Stembridge News Digest

  • Masks for thee but not for me Tue, 03 Aug 2021 04:33:46 GMT
    Affluent, well-educated, vaccinated, and liberal. These are four adjectives that describe both the typical clientele of an urban Trader Joe’s and those who will likely be attending former President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party this week. We would expect these two groups to behave very similarly, especially in relation to the coronavirus. But maybe not.
  • Biden needs to get China to cooperate with the pandemic’s origins investigation Tue, 03 Aug 2021 04:00:25 GMT
    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, acknowledged in mid-June that there was a “premature push” to dismiss the theory that COVID-19 initially spread from a Chinese lab. Tedros also urged Beijing to provide additional data that will aid in determining the origins of the pandemic. Belatedly, Tedros is pushing the WHO in the right direction, but the Biden administration has no strategy for compelling China’s cooperation on the origins investigation.
  • How I became the target of online misinformation and what can be done about it Tue, 03 Aug 2021 04:00:15 GMT
    In regard to online misinformation about the pandemic, President Joe Biden recently accused social media platforms of “killing people,” before walking back that statement. While not on the same level, I was recently the target of online misinformation that subjected me to threats and harsh vilification over my attempts to protect the shrubs in my yard in Arlington, Virginia, against dog urine. The experience has given me a better understanding of how falsehoods are spread online and an idea for how to counter such misinformation.
  • DC Mayor Bowser lied and we have the video to prove it Mon, 02 Aug 2021 23:31:14 GMT
    Despite ordering an indoor mask mandate that began at 5 a.m. on Saturday in Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser officiated a wedding with an indoor reception where she was spotted maskless around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, as exclusively reported by the Washington Examiner.
  • Nancy Pelosi wants Biden to do her job for her Mon, 02 Aug 2021 20:54:48 GMT
    Speaker Nancy Pelosi is supposed to be in charge of one of the two houses of the legislature. But she wants President Joe Biden to bypass her and legislate on his own, and she isn’t the only Democrat with that mindset.
  • UNC alumni were right to protest hiring of fake historian Nikole Hannah-Jones Mon, 02 Aug 2021 20:17:15 GMT
    University of North Carolina alumni showed admirable savvy in their near-successful effort to prevent mock-historian Nikole Hannah-Jones from being rewarded with a tenured position. Alumni have every right to use their influence to affect university policies, and in this case, they did it to save their school an embarrassing disgrace.
  • As Ebrahim Raisi enters office, Biden appeases Iran's drone waltz Mon, 02 Aug 2021 19:36:50 GMT
    Iran's escalating employment of armed drones serves as a tactical metaphor for the shifting strategic balance between Washington and Tehran. President Joe Biden can take action against Iran's drone force, or Iran will kill Americans with those drones. The threat is really that simple.
  • Maskless Mayor Muriel Bowser is guilty of much more than mere hypocrisy Mon, 02 Aug 2021 18:05:11 GMT
    “Hypocrisy” is often nothing more than failing to live up to our own standards. That is, sometimes we do things we know to be wrong or fail to do things we know we ought to do. That’s human.
  • Sorry, AOC, lawmakers are already ignoring election results — in this blue state Mon, 02 Aug 2021 16:52:33 GMT
    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez worries that Republicans may ignore state election results and do whatever suits them best.
  • Russian naval-nuclear modernization heads West Mon, 02 Aug 2021 16:00:24 GMT
    Russia's naval parade last week was all about sending a message to the West.

  • President Biden claims that the GOP 'offers nothing but fear and lies and broken promises' Tue, 03 Aug 2021 03:41:44 +0000

    In his remarks at a virtual Democratic National Committee event on Monday President Biden claimed that the GOP "today offers nothing but fear and lies and broken promises," according to The Hill.

    Some Twitter users responding to a tweet from The Hill concurred with the President's assessment, but others disagreed.

    "Interesting cause I can think of a long list of things Biden has lied about," one tweet declared.

    "Democrats are experts at projecting their own identity and faults on to Republicans," another post said.

    "Pot. Kettle," another tweet said.

    "Sounds entirely like his presidency," another commenter wrote.

    "He says as he lies and breaks his promises. So glad I voted third party," another tweet read.

    "Obviously he's delusional since he actually meant to say Democrats," someone commented.

    Some of the commenters Twitter agreed with the president.

    "Yup. He nailed it. The @gop is a horrible group of ppl whose base rewards bad governing. Look at DeSantis and Noem," one tweet said.

    "Fact check: all true," another tweet declared.

    Last month during a campaign event for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McCauliffe, Biden also claimed that the GOP "offers nothing but fear, lies and broken promises." McCauliffe, who previously served as the governor of Virginia from early 2014 to early 2018, is aiming to win election to the role again.

    Biden's approval rating has declined since he took office earlier this year, sinking to 50 percent according to Gallup polling conducted last month.

    Biden's political career has spanned many years. Prior to serving as vice president during the Obama administration, he spent more than three decades serving as a Senator from the state of Delaware.

  • Louisiana's Democratic governor imposes statewide indoor mask mandate, including for children over the age of 5 Tue, 03 Aug 2021 02:11:06 +0000

    As businesses and governments around the U.S. institute restrictions aimed at combatting the coronavirus pandemic, Louisiana is imposing an indoor mask mandate.

    Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who has served as the state's governor since 2016, said that the requirement will take effect Wednesday and apply to the vaccinated as well as to the unvaccinated, according to the Associated Press.

    The mandate will remain until Sept. 1 and could potentially be extended.

    Largely due to the state's vaccination rate and the spread of the Delta variant of the illness, cases in Louisiana have risen significantly, according to a press release from the governor's office which notes that the state "remains No. 1 nationwide for number of new COVID-19 cases per capita."

    The indoor face covering mandate applies to people ages 5 and up and to kids enrolled in kindergarten, with exceptions for when people are engaged in certain activities and an exception for individuals with medical issues that prevent them from using a face covering. The mandate applies when people are indoors somewhere other than a private residence. The mandate does not apply to a person who will not come into contact with anyone outside of their own household or to a person who will have the ability to engage in six feet of social distancing from anyone who is outside of their own household.

    "This is bad. And it's not this bad anywhere else in the country today," Bel Edwards said at a news conference, according to the AP. "This is having an adverse impact on people's lives today. And the least we can do is put a mask on. It is not an onerous burden."

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people wear masks indoors when they are in public places located in regions of the U.S. with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission.

    The Associated Press said that the governor expressed frustration with those who have declined to get vaccinated or utilize masks.

    "Do you give a damn? I hope you do. I do," the governor said, according to the AP. "I've heard it said often: Louisiana's the most pro-life state in the nation. I want to believe that. It ought to mean something."

  • BLM activist Shaun King lives in a lavish lakefront home in New Jersey Tue, 03 Aug 2021 01:13:57 +0000

    The controversial activist Shaun King was revealed to live in a lavish lakefront home in New Jersey while making a name for himself advocating for the poor and powerless.

    According to public records reported by the New York Post, King has lived in the 3,000 square-foot home since November 2020. The sprawling home in North Brunswick boasts "a lakefront backyard" and includes five bedrooms and a gourmet kitchen.

    The home was purchased by Rai-Tonicia King, the wife of the activist, for $842,000.

    King has been criticized for being an outspoken leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, even by some on the left who have questioned the lack of transparency in some of his fundraising efforts.

    In June the mother of Tamir Rice excoriated King in an Instagram post where she accused him of trying to fundraise from the death of her son, who was killed by a police officer in 2014.

    "Why do you think it's so important to tell folks we had a conversation?" wrote Samaria Rice in the public post.

    "Well we talked and everything that was said was very toxic and uncomfortable for me to hear that you raised additional money and then say you did not want to bother me," she added. "Personally I don't understand how you sleep at night. along with the united states, you robbed me for the death of my son."

    In 2020 a report by the Washington Free Beacon found that the political action committee co-founded by King was funneling much of their funds to for-profit companies linked to the leaders of the organization.

    King has also been mocked over his racial identity after some accused him of faking black ancestry. He maintains that he is biracial and that despite his birth certificate documenting his parents as white, he maintains that his father was a black man.

    "[Y]ou are a selfish self centered person and God will deal with you, White man," retorted Samaria Rice.

    Here's more about Shaun King's activism:

    White JESUS is offensive?! BLM activist Shaun King wants Christian 'White Supremacy' statues removed

  • Top New Mexico state Democrat resigns over criminal probe into allegations she stole money from public schools Tue, 03 Aug 2021 00:32:04 +0000

    New Mexico House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a Democrat, announced her resignation from her office over a criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and money laundering.

    "Due to the recent allegations that have been lodged against me, which I unequivocally deny, I have made the difficult decision that it is in the best interest of the state that I resign," said Williams Stapleton in a letter Friday to the New Mexico secretary of state.

    The 64-year-old was the first black woman elected to the New Mexico state legislature in 1995. She had become the second highest ranking Democrat in the state House.

    She was placed on administrative leave from her job as a tech coordinator in the Albuquerque public school district. Eleven other district staff members were placed on administrative leave as a part of the investigation.

    "In short, because I must devote a significant amount of time and energy to fully defend against these allegations," said Williams Stapleton, "I believe it is in the best interest of this state and the House of Representatives that my position as both a member of the House of Representatives and Majority Floor Leader be replaced with a representative who can fully and competently resume the tasks and duties that are necessary to continue serving this great state."

    Officials from the state attorney general's office raided Williams Stapleton's home and her business office over the allegations first raised in April by a school district superintendent.

    She is accused of funneling money into her own account from Albuquerque Public Schools that was meant for a vendor. The search warrant affidavit alleged that Williams Stapleton received $953,000 from Robotics Management Learning Systems LLC through non-profits she is involved with and companies she owns.

    No charges have been filed in the case yet.

    The former legislator turned 64 years old on Friday, the same day that she issued her resignation letter.

    Here's a local news report about the resignation:

    Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigns legislative seat

  • German court sets trial date for 100-year-old who allegedly worked as a Nazi SS guard at a concentration camp Mon, 02 Aug 2021 23:43:08 +0000

    Many decades since the end of World War II, a German court has set a trial date for an individual charged with a whopping 3,518 counts of accessory to murder in connection with allegations that he worked as a Nazi SS guard at a concentration camp, according to the Associated Press.

    The trial is slated to start in early October, a spokesperson for the Neuruppin state court noted Monday, according to the outlet which reported that the 100-year-old man allegedly worked at the Sachsenhausen camp.

    "The suspect is alleged to have worked at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party's paramilitary wing," the AP reported.

    Authorities say that the individual is viewed as sufficiently fit to stand trial despite his old age, but the quantity of hours the court is in session daily might need to be limited.

    "A medical evaluation confirms that he is fit to stand trial in a limited way," court spokesperson Iris le Claire said, according to the AP.

    Over 200,000 individuals were held at Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945, and there were tens of thousands of fatalities due to starvation, disease, forced labor and other factors, and due to medical experiments and SS extermination efforts which included shootings, hangings and gassings, according to the outlet.

    "In its early years, most prisoners were either political prisoners or criminal prisoners, but also included some Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals," the AP reported. "The first large group of Jewish prisoners was brought there in 1938 after the Night of Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht, an antisemitic pogrom."

    The outlet said that as was the case at other concentration camps, Jews at Sachsenhausen were targeted for especially harsh treatment, and most of the Jews still living by 1942 were shifted to Auschwitz.

    "In a different case, a 96-year-old woman will go on trial in late September in the northern German town of Itzehoe. The woman, who allegedly worked during the war as the secretary for the SS commandant of the Stutthof concentration camp, has been charged with over 10,000 counts of accessory to murder earlier this year," the AP reported.

    Both the 96-year-old woman's case and the charges against the 100-year-old man in the other case lean upon recent legal precedent in Germany that any person who aided a Nazi camp function may be prosecuted for accessory to the killings carried out there, the outlet noted.

  • News outlet ridiculed for failed attempt to undermine damaging report on DC mayor's hypocrisy Mon, 02 Aug 2021 22:30:00 +0000

    A Washington, D.C., based news outlet was widely mocked and ridiculed online for their attempt to undermine a damaging report documenting social distancing hypocrisy by the city's mayor.

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, was caught breaking her own indoor masking mandate at a wedding Saturday at a four-star hotel with hundreds of guests. Photographs of her hypocrisy were first published by the Washington Examiner.

    On Monday, the Washingtonian reported that the journalist who first broke the story had not been invited to the wedding, implying that it was improper for her to report what happened without being invited to the event.

    "UPDATE: The Washington Examiner writer who published photos of Mayor Bowser maskless at a wedding over the weekend was not invited to the wedding," read the tweet from the Washingtonian.

    The reporter, Tiana Lowe of the Washington Examiner, responded in mocking fashion.

    "LMAO I already said I wasn't invited this morning," tweeted Lowe.

    "When a reporter gets information indicating that an elected official is violating her own law, she has a professional duty the news," she added. "A novel concept these days, I know."

    Others on Twitter piled on against the Washingtonian.

    "Reporters apparently now can only expose the hypocrisy of politicians if they are *invited* to the relative event," responded Rich Lowry, National Review editor.

    "Counterpoint: Who gives a sh*t? W the actual F is this garbage, if not humiliating, boot-licking damage control for a hack busted red-handed for outrageous hypocrisy? Journalism!" replied Guy Benson.

    "Hats off to the Washingtonian for taking a bold and overdue stance against journalism," said Tom Elliott.

    "A solid burn! Obviously an important rule of journalism is that you must always be invited by the authorities before reporting," joked one Twitter user.

    Bowser's office claimed in a statement that the mayor had held to the social distancing guidelines, despite the photo evidence.

    "On Saturday, July 31st, Mayor Bowser officiated an outdoor, rooftop wedding ceremony, followed by an indoor dinner," the statement to WTTG-TV said. "The Mayor wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organizers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests."

    Here's more about the latest COVID hypocrisy scandal:

    DC Mayor Bowser officiates large wedding after new indoor mask mandate | LiveNOW from FOX

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham has tested positive for COVID-19 despite having been vaccinated Mon, 02 Aug 2021 22:00:00 +0000

    Sen. Lindsey Graham has announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 despite having already been vaccinated against the illness.

    "I was just informed by the House physician I have tested positive for #COVID19 even after being vaccinated. I started having flu-like symptoms Saturday night and went to the doctor this morning," the South Carolina Republican tweeted on Monday afternoon.

    Graham, who has served in the Senate since 2003, said that he would have experienced worse symptoms if he had not already been vaccinated

    "I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms. I will be quarantining for ten days. I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse," the 66-year-old lawmaker said.

    The Associated Press reported that Graham is the first senator to announce experiencing a breakthrough case after getting vaccinated. Last month GOP House member Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida announced that he had tested positive despite having been fully vaccinated.

    "According to spokesman Kevin Bishop, Graham attended an event over the weekend hosted by Sen. Joe Manchin on his houseboat and attended by other senators," the AP reported.

    The outlet noted that Manchin spokeswoman Sam Runyon said that the West Virginia lawmaker "is fully vaccinated and following the CDC guidelines for those exposed to a COVID positive individual."

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 58.1 percent of the U.S. population ages 12 and older has been fully vaccinated, while 67.6 percent has received at least one dose.

    While the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines both involve two shots, Johnson & Johnson's Jannssen vaccine involves just one. In the U.S., the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently allowed to be used in individuals 12 and up, while the other two vaccines are currently only permitted to be used in those 18 and older.

    There have been more than 35 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 613,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

  • Olympic committee reviews US athlete's gesture supporting 'oppressed' people as a potential violation of protest ban Mon, 02 Aug 2021 21:47:55 +0000

  • ‘Muppet Babies’ pushes gender-bending agenda. It’s touted as a ‘perfect message for kids.’ Mon, 02 Aug 2021 21:10:00 +0000

    The children's television show "Muppet Babies" recently showcased a male character cross-dressing and some fans are calling it a "perfect message for kids."

    What are the details?

    "In the latest episode of Disney Junior's Muppet Babies, titled 'Gonzo-rella,' the fun-loving and always unique alien Gonzo got to celebrate being exactly who he wants to be," reported last week.

    The episode featured the alien Gonzo, historically a male character, lamenting after being told by Miss Piggy and her friend, Summer, that he can't wear a dress to the royal ball.

    "But Gonzo, Piggy and I are the princesses, we wear the dresses," Summer said in the episode.

    "That's right! According to the royal handbook, the girls come as princesses, and the boys come as knights," Piggy added.

    Gonzo, heartbroken after hearing the news, lumbers off to a swing set in obvious displeasure. But shortly after, Rizzo the Fairy RatFather comes over to comfort him and ends up magically bestowing on him a gown and mask so that he can attend the ball dressed as a female.

    Muppet Babies - Gonzo-rella EXCLUSIVE CLIP

    Gonzo-rella | Muppet Babies | @Disney Junior

    Gonzo then attended the ball masquerading as a mysterious princess known as Gonzorella. While there, he won the hearts of his unsuspecting friends.

    Later, after the ball, Gonzo's friends approach him and tell him about all that he missed, including the princess who came and danced with them. That's when Gonzo revealed the news.

    "Everyone, there's something I need to tell you," he said, placing the glass slipper on his foot. "The princess who came to your ball tonight was me. I'm Gonzorella!"

    When the group questioned why he felt the need to wear a disguise, he answered, "You all expected me to look a certain way."

    "I don't want you to be upset with me. But I don't want to do things because that's the way they've always been done either. I want to be me," he added.

    What else?

    In its coverage of the episode, touted it as "beautiful" and an "absolutely perfect message for kids."

    In an interview with D23, the show's executive producer, Tom Warburton, explained how the episode came to be.

    "Very early on, we wanted to do an episode where Gonzo just showed up to the Playroom wearing a skirt. And it was no big deal. No one cared or questioned it because Gonzo is always 200% Gonzo 347% of the time," Warburton said.

    "But then story editor/co-producer Robyn Brown and her team wanted to take it a step further and do a Cinderella story based on the idea. And it was just SO wonderfully Gonzo. We hope he inspires kids watching to be 347% of themselves in their own way, too," he added.

    Twitter fan page, "Muppet History," argued that "the Muppets represent the ability to be accepting and loving of others, even if they may be a little different. To embrace those who others may shun. I'm glad to see that philosophy is still going strong."

  • Groom — reportedly in tuxedo after wedding — accuses bride of affair with friend while the three of them are stuck in traffic. Then groom shoots friend. Mon, 02 Aug 2021 20:16:41 +0000

    After their wedding Saturday, a bride and groom were in a vehicle with a male friend when the trio got stuck in traffic on Interstate 10 near New Orleans, WVUE-TV reported.

    Then things got ugly — and it had nothing to do with the long line of cars.

    What happened next?

    The groom — Devin Jose Jones, 30 — began accusing his new wife of having an affair with the male friend in the vehicle, St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre told the station.

    Tregre identified the male as a friend of the bride, L'Observateur reported.

    Jones — still donning his tuxedo, WVUE said — then pulled out a firearm and chased the bride's friend down the Interstate between stopped cars before shooting him in the leg, L'Observateur reported.

    The groom also fired at another car stuck in traffic, striking one person in the hand, WVUE said. L'Observateur said the bullet went through the vehicle's rear window.

    More from L'Observateur:

    Meanwhile, the bride stopped an ambulance and told personnel that her husband was trying to kill her. As the wife was barricaded inside the ambulance, the husband ran toward it and began trying to forcibly enter.

    At the same time, St. John Parish deputies pursuing Jones on foot were able to catch up to him and make an arrest.

    WVUE said the two shooting victims were taken to University Medical Center in New Orleans and were in stable condition.

    What happened to the groom?

    Jones was charged with attempted second degree murder, aggravated second degree battery, two counts of aggravated damage to criminal property, and illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, according to jail records, adding that the bond amount for each charge was unspecified.

    Tregre told the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate that alcohol was a factor in the incident, WWL-TV reported.

    Witnesses reportedly sound off

    WVUE said witnesses posted to social media about the shooting while they were stuck in traffic:

    "There is a bad accident that shut the bridge down and while the accident was being handled, someone got out of their vehicle and started approaching other vehicles and shooting innocent people sitting in their cars stuck in traffic!!!" Brian Chappell Jr. wrote on Facebook. "We are currently still sitting in dead stop traffic while police are trying to locate the active shooter!!!!!! I have my .45 with me, on my lap and ready to defend myself or anyone around me if need be!!!! Please keep everyone up here stuck in this hell hole in your thoughts and prayers right now!!!!!!"

    Shooting on Spillway between groom, bride and friend

  • Chinese officials forcibly remove crosses, erase 'Emmanuel' from Christians' fishing boats. Victims say gov't did not do the same to other religions. Mon, 02 Aug 2021 19:58:43 +0000

    The Chinese government has long been known to be hostile to Christianity and other religions. Now, the dictatorship is going after Christian Chinese fishermen.

    What's happening?

    Beijing's particular disdain for Christianity has not subsided, even after the U.S. government has repeatedly opened up trade opportunities with the communist country using the reasoning that American interests will influence the brutal, authoritarian Sino government and blunt its anti-Western, anti-God agenda.

    Assumed Western impact on the communist regime has not played out the way trade advocates predicted.

    Consider how Chinese strongman Xi Jinping and previous leaders have treated religiously observant citizens whose beliefs threaten the ideology of the regime — from Uyghur Muslims to the Christian faithful.

    The government's treatment of Christians has been going on for years. A few recent examples:

    • In the summer of 2019, Xi and his local religion monitors shut down faith venues based on the idea that the "number of believes cannot be allowed to continue growing."
    • Reports surfaced in April that Chinese officials are detaining Christians in windowless "transformation" facilities and using "brainwashing" to try to get them to renounce their faith.
    • In late 2018, the government cracked down on unregistered religious organizations and committed raids on numerous churches.
    • Three years ago, China banned online sales of the Bible while continuing to allow outlets like Amazon to sell Muslim, Taoist, and Buddhist texts.
    • Last summer, the government ordered Christians to replace crosses and images of Jesus Christ with portraits of communist leaders.
    • In May, the Communist Party instituted a nationwide crackdown on Christianity and shut down Christian-based apps.

    Now there's a new attack on Chinese Christians underway, China Aid, an organization that exposes Christian persecution in China, reported over the weekend: Authorities are removing crosses and erasing Christian messaging from fishermen's boats.

    According to China Aid, officials forcibly removed crosses and erased "Emmanuel" slogans from fishing boats late last week. Authorities reportedly told the targeted fishermen that the government would reject their fishing permits and prevent them from buying gasoline and driving their boats if they did not acquiesce.

    The attack on the fishermen's personal property was reportedly a violation of their constitutional freedoms, the outlet said.

    One fisherman told China Aid:

    The government is completely unreasonable. Fishing boats are our personal property. We have the right to put crosses on our boats. Religious freedom is written in the Constitution. However, it is just empty talk. The government never enforces the Constitution.

    When the victims asked the Communist Party officials to show legal documents allowing the forced removal of the religious symbols, they could provide none, the outlet reported. But it did not stop them.

    A Christian fisherman pointed out that the government was being selective in its religious outrage, asking, "Why do they only removed crosses, but not signs and slogans from other religions? Why do crosses bother them?"

    (H/T: The Christian Post)

  • Texas rancher says illegal immigrants have caused $60,000 in property damages on his land: 'We don't have the same rights as other people do' Mon, 02 Aug 2021 19:32:32 +0000

    A Texas rancher says he has sustained $60,000 in property damages because of the ongoing "invasion" of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border.

    Brent Smith, a rancher and attorney from Kinney County, told Fox News on Monday that ranchers in the area where he lives have been forced to hire private security "to defend their own property rights."

    "Us Americans, in this part of Texas, we don't have the same rights as other people do," Smith said. "We can't enjoy our property and go in our backyards anymore at night. It's a tragedy."

    He harshly criticized President Joe Biden for neglecting to enforce immigration law by permitting migrants who cross the border illegally to be released from detention and enter the U.S.

    Since assuming office, Biden has prioritized dismantling the immigration and border security policies of his predecessor President Donald Trump. Biden reinstated "catch and release" policies that ended under Trump, and he also canceled construction of a wall on the southern border and overturned the Trump administration's remain-in-Mexico policy requiring migrants to wait for their asylum cases to be processed before entering the U.S.

    Because of Biden's policies, immigration enforcement agencies have reported record numbers of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the southern border. This fiscal year there have been more than 1.1 million migrants encountered by Border Patrol agents.

    These migrants are trespassing on land owned by American ranchers to avoid detection by immigration and border enforcement, and Smith said that criminal activity on the border has left many Americans in border communities feeling unsafe, even during the day.

    "If you don't have a gun with you, you're taking a chance," he said of ranchers walking on their own property. "And it's sad that that's the reality we live in today."

    He added that criminal drug cartels "are in absolute control of both sides of the border right now."

    According to Smith, no one is compensating the ranchers for damages inflicted on their property.

    "If it's a stolen vehicle that goes through the property, their vehicle insurance isn't going to pay for it and ours won't either so the landowners are stuck with paying for this," Smith said.

    He explained that ranchers are also liable to cover the costs when livestock escape from damaged fences and cause accidents on the road.

    Some in Congress are working to correct the injustice. Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) on July 30 introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives that would reimburse farmers and ranchers for costs incurred by vandalism of their property from the illegal immigration surge.

    Pfluger's bill would redistribute $300 million in unspent COVID-19 rescue funds to pay farmers and ranchers for damages on their property related to migrant activity.

    "Farmers and ranchers near the border are enduring livestock loss, crop loss, and damage to fences, physical structures, and more at the hands of trespassing coyotes and illegal migrants," Pfluger said on social media. "My bill, the #RAPIDAct, would reimburse farmers for these damages.

  • Horowitz: Why Dershowitz is wrong to apply Jacobson decision in support of vaccine passports Mon, 02 Aug 2021 19:15:00 +0000

    If a government can box out a citizen from accessing all vital goods and services unless he takes an experimental vaccine — now with serious questions about safety and efficacy — is there anything a government cannot do to you? Well, thus far, the courts have relied on a 115-year-old court opinion, which has been implicitly overturned dozens of times, to justify any inhumane and illogical government mandate under the guise of exercising state police powers over public health. Unless we flush this decision — and the even more egregious interpretation of it — out of existence, our government will quite literally be able to take any action against our body.

    Supporters of mandatory shutdowns, masking, and now vaccines have justified the legality of their edicts based on the 1905 Jacobson v. Massachusetts case, which upheld a fine against an individual who failed to take the smallpox vaccine, pursuant to the ordinance of the department of health in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Legal analysts like Alan Dershowitz continue to cite it as an iron-clad precedent to support mandatory COVID-19 shots.

    However, that opinion is so antithetical to modern case law that it gave rise to the infamous Buck v. Bell decision in 1927, which greenlit forced sterilization.

    "We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives," wrote Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes for the majority. "It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11. Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

    Notice how immediately before declaring, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough," Holmes cites Jacobson. Just know that this is the decision being used to allow government to do anything and everything to our bodies without even having to provide evidence of safety, efficacy, and lack of alternatives. Just know that we need not imagine what could be done with such power because the same court, which has obviously overturned this decision with numerous subsequent case law establishing the inviolable right to bodily autonomy, has already pushed forced sterilization.

    That Jacobson has been overruled is abundantly clear from numerous cases, and most emphatically driven home in Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health, (1990) when Chief Justice Rehnquist declared in his majority opinion regarding the right to refuse life-saving treatment, "every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body." The following is just a sampling of very established precedent that would be thrown out were we to resurrect Jacobson:

    • Addington v. Texas, (1979) – involuntary commitment to physiocratic hospital must be based on "clear and convincing evidence"
    • O'Connor v. Donaldson, (1975) – non-violent person can't be committed to mental institute
    • Loving v. Virginia, (1967) – right to marry
    • Griswold v. Connecticut, (1965) – right to contraception
    • Roe v. Wade, (1973) – abortion
    • Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, (1992) – abortion
    • Prince v. Massachusetts, (1944) – family relationships
    • Moore v. City of East Cleveland, (1977) – family relationships
    • Lawrence v. Texas, (2003) – right to sodomy
    • Meyer v. Nebraska, (1923) – right to foreign language education
    • Pierce v. Society of Sisters, (1925) – the right not to be coerced to attend public school
    • Wisconsin v. Yoder, (1972) – parental rights in educational freedom
    • Glucksberg v. Washington (1997) – physician-assisted suicide

    Resurrecting Jacobson in light of an endless stream of case law creating such strong bodily autonomy rights that it created a right to assisted suicide and abortion is the equivalent of resurrecting Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, or Korematsu in 2021. However, aside from Jacobson being out of sync with our most foundational modern jurisprudence on bodily autonomy, there are several fundamental distinctions between the COVID mandates and Jacobson that are being ignored.

    • You simply cannot deny that smallpox was much deadlier than COVID. This point is especially relevant given that a federal judge in Indiana applied Jacobson in a lawsuit from college kids, who have infinitesimal risk, being coerced to get a shot that is particularly dangerous to young males.
    • The crux of the Jacobson outcome was a person having to pay a $5 fine (about $150 today). That is quite different from barring someone from school, employment, and vital goods and services. Government has a strong power to tax, but not to coerce. As the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court noted (Commonwealth v Pear; Commonwealth v Jacobson, 183 Mass 242, 248 (1903)), "If a person should deem it important that vaccination should not be performed in his case, and the authorities should think otherwise, it is not in their power to vaccinate him by force, and the worst that could happen to him under the statute would be the payment of $5." This dichotomy was the central point in the Supreme Court upholding the individual mandate under Obamacare in NFIB v. Sibelius.
    • In 1905, the smallpox vaccine had been around for a while. In 1796, the British physician Edward Jenner discovered a vaccination for smallpox, and it became widespread throughout the latter part of the 1800s. It wasn't nearly as novel as the spike protein vaccines for COVID-19 today. It also occurred long before we had standard procedures for regulating vaccines in accordance with the doctrine of informed consent.
    • All these mandates were predicated on the fact that the vaccine effectively blocked the virus. Now it has become clear that the vaccine absolutely does not stop infection and transmission. The only debate is whether it provides long-term or just short-term protection from serious illness. But that is a personal choice. Jacobson said the state must show a "real or substantial relation" from their regulation to their stated goal. Based on CDC's own data (ironically, from Massachusetts), this vaccine can no longer achieve a vital state interest of stopping the spread of a virus like it did with smallpox.
    • The Jacobson opinion mentions the "legislature" over a dozen times. For example, the opinion reads, "the legislature has the right to pass laws which, according to the common belief of the people, are adapted to prevent the spread of contagious diseases." Nearly all of the mandates being imposed now are being done by executive fiat without the input of the people's representatives.

    Indeed, both the application of Jacobson to the present situation and the endorsement of the decision itself is scandalous. Will they next say government can enslave us in pursuit of public health and cite Dred Scott in support?

  • After vilifying police, Portland unsurprisingly can't find officers to fill unit to fight soaring crime Mon, 02 Aug 2021 19:00:31 +0000

    Following more than a year of anti-police protests and targeted scrutiny from elected officials, law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon, have had enough.

    What are the details?

    According to the Wall Street Journal, officers in the riot-ravaged city are thinking twice about joining the police department's revamped version of the Gun Violence Reduction Team.

    The unit, originally disbanded by the city council in 2020 amid Black Lives Matter protests, was resurrected earlier this year after a wave of gun violence began to rock the city in its absence — only it was not the same. Rather, the Enhanced Community Safety Team, as it is now called, was refashioned to be significantly more woke. Here's more from the Journal's report:

    The new unit has its own citizen-advisory board, instituted after the old unit was criticized by city leaders for racial profiling. A job description says qualifications include the ability to fight systemic racism.

    The new changes have apparently not been a draw for officers in the City of Roses, many of them wearied by constant backlash and criticism. Since 14 job openings were announced in May, only four police personnel have applied to work within the unit.

    "They're demonizing and vilifying you, and then they want to put you in a unit where you're under an even bigger microscope," said Daryl Turner, head of the Portland Police Association, in response to the news.

    What else?

    Turner has been a voice for Portland's police officers, who were harassed and assaulted by rioters last year only to turn around and see the department's funding cut by progressive city council members.

    The union chief went off on city officials in June, blasting them for having "encouraged and enabled some of the violence" that occurred in the city for more than 150 nights last year. He argued that police feel as if the council does not have their back. It's no wonder.

    After the council passed significant budget cuts for the department last year, including the disbanding of the Gun Violence Reduction Team, violent crimes started to soar in the city. Portland has seen 53 homicides so far this year and is on pace to surpass its all-time high homicide figure, the Journal reported.

    Nevertheless, hostility toward law enforcement rather than criminals remained palpable. The straw broke the camel's back in June when the entire 50-member Portland Rapid Response Team resigned after an officer was criminally indicted for using force against a rioter.

    Meanwhile, Portland District Attorney Mike Schmidt declined to prosecute 80% of the crimes committed by rioters during the protests.

    Unless something drastically changes, the city will likely continue to have difficulty trying to convince officers that taking tough jobs is worth the risk.

  • Brown University's Dr. Megan Ranney declares: 'We are never going to go back to a pre-pandemic reality' Mon, 02 Aug 2021 18:42:38 +0000

    Brown University professor Dr. Megan Ranney, a practicing physician, said the quiet part out loud over the weekend: We are never returning to pre-pandemic life.

    Speaking on CNN's "Inside Politics" Sunday, Ranney said she agrees with the assessment of Kathleen Neuzil, a vaccine expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who told the Washington Post that humanity needs to get "comfortable" with COVID-19 because it is not going away any time soon.

    "We are never going to go back to a pre-pandemic reality," Ranney said.

    "And I do agree that we do have to become comfortable with the fact that this virus is going to be sticking around," she added.

    During her interview on CNN, Ranney strongly advocated for mask-wearing, including outdoors among crowds of people and for school children.

    "You want to know what is going to create a class of socially isolated children is having them out of school again," Ranney said. "Put them back in school but put them back in school with mask mandates to keep them and their teachers safe."

    Whether Ranney's prediction about Americans never returning to their pre-pandemic lives includes indefinite face mask wearing remains to be seen. But if Neuzil's remarks were any indication, sentiment among medical experts may be shifting from worrying about each individual COVID-19 case to preventing serious illness and death.

    "We really need to shift toward a goal of preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences, and not worry about every virus detected in somebody's nose," she told the Post.

    Such an approach seems to contradict what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doing by reversing its face mask guidance.

    Last week, the public health agency said fully vaccinated Americans in regions with high rates of COVID-19 transmission should mask up. The agency later released some data suggesting that fully vaccinated people carry high viral loads in their noses and throats, meaning they become carriers of COVID-19 and potentially infect others.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci justified the updated guidance by explaining Sunday the new guidance is meant to protect unvaccinated people. But isn't such an approach worrying about each individual case, rather than focusing energy on "preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences" like Neuzil suggested?

    After all, while the CDC's data show that breakthrough cases of the Delta variant have increased, if anything, the data show the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing deaths — almost statistically perfect, in fact.

News Web Sites

Columnist/Blog Web Sites

This page has been visited 31 times today and 5,117 times since May 11, 2015.