Facebook Is Under Government Investigation over Leaked Documents

Facebook is being investigated over leaked company documents and allegations by a former employee, according to financial filings.

The company’s 10-Q form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday mentions that Facebook is “subject to government investigations and requests” seemingly related to documents leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen that detail tech giant’s business practices and internal research.

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Commentary: America Should Put More Resources into Nuclear Power

Nuclear and solar power energy

Recent news in the energy world has not been encouraging. Prices are rising rapidly due to a supply crunch coupled with blistering, post-pandemic demand. Renewables like wind and solar are faltering in an unprepared electrical grid. Coal burning is set to spike to make up for energy supply shortfalls at a time when the world needs to aggressively decarbonize.

Some of this hardship might have been avoided if, over the past couple of decades, policy makers had the guts to support the safest, most reliable form of energy, which also happens to be carbon-free: nuclear. Instead, Germany is taking its nuclear fleet offline and replacing it with fossil fuels, as the country’s already exorbitant electricity prices soar. California is shutting down its last nuclear plant, further imperiling its notoriously fragile grid. All the while, Americans remain divided on nuclear power.

Again, the data is clear: despite nuclear’s damaged reputation, clouded by a few high-profile accidents, nuclear power kills fewer people per electricity produced than any other energy source. It is also the most reliable. Nuclear’s capacity factor, a measure of how often a power plant is producing energy at full capacity over a certain period of time, is the highest by far – almost double that of coal and more than triple that of solar. And nuclear is clean, producing no carbon emissions. Though its radioactive waste often attracts negative press, coal plants actually create more. Moreover, all of the waste that America’s nuclear power plants have collectively produced in a half-century could fit on one football field. This is because nuclear is incredibly efficient. In the U.S., just 55 nuclear power plants produce 20% of the country’s electricity! It takes nearly 2,000 natural gas plants to produce 40 percent.

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Commentary: Schiff, Democrats Pivot Hard on Justice Department Election Interference

U.S. Department of Justice headquarters

For five years, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) insisted, without evidence, that the Russians helped Donald Trump win the White House in 2016. Schiff, along with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), first seeded the collusion narrative in July 2016—the same month James Comey’s FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane—by falsely claiming Kremlin hackers confiscated thousands of emails off the Democratic National Committee’s server, correspondence damaging to Hillary Clinton.

From that point forward, Schiff leveraged his political power and newfound cable news stardom to perpetuate the lie that the 2016 presidential election was illegitimate.

So it’s beyond ironic that Schiff now sits on the January 6 select committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s latest weapon to annihilate TrumpWorld. After spending every waking minute during Trump’s presidency to conduct what author Lee Smith called The Permanent Coup, Schiff is flipping his coup-plotting script on anyone who questions the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s presidency.

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In Fallout over National School Board Group’s Letter to Biden About Parents, Ohio, Missouri Depart

Man standing in front of a room, giving a lecture with a presentation

The backlash from the incendiary language in a recent letter from the National School Board Association to President Biden asking for federal law enforcement to intervene on outspoken parents at school board meetings escalated this week when the group’s Ohio and Missouri chapters withdrew their respective memberships.

The Missouri School Boards Association in announcing its departure said the national group “demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance.”

The Ohio chapter was more direct, saying in its letter Monday that its departure was a “direct result” of the Sept. 29 letter to Biden.

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Commentary: The War on Thomas Jefferson

Portrait of Jefferson in his late 50s with a full head of hair

The final decision, after years of debate, was made on Oct. 8 to remove from the New York City Council chambers the statue of the man we all know to have been a dreaded slaveholder—to the tune of 600 over his lifetime—Thomas Jefferson.

Despite that, writing at Bari Weiss’s Substack, political science professor Samuel Goldman, with whom I concur, is less than happy.

“The removal is disgraceful. Unlike monuments to Confederate leaders that display them in full military glory, Jefferson is depicted as a writer. Holding a quill pen in one hand and the Declaration of Independence in the other, he is clearly being honored for composing an immortal argument for liberty and equality.”

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Commentary: The Farce of American Despotism

Reflecting on Joe Biden’s disastrous “town hall” with Anderson Cooper on Thursday, The Spectator’s Dominic Green asks a question that has to weigh heavily on the mind of every American adult: “Is it more worrisome that Joe Biden might not be in charge, or that he actually is in charge?” I have long argued that allowing Biden to appear in public is a form of elder abuse, and I have speculated that he really is not in control of his actions but is manipulated, puppet-like, by a shadowy cadre of unnamed string-pullers I have called “The Committee.”

I do not have any proof that such is the case. I infer the existence and machinations of The Committee from Biden’s ostentatious incompetence and apparent senility. Has any president in the history of the Republic overseen such a destructive litany of failures so early in his tenure? Observers around the world caught their breath in August as our botched exit from Afghanistan went from appalling to something much worse and more deadly. What will be its defining image? The desperate Afghans clinging to and then falling from the landing gear of a transport plane as it took off from the Kabul airport? Or will it be the images of the slaughter perpetrated by a suicide (that is, a homicide) bomber outside the airport, an incident that killed some 170 people include more than a dozen U.S. military personnel?

Or maybe it will be the image of the drone strike launched in retaliation for that slaughter, a strike that was supposed to have targeted an ISIS-K operative but in fact killed zero terrorists and instead blew to bits 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children. The United States initially said they had obliterated an ISIS-K operative along with the collateral damage, but eventually they had to admit that, nope, they got no bad guys, just 10 innocent Afghans. 

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Whitmer, Challengers Bolster War Chests for Michigan Gubernatorial 2022 Race

James Craig and Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2022 campaign funds have grown to about $12.6 million after raking in $3.1 million between July 21 and Oct. 20.

The Democratic governor has continued claiming an exemption to accept contributions above the state-imposed limit of $7,150 from an individual throughout the entire election cycle. Whitmer’s campaign says it can do this, citing a loophole by which donors may exceed campaign funding limits if their candidate of choice is facing a recall election. Despite several past recalls against the governor over the past three years, none are currently active.

The GOP has challenged this strategy in court, where an Oct. 13 court filing suggests roughly $3.4 million in excess donations must be returned or given to a charity since no recalls are active. New large contributions include Whitmer’s father, Richard Whitmer ($40,000), billionaire George Soros ($25,000), and Vice-Chair of the Detroit Pistons Arn Tellem ($25,000).

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Biden’s Approval Hits New Low in FiveThirtyEight Tracker

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden’s approval rating hit a new low of just over 43% in FiveThirtyEight’s polling tracker as he confronts multiple economic and legislative headwinds.

Biden’s approval stood at 43.5%, and has steadily declined since July. His disapproval stood at 50.6%, the highest of his presidency.

Biden’s slide has coincided with another spike in coronavirus cases, a messy Afghanistan withdrawal and economic challenges ranging from supply chain issues to inflation. He has also pinned much of his domestic agenda on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and his sweeping budget, but left-wing and moderate Democrats have yet to agree on a compromise that would give both the votes needed to pass the House, where they hold just a three-vote margin, and the 50-50 Senate.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Stokes ‘Hyperinflation’ Fears

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

 Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stirred up more fears around inflation with his comments over the weekend saying that hyperinflation is “happening.”

“Hyperinflation is going to change everything,” the tech leader posted on Twitter. “It’s happening.”

The post sparked a flurry of responses. Replying to comments on his post, Dorsey added, “It will happen in the US soon, and so the world.”

Hyperinflation is defined by Investopedia as “rapid, excessive, and out-of-control general price increases in an economy.”

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Commentary: Targeting Citizens for Expressing Traditional Values is a Hallmark of Tyranny

All my life I’ve felt a bond with places and with people.

Growing up in Boonville, North Carolina, population then about 600, I went to elementary school and the Methodist church, knew many of the merchants in town—Harvey Smith, grocer and mayor for many years, Donald the barber, Mr. Weatherwax who owned the pharmacy and was kind enough to let me read comic books on the premises, and a dozen more adults—and relished my friends and their families. Boonville’s red clay and rolling hills are as much a part of me as any genetic code.

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Commentary: Newly Uncovered Documents Show Senior Virginia Officials Smearing a Whistleblower to Avoid Congressional Oversight

VA office of Administration

Whistleblowers—and the truths they tell—far too often become the first casualties in the clash of bigger forces with other agendas. People tend to oversimplify complex stories to fit their preferred political narrative or to protect their own interests.

If the facts do not fit neatly into a convenient set of preconceptions, too often they are ignored, dismissed, or twisted to cater to well-known biases. This tactic is common among those who are the subject of whistleblower disclosures. They often attempt to change the subject to avoid accountability by pointing a finger at the whistleblower, even if they don’t know who it is.

It’s probably just a “disgruntled employee” who has “an axe to grind.” The implication is that there is no need to look into it. Nothing to see here. Move along.

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Indiana Officials Invite Illinois Police Officers to Move There

Police lights on top of car

With the promise of no vaccine mandate and lower property taxes, Indiana officials are trying to lure jilted police officers from Illinois.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a vaccine mandate for police in August. They must show their vaccination status or take the option of testing on their own time and dime. If they don’t, they can be placed on “no pay” status.

Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun tweeted that his office is ready to help connect police officers to an Indiana department that is hiring now.

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‘Hard to Know Where Pandemic Relief Money Went,’ Admits Federal Spending Watchdog

Woman in mask in the dark looking at computer screen

This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to a broad sweep of federal agencies for a systemic lack of transparency that is hampering efforts to monitor many billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief spending, according to a report by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

The PRAC was established in 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to “promote transparency and conduct and support oversight” of more than $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds.

In a report released Wednesday, the watchdog details its difficulty in determining how funds are being spent due to federal agencies’ poor reporting on the government spending website, USAspending.gov.

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Poll: Majority of Americans Think COVID-19 Threat is Getting Less Serious

The majority of Americans believe the threat of the coronavirus is getting less serious, and a plurality believe President Joe Biden and government health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci don’t want lockdowns to end, according to a new poll conducted by the Convention of States Action in partnership with The Trafalgar Group.

“Despite the fact that Big Media and Big Tech are working tirelessly to suppress the truth, this poll reveals that most Americans aren’t fooled in the least,” Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, said. “They clearly see that the pandemic is on a downward trend, and they also understand that President Biden and Dr. Fauci have no intention of easing restrictions and mandates,””

According to the poll, 63.1% of likely voters believe the threat of the coronavirus is getting less serious, with 25.9% saying it’s much less serious, compared to 26.1% who say it’s getting more serious. Nearly 11% said they weren’t sure.

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Commentary: The Deliberate Attempts to Wreak Havoc on America

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, joined by White House staff, participate in a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Since Jan. 20, 2021, many of us have wondered whether the policies of the Biden administration are driven by folly and stupidity, or whether they are deliberate attempts to wreak havoc on the United States of America. The foolish and tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the ongoing demolition of businesses and occupations by a prolonged pandemic and now by vaccine mandates, the shipping and trucking crisis, the skyrocketing inflation: Do these and so many other fiascoes, we ask ourselves, derive from ignorance or from calculation?

Two days ago a definitive answer to this question arrived in the mail.

It’s deliberate.     

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Schumer Endorses Socialist in Buffalo Mayoral Race

India Walton and Chuck Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday endorsed India Walton, a democratic socialist, to be the next mayor of Buffalo.

“As Buffalo voters start to head to the polls this weekend, I urge them to cast their ballot for India Walton as the next mayor of Buffalo,” Schumer told The Buffalo News. “India is an inspiring community leader, mother, nurse and a lifelong Buffalonian with a clear progressive vision for her hometown.”

Schumer’s endorsement is the most high-profile one Walton has received. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another democratic socialist, called Walton’s nomination an “important step forward for the working people of Buffalo” in June, but other New York Democrats, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins, who represents Buffalo in the House, have stayed silent.

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Big Tech Companies Are Defying Texas’ Vaccine Mandate Ban

Man getting bandaid on vaccination shot

Major tech companies are continuing to require their employees to be vaccinated at their Texas facilities, in violation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning all vaccine mandates.

Abbott signed an executive order on Oct. 11 prohibiting “any entity,” including private businesses, government contractors and local schools, from imposing a requirement that employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. However, Google, Facebook, HPE, Twitter and Lyft have yet to lift their vaccine mandates in response to the order, Protocol first reported.

HPE spokesman Adam Bauer confirmed the company had not changed its vaccine policy, and told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the company was making “vaccination a condition of employment for U.S. team members to comply with President Biden’s executive order and remain in good standing as a federal contractor.”

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Bipartisan Michigan Bills Aims to Restore Tax Incentives for Business Development

Mark Tisdel and

A bipartisan bill aims to revive a killed business subsidy incentive that they say will spur new job creation in Michigan.

State Reps. Mark Tisdel, R-Rochester Hills and Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township, introduced House Bills (HB) 5425 and 5426 that aim to form the Michigan Employment Opportunity Program (MEOP) to provide incentives for business developments similar to the Good Jobs for Michigan (GJFM) program, which expired in 2019. 

“The Michigan Employment Opportunity Program will form a public-private partnership to bring good jobs to our state,” Tisdel said in a statement. “Government can make it easier for businesses to invest in our communities and support more Michigan workers, bringing economic growth – and the revenue that comes with it.”

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White House Report Proposes Granting Refugee Status for ‘Climate Change Activism’

A Thursday White House report on climate change and national security proposed granting refugee status for individuals identified as “climate change activists” or “environmental defenders.”

“Climate activists, or environmental defenders, persecuted for speaking out on government inaction on climate change may also have a plausible claim to refugee status,” the report said. It notes that if a government “withholds or denies relief from the impacts of climate change” to people who “share a protected characteristic in a manner and to a degree amounting to persecution,” then these individuals could also be “eligible for refugee status.”

The report goes on to discuss actions for the U.S. government to consider in addressing the relationship between climate change and migration, including considering claims based on “climate change activism” and situations where individuals may not be granted governmental relief from climate change’s impact.

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Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Want to See Political Change

Woman holding sign that says "Our future's on the line"

A significant majority of Americans see the need for changes to their political system, a Thursday Pew Research Center poll found.

At least 85% of Americans polled stated that their political system “needs to be completely reformed” or “needs major changes,” according to the poll. Meanwhile, 66% of Americans saw the need for change or reform in the U.S. economic system and 76% saw the need for transformation in the healthcare system, the poll found.

Less than half of respondents expressed satisfaction with U.S. democracy, while 58% said they were “not satisfied,” according to the poll. Pew Research Center noted that “Dissatisfaction with functioning of democracy is linked to concerns about the economy, the pandemic and social divisions.”

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Commentary: The Republican Party Is the Indispensable Last Line

Group of people at a Trump rally, man in a "Keep America Great" hat

I was the speaker at a large Republican event recently and, inevitably, the grievance was aired in the Q&A portion: “Where’s the Republican Party? They are worthless. They won’t do anything.” 

This is one of the most common refrains on talk radio. Glenn Beck does it almost daily. Steve Deace and his team never stop. Rush used to do it regularly. And therefore, a lot of conservatives and traditionalist Americans think it is true. But is it? 

Exhibit number one in this case is always the failure to repeal Obamacare. That’s where the line of accusation really kicked in. 

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Commentary: America Needs to Decide How It Will Stand Up to China in Taiwan

USS Alabama at deck in Mobile, AL

According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently announced, “Just like the overwhelming majority of other countries, Russia views Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China. This is the premise we proceed from and will continue to proceed from in our policy.” At the time of this statement, Russian forces were conducting joint naval exercises with Chinese forces in the Pacific—culminating in a 10-ship joint formation sailing through Japan’s Tsugaru Strait on October 18. 

This, following a series of unprecedented Chinese military aircraft incursions into Taiwan’s airspace, has rattled Taiwan and America’s other allies in the region, namely Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia. During the first week of October, over 150 aircraft, including advanced SU-30 fighters and H-6 heavy bombers, flew into Taiwanese airspace. An unprecedented 56 tactical aircraft penetrated Taiwan’s airspace in a single 24-hour period on October 4, the highest single day total to date. 

China has already taken control of multiple islands claimed by these allies in an effort to access vast oil and natural gas resources, as well as project its military power in the contested territorial waters of the South China Sea. China’s ongoing trade dispute with Australia has also ratcheted up tensions in the region. 

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Thousands of Afghan Refugees Are Resettling in Communities Around the U.S. Every Week

Thousands of Afghan refugees who were temporarily housed at U.S. military bases are resettling in communities around the country every week, CBS News reported on Thursday.

Around 6,000 Afghan refugees who were evacuated from the Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power have resettled around the U.S., according to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CBS News reported. Additionally, about 3,000 new residents with U.S. citizenship, green cards and those with close family or friends in the U.S. have left the military bases.

More than 55,000 Afghan evacuees are still at the temporary housing sites across eight military bases in the U.S. and another 5,000 refugees remain waiting in third countries to come to the U.S., according to CBS News. Around 4,000 evacuees were released to resettle in the U.S. in the last week.

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‘They Have No Shame’: National Institutes of Health Doubles Down, Says It Didn’t Fund Gain of Function Research after Releasing Documents That Suggest Otherwise

Lawrence Tabak

The National Institutes of Health reiterated its stance Thursday that it did not fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, despite having released documents on Wednesday showing that it funded the creation of a lab-made SARS coronavirus that was more deadly and pathogenetic towards mice with humanized cells.

EcoHealth Alliance informed the NIH in August that its lab-created rWIV1-SHC014 S coronavirus killed 75% of mice with humanized cells, while the natural WIV1 virus it was based on killed less than 25% of mice with the same humanized cells. The experiments were conducted with the Wuhan Institute of Virology between June 2018 and May 2019.

“These results suggest that the pathogenicity of SHC014 is higher than other tested bat SARSr-CoVs in transgenic mice that express hACE2,” EcoHealth Alliance told the NIH in its progress report.

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Majority of Americans Oppose FBI Investigation of Parents at School Board Meetings, Survey Finds

Merrick Garland

The majority of Americans oppose the Biden administration’s plans to monitor and investigate outspoken parents at school boards meetings, new polling from Convention of States Action reveals.

The poll found 57% of those surveyed do not support the announcement while 19.8% are in favor. The rest are not sure.

“…One can plainly see that those who are aware that Merrick Garland made this announcement oppose him by large majorities, while there’s a group who marked ‘not sure’ because they don’t know about his announcement or don’t know enough about it,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action.

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Manchin Reportedly Outlines Demands for Democrats’ Climate Change, Child Tax Credit Plan

Senator Joe Manchin III

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia reportedly opposed two pieces of his party’s spending package as negotiations over its price tag and reach continue to stall.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s opposition reportedly relates to the Democrats’ climate change and child tax credit provisions of the budget proposal. While the majority of his party lauded both programs, the 50-50 Senate means that any one Democratic senator could tank the bill, giving Manchin veto-like power while representing a rural, coal-producing state that voted for former President Donald Trump by almost 40 points in 2020.

Multiple reports surfaced Friday suggesting that the Clean Electricity Payment Program would likely be scrapped from the bill due to Manchin’s objections, part of Democrats’ attempt to fight climate change. Those backing the program, which would provide incentives for clean energy use while implementing fines and penalties for organizations continuing to rely on fossil fuels, see it as a fundamental piece of the Democrats’ agenda and key to reaching President Joe Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 50% of what they were in 2005 by 2030.

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Commentary: Biden’s Possible Abandonment of Taiwan

Joe Biden

“Goodbye, great power competition and hello, strategic competition,” this is what the Biden Administration’s Pentagon spokesperson recently told Daniel Lipmann of Politico. According to analysts, these comments signal a shift toward a more cooperative, even conciliatory, American posture toward the Chinese Communist Party. Further, President Joe Biden told the media on October 6 that he had “spoken with [Chinese President Xi Jinping] about Taiwan. We agree that we will abide by the Taiwan Agreement.” 

The agreement that Mr. Biden was referring to was the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, an ambiguous agreement forged between China and the United States in which Taiwan would be treated by the United States as a foreign country without being formally recognized as such. While the 1979 agreement does allow for the provision of American military aid to Taiwan such that Taiwan can “maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” the terms of this agreement allow for the Americans to shirk away from Taiwan whenever it is convenient for Washington do so.  

The Biden-Xi call came on the heels of China’s brazen violation of Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) during the week of October 1. At that time, China deployed more than 50 warplanes to violate Taiwan’s ADIZ, testing Taiwan’s overworked air defense network and pushing the island’s military to the point of exasperation. At some point, a grave miscalculation will occur between China and Taiwan—a mistake that could spark another world war that Washington is not prepared or willing to fight.

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Gang Blamed for Kidnapping 17 American Missionaries in Haiti

Missionaries of Charity in Haiti

A gang known for previous abductions has been blamed for the kidnapping of 17 American missionaries in Haiti on Saturday, NBC News reported.

The Christian Aid Ministries missionaries were kidnapped on their way from the construction of an orphanage, according to a message from Ohio-based ministry, NBC reported.

“This is a special prayer alert,” the ministry’s one-minute message said. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.”

The U.S. Embassy is working with the field director of the mission, whose family stayed at the ministry’s base with an unidentified man while the abduction took place, the message said.

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Millions of Illegal Immigrants Could Get Amnesty, College Tuition Help and More Under Democrats’ Reconciliation Bill

Temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, safely processes family units and unaccompanied alien children (UACs) encountered and in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol March 17, 2021. The facility will bolster processing capacity in the RGV while the permanent Centralized Processing Center in McAllen is renovated. CBP Photo by Jaime Rodriguez Sr.

Millions of illegal immigrants could have access to amnesty, assistance with college tuition, various tax credits and waived grounds for inadmissibility to the U.S. under the Democrats’ proposed reconciliation bill.

The reconciliation bill might allow illegal immigrants with expunged criminal offenses to enter the U.S. and give millions of others illegally living in the U.S. a chance at parole.

“It is outrageous that congressional Democrats and the Biden administration are trying to ram through a massive amnesty and significant increases of legal immigration during this historic and worsening border crisis,” Director of Regulatory Affairs and Policy for the Center for Immigration Studies Robert Law told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday.

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Nearly 47 Percent of Americans Think Natural Immunity to COVID-19 as Effective as Getting Vaccinated, Poll

Person in green protective gear in lab with safety glasses and mask on

Nearly half of Americans believe natural immunity to COVID-19 is as effective as the getting vaccinated, according to a new Convention of States Action/ Trafalgar Group poll.

Among the roughly 1,000 respondents in the national survey of likely 2020 voters, 46.5% said they believe people who have recovered from COVID with natural immunity from antibodies have the same level of protection as those that are fully vaccinated.

The survey was conducted from Oct. 7-10, as the public debate continues over government-mandated vaccines and the efficacy of the shots and masks.

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Retail Sales Beat Expectations Amid Surging Inflation

Woman shopping in a department store

U.S. retail sales increased in September, beating expectations amid growing inflation and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday.

Retail sales increased 0.7% in September, beating experts’ estimates of 0.2%, according to the Census Bureau report.  The number rose 0.8%, excluding auto sales, beating the 0.5% forecast.

Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, and they increased 15.6% compared to September 2020, excluding auto sales, according to the Census Bureau.

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Prominent Liberal Watchdog Group Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Jen Psaki

A prominent liberal watchdog group filed a Hatch Act complaint against White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday, saying her apparent endorsement of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McCauliffe during a White House press briefing may have violated federal law.

“By mixing official government business with support of a candidate for partisan political office in the weeks before the election and engaging in political activity while on duty, Ms. Psaki appears to have used her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election, political activity that is prohibited by law,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said in its complaint filed with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).

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Commentary: Educating Students About the Victims of Communism

Olbram Zoubek Communism Victims Memorial

Many Americans today assume that the threat of Communism subsided with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But “We continue to see Communist and socialist regimes pop up and spread not only in Latin America – for example, in Venezuela and Nicaragua – but around the world,” says Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, president and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC). “These regimes regularly kill their own citizens and have a devastating effect on human rights and their national economies.” In fact, over 1.5 billion people – including those living in Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and, of course, China – currently live under oppressive Communist and socialist governments.

Founded in 1993 by a bipartisan, unanimous Act of Congress, VOC is “devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.”

Before coming to VOC, Bremberg served as the Trump administration’s Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. During his time there, which he describes as a “profound and life changing experience,” he “became aware of the challenge of China,” which was “far worse” than he had realized. He notes that the U.N. International Human Rights Council made investigating the United States’ record on racism during the summer of 2020 its highest priority – putting it above China’s appalling human rights violations against Uyghurs, among other ethnic groups within its borders.

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Commentary: January 6 and the FBI’s ‘Operation Cold Snap’

Close up of Capitol with Trump and America flag in the wind

The tony, bucolic town of Dublin, Ohio would be one of the last places in America expected to host a convention of white supremacist militiamen. Nestled along the Scioto River, the Columbus suburb’s biggest claim to fame is hosting the PGA’s annual Memorial Golf tournament every summer.

But in June 2020, days after the nation was roiled by Black Lives Matter looting and rioting, a man from Wisconsin named Stephen Robeson sponsored a “National Militia Conference” at a Dublin hotel. (Yes, that was the real name of the event.) 

According to BuzzFeed’s exceptional July 2021 investigative report on the FBI-led plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, Robeson “helped organize the national meeting, and he was enthusiastically pushing people he knew to attend.” The purpose of the conference was to recruit people who ultimately would stoke “political violence” against governors who refused to reopen their states after lockdowns supposedly necessitated by COVID.

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Commentary: A Call to Amend Section 230 for Social Media Transparency

Smart phone opened on home screen

Amid growing bipartisan agreement that increased regulation of social media platforms and their content moderation policies is needed, the path forward remains murky. Should Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be discarded or strengthened? Should companies be broken up using antitrust laws? Should government set speech rules for the web? Should users decide them? Or should there be no rules at all?

There is no shortage of solutions being put forth to solve the challenge of social media censorship. The problem is that without a better understanding of how social platforms invisibly shape the public square of democracy today, we don’t know which of these possible solutions might have the greatest impact. In short, to fix social media, we first need a better understanding of its ills: Section 230 must be amended to legislate social platform transparency.

A new RealClearFoundation report, “Transparency Is the First Step Toward Addressing Social Media Censorship,” outlines the public data sets we need to usher in transparency and better understand the challenges we face.

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U.S. Navy Preparing to Discharge Unvaccinated Sailors

Sailers saluting one another

On Thursday, the United States Navy announced its intentions to discharge any and all sailors who have not yet taken the coronavirus vaccine, according to Fox News.

The Navy’s press release on the matter declares that November 14th is the final deadline for sailors to receive the vaccine, while the deadline for reservists is December 14th. In addition to being discharged, sailors who refuse to get the vaccine may also lose some of their veterans’ benefits.

“Those separated only for vaccine removal,” the statement reads, “will receive no lower than a general discharge under honorable conditions. This type of discharge could result in the loss of some veterans’ benefits.” In addition, the statement said that the Navy “may also seek recoupment of applicable bonuses, special and incentive pays, and the cost of training and education for service members refusing the vaccine.”

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New January 6 Related Police Records, Transcripts Appear to Show Babbitt Clearly Unarmed Before Shot

Ashli Babbitt Memorial

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Thursday that it has received over 500 pages of documents from the D.C. Metropolitan Police regarding the fatal police shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in May after District officials failed to respond to requests made in April to the city’s police department and its Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for information related to Babbitt’s death.

The 35-year-old Babbitt was fatally shot trying to enter a secured area inside the U.S. Capitol Building. The 14-year Air Force veteran was unarmed at the time, as she tried to climb through a broken door window near the House chambers.

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Roger Simon Commentary: Time to Stop ‘Communism, American-Style’

Some will remember that comedy classic from 1961, “Divorce, Italian Style,” starring Marcello Mastroianni. Unfortunately, 60 years later, we seem to be moving toward, even living through, a far less funny, real-life “Communism, American Style.”

What is “Communism, American Style”? As yet one would think it bears little resemblance to the Soviet kind with its gulags and so forth.

Or does it?

On Oct. 6, the Los Angeles City Council proclaimed, nearly unanimously (11–2), COVID-19 mandates that require proof of vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, movie theaters, salons, shopping centers, and just about every other public indoor space you could think of in the entertainment capital.

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Far-Left Activists Plan to Further Harass Kyrsten Sinema at Boston Marathon

Kyrsten Sinema

Radical far-left activists publicly announced their plans to continue harassing Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) over her opposition to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, this time with plans to follow her around at the Boston Marathon, Fox News reports.

The Green New Deal Network, an alliance of 15 far-left groups, issued a press release declaring their intent to follow and harass Sinema at the annual event on Monday, in an act known in politics as “bird-dogging.” The pressure from radical activists stems from Sinema’s refusal to support the “Build Back Better Bill,” an effort to shove through many far-left agenda items through the legislative process known as reconciliation; reconciliation, which is often reserved exclusively for budgetary matters, cannot be filibustered and thus only requires a narrow majority of 51 votes in order to pass.

Sinema, along with Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), has repeatedly refused to support a bill that costs as much as $3.5 trillion, instead advocating for a reduction in the overall cost.

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Commentary: A Closer Look at a Supreme Court Case That Could Help Decide the Legality of Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Every now and again, an otherwise arcane legal topic suddenly becomes relevant to contemporary political debate. At that point, general commentary suddenly becomes filled with newly minted experts with strong positions on what is typically a nuanced issue. Thus, at various points during the past decade, Twitter saw a flood of hitherto undisclosed connoisseurs on the intricacies of the Logan Act, a constitutionally problematic piece of legislation that emerged from the same 18th century administration that brought us the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, some observers suddenly expressed deep-seated opinions on the Jones Act, a complex piece of maritime law most people had probably never heard of prior to 2017.

So it seems to be with Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the previously obscure 116-year-old precedent – it barely warrants a footnote in most constitutional law treatises – that people have taken to citing whenever anyone questions the legality or constitutionality of vaccine mandates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Jacobson is not some sort of argumentative checkmate. If the decision were actually taken to the lengths that some of its proponents suggest, it would be a truly terrifying ruling.

Although I drafted most of this article before encountering Josh Blackman’s excellent law review article on Jacobson (available here), I did rely on it for some of the procedural history of the case, as well as some of the cases from the pandemic that relied upon Jacobson. It is well worth a read for anyone else interested in learning more about the case.

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Democrats’ Budget Set to Include Global Minimum Tax, Treasury Secretary Says

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that she is confident that the Democrats’ budget will include a global minimum tax for corporations just days after nearly 140 countries endorsed the measure.

“I am confident that what we need to do to come into compliance with the minimum tax will be included in a reconciliation package,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told ABC News on Sunday. “I hope that it will be passed and we will be able to reassure the world that the United States will do its part.”

Though the United States and 135 other countries signed the agreement, each nation must pass its own legislation to enact the minimum tax rates. Democrats are currently crafting the budget, a spending package that would reshape the social safety net, but the process has slowed by disagreements between the party’s moderate and left wings.

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Republican Leaders Push Back Against Global Business Tax

Mike Crapo and Kevin Brady

Republican lawmakers are pushing back against the Biden administration’s plan to join a global compact implementing a tax on U.S. corporations regardless of where they operate.

One hundred and thirty six136 countries agreed Friday to implement a global business tax, and G-7 finance leaders agreed to the plan Saturday. President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised the plan.

Proposed by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization, the global tax is necessary to respond to an “increasingly globalized and digital global economy,” OECD said.

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Commentary: If Polls Are Right, Democrats Are Doomed But If They’re Wrong, It’s Worse

In less than three months, President Biden’s approval rating has tumbled from a remarkable position in a polarized nation to the lowest of all but two presidents since 1945. Democrats are panicked though refusing to course-correct, hoping the pandemic will retreat, the economy will rebound, and their agenda will pass through Congress and turn out to be popular down the line.

The standing of the party with voters, at this time, isn’t in doubt. It’s awful. Biden’s average job approval rating on July 20 was 52.4% in the RealClearPolitics average before tanking precipitously and taking the party’s fortunes with him as the delta variant surged and American troops withdrew from Afghanistan in a deadly and tragic exit. RCP currently has him at 43.3%. His approval in Gallup has dropped 13 points since June, six points in this last month. The latest Quinnipiac University poll had Biden’s approval/disapproval at 38/53, down four points in three weeks. Specific findings on leadership questions were dreadful, with Biden’s numbers falling since April by nine points on the question of whether he cares about average Americans, seven points on whether he is honest, and nine points on whether he has good leadership skills.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico findings from last week showed Biden’s approval underwater across the board, at 45% approval overall, at 40% on the economy, 44% on health care, 40% on national security, 33% on immigration and 36% on foreign policy. The only number not underwater was Biden’s COVID approval of 49%-46%, 30 points lower than it was last spring. Across all polling Biden’s approval on the questions of competence and accomplishment have suffered. And that Morning Consult/Politico survey stated, “The shares of independent and Democratic voters who say Biden has underperformed expectations have doubled over the past three months.”

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Ethics Watchdog Wants Probe of Possible Improper Gift to Senate Panel Chasing Trump-Russia Hoax

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin

A watchdog group is calling for a Senate ethics investigation into a Democratic staffer for the Armed Services Committee regarding the Russia collusion hoax.

Empower Oversight sent a letter of complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics requesting an investigation into Thomas Kirk McConnell, a staffer on the Armed Services Committee, for asking for and receiving professional services from former FBI analyst Dan Jones and his nonprofit, The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), in the Russia collusion investigation, which were performed at no cost to the committee.

TDIP, rather than just providing information to the Armed Services Committee, “appears to have obtained the nonpublic data used for its analysis from the Committee itself,” to use for its final report, the letter reads.

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Trump Lets Loose on Biden Border Policy, Dems’ Socialist Agenda and Spineless Republicans

Donald Trump

Though still undeclared, former President Donald Trump used his latest rally to shape a potential 2024 platform with sharp attacks on Joe Biden’s border policies, congressional Democrats’ socialist spending plans and Republican weakness on the debt ceiling.

In vintage campaign form, Trump electrified a capacity crowd at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday night, putting on display his continued high popularity in America’s first voting state while imploring Republicans to do more to fight the Biden-Democrat agenda.

“We must declare with one united voice that we cannot allow America to ever become a socialist country,” he said in urging defeat of $4.5 trillion in spending plans pending in Congress.

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Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Depends on Occupational Safety and Health Act Emergency Regulation

woman with a hard hat and safety glasses on

President Joe Biden is using what one court opinion called “the most dramatic weapon in OSHA’s enforcement arsenal” to back up his COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers. 

But relying on this bureaucratic weapon could be a risky strategy in the face of litigation threats, since courts have struck down all or part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency regulations in four of the six legal challenges so far. 

Biden mentioned OSHA’s role Thursday in a speech promoting the need for Americans to get COVID-19 vaccinations during a trip to Elk Grove Village, Illinois, near Chicago. 

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Vaccine Mandate Enforcement Threatens to Create a Second Economic Crisis

President Joe Biden announced a vaccine mandate on Sept. 9, causing experts to debate the potential economic impact of the rule.

Biden directed the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a rule requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to require that employees get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

The new mandate would affect roughly 100 million Americans, specifically private employees, health care workers and federal contractors who have yet to receive a vaccine, the Daily Caller reported.

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Commentary: McAuliffe’s War on Parents

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe thought his run at a second non-consecutive term for Virginia’s executive mansion would be a cake-walk. It would no doubt set him up for a serious run for president in 2024 or 2028. And why not? Virginia Democrats have won 14 statewide races in a row dating back to 2012 by ever increasing margins. VA DEMS won a House of Delegates majority in 2019, just three years after Republicans commanded a super-majority. They also captured the state senate in 2019. 

Republicans nominated an unknown business executive with no political experience, Glenn Youngkin for governor after a very contentious caucus selection process. McAuliffe meanwhile eviscerated several up and coming African-American candidates in a blow-out primary win. 

With all the money he could ever spend in a blue state that now rivals California, what could go wrong? 

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U.S. Economy Added 194,000 Jobs in September, Badly Missing Expectations

Person using a laptop, pointing to the screen

The U.S. economy reported an increase of 194,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, according to Department of Labor statistics.

The number of unemployed people fell by 710,000 to 7.7  million, according to the Department of Labor statistics released Friday.   Economists projected that employers created 500,000f jobs in September, more than double the figure in August, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the spike in employment, the labor market remains thin due to the pandemic, and job growth earlier in the year was considerably stronger, according to the WSJ.

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