Tag Archive for: legislation

17 State AGs Refuse to Allow Biden to Insert Abortion into Pregnant Workers Fairness Act


As the Biden campaign continues to push abortion as its primary focus ahead of the November elections, the administration made yet another move to ensure that abortion remains front and center by moving to insert the issue into the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act earlier this month — a move that earned a strong rebuke and lawsuit from a group of 17 Republican state attorneys general.

In mid-April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it was controversially adding abortion into its draft rules for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, allowing workers to “ask for time off to obtain an abortion and recover from the procedure.” But critics say the legislation was never intended to address abortion and was merely meant to give pregnant women commonsense accommodations in the workplace, including time off for medical appointments, options to sit down and stand up while working, exemptions from heavy lifting, time off for postpartum recovery, bathroom, breastfeeding, food, and water breaks, considerations for morning sickness, and more.

In response, a coalition of 17 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit last week against the EEOC, claiming that the abortion rule is unconstitutional, among other concerns. “[U]nelected commissioners at the EEOC seek to hijack these new protections for pregnancies by requiring employers to accommodate elective abortions — something the Act clearly did not authorize,” said the AG coalition in a statement. “The EEOC’s rule constitutes an unconstitutional federal overreach that infringes on existing state laws and exceeds the scope of the agency’s authority.”

State attorneys general who signed onto the lawsuit include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.

Last week, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) joined “Washington Watch” to discuss why he joined the lawsuit against the EEOC’s actions.

The original text “is a wonderful, bipartisan supported [bill] — and we don’t say that very often with things that come out of Washington — to make sure that we accommodate pregnant women in the workplace because we want to have healthy pregnancies and children that come to birth,” he noted. “[L]et’s make sure that we fill a gap in federal law to ensure that pregnant women have those accommodations. … And now, the EEOC that was tasked by Congress to come out with some very specific aspects of what that looks like, now want to make sure that states like Alabama would have to violate state law to somehow or another accommodate a woman who wants an abortion. Alabama is not going to stand for that, along with the [16] other states that are a part of this coalition.”

Marshall went on to point out that even pro-abortion Democrats explicitly stated that the bill had nothing to do with abortion when it was passed, which still hasn’t stopped the Biden administration’s actions.

“One of the Democratic sponsors of this bill made it very clear on the floor of the Senate that this bill had nothing to do with abortion [and] assured his colleagues on both sides of the aisle the intention of this bill,” he observed. “And yet, despite its clear language, what we see is [the] Biden administration co-opting a valid, appropriate law to be able to enforce this pro-abortion agenda. I know we shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s one of the reasons why I’m so proud of my colleagues across the country on many pro-life issues, because we’re standing in that gap that we need in this country to make sure that we can push back on an administration that’s just simply gone too far.”

Marshall further made it clear that state attorneys general have a particularly important role to play in pushing back against the Biden administration’s tendency to try unconstitutional tactics to get its policies into place.

“This is an unelected, unaccountable group,” he underscored. “… [W]e’ve seen this on multiple fronts with this administration, whether it be attacking pro-life states like Alabama. We’ve seen it with this radical gender ideology that’s being pushed through multiple federal programs. It’s why, uniquely, attorneys general in this important time in our nation have the opportunity to be able to hold [the administration] in check.”

The Alabama attorney general additionally pointed to how state law will have strong legal footing against the measure in court.

“[W]hat we see also with this particular rule is an effort to impose a federal policy of this administration on a state like Alabama, whose law is abundantly clear that we are a pro-life state in our Constitution,” Marshall explained. “… [T]o somehow or another use an unaccountable body like the EEOC to circumvent valid state law and constitutional provisions, we think we’re on solid legal footing to be able to push back and to win. … The key right now is attempting to get that initial injunctive relief, to be able to hold this rule in abeyance before its full implementation. But we feel very confident about the work of our colleagues, grateful for the efforts of Tennessee and Oklahoma to lead this charge, but do feel strongly that we’re going to prevail.”

AUTHOR

Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITOR NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

AI Enters Politics: Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

First they came for your drive-thru, then they came for your pastors. Now they’re here for your legislators.

The Associated Press reported recently that in Brazil, the first known artificial intelligence (AI) generated law was passed in October. City councilman Ramiro Rosário of Porto Alegre, Brazil apparently had some trouble crafting a city ordinance. Rosário, instead of shopping around for model legislation from another town or special interest group, did the most 2023 thing he could: he asked ChatGPT. The AP reports:

“Rosário told The Associated Press that he asked OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT to craft a proposal to prevent the city from charging taxpayers to replace water consumption meters if they are stolen. He then presented it to his 35 peers on the council without making a single change or even letting them know about its unprecedented origin.

“‘If I had revealed it before, the proposal certainly wouldn’t even have been taken to a vote,’ Rosário told the AP by phone on Thursday. The 36-member council approved it unanimously and the ordinance went into effect on Nov. 23.

“‘It would be unfair to the population to run the risk of the project not being approved simply because it was written by artificial intelligence,’ he added.”

When he was facing leadership challenges in the church due to his age, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth.” Now we have Brazilian lawmakers speaking up for the oppressed AI, which apparently gets no respect. The councilman is not only the champion of the stolen water meter, he’s the voice of AI in government, speaking up for the little bot who has none.

I don’t fault an ill-equipped lawmaker for getting help doing his job, but it does say something about a society where a presumably elected official needs to resort to something that an adept 10-year-old can do. It raises the question, is the councilman even needed if his duties have been reduced to writing a query instead of writing legislation?

After President Lincoln had put Ulysses S. Grant in charge of the Union forces during the Civil War, there was worry among some as to whether the army could match Lee’s rebel forces. When someone asked about Grant’s chances, Doris Kearns Goodwin writes in “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” that Lincoln told this anecdote:

“The question reminds of me of a little anecdote about the automaton chess player, which many years ago astonished the world by its skill in that game. After a while the automaton was challenged by a celebrated player, who, to his great chagrin, was beaten twice by the machine. At the end of the second game, the player, significantly pointing his finger at the automaton, exclaimed in a very decided tone, ‘There’s a man in it.’”

Putting aside the fact that there were apparently “automaton chess players” before the Civil War (who knew?), it was clear then that military and political operations were not automatic. Military operations required people. Political operations required people. Even mechanical chess players required people.

That remains true today. Politics — nasty business as it is — requires people. While we may joke about it being better off without them, we should think long and hard before we relinquish our leadership to something that doesn’t have to eat three squares a day. ChatGPT may be able to compose a water meter ordinance, but it won’t inspire people to use their water in a better way. People need to be led by people.

Just like the automated chess player, for ChatGPT there’s also “a man in it.” AI may have a body of silicon, precious metals, and transistors, but its intellectual framework of ones and zeros can never amount to a soul. AI may be able to write its own answers, and interpret what we want, but it can’t run without programming and someone feeding its server farms the electricity it needs.

No matter how much the hype-mongers of artificial intelligence may tell us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, there’s always a man in it. The question for us as we see the advent of AI applied to politics, is which man do we want? The one we elected, or the people doing the programming? It’s only a matter of time before we’re faced with this here in the U.S. And as much as we think a robot might do a better job than whichever current leader you’ve elected (I bet you can think of a few…), the solution is not to defer to some unelected artificial Oz behind the curtain. The solution is to elect better leaders.

AUTHOR

Jared Bridges

Jared Bridges is editor-in-chief of The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: Thwarting the Left’s Assault on America

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

GOP Lawmakers Introduce Bill That Would Bar Biden From Invoking A National Climate Emergency

Republican Texas Rep. August Pfluger and West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito introduced legislation Monday morning aiming to preempt any possible attempt by President Joe Biden to use emergency powers to circumvent congressional checks on his administration’s sweeping climate agenda.

“The Real Emergencies Act” would clarify that the president is unable to invoke emergency powers permitted by the National Emergencies Act, the Disaster Relief and Emergencies Act and the Public Health Service Act on the basis of a perceived climate change crisis. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other left-wing congressional lawmakers have called for Biden to declare a national climate emergency to further his administration’s aggressive climate agenda.

“I am proud to join Senator Capito in introducing the Real Emergencies Act, which will prevent the White House from distracting from real emergencies – like skyrocketing inflation and record-high energy costs – by declaring climate change a national emergency,” Pfluger told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Our legislation ensures that President Biden does not abuse the power of his office to pursue his anti-American energy agenda against the will of the American people.”

The Real Emergencies Act by Daily Caller News Foundation

Schumer said in January 2021 that a declaration of climate emergency would enable Biden to “do many, many things under the emergency powers of the President that wouldn’t have to go through – that he could do without legislation.” Schumer’s comments came as the Inflation Reduction Act had stalled in congress amid Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s initial refusal to support many of the bill’s provisions in an evenly-divided Senate.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) similarly urged Biden to invoke emergency powers on the basis of a perceived climate emergency to “invoke authorities under the Defense Production Act and Trade Expansion Act, mobilizing domestic industry to manufacture affordable renewable energy technologies.” The CPC also demanded in the same March 2022 document that Biden unilaterally ban fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and halt all crude oil exports, some four months before Manchin eventually reached a July 2022 deal with Schumer to support the Inflation Reduction Act in the Senate.

With Manchin’s support secured, Biden was able to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law in August 2022, about three months before Republicans regained control of the House in the 2022 midterms. As a candidate for the presidency in 2019, Biden delivered a personal “guarantee” that his administration would “end fossil fuels.”

Under the auspices of Biden’s COVID-19 emergency powers, the Biden administration imposed an indefinite pause on student loan payments as well as a federal eviction moratorium. Biden only ended the declared COVID-19 national emergency in April 2023, more than six months after admitting in September 2022 that the pandemic was “over.”

“The Biden administration has repeatedly governed by executive overreach when it comes to energy and environmental regulations, ignoring the law and doing so without congressional approval,” Capito told the DCNF. “The Real Emergencies Act would ensure the president cannot go further by declaring a national emergency, which would grant him more executive authority and grow the size of government all in the name of climate change.”

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

McCarthy Proves What He’s Made Of with Gritty Budget Win

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) hasn’t had an easy path. After painstakingly working through conservatives’ gripes with House leadership this January, he finally squeaked out the votes he needed to assume the third most powerful job in Washington. But even after that chaos died down, questions loomed. Was he cut out to be speaker? Would he bring the fractious, competing corners of the GOP together? In a staring contest with Democrats, could he win? The answer, Americans learned from a hard-won victory on the budget bill, is a resounding yes.

With just two votes to spare, McCarthy accomplished something that seemed improbable even 48 hours ago: he held his fragile coalition together and passed a bill that all but forces Democrats to the negotiating table. Under the House proposal, America would not default on its loans. But there were strings attached. In exchange for raising the debt ceiling and protecting the country’s credit line, conservatives are demanding a massive overhaul of spending and deep cuts to bloated programs.

For starters, Republicans would set a $1.47 trillion limit on discretionary spending — with a 1% increase built in for each year. In a blow to the Democratic messaging machine, even the AP admits that the legislation poses no threat to Social Security and Medicare, which has been Joe Biden’s favorite scare tactic about the bill. To the cheers of most conservatives, the proposal also scoops up all of the unused COVID relief money from the series of bills passed between 2020-2022. Another way the GOP carved out savings was to roll back the $71 billion boost in IRS funding.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), all of this would make a huge difference in the country’s bleak financial picture, slashing the deficit by a whopping $4.8 trillion in a 10-year span.

Fueled by coffee and power naps, Republicans worked past 4 a.m. Wednesday to hammer out the deal. That all-nighter paid off. The bill eked through by a 217-215 margin that afternoon, putting Republicans in an unusual place — the driver’s seat.

In a triumphant press conference after the vote, McCarthy threw down the gauntlet. “We have lifted the debt ceiling, so nobody could worry about whether the debt ceiling is going to get lifted. We did it. The Democrats have not. [If] the president wants to make sure the debt ceiling is going to be lifted, sign this bill.”

Although Rules Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) made it clear that it’s “not the end of the road,” he insisted that “it’s a great personal and political victory for the speaker who got it done. He got a lot of people to vote for a debt ceiling increase who’ve never done that before.”

House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) was equally complimentary, telling Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch” that the vote was “quite honestly, another historic moment in modern times here in Congress.” “For most people, this is just another day in the saga of Washington. But … as far as I know in modern times, this has never happened before.” And one of the reasons it was possible, he said, is because conservatives put specific conditions on the speaker in January — things like single-subject bills. More debate. Free-flowing amendments. In other words, Congress is back to operating how the Founders intended, not as a graveyard of ideas where decisions were predetermined by a powerful few.

Even if you go back to the 2011 days of Cut, Cap, and Balance, Republicans never insisted on “real cuts in that first year.” But this isn’t your 2011 GOP. And while the prevailing wisdom in Washington may be that the House has to cave to Joe Biden and Senate Democrats without demanding concessions like meaningful spending reform, Perry insists, “We’re not going to cave.”

“We have a narrow majority,” he conceded, but “we have worked for months — right up until about 4:00 in the morning last night to get this to where we can pass it. And, it is the beginning of the conversation, but what it does is … it shows [Biden] that we can pass something and he has no choice except to negotiate.”

For Republicans, who only control one part of the legislature, this is a “landmark occasion,” Perry says. “We’re supposed to be in a completely defensive posture. [But] we are on offense. And I will also take some pride in this: 90% of this bill has been written by the House Freedom Caucus — and we are driving and pulling our entire conferences … to the Right, to the side of principles that [say] we cannot keep spending and bankrupting our country.”

In a movement that’s watched Republicans snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Wednesday’s developments were groundbreaking. “I’ve watched this process for 20 years,” Perkins said. “I’ve even watched the Republicans when they were in the majority and they had the numbers. … But the reality is, even when Republicans had a large margin to work with, they never ever drove a stake in the ground and stood on principle. That is a sea change here in Washington, D.C.”

And McCarthy’s week-long speaker drama is a big reason why. Even then, FRC believed Republicans — and the speaker in particular — would emerge stronger from that emotional debate. It was there that the California leader proved he was willing to listen, to compromise, and to pursue the tough changes voters demanded. Now, Perkins insisted, we’ve had time to see that McCarthy was sincere. “We’ve seen a succession of decisions that the speaker has made. He’s stuck to his word. … And Republicans have [also] kept their word and done exactly what they said they were going to do when they elected this speaker.” So Democrats need to realize, he warned, “you guys aren’t going to cave.”

Already, that message seems to be sinking in. Far-left senators like Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are calling on Biden to negotiate — and negotiate now. Moderate Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) agreed, pointing out, McCarthy’s bill is the “only bill actually moving through Congress that would prevent default.”

As NRO’s Noah Rothman explains, “The White House and Senate Democrats have so far operated on the assumption that Republicans were too disunited to be worth negotiating with.” Now, the script has flipped. “And with the Republican position strengthening and Democrats’ eroding, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before the White House consents to good-faith negotiations with their Republican counterparts. The sooner, the better.”

In the meantime, Perry has a message for those “weak-kneed senators over there that always work with the Democrats: … You need to stick with your Republican colleagues [and] do the work of the American people. … There’s a fighting spirit in this House of Representatives,” he insisted, “but … we do expect our senators to stand up and stand for us.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

HICE: U.S. Government Seeks Permission to Spy on American Citizens

The phrase “Big Brother” has been used in reference to the government’s attempts to control the lives of Americans for decades. Following 9/11, amid an outcry for greater security, a chilling and intrusive surveillance of citizens took an unprecedented uptick in individual monitoring across the nation. In the wake of tragedy and horror, politicians pushed through the Patriot Act in the name of terrorism deterrence.

The Patriot Act ushered in a new era, and America would never be the same so far as individual privacy is concerned. While the intentions of the legislation might have been good, the consequences of its enactment have invaded the privacy of millions of Americans. It essentially gave the government a free pass to spy on people in their homes and beyond. Without any previous notification requirements, federal intelligence agencies could examine and have unhindered exploration into the financial records, medical histories, travel patterns, and more of individuals.

As is often the case with unrestrained government power, the overreaching scrutiny produced by the Patriot Act is no longer enough. There is a new and disturbing movement to provide Big Brother even more access into your private life. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) has introduced the RESTRICT Act, formally known as “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology” Act. This legislation would essentially expand the sentiments of the Patriot Act to the technology sphere, so that internet activity by citizens would be accessible to federal agents.

Thankfully, while there is a substantial bipartisan effort to block the use of TikTok in the United States over concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) use of the platform, some Washington politicians are withholding their support for the RESTRICT Act. For example, Ohio Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) recently told reporters that he is very worried about “creating, effectively, a PATRIOT Act for the digital age.”

He is correct. Once unbridled access is given to the government to monitor internet activity, personal privacy will be but a memory of America’s past. Moreover, allowing the government and federal agencies access to personal devices and advanced technology usage by individuals could very well lead to domestic espionage. Such meddling should never be allowed. While efforts to block foreign adversaries from spying on Americans and the U.S. government operations should be made, efforts cannot be allowed to permit our own government to violate people’s constitutional right to privacy.

At a time when even the most sacred branch of government, the judiciary, is being politicized, it is crucial to avoid further intrusion into the lives of Americans. The RESTRICT Act would allow the government to pursue any person it deems as a “national security risk.” To this day, some protestors from January 6th, 2021 are still sitting in jail, having been denied their legal rights under the law. And potentially, other individuals advocating for their right to justice could be labeled as “national security risks” and have their privacy stripped away as well.

The U.S. government is already too big and intrusive. Further, a two-tiered system of justice is increasingly becoming more apparent and alarming. Do we really need to bolster government with unfettered access into the private data of American citizens? No! Not only is the RESTRICT Act a terrible idea but it is unconstitutional. The First Amendment grants freedom of personal and private religious belief. The Third Amendment protects privacy in our homes. And the Fourth Amendment guarantees that the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Make no mistake, Americans have a right to privacy! The government does not possess sufficient legal “interest” to invade the most personal aspects of people’s lives.

Ultimately, at risk with the RESTRICT Act is personal and constitutionally protected liberty. Congressional leaders need to hear from constituents about this invasive legislation. For the sake of defending our God-given rights, we should reject this egregious attempt by government to enter our personal space and monitor our private lives. If allowed to become law, this Act could produce a government-run and politically driven “terrorist” of its own making. Don’t let that happen!

AUTHOR

Jody Hice

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Chip Roy To Introduce Legislation To Eliminate Fauci’s NIAID

Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Rep. Chip Roy will introduce legislation Thursday that would eliminate the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the bill, which is titled the NIH Reform Act. The bill would specifically replace the NIAID with three separate national research institutes that would be led by directors subject to Senate confirmation and limited to no more than two 5-year terms.

The three new institutes would be the National Institute of Allergic Diseases, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of Immunologic Diseases. The directors of each new institute would be appointed by the president, subject to Senate confirmation, and limited to no more than two 5-year terms.

“We’ve learned a lot over the past few years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator-in-chief.’ No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,” Paul told the Daily Caller before introducing the legislation.

“To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I’ve introduced this bill to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s previous position as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and divide the role into three separate new institutes. This will create accountability and oversight into a taxpayer funded position that has largely abused its power and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

READ THE LEGISLATION HERE: 

(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

“From the earliest days of the pandemic, unaccountable public health bureaucracies proved themselves far more adept at ruining lives than saving them. Never again should a single individual, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, wield unchecked power and influence over the lives of the American people. Breaking up Dr. Fauci’s taxpayer funded bully pulpit into three separate agencies — and requiring Senate confirmation for all their future directors — is one of many actions necessary to allow the American people to hold public health agencies accountable,” Roy, who introduced an identical House version of the bill, said in a statement.

The legislation is currently cosponsored by Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.

 

AUTHOR

HENRY RODGERS

Chief national correspondent.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

It Was All Arranged and Controlled to Achieve a Desired Overall Effect to Undermine the MAGA Movement

The truth always comes out. We reported from day one of the Democrat’s J6 Special Committee that this was nothing more than a Soviet style show trial to discredit their political opponents.

The J6 Committee members had access to all of the footage of what happened on January 6th, 2020 in the U.S. Capitol building.

Rather than tell the truth they created the myth that the MAGA movement was made up of “insurrectionists.”

Because of the J6 lies two women died and many patriots have been wrongfully imprisoned.

In an article titled Tucker Carlson Outlines Review of Capitol Hill J6 CCTV Tapes and Publicizes Footage  Sundance reports,

As promised, Fox News host Tucker Carlson began publicizing the closed-circuit TV footage from Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.  In the introduction to the footage, Mr Carlson outlines the process and limitations that his producers encountered.

Tucker Carlson states no one from the House of Representatives placed any restrictions on the footage as reviewed. Additionally, Carlson notes that no one at Fox News leadership had any input into the review that his team undertook.  As he describes, much of the 40,000 hours of footage was innocuous, empty rooms with CCTV camera footage showing very little.  However, the footage that did show events, does not support the “violent insurrectionist” narrative as promoted by the J6 committee.

WATCH:

Here is another lie that was created from whole cloth by the J6 Committee and then broadcast by the White House, legacy media and social media platforms. It involved the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

On January 6th, 2023 in an NPR article titled Trump and two rioters are sued over the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick Juliana Kim reported,

The longtime partner of a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died following the Jan. 6. insurrection has sued former President Donald Trump and two rioters for wrongful death.

Sandra Garza, who is representing the estate of Brian Sicknick, claims her partner’s death was “a direct and foreseeable consequence” of Trump’s words that day. She also assigns liability to Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios, two men accused of assaulting Sicknick with chemical spray during the breach.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, came a day before the second anniversary of the attack. The suit seeks at least $10 million in damages from each of the defendants.

WATCH:

Officer Sicknick died of a heart attack. Not from any injuries or actions of those who were allowed in by the Capitol Police on January 6th, 2021.

There were also Antifa members dressed up as MAGA patriots at the J6 rally in Washington, D.C.

Watch:

The Bottom Line

The Democrats have since 2016 worked every angle to discredit the MAGA movement in general and President Donald J. Trump in particular. Their efforts began with the false Russia collusion gambit, which has been proven false and made up by the FBI. This was followed by the quid pro quo myth which lead to the impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

The fact is that colluding with Russia and Ukraine and all now know quid pro quo activities involved the Biden family and Democrats.

It now obvious that the traitors in our government form all parties are bent towards lying, cheating and, yes, stealing elections.

QUESTION: How will the traitors steal the Presidential Election in 2024?

ANSWER: Using all proven means available.

We listed the traitor “Dirty Dozen” strategies to steal the 2024 Presidential Election:

  1. Dirty Voter Rolls. There are many states where the voter rolls have not been cleansed of dead people, those who have moved out of state and those who vote in more than one state. Christopher Wright in a column titled Stupid Voter Role Tricks wrote, “Election integrity activists are placing renewed emphasis on cleaning up the voter rolls, and here’s why:  no matter what scheme the Democrats come up with to steal elections, at the end of the day they still have to find enough records of voters who haven’t voted to put in enough fake votes to change the results of the election…About 8 percent of the population moves any given year.  That’s a lot of voter records just waiting to be picked.  The more voters on the rolls who are guaranteed not to vote, the easier it is for the Democrats to commit election fraud, plain and simple… Judicial Watch sued Democrat-run New York City and got a settlement requiring the city to remove over 440,000 ineligible names from the voter rolls and to maintain the rolls in the future.  The city had only removed 22 names in the previous six years which is preposterous for a city of five and a half million people…Judicial Watch and another group filed another lawsuit to clean up the rolls in Los Angeles.  The suit concluded successfully with Democrat-controlled L.A. County removing 1.2 million ineligible voters from the rolls.  The County sent notices to 1.6 million inactive voters who had not voted in two successive federal elections.  The County revealed that 643,000 voters stayed on the rolls despite not voting for at least ten years, more inactive voters than anywhere else in the country.  Yet, there they were, just waiting for the Democrats to make it look like they voted.”
  2. Mail-in-Ballots. Mail-in-Ballots came into vogue during the Covid pandemic. Many states, with the help of some like Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, sent out millions of ballots to addresses regardless of that person’s eligibility to vote. The Last Refuge wrote, “Since the advent of ballot centric focus through mail-in and collection drop-off processes, votes have become increasingly less valuable amid the organizers who wish to control election outcomes. As a direct and specific result, ballot distribution, assembly, collection and return has become the key to Democrat party success. The effort to attain votes for candidates is less important than the strategy of collecting ballots.”
  3. Mules. True The Vote found that mail-in-ballot drop boxes were used to change the 2020 election. Mules, people who delivered ballots of a questionable nature were filmed dropping these mail-in-ballots in the dead of night. True The Vote in its video exposé 2000 Mules showed how easy it was to commit election fraud in just five counties in five states that flipped the 2020 election from Trump to Biden.
  4. Ballot Harvesting. William Hamilton in a 2022 article titled Ballot Harvesting: How Democracies Perish wrote, “Judging from so many disputed elections and the resulting court cases, there is ample evidence to doubt the outcomes of the 2020 and 2022 elections. The easiest way to understand the overall strategy of the 2020 election is to read Molly Ball’s general explanation in the February 4, 2021 issue of Time Magazine. An accurate title would be: ‘How the Progs Harvested, Manipulated, and Cast Enough Votes to Win.’ Instead, Molly Ball wrote, ‘The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.’ You decide. The Prog victory in 2020, such as it was, rested on the usual ineptitude of many Secretaries of State, the usual failures of the U.S. Post Office, improvements in ‘flaps and seals’ technology, the pandemic-induced flood of mail-in ballots, thousands of unmonitored ballot boxes, the advent of computer software and sophisticated printers capable of producing virtually undetectable counterfeit ballots, the hacking of some voting systems, and most importantly the money to train and hire an army of foot soldiers to pillage unprotected ballot boxes, to go door-to-door, to go to senior centers and nursing homes with offers to ‘help’ homeowners and senior citizens understand complex ballot issues and — here’s the key — to allow the harvesters to gain physical possession of millions of ballots.”
  5. Ranked Choice Voting. In ranked-choice voting, voters get to rank their candidates in order of preference. In other words, you can say who your first-choice candidate would be, followed by the next best candidate, and so on down the list. If a candidate receives more than half of the first-choice votes in the election, that candidate wins—exactly as they would in any other election. If there’s no majority winner (for instance, if the first-choice winner would only represent 43% of the total votes) then the race is decided by an “instant runoff.” Whichever candidate has the fewest votes is eliminated; voters who had chosen that candidate as their first choice have their second choice counted instead. This process goes on until a winner representing more than half of the vote emerges. The Bongino Report reported, “What happens when you combine an all-in or “jungle” primary with ranked-choice voting in the general election? Putting the two modern “innovations” on elections together in Alaska produced this absurd result, in which Republicans lost a House seat despite getting 60% of the vote.”
  6. [S]election Code. [S]ELECTION CODE has released video exposé on the 2020 election. According to their website stating, “You’ve heard it said ‘Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.’ What about those who code the vote?” Here is your free download of [S]election code CLICK HERE or copy this link: https://fs-cdn.frankspeech.com/files/vid/SelectionCode.mp4.
  7. Electronic Voting Machines. Those counties with electronic voting machines experienced serious errors in both the 2020 Presidential and the 2022 midterm elections. Dominion and electronic voting machines were, after forensic reviews, found to have either failed to count ballots for a candidate and or flipped the vote from one candidate to another candidate. On November 12, 2022 President Donald J. Trump wrote, “So in Maricopa County (AZ) they’re at it again. Voting Machines in large numbers didn’t work, but only in Republican districts. People were forced to wait for hours, then got exhausted or had other things to do and left the voting lines by the thousands. Even Kari Lake was taken to a Liberal Democrat district in order to vote. Others weren’t so luckily. This is a scam and voter fraud, no different than stuffing the ballot boxes. They stole the Electron (sic) from Blake Masters. Do Election over again!” Christopher Wright wrote, “[T]hey keep telling us these machines don’t have modems and can’t connect to the Internet, but a watchdog group in Wisconsin found this is a complete lie.  Machines used in the 2020 elections were connected to a nongovernmental IP address called WiscNet in three separate elections, including November 3, 2020. “
  8. Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). In the article ERIC: The Worm That Got Inside Our Elections Christopher Wright wrote, “Grassroots activists continue to raise questions about ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center, and authorities are beginning to respond. On the face of things, ERIC is a private organization that helps its 32 member states clean up and maintain their voter rolls.  It compares state voter registration data against motor vehicle licensing information and the Social Security master death file.  Then it tells states which voters are dead, have moved out of state, or are registered to vote in more than one state.  Critics say ERIC is, at root, nothing more than a partisan get-out-the-vote drive for Democrats. Louisiana withdrew from ERIC last month, citing ‘concerns raised by citizens, government watchdog organizations and media reports about potential questionable funding sources and that possibly partisan actors may have access to ERIC network data for political purposes.’ More recently, Alabama left ERIC.  The new Secretary of State said he did not want a private group having access to voter data, including driver’s license numbers, contact information, and partial social security numbers including those of minors. In addition to partisan connections and privacy concerns, critics also say ERIC does a bad job, producing bloated voter rolls in member states.  Florida, for example, is a member of ERIC but has more than 100 percent of all possible citizens of voting age on its rolls.”
  9. Campaign Finance Mules. The Gateway Pundit in an article titled “Campaign Finance Mules” Identified in Georgia Senate Race – Democrat Raphael Warnock Received Over $24 Million from Hundreds of UNEMPLOYED Donors Giving Over 358,000 Donations reported, “They say ‘Follow The Money’. So we did, and found a massive number of “Campaign Finance Mules” making hundreds, even thousands of donations per year. NBC recently reported on the donations received in the Georgia runoff for Senator. Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock raised $52.2 million for his re-election between Oct. 20 through Nov. 16, more than doubling the fundraising total of his opponent, Republican Herschel Walker. Warnock, the top fundraising federal candidate of the 2022 election cycle by a long-shot, spent $39.2 million over the same period, which almost doubled Walker’s spend too. The incumbent closed the period with $29.7 million banked away. Walker still raised a significant amount over that fundraising period — $20.9 million. His campaign spent $16.5 million and closed with $9.8 million on hand.”
  10. Growing Influence of Non-Profits in U.S. Elections.  in an article titled The Left’s New Scheme That Threatens Free Elections reported, “Like a bad movie sequel, leftwing nonprofits like the Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL) are once again pumping millions of dollars in left-wing “dark money” into election offices across the country. Just like they did in 2020, these groups are looking for ways to skew elections and boost liberal turnout in battleground states. But this time, there’s a twist. CTCL and its allies aren’t just doling out eye-popping grants. They are aiming for nothing less than a shadow takeover of election offices. Through their new $80 million program, called the “U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence,” the left is targeting local election offices. The goal: push liberal voting policies and systematically reshape how our elections are run. Voters need only to look to the contentious 2020 election cycle to appreciate the significance of this program. That year, Mark Zuckerberg pledged more than $400 million to support election offices during the pandemic. But he didn’t give the money to election offices directly. Instead, he gave the funds to left-wing nonprofits like CTCL. CTCL then directed these “Zuck Bucks” disproportionately to cities and counties that voted Democratic.”
  11. The Growing Influence of Foreign Actors in U.S. Elections.  in an article titled Chinese Operatives Ran A Massive TikTok Campaign To Help Dems In The Midterm Elections reported, “TikTok accounts operating as voices of Chinese state media promoted messages that appeared to denigrate Republican candidates and favor Democratic ones ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, according to a Forbes investigation. While the Chinese-owned social media app has verbally affirmed the need to crack down on election disinformation and foreign interference, several news-oriented accounts failed to disclose their affiliation with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) state-owned media on the platform, Forbes found. The accounts racked up tens of millions views on posts that covered divisive topics, such as abortion and race, as well as critical clips that mostly targeted Republican candidates ahead of the 2022 midterms. ‘This opens a new dimension for conversation about TikTok,’ Conor Healy, director of government research at surveillance research group IPVM, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The accounts are managed by MediaLinks TV, which registered as a foreign agent for China with the Treasury Department in 2019 and distributes the U.S. branch of China Central Television (CCTV), CGTN, according to the company’s LinkedIn page. MediaLinks also operates the CCTV and CGTN apps, according to Apple.”
  12. The Legacy Media, Social Media, FBI, CIA, DoD, Et al. Election Propaganda Machine. In a  column titled TWITTER FILES: FBI, CIA, DoD, Et al. Actively Worked With EVERY Social Media Platform to Control and Censor Speech reported, “The files show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government – from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA. The government was in constant contact not just with Twitter but with virtually every major tech firm. We live in a surveillance state.”

Governors must dedicate themselves to their people and empower them to make decisions that are right for themselves, their families and the community. The key word is responsibility. Taking responsibility for one’s actions is key and this ends up in how elections are conducted and their consequences.

Live free or die” is not just a slogan it’s the truth! Today telling the truth has become a revolutionary act.

Please share this column with your family, friends your elected leaders from school boards, to the City and County Commissions, to your State Legislators to your Governor, to your member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and on your social media sites.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Matt Gaetz To Introduce ‘PENCIL Act,’ Blocking Adam Schiff From Reviewing Classified Information

As Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy blocked Adam Schiff from sitting on the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced legislation Thursday that would call on the House to vote on if Schiff should be banned from accessing and viewing any and all classified information.

The Daily Caller first obtained the legislation, which is titled the PENCIL Act after former President Donald Trump’s nickname of Schiff, “Pencil-Neck.” PENCIL stands for “Preventing Extreme Negligence with Classified Information Licenses” Resolution.

“Congressman Adam Schiff led the effort for years to weaponize lies from the Clinton campaign and a corrupt Department of Justice to smear President Trump while destroying any trust the country had left in America’s intelligence agencies” Gaetz told the Caller before introducing the legislation.

“Speaker McCarthy kept his promise to remove Rep. Schiff from the Intelligence Committee, and with the PENCIL Resolution, we will express the sense of Congress that he should be barred from accessing any classified information at all. He can no longer be trusted by his colleagues in Congress or the American people,” Gaetz added.

Schiff announced Thursday that he will be running for U.S. Senate., the same day Gaetz introduced the bill.

READ THE LEGISLATION HERE: 

(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

Gaetz first introduced the PENCIL Act in 2019, when Republicans did not have control of the House.

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy recently confirmed that Schiff and Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell will be removed from the House Intelligence Committee and the House will vote on the removal of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Schiff took to the Chinese-owned TikTok app shortly after McCarthy removed him from the House Intelligence Committee, saying McCarthy removed him “for doing my job, for holding Trump accountable and standing up to the extreme MAGA Republicans.” He then asked for donations.

AUTHOR

HENRY RODGERS

Chief national correspondent. Follow Henry Rodgers On Twitter

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Oops! Democratic ‘Oversights’ Would Legalize Polygamy, Infanticide

One of the most famous illustrations in all of literature comes from “The Adventure of Silver Blaze,” when Sherlock Holmes notes “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”: the dog that did not bark. The canine’s silence revealed the watchdog’s familiarity and comfort with the criminal. “Obviously the midnight visitor was someone whom the dog knew well,” remarks Holmes.

Voters can glean the inner disposition of our lawmakers, learning which issues they consider vital and which never enter their minds, through a similar device: the “errors,” omissions, and oversights politicians make when drafting legislation. Allegedly inadvertent “oversights” and “drafting errors” by Democratic lawmakers over the last year alone would have decriminalized infanticide, legalized polygamy, and suppressed sacred religious liberty rights enshrined in the First Amendment.

Lest I be accused of overstatement, let’s look at the record:

1. Infanticide

En route to becoming an “abortion sanctuary,” California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 2223introduced by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks. The original draft forbade law enforcement from prosecuting or investigating any mother for the death of her child through “miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death.” Pro-life legal scholars noted that California state law extends the term “perinatal death” up to 30 or “60 days following delivery,” essentially decriminalizing infanticide. Wicks retorted that her law could never be construed to support child murder, because “one of the tools judges would use in that case is legislative intent.” (Then again, if judges valued original intent, Roe v. Wade would never have been written.) Wicks called pro-life concerns “absurd and disingenuous” … but then the Assembly’s overwhelmingly Democratic Judiciary Committee released its official analysis, which put the matter as gently as possible:

[T]he “perinatal death” language could lead to an unintended and undesirable conclusion. As currently in print, it may not be sufficiently clear that “perinatal death” is intended to be the consequence of a pregnancy complication. Thus, the bill could be interpreted to immunize a pregnant person from all criminal penalties for all pregnancy outcomes, including the death of a newborn for any reason during the “perinatal” period after birth, including a cause of death which is not attributable to pregnancy complications, which clearly is not the author’s intent.

That is, pro-life critics were right all along: The language of her bill would legalize the murder of newborns. Wicks amended the “perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.” Despite this change, the law “still prevents law enforcement from investigating ‘perinatal death,’ and the amendments Ms. Wicks” added proved “woefully inadequate,” Jonathan Keller, president of California Family Council, told me at the time.

Nonetheless, Governor Gavin Newsom (D), an undeclared 2024 presidential hopeful, signed the amended bill into law alongside a pack of 12 other abortion-promoting bills. These bills underscore the need for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives on January 11: national lawmakers must correct the “oversights” of far-left state legislators. Unfortunately, they must also correct their own.

2. Legalizing Polygamy Nationwide

After then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hustled the drastically misnamed Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) through the House of Representatives in one day, U.S. senators noted something curious: The original draft of the bill did not limit marriage to two people. While one provision mentioned “2 individuals,” another section of the bill would have amended federal law to say simply “an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into,” with no numerical limit.

The bill’s chief Republican sponsor, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), chalked the oversight up to a “drafting error,” though she admitted “the language needs to be clarified” that the bill does not permit polygamy/polyandry. The authors said, in effect, they intended to redefine the most fundamental institution in human society, just not quite that far. Again, legal scholars say the new legislative patch sewn into the old garment of the RFMA failed to fix the problem. The “clarified” final draft of “the bill leaves open the possibility that one person can be in multiple two-person marriages at the same time, which would trigger federal recognition if a state legally were to recognize such consensual, bigamous unions as separate family units,” noted the Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino. Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R-N.Y.) exclaimed “Praise God!” as President Joe Biden signed the bill into law last December 13. That would not be the bill’s only oversight.

3. Erasing Religious Liberty

The Respect for Marriage Act makes a second appearance, as the bill’s authors also ignored all concerns about religious liberty. Despite years of litigation aimed at bringing Bible-believing Christians to heel, and warnings that the bill will usher in “a new era of oppression” of Christians like Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, Senate Democrats only entertained the notion of a religious protection amendment as a fig leaf for wavering Republicans. They insisted they did not mean to wage culture war against believers; they just crushed your religious freedom all accidental-like. Once again, the “cure” proved inadequate, as the Senate rejected Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) amendment in favor of an irrelevant and legally ambiguous substitute.

Like Holmes, we can deduce from these silences that when social liberals ponder transforming life, marriage, and society, they give not one thought to the lives of newborn children, the nuclear family, or a Higher Power (Who, in His sovereignty, might restrain and hold them accountable for their actions). Their ideological fever to revolutionize everything from marriage to human nature blinds them to any negative consequences — or convinces them these results will be tolerable, even desirable.

That analysis would explain how Democrats omitted the word “God” from their 2012 platform and then booed when His Name was restored. It might make clear why candidate Joe Biden referred to the benevolent Creator as “you know, The Thing,” apparently likening Jehovah to a 1950s monster movie — much as the man most responsible for inflicting Biden on the nation, Barack Obama, regularly elided the Almighty from his quotations of our founding documents (which Obama demeaned as “the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day”).

A platform that doubles as a photographic negative of God’s Word might offer some insight into why the Left “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28).

Such hostility to the God of the Bible has led liberals into the legislative wilderness for two more years. One of the most overlooked upgrades the Republican congressional majority will have over previous management has gone unappreciated: Even the quality of legislative errors will improve.

The Democrats’ radical “oversights” should also warn every thoughtful statesman against hastily voting for any bill promoted by social liberals, lest they risk placing their own stamp of approval on polygamy, atheism, infanticide, or other evils they cannot see while blinded by left-wing bias.

Finally, the fact that many of these oversights come as news, even to well-informed conservatives, serves as an eloquent indictment of the nation’s Christians. It is not merely Sherlock’s dog that held its peace. The prophet Isaiah condemned the inert watchmen of his day as “blind,” “ignorant,” “greedy,” and “dumb dogs [who] cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” They “have no understanding” and look only unto their “own gain” (Isaiah 56:9-12; compare with John 10:11-12).

Like the self-serving shepherds of Isaiah’s day, too many people who know better did not expose the implications of these bills for the sake of political favoritism, for fear of offending the Facebook algorithm (and its sweet, remunerative traffic), or sheer timidity. Some modern evangelicals also love dreams — fantasizing of being hailed as the “reasonable” and “winsome” Christian, of their leftist overlords granting their children a safe haven from endless culture wars, even of being invited to “a seat at the table” to carve out their rights as an ideological minority. They may have even been promised these things — but then, empty promises were the one thing the devil never lacked.

The other side’s silences show their fealty to their masterplan. Let our speech prove our fidelity to our Master’s plan. Now is no time to remain silent.

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Political and Scientific Censorship Short-circuits the Quest for Truth

Those who seek to streamline online discourse, according to “official standards”, end up impoverishing public debate.


Over the course of the past decade, numerous regulatory authorities, both public and private, have increasingly positioned themselves as guardians of the integrity of our public sphere, standing watch over the content of information, and flagging or suppressing information deemed to be harmful, misleading, or offensive.

The zeal with which these gatekeepers defend their power over the public sphere became evident when billionaire Elon Musk promised to undo Twitter’s policy of censoring anything that contradicted leftist ideology or questioned the safety of Covid vaccines. There was an uproar, a wringing of hands, and lamentations, as “experts worried” that Twitter would collapse into a den of “far right” extremists and misinformers.

Sound and fury

Threats by the EU Commission to fine Twitter or even completely ban the app in Europe, if it did not enforce EU regulations on hate speech and misinformation, show that the hand-wringing over Twitter’s potential embrace of free speech is much more than empty rhetoric: the European Commission has declared its intention to force Twitter to revert to its old censorship policies if it does not play ball. According to Euronews,

The European Commission has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must do much more to protect users from hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content, or risk a fine and even a ban under strict new EU content moderation rules.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for digital policy, told the billionaire Tesla CEO that the social media platform will have to significantly increase efforts to comply with the new rules, known as the Digital Services Act, set to take effect next year.

Censorship has recently occurred principally on two fronts: Covid “misinformation” and “hate speech.” Some forms of censorship are applied by agencies of the State, such as courts and police officers; others by private companies, such as TwitterLinkedIn and Google-YouTube. The net effect is the same in both cases: an increasingly controlled and filtered public sphere, and a shrinking of liberty of discussion around a range of topics deemed too sensitive or “dangerous” to be discussed openly and freely.

Censorship, whether public or private, has proliferated in recent years:

  • First, there was Canada’s bizarre claim that people had an enforceable human right to be referred to by their preferred pronouns
  • Next, UK police were investigating citizens for using language the police deemed “offensive”
  • Then, we saw Big Tech giants, in particular Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, censoring perspectives that dissented from their version of scientific and moral orthodoxy on issues such as transgender rights, vaccine safety, effective Covid treatment protocols, and the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

Now, advocates of censorship have argued that it is all to the good that vile, hateful and discriminatory opinions, as well as every conceivable form of medical and scientific “misinformation,” are shut out of our public sphere. After all, this makes the public sphere a “safe” place for citizens to exchange information and opinions. On this view, we need to purge the public sphere of voices that are toxic, hateful, harmful, and “misleading” on issues like electoral politics, public health policies, and minority rights.

Thin ice

While there is a strong case to be made for censorship of certain forms of manifestly dangerous speech, such as exhortations to suicide or direct incitement to violence, the hand of the censor must be firmly tied behind his back, so that he cannot easily decide for everyone else what is true or false, just or unjust, “accurate” or “misleading”, innocent or offensive.

For once you hand broad, discretionary powers to someone to decide which sorts of speech are offensive, erroneous, misleading, or hate-inducing, they will start to purge the public sphere of views they happen to find ideologically, philosophically, or theologically disagreeable. And there is certainly no reason to assume that their judgement calls on what counts as true or false, innocent or toxic speech will be correct.

The fundamental mistake behind the argument for aggressive censorship policies is the notion that there is a set of Truths out there on contested political and scientific questions that are crystal clear or can be validated by the “right experts”; and that anyone who contradicts these a priori Truths must be either malicious or ignorant. If this were true, the point of public discussion would just be to clarify and unpack what the “experts” agree are the Truths of science and morality.

But there is no such set of pristine Truths that can be validated by human beings independently of a free and open discussion, especially on difficult and complex matters such as infection control, justice, climate change, and economic policy. Rather, the truth must be discovered gradually, through the vibrant back-and-forth of dialoguedebate, refutation, and counter-refutation. In short, public deliberation is fundamentally a discovery process. The truth is not known in advance, but uncovered gradually, as an array of evidence is examined and put to the test, and as rival views clash and hold each other accountable.

If we empower a censor to quash opinions that are deemed by powerful actors to be offensive, false, or misleading, we are effectively short-circuiting that discovery process. When we put our faith in a censor to keep us on the straight and narrow, we are assuming that the censor can stand above the stream of conflicting arguments, and from a position of epistemic and/or moral superiority, pick out the winning positions in advance.

We are assuming that some people are so smart, or wise, or virtuous, that they do not actually need to get their hands dirty and participate in a messy argument with their adversaries, or get their views challenged in public. We are assuming that some people are more expert and well-informed than anyone else, including other recognised experts, and may therefore decide, for everyone else, which opinions are true and which are false, which are intrinsically offensive and which are “civil,” and which are “facts” and which are “fake news.”

Needless to say, this is an extraordinarly naïve and childish illusion, that no realistic grasp of human nature and cognition could possibly support. But it is a naive and childish illusion that has been enthusiastically embraced and propagated by Big Tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in their rules of content moderation, and it is a view that is increasingly finding its way into the political discourse and legislative programmes of Western countries that were once champions of freedom of expression.

It is imperative that the advocates of heavy-handed censorship do not win the day, because if they do, then the public sphere will become a hall of mirrors, in which the lazy, self-serving mantras of a few powerful actors bounce, virtually unchallenged, from one platform to another, while dissenting voices are consigned to the shadows and dismissed as the rantings of crazy people.

In a heavily censored public sphere, scientifically weak and morally vacuous views of the world will gain public legitimacy, not because they have earned people’s trust in an open and honest exchange of arguments, but because they have been imposed by the arbitrary will of a few powerful actors.

This article has been republished from David Thunder’s Substack, The Freedom Blog.

AUTHOR

David Thunder

David Thunder is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Navarra’s Institute for Culture and Society. More by David Thunder

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EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

5 Unintended Consequences of Regulation and Government Meddling by Robert P. Murphy

Voters frequently support measures that sound noble and beneficial but end up causing serious mischief — and often hurt the very groups the measures were intended to help.

A well-known example is price controls, which include minimum wage laws and rent control. These can cause unemployment among low-skill workers and apartment shortages for those without connections.

But that’s not all. Not by a long shot.

Here are five more examples of unintended consequences.

1. “Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up”

The Endangered Species Act and other laws restrict how landowners can use their property if it is discovered that their actions may adversely affect vulnerable wildlife. Besides the injustice of violating property rights, this regulation produces perverse results.

Imagine a landowner in the Midwest who had plans to sell to an outside developer who wanted to build a shopping mall. One morning, a few days before closing the deal, the man is sipping coffee and looking off his back porch into the woods. He suddenly sees a woodpecker that he recognizes as a protected species. What will the man do, if he follows pecuniary incentives? Is he going to call up federal bureaucrats and tell them the good news?

No. The man will probably go get his gun and shovel and never speak of this incident to anyone.

2. Seat Belt Legislation Kills

In the typical debate over seat belt mandates — in which drivers can be heavily fined if caught driving without buckling up — advocates of liberty tend to stress individuals’ “right to be stupid” while others claim that public safety trumps absolute freedom. Ideology aside, do such laws make us safer?

Economist Sam Peltzman looked at the evidence after some states enacted seat belt legislation, while others did not. He found that drivers did buckle up more frequently because of the government penalties but that traffic fatalities were roughly unchanged.

True, the probability of dying in a car crash went down, if you were in a crash, because wearing a seat belt definitely helps you survive a typical accident. However, the states that passed the seat belt legislation saw anincrease in rates of traffic accidents. Because people felt safer, they drove just a little more recklessly. No individual driver wakes up and says, “I’m going to get in a fender bender today,” but with millions of people driving hours per day, 365 days per year, we will definitely see more accidents in the aggregate if people are even slightly more aggressive on the margin.

Peltzman found that total fatalities were about the same. The death rate for motorists crept down, but this was offset by a higher death rate among pedestrians and cyclists hit by cars. Some groups obviously did not benefit from the higher prevalence of seat belt usage.

3. Stricter Vehicle Fuel Economy Mandates Do Little for the Environment

The federal government imposes minimum corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards on certain vehicles. Some states wanted to “do more” for the environment, so they passed tighter mandates. In other words, states like California imposed higher mile-per-gallon requirements on cars sold in California than the federal government insisted on.

But the way the states structured their rules led to a significant “leakage.” If a car manufacturer increased the average fuel economy for its vehicles sold in California, for example, then those cars counted as part of its “fleet” in calculating the average fuel economy for its cars sold in the nation as a whole. The manufacturer could then get away with selling cars that had lower fuel economy in the states that did not supplement the federal rule, and they were still satisfying both state and national standards. Thus, the California rule as originally designed led to fewer emissions per vehicle-mile in California — but not nearly as much in the nation as a whole. Some economists estimated this “leakage” to be as high as 74 percent. The hodgepodge of standards simply raised the total costs of vehicles while doing little to reduce total US emissions.

4. Jane Jacobs Combats City Planning

Fans of Austrian economics should not be surprised to learn that Jane Jacobs, the champion of the American city, found several flaws with typical bureaucratic city planners. For example, zoning regulations broke up the spontaneous growth of cities into “residential” and “commercial” sections, spawning crime and other social ills.

Originally, apartments were interspersed with shops, so that the owners could always keep an eye on their businesses and on their children. This “natural surveillance” was destroyed with zoning and other regulations, not to mention the interstate highways that would rip neighborhoods apart and the austere “housing projects” that placed most adults far away from the street and thus unable to monitor and shoo away unsavory characters. Zoned neighborhoods became unsafe neighborhoods.

5. Three Strikes Mean You’re Out

In an understandable reaction to “liberal” judges who would give slaps on the wrist to repeat offenders, the 1990s saw a wave of automatic sentencing legislation to take away judges’ discretion. This included California’s famous 1994 “Three Strikes and You’re Out” rule (Proposition 184), where someone convicted of a third felony would get 25 years to life. Currently, 24 states have some form of “three strikes” legislation.

One problem with these rules is that many acts are felonies that most people would consider petty, such as bringing a smoke bomb to high school. In California, one man with two prior felony convictions was sentenced to 25 years to life for being with a friend who got caught selling $20 of cocaine to an undercover cop.

An unintended consequence of the “three strikes” rules is that someone with two prior felony convictions now has a serious incentive to evade arrest for a third. And in fact, empirical studies of Los Angeles data suggest that more police officers have been killed because of this effect.

The Upshot

Incentives matter. It’s not enough for voters to endorse legislation that has a nice title and promises to do something good. People need to think through the full consequences of a policy, because often it will lead to a cure worse than the disease.

Robert P. Murphy

Robert P. Murphy is senior economist with the Institute for Energy Research. He is author of Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action (Independent Institute, 2015).

Open letter to the voters of Florida on Common Core 3-30-15

Here’s a simple question for you to ask YOUR representative and Senator: “Are you representing your constituents and the children and educators of your district? Or do you just push the buttons they tell you to push?”

“Did you make a back room deal, or do you really believe (not!) that the education bill now presented actually helps alleviate the problems of Common Core and High Stakes Testing?” If you do, exactly what improvement was proposed? Then watch them squirm…

I CHALLENGE you to do this, and do it NOW. They will vote in session on April 1 (April fools day-how appropriate) for a bill that KEEPS COMMON CORE, KEEPS HIGH STAKES TESTING, KEEPS the contract with AIR ($220 million) in spite of the FSA failures, and still spends BILLIONS to administer computerized tests which benefits the corporate cronies (Bill Gates, Pearson, GE, George Soros, Rupert Murdock, Walmart, HP) who are funding Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign.

You know, I have spent a lot of time in the State Capitol talking with legislators to let them know we have been FOOLED by the many false claims by Bush, Rick Scott, and their sycophants about how GREAT Florida schools are- How we have “accountability,” “rigorous standards” and learning gains are enormous!

But we have shown them the REAL story comparing our students with nationally normed and validated tests that have been in use for decades, the ACT test. It shows Florida’s results in free fall since Jeb Bush took over since 1998. We are 5th from the bottom when compared to other states in this validated test which measures knowledge, not just test taking skills.

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The FCAT and FSA is a proprietary test which does NOT provide accountability to taxpayers and parents. It has no relationship to other states. Listen to what Senator Gaetz, a former superintendent of schools, now huge supporter of Jeb Bush says.

In committee January 7, 2015, Senator Gaetz said: http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/1715-senate-education-prek-12-committee/. At hour 1:15, after Commissioner Pam Stewart’s presentation.

“Here’s what I’ve learned today.”

  1. “We don’t know how much time is consumed by Statewide Assessments.”
  2. “We don’t know how much money it costs to perform state mandated tests.”
  3. “We don’t know whether tests that are performed by state mandate are valid and reliable.”
  4. “We’ve learned today that we have no contingency plan if there are problems with statewide assessments.”
  5. “We have not beta tested statewide assessments.”

Then he voted for it.

WHY? Knowing all that. there is only one answer. MONEY AND POWER! Leadership controls everything in Tallahassee. Our shadow leader is Jeb Bush. His puppets are hoping for Washington appointments, jobs, endorsements, campaign money or other “crumbs from Longshanks’ table.”

Jeb Bush’s special friends include, Rick Scott, Don and Matt Gaetz, John Legg, Steve Crisafulli, Eric Fresen, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Garrett Richter, Jack Latvala, Bill Galvano, Andy Gardiner, Blaize Ingoglia, Kelly Stargel, Janet Adkins, Marlene O’Toole and others you may find attending the Foundation for Excellence in Education, their favors funneling organization.

Ask your legislators if they attend their functions. Ask who paid for their travel, expenses, incidentals, and what happened at the meetings they had there with Bush’s cronies, Pearson, Gates and other vendors.

Now you know why and how your children, the future of Florida and the Nation, are being thrown under the bus. Will you stand quietly, or will you join us in holding THEM accountable for massive spending and purposely crippling our kids future?

CALL THEM NOW to stop this bill, HB7069 and SB616, and start over.  We pay them for solutions, not kicking the can down the road while our children are subject to State sponsored child abuse.

REAL solutions were presented in HB1121 and SB1496, but Jeb Bush controlled leadership killed these bills by not allowing them to be heard.  Bring them back and STAY there until you get it right.  We are watching.

RELATED ARTICLE: This Top Teacher Is Right: Common Core Is Wrong Solution

Florida Legislature begins 2015 Session with Introduction of Motorcycle Friendly Bills

The Florida Legislature started its 2015 session this week with the introduction of 10 bills aimed at distracted driving and two pieces of right-of-way legislation designed to protect vulnerable road users.

S.B. 908, introduced by Sen. Thad Altman (R-Cape Canaveral), would require all motorists, when passing vulnerable road users, provide a distance of at least 3 feet between the vehicle and the vulnerable road user. It also would require all accident reports to include information in the official report if a right-of-way violation led to a crash between a motorist and a vulnerable road user.

Under S.B. 908, if a motorist caused bodily injury to a vulnerable road user, the motorist would be required to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and would face a suspension of driving privileges for six months.

S.B. 1376, introduced by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Pensacola), would require that any motorist who commits a moving violation that causes serious bodily injury to a vulnerable user be required to pay at least a $1,500 fine, serve a minimum of 30 days of house arrest and attend a driver improvement course.

A vulnerable road user is defined under Florida law s. 316.027 as:

  1.  A pedestrian, including a person actually engaged in work upon a highway, or in work upon utility facilities along a highway, or engaged in the provision of emergency services within the right-of-way;
  2.  A person operating a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, or moped lawfully on the roadway;
  3. A person riding an animal; or
  4. A person lawfully operating on a public right-of-way, crosswalk, or shoulder of the roadway:
  • a. A farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use;
  • b. A skateboard, roller skates, or in-line skates;
  • c. A horse-drawn carriage;
  • d. An electric personal assistive mobility device; or
  • e. A wheelchair.

Additionally, legislators in Florida have introduced ten bills to reduce distracted driving. H.B. 1, H.B. 9, H.B. 17, H.B. 191, H.B. 1313, S.B. 192, S.B. 246, S.B. 270, S.B. 492 and S.B. 1022 would all limit cellphone use by drivers.

“With nearly 80 percent of crashes involving some form of distraction, the AMA supports legislation that provides an incentive for motor vehicle operators to focus their attention on driving,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations. “The text any driver wants to send is not worth hurting a motorcyclist.”

For more information on the bills please visit the AMA’s Florida state legislative page.

Please visit the AMA’s distracted driving position statement for more information on the topic.