Taxpayer-Funded Research Investigated How ‘Populist’ Politicians Spread ‘Misinformation’ During COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID Protest

The federal government funded a multilateral research project investigating how “populist” politicians allegedly sowed disinformation and eroded public trust during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) paid out a grant to support research investigating “how populist politicians distorted COVID-19 pandemic health communication to encourage polarized attitudes and distrust among citizens,” which made the public “more vulnerable to misinformation generally,” according to federal spending records. The project, titled “Pandemic Communication in Times of Populism,” received just over $160,000 from the NSF and is focused on how leaders in the United States, Brazil, Serbia and Poland approached the pandemic, stressing the importance of elevating public health experts over “populist” politicians, according to a presentation produced by the researchers.

Read More

Restoring History: Movement to Return Confederate-Linked Names to Schools Garners Traction

Teacher and Student

A movement to restore the names of Confederate military leaders on schools is garnering traction in a Virginia county, with the school board set to vote on the matter this week amid fierce opposition from minority groups.

Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby-Lee Elementary School were renamed Mountain View High School and Honey Run Elementary School after the Shenandoah County School Board passed a resolution in July 2020 that condemned racism and affirmed the creation of an “inclusive environment.”

Read More

Chinese Investors Flee Country’s Market as Beijing Fails to Prop Up Economy

Li Qiang

Chinese investors are racing to put funds in offshore assets as Beijing fails to successfully prop up the country’s ailing economy, according to Reuters.

China’s Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor program, which serves as an avenue for investors in the country to buy foreign securities, jumped 50% in January year-over-year, butting up against the $165.5 billion limit that Beijing has set on the fund, according to Reuters. Li Qiang, China’s premier, announced on Tuesday steps to transform the country’s development model and increase growth that has failed to pick up since the COVID-19 pandemic, with factors like deflation, poor household consumption and huge real estate debts dragging down the economy.

Read More

Religious Communities Coped Better During COVID-19 Pandemic, Studies Show

People Praying

Religious communities in the United States and the United Kingdom were less depressed during the COVID-19 pandemic, two recent studies found.

University of Cambridge researchers conducted two studies, one in the U.S. and the other in the U.K., on the mental health and overall happiness of religious and non-religious individuals in 2020 and 2021, according to a Tuesday announcement. The research found that religion acted as a boost for both Americans and the British alike, with the risk of mental health worsening by 60% during the pandemic for U.S. citizens who were or knew someone diagnosed with COVID-19 if they professed to be non-religious.

Read More

China Finishes Off Year with Sluggish Growth as Economy Fails to Recover

China flag

China’s economy grew at a rate of 5.2% in 2023, failing to return to the same growth of around 6% year-over-year that was common before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The year’s growth was an improvement on the even worse growth in 2022, which totaled just 3% for that year, and economists expect similar sluggish growth in 2024 unless a big policy change occurs, according to the WSJ. A number of different indicators added to the dismal report, including real growth in urban disposable income, which grew at just 4.8% in 2023 and was the lowest year since 2002, barring 2020 and 2022.

Read More

China’s Latest Economic Data Spells Even More Trouble for the Struggling Economy

Chinese Stock Market

New data from China shows the country’s economy is still failing to recover from the loss of growth it has seen since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While China’s economy did grow in November in a number of key areas, it was lower than economists’ expectations and was bolstered by a comparison from last year, when the country still maintained strict COVID-19 restrictions, according to the WSJ. Retail sales, which supports the key growth factor of domestic consumption, only rose by 10.1% year-over-year compared to the 12.9% growth that was expected, and fixed-asset investment rose 2.9% from January to November, as opposed to expectations of 3%.

Read More

Biden Is Increasingly Using ‘Wartime’ Powers to Interfere in the Economy

The Biden administration has increasingly relied on a law intended to shore up national defense in order to enact its economic agenda, boosting green energy initiatives and increasing production of certain goods to address economic issues.

President Joe Biden once again used the Defense Production Act (DPA), a law established in 1950 to give the president authority over domestic industries necessary for the national defense thanks to demands caused by the Korean War, in late November, this time to invest $35 million in domestic manufacturing on medicine components to address shortages, according to a statement from the White House. The use of the DPA is one of many following President Donald Trump’s expansion of the act during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to increase the production of equipment related to national health.

Read More

FDA Inspections of Foreign Drug Facilities Plummeted Since Before COVID-19, Study Shows

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has inspected fewer pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, with foreign facilities, including those from China, seeing the largest decreases, according to a study released in December.

In 2022, the total number of inspections of drug manufacturing establishments by the FDA decreased by 79% for foreign and 35% for domestic facilities compared to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study by Emily Cuddy, Yun Peng Lu and David B. Ridley using data acquired through Freedom of Information Act requests. Despite the drop in inspections, there was no corresponding decrease in imports or manufacturing, while resources allocated by the FDA toward inspections surged per inspection.

Read More

Schools Struggle to Get Students to Class amid Learning Loss

Schools across the country are struggling to get kids to class while still recovering from the learning loss following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The New York Times.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress released a report this month showing that students who missed three or more days of school had lower math scores than those who were not absent. Schools, however, are having trouble finding bus drivers to get children to class, with some districts delaying their start times each day and others forced to postpone school for a week, according to the NYT.

Read More

Poll Shows Voters in Battleground States Trust Republicans over Democrats on Education

A new EdTrends poll of voters in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada, shows that Democrats have given up what was once a double-digit lead on “trust in education” and are now lagging behind Republicans by three percentage points.

The poll revealing the historic shift was released Friday by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), an organization that lobbies for Democrat candidates and heads campaigns to achieve “educational equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.”

Read More

Commentary: Mask Mandates Unmasked

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “There’s no reason for you to be walking around with a mask.” But the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) soon changed his stance. Although not 100 percent effective, Fauci said, wearing masks is “a symbol for people to see that that’s the kind of thing you should be doing.”

Read More

Justice Gorsuch Says Pandemic Created ‘Greatest Intrusions on Civil Liberties’ in America’s Peacetime History

Justice Neil Gorsuch called government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic the “greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country” on Thursday.

Gorsuch made his comments in reaction to the Supreme Court’s Thursday dismissal of a case dealing with red states’ attempt to keep in place a Trump administration policy, Title 42, which allowed the U.S. to expel over 2.5 million migrants from the border due to a public health emergency. In an eight-page long statement attached to the decision, Gorsuch slammed an array of emergency power abuses employed by local leaders during the pandemic, from lockdowns to church closures.

Read More

As Juvenile Crime Skyrockets to Record Levels, States Seek to Crack Down

As juvenile crime has skyrocketed across the nation following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers are looking to pass laws to curb rising youth violence and lawlessness.

Juvenile homicides nationwide increased by 44% from 2019 to 2020 and increased by 83% from 2013 to 2020, according to data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, as school closures and police reforms have contributed to rising youth crime. Lawmakers in Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and New Jersey have introduced bills to implement measures such as penalty enhancements for juvenile gang members, as well as mandatory holding periods for juveniles charged with violent crimes, to address the rising violence.

Read More

DOJ Won’t Make Inmates Sent Home During COVID Go Back to Prison

Thousands of inmates sent home during the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to complete the rest of their sentences there as long as they remain compliant, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday.

A final DOJ rule released Tuesday clarifies that inmates placed on home confinement under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will not be automatically sent back to prison when the Biden administration lifts the public health emergency, though the Bureau of Prisons retains discretion to impose sanctions on or return inmates who commit infractions. After multiple extensions, the Biden administration announced in January it would allow the public health emergency to expire on May 11.

Read More

GOP Rep Introduces Legislation to Make China Pay for America’s COVID Costs

Republican Florida Rep. Brian Mast introduced legislation to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a copy of the bill obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The bill seeks to allow the U.S. government to withhold debt payments to China equal to the cost incurred by the U.S. in response to the pandemic. The bill’s introduction comes days after the Department of Energy (DOE) found that the virus likely originated from a lab leak in China.

Read More

More Evidence Reveals CDC Colluded with Social Media Giants to Silence COVID ‘Misinformation’

America First Legal (AFL) released a fourth set of documents obtained from litigation against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reveals more evidence of alleged collusion between the nation’s public health agency and social media companies to censor free speech and silence Americans under the government’s label of “misinformation.”

Last week, AFL’s 600-page document release uncovered evidence that Twitter operated a “Partner Support Portal” for government employees and other selective “stakeholders” that would allow them to delete or flag posts viewed as “misinformation,” noted AFL, which is led by former President Donald Trump’s immigration advisor Stephen Miller.

Read More

Remote School Districts Saw Larger Enrollment Declines, Report Finds

School districts that stayed remote as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic saw larger drops in their enrollment compared to in-person school districts, according to a Monday report by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

During the 2021-2022 school year, remote learning school districts lost at least half a million more students than school districts that returned to in-person learning, according to a report by AEI. Remote school districts’ enrollment dropped 1.3% more than school districts that were in-person 90% of the year.

Read More

Fauci and Wife’s Net Worth Skyrocketed During Pandemic, Analysis Finds

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci and his wife saw a net worth increase of $5 million during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis by a government watchdog group.

Between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2021, the Faucis expanded their net worth from $7.6 million to more than $12.6 million, according to OpenTheBooks’ Wednesday analysis of the 81-year-old retiring NIAID director’s financial disclosures. The director was the highest paid federal employee in both 2021 and 2022, earning $456,000 per year and $480,000 per year, respectively, the analysis noted.

Read More

IRS Sent over $1 Billion in Child Tax Credit Payments to the Wrong People

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent over $1.1 billion in child tax credit payments to incorrect recipients during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an audit by the Department of the Treasury’s Inspector General (IG) for Tax Administration on Tuesday.

The IRS sent the payments to 1.5 million people between July and November of 2021 during the pandemic, according to the audit’s report. Additionally, the IG noted that 4.1 million taxpayers did not receive payments they should have, amounting to $3.7 billion withheld.

Read More

Sen. Roger Marshall Leads Republican Call to End Biden’s COVID National Emergency

Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced a resolution Thursday to end the COVID-19 national emergency declaration that is still in effect under the National Emergencies Act (NEA) despite Joe Biden’s comments that the pandemic is “over” in the United States.

“Since President Biden used his appearance on 60 Minutes to declare COVID is over, he must immediately terminate the COVID-19 national emergency declaration and wind down other emergency authorities that his Administration continues to force us to live under,” Marshall said in a statement released by his office.

Read More

Feds Reeling from New Vax Study, Lawsuits on Social Media Censorship and COVID Stat Manipulation

Public health agencies are facing perhaps the most serious threats to their control over information since the COVID-19 pandemic started, playing defense in lawsuits that have already exposed substantial federal involvement in censorship and could next uncloak alleged manipulation of data that has driven COVID policy from the start.

Read More

Federal Government Gives Wuhan-Linked Organization $1 Million to ‘Prevent Future Pandemics’

The federal government has awarded a controversial nonprofit a $1 million grant for research to help prevent future viral pandemics, an award that comes after more than two years of suspicions that the nonprofit in question may have been bankrolling certain types of highly dangerous coronavirus experiments in the city where the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Read More

Poll: Majority of Latinos Support Key Trump-Era Border Policy

A majority of Latinos agree with Title 42, a Trump-era policy used to quickly expel migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a poll released Thursday by Axios-Ipsos Latino in partnership with Noticias Telemundo.

Of the Latinos polled, 51%  strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with Title 42 remaining, while 44% are opposed to keeping it, according to Axios.

Read More

U.S. Birth Rate Increases for the First Time in Seven Years

The U.S. birthrate in 2021 increased for the first time since 2014, with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions potentially causing the jump.

The U.S. birthrate saw a 1% increase over the course of 2021 with 3.66 million babies being born throughout the year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics. All age groups of women over 25 contributed to the jump in birthrates, with some experts suggesting that a lengthening COVID-19 pandemic might have contributed to the bump, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Read More

Analysis: Famed Bangladesh Mask Study Excluded Crucial Data

With one exception, every gold standard study of masks in community settings has failed to find that they slow the spread of contagious respiratory diseases. The outlier is a widely cited study run in Bangladesh during the Covid-19 pandemic, and some of its authors claim it proves that mask mandates “or strategies like handing out masks at churches and other public events—could save thousands of lives each day globally and hundreds each day in the United States.”

Read More

Report: Biden Expected to Extend Moratorium on Student Loan Payments

President Joe Biden is expected to pause student loan payments through Aug. 31, once again extending the moratorium that has allowed Americans to postpone paying their debts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The Hill first reported.

The Biden administration is expected to announce Wednesday another pause on federal student loan payments which will impact roughly 43 million Americans who owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, The Hill reported, citing multiple sources. The initial moratorium was scheduled to expire on May 1.

Read More

Report Highlights ‘Compounding Effect’ of Pandemic on Student Performance

A new national report highlights the “compounding effect” the pandemic and remote learning have had on student performance, especially for the youngest learners. 

The report from Renaissance Learning Inc., a Minnesota-based education technology company, found students have made modest gains since returning to the classroom, but have yet to catch up all the way.

Read More

‘Fauci’ Earnings Mystery: No Info on Box Office Take for Gushing Documentary About COVID Czar

Documentaries often earn a fraction of what their fictional counterparts generate, at least those without the names “Moore” or “D’Souza” attached.

“Fauci,” a film detailing the scientific life of the nation’s preeminent infectious disease expert, appeared to be an exception.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has his detractors, particularly on the political right, but he’s still the biggest name in medical science thanks to his leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic and near-constant media presence.

The timing of the film’s Sept. 10 limited release, in cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, D.C. and New Orleans, seemed fortuitous given the aggressive Delta variant.

Except we’re still waiting on the box office tally.

Read More