s all been investigated, and that’s just not true,” Paul fired back. “You say we’re all liars. You just simply say we’re all liars,” Paul continued.

“I said it was a lie – that the election was stolen,” Stephanopoulos replied.

“There were lots of problems and there were secretaries of state, who illegally changed the law and that needs to be fixed, and I’m going to work harder to fix it and I will not be cowed by people saying ‘Oh, you’re a liar,'” Paul told the anchor.

“Let’s talk about the specifics of it. In Wisconsin, tens of thousands of absentee votes had only the name on them and no address. Historically, those were thrown out. This time they weren’t. They made special accommodations ’cause they said, ‘Oh, it’s a pandemic and people forgot what their address was.'”

Stephanopoulos said, “I’m standing by facts. There are not two sides to facts. I did not say this was a perfect election, I said the results were certified, I said it was not stolen. It is a lie.”

“There are not two sides to this story,” Stephanopoulos added. “This has been looked at in every single state.”

“You’re forgetting who you are,” Paul told the newsman. “You’re forgetting who you are as a journalist if you think there’s only one side. You’re inserting yourself into the story to say I’m a liar because I want to look at election fraud and I want to look at secretaries of state who illegally changed the voter laws.”

ABC News headlined its own summary of the exchange as: “Sen. Rand Paul continues making false claims of 2020 election fraud.”

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Is America headed for total 'open borders' under Biden?

By Kaylee Greenlee
Daily Caller News Foundation

  • President Joe Biden has proposed legislation that would expand immigration without increasing security or enforcement measures, according to a draft of the proposal.
  • Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said that Biden’s proposed legislation consists of “open borders” that will have “no regard for the health and security of Americans.”
  • Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security suggests that the administration will not move to completely open borders, or necessarily adopt welcoming policies directed at migrants.

President Joe Biden’s proposed immigration policies that would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, placed a hold on certain deportations and a temporary hold on Migrant Protection Protocols without increasing border security, according to a draft of the proposal.

Critics of Biden’s proposed legislation say the policies will lead to open borders and ultimately harm Americans while supporters say that the administration is unlikely to implement drastic policies as it works toward broader immigration reforms.

Biden’s proposed legislation does not push for increased security and enforcement measures at the border despite an expected expansion of immigration, the Los Angeles Times reported Jan. 15. Biden is likely not calling for increased measures after the Obama administration failed to gain the support of Republicans through similar proposals, National Immigration Law Center Executive Director Marielena Hincapié said, according to the LA Times.

The existing agencies should focus on prosecuting criminals and seizing drugs and guns instead of allocating more resources for immigration enforcement, Democratic California Rep. Raul Ruiz said, according to the LA Times.

‘Total Amnesty’?

Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said Biden’s proposed legislation consists of “open borders: total amnesty, no regard for the health and security of Americans, and zero enforcement,” The Washington Post reported.

“Let’s be clear: Joe Biden is prioritizing amnesty ahead of the pandemic or getting Americans back to work. We can’t let him get away with it,” Cotton said, according to the Post.

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security pick Alejandro Mayorkas, however, “indicates the new administration won’t be embracing open borders, or even crafting especially welcoming policies toward migrants arriving over the Mexican border,” according to Bloomberg Opinion columnist Noah Smith.

Smith said that the Biden administration is “unlikely” to adopt “radical pro-immigration” policies akin to open borders.

The Biden administration’s proposed legislation includes a pathway for 11 million illegal immigrants to obtain citizenship, the LA Times reported. Under the proposed legislation, illegal immigrants would qualify for legal permanent residence after five years and for citizenship after three more years.

Biden will offer permanent protections to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and plans to raise the refugee cap from 15,000 set by the Trump administration to 125,000, Reuters reported. Biden rescinded a travel ban implemented by the Trump administration and issues a pause on most deportations for the next 100 days.

Executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Jorge Barón expressed concern that immigration reform will take a “back seat” under the Biden administration, Crosscut reported.

“I think the lesson, at least for me, is that just the fact that there’s a new administration is not enough. There’s gotta be a lot of pressure for the changes to happen,” Barón said, according to Crosscut.

The New York Post editorial board praised Trump’s immigration policies as successful while saying that Biden’s proposed legislation would cause a border crisis similar to the one experienced during the Obama administration.

Migrant ‘Surge’

Biden’s victory could inspire a “surge” of migrants who think that a Biden administration means more relaxed immigration policies that would make it easier to enter the U.S., The New York Times reported last week. Biden’s potentially “far-reaching legislation” proposal would reinstate refugee and asylum programs done away with by the Trump administration, The Times reported.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation praised Biden’s decision to tackle Trump’s immigration policy over a six month period instead of rushing to get them repealed during his first days in office.

“The delay is a smart move, and Biden should use the first six months of his administration to backpedal further and embrace the reality that throwing open our borders to virtually unrestricted immigration would cause a crisis that would thrust border state governors into the greatest challenge of their careers,” according to the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Biden “pledged to do the opposite of everything Trump did regarding illegal immigration,” Heritage Foundation National Security and Foreign Policy Expert James Jay Carafano said. “It’s hard to find even a political upside to open borders and not enforcing immigration laws.”

Carafano said that most Americans don’t want open borders, and would rather see an end to human and narcotics trafficking and to end the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Trump Discouraged Migration

The Trump administration’s policies geared toward deterring migrants from entering the country started showing results in California in July 2019 after former President Donald Trump threatened to tax Mexico if the country did not control migrants flowing through the country, The New York Times reported at the time. The MPP were implemented around the same time, leaving over 18,000 migrants in Mexican cities while their claims were processed by the U.S.

“The United States policy to return people to Mexico and the pressure on Mexico to stop the migration are having a big impact,” Tijuana immigration lawyer Daniel Bribiescas said at the time, The Times reported.

Mexico deployed over 20,000 security forces to avoid Trump’s threat of trade tariffs and a Customs and Border Protection official said that the deployment prevented “large groups” of migrants from entering the U.S., according to The Times. Mexican law enforcement intercepted 15 groups of 100 or more migrants in June 2019.

“In Joe Biden’s campaign, he offered to finalise immigration reform and I hope that he is able to achieve this. That is what I hope,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, the BBC reported earlier in January.

Obrador added that Mexican security forces will attempt to divert migrants from entering Mexico, though he said that the rights of the migrants should be respected, the BBC reported.

MPP has discouraged migrants who are unlikely to qualify for asylum from attempting to enter the U.S., The Times reported in February 2020. The policy stopped a potential migration surge and has alleviated overcrowding in U.S. detention centers, though over 61,000 migrants ended up in makeshift camps near the border.

In 2019, nearly 30,000 people were admitted to the U.S. as refugees and 46,508 individuals were granted asylum, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Trump administration’s cap on refugees combined with new vetting and screening procedures contributed to a decrease in admissions since 2017, according to the DHS.

Colby McCoy contributed to this report.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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How online censorship of 'hate' and 'misinformation' turned capricious

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Markets.]

By Bret Swanson
Real Clear Markets

For nearly two decades, Silicon Valley made net neutrality its highest policy priority. Under the banner of a “free and open” internet, Google, Facebook, and Twitter sought regulations to ensure the uninterrupted flow of information by treating every bit equally. Or so they said.

Beginning last Friday night, these firms and others executed an unprecedented digital purge of the social media and video accounts of their political rivals. After several years of accelerating suspensions and suppressions, this time YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter permanently banned a number of high-profile conservatives and deplatformed thousands of others, at least temporarily. Many of these accounts had nothing to do with last Wednesday’s heinous events at the Capitol. Yet their histories are erased. 

Shopify, Twitch, Reddit, and other online services and forums followed social media’s lead. Then something bigger happened: when app stores and cloud service providers joined the cascade by disconnecting Parler, a fast-growing competitor of Twitter, they opened an explosive new front in the information wars. 

How’d we get here? Paradoxically, the smart refusal to adopt Silicon Valley’s strict net neutrality rules fueled their rise to astronomical power. With minimal regulation of U.S. networks, broadband and mobile firms invested nearly $2 trillion in infrastructure, far more per capita than any nation. The resulting bandwidth explosion fueled the unprecedented success of smartphones, video streams, cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and a million apps. Now we’re in the middle of a $300-billion upgrade to 5G wireless.

Launched as an academic exercise in the early 2000s, the supposed rationale for strict net neutrality was to prevent internet service providers and mobile carriers from “blocking and throttling” content. Without a return to telephone-like common carriage regulation under Title II of the Communications Act, they said ISPs would discriminate and the magic of  the Internet would be lost. 

With Silicon Valley and ISPs haggling over the price of carrying floods of new video traffic, the headline battle was economic. Ardent activists, however, consistently warned of a deeper, potentially apocalyptic, threat to democracy. ISPs, they said, might one day censor disfavored political speech. 

The blocking and throttling never came to pass. Not political or otherwise.  Without net neutrality rules, ISPs still committed to fair treatment. And today the U.S. generates and consumes more Internet traffic than any nation, two to three times more, in fact, than many of our large peers. 

Then a funny thing happened. Social media firms themselves began blocking and throttling at the content layer. In the name of rooting out “hate” and “misinformation,” they started suspending, demonetizing, deboosting, and shadowbanning. They cited terms of service and moderation principles. The rationales were usually vague, however, and their targets nearly always political enemies or free thinkers who complicated the official narrative. There were few standards, merely caprice. 

In 2020, they accelerated moderation efforts, placing warning labels on supposedly false views on Covid-19 and climate, two of the most complex topics imaginable. Google suppressed three eminent epidemiologists over their Great Barrington Declaration, which called for focused protection of the elderly and vulnerable, while keeping businesses and schools open. There’s lots of evidence the trio, and the 53,000 physicians and public health scientists who signed the document, were right.

Does dangerous and illegal content exist? Yes. Is there a place for moderation? Of course. Has Section 230, the law which undergirds moderation, inspired Internet innovation? Yep. But is Section 230 perfect? I don’t think so. Can web and content platforms deliver differentiable, pro-consumer value by curating the user experience? Absolutely. Apple, for example, uses its app store to encourage security, privacy, family-friendliness, and high quality. 

Big problems arise, however, when these firms claim universal standards and neutral terms of service, but then apply them opaquely or arbitrarily. Or even weaponize them against political opponents.

After both major app stores removed Parler on Friday, Amazon dealt a potentially fatal blow by giving it one day to vacate its AWS cloud servers. Other hardware and software venders, and even its lawyers, then fell in line with Big Tech and refused them service. Unsavory characters surely exist on Parler. But uniquely? No way. The Internet is full of people with awful, or merely wrong, ideas. 

It is top-down mistakes which are the most destructive. Bad decisions from politicians or, say, dominant content platforms scale unpredictably to millions of people. Censorship is itself a dangerous top-down mistake. Free speech and pluralism, on the other hand, help us learn and grow. Viewpoint diversity is the crucial error-correcting code of civilization, and a big reason the Internet is history’s greatest generator of wealth and knowledge.

Entrepreneurs are building (and millions of users fleeing to) alternative outlets, apps, and channels. That’s the genius of the Internet – unlimited space to innovate and choose. Bitcoin and crypto communities are just one important new path to decentralized independence.

As freedom-seekers launch their own websites, servers, and streams, the aggressive censors will hunt them, demanding cancellation everywhere along the communications stack, eventually reaching the core of the network. And then we will have come full circle. They will demand ISPs block, throttle, and erase. And that government, under the guise of net neutrality, enforce their truth. 

Facebook’s head of Instagram on Monday afternoon finally admitted it: “We’re not neutral.” Net neutrality was never about Internet freedom. It’s about information dominance. 

Bret Swanson is president of the technology research firm Entropy Economics and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Markets.]

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2 hours House spent on Trump defines 'state of democracy in our country'

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

By Frank Miele
Real Clear Politics

In George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” members of the Outer Party of Oceania engage in the Two Minutes Hate ritual against Emmanuel Goldstein, who is supposed to be the enemy of the people but may actually just be a fabricated symbol to distract the people from their real enemy — Big Brother.

In Nancy Pelosi’s “Twenty Twenty-One,” members of the Democratic Party engage in the Two Hours Hate against Donald Trump, who is supposed to be the enemy of the people, but may actually just be a fabricated symbol to distract the people from their real enemy — Big Tech.

Two hours of hate — er, debate — was held in the House of Representatives last Wednesday for the avowed purpose of removing a president of the United States. That’s all it took. Two hours. That should tell you everything you need to know about the state of democracy in our country.

More time is routinely spent on picking wallpaper. But let’s face it, most families wouldn’t trust Congress to pick out wallpaper for their living room, so why should we trust these self-appointed moral arbiters to pick our president?

Well, we don’t. Not all of us.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a Republican representative from California, put it plainly in his 90-second speech when he said the “second annual impeachment” of Donald Trump “isn’t really about actual words spoken at a rally. No, this is all about the unbridled hatred of this president [by Democrats]. You use any extreme language and any process to oppose the core of what he has really fought for. You hate him because he is pro-life, the strongest ever. You hate him for fighting for the freedom of religion. … You hate him for Israel. You hate him for defending our borders. … You hate him for putting America first.”

They certainly shouldn’t hate him — or impeach him — just for telling a rally crowd that “everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” But that’s what they did. In two hours.

And before they ever got around to impeaching Trump, they de-platformed him. With stunning suddenness, Trump went from the most powerful man in the world to a cornered, desperate fugitive. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google — they all came for him. Most importantly, they came for us. Everyone who sided with the president, everyone who agreed with the president about the questions of election fraud, we are all now guilty by association, and Big Tech has turned its sights on all of us.

“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”

Those were the words that terrified millions of Americans in the 1950s when Joe McCarthy and other senators tried to purge the United States of what they considered a subversive movement designed to overthrow the government.

In that case, of course, it was conservative senators — both Democrat and Republican — who were trying to expose what they called a communist conspiracy. In their zeal to protect the nation, they trampled on the civil liberties of individual Americans and tried to strip them of their jobs, their reputations and in some cases their very freedom.

What was the crime most of those Americans had committed? They had either attended a meeting of the Communist Party, donated money to the Communist Party or signed a petition on behalf of the Communist Party. In other words, they had exercised their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. They had used their own minds and reached unpopular opinions. That was all it took for McCarthy to try to ruin their lives.

Apparently the American left never forgot what was done to them, and now that they have achieved absolute power, it looks like they want revenge.

In the lead-up to the impeachment vote, Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts put Trump defender Jim Jordan “on trial” for the new crime of having a dissenting view on the 2020 presidential election. The question McGovern barked at Jordan in a congressional hearing last week could be repeated in job interviews for years to come:

“Will you admit that Joe Biden won fair and square and that the election was not rigged or stolen?”

Jordan avoided a direct answer, but of course he and millions of other people don’t believe that Biden won fair and square. In a free country, they could say so, but in Pelosi’s “Twenty Twenty-One,” you say so at your own risk. To begin with, you can lose your Twitter account or your Facebook account, but who’s to say that you won’t lose your bank account next? China has a “social credit” system that deprives citizens of certain rights if their score falls below a certain level of acceptability — meaning if they don’t follow the party line in their thinking and their public persona. You might lose your job. You might be denied a ticket on a train or a plane. The only recourse is to do what the party tells you to do — even if it means accepting that 2+2=5.

Now, in modern America, we are precipitously close to duplicating the monolithic control of information that Orwell predicted in “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and that the Chinese Communist Party has perfected.

In the last two weeks, we have seen the power of Big Tech unleashed mercilessly. With the complicit assistance of Big Media, the Silicon Valley oligarchs not only neutered President Trump as a political leader by taking away his bully pulpit but also effectively crushed dissent by demanding that only social media companies that censor unpopular opinions can have a platform on the Internet. Bye-bye, Parler. You can also make a reasonable case that Democrats in Congress would never have impeached President Trump from public office so hastily were they not goaded into action by Twitter and Facebook taking the first step of banning him from public life.

In a sense, Big Tech has taken cyberbullying to its logical conclusion. When 13-year-olds are entrusted with cellphones and Snapchat accounts, they can use them to bring shame on innocent children and even destroy their lives. Often, this involves spreading false rumors about the person or discrediting them for something they espouse, like their religion, their political beliefs or their sexual identity.

Tell me how this is different from what Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have done to Donald Trump and, by extension, the more than 74 million people who voted for him. This group of post-pubescent cyberbullies in Silicon Valley doesn’t like Donald Trump. They feel justified in calling him names like white supremacist and Nazi and racist. They don’t care whether it hurts him or not. They don’t care whether it is true or not. They are strangely enlivened by what they perceive as their ability to hurt him, to weaken him. Like the mob that they have attempted to link the president to, these bullies act in mindless concert, emboldened by each other to see who can strike the deeper blow, who can make the victim hurt more.

And over what? Differences of opinion, for the most part. Strong border or no border? Mask or no mask? Globalism or Americanism? Carbon credits or fracking? Abortion or no abortion? And then the last straw — fair election or fraudulent election?

These should be legitimate subjects for debate in a free society. But not anymore. Big Tech has banned debate about government policy on the coronavirus, and any discussion of election fraud is treated as if it were a crime. But wait? It’s only a crime to question the government in a totalitarian system, like that in communist China or Orwell’s fictional Oceania, right? In America, we have the right and obligation to question our government, don’t we? Because, if we don’t have that right any longer, then what are they afraid of? What are they hiding?

Bottom line: At some point in some election, the allegations of election fraud have to be real. It can’t always just be the figment of some right-wing president’s imagination. And if we aren’t allowed to have free speech, then how do we fight back? If Big Tech and Big Government have their way, we don’t. Just keep your head down and your nose clean — and never ever question what you are told.

Remember, 2+2=5.

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His new book “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution” is available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at HeartlandDiaryUSA.com to read his daily commentary or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter or Parler @HeartlandDiary.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

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Tech censorship of President Trump raising 'national security' worries

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks on the America First Healthcare Plan Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, at the Duke Energy Hangar in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.]

By Eric Felten
Real Clear Investigations

When Google-owned YouTube suspended Donald Trump’s ability to post videos last week it joined Facebook and Twitter in blocking the president, and many Trump supporters, from their platforms. Conservatives and others have denounced the moves as censorship. But the decisions by tech companies to refuse service to those they do not approve of – including the president of the United States – also raise concerns about national security.

The Department of Defense uses software created, delivered, and maintained by many of the same high-tech companies now engaged in shutting down online speech. If the titans of tech can pull the plug on public communications tools people have come to rely on, some observers fear, they might do the same to the Pentagon in response to a military action deemed unacceptable by San Franciscans.

Something along those lines already happened with Project Maven, a major Pentagon initiative using Google algorithms to identify drone targets. The software was well under way when, in 2018, thousands of Google’s workers protested their company becoming a defense contractor.

“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” began an open letter from Google employees to company boss Sundar Pichai. They demanded that the company create a “clear policy” stating that it and its contractors never “build warfare technology.”

Bowing to this pressure from its own workforce, Google has stepped back from high-profile military projects. The company has been noticeably absent from the scramble among such firms as Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle to win the contract for the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI. A 10-year deal providing cloud computing to the Department of Defense, JEDI is worth billions of dollars.

The Pentagon could rely exclusively on established defense contractors that are not squeamish about the business they’re in. But officials have been eager to work with Big Tech, where they expect to find the top talent that will gain and maintain an edge for the U.S.

That talent is proving to be touchy. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, now has a small union less interested in winning workers’ pay and benefits than in projecting ideological might. “We will use our reclaimed power to control what we work on and how it is used,” reads the union’s mission statement.

It isn’t just external political pressures that have led Big Tech companies to de-platform Trump and his supporters; the pressure also comes from within. “We will ensure Alphabet acts ethically and in the best interests of society,” declares the company’s workers union, confident in its own ability to discern the best interests of society.

Google isn’t the only conscientious objector. Microsoft did pursue the JEDI contract – over the objections of workers who published an open letter of their own. “Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war,” the letter protested. “When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of ‘empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,’ not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality.”

‘Software as a Service’

Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, studies military procurement of technology. He says that tech employees are less likely to object to selling to the Pentagon “as computing becomes more like a commoditized service.” Developing generic software that can be used by anyone, including the military, may be less objectionable to Big Tech workers than crafting bespoke war-fighting code. For example, Clark says, “Microsoft sells Office 365 to DoD and has sold Office to the military for decades. Cloud computing and AI are becoming similar generic services.”

But Clark notes there is a difference between how a product such as Microsoft Office has traditionally been sold and the new cloud computing model. In the past, the purchaser would buy copies of the software, whether on discs or other media, and that software would be installed onto customers’ computers. How the customers used the software was generally beyond technology companies’ reach.

The new model is “software as a service,” says Gregory Sanders. He is a fellow and deputy director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In the new model, the product isn’t housed in customers’ computers, but rather in the technology companies’ own servers – in the cloud. It is convenient and allows customers to draw however much computing power they need, not unlike electricity. But if software lives in the cloud, access to the software is regulated by those who control the cloud. Big Tech has shown it can take away software from unpopular customers – and that its judgment of who deserves its products and who does not can change dramatically.

Take Amazon Web Services’ top government sector sales executive, Teresa Carlson. She enraged the rank-and-file when she promised AWS’s “unwavering” support for police, military, and intelligence customers. That was in the summer of 2018. Things were very different two years later. The May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd led to nationwide protests against police. Reacting to the rioting, Amazon announced it was “implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology.” That technology, called Rekognition, had been made available through the cloud.

There are reasonable debates to be had about what technologies governments should have access to and how they should be used. But what if the military comes to rely on technologies such as the cloud only to find that in a crisis those technologies are shut down or disabled by companies responding to the ideological demands of their own employees? These “security of supply considerations” are risks “the Department of Defense thinks about a lot,” Sanders says.

Internal ideological revolts have roiled companies beyond the tech giants, and are becoming a common cause of conflict between labor and management, even when management shares labor’s woke values. In June, staff at the New York Times rebelled against the editorial page for publishing an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton. The Arkansas Republican had advocated enlisting the military to help quell rioting. Editorial page editor James Bennet was pushed out and six months later his deputy resigned as well.

The Hudson Institute’s Clark says that if a tech giant withdrew access to services it had agreed to provide to the military, it would likely have to pay penalties for breach of contract. Such fines might make little difference to the bottom line of Big Tech. But the loss of cloud capabilities in the middle of a conflict could be disastrous for warfighters.

Sanders says the Pentagon could always invoke the Defense Production Act “if a company pulled out of a service provision in a crisis environment in a non-orderly manner.” As the Congressional Research Service puts it, the act “allows the President to require persons (including businesses and corporations)” to “prioritize and accept government contracts for materials and services.”

That might keep tech companies from leaving the government fully in the lurch in a crisis, but it isn’t a guaranteed strategy for success. “The quality of work you get when compelling an objecting vendor wouldn’t necessarily be the best, so DoD wouldn’t want to invoke those authorities needlessly,” Sanders says.

Big Tech has proved willing to shut down service and shut out customers who become unpopular with Silicon Valley. That should be a red flag for government agencies that are considering housing their capabilities in the cloud – do they want to be constrained by the tech industry’s morals of the moment?

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.]

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U.S. senator: Impeachment of Trump is constitutional, 'We have precedent'

President Donald J. Trump disembarks Air Force One on his arrival to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, returning from his Christmas holiday in Palm Beach, Florida. (Official White House photo by Tia Dufour)

While many legal experts believe a private citizen cannot be impeached and convicted, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says the process is constitutional, claiming, “We have precedent.”

“It is constitutional,” Klobuchar said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

“We have precedent from way back when a secretary of war was tried after he had left office. And, obviously, there was a remedy that would help in the future, which would ban former President Trump from running again.”

Though Kobuchar did not specify the Cabinet member’s name, she was likely referring to U.S. War Secretary William Belknap, who was embroiled in controversy involving kickbacks from political appointees in 1876. Though Belknap resigned before going to trial, senators presumed they could impeach officials who were no longer in office.

When asked about enough Republican support for a Trump conviction in the Senate, Klobuchar said: “My colleagues have not yet committed about what they’re going to do.”

She personally blamed Trump for the actions of a riotous mob that penetrated the U.S. Capitol during the certification vote for Joe Biden on Jan. 6.

“As if it’s not enough that he sent an angry mob down the mall to invade the Capitol, didn’t try to stop it and a police officer was killed.”

“I don’t really know what else you need to know. The facts were there, we saw it right there on the platform during the inauguration as you can still see the spray paint at the bottom of many of the columns.”

The Democrat admitted “there are many options” that were available for lawmakers, but right now they were most focused on impeachment.

The push by Democrats to impeach and convict a president after he has left office has outraged even left-leaning legal experts.

“They are simply wrong as a matter of the constitutional text and meaning,” said famed Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz

“President Trump’s opponents are so angry at the president for his volatile speech – which was misguided and wrong but completely protected by the First Amendment – that they are prepared to tear up the Constitution in an effort to remove him by any and all means.”

He addressed the Democrats’ admitted goal of preventing Trump from ever holding office again.

“Such an absurd interpretation of the Constriction would literally allow millions of ordinary citizens over the age of 35 to be impeached and disqualified from future office holding.”

Learn astonishing Bible truth on a higher level than ever before with the Holy Spirit-filled books by Joe Kovacs

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeKovacsNews

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Report: Intel agencies can exploit loophole to simply buy Americans' private data without a warrant

The Defense Intelligence Agency has a back door method of keeping track of Americans, according to a new report.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that America’s intelligence agencies needed a warrant to force phone companies to turn over location data on their customers, The New York Times reported that agencies have found a way to end-run that ruling, pointing to what it called an unclassified memo it has received on the subject.

Instead of having the intelligence community seek the information directly, agencies buy databases that are already available that have the location data intelligence agencies want.

As this power is being placed in the hands of the Biden administration, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon is trying to call attention to the practice and have it stopped.

The memo obtained by The Times, shows that intelligence experts do not believe the 2018 ruling, known as the Carpenter decision, matters.

“D.I.A. does not construe the Carpenter decision to require a judicial warrant endorsing purchase or use of commercially available data for intelligence purposes,” the memo stated.

Wyden last week denounced cases “in which the government, instead of getting an order, just goes out and purchases the private records of Americans from these sleazy and unregulated commercial data brokers who are simply above the law.”

He said the practice is wrong.

“The Fourth Amendment is not for sale,” he said. The Fourth Amendment protects the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

During his comments, which came during the confirmation hearing of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Wyden said there is a “need to rebuild trust in the Intelligence Community, which is going to require an aggressive and sustained commitment to transparency,” according to a release on his website.

“A key component of that transparency is making sure Americans know what kind of surveillance the government is conducting on them. And they should especially be told if the government is using legal loopholes in the law and the warrant requirement in the Fourth Amendment,” he said.

Wyden said full disclosure is needed of what the intelligence community is up to.

“I intend to introduce legislation on this topic. But for Congress to tackle this topic, it is vitally important that there be an informed, public debate on what the government is collecting right now and what it believes is the legal basis for that collection,” he said.

Wyden said one issue with intelligence agencies is that “the government too often reinterprets a public law in secret and keeps the new interpretation secret under the pretext that reinterpretations must be hidden to keep us safe. The reality is that interpretations of public law must be transparent and public.”

The memo said that when agencies buy databases, the brokers do not identify who are Americans and who are not.

The memo stated that DIA agents must get special permission from the agency’s office of general counsel, office of oversight compliance and its senior leadership to access the records of Americans.

“Permission to query the U.S. device location data has been granted five times in the past two and a half years for authorized purposes,” the memo said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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The New York Times argues with itself about coronavirus

Claire Poche of the Oregon Department of Health dresses as a clown in October 2020. (Video screenshot)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Markets.]

By John Tamny
Real Clear Markets

Nancy Bush Ellis passed away at an assisted living facility the Sunday before last. Sister of George H.W. Bush, and aunt of George W. Bush, the New York Times obituary indicated the 94-year old died of “complications related to COVID-19.”

Some readers will want to stop right there. At a time when everything is political, some will ask if Bush Ellis died of the coronavirus, or with it. It’s not an unreasonable question considering her age, plus the CDC itself has indicated that somewhere north of 90% of coronavirus deaths have other, rather lethal illnesses associated with them.

But the main thing is that the where of Bush Ellis’s passing wouldn’t necessarily surprise readers of the New York Times. The newspaper has long reported that nearly half of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have been associated with nursing homes. While everyone will eventually contract the virus, it’s generally only lethal for those who are very old, and who are already very ill.

Fast forward to Monday of this week, a Times report (p. B5) on the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine indicated that “long-term care facilities” (think nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc.) have “accounted for just 5 percent of coronavirus cases but 36 percent of virus related deaths.” About the death statistic, the speculation here is that with it having long been such a known about the where of U.S. coronavirus deaths, many elderly residents were removed; thus reducing from 45% the percentage of deaths associated with actual nursing homes. Either way, little has changed about the virus’s lethal qualities: older people with health conditions that are also life threatening are most threatened in a death sense by the coronavirus.

The Times is a great source of virus information for those willing to read past the headlines. At the same time, the newspaper continues to argue with itself. While readers willing to read far enough into its pages will find out that the virus is rather meek when it visits itself on healthy, relatively young people, the front page continues to promote a blood on the streets narrative driven by incompetence, science denial, and all manner of things Times readers aim to associate with the Right.

Case in point is a headline from the newspaper’s front page on Monday. It read “400,000 Deaths In a Year and Failure at Every Level.” It was authored by Sarah Mervosh, Mike Baker, Patricia Mazzei, and Mark Walker. About the headline, keep in mind that a deeper read of the January 18th edition (once again, page B5) would have informed someone innocent to the virus’s ways about how it is now, and has always largely been a threat to the very old who are already ill. This isn’t to minimize the old and sick as much as it’s to say that when the very old and sick die it’s usually very sad, but rarely a tragedy.

Better yet, the information on B5 should be read as a triumph when it’s remembered how very much nursing homes are a modern, first world creation born of immense progress in the healthcare space. That so many dying with the virus are old and in nursing homes speaks to endless “success at every level.” It used to be in the 19th and early 20th century that those born had as good of a chance of dying as living, after which those who survived infancy realistically had no chance of expiring in nursing homes. For one, they didn’t exist. For two, pneumonia, tuberculosis and other near-certain killers got to Americans long before they could ever be committed to assisted living.

It’s a long way of saying that the Times’ front page is at argumentative odds with the reporting inside the same New York Times. Really, how could 400,000 deaths that were mostly experienced by very old people who were already very sick in any way correlate with “Failure at Every Level”? Do Mervosh, Baker et al really believe that a “science” embracing president like Joe Biden would have possessed the knowledge and management skills to save the lives of the already dying? It seems they do.

They ran a quote from the then president-elect promising that “We will manage the hell out of this operation. Our administration will lead with science and scientists.” It seems Biden believes he can lower the proverbial sea levels by virtue of being, well….Joe Biden. Reporters are rather gullible. Indeed, Mervosh et all expressed no skepticism about Biden’s assertion.

They also forgot that in the U.S., all 50 states are autonomous on most matters. This is what former President Trump soon realized when the virus started spreading. Each state had different approaches. Trump claimed power over them that was absolute, but Georgia and Florida approached the virus with a very light touch, while New York, California and New Jersey were very heavy-handed. Translated for those with limited knowledge of the Constitution, Trump’s embrace or dismissal of so-called “science” was in many ways immaterial.

So while the Times reporters claim that “Science was sidelined at every level of government” on the way to “Failure at Every Level,” the reality is that states were free to keep “science” off the sideline to their heart’s content. New York, California and New Jersey presumably did? How did it work?

To the above question, readers can decide on their own why the sidelining of “science” in states like Georgia and Florida resulted in much better virus outcomes than for the science-reverent states. But even then they’d probably be wasting their time. A more useful approach would be for people to read the Times in full. Deep inside the newspaper, they’ll continue to find what’s obscured by alarmism on the front page: those dying of “complications related to COVID-19” are generally people who are already very old and ill. In short, a focus on science really misses the point.

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Vice President at FreedomWorks, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research and Trading (www.trtadvisors.com). His next book, set for release in March of 2021, is titled When Politicians Panicked: The New Coronavirus, Expert Opinion, and a Tragic Lapse of Reason. Other books by Tamny include They’re Both Wrong: A Policy Guide for America’s Frustrated Independent Thinkers, The End of Work, about the exciting growth of jobs more and more of us love, Who Needs the Fed? and Popular Economics. He can be reached at jtamny@realclearmarkets.com.  

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Markets.]

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Pro-life counselor seeks protection from 'radical abortion militants'

 

(Image by White77 from Pixabay)

A Tennessee woman has gone to the Court of Appeals in Tennessee seeking help in getting protection from some “radical abortion militants” who have been accused of stalking her outside an abortion business in Bristol.

A report from the Thomas More Society explains that Erika Schanzenbach was refused help by the Sullivan County Chancery Court, which “erroneously” found that protection orders were not the way to stop the “repeated and relentless harassment” in the case.

The appeal was filed in the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Martin Cannon said that Schanzenbach has managed to “remain calm in a fearful situation.”

“Tennessee law plainly states that any victim of stalking can obtain a protection order against a perpetrator of stalking regardless of their relationship,” explained Counsel Michael McHale. “And the stalking statute expressly protects against being stalked — i.e., repeatedly followed, approached, accosted, etc., without consent — at places to which one frequently returns, such as one’s workplace, residence, or any public place or private property such as a grocery store, church, or school.

“The trial court’s assumption that Erika’s courage to stand up for the unborn means she didn’t feel intimidation or fear is inconsistent with both law and common sense.”

Cannon added, “Erika testified that she changed the dates and times she appeared outside the abortion facility to try to avoid her assailants. Further, the court presumed to infer that Erika’s subdued ‘mannerisms’ in one video clip meant she did not experience the requisite distress in any of the numerous incidents documented on hours of video footage accepted into evidence–thereby, unbelievably, prejudicing Erika for her ability to remain calm in a fearful situation and unfairly extrapolating one incident to represent more than six months of repeated harassment.”

McHale and Cannon explained Schanzenbach is a peaceful pro-life witness, and that her original lawsuit, filed in January 2020, along with petitions for protection orders, was a result of the physical harm and emotional distress that she has suffered at the hands of the members of this radical pro-abortion organization.

The appeal asks for orders protecting her from feeling “frightened, terrorized, threatened, harassed, intimidated, or molested.”

The trial judge claimed Schanzenbach did not prove she was distressed since she continues to witness to life outside the abortion facility.

At issue is the behavior of several individuals outside the Bristol Regional Women’s Center abortion facility, where Schanzenbach serves as a peaceful pro-life advocate offering information on life affirming alternatives to abortion.

The evidence presented in the case includes video boasts by those accused of harassment, which has included lewd comments, profanities, taunts and obscene gestures, as well as electronic sounds being blasted at her.

“These defendants have stepped beyond the limits of both civility and the law in their attempt to shut down pro-life speech. Erika Schanzenbach is peacefully exercising her First Amendment rights to speak against abortion and advocate for life-affirming alternatives,” said McHale.

Court documents reveal the defendants are Alethea Skeen, Denise Skeen, Rowan Skeen and Cheryl Hanzlik.

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.

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Top Dems reportedly draft plan to send out monthly stimulus-style payments to parents

If you like your checks from the government, you can keep your checks from the government — and on a monthly basis, provided you have children.

That’s, at least if Democrats get their way. According to a report in Saturday’s Washington Post, senior Democrats are looking to craft legislation that would give tax credits of up to $3,600 per year per child.

One plan being discussed — modeled on coronavirus stimulus payments — would involve the IRS sending a $300 check every month to parents for children under the age of 6, with $250 checks being disbursed for every child to between the ages of 6 and 17.

Put together, that would be $3,600 for each young child and $3,000 for each older one. And though the initial measure would be temporary, the goal is to make such payments permanent, according to the report.

“The current proposal calls only for the expanded benefit to be enacted for one year, after which Democrats widely hope political pressure will force Congress to extend them,” The Post’s Jeff Stein reported.

“The benefit would be phased out for affluent Americans, though the precise income level has not been determined.”

This wouldn’t necessarily work exactly like the stimulus checks — in part because Democrats want to make this a permanent recurring payment for parents. However, it would be similar in that it would be an automatic payment from the IRS to families.

At present, the Child Tax Credit stands at $2,000 per year for every child under 17. Biden has promised to expand this in his $1.9 trillion relief package to the levels proposed by Democratic legislators and making the amount of the credit fully refundable, according to CNBC — meaning families could claim the full amount no matter what their tax liability was.

Obviously, sending checks to families would bypass this completely. The problem would be the cost, estimated $120 billion annually. Given that Democrats want to pressure Republicans to make this a recurring payment and not just a relief package item, that’s a difficult pill to swallow.

While the details of the plan haven’t been finalized, it’s going to be sold as a panacea for childhood poverty. The Post cited a study by Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy that claimed the program would reduce levels of childhood poverty by 54 percent.

“This credit is an extremely effective tool in combating child poverty, and Democrats are working to make the expanded version fully refundable and be provided to eligible individuals on a monthly basis,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, a Democrat, said in a statement, according to The Post.

There are two numbers that should make this expanded credit troubling, however: $27 trillion and $78 trillion.

The first is where our national debt is now, the second is where it’s going to be in 2028, according to data cited by Forbes.

As conservatives, it can be a facile and reflexive thing to gaze at the debt numbers, particularly when we’re out of power. For all the Trump administration’s accomplishments, spending control wasn’t one of them, and Republican legislators couldn’t necessarily be accused of pursuing the matter with great alacrity during the past four years.

However, if a Biden administration and a Democratic Congress is what it takes for Republicans to have a come-to-Jesus moment on the national debt, it should be welcomed, particularly given the free-spending nature of the ascendant wing of the Democratic Party.

More than 48 million Americans claim the Child Tax Credit at present, government data show. Expanding the payment might make great copy for the Democrats, who’d then accuse Republicans of ripping food out of poor families’ mouths if they decided to end the program after the year it’s initially supposed to run.

It’s also adding a not-insignificant chunk to the deficit by nearly doubling the Child Tax Credit — and that’s assuming, of course, it doesn’t end up being even more than that once the Democrats are done crafting this.

This is on top of the stimulus checks, the proposed increase to the federal minimum wage, extended and expanded unemployment benefits and $370 billion in state and local aid, according to National Review.

Democrats like to use words like “ambitious” and “sweeping” when it comes to the stimulus plan. “Spendthrift” and “imprudent” should be what comes to mind.

In this case, it’s hardly facile or reflexive to ask where we’re going to get the money when we have an administration that, at least in its early days, doesn’t seem to understand that we’ll all have to pay for this eventually.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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31 U.S. senators insist no COVID relief money go to abortion giant

Crowds celebrate and wave flags while listening to the band music at the Salute to America event Thursday, July 4, 2019, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

When Planned Parenthood received $80 million in forgivable loans in the latest coronavirus-relief package, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and dozens of other senators called for the Small Business Administration to investigate.

They argued the law restricted organizations the size of Planned Parenthood, with its tens of thousands of employees, from receiving such funds.

Now many of those senators have written to SBA administrator Jovita Carranza insisting that precautions be adopted so that “the nation’s largest and most notorious abortion provider” receives no more tax money, as it did “earlier this year in defiance of the law.”

A new coronavirus relief package adopted by Congress on Dec. 21 includes a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans.

“Eligibility requirements for these ‘second-draw’ loans are similar to the requirements for initial loans authorized under the CARES Act,” they explained. “Applicants … had to have no more than 500 employees across all of their affiliates.”

“Planned Parenthood employs about 16,000 people nationwide,” the senators wrote. “The group’s national organization, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, jealously exercises control over local affiliates, subjecting them to uniform bylaws, accreditation, frequent reviews, and mandates about what services they must provide.

“Planned Parenthood affiliates thus are ineligible to receive PPP loans, as part of an affiliated group that employs far more people than the number allowed for an initial or second-draw PPP loan.”

While the original distributions should be repaid, the letter said, the urgent task now “is to ensure Planned Parenthood affiliates do not receive additional PPP loans intended for struggling small businesses and non-profits.”

“We urge you to refer any Planned Parenthood affiliate that applies for such a loan to the Department of Justice for prosecution,” the senators said. “Their attempts to apply for PPP loans are naked attempts to defraud the United States government.”

The signers included Sens. Tom Cotton, John Barrasso, Marsha Blackburn, John Boozman, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, James Inhofe, Jim Lankford, Cynthia Lummis and Mitch McConnell.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which fought for return of Planned Parenthood loans, said the “abortion juggernaut has demonstrated a complete lack of compunction when it comes to swiping money away from Americans.”

ACLJ noted Planned Parenthood already has “reported record profits year after year while also siphoning off a half-billion in taxpayer funds from the federal government.”

“But would we really expect anything less from the organization that we told you didn’t hesitate to kill over 345,000 innocent babies in its last reported year alone, breaking its own record?” the organization said.

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Top Trump adviser thinks next step for former president is obvious

When former President Donald Trump ends his current transition period, he will emerge as a leader in the election integrity movement, according to a top adviser.

Jason Miller made the comment to Just the News on Thursday, one day after Trump left Washington, D.C., for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

“Trump has a number of goals over the next couple of years,” Miller said.

One of them, Miller said, is “winning back the House and the Senate for Republicans in 2022 to make sure that we can stop the Democratic craziness.”

But one issue will drive Trump’s future, Miller said.

“You’re going to see him emerge as the nation’s leader on ballot and voting integrity,” said Miller, who in addition to his current role served as a key adviser in Trump’s election bids in 2016 and 2020.

Miller said questions over the conduct in elections have been asked but never fully answered — something he said isn’t likely to happen in Congress under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Much of this will never get done in Washington, as you know, because Chuck and Nancy are gonna do their best to continue rigging this, every aspect that they can,” Miller said on Just the News.

As Miller framed it, the issue concerns the role of executive and judicial branch personnel in setting rules for elections, a mission  the U.S. Constitution allots to state legislatures.

The voting integrity effort will not begin until after a transition period, he said, adding: “This is critical; we have to do this.”

Kelli Ward, who is seeking a second term as chairwoman of Arizona’s Republican Party, told The Western Journal that she received a call from Trump on Monday night, and the two discussed election integrity.

“His main question was, ‘Is the Arizona Legislature going to stay on top of this and not drop the ball?’ And I said, ‘Mr. President, as long as I’m the chairman, I am not going to allow them to just sweep this under the rug … because election integrity is my No. 1 agenda for this 2022 cycle,” Ward said.

After Nov. 3, Trump filed multiple lawsuits about alleged election irregularities. Although none of the lawsuits was successful in overturning the results of the election, the lawsuits did raise election-process questions that some lawmakers want answered.

Miller, however, said he expects little in the way of opposition to President Joe Biden’s agenda from Republicans.

“A number of things could be done legislatively, but I think President Trump also looks at Capitol Hill and realizes Democrats are in charge of both the House and the Senate and, quite frankly … we see how the D.C. insiders are just slow to move,” he said, according to Town Hall.

“How many years did Republicans sit there on Capitol Hill, even though we had both the House and the Senate, and never did anything about the spying and cheating that we saw from President Obama and his administration?”

Trump has teased some future plans but has said nothing definitive.

“We’ll do something, but not just yet,” he told the Washington Examiner on Friday.

“I will always fight for you. I will be watching and I will be listening,” the former president said in his farewell remarks in Washington on Wednesday.

“We will be back in some form,” Trump also said Wednesday.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Amazon abandons support for vote-by-mail as hot-button issue appears on the ballot

Remember when tech titan Amazon supported the Democrats’ push for mail-in voting for the 2020 election? After all, the pandemic was raging and voters shouldn’t be forced to risk their lives in order to cast their vote.

Well, that was then and this is now. It appears the e-commerce juggernaut’s enthusiasm for the practice has cooled now that unionization is on the ballot.

In a stunning reversal, The Washington Post’s Jay Greene reports that Amazon is appealing the National Labor Relation Board’s ruling to “allow roughly 6,000 workers to take seven weeks, starting Feb. 8, to cast their ballots by mail to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.” The RWDSU filed their petition in November “with the NLRB to hold the Amazon unionization vote.”

With a market capitalization (as of Friday’s close) of $1.65 trillion, Amazon is one of the world’s largest and most powerful multinationals. This has made Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, CEO and president, one of the two richest men in the world. (He and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk have traded places several times this month due to the fluctuations in the prices of their company’s’ stock.)

Additionally, as the owner of The Washington Post, one of America’s most widely read newspapers, Bezos is able to exert considerable political influence.

According to Greene, Amazon “argued in one of two filings that the agency’s pandemic-voting policy is flawed, in part because it fails to define what a covid-19 ‘outbreak’ actually is.”

The company claims that the NLRB’s guidance “reflected assumptions developed comparatively earlier in the pandemic — before scientific understanding of the virus and possible precautions had developed to where it is today.”

It’s interesting that they would make this argument just two weeks after the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to Worldometers, reached a record high of 308,022 on Jan. 8.

Greene writes that although “many of its European warehouse workers are represented by labor groups,” the company has “staunchly fought unionization.”

In 2014, Greene tells us, “a small group of equipment maintenance and repair technicians at its Middletown, Del., warehouse” tried to organize. At that time, Amazon retained “Morgan Lewis & Bockius, a top anti-union law firm” to help end that bid. They have once again retained Morgan Lewis.

Amazon’s appeal asks “the full board of the NLRB to review the in-person voting ruling and to stay an election until that matter is decided.”

Before the presidential election in the fall, the company’s Amazon Studios launched a nationwide initiative called “AllInForVoting” that specifically included mail-in voting processes: “Each #AllInForVoting State Ambassador, will focus on an assigned state, and will amplify messages and information such as: registration deadlines, how and when to vote, vote early and vote by mail updates, and concerns of voter suppression tactics in the state.” (Emphasis added.)

Now, the company tries to make the rather ironic argument that many states were able to safely vote in-person in November.

In its appeal, “Amazon noted that 218 of the 7,575 employees of Amazon and third parties that work at the facility tested positive for the coronavirus in the two weeks preceding Jan. 7. It argued that a 3 percent infection rate shouldn’t be considered an outbreak..”

(Isn’t that the threshold used by many governors to justify their lockdowns?)

“This result also stands in vivid contrast to the recent, successful efforts by many state governments to expand the choices for how and when individuals can vote in political elections, including through mail ballots,” the appeal also states. “The Board, ironically, has been limiting the right to vote through its mail ballot-only approach for almost every election held since March 2020.”

“Amazon has offered to pay for efforts to hold the election safely, including offering a heated tent for voting set up in the Bessemer warehouse’s parking lot,” Greene added.

If we didn’t just lose a critical election due to the massive increase in mail-in voting, this case might almost be humorous.

But the wounds are still too raw. And as we watch the Biden Administration make one disastrous decision after another, we remember how they got there.

Still, we enjoy watching a once-strong advocate of mail-in voting, one who has known all along the opportunity for fraud the practice enables, try to stop it when it will negatively impact them.

This is just a little more proof that Democrats were well aware that voting by mail would help them win.

Ah, Schadenfreude.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Here's why NRA filed bankruptcy bid with $50 million in net assets

By Thomas Catenacci
Daily Caller News Foundation

  • Powerful Second Amendment advocacy group the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 15, but stressed it was in its “strongest financial condition in years.”
  • The NRA, which reported in court Wednesday net assets of $50 million suggesting financial strength, said it seeks to use bankruptcy to move from New York to Texas and to “streamline” certain legal and business affairs, but gave little further explanation.
  • “The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA,” NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a statement.

The National Rifle Association took the drastic step of filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, seeking to move to Texas as it faces ongoing litigation that could lead to the complete dissolution of the organization.

Powerful Second Amendment advocacy group the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 15, but stressed it was in its “strongest financial condition in years.” The organization said it would utilize the bankruptcy filing to relocate from New York to Texas and to streamline business operations despite there being simpler, more common ways to achieve these goals.

“I don’t think this would have been my first option or my second option or my third option,” Jeremy Fischer, co-chair of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s (ABI) Bankruptcy Litigation Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “I don’t know that bankruptcy is a great fit for what they’re trying to do. I think it would be an option of last resort.”

It would likely be more efficient for the NRA to simply forfeit its current corporate charter in New York and reincorporate in Texas, Fischer said. The involvement of a bankruptcy court is “highly unusual,” he added.

The NRA reported $50 million in net assets in a court filing Wednesday, with total assets equaling $203 million and liabilities totaling $153 million. The figures suggest there isn’t a need for bankruptcy filings.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is most commonly used by entities facing significant financial trouble to restructure their finances and avoid liquidation, according to New York City-based bankruptcy lawyer Stephen Starr. The intention is for an entity to emerge from the proceedings restructured and sustainable.

“Bankruptcy law, generally, isn’t really focused on the issue of where you’re located,” Starr told the DCNF. “Chapter 11 is used as a response to financial stresses.”

When asked why it chose to pursue Chapter 11 to streamline its affairs and relocate to Texas instead of its other options, an NRA spokesperson referred the DCNF to a Jan. 15 press release.

The NRA, which has been incorporated for about 150 years in the State of New York, has repeatedly stated in releases that the bankruptcy filing is a means of “dumping New York” and escaping the state’s “toxic political environment.”

“The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA,” the organization’s CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a statement Jan. 15.

In August, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA seeking to completely dissolve the group over fraud allegations. The lawsuit is the culmination of a tense relationship between the the massive gun rights group and the state, which has previously targeted the NRA’s bottom line. James campaigned for attorney general in 2018 on a platform that included targeting the NRA calling it an “organ of deadly propaganda.”

Judge Joel Cohen of the New York Supreme Court refused to dismiss New York’s lawsuit against the NRA in a preliminary ruling Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported. Cohen also ruled that if the NRA moved to invoke its bankruptcy rights in the case, he and the bankruptcy court would have the final say on if those rights would be granted.

Bankruptcy filings usually prevent all pending litigation from moving forward, according to The Associated Press. James has argued that this case is exempted from that rule and the NRA has itself stated that it doesn’t plan on preventing the lawsuit from proceeding.

“The [bankruptcy] filing does not seek to stay or transfer the [New York’s] case,” William Brewer III, counsel to the NRA, said in a statement shared with the DCNF Thursday. “Rather, it seeks to streamline and organize the NRA’s legal and financial affairs and, with approval of the court, to also allow the NRA to reincorporate in the state of Texas.”

The NRA’s Wednesday filing said bankruptcy court would allow it to “streamline, resolve, and address all outstanding claims.” The filing said the NRA isn’t attempting to escape New York regulatory oversight as James has charged, but seeks to leave the state to avoid future aggressive, politically-motivated litigation.

Several experts told The New York Times that the “audacious” bankruptcy filing was dubious and likely to be rejected in court.

“I see it as a Hail Mary for them,” Adam Levitin, a Georgetown University professor who specializes in bankruptcy, told the NYT. “They may know they’re dead in the water if they don’t get out of the [attorney general’s] grasp.”

Jay Westbrook, a University of Texas professor who specializes in bankruptcy, said the case would likely be dismissed, according to the NYT.

“There’s only one rule for a good-faith bankruptcy filing,” David Skeel Jr., a professor of corporate and bankruptcy law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, told the NYT. “You can’t say, ‘I don’t need bankruptcy. I’m really only here because I’ve got this other problem.’”

However, Fischer, from the ABI, told the DCNF that it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the NRA seeks to leave New York through Chapter 11 bankruptcy because its financial stability is threatened by the state’s lawsuit. In that case, bankruptcy could be reasonable.

“The New York action to revoke the not-for-profit corporate status of the NRA is equivalent to a death sentence,” Fischer said. “So a bankruptcy filing to prevent something that’s equivalent to a foreclosure of the only asset of a company — that’s a normal reason why companies file for bankruptcy.”

There is also some precedent for the move. In 1987, oil corporation Texaco filed for bankruptcy to avoid a multibillion-dollar court ruling against it and in 1998, carbon product maker SGL Carbon filed for bankruptcy to skirt several price-fixing lawsuits, according to the NYT. The SGL Carbon case is most similar to the NRA’s since the company admitted in court that it was financially stable. But, the court then ruled against the company.

“SGL Carbon has not supported its argument that pending litigation establishes the good faith of a Chapter 11 filing,” the Third Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Firefighter fired for criticizing vandals who destroyed public monuments

Arguing that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect controversial speech, the Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a firefighter who was fired for criticizing vandalism of public monuments.

“Tolerance cuts both ways. It isn’t always an easy pill to swallow, but that’s the way free speech is supposed to work, especially when it comes to tolerating speech that we may disagree with,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute.

“Remember, the First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world,” he said. “Silencing unpopular viewpoints by shouting them down, censoring them, or criminalizing them is like removing the steam valve. Without it, frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile.”

The organization has filed a complaint on behalf of Jon Reinmuth against Henrico County, Virginia, and a number of its officials, including Fire Chief Alec Oughton.

Rutherford noted that in May 2020, demonstrations and unrest broke out nationwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Demonstrators in Richmond, Virginia, focused their outrage on several statues erected on Monument Avenue, including the Robert E. Lee monument.

The Lee monument was defaced with spray paint and covered with phrases tha invoked social justice included profanities that called for violence against the police, the institute said.

The next month, a local broadcaster published a photo that went viral of two young black females celebrating on the vandalized Lee monument that ended up on the Henrico County Public Schools Facebook page. One of the girls was a student.

While some praised the photo, others were critical of the message it conveyed and HCPS’s decision to post it. Reinmuth, an 18-year veteran of the county fire department, joined the critics of the decision to post the photo on HCPS’ Facebook page.

“While off-duty, Reinmuth commented ‘Disgraceful’ and added, ‘Will they be posing with their new TVs as well?’, an allusion to Reinmuth’s belief that the photograph appeared to be advocating for unlawful activity associated with the riots such as vandalism and looting,” the institute said.

Reinmuth’s supervisors immediately fired him.

In the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia, Rutherford contends Reinmuth had a right as a citizen to express his opinion on the photo and its posting by a school district because it related to a matter of debate in the community.

In fact, the allegation is simply that he was fired for speech that was protected by the First Amendment.

Other defendants are Deputy Chief Tom LaBelle, Battalion Chief John Walls and County Manager John Vithoulkas.

The comments “were an act of free speech on a matter of public concern protected by the First Amendment,” the complaint contends.

The defendants, therefore, “are liable because the decision to terminate plaintiff was reviewed, sanctioned, ratified, upheld, and therefore ultimately made through the decisions of a person or persons with final policymaking authority for personnel issues.”

The complaint said, “In making his comments, plaintiff was participating in a debate among citizens about the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the photograph of young people dancing on a vandalized monument.”

It seeks an order that the firefighter be rehired and be awarded lost wages, and compensatory and punitive damages.

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.

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Limbaugh: Couric, AOC really do want to 'deprogram' Trump supporters

 

Rush Limbaugh (Video screenshot courtesy RushLimbaugh.com)

Those calls by Katie Couric and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to “deprogram” and “deradicalize” Trump supporters? Don’t take them lightly, warns talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Because they really mean it.

Couric, the former NBC News anchor and “Today” host, said in an interview with Bill Maher that “the question is how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.” Ocasio Cortez said last Friday at a virtual event that it’s “going to take a very long time to deradicalize these people and a lot of effort.”

A Democratic National Committee official, David Atkins, said on Twitter that “deprogramming” is needed for every one of more than 74 million people who voted for Trump on Nov. 3.

Limbaugh said they “are literally thinking of deprogramming conservatives.”

“They don’t call us conservatives. They call us Trump cultists,” he said.

Limbaugh posted comments from a number of network personalities:

  • Alisyn Camerota spoke of the “cult of Trump.”
  • Steve Hassan described Americans recruited “by an authoritarian political cult.”
  • Mustafa Tameez said a “Trump cult that wants to believe whatever the dear leader says.”
  • Jeremy Bash said, “This was a long … deliberate effort by political leaders led by Donald Trump to brainwash, to create a cult.”

Limbaugh noted that until now, Americans had successfully handled the political divide for generations.

“There was a notion that we’re Americans, that being American meant something. That’s gone. Now, 35, 40% of the country believes ‘American’ is a dirty word, that the American founding was illegitimate, that we are an illegitimate superpower because our founding was illegitimate and because our economic system — capitalism — is immoral and unjust,” he said.

“So, I mean, folks, you don’t have to look any farther than Make America Great Again is controversial. Make America Great Again really ticks some people off.”

He said he sometimes, perhaps naively, has thought that “every American loves his country.”

“It’s not true,” he said.

If any deprogramming is needed, he said, it should be for those who, through the American public education system, “have been taught to hate this country.”

A start, he said, would be to “make a stab at telling them why this country should be loved and adored and understood and built on its foundation premises.”

Couric, he said, wants conservatives “deprogrammed” because she “doesn’t want to have to deal with them.”

She believes they “shouldn’t have any access to constitutional rights because they’re cultists.”

The radio star noted the left has redefined “hate speech.”

“So how do you define hate? Well, they’re already off and running on that. If you’re conservative and you don’t like Biden, you’re hateful,” he said. “If you say the wrong thing about the presidential election of 2020, you could be categorized as a domestic terrorist.

“And if it becomes necessary to eliminate certain people from participating because they engage in ‘hate speech,’ all you have to do is define ‘hate speech’ as something that opposes the government, for example. That’s how most totalitarian regimes do it. If you opposed the government, why you’re dangerously close to trafficking in hate.”

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.

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Democrats 'waging a scorched earth campaign to silence' opponents

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

By J. Peder Zane
Real Clear Politics

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the crisis Democrats were waiting for, and they are not going to waste it. Those few hours of lawless mayhem became unimpeachable proof that the muddy smears they’d thrown against Donald Trump supporters were all true.

Through the funhouse mirror of hyper-partisanship, that angry mob of thousands became all 74 million Americans who voted for Trump in November. The crowd’s explicit anger over the 2020 election was cast as an implicit push for white supremacy.

Never mind that almost all prominent Republicans and conservatives recoiled from the violence and immediately condemned it, or that one of the main organizers of the rally was a black Arab American. There’s enough scattershot evidence for Democrats and their allies to add “demonstrated violence” to their list of conservative crimes and justify a radical program of repression. While Joe Biden issues calls for unity, many of his allies are waging a scorched earth campaign to silence all who oppose them.

Since the violent attacks, left-leaning tech companies have been given a free hand to quash dissent. On Jan. 8 Twitter permanently suspended President Trump’s account and later purged more than 70,000 accounts it said were affiliated QAnon, whose members subscribe to various conspiracy theories and question the integrity of the government.

That same day it was reported that Facebook removed the #Walkaway Campaign, which featured testimonials from Democrats who had left the party because of its hard-left turn. Facebook deemed this “hateful, threatening, or obscene.” On Jan. 10, Amazon pulled the plug on the libertarian social media platform Parler because a handful of its estimated 2.3 million active users were connected to the violence.

Government is also policing thought. On Jan. 18, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon “is intensifying efforts to identify and combat white supremacy and other far-right extremism in its ranks.” Network news reported that several unnamed National Guardsmen were pulled from the ranks of those protecting the Capitol after the FBI said it discovered fringe political views in their social media footprint or digital communications with friends.

That same day, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee (pictured) questioned the loyalty of the National Guard because it is “90 some-odd percent male, and only about 20% of white males voted for Biden; you’ve got to figure the Guard is more conservative. … There are probably not more than 25% of the people that are there protecting us that voted for Biden. The other 75% are in the class who might want to do something.”

Cohen’s rant is not only alarming; it’s inaccurate in its own terms. White men under age 30 (the average age of an enlisted man in the National Guard is 29.5) broke for Trump, but only narrowly – 51% to 46%, according to exit polls.

Now the Biden administration is promising to make “domestic terrorism” a priority for the National Security Council. You don’t need a dog whistle decoder to know this means they will be targeting conservative groups. Anyone who says the innocent have nothing to worry about should bone up on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

It is tempting to compare this to the McCarthy-era probes that challenged people’s patriotism and worked to weed out communists, homosexuals and other alleged subversives and deviants. But that ugly movement was weak tea by comparison, as it targeted a relatively small percentage of Americans. Today, in the broadest sense, one half of the nation is working to demonize and silence the other half.

This effort didn’t begin after Jan. 6. The illiberalism that has infected many American schools, the cancel culture that has propagated across social media and the left-wing demand that everything – what you eat, wear, watch and care about – be seen through the lens of politics, was metastasizing long before. But the attack on the Capitol is the made-for-television moment being used to smother dissent in the name of patriotism.

Everyone who thought Biden’s victory would lower the temperature was sold a bill of goods. Instead of normalcy we’re getting a purge.

This is inevitable because of the leftist ideology Democrats and their allies have embraced. It sees everyone — except, of course, their enlightened selves — as unthinking empty vessels. They believe their mission is to fill these pathetic puppets (i.e., you and me) with their virtuous brew of truth. They honestly think they are doing us a favor and expect we’ll thank them once we see things their way.

This is the faith of the victim culture, whose sinners are those who have been corrupted by the dark forces of conservatism and whose saints are those who walk the path of liberal enlightenment. This is why media figures such as Katie Couric describe Trump supporters as cult members and columnist Eugene Robinson wonders how they can be deprogrammed.

“Never Trump” Republicans are echoing these sentiments. In his Jan. 14 New York Times column, David Brooks asserted that there is now a split on the right “between those who have become detached from reality and those who, however right wing, are still in the real world. Hence, it’s not an argument. You can’t argue with people who have their own separate made-up set of facts.”

George W. Bush strategist Mark McKinnon argued the same point on MSNBC this week: “You can’t just confront them [Trump supporters] with the facts because they don’t believe it. They live in an alternate universe where they have been told other reality, quote ‘realities,’ that they think are realities.”

To be sure, some Trump supporters fit this mold. The former president often did himself. But whether they mean to or not, these voices – in the media, no less – provide the rationale for abandoning the First Amendment in the name of censorship. It’s why the left is cheering Big Tech’s embrace of cancel culture and pushing cable providers to stop airing One America News Network, Newsmax and other “conservative influencers.”

It’s why the so-called Trump Accountability Project, which seeks to prevent administrations officials from gainful employment, is not widely denounced for the thuggery that it is and why 250 publishing professionals feel comfortable circulating a “No Book Deals for Traitors” petition that says former Trump officials shouldn’t be allowed to publish their works. It’s also why Harvard students think it’s reasonable to circulate a letter demanding the revocation of degrees earned by Republicans who questioned the 2020 election, and why MoveOn.org demands that the Senate not give Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley any committee assignments.

Note that antifa – the anarchist hate group spurred on by Democrats — has been stirring up trouble in Portland, Ore., this week, even shouting epithets against Joe Biden. Eventually the revolution eats its own. It is hard to know how any of this ends. History shows that such campaigns have no goal but total victory. For their perpetrators, there is no accommodation with an enemy they define as dangerous and irrational; there is only submission.

I keep hoping that reasonable liberals will rise up and speak out against these illiberal forces.

Finally, a plea: President Biden, please work to rebuild the decent, fair United States you celebrate in your rhetoric. It is under siege by those around you.

J. Peder Zane is an editor for RealClearInvestigations and a columnist for RealClearPolitics.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

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Bernie Sanders predicts Dems could be 'wiped out' in 2022 midterm elections

(THE BLAZE) – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent lawmaker who caucuses with Democrats, warned the Democratic Party this week what will happen if Democrats do not improve American lives now that they control the White House, House, and have effective control over the Senate.

Sanders predicted the Democratic Party will be “wiped out” in the 2022 midterm elections if they squander their opportunity to improve American lives.

“Given all that we face, now is not the time to think small. It is time to think big, very big,” Sanders said on Thursday, according to McClatchy reporter Francesca Chambers.

Read the full story ›

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Banks closing former President Trump's accounts, refusing to do business with him

Banks are cutting ties with former President Donald Trump as corporate America and Big Tech continue to deny services to him and other conservatives.

Two Florida-based banks have ceased doing business with the country’s 45th president, the Miami Herald reported Friday. The moves come as other institutions are distancing themselves from him after Democrats and the establishment media blamed Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion.

BankUnited, where the former president stored more than $5 million, said Friday it had closed his accounts.

“We no longer have any depository relationship with him,” a BankUnited representative said in a statement to the Herald. No specific reason was given for the bank’s decision to cut ties with Trump.

Another Florida-based financial institution severed its relationship with the former president last week.

According to the Herald, Professional Bank, which is based out of Coral Gables, had loaned the Trump family $11.2 million in 2018 to buy real estate near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Trump had also kept between $5 million and $25 million in an account with that institution, according to the Herald.

The South Florida banks are just the latest such institutions to refuse Trump financial services since Jan. 6.

Signature Bank, which is based in New York, and the German institution Deutsche Bank also both announced that Trump and his business were no longer welcome, The Hill reported. Signature Bank even called for the president to resign.

“To witness a rioter sitting in the presiding chair of the U.S. Senate and our elected representatives being told to seek cover under their seats is appalling and an insult to the Republic,” Signature Bank said in a statement. “We witnessed the President of the United States encouraging the rioters and refraining from calling in the National Guard to protect the Congress in its performance of duty.”

The bank also said it would also not be doing business with congressmen or women who objected to the electoral vote certification.

Deutsche Bank, meanwhile, said it would cease doing business with Trump and his brand, aside from expecting him to continue to stay current on outstanding loans.

Trump’s son, Eric Trump, commented on the banks serving ties with his father and the family business, connecting it to “cancel culture.”

“We live in the age of cancel culture, but this isn’t something that started this week. It is something that they have been doing to us and others for years,” the younger Trump told The Associated Press last week. “If you disagree with them, if they don’t like you, they try and cancel you.”

Eric Trump also told the AP that the Trump Organization is not bothered by the severed business relationships, and would lean on its own holdings and other institutions that are standing by the now-former president and his family.

“You have a man who would get followed to the ends of the Earth by a hundred million Americans,” Eric Trump said. “He created the greatest political movement in American history and his opportunities are endless.”

Canceling the accounts of those connected to the political right is, as the younger Trump asserted, nothing new. A Project Veritas investigation in 2019 appeared to show that Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio had his account with Chase Bank closed over his political views, though Chase denied that was the reason.

As banks refuse to do business with Trump, thousands of conservatives, including the former president, have also been purged from social media in recent weeks.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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How a ghost town holds an inauguration

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

By Philip Wegmann
Real Clear Politics

Two weeks to the day after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress and the Electoral College from doing their duty, the Trump era came to a close when Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the oath of office as the 46th U.S. president. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” the new president said. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

The message was great. All the pundits said so. But other than the media, assorted members of government and Lady Gaga, who belted out the National Anthem into a golden microphone and wore a giant broach that looked like something out of “The Hunger Games,” no one listened.

At least, no one listened in person. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated in a ghost town, a capital city occupied by more combat-ready American soldiers than are now deployed in either Afghanistan or Iraq. It was as different as it could be from the inauguration four years ago when the chaos candidate became president.

The Secret Service, the agency credited (or blamed) for the armored cars, steel fences, concrete barriers, and legions of National Guardsmen in the streets of Washington, D.C., ruined the plans of any tourist unfortunate enough to travel here this week. Most everything was closed ahead of Wednesday. They shut down the National Mall, set up check points with roadblocks and razor wire across downtown, and established a security perimeter akin to the “Green Zone” in Baghdad. (House Speaker Pelosi reportedly wanted crew-operated machine guns deployed onsite, a request denied by the Department of Homeland Security on grounds that heavy weapons were not appropriate for civilian occasions.) Soldiers in full kit cradled M4 carbines, and shop owners who forgot to cover their windows during the unrest last summer prepared for the worst by putting up plywood boards.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, who oversaw much of these preparations, had asked her city’s residents to stay home. “Enjoy it virtually,” she pled. “We know this is the right request for our public safety and our public health.” And they listened. While revelers passed around bottles of Veuve Clicquot just blocks from the White House when the Associated Press finally called the race for Biden, inauguration celebrations were socially distanced. A disappointed vendor hawking Biden and Harris merchandise at Black Lives Matter plaza summed up the day with one word: “Thin.”

What crowd there was consisted mostly of photographers and foreign press milling about, waiting their turn to interview the handful of Biden supporters present. A loudspeaker blared the president’s speech at an unnecessary volume considering that the empty downtown streets were uncharacteristically quiet. Here and there, however, tiny contingents of ordinary Americans tried their best to witness an extraordinary event.

“My parents called,” Olivia Wisont told me after the speech. “They expressed their strong preference that I don’t come out and stay on campus.” But the freshman at George Washington University had cast the first vote of her life for the Biden-Harris ticket back home in Seattle, as did her two friends from New York. The lonely trio explained that Inauguration Day  was too important to miss. A little girl in a pink sweatshirt agreed. She held up a tiny blue Post-it note that read “Go Joe!”

Beyond another checkpoint, manned by TSA agents too bored to bother patting me down, another group of students said the same. They took the subway from American University to try and get as close as they could to the White House. What are their hopes for the incoming administration? Amanda Jordan said she would like the government to focus on “climate change.” Lucy Matthews wanted “more vaccines.” Their parents also preferred they watch the inauguration from the dorm rooms. “But it’s completely safe,” Matthews insisted. “There’s National Guard everywhere, and nothing is happening.”

And those soldiers were everywhere. They had been objects of affection earlier in the week as members of Congress and local businesses showed their gratitude for the protection by bringing them doughnuts and coffee in the morning and burgers and pizza at dinnertime (one pizzeria donated over 1,500 pies). But come Inauguration Day, the guardsmen just didn’t have much to do. Four years ago, it was different. They could have helped then. They might have kept me out of the hospital.

Demonstrators were out in force at Donald Trump’s inauguration. Most of them protested the 45th president peacefully by carrying signs, singing songs, and chanting slogans such as “Love trumps hate!” Others, though, chucked rocks at cops. Masks were unnecessary then, unless you didn’t want to be identified, and there wasn’t really a word for the hooligans dressed head-to-toe in black who formed their own line to push back riot police trying to clear them out of McPherson Square. My editors at the time suggested a quick article on the scuffle, and I hustled toward the sound of flashbang grenades. I stopped long enough to watch a protester dousing his own face with milk.

Proteins in dairy can dissolve hydrocarbons like those found in pepper spray, I learned later. The protester emptied an entire gallon on his eyes. This didn’t strike me in the moment as ominous, only odd — just like the man who brought llamas into the city, or the Code Pink protesters who fell to their knees screaming at 12 p.m. (the constitutionally prescribed moment when Trump turned from B-list celebrity to leader of the free world). But when words and screams failed them, many demonstrators turned into rioters. My introduction to mob politics came as the rabble took out their anger on the windowpanes of coffee shops and banks and restaurants. Suddenly enemies of public transportation, they inexplicably trashed a bus stop. It was thrilling nonsense, like the man who scooped up a tear gas canister, hurled it back at the police, then scurried up a tree for protection. Wouldn’t that make an interesting picture? I ran over to snap a photo, confident that the press credentials swinging around my neck would keep me out of any trouble.

Photography, it turns out, was discouraged. A vigilante dressed in black informed me of this by yanking my phone from my hands and shattering it on the ground. Next, something blunt hit my head. A few moments later, I woke up in the road. I walked back to the newsroom nauseous with ringing ears. Protesters would torch a limousine that night and defend barricades made from pushed-together trashcans and flaming newspaper boxes. I filed my story and then went to the hospital emergency room.

Nothing like that happened this time, and McKenzie Levie was disappointed. “No extremists came to town,” he told me while standing in the street outside the FBI building downtown dressed in full chainmail. “I just look like one.” A self-appointed protector of the peace nicknamed the “Alt-Knight,” Levie usually mixes it up with antifa types at protests. He travelled from Cleveland to do so this time. Because none showed, his crusade ended early. So did my day. There were a few other characters, like the street preachers in search of a congregation, but little to note.

The crowds, or lack thereof, didn’t register at the White House during Jen Psaki’s first briefing as Joe Biden’s presidential press secretary. Sean Spicer entered that role four years ago, earning lasting scorn among the press corps by claiming erroneously that Trump had “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” Psaki, for her part, said she welcomed disagreements but told reporters they shared a common goal of “sharing accurate information with the American people.” She took multiple questions (none about crowd size). She promised not to lie. She also promised to hold daily briefings, closing out the briefing telling the reporters, “Let’s do this again tomorrow.”

Presidents normally close out the day with a series of inaugural balls where lobbyists do their best to cozy up to the new administration, and journalists angle for scoops from sauced staffers. The pandemic and the security lockdown ended that tradition, as least this time. Biden settled instead for a dazzling fireworks show that punctuated a star-studded television special broadcast from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Tom Hanks hosted. Bruce Springsteen kicked off the event singing “Land of Hopes and Dreams.”

Biden gave brief remarks there on the steps, a CliffsNotes version of his earlier address, shortened for prime time. “Thank you for this honor,” he concluded. “I will give my all to you.” After John Legend and Katy Perry ended the production with separate numbers came the fireworks, big explosions of red, white, and blue whose echoes reverberated through an empty capital city and into the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, marking the end of an otherwise unusually quiet Inauguration Day.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

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'Women's rights' take hit with new order from Biden

By Mary Margaret Olohan
Daily Caller News Foundation

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday evening that sets the stage for rolling out transgender protections — a move that critics protested through the hashtag “Biden erased women” Thursday.

“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” Biden’s executive order said, calling for “all persons” to receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

“It is the policy of my Administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and to fully enforce Title VII and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation,” the executive order continued. “It is also the policy of my Administration to address overlapping forms of discrimination.”

The order gives agency heads the authority to carry out these concepts by considering “whether to revise, suspend, or rescind such agency actions, or promulgate new agency actions” in order to comply with the policies set forth in the order.

Biden had previously pledged a number of times to sign the Equality Act, which would force public schools to allow biological males who identify as transgender girls into female athletics.

“President Biden’s executive order has directed federal agencies to eviscerate legal protection for women and roll back nearly 50 years of gains for women,” Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Christiana Holcomb told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’re going to have to wait and see how each agency either revokes current protection for women based on their sex or issues new policy guidance that allows biological males to, for example, compete in women’s sports.”

Holcomb described the order as “an incredibly big deal.”

“We’re going to see impact in the sports context but far beyond that as well,” she continued. “Especially in healthcare and women’s shelters and restrooms and locker rooms. In fact, the executive order itself specifically called out school restrooms, locker rooms and sports competitions. So we know that these things are coming. It’s a really scary prospect for the future of women’s sport.”

Advocates hailed the order as a massive win for LGBTQ persons and suggested on social media that those who protested against the order are bigoted.

In a Thursday statement, the American Civil Liberties Union called on Biden to also “take action to more fully recognize transgender and non-binary people.”

“This action by the Biden administration recognizes what the Supreme Court held last June and what we’ve long known: LGBTQ people are protected by our civil rights laws,” James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement.

Critics reacted to the order with condemnation, insisting that allowing transgender persons to access bathrooms and participate in sports that do not align with their biological gender would infringe on the rights of biological women. The controversy prompted the hashtag #BidenErasedWomen to trend on Twitter.

Abigail Shrier, the author of a book detailing an investigation into transgenderism trends, said that Biden “unilaterally eviscerates women’s sports” through the order.

“A new glass ceiling was just placed over girls,” she tweeted.

On day 1, Biden unilaterally eviscerates women’s sports. Any educational institution that receives federal funding must admit biologically-male athletes to women’s teams, women’s scholarships, etc.

“Biden does away with female athletics in one sweeping executive order,” tweeted writer Libby Emmons. “What it truly comes down to is the obsession of LGBT activists to erase the very concept of biological sex in favor of gender identity.”

I get called TERF [trans-erasing radical feminist] because I believe women have a right to our own sports, prisons, refuges & spaces and because I believe children should be protected from people who seek to sexualise them and to confuse them about who they are,” tweeted journalist Sonia Poulton with the hashtag #Bidenerasedwomen. “Happy to stand for what I do.”

The Independent Women’s Forum also decried the order in a Thursday tweet, saying, “Every time a transgender woman secures a spot on an elite women’s team or wins a scholarship reserved for female athletes, a biological female loses an opportunity.”

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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2nd 'dossier' was in the works, declassified FBI documents confirm

By Chuck Ross
Daily Caller News Foundation

Christopher Steele provided the FBI with details about a longtime Clinton associate’s efforts to track down a purported sex tape of Donald Trump in Russia, according to newly declassified FBI documents.

Steele, a former British spy, told FBI agents in September 2017 that Cody Shearer, the Clinton crony, met in Istanbul and New York with a source who claimed to have ties to Russian intelligence. Shearer and his source were “actively discussing” a deal for the purported tape of Trump, according to Steele.

Shearer, a former journalist who has long been connected to the Clintons, compiled a dossier that contained allegations about Trump that are similar to those in a dossier that Steele himself wrote on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Both dossiers contained the uncorroborated allegation that Russian intelligence operatives filmed Trump with Russian prostitutes in a Moscow hotel in 2013.

While details of Steele’s work have spilled into public view over the past several years, far less was known about Shearer’s dossier.

And while it has also been revealed that Steele was paid $170,000 by a law firm for Democrats to investigate Trump, it is unclear whether Shearer was paid for his work.

Steele, a former MI6 officer, obtained Shearer’s dossier from Jonathan Winer, a longtime adviser to John Kerry who was an official at the State Department until the end of the Obama administration. Sidney Blumenthal, another longtime Clinton insider, had given the document to Winer.

Steele in turn provided Shearer’s dossier to the FBI on Oct. 19, 2016. At the time, Steele was providing the FBI with information about Trump as part of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

In his dossier, Shearer discusses information he said he received from a man who claimed to have links to Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the FSB. The dossier, which is made up of two memos, does not identify the purported Russian spy or the Turkish businessman who connected him to Shearer.

Steele provided their names to the FBI, saying that he obtained the information from Winer.

“SHEARER is also friends with a Turkish-American businessman with the last name KHAN. KHAN was in touch with RUSLAN MANSIMOV, aka ASLAN TURAN, aka ASLAN TURANCI,” read the FBI notes, which were first published by Just the News.

The FBI document is part of a batch of records that President Trump declassified as one of his final acts in office.

Steele told the FBI agents that Shearer’s intermediary, Khan, brokered contact between Shearer and Mansimov in New York and Istanbul.

Steele also said during the interview that Mansimov had recently reconnected with Khan and “was offering to provide tapes of President TRUMP.”

“At least one of those tapes was related to the Miss Universe event and involved urine,” the FBI notes say.

Steele said that Khan brokered contact between Shearer and Mansimov. They were both “actively discussing a deal for the tapes,” the note say.

“SHEARER and MANSIMOV met in Istanbul and are considering an upcoming meeting in Spain within the coming weeks,” read the notes, which also say that Mansimov sought “money and good standing.”

Steele said he was skeptical of Shearer’s information even though it closely matched the salacious scene from his own dossier. He said that one “plus” of the Shearer documents were that the allegation about Trump in Moscow “chimed” with the allegations in his own dossier.

Steele reported in a now-infamous June 20, 2016, memo that Russian intelligence had filmed Trump in a Moscow hotel room with prostitutes who were urinating on each other. Steele also alleged that the Kremlin was blackmailing Trump with the tape.

Steele alleged in later memos that the Trump campaign was engaged in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.

Steele’s conspiracy allegation has since been debunked, and his claim about the so-called “pee tape” remains uncorroborated. The special counsel’s office found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russians to influence the 2016 election.

Steele relied on a single source, a Russia analyst named Igor Danchenko, to collect information for the Trump dossier. Danchenko acknowledged in interviews with the FBI in January 2017 that he did not independently verify the most serious allegations in the dossier.

Danchenko claimed he provided Steele with information he collected from six individuals, most of whom live in Russia. One of Danchenko’s most prolific sources, a former journalist named Olga Galkina, has been accused of fabricating evidence in the dossier about her former employer, Aleksej Gubarev. One source who worked with Galkina told The Daily Caller News Foundation that she concocted information about Gubarev that was in the dossier.

Galkina was also the source for Steele’s allegation in the dossier that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin insiders to discuss paying off hackers. The special counsel’s report said that Cohen never visited Prague.

Steele told his FBI interviewers that he questioned the veracity of some of Shearer’s dossier because of Mansimov’s reputation.

“The ‘minus’ of the reporting was the fact that MANSIMOV was, according to STEELE, neither the most sophisticated nor impressive person,” the FBI notes say.

Steele said that he wanted to keep Shearer’s operation “at an arms length,” and that he was not certain whether the information Shearer had collected was legitimate, fabricated or part of a set-up.

“STEELE opined that SHEARER was not acting discreetly. STEELE said that the media was ‘sniffing’ around MANSIMOV,” the notes say.

Little is publicly known about Mansimov. Turkish news outlets reported in the 2000s about a scandal involving Mansimov and a Turkish energy company. Mansimov also allegedly paid bribes to gain citizenship in Turkey.

One person who was briefed on the Shearer memos during the 2016 campaign told The Daily Caller News Foundation in 2018 that they viewed the allegations as a “rope-a-dope” scheme “where the FSB throws this stuff out there, sucks people in, tries to get money.”

A U.S. official who was told about Shearer’s memos in August 2016 told the DCNF that they were viewed skeptically because Shearer considered “not a guy with a whole lot of credibility.”

“The whole thing stinks,” the official said.

No tapes of Trump have ever surfaced. Shearer denied to the DCNF in 2018, before reports of his dossier surfaced, that he had any connection to the Steele dossier.

An FBI spreadsheet that analyzed allegations from both the Steele and Shearer dossiers made reference to the sex tape.

The spreadsheet said that on Jan. 14, 2017, four days after the Steele dossier was made public, a confidential human source for the FBI reported that a person was willing to defect to the U.S.

The person “claimed to have compromising tapes on President Donald Trump,” the spreadsheet says.

Shearer did not respond to a request for comment. Winer has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Biden kills commission encouraging 'renewed American unity'

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Public Affairs.]

By Mike Sabo
Real Clear Public Affairs

Former President Trump’s 1776 Commission has issued a report that summarizes “the principles of the American founding and how those principles have shaped our country.” It will be the only such report – President Biden swiftly dissolved the Commission by executive order after being sworn into office on Wednesday.

Biden’s decision is regrettable because “The 1776 report calls for a return to the unifying ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence,” as Chairman Larry P. Arnn, Vice Chair Carol Swain, and Executive Director Matthew Spalding said in a statement. “It quotes the greatest Americans, black and white, men and women, in devotion to these ideals.”

The report rejects the teachings of historians such as Howard Zinn, the New York Times’s 1619 Project, and other efforts aimed at fundamentally transforming how Americans view their country’s history. Neither hiding America’s flaws nor offering a triumphal account of American history, the 1776 Commission aimed to recover “our shared identity rooted in our founding principles” – which, its report argues, is “the path to a renewed American unity and a confident American future.”

“Our country’s founding principles are the key to a peaceful, self-governing people,” Arnn stated, “and the 1776 Commission sets out to educate the American public about them. The Commission’s report is an approachable introduction to the historical facts of the founding and the principles that animate it.”

Beginning with an overview of American founding principles and the constitutional architecture that the Founders fashioned to secure them, the report then catalogues the various threats to republican government and proposes tools that Americans can use to recover a way of life conducive to republican citizenship.

Though not denying that America was founded by a particular people with a particular history, religion, and virtues, the report stresses that the nation was nevertheless founded on the universal principles enunciated in the Declaration. This is why Abraham Lincoln argued by implication in the Gettysburg Address that the United States celebrates its birthday on July 4th, 1776.

Appealing to both human reason and biblical revelation – for example, the Declaration’s references to the Creator, Providence, and the Supreme Judge – the Founders justified the government on the basis of eternal, universal principles. Frederick Douglass once described them as “saving principles” that were the “ring-bolt to the chain of” America’s “destiny.”

It is always true that no human beings are picked by nature to rule others without their consent. It is always true as well that since all human beings are created equal, a just government can only be founded upon the consent of the governed. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”

In appealing to a universal standard of justice in separating from Great Britain, the Founders did not destroy the concept of separate nations or cultures. Rather, as the report states, these principles “were asserted by a specific people, for a specific purpose, in a specific circumstance”: securing the “safety and happiness” of the American people.

The Founders’ task was possible only because a people of sufficient character and morality, grounded in broader civilizational inheritances and fortified in a tradition of rights, liberty, and law, already existed prior to 1776.

The Constitution, in Lincoln’s formulation, is a picture of silver framed around an apple of gold, the Declaration; the Constitution is the document that secures the Declaration’s principles in practice. The 1776 Commission report sums up the dilemma that the Founders confronted in creating a governing framework for the United States: “the new government needed to be strong enough to have the power to secure rights without having so much power as to enable or encourage it to infringe rights.”

Based on the sovereignty of the people, the Constitution establishes a federal government of limited but energetic power overseen by the people’s representatives. Through “auxiliary precautions” such as the separation of powers, federalism, and the natural circumstances of a large republic, the people’s rights would be preserved and the threat of tyranny would be kept at bay.

The report then turns to five major threats to republican government throughout our country’s history: slavery, progressivism, fascism, communism, and identity politics.

Though slavery was by no means a unique evil to the United States, Founders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison clearly recognized that human bondage was incompatible with the principle that “all men are created equal.” Though the Constitution recognized slavery as an existing institution, the word slave is never mentioned in its text, and the slave trade was outlawed twenty years after its ratification. Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln understood the Constitution’s antislavery character and worked diligently to stop slavery’s spread and ultimately end the institution itself, at great cost to the nation.

The Progressive movement rejected the idea of permanent truths in favor of constantly evolving group rights meted out by the administrative state, a fourth branch of government composed of independent agencies staffed with experts insulated from political accountability.

Another challenge to free government is the barbarism of fascism and communism (and its cousin, socialism). These modern ideologies constituted some of the deadliest threats to liberty and human dignity that the world has ever known. As President Ronald Reagan once argued, these ideologies deny that “God-given liberties . . . are the inalienable right of each person on this planet; indeed they deny the existence of God.”

Today, identity politics strikes at the heart of republican government by demanding “equal results and explicitly sorting citizens into ‘protected classes’ based on race and other demographic categories.” Even worse, the purveyors of identity politics see people of certain races as evil not necessarily because of what they’ve done but simply because of their skin color. The 1776 Commission report states unequivocally that identity politics “makes it less likely that racial reconciliation and healing can be attained” because it rejects “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for America.”

In order to preserve the blessings of liberty for future generations, families should raise “morally responsible citizens who love America and embrace the gifts and responsibilities of freedom and self-government”; state and local governments should produce curricula that convey an “enlightened patriotism” through reading primary sources; and songwriters, filmmakers, and social influencers should create content that speaks “to eternal truths” that “embody the American spirit.”

In the words of Commission member Charles Kesler, the 1776 report intends to rebaptize American citizens in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, reinvigorating the American mind in the twenty-first century. President Biden’s move to dissolve the Commission does not change this imperative. Indeed, as Arnn, Swain, and Spalding have declared: “The Commission may be abolished, but these principles and our history cannot be. We will all continue to work together to teach and to defend them.”

Mike Sabo is the editor of RealClear’s American Civics portal.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Public Affairs.]

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Biden orders assessment of 'domestic violent extremism' threat

National Guard troops on duty as President Joe Biden delivers his inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021. (Video screenshot)

President Biden on Friday ordered the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a “comprehensive threat assessment” on “domestic violent extremism” along with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House.

Psaki said Biden wants “fact-based analysis to shape policy,” the building of National Security Council “capacity” to counter “domestic violent extremism,” and the “coordinating of relevant parts of government to accelerate and enhance” the effort.

The issuing of the order on Biden’s second full day along with the intent to “accelerate” the initiative confirmed the disclosure Thursday by former Obama CIA Director John Brennan, that — amid calls by Democratic leaders to “deprogram” and “reeducate” Trump supporters — the Biden team was “moving in laser-light fashion” to root out an “unholy alliance” that includes “religious extremists” and libertarians.

While Biden has not specified the targets of his “domestic violent extremism” thrust, he touched on the issue in his inaugural address Wednesday, speaking of “a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a Fox News interview on Wednesday that he understood Biden to be referencing the entire opposition to Democrats on the right: “If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly veiled innuendo, calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book.”

It became apparent during the White House press briefing Friday that the administration doesn’t have Antifa in mind when it comes to domestic terrorism.

When asked if Biden had any comment about the violence in Seattle and in Portland, Oregon, after the inauguration, Psaki said she hadn’t talked with the president about it.

She began by emphasizing that Biden’s national security team had been mobilized to “monitor … any unrest that was resulting from the last couple of weeks,” referring to the Capitol riot that Democrats blame on President Trump and his supporters.

Psaki told reporters the objective of Biden’s order is to “disrupt violent extremist networks and more.”

“We are coordinating relevant parts of the federal government to address DVE,” Psaki said, using an acronym for “domestic violent extremism.”

She said the NSC is “addressing evolving threats” and reviewing the role of “social media, operational responses and more.”

‘Unholy alliance’

Brennan told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace on Thursday that the “members of the Biden team who have been nominated or have been appointed are now moving in laser-light fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we’ve seen overseas, where they germinate in different parts of the country and they gain strength, and it brings together an unholy alliance frequently of religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians.”

Brennan said there’s a “momentum that has been generated” by “the demagogic rhetoric” of the now-departed Trump administration and “also those who continue in the halls of Congress.”

“So I really do think that the law enforcement, homeland security, intelligence and even the defense officials are doing everything possible to root out what seems to be a very, very serious and insidious threat to our democracy and our republic,” he said.

In November, a member of the Democratic National Committee, David Atkins, said on Twitter that “deprogramming” is needed for every one of the Americans who voted for Trump on Nov. 3.

“No seriously … how *do* you deprogram 75 million people? Where do you start? Fox? Facebook?” he wrote on Twitter.

“We have to start thinking in terms of post-WWII Germany or Japan. Or the failures of Reconstruction in the South.”

WND reported that after casting Trump and his supporters as “white supremacists” and “conspiracy theorists” for the past four years, the most prominent member of the far-left “squad,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Friday it’s time to pour more money into efforts to “deradicalize” and “deprogram” that population.

One year ago, a campaign organizer for then-Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said the country would need to “spend billions” on “reeducation” of Trump supporters who have become “Nazified.”

See an excerpt of the MSNBC interview with John Brennan:

Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.

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Anger surges after Guard troops forced to rest in cold garage

Virginia National Guard soldiers stand guard in Washington, D.C., Jan. 11, 2021. National Guard soldiers and airmen from several states have traveled to Washington to provide support leading up to Inauguration Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bryan Myhr)

Amid outrage by lawmakers, National Guard troops have been allowed back into the Capitol Complex after they were forced to use a cold parking garage as a rest area.

The Guard will now be allowed to rest in the Capitol Visitor Center, CNN reported.

“We honestly just feel betrayed,” one guardsman said when the orders hit Thursday morning. “We were deemed useless and banished to a corner of a parking garage.”

The outrage was bipartisan, with Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee announcing an investigation and Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth promising she would follow up to make certain the Guard was allowed back in.

Guard members were seen in photos lying down on a concrete parking lot floor, with some resting against pillars. One report said there was one electrical outlet and two restrooms for 5,000 personnel.

“The Geneva Conventions expressly forbid forcing prisoners of war from sleeping on concrete, or in parking garages, noted Breitbart’s John Nolte.

While technically not a violation, because the Geneva Conventions directly relate to prisoners of war, the troops who guarded the Capitol during the inauguration certainly deserve better.

He cited the relevant portion of the Geneva Conventions Act of 1964: “The premises shall be fully protected from dampness, adequately heated and lighted, in particular between dusk and lights out. The sleeping quarters shall be sufficiently spacious and well ventilated, and the internees shall have suitable bedding and sufficient blankets, account being taken of the climate, and the age, sex, and state of health of the internees.”

“Let’s count the violations shall we? Not adequately heated, Not well ventilated (exhaust fumes), No suitable bedding, No sufficient blankets,” he wrote.

A military source told TPUSA that former President Trump invited troops to stay in his hotel in Washington.

Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh cited a military source who that this “is how Joe Biden’s America treats soldiers.”

“The Democrats, when they no longer needed the National Guard, sent them to a parking garage. There were no beds. There was just a parking garage. There were oil slicks in there under the places where people would park their cars. That’s where they were sent, after they had done their duty of being the photo op. Yeah, we need the Guard here because you never know what kind of plans the Trump people might have!” he said.

“We need the Guard here to protect the government, to protect the Capitol, to protect the immaculation of Biden,” said Limbaugh.

Limbaugh said he believed the presence of the military in Washington was “to send a message that the nation’s capital is still unstable, that the nation’s capital may not be held totally by friendly forces, that there is a slight possibility that domestic terrorists are planning yet another operation to take back control of the government from Joe Biden.”

Fox News reported troops were being ordered to return to their states by Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire and Greg Abbott of Texas.

It was U.S. Capitol Police who ordered the Guard members to move, Fox News said.

But ccting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman insisted the order didn’t come from him.

“I want to assure everyone that, with the exception of specific times on Inauguration Day itself while the swearing-in ceremonies were underway, the United States Capitol police did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities. And on Inauguration Day, the Guard was notified and encouraged to reoccupy the spaces in the Capitol and CVC at 2 p.m.”

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said there was “one uniformed police officer who issued an order without authority or without going through the chain of command, and I’m glad the Capitol Police and the Guard are talking and trying to figure this out.”

“We are going to be able to identify who that person was,” he said.

DeSantis didn’t wait to act.

“Last night, I ordered our Adjutant General to bring Florida National Guard soldiers home from the National Capital Region,” he said.

The Washington Examiner reported DeSantis explained the Guard members are “soldiers” and “not Nancy Pelosi’s servants.”

It was not the first controversy this week regarding the deployment of the Guard at the Capitol. Earlier, some Democrats insisted on investigating the political backgrounds of Guard members, suspecting some might be disloyal.

The move was canceled by several of the governors who allowed their troops to be summoned to Washington.

“This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard,” Abbott tweeted. “No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard. I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”

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