Phoenix City Council Could Shoot Down COVID Vaccination Mandate

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Members of the Phoenix City Council are demanding a vote on a previous decision to adhere to President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

In response to City Manager Jeff Barton’s decision the city is considered a federal contractor and must adhere to Biden’s mandate, Councilwoman Ann O’Brien wrote Mayor Kate Gallego to demand the council has a say on the matter.

The mayor agreed with O’Brien and added the issue for consideration at a future meeting.

“I am not anti-vaccine; I am anti-mandates,” O’Brien said in her Nov. 24 announcement. “I am pro-personal choice and I believe that Phoenix employees will do the right thing and make decisions that are right for them and their families.”

Barton used the significant amount of federal dollars the city received to justify the decision to implement the Jan. 18 vaccination deadline.

“Due to the number of federal contracts held by the city of Phoenix, we are considered a federal contractor,” a letter from Barton read. “As such, all city employees are subject to the provisions outlined in the Executive Order, which requires all employees, regardless of telework status or if you previously tested positive for COVID-19, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation.”

In reaction to Barton’s edict, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) and the United Phoenix Firefighters Association Local 493 (UPFA) joined Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s lawsuit against Biden’s vaccination mandate. The addition of the unions expanded the legal challenge to include federal contractors.

Unless the federal contractors or employees prevail in their legal challenge to Biden’s mandate, vaccination holdouts among the city’s 13,000 workers – including police and firefighters – who do not receive an exemption face suspension and eventual termination. 

In a Nov. 22 letter to Barton, Councilman Sal DiCiccio warned the mandate would lead to a severe worker shortage that could put residents in danger.

“The decision will compromise vital city-wide services to our residents, including public safety, which this Council has been aware of the alarming crime data and how the city is struggling to hire and retain personnel,” DiCiccio wrote.

*****

This article was published on November 29, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Zuckerberg’s Election Meddling Could Be Emulated by Foreign Interests

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Facebook might be a cesspool filled with lies, vitriol, and organized disinformation campaigns, but is it more frightening than a billionaire-funded political consultant with, quite literally, the keys to an election?

 

Mark Zuckerberg’s invention opened U.S. elections up to manipulation by foreign powers that everyone should be aware of.

No, not Facebook. His other invention. The private funding of public election offices.

When Zuckerberg contributed roughly $400 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life to privately finance public election offices, he was the first person ever to do so. It was a strategy simply unheard of before 2020. And this second invention of the billionaire, who became famous for his serious effect on tech, had a serious effect on elections.

But, while speaking out against Facebook and the damage it’s done to democracy earns a segment on 60 Minutes, speaking out about Zuckerberg and his “zuckbucks” might find one labeled a conspiracy theorist.

The idea that Zuckerberg impacted elections in partisan ways through Facebook is almost universally accepted, but strangely the idea he did the same through the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) is somehow too farfetched. The reality is that CTCL impacted the 2020 election in ways Facebook never could, and legislators should be just as anxious to address “zuckbucks” as they are Facebook.

For proof, look no further than Wisconsin, where, in true Facebook fashion, one of CTCL’s “grant advisers” leveraged the terms and conditions of Zuckerberg’s funding to access information they had no right to see.

Reports show that Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, CTCL’s Wisconsin “grant adviser” who once worked as a Democratic consultant in New York, became “de facto elections chief” for Wisconsin’s five largest cities despite holding no office.

Spitzer-Rubenstein re-wrote the rules for ballot curing in Milwaukee, requested to be allowed to personally cure ballots in Green Bay, helped election administrators decide how ballots would be transported, rented the room where ballots were to be stored in Green Bay, and as was given the keys to the hotel convention room where absentee ballots in Green Bay were stored “days in advance” of the election. In fact, Spitzer-Rubenstein was so intrusive and domineering that the Green Bay City Clerk resigned just before the election in disgust after her superiors ignored repeated email complaints questioning the legality and ethics of Spitzer-Rubenstein’s involvement.

Facebook might be a cesspool filled with lies, vitriol, and organized disinformation campaigns, but is it more frightening than a billionaire-funded political consultant with, quite literally, the keys to an election?

The details of how CTCL funds were used in Wisconsin are disturbing, but more disturbing is the fact that it was all legal. Most disturbing is that anybody else is now free to do the same. Anybody.

Oil tycoons, hedge fund managers, banking executives, literally anybody can fund 501(c)(3) nonprofits like the Center for Tech and Civic Life, and they can do it anonymously since 501(c)(3)’s are not legally required to disclose their donors. Worse yet, they wouldn’t even have to be a U.S. citizen because there are no rules against foreign donors either.

A Russian oil-oligarch looking to cripple his U.S. competitors could create a charitable front-group to disproportionately fund election offices of more environmentally conscious counties in hopes they would shut down drilling. A foreign dictator hoping to lift economic sanctions could use a nonprofit cultural center to pay for an election office’s voter outreach campaign but provide much more money to counties where a senator or presidential candidate sympathetic to their plight is winning.

This may sound like modern day McCarthyism, but there are numerous examples of foreign actors influencing U.S. elections in both 2016 and 2020.

Hansjörg Wyss, for example, is a little-known Swiss billionaire who illegally gave thousands to PACs (which non-citizens are not allowed to do) more than 30 times over several years before the FEC caught on. In 2021, the New York Times called Wyss an “influential force among Democrats,” despite the fact that he can’t contribute to candidates or political parties, because he uses his private foundation to funnel tens-of-millions of dollars into “nonpartisan” political advocacy groups each year, many of them 501(c)(3)’s just like CTCL.

Just this year, accusations surfaced that Wyss once again broke election law due to his involvement with the Arabella Advisors network, along with reports that he attempted to purchase numerous U.S. newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, and the Daily News. Furthermore, leaked internal memos show that the Wyss Foundation developed a  $100 million “Democracy Strategy” that included funding get-out-the-vote drives and lobbying to change election laws, and shared it directly with John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, just before the 2016 election.

Wyss has no qualms about intervening in U.S. elections, and now that Zuckerberg has paved the way, Wyss might attempt to use his dark money network to follow suit. The same goes for the Russian government who famously tried to influence elections using targeted misinformation campaigns on Facebook in 2016, and the Iranian and Chinese governments who reportedly attempted to do the same in 2020.

It’s far from a conspiracy theory to say that “zuckbucks” gave Mark Zuckerberg a concerning level of influence over the 2020 election, and it’s just as reasonable to be worried that foreign interests will attempt to mimic Zuckerberg in the future. Luckily, dozens of states have put forward legislation to ban further private funding of election offices, but dozens more have yet to act. With 2022 fast approaching, time is running out for state legislatures to act, and if they don’t, our elections could be open to more interference and manipulation than ever before.

*****

This article was published on November 23, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Capital Research Center.

Whose Land Did Native Americans Steal Before Europeans Stole It From Them?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all know that history is not the left’s favorite subject. Many times, it’s just too inconvenient for their political narratives. Often, history has to be erased or submerged in order to achieve the “greater good” of creating a just and moral society.

In truth, it’s not much better on the right, although generally, the conservative take on American history is more nuanced. Christopher Columbus was an ass — a greedy, cruel, ambitious man who didn’t let anyone stand in his way to achieving riches and power, especially native people. But he was courageous enough to cross an unknown ocean in a rickety ship and with a mutinous crew.

Do his sins outweigh the good he’s done? Not our call. And certainly not the call of biased, cretinous leftists who don’t want to understand Columbus and only use his sins as illustrations in their little morality plays to condemn the entire “Age of Exploration.”

American history did not begin in 1492. There have been human beings residing in North America for at least 20,000 years and probably longer. But the people who crossed the Bering Sea land bridge from Asia to North America during the last Ice Age may not have been the first humans to arrive here. Recent DNA evidence shows that there have been several different migrations to North America with Native American tribes only being the most recent.

And that leads to the inescapable conclusion: the Native Americans who were present on the North American continent when Europeans arrived were not the same Native Americans who arrived 20,000 years ago. DNA evidence tracks the migration of one early American civilization — the Clovis people, so-called because the first tools and weapons were found in Clovis, New Mexico — and reveals that they thrived in both North and South America until about 8500 years ago…..

*****

Continue reading this article, published November 26, 2021 at PJ Media.

A Different Perspective: How Threat-Free Are Americans from Covid-19?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

At present, based on the most recent government data, only about three Americans in a thousand could conceivably transmit Covid-19 to someone. In other words, nearly 99.7 percent of people in the United States are currently no threat to anyone of spreading the virus. And despite the large case count, 24 out of every 25 cases are recovered, meaning not only that those people are no longer threats, but also that they now have the strongest form of immunity against Covid-19.

Those numbers may sound counterintuitive — or at least counter to the usual presentation of official Covid numbers. From the outset, media reports on Covid-19 have been calculated to stoke fear. Whether out of sensationalism for clicks, desire to shape political outcomes or panic in the pressrooms, media have offered an unrelenting diet of terror about the pandemic with little to no context. Experts spoke with impressive unanimity; anyone who dissented, regardless of impressive credentials, was quickly canceled. Economists who could discuss tradeoffs in policy choices were made especially scarce. For the 24-hour, round-the-clock news consumer (an incredibly self-defeating habit for anyone concerned about health), it would be impossible to escape the conclusion that death stalked us at every corner, let alone every restaurant table and school desk.

Adding to the panic is the problem of big numbers. Very big numbers sound daunting, but at some point, numbers get so big that people can no longer conceptualize them. For example, we are upset at now having to pay twice as much for a gallon of gasoline, and we worry the price could triple. But it’s difficult to wrap our heads around how many trillions of dollars are involved in congressional debates for President Joe Biden’s hazy plans.

Early on, international number-crunching outfits gobsmacked us all with enormous numbers of projected deaths. In turn, public health officials everywhere laid it on thick with talk of field hospitals soon to be set up everywhere, bandying about huge projections of people who would need hospitalization and warning that, at the very least, we would run out of ventilators and have to choose which of our neighbors deserved saving. Fear compounded upon fear as we consented to lockdowns and tried to figure out which Hollywood pandemic movie we were in for.

We were conditioned for the worst, and when the projections proved to be buncombe, our relief never progressed into righteous anger at having been played. Anyone who pointed out the massive disparity between the projections and reality was absurdly accused of not taking the virus seriously and trying to get people killed. In the meantime, the steady doom-drums of daily updated, ever-rising case and death counts constantly reinforced the perception of imminent threat.

The idea that nearly everyone recovers from this virus, as from other illnesses, rarely entered the news stories, let alone the minds of the terrified populace. As the total case numbers rose, quietly so did the number of those who had recovered and now were immune. Case numbers were also never placed in the context of an even much larger number: the population.

In short, people were vastly overexaggerating the number of their fellow citizens who had the virus as well as their own risk of contracting it and dying. People’s faces showed this terror when they ventured out, from wearing masks alone in their cars, dodging and staring at each other at grocery stores, even avoiding family and friends and forbidding their children from play. I’ll never forget the mountain hikers hastily pulling up masks whenever another human bounded into view, as if the old expression “fresh mountain air” had lost all meaning.

This over inflamed fear is itself unhealthy. People need a dispassionate assessment of risk in order to weigh their choices correctly. To listen to media and public-health bureaucrats, one would think that the threat of death and severe life impacts from Covid-19 is the only threat worth avoiding, but that was never true. Nevertheless, we have seen — and too many people have allowed — unprecedented government interventions aimed at managing the Covid threat to the exclusion of all others.

Those other threats had expanded, meanwhile, to include the deadly unintended consequences of lockdowns and other extreme government orders. They also included withheld but necessary medical treatments, either from non-Covid treatments being suspended or people being too afraid to seek treatment, which has been especially bad for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, but also bad for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and stroke. These other threats, furthermore, included increases in substance abuse, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and deaths of despair. Job loss, as well as school closings and isolation of young children, contributed to them, and all these carry long-term health implications, too.

For all those reasons, back in the summer of 2020 I started producing contextualized looks at Covid case numbers in my home state that I later started calling the “NC Threat-Free Index.” The idea was simply to offer context to the big, raw numbers and tamp down people’s fears to a healthy, warranted respect for the virus rather than unhealthy, unwarranted abject terror. Normally such a service would have been performed by media and government officials trying to stave off a panic.

Here I offer a threat-free index for the nation as a whole. There are several components, all easily derived from official government data. They include:

Presumed recovered: the number of convalescent people who have had a lab-confirmed case of Covid-19 and are no longer sick and infectious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers recovery to be generally 10 days post infection. For my index I have been rounding that to two weeks (14 days). The number of presumed recovered is generated, then, by taking the total number of cases from two weeks prior and subtracting out all deaths from or with Covid-19.

Active cases: the number of people currently with lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19. These are the people who could conceivably transmit the virus to others. The number of active cases is generated by taking the total number of cases and subtracting out presumed recoveries and deaths.

Deaths: the number of people who have died either from or with Covid-19.

Population: the daily U.S. population estimate provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The index states the above numbers also as proportions of the U.S. population.

Here are the threat-free index estimates as of November 15:

  • Presumed recovered: 45,265,569
  • Active cases: 1,118,866
  • Percent of total cases presumed recovered: 96.0%
  • Percent of total cases that are active: 2.4%
  • Percent of the total U.S. population with active cases of Covid: over 0.3%
  • Percent of the U.S. population to have died with or from Covid-19: over 0.2%
  • Percent of the U.S. population posing no threat of passing along COVID-19: nearly 99.7%
  • These are estimates, of course, and the data are incomplete. Also, the estimates will vary regionally, though not by much. Nevertheless, they give a close approximation of the current risk to a hypothetical person going out in public somewhere in the United States of encountering someone with a transmissible Covid infection.

    It’s a risk decidedly lower than what people have been made to believe. This belief, unhealthy in and of itself, has given way to tolerating dangerous government edicts while forestalling a grounded approach to individual risk assessment and management.

    Media-fed mass hysterias should remain the province of Orson Welles, which is to say, history.

    *****

    This article was published on November 26, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

    Horrific Waukesha Deaths Preventable Result of Ill-Considered Bail Policies

    Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

    After a summer of wildly destructive civil unrest followed by the looming shadow of the high-profile trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, residents of Wisconsin suffered another blow in the form of unspeakable tragedy.

    Five people were killed and more than 40 injured when a driver plowed through participants of an annual holiday parade, appearing to intentionally speed up and swerve into lines of marchers, before speeding off.

    Hours later, police arrested 39-year-old Darrell Brooks as the suspected driver of the vehicle. He is charged with five counts of homicide.

    Investigators are still looking into possible motives, including, according to some reports, the possibility that Brooks did not necessarily target the parade but was instead attempting to flee from a knife fight.

    Whether the act was intentional or merely reckless and without regard to others, one thing is already clear—what happened in Waukesha was entirely preventable.

    Darrell Brooks should have been in jail several times over. The devastation he wrought happened only because grossly reckless bail policies touted by local officials enabled the release of an unrepentantly violent man whose actions routinely placed members of the community in serious danger.

    Brooks is a career criminal with a long rap sheet. His history of violence—including violence toward women—is well documented, and wide-ranging.

    In 1999, Brooks pled guilty to felony battery with intent to cause bodily harm, and was sentenced to six months in jail and three years’ probation. Over the next seven years, Brooks had a series of short stints in jail for various drug and obstruction charges.

    In 2006, he was convicted of felony statutory sexual seduction for impregnating a 15-year-old girl. Brooks was 24 years old at the time. He was sentenced to probation and required to register as a sex offender.

    In 2010, Brooks pled no contest to felony strangulation and suffocation charges, as well as to violating the terms of his probation. He was sentenced to 11 months in jail and three more years of probation.

    Brooks spent much of 2011 and 2012 in jail, serving two separate 180-day sentences for charges of drug possession and bail jumping, and a 37-day sentence for misdemeanor resisting arrest.

    In 2016, Brooks was arrested and charged with failing to obey Nevada’s sex offender registration laws. He posted bail, then fled the state and never returned to court. He still has an active warrant out for his arrest in Nevada.

    In July 2020, Brooks was again arrested after allegedly getting into a fist fight with his nephew over a cellphone and then firing a gun at the nephew’s car as the nephew drove away. Arresting officers found Brooks still in possession of the firearm as well as a small amount of meth. He was charged with a slew of serious felonies, including possession of a firearm as a firearm and two counts of second-degree recklessly endangering public safety with the use of a firearm.

    Brooks’ bond was initially set at $10,000 but was quickly lowered to $7,500. He remained in custody until his Feb. 9 trial was postponed. His attorney then successfully argued for Brooks’ bail to be dropped even lower, and on Feb. 21, Brooks posted $500 bond and was released.

    On Nov. 5, with his 2020 charges still pending, Brooks was again arrested and charged with several serious felony offenses after a woman—reportedly the mother of Brooks’ children—told police that he purposefully ran her over with a vehicle after an argument. According to reports, the vehicular assault left tire marks on the woman’s pants and injured her so severely that she was hospitalized.

    Incredibly, despite two decades of violent behavior, an open felony warrant in Nevada, routine failures to abide by his probation or bond conditions, and an active case involving the violent use of a weapon, Brooks was allowed to post $1,000 cash bail. By Nov. 11, he was back in the community.

    When all relevant information comes to light about possible motive or premeditation, it seems incredible that no one could have reasonably foreseen that Brooks would commit this specific type of violence and leave this amount of carnage in his wake.

    Brooks’ propensity for violence and his lifetime spent disregarding the safety of others made a violent tragedy anything but unforeseeable.

    It also could have been foreseen that this kind of tragedy would inevitably occur as a result of the well-intentioned but ill-thought-out and poorly executed bail reform policies that progressives are putting into effect across the country.

    In fact, John Chisholm, the rogue George Soros-backed prosecutor in Milwaukee County who released Brooks when he should have sought no bail, issued a prophetic statement in 2007. He said: “Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into [a] treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody? … You bet. Guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to happen.” He went on to argue, though, that “does not invalidate the overall approach.”

    We disagree. And now that the dire consequences of these rogue prosecutors’ policies are sparking public backlash, Chisholm has called for an investigation into Brooks’ “inappropriately low” bond.

    Unfortunately, this is emblematic of the rogue prosecutor movement more generally. They take a criminal-first, victim-last, passing-the-blame approach.

    And while the consequences here were undoubtedly tragic, it’s far from the only example of rogue prosecutors’ lax bond policies wreaking havoc on their communities.

    In Philadelphia, for example, rogue District Attorney Larry Krasner’s policies led to the murder of Philadelphia Police Cpl. James O’Connor by an individual whom Krasner released through his lenient policies. Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain said, “The murder was the direct result of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s pro-violent defendant policies.”

    In Chicago, police have pointed to the “skyrocketing use of electronic monitoring as a key factor in the city’s shocking 50% rise in killings” last year.

    And no wonder. In Kim Foxx’s Chicago, there are apparently no consequences for violating bail terms. According to the Chicago Tribune, “About 400 people are charged every year with felony escape. During [her predecessor’s] last three years in office, she dropped a total of 55 such cases, compared with 420 for Foxx.”

    And then there’s San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin. As two of us (Cully and Zack) have previously written, “Since taking office, Boudin has also been criticized for releasing suspects with long criminal records who have gone on—surprise, surprise—to commit other crimes.”

    The events in Wisconsin were tragic. But the nightmare was a completely avoidable consequence of a criminal justice system run by Soros’ rogue prosecutors.

    *****

    This article was published on November 23, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

    Medicare Ads And Other Inane Policies

    Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

    We’ve all seen them, the Medicare TV ads exhorting seniors to apply for enhanced benefits. The government appears to be coaxing often reluctant retirees into greater dependence.

    But this is a colossally bad idea, even for those of us who support helping citizens in their sunset years. It stimulates greed (it’s freeeee!) and entitlement in the demographic which government programs have already made into the most wealthy. It expands the reach of government into our lives.

    But it’s worse than that. The ads are pitching benefits in a program already teetering on bankruptcy.  Americans were told that their mandatory payroll contributions were put in a fund to finance payouts in retirement, but that was a lie. Politicians raided the trust long ago and today’s retirees are dependent on the (inadequate) contributions of today’s payers – yes, like any other welfare program.

    The rational response would be reforms that include reducing expenses where possible. Instead, we spend untold millions to pump up program outlays. Not smart. Consequences to follow.

    But screeching Medicare ads aren’t the only government initiative which, partisan disagreements aside, simply don’t make sense. Take electric cars. They’re touted as a big key to a carbon-free future. We’re pouring public funds into subsidies, charging stations and other enticements for owners.

    We may disagree over the feasibility of carbon reduction strategies to ultimately reduce climate change, but it doesn’t matter. Electric cars aren’t the answer. They still require energy that must be produced somehow.

    The pollutants may come from an electricity generating plant instead of a car’s exhaust, but the damage done isn’t greatly different. The environmental costs of battery production and disposal as well as the extra power sources needed to service a national fleet of autos make EVs an environmental loser.

    But politicians use them anyway to bolster green credentials. Buyers like the subsidies, the perks, and driving a cool car. Manufacturers are joining the ranks of the uber-rich. So the beat goes on.

    EVs could have some environmental benefit if nuclear generation sourced their electricity. Once again, stupidity intervenes.

    The environmental Left decreed long ago that nuclear was off-limits. Nuclear power plants would henceforth be discouraged by excessive regulation and harassment. The strategy has basically worked, but it’s a shame.

    It’s still true that nuclear is by far the most environmentally friendly, non-emitting energy source available. Nuclear-producing France pays 50% less for energy with 10% the amount of pollution experienced by Germany, which sanctimoniously exited the nuclear market years ago.

    Here’s more lunacy. A year ago, America had finally achieved energy independence, after decades of kowtowing to Arab sheiks and oil-rich autocrats. Within days, the Biden administration returned us to supplicant status. Pipeline permits were canceled, offshore drilling cut back and even the remote ANWR oil deposits were shut down.

    Meanwhile, with our consent, Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline was approved, which will dominate Western Europe’s natural gas supplies. Biden unsuccessfully begged OPEC to increase oil production, so US gas prices have predictably skyrocketed and a cold winter looms.

    Again, the environmental benefits of our foolishness are nil. Pipelines are the most environmentally safe way of transporting natural gas. The fuels from Russia and the Middle East are no cleaner than ours.

    We have more inane policies. Children too young to vote, drink, smoke, or drive are now permitted to change their socially constructed gender by irreversibly altering their bodies-without parental consent.

    $450,000 payouts are seriously proposed for illegal immigrants who were separated from their children in a humane effort to avoid mixing children with adults during detention. In spite of causing no known harm, GMO bans limit the amount of food available to starving Africans.

    The driving force for these nutty, harmful policies is the relentless pursuit of electoral success by pandering to special interest groups. We’ve come a long way from Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a “wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another…“.

    Listen to political analysts uncritically predicting the fate of multi-trillion-dollar spending bills based solely on how the vote would affect legislators’ prospects for remaining in office another term.

    It’s disgraceful, but we expect no more, so that’s what we get.

    ****

    Thomas C. Patterson, MD is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, Arizona state Senator and Arizona Senate Majority Leader in the ’90s. He is a former Chairman, Goldwater Institute

     

    Comrade Down: Senate Forces Biden to Dump OCC Nominee, Lenin Scholar

    Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

    Five Senate Democrats tell Biden they won’t back Lenin scholarship winner Saule Omarova

    Five Senate Democrats told the White House late Wednesday they will not support Lenin scholarship recipient Saule Omarova to serve as Comptroller of the Currency, nuking her chances to serve as the country’s bank regulator.

    The Democrats—Sens. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.), Mark Warner (D., Va.), and John Hickenlooper (D., Colo.)—join all Senate Republicans in opposition to Omarova, who came under scrutiny over her proposals to use the banking system to “bankrupt” the oil and gas industry and her education in the Soviet Union. Axios reported Wednesday that the Democrats informed the White House they will not support Biden’s nominee.

    The failed nomination marks a major setback for progressives, who championed Omarova over her criticism of big banks and fossil fuel companies. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) hailed Omarova’s nomination as “tremendous news.” The left-wing Sierra Club touted Omarova as a bulwark against “climate chaos” and hoped she would set up “guardrails against Wall Street’s risky fossil fuel investments.”

    *****

    More Arizona Officials Lean on Ben and Jerry’s Over Anti-Israel Stance

    Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Another Arizona official is using his office to voice opposition to ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s over its boycott of Israel’s occupation of territories occupied by Palestinians.

    Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced said he’s joined 11 other states in urging Unilever and its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., to reverse their decision to boycott the State of Israel.

    “We must defend the laws of our states and oppose attempts by global corporations to engage in economic warfare against the State of Israel,” Brnovich said.

    Attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia also signed on to the letter.

    “Despite the fact that the policies of most U.S. States opposing the boycotts of Israel are widely known, Unilever has embarked on an unfortunate and financially misguided path of testing our states’ resolve by refusing to stop Ben and Jerry’s from boycotting selected regions within the State of Israel,” the letter read.

    Vermont-based Ben and Jerry’s announced July 19 it no longer would sell its products in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. It referred to the areas as “Occupied Palestinian Territory” in its announcement.

    “We reject and repudiate all forms of hate and racism,” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement. “Our decision to exit the OPT was based on our belief that it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s to be present within an internationally recognized illegal occupation. Speaking and acting on our values is neither anti-Israel nor antisemitic.”

    The company will continue to sell ice cream in Israel, however.

    Arizona Treasurer Michelle Yee announced Sept. 7 she would divest state funds from Unilever over Ben and Jerry’s stance. New Jersey, New York, Texas and Florida have done the same, according to the attorney’s general letter to Unilever.

    *****

    This article was published on November 26, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

    NIH Director Suggests Law Enforcement ‘Track Down’ Spreaders of Online ‘Disinformation’ on Vaccines

    Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Editors’ Note: Whether the Left disagrees with the celebration of Thanksgiving, the right of self-defense, school curricula, or the debate about governmental policies relative to Covid, it is clear what all Leftists share is a disdain for individual opinions and actions. More than just a viewpoint, almost always they want law enforcement to go after those with whom they disagree. It is truly a totalitarian response. One can disagree, without having to shut down, cancel, or prosecute those with whom one might disagree. They wish to be the authority on all that is factual and true and enforce sanctions on those that disagree with them. To them, we are either all idiots that must be protected by them, or we are all insurrectionists that must be punished. We are sure Dr. Collins is likely a nice fellow, but his disdain for anyone that sees the world differently than he, is plainly evident here. He is likely not even aware of how totalitarian are his own instincts. Because he wears a white jacket in no way empowers him to rule over us without our consent. Maybe some modest circumspection is due on his part. If the government had not been so contradictory in many of the things it has said in the name of science, if the rules they have imposed made common sense, if the rules respected our liberties; perhaps there would not be so much resistance to governmental diktat. Some years ago, we were warned about letting the government fund our healthcare. People were attracted by the idea of “free stuff”, not realizing that which the Federal Government subsidizes, it will control. And control it does, even as to our thoughts about medicine.

     

    National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins stressed the dangers of incorrect claims regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and suggested tracking down spreaders of vaccine misinformation in an interview with NPR on Sunday.

    “The thing that worries me most is the way in which misinformation and, frankly, disinformation has become so prominent in the face of a public health crisis,” Collins told NPR. “And it has been manipulated in some situations for political reasons in a fashion that is turning our culture wars into something really serious.”

    When asked whether misinformation is “the deadliest disease,” Collins responded affirmatively, encouraging repercussions for those who intentionally spread false claims about the vaccines.

    “I really think they are the ones that we ought to be trying to track down and figure out, why are you doing this?” Collins said. “And isn’t there some kind of justice for this kind of action?”

    Collins went on to suggest that vaccine disinformation should be viewed as a threat to public safety and implied support for taking legal action to prevent it.

    “Isn’t this like yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater?” Collins asked. “Are you really allowed to do that without some consequences?”

    The NIH did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment regarding whether Collins’ remarks represent the agency’s position.

    Collins’ comments echo remarks made by other health officials, including Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who called for tech companies to crack down on vaccine misinformation.

    President Joe Biden said Facebook was “killing people” for not adequately removing vaccine misinformation from its platform, while press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House was flagging posts for social media companies to remove.

    *****

    This article was published on November 22, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

    China’s ‘Morally Bankrupt’ Olympics

    Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

    The disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai this month has led many around the world to question the holding of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Games are scheduled to begin February 4.

    Now, only the morally bankrupt could think it is a good idea to allow the hostage-taking, rapist-protecting, genocide-committing Chinese regime to host this competition.

    It is now time for the world to face the reality of the Communist Party of China and the horrific system it has constructed. There is only one correct choice: Move the Games.

    For decades, people overlooked the great crimes of Chinese communism because they had hoped that it would, over time, evolve and become benign. When “reformer” Deng Xiaoping shoved aside Hua Guofeng, Mao Zedong’s chosen successor, and engineered at the end of 1978 the historic Third Plenum, outsiders thought they were seeing a new—and far superior—”New China.”

    In fact, as the Communist Party embarked on gaige kaifang—the policy of “reform and opening up”—the regime both moderated its foreign policy and relaxed or eliminated totalitarian social controls. Then, optimism ruled.

    But not now. The current ruler has reversed trends that many outsiders—as well as the Chinese people themselves—welcomed. The ruling group, never benevolent, has become even more monstrous under Xi Jinping.

    Enter Ms. Peng, sporting hero and darling of the Chinese public. On November 2, she posted on Weibo, often called China’s Twitter, an accusation that Zhang Gaoli, aided by his wife, pressured her into providing sex.

    The charge was unprecedented in the history of the People’s Republic of China. Zhang was once a senior leader, a vice premier who also served from 2012 to 2017 on the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, the highest ruling body in the country.

    Peng’s posting was removed within a half-hour, and the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion—Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014—herself disappeared.

    On November 17, China Global Television Network (CGTN), the international arm of the Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television, released the text of an e-mail, in English, purportedly written by Peng. In that message—correctly described by many as “creepy”—she said she was “fine.” Peng also said the “news” released by the Women’s Tennis Association “including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true.” Almost nobody believes that the message is both authentic and not the result of coercion.

    Next, on November 19 a CGTN commentator posted on Twitter three photos of Peng, purportedly first released by the tennis star’s friend on the popular Chinese app WeChat. Peng in the pictures looks happy playing with a cat and stuffed animals, including a panda.

    Then Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Communist Party’s Global Times tabloid, on November 19 said on Twitter that Peng “will show up in public and participate in some activities soon.”

    Hu was prescient. On the following day, he posted two videos purporting to show Peng in a restaurant this month. The conversation at the table indicates that the videos were shot on November 20. The conversation, however, is stilted, obviously scripted to highlight the date it supposedly took place.

    Finally, Hu posted a video of a smiling Peng at a tennis event in Beijing, supposedly taken on the morning of November 21.

    Peng is not the only high-profile figure detained in recent months. Businessman Jack Ma, citizen journalists Zhang Zhan and Chen Qiushi, and celebrity Zhao Wei were all disappeared. Consider it a pattern.

    Xi Jinping’s China is far more coercive and secretive than the China of the preceding three decades, suggesting the regime is returning to its old ways. Mao and Mao-admirer Xi reflect the true nature of Chinese communism.

    That regime, now dominated by Xi Jinping, is a threat to athletes coming to China to compete, as the Peng incident demonstrates. “Athletes are useful to the Communist Party as long as they are tools of the state,” Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Gatestone. “If they try to be individuals, they become a liability. The state will destroy the individual if that person is any risk to the Party.” As Paskal, also associated with Chatham House, notes, Peng now poses a risk to the regime.

    That is why the regime will make Peng publicly retract the accusations or destroy her. The individual means nothing in China’s current system. Too many times, state television has aired ghastly confessions of obviously worn-down individuals.

    President Joe Biden on November 18, in response to a reporter’s question in the Oval Office, said he is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games. Senator Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican, has just called for “a complete and total boycott.”

    There are many reasons to boycott or move the Olympics from Beijing. So far advocates of such actions have focused on the Communist Party’s genocidal policies against Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities and its other crimes against humanity. Of course, no ruling group that organizes rape, slavery, mass detention, torture, killings, and organ harvesting should be permitted, among other things, to host international sporting events.

    The International Olympic Committee maintains that these atrocities are none of its business. Yet the protection of athletes is. Peng’s detention tells us athletes will not be safe in China. The Games, after all, are first and foremost about the competitors, and their personal safety must be the primary concern.

    Paskal points out that holding the Games in China goes against the whole concept of Olympic competition. “The Olympics are about individuals striving to be their best,” she says. “That is antithetical to the Communist Party, which is about the subservience of the individual to the goals of the state.”

    Even at this late date, it is time to boycott or move the Games from China.

    *****

    This article was published on November 21, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Gatestone Institute.