Commentary: The True Origins of ‘America First’

What were America’s founders and their followers trying to foster and preserve by their conduct among nations? What were they trying to put first? Why did the Progressives turn away from these concerns? What did they put first? How dismissive were they of reality? What have been Progressivism’s effects on how America has fared among nations? How have changes in the world and in America itself made it impossible to continue on the Progressive’s course? How would John Quincy Adams and those following his principles manage America’s present international situation?  

By what principles might today’s statesmen put America First?

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Metro Nashville Police Department Deputy Chief Running for Political Office Appears to Be in Violation of Department Policy, Wearing Uniform Off-Duty

A Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Deputy Chief who is running for political office in his home of Sumner County, appears to be violating department policy by wearing his police uniform while off-duty.

MNPD Deputy Chief Chris Taylor, who as a resident of Sumner County is currently a member of the Sumner County Board of Commissioners, is running in the May 3 Republican primary for the office of Sumner County Mayor.

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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson Blasts Biden Family as ‘Grifters,’ ‘Influence Peddlers’ Who Jeopardize Security

Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) on Wednesday derided the Biden family as “grifters” and “influence peddlers,” as more evidence emerges of questionable business deals involving President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and brother, James.

“They knew exactly what they were doing,” Johnson told “Just the News — Not Noise.” “They were using Vice President Biden’s position and his name to peddle influence, and rake in, vacuum in millions of dollars from all over the world

“The Bidens are grifters. They’re influence peddlers. They’ve made millions. They’ve compromised themselves, and they’ve compromised America’s national security.”

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Minnesota House DFL Pitches $1.15B Increase in Education Spending Using State Surplus

Catrin Wigfall

Minnesota House DFL committee chairs on Monday pitched a $1.15 billion increase in education funding for fiscal year 2023 and $2.12 billion in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.

The Minnesota House Education Finance, Policy and Early Childhood committees proposed using the state’s historic budget surplus for the increases.

Center of the American Experiment Policy Fellow and Educated Teachers MN Director Catrin Wigfall told The Center Square in an emailed statement Monday that the House plan won’t help.

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Commentary: The Nihilism of the Left

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

The last 14 months have offered one of the rare occasions in recent American history when the hard Left has operated all the levers of federal government. The presidency, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the permanent bureaucratic state are all in progressive hands. And the result is a disaster that is uniting Americans in their revulsion of elitists whose crazy ideas are tearing apart the fabric of the country.

For understandable reasons, socialists and leftists are usually kept out of the inner circles of the Democratic Party, and especially kept away from control of the country. A now resuscitated Bernie Sanders for most of his political career was an inert outlier. The brief flirtations with old-style hardcore liberals such as George McGovern in 1972 and Mike Dukakis in 1988 imploded the Democratic Party. Their crash-and-burn campaigns were followed by corrective nominees who actually won the presidency: Southern governors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Such was the nation’s innate distrust of the Left, and in particular the East Coast elite liberal. For nearly half a century between the elections of John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, it was assumed that no Democratic presidential candidate could win the popular vote unless he had a reassuring Southern accent.

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Whitmer Vetoes Michigan GOP Election Bills

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed two bills that aimed to keep voter roll lists updated – a security risk flagged by the state auditor in 2019.

House Bill 4127 and House Bill 4128 aimed to require the Secretary of State to send notices to registered electors with an unknown date of birth in the Qualified Voter File and to those who haven’t voted since the 2000 general election, within 90 days of the bill’s effective date. 

That registered elector would have to sign the notice, add a date of birth, and mail back a copy of an original birth certificate, current driver’s license, or state personal ID card.

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House Passes National Marijuana Legalization Bill

Person making a marijuana joint

The Democrat-led House on Friday passed legislation to legalize marijuana nationwide, eliminating the longstanding criminal penalties for those who distribute and possess it.

The bill passed primarily along party lines (220-204), with all but three Republicans voting ‘no,’ and all but two Democrats voting ‘yes.’

The legislation will now head to the Senate where it will likely face an uphill battle toward passage, but has a powerful ally in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is working with several of his colleagues to introduce a twin bill sometime this spring.

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Measure to Allow Gambling in Georgia Advances

interior of a casino with slot machines

Georgia voters soon could decide whether to allow sports wagering and casino gambling.

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee signed off this week on versions of Senate Resolution 135 and Senate Bill 142. If approved, voters could decide on the measures as soon as November.

Legalizing sports wagering and casino gambling in The Peach State has been an on-again-off-again proposition for years. The passage of the most-recent legislation could face long odds as the state Legislature is in its final days.

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Survivors of Communism Warn About America’s Future: ‘Americans Became Soviet’ Through Cowardice

Soviet monument, Pyramiden Spitsbergen Svalbard

Survivors of communism are concerned about America’s future as they see Marxism spreading in academia and Americans being too cowardly to speak out and stand up against the ideology.

Human Events and the Liberty Forum of Silicon Valley recently hosted “Paying The Price: Victims of Communism Panel,” in which five survivors of communist regimes shared their stories and warned about where America appears headed.

Tatiana Menaker, a refusenik who escaped from the Soviet Union after not being allowed to emigrate, said that when she attended San Francisco State University, she “found such brainwashing machine of Marxism, which I even didn’t have in Russia, in the Soviet Union. American professors are all in delirium of Marxism.”

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Jen Psaki Will Leave White House Podium for MSNBC: Report

Jen Psaki

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will reportedly depart her official administration job this spring and join MSNBC, according to a report from Axios.

Psaki has been rumored to be in discussions with corporate media outlets for months. Her White House departure is also no surprise; the mother of two always expressed a desire to stick with her current role for about a year before pursuing other options.

Axios reports that Psaki has been in close contact with the White House counsel’s office about her imminent departure and has not signed any contracts that would put her in messy ethics territory. Though, sources say that Psaki has shared her plans to join MSNBC with some senior White House officials – the deal is reportedly close to being finalized.

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Already Stretched Thin, Border Agents Must Now Use Politically Correct Pronouns Under New Edict

Battered by COVID-19, waves of illegal immigrants and fears of even larger surges ahead, Customs and Border Protection officers have a new burden: they must now be sure to use proper pronouns for LGBTQI+ migrants.

The new requirement was included Thursday at the bottom of a much larger announcement by the Homeland Security Department concerning changes instituted on International Trans Day of Visibility.

“Facilitating effective communication at U.S. ports of entry and beyond: CBP has provided a job aid and memorandum to all staff that will serve as a guide for facilitating effective communication with the diverse public CBP serves, including LGBTQI+ individuals,” the agency said.

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Iowa House Passes Bill Requiring Schools to Post Curriculums, Materials Online for Parent Review

The Iowa House voted 60-30 in favor of passing a bill that would require Iowa public and charter schools to post their curriculum and books online for parents to review.

Some educators have argued that the bill (HF2577) will limit their ability to “adapt and meet the individualized needs of their students.”

The bill will give parents the ability to review instructional materials and request that their children opt out of certain reading materials. If the schools materials do end up changing, teachers will be required to update the information online by week’s end or be subject to a fine between $500-$5,000.

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Commentary: More Problems Envelop the Scandalous FBI

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - Minneapolis Field Office

“You’re in big f*****g trouble.”

So said an FBI agent to Julian Khater, one of two men accused of assaulting Capitol police officers with pepper spray on January 6, during a tense interrogation last year. Desperate to sustain the falsehood that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed by Trump supporters during the Capitol protest, the FBI claimed to possess video footage that showed Khater and his friend, George Tanios, attacking Sicknick and other officers with chemical spray. Khater was arrested on an airplane at the Newark airport on March 14, 2021 after he arrived home from a trip to Florida.

For more than two hours—shackled to a metal bar in a freezing room at the New Jersey FBI field office—Khater, who has no criminal record, was interrogated without a lawyer present. FBI Special Agent Riley Palmertree refused to tell Khater why he was under arrest until he agreed to proceed without counsel in the room, which Khater reluctantly did. Recently released video confirms Khater initially told the agents he “would feel more comfortable if I had a lawyer” answering questions on his behalf. An hour later, Khater again said he wanted his lawyer.

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Fox News Announces Caitlyn Jenner as New Contributor

Caitlyn Jenner

Olympic gold medalist and former reality TV star Caitlin Jenner has signed on as a Fox News contributor, CEO Suzanne Scott announced Thursday, coinciding with the “International Transgender Day of Visibility.”

Scott said: “Caitlyn’s story is an inspiration to us all. She is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community and her illustrious career spans a variety of fields that will be a tremendous asset for our audience.”

Jenner, who was known as Bruce before coming out as a transgender woman in 2015, ran as a Republican for governor of California last year.

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Joe Biden Underwater with Crucial Constituency in Arizona, Per Polling

President Joe Biden won Arizona in the 2020 presidential election, with one category of voter putting him over the top. 

After being in office for more than 14 months, Biden’s approval in the state has slipped. He has a 40% approval rating, while 55% disapprove of him, according to an Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights (OHPI).

Biden’s approval rating among independents, however, was even worse; just 34% of them approved of the job he is doing, while 59% disapproved. Of those, independents strongly disapprove of the most popular category; 41% strongly disapprove of the job Biden is doing in office.

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It’s Official: Sarah Palin Making Political Comeback by Running for Open Alaska House Seat

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, the Alaskan original who made Momma Grizzly Bears a political term of art as governor and then as the GOP’s first female vice presidential candidate, is officially making a political comeback.

Palin, 58, announced Friday night she will run for the open House seat vacated in Alaska by the death of longtime Rep. Don Young.

“Public service is a calling, and I would be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, just as Rep. Young did for 49 years,” Palin said in her announcement. “I realize that I have very big shoes to fill, and I plan to honor Rep. Young’s legacy by offering myself up in the name of service to the state he loved and fought for, because I share that passion for Alaska and the United States of America.

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Commentary: A Biden Recession Is Virtually Guaranteed After 10-Year, 2-Year Treasuries Spread Inverts as Economy Overheats from Rampant Inflation

Joe Biden

The spread between 10-year treasuries and 2-year treasuries, a leading recession indicator whose inversions have predicted almost all of the U.S. economic recessions in modern history, on March 31 inverted for the first time since Sept. 2019.

When the 10-year, 2-year spread inverts, a recession tends to result on average 14 months afterward, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. The one time there was a head fake on the 10-year, 2-year was in the mid-1990s at a time when inflation was much lower Visit Site than it is now.

As an aside, potentially the Sept. 2019 inversion might have ended up being a premature indicator, too, but then Covid and global economic lockdowns in early 2020 went ahead and ensured a recession even if one was not due. On the other hand, at that point it had been 11 years since the prior recession and so the business cycle was going to end sooner or later.

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Commentary: BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Warns Environmental, Social and Governance Investors Ukraine War Will ‘Slow the World’s Progress Toward Net Zero’ in Near Term

Larry Fink

Blackrock CEO Larry Fink warned Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investors in his $10 trillion hedge fund’s annual shareholder letter that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and the resulting Western sanctions on Russia — had disrupted globalization and interdependent supply chains and would result in “increasing oil and gas supply” in the U.S. and “coal consumption may increase over the next year” in Europe and Asia to offset the drop in Russian exports.

As a result, Fink projected, “This will inevitably slow the world’s progress toward net zero in the near term,” referring to ESG goals like net zero global carbon emissions by 2050 that would encounter challenges, particularly as American consumers pay much higher prices with consumer inflation up 7.9 percent and producer inflation up 10 percent the past twelve months.

Those price pressures will mean more oil and gas production immediately, Fink said.

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Analysis: The Biden Admin’s Drastic Gas Price Increases Date Back to His First Day in Office

Person filling up red car with petrol/gasoline

pump prices have climbed throughout his tenure.

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has destabilized global energy markets, causing an historic supply crunch, high gasoline prices have been the norm throughout Biden’s first 14 months, federal data showed. Experts have blamed the high prices on the administration’s energy and climate policies disincentivizing domestic fossil fuel production.

Since Russia’s invasion, gasoline prices have increased more than 20%, from $3.53 per gallon to $4.24 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. However, pump prices increased a whopping 48.4% between Biden’s January 2021 inauguration and Feb. 21, three days before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine.

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Commentary: America’s Domestic Politics Hampers Ability to End Ukraine War

family with signs protesting the war on Ukraine

In my past role as founder and CEO of Varsity Brands, I came across every old business adage in the book.  Some were cheesy, some were over simplified, but many had wisdom as their foundation.  One such phrase that’s commonly used is, and with which I struggled because of my compassion for my employees, is, “Don’t bring your problems from home into the office with you.”    

There is a variation of that phrase that should be introduced to our political leaders in Washington, albeit a bit too late.  Their version of the “leave it at the doorstep” rule needs to be, “Leave your domestic political problems at your shores when conducting foreign policy.”

It is the violation of that rule, committed by members of the Democrat Party, the mainstream media, and never-Trump Republicans, that has put the United States in a position of pure international impotence with regard to playing a meaningful role in ending the current war between Russia and Ukraine.  We are unable because of our recent obsession in trying to manufacture a collusion narrative between former President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

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Republicans Outraise Democrats by 75 Percent in Wisconsin Assembly Races

Campaign finance requirements govern how much money candidates may receive from individuals and organizations, how often they must report those contributions, and how much individuals, organizations, and political entities may contribute to campaigns.

While campaign finance is not the only factor in electoral outcomes, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages during a campaign. Fundraising can also indicate party momentum.

This article lists top fundraisers in the Wisconsin State Assembly, overall and by party. It is based on campaign finance reports that officeholders in and candidates for the Assembly submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. It includes activity between January 1, 2021, and January 31, 2022.

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Phoenix Nets Most Inbound Movers, Study Finds

Phoenix home

People are moving to Arizona in droves, especially the Phoenix area.

Last year, the Phoenix metro area took the top spot nationwide in terms of the number of people moving to the city compared to the rate at which people were leaving the city, according to a study conducted by Allied.

Meanwhile, Arizona as a whole was a popular state for people to move to, even outside of the Phoenix metro area; it ranked fifth among inbound states in the country last year. States that ranked ahead of Arizona on the list included: South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida. Meanwhile, Arizona ranked ahead of Texas on the list.

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Commentary: The ‘Trump Won’ Movement Will Be Vindicated

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

Imagine if, following the disputed 2016 presidential election, the recently sworn-in President Donald Trump had sicced his Justice Department, hand-in-hand with allies in Congress and state governments throughout the country, after his Democratic political opponents who maintained that his election was the work of Russian interference.

Although the claim that Trump was a Russian asset was laughably false, and the subsequent investigation into those spurious claims damaged the federal government’s credibility in immense and perhaps irreparable ways domestically and internationally, applying criminal penalties to the promulgation of that theory would have been wrong, anti-American, and contrary to the First Amendment. In keeping with his stalwart defense of American values, President Trump made no directive to the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against these Democrats.

Similarly, his Republican predecessor allowed Democrats to freely “challenge an election”: Democrats had previously contested the 2000 election by claiming that George W. Bush was “selected, not elected” as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore. A smaller minority contested Bush’s reelection in 2004, alleging irregularities in Ohio and elsewhere.

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Congressman Demands Internal Records from Facebook and Twitter over Suppression of Hunter Biden Laptop Story

Hunter Biden

On Thursday, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) demanded that Big Tech companies Facebook and Twitter preserve all internal documents related to the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Issa’s office sent letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, Facebook communications director Andy Stone, and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The letters all ordered the companies to “immediately initiate document preservation for all materials relating to questions, inquiry, conversation, strategy, and response to the media reporting of the Hunter Biden laptop and/or its contents that first appeared in the New York Post on October 14, 2020.” The companies were additionally instructed to notify employees, consultants, and subcontractors who may have access to the relevant information.

Issa’s requests are in reference to an apparently coordinated campaign by Big Tech companies and the mainstream media to suppress the bombshell story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. First reported on by the New York Post, the story broke less than one month before the 2020 election in which Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, was running against incumbent President Donald Trump. The laptop in question, retrieved from a repair shop in Delaware, contained numerous damning documents, photos, and videos depicting Hunter’s foreign business dealings through his father’s political connections, as well as Hunter’s personal habits involving drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.

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Commentary: Ukraine and the RINO Delusion

“We have two parties… One is the Evil Party and the other is the Stupid Party… Occasionally the two parties get together to do something that’s both evil and stupid. That’s called bipartisanship.”
— M. Stanton Evans

The Stupid Party strikes again.

Just one short month ago, Republican leaders and strategists were salivating over the prospect of a GOP blowout in the approaching midterms, as Joe Biden lurched from disaster to disaster. The debacle of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, raging inflation, an uncontrolled invasion at the southern border, crushing vaccine and mask mandates, and the utter failure to control COVID as promised all contributed to an apparent death spiral in the polls for Biden. With even mainstream media outlets acknowledging that the president’s polling numbers had rapidly cratered to unprecedented lows (with no bottom in sight) only one year into a new administration, it appeared that all Republicans needed to do to win big in November was to stay out of the way while the Democrats self-destructed.

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Wisconsin Gov. Evers Signs Bill Appropriating $883K to Promoting Dairy Exports

Gov. Tony Evers

Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $883,000 for a new agricultural exports program to promote dairy products.

The tab results from a bill signed by Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, which was National Agriculture Day.

Wisconsin Act 207 (Senate Bill 827) requires the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to apply the existing, unused appropriation for a newly created agricultural exports program.

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Commentary: Soros Mindset Invades Nashville

Sarah Beth Myers and George Soros

Obviously, a multitude of factors are at play, but if you had to pick one man most responsible for the massive increase in crime of all sorts in American cities over the past few years, from pervasive looting to assault (sexual or otherwise) to murder, it would be billionaire investor George Soros.

Through his Open Society Foundations—described as “the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights”—plus various other entities, sub-entities, and cutouts, Soros has financed the political campaigns of numerous district attorneys and attorneys general across the country.

All of them were leftists, working from a principle of minimal, if any, incarceration or bail in any but the most extreme situations—and often in what most of would assume was extreme. The perpetrator, most probably, they assume, is the product of a miserable childhood, and therefore worthy of more sympathy than the victim. That many who had equally miserable childhoods still are able to function as law-abiding adults is evidently of little consequence to these DAs and AGs.

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Maricopa County Attorney to Resign amid Controversy

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel

The lead lawyer for the third-largest prosecutorial body in the U.S. will resign at the end of the week, her office announced Monday.

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel said her last day in office would be Friday. 

“I am confident that the important mission of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will continue,” she said in a statement, offering no explanation for the resignation.

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Commentary: A Trump-Hating Backer of Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee Is Married to the Top January 6th Prosecutor

Fatima Goss Graves and Matthew Graves

Confirmation hearings for D.C. Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden’s first U.S. Supreme Court nominee, began Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. During an event in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning, activists gathered to rally on behalf of the nominee who could be the first black woman seated on the nation’s highest court.

“It’s also, for so many of us, a moment that is personal,” Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, told the crowd. “It is personal if you have ever been the only person sitting in a room. It is personal if you have ever wondered, ‘Is that for me?’” Over the past several weeks, Graves, a graduate of Yale Law school, has given dozens of interviews in support of Jackson’s nomination.

In a January column for CNN, Graves denounced “the current homogeneity of the legal profession and judicial system” and claimed “the perspective of White men has been treated as the default” in court proceedings.

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Commentary: Ukraine Crisis Reveals New Bipartisan Energy Opportunities

city factory at night

In just the last three weeks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has significantly altered our national energy policy landscape and dramatically shifted the political dynamics around legislative priorities and political possibilities in Congress. The roiling of global oil markets, underpinned by an already tight supply situation from the post-pandemic economic awakening, has been driven by perceived risks of supply disruption caused by the Russian invasion. Risk premiums and a formal American embargo of Russian energy have sent prices skyrocketing and revealed, once again, that we have few good short-term options when faced with energy supply challenges. While our tools are limited today, the current moment may present an important window of opportunity to develop a policy approach that reduces this vulnerability and limits our exposure next time. This renewed attention to energy security combined with a focus on fighting energy inflation has the potential to galvanize a bipartisan policy pathway that would have been unthinkable as the year began.

The broad support that materialized in Congress and the White House for a ban on Russian oil and natural gas imports earlier this month is a case in point. Remarkably, widespread congressional support for the ban occurred despite already high gasoline prices, with oil prices well over $100 a barrel and gasoline averaging more than $4.30 a gallon across the nation.

As President Biden said when announcing the ban, “Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and have made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war… This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be costs as well here in the United States.”

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Republicans Outraise Democrats by 130 Percent in Ohio House Races

Campaign finance requirements govern how much money candidates may receive from individuals and organizations, how often they must report those contributions, and how much individuals, organizations, and political entities may contribute to campaigns.

While campaign finance is not the only factor in electoral outcomes, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages during a campaign. Fundraising can also indicate party momentum.

This article lists top fundraisers in the Ohio House of Representatives, overall and by party. It is based on campaign finance reports that officeholders in and candidates for the House submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State. It includes activity between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.

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Commentary: Expect Big Pivot from SEC to Require Climate, ESG Disclosures in Investor Filings

The biggest decision the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is likely to make this year will be on mandated disclosure of information related to climate change and corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. The Commission has been working on the issue since early last year, and a new proposed rule is now scheduled to be released on March 21st. The contents of that rule will likely determine the future direction of “responsible” investing in the United States.

In March of last year, then-Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee issued a request for information on the matter, consisting of 15 questions and described as a response to the “demand for climate change information and questions about whether current disclosures adequately inform investors.” The questions covered a wide range of topics, from how to measure greenhouse gas emissions to how climate disclosures “would complement a broader ESG disclosure standard.”

When the SEC first issued guidance on climate change-related disclosures for public companies in 2010, the standards were fairly general and advisory, but the questions from last year’s request-for-information suggests that the agency’s leadership is considering a more aggressive and prescriptive framework.

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Wisconsin Professor Suspended After Publicly Criticizing University’s ‘Wokeness’

Rev. Dr. Gregory P Schulz of Concordia University of Wisconsin

Rev. Dr. Gregory P Schulz, a philosophy professor and Lutheran pastor, was suspended from Concordia University in Wisconsin following the publishing of his Feb. 14 article “Woke Dysphoria at Concordia.”

“Wokeness appears to be developing into a pathology at my ‘institution of Lutheran higher education’” Schulz wrote in Christian News article, criticizing the direction of Concordia University.

Five days later, Schulz discovered that he was suspended from the university. He apparently did not know why, even after getting locked out of his university email account and banned from all campus properties.

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Commentary: The Next Jan. 6 Trial Might Expose Another Justice Department Lie

empty courtroom

Federal prosecutors last week scored a big victory after a Washington, D.C., jury took less than three hours to find Guy Reffitt, the first January 6 defendant to stand trial, guilty on all counts.

The Justice Department’s winning streak might be short-lived, however. Prosecutors will have a tougher task with the trial starting Monday for Couy Griffin, the “Cowboys for Trump” leader arrested for his minor and nonviolent involvement in the Capitol protest on January 6.

Griffin was the subject of my very first article over a year ago on the Justice Department’s abusive prosecution of January 6 protesters in which, coincidentally, I asked the rhetorical question, “Where is the outrage over America’s political prisoners?” as official Washington was in a tizzy over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s imprisonment of his country’s star dissident.

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Republicans Focus on Jackson’s Positions on Terrorists, Sex Offenders as Nomination Hearing Opens

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Republicans are stressing the need to closely review Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record as the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin hearings on Monday for the first black woman nominated to the Supreme Court.

The GOP is already facing accusations of racism from outlets such as the Daily Kos, Slate and Vanity Fair for questioning whether Jackson should be confirmed.

Jackson has been criticized for her vehement defense of terrorism suspects as a public defender. She has also faced concerns over a paper she wrote in the 1990s criticizing “excessiveness” in punishments for sex offenders.

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Georgia Ballot Harvesting Probe Advances as State Elections Board Approves Subpoena

"VOTE ONE MORE TIME" sign on an electric pole in Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Elections Board has approved a subpoena to secure evidence and testimony in an ongoing investigation into whether third-party liberal activists illegally gathered thousands of absentee ballots in the 2020 general election and a subsequent runoff that determined Democrat control of the U.S. Senate.

The vote was a major win for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who announced the investigation into alleged ballot harvesting in January and was seeking the subpoena authority to assist the probe.

The subpoena power will allow Raffensperger’s team to secure evidence about a whistleblower who alleged to an election integrity group that he participated in a large operation to gather ballots in which activists were paid $10 for each ballot they delivered.

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The Republican National Committee Registering New Voters at Gas Stations as Prices Surge

Mobil gas prices

The Republican National Committee (RNC) launched a voter registration initiative at gas stations across the country, drawing attention to rising gas prices under President Joe Biden’s leadership.

“We are registering voters across the country who are tired of Biden’s Gas Hike!” the RNC said Monday on Twitter. “Coming to a gas station near you!”

The effort began with a Saturday event in Arizona, according to The Hill. “Arizonans are frustrated with paying the record-high gas prices we’ve seen recently, this is an issue that affects almost every single Arizonan,” said the communications director for Arizona’s RNC, Ben Petersen, according to The Hill.

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Wisconsin Legalizes Fentanyl Test Strips

Tony Evers

Drug users in Wisconsin can get a test to see if their pills or powders contain fentanyl.

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday signed a new law that legalizes fentanyl test strips.

“Tragically, fentanyl has played a serious role in overdose deaths across the country,” the governor said. “[This law] is an important step toward reducing substance misuse and overdose deaths here in our state.”

Fentanyl strips are small strips of treated paper that change color if a drug contains fentanyl. Up until Wednesday, they were classified as drug paraphernalia in Wisconsin.

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Commentary: Stimulus Checks Are the Latest Immigration Scam

A great plague of our contemporary political landscape is that one bad policy begets even more bad policies. Such is the case with many of America’s existing immigration laws.

Federal law, for example, calls for specific enforcement protocols. But our elected representatives have decided that some of those protocols simply should be ignored. This mindset led to ideas like catching and then releasing illegal aliens into our communities, preventing local law enforcement from working with federal law enforcement, and “sanctuary” cities where those who have broken our laws can hide from accountability.

From this witches’ brew of bad ideas has come the latest product rollout, one suited for our time: stimulus checks for illegal aliens. Using the economic damage caused by COVID-19 as a pretext, anti-borders activists and their allied politicians have found a way to sustain those here illegally while creating further incentives for even more foreign nationals to move here.

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Republicans Outraise Democrats by 88 Percent in Arizona House Races

Reginald Bolding and Mark Finchem

Campaign finance requirements govern how much money candidates may receive from individuals and organizations, how often they must report those contributions, and how much individuals, organizations, and political entities may contribute to campaigns.

While campaign finance is not the only factor in electoral outcomes, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages during a campaign. Fundraising can also indicate party momentum.

This article lists top fundraisers in the Arizona House of Representatives, overall and by party. It is based on campaign finance reports that officeholders in and candidates for the House submitted to the Arizona Secretary of State. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

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Commentary: New Afghanistan Report Warns of China’s Emerging Role

man in green jacket standing through sun roof in a moving vehicle

At a time of tectonic shifts in foreign policy alliances, with Russia and China forming a new pact and aggressively asserting themselves on the international stage, Washington’s national security community is splintered across the ideological spectrum on how best to counter the dual threats.

Yet, even before Russia invaded Ukraine, a group of national security practitioners, military veterans, and scholars began trying to move beyond their policy differences to help repair the damage inflicted by the last U.S. foreign policy failure – the chaotic U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan nearly seven months ago.

When the Vandenberg Coalition, a group of primarily Republican experts representing diverse foreign policy views and approaches, began their Afghanistan assessment, its members couldn’t have known that international alarm over Russia’s bloody land grab would soon eclipse the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan. Some national security experts believe that the two U.S. foreign policy nightmares are inextricably linked – that America’s ignominious retreat in Afghanistan emboldened Vladimir Putin to move on Ukraine.

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Commentary: 10 Realities of Ukraine

skyline of Kyiv, Ukraine

One. Reassuring an enemy what one will not do ensures that the enemy will do just that and more. Unpredictability and occasional enigmatic silence bolster deterrence. But Joe Biden’s predictable reassurance to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will show restraint means Putin likely will not. 

Two. No-fly zones don’t work in a big-power, symmetrical standoff. In a cost-benefit analysis, they are not worth the risk of shooting down the planes of a nuclear power. They usually do little to stop planes outside of such zones shooting missiles into them. Sending long-range, high-altitude anti-aircraft batteries to Ukraine to deny Russian air superiority is a far better way of regaining air parity.

Three. Europe, NATO members, and Germany in particular have de facto admitted that their past decades of shutting down nuclear plants, coal mines, and oil and gas fields have left Europe at the mercy of Russia. They are promising to rearm and meet their promised military contributions. By their actions, they are admitting that their critics, the United States in particular, were right, and they were dangerously wrong in empowering Putin.

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Commentary: Slimy Liz Cheney All but Begging Wyoming Dems to Help Her Battle Trump

Liz Cheney

No one ever said that the business of politics made good sense, but if you’re a politician, and the vast majority of your constituents — including a high percentage of those in your own party — no longer want you to represent them, shouldn’t you take their distaste as a hint and get the heck out of office?

Such is the case for notorious Donald Trump bashing RINO congresswoman Liz Cheney. As everyone knows by now, Cheney is the lone House representative from the huge but sparsely populated state of Wyoming, which means hers is the sole voice of every single Cowboy State resident and citizen in the lower chamber. Liz has never had an issue with winning elections in blood red Wyoming, which would seem to be an argument in her favor. But times and circumstances have changed markedly in the rocky mountain high plains and there’re hardly any folks there who hanker to send Cheney back to DC for another two years.

Yet onward Liz trudges. Because Cheney has fallen so far out of favor with conservatives and Republicans in her jurisdiction, she’s now relying on Democrats to try and (literally) save her seat. The optics alone are odd, but reality is even weirder. In a piece titled “Liz Cheney turns to Democrats to save her hide,” Tara Palmeri wrote at Politico:

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Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates Welcome U.K. Prime Minister for Oil Talks after Reportedly Shunning Biden

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to the Middle East to discuss increased oil production with leaders after they reportedly snubbed President Joe Biden’s requests.

Johnson met with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nayhan on Wednesday and is traveling to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later in the day, according to The Wall Street Journal. Johnson is reportedly set to deliver a message on behalf of the West, urging the two oil-rich nations to boost production.

“The Prime Minister set out his deep concerns about the chaos unleashed by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and stressed the importance of working together to improve stability in the global energy market,” the British government said in a readout of Johnson’s meeting with the UAE leader earlier Wednesday.

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Biden Federal Reserve Nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin Withdraws Nomination

Sarah Bloom Raskin

Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Joe Biden’s pick for a key Federal Reserve position, withdrew her nomination Tuesday after receiving bipartisan pushback.

Raskin’s nomination faced fierce opposition by Republican lawmakers and industry groups that argued her previous positions on a range of topics including climate policy disqualified her for the job. Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee led by Ranking Member Pat Toomey have boycotted a vote to pass her nomination and four other nominations to the Senate for a floor vote since February.

“Unfortunately, Senate Republicans are more focused on amplifying these false claims and protecting special interests than taking important steps toward addressing inflation and lowering costs for the American people,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “I am grateful for Sarah’s service to our country and for her willingness to serve again, and I look forward to her future contributions to our country.”

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Drilling Permits Spiked Under Biden Administration Before Dropping Significantly

After a massive rise in the number of drilling permits approved in 2021, the total number has plunged to some of the lowest levels ever in 2022, all on the watch of the Biden Administration.

Politico reports that after the previous high of 643 permits that were issued by the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in April of 2021, just 95 permits were approved in January of this year. The sudden shift reflects the wildly different approaches taken by the Trump Administration and the Biden Administration when it comes to domestic energy production.

While President Donald Trump supported unlimited domestic production in order to establish national energy independence, Biden pledged to reduce the production of fossil fuels in order to combat “global warming,” and instead has tried to promote so-called “green” energy alternatives. But the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including the impacts on the global energy market, has forced Biden to consider restarting domestic production in order to offset rising gas prices.

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Commentary: Civics Education Is More Important Than Ever

At its founding, American K-12 public education was meant to prepare young people to be active participants in our democratic republic. That should still be its highest purpose, especially when it comes to teaching civics.

Historically, public schools held fast to the principle that effective education must be non-partisan. Knowing they had great power to influence young minds, teachers used to be careful to choose content and pedagogies that restricted their ability to impose their personal political views on schoolchildren.

Today, maintaining non-partisanship is more important than ever in classrooms. Sadly, it’s increasingly dishonored. Civics has become a hot-button issue of late, particularly after remote learning allowed more parents to see what their children were actually being taught. Many were not happy with what they saw, and the debate over civics education is symptomatic of the larger divide that has become such a looming threat to American society.

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Shrinking Food Supplies, Soaring Prices Could Trigger Global Unrest, Key GOP Lawmaker Warns

Rep. Austin Scott

With U.S. and world food prices set to soar due to inflation and supply shortages stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a key GOP lawmaker is asking the Pentagon to study the potential for conflict if the global food supply shrinks by 5%.

U.S. farmers will pay $300-$400 more per acre to grow crops this year due to inflation and costs associated with the war in Europe, Georgia Republican Rep. Austin Scott warned Monday on the Just the News TV show.

Shipping is another issue, as trade is throttled by war-related disruptions and tough economic sanctions against Russia.

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Commentary: High-Octane Solutions to the New Energy Crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and soaring energy prices are a bracing wake up call to the West to abandon our anemic energy policies, which have pretended to be green but in reality have only shifted the dirtiest parts of our energy supply chains to bad actors like Russia and China. Western energy dependence on hostile powers limits our ability to preserve peace, to reduce our supply vulnerability, and to find the most cost-effective climate change solutions.

President Biden has acknowledged some of these problems, conceding that gasoline prices are too high and promising to do “everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.” But gas prices continue to rise, up by 10% in the last week.

One option President Biden has not yet explored is working with Congress to fix our incoherent domestic fuel policy to improve fuel efficiency across the board and reduce the amount Americans pay for gasoline. Currently, the EPA regulates fuels and automobiles separately, instead of as a single system. Automakers have the technological know-how to make much more efficient car engines, but regulatory barriers prevent them from doing so because they do not permit the use of cleaner fuels that would reduce carbon emissions and enhance performance.

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Most Minnesota School Districts Facing Budget Shortfalls amid Enrollment Decline

empty hallway

Minnesota school districts belonging to the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD), a lobbying organization, are facing a collective budget shortfall of $235.3 million for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

That figure comes from the results of an AMSD survey taken by 45 school districts across the state.

For example, Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public Schools are facing respective shortfalls of $59.5 million and $42.8 million — approximately 43% of the combined shortfall. Only eight school districts that took the survey reported no projected shortfalls.

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