21 U.S. Federal Agencies Are Analyzing the ‘Environmental Damage’ of Ukraine War

The federal government has assembled a 21-agency working group to study and assess the environmental impacts of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The “Interagency Working Group on Environmental Damage in Ukraine” — which was assembled by the Department of State and includes officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Department of Defense — has met weekly for about a month, Axios first reported Friday.

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Commentary: Biden’s Wealth Tax Is a Bad Idea That Cannot Be Ignored

Imagine a world where you were not taxed on how much you earned in a given year, but instead on how much your wealth appreciated.

To some this sounds like something straight out of John Lennon’s communist manifesto, also known as the song “Imagine.” Like the song, the music surrounding the words are enticing, but also like Lennon’s hit, the words themselves spell the death knell of freedom.

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Commentary: If the Fed Starts a Digital Currency, It Had Better Guarantee Privacy

President Biden’s latest executive order calls for extensive research on digital assets and may usher in a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC), eventually allowing individuals to maintain accounts with the Federal Reserve. Other central banks are already on the job. The People’s Bank of China began piloting a digital renminbi in April 2021. India’s Reserve Bank intends to launch a digital rupee as early as this year.

A CBDC may upgrade the physical cash the Federal Reserve already issues — but only if its designers appreciate the value of financial privacy.

Cash is a 7th century technology, with obvious drawbacks today. It pays no interest, is less secure than a bank deposit, and is difficult to insure against loss or theft. It is unwieldy for large transactions, and also requires those transacting to be at the same place at the same time — a big problem in an increasingly digital world.

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Ohio, Arizona, and West Virginia Among the States Seeking Solutions to Fentanyl Crisis

Multiple U.S. states, ultimately seeing little action from the federal government on the matter, have taken it upon themselves to roll out solutions for combatting the ongoing flow of deadly fentanyl into the United States.

As reported by ABC News, two major methods have emerged from the handful of states that are directly addressing this issue: One camp seeks to reduce the risks to drug-users while also imposing steeper penalties for dealing fentanyl, while the other approach involved calling for more federal intervention, with some of these states taking it upon themselves to guard the southern border and prevent the trafficking of fentanyl into the country from Mexico.

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Commentary: They Can’t Make Trump Go Away

Donald Trump

In the election of 2016, Donald Trump appealed to citizenship, sovereignty, and borders. This was a direct entreaty to the people as the ultimate source of sovereign authority, bypassing the ruling-class elites that dominate the media and the universities; his appeal also ignored political experts, pollsters, and government bureaucracy. In the postmodern world, the nation-state is under attack everywhere as the source of all evil, the cause of war, selfishness, racism, white privilege, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and all the other irrational phobias that make up the universe of political correctness. The idea of the nation-state itself is said to be irrational and arbitrary.

All of this overwrought criticism of nationalism and the nation-state overlooks a very significant point developed in my new book, The United States in Crisis: Citizenship, Immigration, and the Nation State: the nation-state is the only form of political organization that can sustain constitutional government and the rule of law.

No empire has ever been a constitutional democracy or republic, nor will constitutional government exist in global government. If, as is widely alleged, the dialectic of History is inevitably tending toward global governance and universal citizenship, then it is also tending toward tyranny.

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Commentary: Biden Needs to Decide If COVID Is Still a ‘National Emergency’

The omicron variant may be nearing its peak in some states, but across the country it’s produced a dizzying array of conflicting signals on whether the nation should remain under a COVID national emergency or move on to an endemic “new normal.”

Comedian Bill Maher’s “I don’t want to live in your mask-paranoid world anymore” monologue went viral last week, just days after the Atlantic, the standard-bearer journal for the liberal intelligentsia, ran a story headlined: “COVID Parenting Has Passed the Point of Absurdity.” Accompanying the article was a black-and-white photo of a woman frozen in a more desperate and primal state of panic than the subject of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

Omicron, for most people without co-morbidities, produces much milder symptoms than do the coronavirus’s previous variants, but it’s far more infectious, racing through schools, shutting down classrooms and forcing parents to consult their district’s ever-shifting COVID “decision trees” on a seemingly daily basis.

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Over a Hundred Conservative Groups Call on U.S. Education Secretary to Resign over Infamous Letter Equating Concerned Parents to ‘Domestic Terrorists’

National School Boards Association meeting

Over 100 conservative groups and leaders are calling on Education Secretary Miquel Cardona to resign over allegations that he collaborated with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to draft the infamous letter equating parents to domestic terrorists.

The Conservative Action Project (CAP), along with 120 conservative groups and leaders, released a letter Monday calling on Cardona to resign immediately, following reports that he worked with the NSBA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to silence parents from speaking out about their concerns at America’s public schools, citing “threats” they posed to school boards.

School boards have been battlegrounds for culture wars over mask rules, COVID-19 vaccinations, schools reopening, Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender ideology and remote learning. The Monday letter also calls on Congress to further investigate the NSBA letter “to ensure any other Biden administration officials who were inappropriately involved are held accountable.”

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Commentary: Get Ready for a New Roaring Twenties

Statue of Liberty

On New Year’s Eve of 2019, revelers gathered around the globe to ring in a new decade. Many jubilantly attended “Roaring Twenties” parties, adorned in elegant evening wear, cloche and Panama hats, and knickerbockers, harkening back to an exciting, culturally vibrant era of economic prosperity. But whatever veiled hopes partygoers had for a booming future soon met jarring realities: a once-in-a-century pandemic, global lockdowns, an economic recession, and widespread civil unrest stemming from an incident of police brutality. The Roaring 2020s were not to be, it seemed.

Take heart: Mark P. Mills, a physicist, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, faculty fellow at Northwestern University, and a partner in Montrose Lane, an energy-tech venture fund, is out to rekindle our collectively dashed hopes. In his new book, The Cloud Revolution: How the Convergence of New Technologies Will Unleash the Next Economic Boom and a Roaring 2020s, Mills convincingly argues with verve, vitality, and – most importantly – evidence, that humanity is about to take a great step forward in the coming decade. And unlike the first Roaring Twenties, these won’t need to end with a Great Depression.

In the opening pages, Mills reminds us that the original Roaring Twenties didn’t start off so auspiciously, either. In fact, separated by a century, our situation seems eerily similar. The 1918 flu pandemic ran well into 1920, triggering a severe U.S. recession that lasted through summer 1921. Violent riots and political instability were also prevalent. Yet from this pit of public despair, Americans pulled themselves out. Propelled by remarkable advancements in mass production, medicine, electrification, communications via telephone and radio, movies, automobiles, and aviation, the United States saw its GDP rise by an astounding 43% between 1921 and 1929.

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Commentary: We Are All ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Now

Paul Hodgkins, according to Joe Biden’s Justice Department, is a domestic terrorist.

A working-class man from Tampa, Hodgkins committed what Democrats and the media consider a murderous crime comparable to flying a packed jetliner into a skyscraper or detonating a truck filled with explosives under a crowded federal building.

Paul Hodgkins entered the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

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Progressive Lawmakers Offer Unwitting Path for January 6 Prisoners to Sue Federal Government

Some of the most progressive Democrats in Congress are supporting new legislation that could help an unexpected group: those who were arrested and imprisoned without trial for playing a role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson (Ga.) and Jamie Raskin (Md.) on Wednesday reintroduced the Bivens Act, which would allow citizens to recover damages for constitutional violations committed against them by federal law enforcement officials.

The bill, which the lawmakers first introduced last year, seeks “to provide a civil remedy for an individual whose rights have been violated by a person acting under federal authority.” It would do this by adding five words — “of the United States or” — to a longstanding provision enacted in 1871, known as Section 1983, which gives individuals the right to sue state or local officials who violate their civil and constitutional rights. The additional words would include federal officials in the statute.

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Wyoming Governor Signs Bill Funding Legal Defense Against Federal Vaccine Mandate Challenges

Mark Gordon

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday signed legislation prohibiting public entities from enforcing the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

House Bill 1002, which was the only piece of legislation passed during the Wyoming Legislature’s special session, also provides $4 million in funding for any legal challenges against federal vaccine mandates.

“No public entity shall enforce any mandate or standard of the federal government, whether emergency, temporary or permanent, that requires an employer to ensure or mandate that an employee shall receive a COVID‑19 vaccination,” the bill reads.

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Propane Heating Costs Hit Highest Level Since 2011 as Winter Approaches

Propane tank

Propane heating costs in the U.S. rocketed to $2.59 per gallon this month, the highest level in a decade, as winter quickly approaches, the federal government said Friday.

The average cost of propane during the first four weeks of the current winter season, which begins in October, was 49% higher than last year, according to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. The agency noted that the low propane supply is a major reason for the increased prices.

“U.S. propane and propylene inventories are starting this winter season lower than in recent years; weekly U.S. inventories are averaging 28% lower than the same time last year and 21% lower than their recent five-year (2015–2020) average,” the report stated.

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As Washington Shirks Federal Border Enforcement Role, Burden Falls to Frontline Sheriffs

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels

Acoalition of law enforcement agents, mostly comprised of sheriffs combatting cartel violence along the southern border, in cooperation with Border Patrol agents, is working to bring awareness to Americans of the dangers they face because of the Biden administration’s hands-off border enforcement policies.

“A nation without secure borders cannot stand,” argues Mark Hager, Army veteran and founder of the U.S. First Defense Coalition. “As a republic, the citizens of the United States are the responsible first line of defense,” he says, and sheriffs are “the only law enforcement branch elected by the people,” Hager told Just The News. “They are comparable to the grassroots of law enforcement.”

Also a historian and a professor, Hager notes that sheriffs “hold a special place in American history, and especially along our southern border, where they are protecting citizens when the federal government won’t.”

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Donated Frequent Flyer Miles Provide 40,000 Flights for Afghan Refugees

Frequent flyer miles donated over a two-month period will provide around 40,000 flights for Afghan refugees, the Associated Press reported.

The Biden administration is considering doubling the number of miles available to refugees, and around 3,200 flights already covered by the donated miles have allowed Afghan refugees to resettle in communities around the U.S. from temporary housing at military bases, according to the AP. Miles4Migrants organized the donations, and the group has provided aid to refugees using donated airline miles and credit card points since 2016.

“Government resources are limited, and we knew that the American people wanted to support Afghans who were arriving and help them find safe homes,” Miles4Migrants Co-Founder Andy Freedman said, the AP reported. “That’s when we turned to the airlines.”

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Commentary: The Unemployment Rate Does Not Offer Guidance Now

The Labor Department’s official unemployment rate—the most well-known gauge of the labor market’s health—counts as unemployed only those who aren’t working but are actively seeking a job.

Yet there is very little that we can infer from the jobless rate about the health of the economy.  The unavoidable conclusion is that the only reason investors follow the calculation is because both Washington’s politicians and the Federal Reserve are expected to react to it.

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Commentary: Activating the ‘Secret Police’ to Aid School Boards

The FBI will investigate threats and intimidation against school board members, administrators, teachers, and staff, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Oct. 4. In so doing, Garland claimed federal jurisdiction over local law enforcement, in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution.

This power grab by the AG supposedly came as a response to a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA), a leftist advocacy group with vast influence over the nation’s school boards. To gain some insight into how this ukase or edict is playing out, I attended a school board meeting in the charming village of Greenwich (“It’s Greeen-wich, not Gren-itch”) in northern New York state.

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Commentary: Biden’s Unlawful Plan to Federalize Elections

Person voting in poll booth

The White House recently issued a statement regarding new actions dozens of federal agencies are taking related to voter registration. These actions come in response to an order President Joe Biden issued back in March.

The order commanded the heads of every federal agency to submit a plan outlining their strategy to engage in voter registration and mobilization efforts to the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice. This is an unlawful effort by the Biden administration to federalize elections and keep the president and his political party in power.

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Retail Sales Beat Expectations Amid Surging Inflation

Woman shopping in a department store

U.S. retail sales increased in September, beating expectations amid growing inflation and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday.

Retail sales increased 0.7% in September, beating experts’ estimates of 0.2%, according to the Census Bureau report.  The number rose 0.8%, excluding auto sales, beating the 0.5% forecast.

Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, and they increased 15.6% compared to September 2020, excluding auto sales, according to the Census Bureau.

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Commentary: A Call to Amend Section 230 for Social Media Transparency

Smart phone opened on home screen

Amid growing bipartisan agreement that increased regulation of social media platforms and their content moderation policies is needed, the path forward remains murky. Should Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be discarded or strengthened? Should companies be broken up using antitrust laws? Should government set speech rules for the web? Should users decide them? Or should there be no rules at all?

There is no shortage of solutions being put forth to solve the challenge of social media censorship. The problem is that without a better understanding of how social platforms invisibly shape the public square of democracy today, we don’t know which of these possible solutions might have the greatest impact. In short, to fix social media, we first need a better understanding of its ills: Section 230 must be amended to legislate social platform transparency.

A new RealClearFoundation report, “Transparency Is the First Step Toward Addressing Social Media Censorship,” outlines the public data sets we need to usher in transparency and better understand the challenges we face.

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Roger Simon Commentary: Time to Stop ‘Communism, American-Style’

Some will remember that comedy classic from 1961, “Divorce, Italian Style,” starring Marcello Mastroianni. Unfortunately, 60 years later, we seem to be moving toward, even living through, a far less funny, real-life “Communism, American Style.”

What is “Communism, American Style”? As yet one would think it bears little resemblance to the Soviet kind with its gulags and so forth.

Or does it?

On Oct. 6, the Los Angeles City Council proclaimed, nearly unanimously (11–2), COVID-19 mandates that require proof of vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, movie theaters, salons, shopping centers, and just about every other public indoor space you could think of in the entertainment capital.

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‘Devastating’: Biden Ignores Lawmakers’ Pleas, Orders Massive Expansion of Utah Monuments

President Joe Biden will order the Department of the Interior Friday to vastly expand two Utah monuments which the Trump administration reduced in size.

The president will restore protections for both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments located in Utah, the White House announced. Biden’s order will re-expand the monuments from their reduced size of slightly more than 1 million acres to 3.2 million acres.

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Commentary: The Treacherous Road to Runaway Inflation

In January, 2001, America had a balanced budget, low debt, and was at peace. Here, briefly, is what lay ahead: war, financial crisis, civil unrest, massive growth of the federal government, and now severe inflation.

Never in the history of America has our government in its ineptitude created such a false economy, risking hundreds of years of hard work on unsound and unworkable economic policies. The Founders wisely relied on dispersion of power. They knew there would be dishonest and incompetent politicians but, in this case, the entire government is infected with deceptive leaders.

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Justice Breyer to Those Pushing Court Packing: ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’

Justice Stephen Breyer

Justice Stephen Breyer issued a stark warning to those pushing to pack the Supreme Court: “what goes around comes around.”

Breyer made the remark during an interview with NPR published Friday, ahead of the release of his new book, “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.” He has pushed back on calls to add seats to the court — and on progressives urging him to retire — on multiple recent occasions.

“What goes around comes around,” he said. “And if the Democrats can do it, then the Republicans can do it.”

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Commentary: Joe Biden’s Poor Leadership During the COVID Era

“Get vaccinated,” whispered the doddering, white-haired failure of a president before beating a hasty retreat from the podium. Reporters barked questions at him which neither he nor his handlers had interest in answering, because they have no answers.

Joe Biden has no answers for COVID-19. What Joe Biden has is blame and Otherization for Americans not invested in the tired narratives of his handlers and the managerial elite he represents so badly.

That’s clear. It’s the only true takeaway from the disgraceful, alarming speech Biden gave Thursday.

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