Commentary: Establishment Pundits Wildly Underestimate How Much COVID Policies Hurt Democrats

Voters appear poised to clobber the party that brought us COVID lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, and inflation. Indeed, rising inflation has largely resulted from COVID-related disincentives to work, disrupted supply chains, and blowout spending, along with federal restrictions on oil and gas production. It’s perhaps surprising, therefore, that the Cook Political Report foresees Republican gains in the House of Representatives as being only “in the 15-25 seat range,” while its projections suggest that Democrats have at least a coin flip’s chance of holding the Senate.

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Commentary: The White House’s Swift Surrender on Federal Mask Order Underscores the Tricky Politics of Mask Mandates

The Biden administration announced Monday it will no longer enforce a federal mask mandate on public transportation, including airplanes. The decision was announced after Federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the directive was unlawful, noting that the CDC had not sought public comment prior to its order—issued 14 months ago—and did not adequately explain its reasoning.

Following the court’s decision, four major airlines immediately announced they would drop mask requirements on all domestic flights.

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Texas Mask Mandate Repeal Case Attorney Welcomes Florida Judge’s Ruling

Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed Robert Henneke, the executive director and general counsel of The Texas Public Policy Foundation, about Florida federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s Oct. 18, 2022 ruling that overturned the Centers for Disease Control’s mask mandate for air travelers and public transportation passengers.

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Texas Mask Mandate Repeal Case Attorney Welcomes Florida Judge’s Ruling

Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed Robert Henneke, the executive director and general counsel of The Texas Public Policy Foundation, about Florida federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s Oct. 18, 2022 ruling that overturned the Centers for Disease Control’s mask mandate for air travelers and public transportation passengers.

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CDC Set to Announce Easing of Mask Guidelines

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is allegedly set to announce an easing of mask restrictions on the national level.

Fox News reports that the updated guidelines will focus less on the overall number of cases, and will instead emphasize a community’s general risk of spreading the coronavirus. As such, current guidelines apply to individuals who live in communities with allegedly “substantial or high transmission.” The CDC claims, without evidence, that 95 percent of all counties in the United States qualify as “high transmission.”

The new guidelines will apparently not apply to most Americans, as the new criteria will factor in hospitalizations with the overall capacity of local medical facilities. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said that the new guidelines will focus more on “enhanced prevention efforts.”

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Biden Quietly Extends National COVID Emergency Indefinitely

In a letter to the House Speaker and Senate President Friday, President Joe Biden extended the national COVID-19 emergency pandemic indefinitely.

“There remains a need to continue this national emergency,” Biden wrote.

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Commentary: Shutting Down Parents Does Not Help Public Education

As school districts start dropping the mask mandates, removing pornographic books from their libraries, and explicitly prohibiting critical race theory, it’s clear that the parent protests are working. School boards, even in progressive bastions like San Francisco, are currently being cleaned out and replaced by more pro-parent members. Moreover, politicians like the governor of Oklahoma are openly instituting a school choice model that would allow for different schooling models and have education dollars follow the student, not automatically go to the school.

Naturally, these developments invite more pushback (sometimes literally so) from those who believe they’re supporting public education. It was fine in the past to let various kooky parents carry on about the evils of teaching Harry Potter or sex ed; school boards and district leaders could simply yawn and carry on as before. However, now that it actually threatens their authority and influence, they can no longer ignore parents’ concerns..  

In general, opponents of protesting parents make the same points over and over. They deny that public schools have problems, play semantic games with critical race theory (“it’s just an abstract legal theory taught in law school,” etc.), and accuse angry parents of being misguided racists. In their view, parents who demand a more wholesome and academic experience for their children are actually demanding an exclusively white and privileged experience. And for good measure, they will add an anecdote about a heroic public school teacher changing lives, proving beyond any doubt that public schools are still doing noble work and are essential for a healthy, diverse society.  

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Commentary: Democrats Want to Destroy Your Children

No, this is not another Qanon or Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It’s a sober recitation of the facts and incidents that can support no other conclusion.

Let’s start with one important stage-setting fact: According to OpenSecrets.org two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high.

Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where the Open Secrets’ data begins. Go here for a detailed breakdown of teachers union political giving.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: COVID-19 Totalitarianism on the March

sign that says "NO FORCED VACCINE"

It is hard to know which is more frightening: the Australian radicalism about COVID-19, the Austrian effort to coerce its citizens, or the attitudes of American Democrats who regard extreme sanctions as reasonable behavior toward the supposedly bad people who don’t get vaccinated or wear masks.

Let’s consider each one.

In Australia, the government felt so threatened by the best tennis player in the world that it intervened decisively to block him from entering the country and competing in the Australian Open.

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Former Planned Parenthood President Says School Closures Harm Children

Dr. Leana Wen

A former Planned Parenthood president and public health professional argued in a Thursday op-ed for The Washington Post that the rise in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant is not a reason to keep schools closed.

Dr. Leana Wen argued “both sides [of the school reopening debate] are wrong,” in her op-ed. “let’s agree that schools are essential and then work to reduce risk to get students back to in-person learning,” Wen wrote.

Wen called it “astounding” that governors in states like Texas, Georgia and Iowa are fighting against school mask mandates and that Florida’s surgeon general is discouraging testing in schools, attributing ” “low vaccine uptake among children” to “rampant right-wing disinformation.”

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Two Airline CEOs Challenge Mask Mandates on Planes

Mask mandates do little, if anything, to make the air safer inside airplanes, two major airline CEOs argued before Congress Wednesday.

“I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,” Gary Kelly, chief executive of Southwest Airlines, told lawmakers. Being inside a plane “is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting,” Kelly said. The air filters on planes turn over clean air every three minutes, eliminating nearly all airborne pathogens, he explained.

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Missouri Paper Stands by Reporting After Sparring With Governor Over COVID Mask Mandates

Man on escalator with mask on

A Missouri newspaper is standing by its recent reporting on COVID-19 mask mandates after it drew criticism from Gov. Mike Parson (R).

“Our story — which included all documents and data supporting it — speaks for itself. We stand behind our reporting,” Editor-in-Chief of The Missouri Independent Jason Hancock told The Star News Network. 

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Rep. Eric Swalwell Calls Parent Protestors ‘Looney Carnival Barkers’

Eric Swalwell

A California congressman is facing backlash for a series of tweets slamming unvaccinated Americans and parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.

“I’m losing my Covid patience [thread]. I’ve tried to reason with the unvaxxed. I’ve directed some to medical pros. I don’t judge but hear them out and steer them to facts. The unvaxxed love to say it’s about choice. But you know who doesn’t have a choice? My 3 kids under 5,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15)  said on Twitter. 

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Commentary: A.G. Garland’s Use of Police Power Against Parents Could Be His Undoing

Destruction of the family has always been at the center of the collectivist project. In chapter two of The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels point out that the destruction of private property will never be complete until the “abolition [Aufhebung] of the family” is accomplished. The dream is perennial among snarling misanthropists. A couple of years ago, an interview in The Nation with a radical feminist explained that if you “want to dismantle capitalism” then you have to “abolish the family.”

It is worth keeping that in mind as the little drama of Merrick Garland versus the parents of America unfolds. I wrote about the attorney general’s absurd but troubling memorandum shortly after it was released on October 4. As all the world knows (but only some precincts of the world admit), Garland threatened to mobilize the entire police power of the state against parents. Why?

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School Sees COVID Cases Decline after Court Said It Can’t Require Masks

Group of young students working in classroom

After a judge told a school district it couldn’t require masks for students without a quarantine order, the district reported fewer COVID-19 cases, but it has faced other consequences.

It comes as a member of the Illinois Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules said there is further evidence the Illinois State Board of Education can’t revoke a public or private school’s recognition status for failing to follow the governor’s mask mandate.

Attorney Thomas DeVore said since securing a temporary restraining order enjoining the Hillsboro school district from mandating masks on children on Sept. 17, cases have gone down.

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Tea Party Patriots to Hold Nationwide Protests Against Medical Mandates

Tea Party Patriots Action (TPPA) announced on Tuesday that they will hold nationwide protests against Democrat-led mandates for COVID-19 vaccines and masks.

The movement, entitled “Just Say No,” describes mandates as a power move, rather than for public health, and encourages individuals to not comply.

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Commentary: Schools with Mask Mandates Didn’t See Statistically Significant Different Rates of COVID Transmission from Schools with Optional Policies

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

The ACLU on Tuesday announced it is bringing a lawsuit against South Carolina over its mask policy.

The Palmetto State is one of seven states—along with Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah, and Florida— that have policies in place banning schools from having mask policies. Thirteen states, meanwhile, have laws that mandate masks in schools. The majority of states (30) allow school districts to determine their own mask policies.

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Showdown Coming at University of Wisconsin Over Coronavirus Rules

Republican lawmakers are talking about suing the University of Wisconsin over mask mandates and test requirements for those who haven’t received a coronavirus vaccine.

State Senator Steve Nass (R-WI) said he will ask permission to begin legal proceedings if the UW System doesn’t change its mind about coronavirus restrictions by next week.

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Commentary: Biden Seeks to Override States Prohibiting School Mask Mandates, Citing Civil Rights Act

The back-to-school mask wars have been heating up for weeks, but the Biden administration just took them to a whole new level. On Wednesday, the president ordered the US Department of Education to use all available measures to prohibit states from banning school mask mandates.

In his remarks, Biden decried the contentious school board meetings that have occurred in districts across the country as parents argue for and against school mask mandates. He indicated that the “intimidation and the threats we’re seeing across the country,” from concerned citizens who oppose mask mandates “are wrong. They’re unacceptable.”

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States Banning Mask Mandates Could Face Civil Rights Probes, on Biden’s Directive

President Biden is ratcheting up opposition to Republican governors blocking COVID mask mandates in schools, putting in charge the Education Department, which is raising the possibility of using its civil rights arm to oppose such policies.

Biden on Wednesday ordered Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to “assess all available tools” that can be used against states that fail to protect students amid surging coronavirus cases.

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Biden’s Education Secretary Voices Support for Schools That Force Mask Mandates

Miguel Cardona

Joe Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, admitted to having spoken directly with faculty members from school districts that are defying the law and forcing mask mandates on their students, even if their states have banned such mandates, ABC News reports.

Cardona said that some such schools fear repercussions from the state governments if they continue defying the bans, including in Texas and Florida. “I have had the conversations with superintendents,” Cardona said in an interview on Tuesday. “And they have asked, if this goes in that direction, how do we get support? My message is, open the schools safely; we got your back.”

Cardona had previously sent a letter to several school districts in Florida promising that the federal government would fund the schools directly in the event that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) follows through on his promise to suspend the salaries of all superintendents who force such mandates onto their students in defiance of state law.

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Commentary: Leave Our Kids Alone

In Alan Parker’s 1982 film, “Pink Floyd—The Wall,” a young boy’s reality turns into a nightmare. It’s post-war England, and the boy—now in his teens and fatherless—sits in a classroom tuning out his bland math lesson and composing poems instead. The teacher—a pedagogical sadist—mocks the boy, and then proceeds to mete out some good, old-fashioned corporal punishment. The boy winces, and overwhelmed with anxiety begins to see his world as an unbearable nightmare of human oppression.

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Commentary: The Great Parent Revolt

As overreach in classrooms by progressive school administrators, nonprofits and the federal government has reached new heights, parents are stepping up to fight back.

Moms for Liberty, Informed Parents of California, EdFirstNC, NJ Parental Rights, No Left Turn in Education and Parents Against Critical Theory are just a few of the hundreds of new parent groups that have emerged across the country in recent months. Many parents have become education activists because of schools’ failure to bring children back into the classroom or their continued imposition of mask mandates.

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Commentary: Unions Enforce Masks for the Public But Don’t Require Member Vaccinations

Flight attendants’ and teachers’ unions whose members are on the front lines of disputed Covid safety protocols are ardent enforcers of mask mandates for the public but do not require their members to get vaccinated. Such inoculation is widely acknowledged as the most effective step in stopping the spread of the new Delta variant, while masking is viewed as of secondary importance, and many are highly skeptical of its effectiveness and critical of its inconvenience.

As the Association of Flight Attendants continues to urge federal authorities to allow flight attendants to police passengers for masking – a policy that has led to fisticuffs on some flights – the union has struck an agreement with at least one airline, United, to allow unvaccinated members to fly. American Airlines and Southwest Air say they also do not require their flight attendants or other employees to vaccinate. Flight attendants for both airlines are unionized.

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Commentary: Nope, I Won’t Mask up Again

Last March, I followed the CDC’s advice and got fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I did so more out of a sense of civic duty than any actual fear that I might contract the virus. It was just an easy and scientifically sound way to help slow its spread. Naturally, I was delighted when the CDC finally announced that fully vaccinated people could safely participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing inconvenient and clinically useless face masks. Now, the CDC has reversed itself and issued new guidance telling 163.6 million fully vaccinated Americans to put our masks back on. Sorry, no sale.

First, the CDC published no data supporting its bizarre reversal. The Washington Post reports: “In the text of the updated masking guidance, the agency merely cited ‘CDC COVID-19 Response Team, unpublished data, 2021.’” Moreover, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is struggling to produce a plausible explanation. She claimed without evidence on ABC News that “new science” has emerged showing that fully vaccinated people should be masking.

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Commentary: Homeschooling Is an Option for Parents Who Don’t Like Back-to-School Mask Mandates

School districts across the country are beginning to impose mask mandates for all students and staff this fall. Officials in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC declared last week that everyone in school buildings will be required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

These school districts are going beyond current CDC guidelines, which recommend masking for unvaccinated students and staff only. Instead, they seem to be embracing the masking stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics which announced last week that all students over age two, as well as staff, should wear masks at school even if they are vaccinated.

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Commentary: Attend a School Board Meeting

If you want to know, up close and personal, the banality of evil, attend a school board meeting. With critical race theory and forced vaccination and masking all the rage, I did just that last night.

This board meeting wasn’t my first. When I was a kid, my dad ran for school board and won after a terrible teacher (a feel-good hippie) allowed one of my classmates to steal my work all year and put his name on it. Said teacher taught us second-graders macramé and little else. My family had moved from a high-performing school district to this less-than-stellar place. For about three years, I learned nothing new. My parents were incensed. So my dad ran for board treasurer, got elected, and promptly pissed everyone off.

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Catholic School in Michigan Argues Mask Mandates Hide ‘God’s Image,’ Violate Religious Liberty

Resurrection School Mask Lawsuit

A court of appeals in Michigan will hear a case from a Catholic school arguing mask mandates violate religious liberty because they cover “God’s image and likeness.”

“Unfortunately, a mask shields our humanity and because God created us in His image, we are masking that image,” the institution – the Resurrection School, in Lansing – told The Washington Post.

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Whitmer Orders Two-Year-Olds to Wear Masks

As COVID-19 cases surge in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expanding her mask mandate order to include toddlers.

“The mask requirement previously exempted children younger than the age of 5. Expanding the mask rule to children ages 2 to 4 also requires ‘a good faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps,'” according to The Detroit News.

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Restricted Michigan Has More COVID Hospitalizations than Open Texas

Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, including social distancing, limited capacity inside businesses, and mask mandates, Michigan has more COVID-19 hospitalizations than Texas, which dropped all of its COVID-19 restrictions about one month ago.

Associated Press reporter David Eggert attended a ceremony at Ford Field on Tuesday where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was vaccinated. He reported that the state has 3100 hospitalizations for COVID-19, an increase from 2600 last Friday. 

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Commentary: It’s Time to Reopen America Now

On Tuesday, governors Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) announced they would be lifting their statewide mask-wearing mandates, business capacity limitations, and various other COVID-19-related restrictions. “COVID still exists,” Abbott said, “but it is clear from the recoveries, from the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations, and from the safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”

Texans and Mississippians might be forgiven for wondering why their governors did not earlier follow the courageous path of Governor Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who has garnered national headlines for her stubborn refusal to enact various mask-wearing mandates and other lockdown orders. But still: Better late than never.

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