Commentary: The Rule of Law Hostage to ‘Enemy Action’

I have always admired the admonitory wisdom that Auric Goldfinger imparted to James Bond early in Ian Fleming’s novel named for the gold-loving villain: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

I have thought often of that sage advisory in recent months as so many once-trustworthy institutions of American life seem to have been weaponized against the people they were meant to serve.

This is, alas, a huge topic, and today I will only scratch the surface.

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Greg Abbott: Biden ‘Knowingly Importing COVID-19 at Extreme Rates’ via Infected Illegals

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Alegal battle and war of words between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the federal government over COVID-positive migrants being released into Texas communities escalated over the weekend.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued the state of Texas Friday over an executive order Abbott issued restricting the transport of infected immigrants who entered the country illegally being released into the general population.

“The Biden Administration is knowingly admitting hundreds of thousands of unauthorized migrants, many of whom the federal government knows full well have COVID-19,” Abbott said in response to the lawsuit.

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Andrew Cuomo to Face No Criminal Charges from State Attorney General Despite Findings of Unlawful Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Andrew Cuomo

New York Attorney General Letitia James said there will be no criminal consequences for Gov. Andrew Cuomo despite her findings that he engaged in “unlawful” sexual harassment and retaliation against multiple women.

“Our work is concluded and the document is now public,” James said during a press conference Tuesday. “And the matter is civil in nature and does not have any criminal consequences.”

“We were tasked with the responsibility of engaging in an investigation. And we have concluded our investigation. And our work is done,” she added. “And so as it relates to next steps, that’s entirely up to the governor and or the assembly and the general public. But the work of the office of the Attorney General and these special deputies has concluded.”

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Associated Press and Reuters Team Up with Twitter to Patrol Political Dissent as ‘Misinformation’

Person on phone with Twitter open

Two of the largest news publications in the country, the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, have teamed up with one of the leading tech giants, Twitter, in a new partnership to crack down on “misinformation” and “elevate credible information,” the Daily Caller reports.

Twitter confirmed the new alliance in a blog post, saying that the two publications would be responsible for identifying “misleading” information, and to help Twitter expand its efforts to mediate trending stories, “especially where facts are in dispute.” The websites will also help Twitter staff whenever they lack “sufficient expertise or access to a high enough volume of reputable reporting.”

“This program is just part of our ongoing efforts to help people understand the conversation happening on our service,” the Twitter blog post continued. “People experience a range of public conversations on Twitter every day, and we’re committed to continuing our work to elevate credible information and context.”

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Commentary: Pennsylvania Is a Microcosm of America’s Housing Crisis

A modern home with a light blue roof and matching siding

In recent years, an acute housing crisis has engulfed both America’s coastal metros and Rust Belt regions. California’s Bay Area, for example, confronts a crisis of affordability and limited supply that hastens a population exodus. Midwest cities like Detroit face low real-estate prices and low demand, intensifying urban decline.

Pennsylvania is a microcosm of such alarming housing trends, especially east of the Susquehanna River, which is seeing an influx of metro New Yorkers relocating to the area.

From the Keystone State’s middle-class suburbs to its post-industrial locales, the housing crisis is a major challenge. In the midstate, most notably in Harrisburg and Lancaster, housing has become significantly more expensive. In the northeast’s anthracite coal region, anchored by Scranton, rents are spiking. And in suburban Philadelphia’s Lansdale, a townhouse went for nearly $500,000.

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Commentary: Politically Correct Ideology Is Masking and Contributing to the Widespread Failure of Our Institutions

close up of green masks on a table

We know the nature of mass hysterias in history, and how they can overwhelm and paralyze what seem to be stable societies.  

We know the roots and origins of the cult of wokeness.  

And we know, too, how such insanity—from the Salem witch trials to Jacobinism to McCarthyism—can spread, despite alienating most of the population, through fear and the threat of personal ruin or worse. These are the dark sides of the tulip, hula-hoop, and pet-rock fads, the mass obsessions so suited to past affluent Western societies.  

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Gov. Whitmer Signs Driver’s License Extensions for Michiganders into Law

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three bills dealing with the consequences of a 15-months backlog at the Secretary of State’s office extending the validation of state driver’s licenses and ID cards.

“The pandemic was tough on all of us, and these bills put Michigan drivers first by giving Michiganders the flexibility they need to renew their drivers license and IDs,” Whitmer said in a statement. “It is crucial that we continue to offer services at our Secretary of State that fit the needs of all residents as we move forward.”

The three bills add 120 days of validity for the documents expired between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

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Biden to Push for Amnesty in Reconciliation Package

Joe Biden and his administration sitting in the Oval Office at the White House

In a meeting at the White House with Democratic lawmakers, Joe Biden reaffirmed his support for the radical notion of including mass amnesty for illegal aliens in the proposed reconciliation bill, according to CNN.

Biden met with 11 lawmakers – five senators and six members of the House – on Thursday to discuss a possible amnesty deal following the latest blow to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA was an executive order signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2012 to provide blanket amnesty to illegal aliens who came into the country as minors.

Judge Andrew Hanen, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, ruled earlier this month that as the law had been implemented via executive order only after its legislative counterpart, the DREAM Act, failed to pass through Congress, the law was unconstitutional. The order blocks any future illegals from applying for the amnesty, but does not affect current or past applicants.

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House of Representatives Passes Bill to Allow Illegal Aliens to Work as Staffers

Tim Ryan

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing illegal aliens to work as House staffers, while also increasing the budget for staffing by 21 percent, as reported by the Washington Examiner.

The bill, H.R. 4346, was introduced by Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is currently running for the United States Senate in Ohio, and was supported by the most far-left members of Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The bill spends a total of $4.8 billion on a wide range of Congressional expenses, including staffing increases and more Capitol Police funding.

The bill passed on a nearly party-line vote of 215 to 207. Every Democrat voted in favor, along with a single Republican: Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska). Every other Republican in the House voted against it. The bill has yet to pass the Senate.

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Texas Border City Sues Biden Administration over Illegal Immigration

The Texas border city of Laredo has sued the Biden administration, hoping to halt its policy of transferring several hundred people a day into the city who have illegally entered the U.S. through two Texas Border Patrol sectors: Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio.

Assistant City Attorney Alyssa Castillon sued the Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, Customs and Border Protection and its senior official, Troy Miller, and Border Patrol chief Rodney S. Scott. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Border Patrol intends to double the number of people it brings from the Rio Grande Valley sector, which has seen the largest surge of illegal border crossings in the past few months. Laredo officials estimate that every day, between three and six buses of detained refugees, immigrants and migrants (RIMs) are already being transported to Laredo from the Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio sectors, totaling between 250 and 350 people a day.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Signs Driver’s License Extensions into Law

People in chairs at the DMV

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three bills dealing with the consequences of a 15-months backlog at the Secretary of State’s office extending the validation of state driver’s licenses and ID cards.

“The pandemic was tough on all of us, and these bills put Michigan drivers first by giving Michiganders the flexibility they need to renew their drivers license and IDs,” Whitmer said in a statement. “It is crucial that we continue to offer services at our Secretary of State that fit the needs of all residents as we move forward.”

The three bills add 120 days of validity for the documents expired between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

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Former Michigan Senator Carl Levin Dead at 87

Sen. Carl Levin

Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat who served 36 years and rose to chair the Senate Armed Services Committee, died Thursday at the age of 87.

The Levin Center at Wayne State University in Detroit announced his death Thursday night, describing him as “a dearly beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, and life-long public servant.”

His six Senate terms are the most that any Michigan senator has served.

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Commentary: Biden’s Approval Rating Is Dropping Fast

Joe Biden

In recent days, conservative media outfits have gleefully presented one of the least surprising headlines of modern times. Namely, that Joe Biden’s presidential approval rating has sunk below the waves.

In the latest Rasmussen poll, Biden is now at a 47 percent approval rating, with 52 percent disapproval. Worse, his Strong Approval number is only 27 percent, compared to a Strong Disapproval of 42. That gives him a minus-15 in Rasmussen’s approval index numbers.

Thursday’s numbers were one point better than Wednesday’s, which is likely statistical noise. The trend, however, is not Biden’s friend.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: The Pelosi Dictatorship and the Destruction of American Freedom

As a 20-year member of Congress and four-year Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, let me speak bluntly and directly.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the greatest threat to constitutional liberty in our lifetime. 

With the passive support of an apparently cowardly caucus, she is behaving as a dictator more like Fidel Castro, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, or Nicolás Maduro.

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Biden Requiring Federal Government Workers to Show Proof of Vaccination

COVID-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine vial and NHS record card

President Joe Biden on Thursday said his administration will require all federal employees and contractors to show proof of vaccination, a move met with swift opposition from Texas elected officials.

Federal workers or contractors who can’t show a proof of vaccination will be required to wear masks, practice physical distancing, and be subject to twice-weekly COVID-19 tests under the new rules.

Biden encouraged the private sector and professional sports leagues to follow suit in an address on Thursday.

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Health Officials Less Confident in COVID Vaccine Efficacy with Rise of Delta Variant

Woman in blue hair net and mask

Public health confidence in the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine appears to be waning as officials warn of enhanced danger — even for vaccinated individuals — from the “Delta variant” of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

For most of the past year officials have claimed that vaccinations are the only viable path back to normalcy and away from lockdowns and other aggressive mitigation measures. “Look at the folks in your community who have gotten vaccinated and are getting back to living their lives — their full lives,” President Joe Biden said at a May press conference, arguing that the vaccine was “going to help them and their loved ones be safe, get our businesses open again, and get us back to normal.”

The rollout of the vaccines starting last year and continuing throughout the spring and summer of this year has been hailed as the driving force behind the reopening of the economy and the ending of masking mandates and similar restrictions.

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In Suppression of First Amendment, Biden Forbids Immigration Judges from Using the Term ‘Alien’

The Biden Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an order last week demanding that immigration judges no longer use the term “alien” when referring to illegal aliens in court or in their written opinions, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The order, first issued on July 23rd, came from a DOJ official named Jean King. King’s order applies to all 539 immigration judges in the country, and orders them to instead use more politically correct terms, such as “respondent, applicant, petitioner, beneficiary, migrant, noncitizen, or non-U.S. citizen.” “Alien” has been the correct terminology for anyone who enters the United States illegally ever since the Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines an alien as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”

In the order, King admitted that the DOJ decision was influenced in part by the mainstream media, citing the fact that the Associated Press first decided back in 2013 to drop the use of the term “illegal immigrant,” which led to a left-wing trend to replace the word “illegal” with “undocumented.” Since taking office in January, Biden has taken steps to remove the use of the phrases “alien” and “illegal immigrant” through several executive orders. Some radical Democrats, including Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), have advocated for passing a law to ban the use of such phrases. And in New York City, a recent law was passed to make it a crime to use the phrases “illegal” and “illegal alien.”

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Michigan’s $348.7 Million Pandemic Relief Bill, with Funds for Child Care, Hospitals, Signed into Law

Jim Stamas

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed Senate Bill 27 to appropriate $384.7 million in supplemental pandemic relief funding.

Signed by the governor on Monday afternoon, the bill also provides $10 million of financial support for Southeast Michigan families and businesses that endured massive flooding in June.

SB 27 was introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, in January. The bill combines $367.7 million of federal COVID relief funding authorized through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and $17 million from the state’s general fund.

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Critics Denounce New CDC Guidance Urging Mask Usage, Vaccine or Not

Guy wearing a mask

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday, reversing its previous COVID-19 guidance by urging Americans to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. Critics quickly denounced the reversal, saying it undermines vaccine confidence.

The CDC said all students and teachers should wear masks, even if they are vaccinated, and that all Americans, including those with the vaccine, should wear masks in public places where the virus has a significant presence. The agency cited the delta variant of COVID, which is more transmissible.

The CDC had previously announced in May that vaccinated individuals did not have to wear masks. The White House fended off questions from reporters at the White House press briefing on the reasoning behind that reversal.

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Bezos Offers to Waive $2 Billion in Fees to Secure Lunar Landing Contract

Jeff Bezos

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offered to waive $2 billion in payments to secure his spaceflight company Blue Origin a NASA contract.

Bezos asked NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in an open letter Monday to award Blue Origin a contract to construct a Human Landing System (HLS), a lunar-landing vehicle, as part of the Artemis program, offering to waive up to $2 billion in fees. Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX had been awarded the $2.9 billion contract in April, beating out Blue Origin’s bid, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Artemis program is intended to return human astronauts to the Moon, with a manned mission to Mars planned as well. Though the program was initially planned as a joint contract, it was awarded solely to SpaceX due to budgetary constraints which Bezos’ offer sought to alleviate, according to the letter.

“Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2 billion to get the program back on track right now,” Bezos wrote in the letter.

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Commentary: Fifty Years of Deep State Propaganda

Richard Nixon

As the 50th anniversary of the 1972 election approaches, it is time to reconsider the Watergate controversy that preceded and ultimately partially undid it. I’ve just completed a review for the New Criterion of Michael Dobbs’ new book about Watergate, King Richard. The book repeats endlessly, without any attempt at substantiation, that the Nixon presidency came apart and was righteously legally assaulted because of the infamous “cover-up” consisting mainly in the “hush money” Nixon authorized to be paid to Watergate defendants in order to “keep them quiet.” Once again, and as always, not one whit of evidence was presented in support of the argument that Nixon authorized these payments for any such purpose. It has passed into the universal history of the modern world that he did, but he always denied it. So did some of the defendants, and an exhaustive examination of the very extensive tapes and documents permits a different interpretation.

To the end of his life, Nixon claimed that he authorized the payments in order to assist the defendants in paying their legal bills and taking care of their families. This was particularly urgent in the case of Howard Hunt, whose wife died in an airplane crash shortly after the Watergate affair began. Nixon foresaw the zeal of hostile prosecutors and he knew that any jury in the District of Columbia would be hostile to Republicans. Moreover, as an experienced lawyer, he certainly knew that any large payments to groups of defendants obviously in exchange for silence or false testimony would be an open-and-shut case of obstruction of justice, and would qualify as a high crime justifying his impeachment, removal as president, and subsequent criminal prosecution. Yet this allegation is the core both of the impeachment charge against Nixon in 1974 and of the popularly accepted and endlessly repeated Watergate saga.

It is certainly time that Richard Nixon received balanced historical treatment. He must, of course, take principal responsibility for the disgrace and embarrassment of Watergate; he permitted, and at times encouraged, a tawdry atmosphere within the White House in which legalities were often treated a bit casually and Nixon rather self-servingly applied the Truman-Eisenhower latitudinarian version of national interest and the president’s practically unlimited right to define it. These were terrible tactical errors and no one can deny that Nixon paid heavily for them. But against that, and despite the fact that he was the first president since Zachary Taylor in 1848 to take office with neither house of Congress in the hands of his own party, Nixon enjoyed one of the most successful single terms in the history of the U.S. presidency.

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Biden’s Department of Justice Drops Charges Against Chinese Soldiers Who Lied to Acquire Jobs at American Universities

Department of Justice building, street view

The Biden Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week that it was dropping charges against five members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who had lied about their histories to obtain jobs at American universities, Breitbart reports.

The five soldiers were seeking visas in order to apply for jobs and doctoral positions at several universities in the states of California and Indiana. They had all been arrested in the summer of last year as part of a wider crackdown on Chinese infiltrations into American upper education. All five of them sought either J-1 or F-1 visas in order to apply to positions at the University of California, San Francisco, the University of California, Davis, Stanford University, Indiana University, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

However, officials revealed the stunning decision to drop the charges in statements to the Wall Street Journal last week, claiming that since “the defendants had all been detained or under other restrictions in the U.S. since their arrest a year ago,” the agency had determined “that further litigation in the group of cases would unnecessarily prolong their departure from the U.S., and that their situations since their arrests amounted to sufficient punishment and deterrence.”

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Judicial Watch Continues Lawsuit as Chicago Mayor Says She Would ‘Absolutely’ Deny Interviews with White Reporters Again

Lori Lightfoot

Judicial Watch announced Tuesday that it has amended its lawsuit against Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who claims to be “unapologetic” about her previous policy to only grant interviews to journalists of color.

Lightfoot told the New York Times in a podcast released Monday that she “would absolutely” implement the interview policy again. “I’m unapologetic about it because it spurred a very important conversation, a conversation that needed to happen, that should have happened a long time ago,” Lightfoot said.

Judicial Watch, which sued Lightfoot on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation and its reporter Thomas Catenacci, said the mayor’s office has ignored calls to sign an agreement to not use race-based criteria for interview requests for the remainder of her term.

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Big Tech’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force Adds Far-Right Militias to List of Extremist Groups It Tracks

A member of the "Proud Boys" waves a flag at a "Stop The Steal" rally outside the Minnesota Governor's mansion on November 14th, 2020.

The tech industry’s anti-terrorism alliance announced Monday it would begin tracking content from far-right organization in a shared counter-terrorism database used by major tech companies.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), a non-profit organization founded by Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, will add manifestos, posts and links from far-right militias flagged by U.N. anti-terrorist group Tech Against Terrorism to a shared database, GIFCT told Reuters. The organization will also share content flagged by Five Eyes, a global partnership between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and other countries, Reuters reported.

The database, established in 2017 and shared exclusively by the tech giants, aggregates hashes, or digital signatures, of images, videos and URLs, allowing tech companies to easily remove logged content, according to the GIFCT website. The database was previously focused on content primarily from Islamic terror organizations, according to Reuters.

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Former U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi Dies Following Bicycling Accident in Wyoming

Former U.S. Senator Mike Enzi

Former U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) passed away on Tuesday following complications from a bicycling accident in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Republican, who served 24 years in the Senate before retiring last year, was 77.

“His family expresses their deep appreciation for all of the prayers, support and concern. They now ask for privacy and continued prayers during this difficult time,” a tweet from the former senator’s account said.

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Conservative Sorority Student Banned over TikTok Video Says Louisiana State University Ignored Her Bias Complaint

Emily Hines of Louisiana State University

After her sorority at Louisiana State University kicked her out, Emily Hines says the school ignored her request for the incident to be investigated for possible bias.

Alpha Phi, a Greek Life organization independent of LSU, revoked Hines’ membership in April over her TikTok video that criticized Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine for her transgender identity. The seven-second video featured the Bee Gees’ song “More Than a Woman.”

Despite being told that the organization does not side with political views,” Hines told The College Fix she believes the decision was politically motivated.

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Budget Watchdogs Project Democrats Infrastructure Plans to Cost up to $5.5 Trillion – $2 Trillion More Than Advertised

President Joe Biden

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that President Biden’s infrastructure proposals will cost up to $2 trillion more than Democrats are projecting.

The White House and Democratic congressional leaders are preparing a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that includes policies in Biden’s Build Back Better agenda such as universal pre-K, tuition-free community college and financial support for childcare. Democrats have referred to the reconciliation bill has a “human infrastructure” budget bill. It could also include the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have said they won’t pass a separate, bipartisan $1.2 trillion physical infrastructure framework until a filibuster-proof reconciliation spending bill gets passed.

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Commentary: White Privilege and the Layers of False Ideology that Support Its Concept

Group of kids playing with a rainbow parachute cloth in a field

White privilege is a myth. A relic of a time that no longer exists and that none of us living and raising kids today have ever really experienced. There was once a time when legal and cultural advantages were offered to whites, but those days are gone and pretending otherwise is causing great damage to children and our society.

White Privilege Talk Harms Children Psychologically

White privilege is a concept which hurts both white and non-white children, albeit in different ways. For white children, you steal from them the ability to feel pride in who they are, their ancestors, and in their cultural inheritance. Certainly every nation and people can find stains in its history. The past was a violent and merciless place in which all sides are implicated.

White privilege requires that children of European descent are never allowed to feel deserving of what they, their parents, or their ancestors have achieved. They are never allowed to believe that they have rightfully earned anything. Consequently, they are pressured to actively give up what is theirs in penitence. This is obviously damaging and abusive for a child to endure.

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California Certifies 46 Candidates for Recall Ballot as New Poll Shows Newsom’s Support Shrinking

The California Secretary of State’s Office has certified 46 candidates running for governor against Gov. Gavin Newsom during September’s recall election. The list includes five more candidates from the preliminary list released on Saturday, including conservative radio commentator and Republican candidate Larry Elder, who had been left off the list and successfully sued to be added back on.

“Victory!” Elder tweeted after the court ordered he be added to the list. “My next one will be on Sept. 14 at the ballot box.”

The recall election is scheduled for Sept. 14.

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Commentary: Biden Gaffe Renews Questions About COVID Transparency

Joe Biden smiling at crowd

President Biden so desperately wants the vaccine-hesitant part of the country to get their shots that he may have spread a little misinformation. “You are not going to get COVID,” he promised during a CNN town-event Wednesday night, “if you have these vaccines.”

Of course, this is not true. Biden knows it. He said as much later during the forum, explaining that, while vaccinated individuals enjoy significant protections, they can still test positive for the virus. But even if that happens, the president pointed out, the vaccine largely mitigates the most serious dangers. “You are not going to be hospitalized,” he said, reciting the latest scientific consensus. “You are not going to be in the IC unit, and you are not going to die.”

The fact that fully vaccinated individuals can still contract the coronavirus is a medical reality. It has also led to more uncomfortable questions about transparency for the Biden administration.

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Feds Won’t Investigate Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Policy

Old woman sitting on brown bench

The U.S. Department of Justice won’t investigate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s nursing home policies.

The initial inquiry was opened under former President Donald Trump’s administration, which requested data from Michigan.

Now, 11 months later under Joe Biden’s administration, the probe won’t happen. Democrat Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel refused to investigate as well.

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Interim Chief: Austin Police Department in ‘Dire Crisis’ after Defunding

The city of Austin faces a crisis of rising violent crime after the City Council voted last year to drastically reduce the police department’s budget, interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon says.

Last summer, the Austin City Council voted to defund the police department by $150 million, which resulted in canceling multiple cadet classes and disbanding multiple units responsible for responding to DWIs, domestic violence calls, stalking, and criminal interdiction.

Instead, the council redistributed the money to other city programs and suggested that community organizers respond to 911 calls, instead of the police department.

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Michigan Secretary of State Says Backlog Should Clear by September

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the 15-month backlog for processing transactions through her office should be cleared by Labor Day or the end of September.

Outside a Mason branch office, Benson touted her efforts to slash down part of the backlog after all 131 branch officers were shuttered to walk-in service in response to COVID-19 by opening 350,000 additional appointments by optimizing appointment times, extending hours, and offering more services online.

From July 19 to Sept 30, all offices will stay open until 6 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and open at 8 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Previous office hours were 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

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Treasury Secretary Warns of ‘Rapid’ Inflation This Year

Janet Yellen

As more federal data show a major spike in inflation, another top federal official said the U.S. is in for more aggressive inflation for the rest of 2021.

Federal officials have been pressed to speak on rising inflation after \data released earlier this week showed that the all items index increased 5.4% over the last 12 months, the biggest spike since the 2008 financial crisis.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen commented on the rise in inflation, saying it would grow worse this year.

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Michigan Senate Approves Petition to Revoke Whitmer’s Pandemic Powers

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The GOP-led Michigan Senate approved the Unlock Michigan campaign on a 20-15 vote, likely ending the 1945 law employed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to exercise pandemic powers for the past 16 months.

Democrats and Republicans exchanged heated remarks over COVID-19 policy. 

“This petition will hamstring our leaders of both parties — from preventing or slowing the spread of a deadly disease. This is about our ability to react to other pandemics and disasters in the future,” Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, said pre-vote.

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Gov. Abbott: Democratic Legislators to Be Arrested upon Return to Texas

Photo caption from Twitter says " Conversation Dan Patrick @DanPatrick Smiling House Dems fly off to DC on a private jet with a case of Miller Lite, breaking House quorum, abandoning their constituents, while the Senate still works. It’s my hope that Senate Dems report tomorrow to do what they were elected to do."

More than 60 House Democrats who fled Austin Monday to prevent a vote on election reforms will be arrested when they return to Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

“Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas capital and we will be conducting business,” Abbott said.

The 67 Democratic lawmakers flew on chartered flights to Washington D.C. in protest of proposed legislation seeking to reduce the chances of fraud in future elections. The legislation is one of a number of measures being considered during a July special session called by Abbott.

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Commentary: The Democrats’ Topsy-Turvy Spin Machine

Joe Biden talking to staff members

The guessing game of how long the levitation of the Biden presidency can be taken seriously seems to be entering a new phase. The deluge of illegal entries into the United States at the southern border is now running at a rate of closer to 3 million than 2 million a year and yet we still see and hear the bobbling talking head of the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas assuring us, “The southern border is closed.” 

The media has provided almost no coverage of this calamitous invasion. A recent Trafalgar poll found that 56 percent of Americans don’t think Joe Biden is “fully executing the duties of his office,” yet the docile White House press corps continues to ask him about his ice cream and other such probing questions of national interest. Apart from a rising stock market and a quieter atmosphere, the record of the new administration is one of almost complete failure. 

The oceanic influx of unskilled labor at the southern border cannot fail to aggravate unemployment and depress the incomes for the vulnerable sectors of what, under President Trump, was a fully employed workforce. The administration has reduced domestic oil production and squandered the country’s status as an energy self-sufficient state. These are all familiar issues to those who follow public affairs, but the 95 percent Democratic-supporting media preserve the cocoon of a fairyland Biden presidency, whose bumbling chief flatters himself with comparisons to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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States Join Coalition to Stop California from Setting U.S. Automotive Standards

Ford dealership shop

A coalition of 16 states is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to not reinstate a waiver allowing California to implement its own carbon emissions standards that essentially regulate the automotive industry for the rest of the U.S.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a coalition led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, which also includes attorneys general from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia.

Under the Clean Air Act, the Trump administration created national standards for vehicle carbon emissions for model years 2021 through 2026. The policy revoked a waiver previously granted to California in order to treat all states as equal sovereigns subject to one federal rule, the attorneys general explain in their 12-page letter.

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Commentary: An Inside Look at Lockdown Orders from 2020

Person putting hands on glass, inside of home

Life in the United States and in many parts of the world was transformed in mid-March 2020. That was when the great experiment began. It was a test. How much power does government have to rule nearly the whole of life? To what extent can all the power of the state be mobilized to take away rights that people had previously supposed were protected by law? How many restrictions on freedom would people put up with without a revolt?

It was also a test of executive and bureaucratic power: can these dramatic decisions be made by just a handful of people, independent of all our slogans about representative democracy?

We are far from coming to terms with any of these questions. They are hardly being discussed. The one takeaway from the storm that swept through our country and the world in those days is that anything is possible. Unless something dramatic is done, like some firm limits on what governments can do, they will try again, under the pretext of public health or something else. 

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Board of State Canvassers Certifies Unlock Michigan Petition

Inside Michigan Supreme Court

After two orders from the Michigan Supreme Court, the State Board of Canvassers unanimously certified the Unlock Michigan petition aiming to revoke Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers.

The petition heads to the GOP-led Legislature where its expected to be quickly approved, spokeswoman of Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake, Abby Walls, said. 

“Seeing as opponents have finally run out of absurd challenges, we will take it up as soon as Secretary [Jocelyn] Benson sends.” 

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Michigan Supreme Court Nixes Secretary of State Benson’s Redistricting Extension Request

The Michigan Supreme Court denied a request from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to grant an extension for redrawing the state’s district map.

Benson and the ICRC filed a Petition for Relief with the Court in April, asking the Court to recognize the ICRC’s constitutionally imposed deadline as “unrealistic.” The petition argued the new timeline would ensure the Bureau of Elections had sufficient time to update the state’s voter registration database with the new district lines. Additionally, they argued, local clerks would be able to create and provide every voter with a correct ballot.

The extension was requested because of the six-month delay of 2020 U.S. Census data due to the coronavirus pandemic, which, it anticipated, would precipitate lawsuits. U.S. Census data is scheduled to become available Oct. 1. The ICRC was seeking to move its deadline from mid-September to Dec. 11, which would push back approval of final district maps to Jan. 25, 2022. The deadline for the filing of candidates for the November 2022 election is April 15.

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Federal Bill Would Ban Vaccine Database in Response to Biden’s ‘Door-to-Door’ Pledge

Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced a bill that would prohibit the federal government from creating and maintaining a federal database of every American who has received COVID-19 vaccines.

Cruz introduced the bill after White House officials announced a plan to use taxpayer dollars to pay individuals to go door-to-door in regions of the country where there are relatively low vaccination rates.

In response to statements made by President Joe Biden and White House press secretary Jen Psaki about the door-to-door outreach initiative, Cruz tweeted, “When the Biden admin calls for ‘targeted’ ‘door-to-door outreach’ to get people vaccinated, it comes across as a g-man saying: ‘We know you’re unvaccinated, let’s talk, comrade.’ My bill to ban federal vaccine passports prohibits the feds from maintaining a vaccine database.”

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State Supreme Court Again Orders ‘Unlock Michigan’ Petition Certified

Unlock Michigan sign

For the second time, the Michigan Supreme Court has ordered the State Board of Canvassers certify the Unlock Michigan petition that will likely revoke Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 1945 emergency powers.

On June 11, the top court ordered the State Board of Canvassers to certify the petition after the board deadlocked 2-2 on multiple motions. But Keep Michigan Safe (KMS) lawyer Mark Brewer filed a motion asking the top court to reconsider the order.

The top court answered, again ordering the petition to be certified.

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Republicans Push Back Against ‘Politicization’ of IRS

President Joe Biden has pushed for beefing up IRS audits of corporations to raise revenue for his new spending proposals, but Republicans are raising the alarm about the potential consequences of the plan.

Biden unveiled his “Made in America Tax Plan” earlier this year as a strategy to help fund his trillions of dollars in proposed new federal spending that includes several tax hikes. Despite this, a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House and Senate have agreed to a basic framework for Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, but one element has been the theme of the negotiations among Republicans: no new taxes.

The GOP pushback against raising taxes, though, puts more pressure on the Biden administration to find ways to fund his agenda. Aside from Biden’s controversial tax hike proposals, the president also has proposed adding $80 billion in funding to the IRS so it can increase audits of corporations.

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‘Creepy Porn Lawyer’ Michael Avenatti Cries as He’s Sentenced to Prison for 30 Months for Trying to Extort Nike

Disgraced former attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for trying to extort millions from the sportswear company Nike.

The former media gadfly and anti-Trump resistance hero reportedly cried in court as he made a statement thanking his family. According to Washington Post reporter Devlin Barrett, Avenatti admitted “I and I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships, my life, and there is no doubt that I deserve to pay, have paid, and will pay a further price for what I have done.”

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15 Governors Oppose Biden Plan to ‘Conserve’ 30 Percent of All US Land and Water by 2030

Scenery of the mountains and waterways in Asheville, North Carolina

Governors from 15 states are sounding the alarm over an executive order issued by President Joe Biden tasking his administration to “conserve” 30% of all land and water in the U.S. by 2030.

Known as the “30 x 30 plan,” the directive is part of a United Nations Agenda 2030 land and sustainable development goal, which directs nations to conserve land and water to combat climate change.

Biden refers to the policy as part of the United State’s acceptance of rejoining the Paris Agreement, a deal former President Donald Trump pulled out of.

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Michigan State Auditor to Review Nursing Home COVID-19 Deaths

State Auditor Doug Ringler says he will review how many Michiganders died from COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Ringler wrote the June letter to House Oversight Chair Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, over the concerns of inaccurately counted COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

“We will be working with various departments’ databases to address your concerns, which will impact the timing of our work,” Ringler wrote. 

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Newsom Recall Election Date Set for September 14

The recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been set for September 14.

Registered voters will receive a ballot in the mail whether they asked for one or not by mid-August.

“Gavin Newsom and his allies have tried every trick in the book to avoid this day of reckoning,” Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley said in a statement. Kiley, who has been asked by constituents to run for governor, said he will make an announcement about his own role in the recall “very soon.” He says the recall presents Californians with an opportunity “to turn the page on this era of corruption in California.”

Newsom’s campaign argues the election is “a naked attempt by Trump Republicans to grab control in California” and called on his supporters to “defend our state.”

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Michigan Senate Passes $17 Billion Budget Plan

The Michigan Senate passed a plan totaling $17 billion for K-12 schools, hours before the budget deadline that levies no penalties for late action.

The real deadline for the state budget is Sept. 30, ahead of the Oct. 1 start of the state’s fiscal year.

House Bill 4410 passed on a 34-0 vote, which Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas, R-Midland, called an “immediate priority.” The bill includes $10 million to repair natural disaster relief in cities flooded in June 2021.

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Michigan House Passes Bipartisan Budget, Including Historic Increases in Education Spending

Jason Wentworth

Although she thinks it’s only a “start,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer applauded the bipartisan budget passed Thursday night by the Michigan House of Representatives.

The House voted to pass the budget before the July 1 deadline, and includes the governor’s proposal to implement the largest increase in K-12 public school spending in the state’s history. Whitmer’s office claims the $16.7 billion in school expenditures will “close the gap between the lowest- and highest-funded school districts for the first time since the goal was introduced in 1994.”

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