Stembridge News Digest

  • Trump should accede to Attorney General William Barr, and thus concede Tue, 01 Dec 2020 21:28:45 GMT
    President Trump should heed Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that the Justice Department has not found enough evidence of vote fraud to change the presidential election result in Trump’s favor.
  • In the Supreme Court, it's Religion v. The States Tue, 01 Dec 2020 21:12:18 GMT
    During the coronavirus pandemic, elected officials have been confronted with the unquestionably difficult task of safeguarding public health and well-being against an extremely infectious disease. The charge becomes stronger and stronger every day, as circumstances change and as television and print broadcast what amounts to gubernatorial virus report cards, seemingly at the top of every hour: State x added y number of cases and z number of deaths. Officials present themselves as if they perceive that the public expects them to be doing something new constantly to stop the virus — whatever it takes. That pursuit (which I do believe is generally performed with the well-being of people in mind) has resulted in deeply immoral and unlawful policies.
  • Enough with the pandemic porn Tue, 01 Dec 2020 21:05:53 GMT
    It is time that members of the press stop taking front-line medical workers at their word.
  • Low crime rates in border cities say nothing about the chaos caused by illegal immigration Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:57:20 GMT
    There are infinite ways that liberals in the news media try to convince people that what they see with their own eyes isn't what's actually happening, never more so than when it pertains to illegal immigration.
  • Here’s a list of all the Democratic officials who have defied their own coronavirus restrictions Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:55:15 GMT
    There has been no greater example of hypocrisy over the past several months than the actions taken by many government officials who expect the public to obey one set of rules while they live by another. At this point, the list of officials who have defied their own coronavirus restrictions has become so extensive that it’s difficult to keep track. But here is a shortlist of some of the most egregious violators who have eroded public trust and support for continued restrictions.
  • Leaked documents reconfirm China lied about the coronavirus outbreak and must be held accountable Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:44:09 GMT
    Back in March, I wrote a column arguing what most people already knew: China lied about the coronavirus outbreak and provided false data that downplayed just how severe it was.
  • Beware tax hikes under Biden, even if GOP holds the Senate Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:31:54 GMT
    Wall Street has been cheering the election results, believing that the lack of a big blue wave for Democrats means that the major tax increases proposed by the Biden campaign are not going to happen anytime soon. While control of the Senate will not be decided until the Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia, most observers believe that it is unlikely that the two Democratic challengers will win and tip control of the Senate to the Democrats.
  • Biden staff's diversity for the sake of diversity is a hollow act Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:00:28 GMT
    President-elect Joe Biden is already revealing what he intends to focus on during his time as president. His recent staff appointments, including an all-female communications team, make it clear that diversity is as important to the incoming president as anything else.
  • If Biden governs as a relative centrist, it will be because voters forced him to Tue, 01 Dec 2020 17:13:09 GMT
    Going into the presidential election, one of the big debates was over whether President-elect Joe Biden would govern as a more or less traditional liberal or end up being pushed to the far left by the base of his party.
  • The myth of Biden’s 100% renewable energy pledge Tue, 01 Dec 2020 16:22:58 GMT
    If you thought President-elect Joe Biden’s promise to go carbon neutral within 15 years was merely campaign rhetoric, think again.

  • AG Barr: DOJ has followed up on credible claims of voter fraud, has not found fraud on scale that could change election results Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:55:07 +0000

    Attorney General Bill Barr told the Associated Press Tuesday that the United States Department of Justice has not found any evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

    Barr said that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have investigated specific complaints and information they've received and that the investigations have not unearthed evidence that the outcome of the election was fraudulent.

    "To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," Barr said.

    On Nov. 9, the attorney general authorized federal prosecutors to look into "substantial allegations" of voter fraud while advising federal investigators to disregard "specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims." Barr has been a consistent critic of mail-in voting, warning before the election that widespread mail voting created opportunities for election fraud.

    In the wake of the election, President Donald Trump and his lawyers have asserted that a "national conspiracy" of voter fraud took place and that former Vice President Joe Biden's victory in several key battleground states was illegitimate. The president has refused to concede to Biden as his campaign pursues various legal challenges to the results of the election. Additionally, lawmakers in several states have begun conducting election integrity hearings to listen to testimony from witnesses who say they have proof of voting irregularities that amount to widespread fraud.

    Some of the Trump campaign's legal filings have been rejected by judges who found that the evidence presented by Trump's lawyers was not sufficient to substantiate their claims — including Republican-appointed federal judges. Lawsuits by Trump or state Republicans seeking to block the certification of election results in three different states were dropped or lost this week.

    Barr did not address many of the specific allegations made by Trump's legal team, but he did say that the DOJ has investigated claims that Dominion Voting Systems machines were somehow hacked or manipulated to throw the election to Biden, finding no evidence this happened.

    "There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven't seen anything to substantiate that," Barr said.

    He added that many people are demanding that the federal criminal justice system investigate allegations that are outside of its jurisdiction and belong in civil lawsuits. He suggested that conducting state audits of election results is the appropriate response to many of these allegations of voting irregularities, rather than criminal investigations by the federal government. Amid allegations of voting irregularities, an audit of the Georgia election results confirmed a Biden victory and produced no indication that widespread fraud took place.

    "There's a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all, and people don't like something they want the Department of Justice to come in and 'investigate,'" Barr said.

    He noted that criminal investigators require a basis to believe a crime took place before they can launch an investigation. Those allegations that meet that requirement, Barr said, have been followed up on.

    "Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. They are not systemic allegations. And those have been run down; they are being run down," Barr said. "Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."

    The Trump legal team led by Giuliani and campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis issued a statement responding to Barr, accusing the Department of Justice of lacking "any semblance of an investigation."

    "With the greatest respect to the attorney general, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud," Trump's lawyers said.

  • San Jose mayor joins elderly parents and 'unknown number' of others for Thanksgiving after telling residents to 'cancel' gatherings Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:50:22 +0000

    In yet another instance of Democratic hypocrisy regarding the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo reportedly celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends despite urging residents to "cancel" big gatherings for the holiday.

    What are the details?

    On Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, and likely well after most had already made plans for the holiday, Liccardo took to Twitter to tell residents that gathering for the holiday would be dangerous.

    "Cases are spiking, in part because we're letting our guard (and masks) down with family & friends. Let's cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe," he wrote.

    But then on Monday, KNTV-TV investigators reported that Liccardo had "celebrated with his elderly parents at their Saratoga home with an unknown number of other guests."

    The mayor's staff reportedly confirmed the dinner took place, but did not disclose to the local news outlet how many individuals attended or how many separate households were present.

    In response to the news story, the mayor's chief of staff said, "This is a private event — not public. We are going to redraw the line between what is personal and what is public because that line has become blurred."

    No matter the size of the gathering or the number of household's present, the celebration was a departure from the mayor's reported plans for the holiday.

    When pressed by KNTV-TV about the mayor's Thanksgiving plans earlier in the week, his press team told reporters he would be celebrating the holiday by "staying home" with his immediate family. But the day after Thanksgiving, the mayor's office said that a spokesperson "misspoke" and clarified that Liccardo spent the holiday at his parents' home with family.

    Anything else?

    What is perhaps even worse is that the mayor appears to have skirted local health guidelines by partaking in the Thanksgiving celebration.

    Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County's health officer, instructed residents during a town hall earlier this month, "Keep your holiday gatherings to your immediate household members only. I cannot emphasize enough, gathering with friends and family who are not in your household is not safe."

    On the day before Thanksgiving, the county COVID-19 testing officer, Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, told residents that they should look forward to gathering with family and friends next year.

    "The hope is that next year, we can enjoy our Thanksgivings with our families and our winter holidays also, but this year we just have to be more strict, because it's going to protect your family, yourself, your co-workers and it will allow people to not have to go into the hospital," he said.

  • Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page comes out as transgender, promises retribution for politicians who 'criminalize' trans health care Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:43:24 +0000

    Actress Ellen Page, 33, is now actor Elliot Page, according to a Tuesday announcement from Page.

    Page famously came out as gay in 2014 and married partner Emma Portner in 2018.

    What are the details?

    Page made the announcement on social media Tuesday.

    Page wrote, "Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life. I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I can't begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self."

    Page continued, "I've been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity, and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society."

    Page is looking for patience from peers and supporters.

    "My joy is real, but it is also fragile," Page admitted. "The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I'm scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes,' and of violence."

    Page went on to note statistics about crimes against those people in the transgender community, and pointed a finger at political leaders who "work to criminalize trans health care and deny our right to exist."

    "[Y]ou have blood on your hands," Page warned. "You unleash a fury of vile and demeaning rage that lands on the shoulders of the trans community, a community in which 40% of trans adults report attempting suicide. Enough is enough. You aren't being 'cancelled,' you are hurting people. I am one of those people and we won't be silent in the face of your attacks."

    "I love that I am trans," Page concluded. "And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows, and the more I thrive. To all the trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse, and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you, and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better."

    Page's wife, Portner, responded to the news Tuesday on Instagram, writing, "Trans, queer, and non-binary people are a gift to this world. I also ask for patience & privacy but that you join me in the fervent support of trans life every single day. Elliot's existence is a gift in and of itself. Shine on sweet E. Love you so much."

    You can read Page's full announcement here and below.

  • San Francisco 49ers forced to play home games in Arizona after local officials ban contact sports over COVID fears Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:28:27 +0000

    The San Francisco 49ers announced that they will be playing their December home games in another state following local officials' declaration that contact sports are a no-no in the wake of growing COVID concerns.

    What happened?

    California's Santa Clara County announced strict new COVID measures Saturday, Yahoo! reported. Included in the county's orders is a ban on contact sports for the next few weeks — which was bad news for the 49ers, who play their home games not in San Francisco but at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

    The new edict sent the NFL team scrambling to find a location for upcoming December home games.

    Sports Illustrated reported Monday that the the team had found a new temporary home — it's a state away and in the home stadium of their NFC West rivals, the Arizona Cardinals.

    The Niners reached an agreement with the Cards to play their final 2020 home games at State Farm Stadium in Arizona. San Francisco will play host in Arizona to the Buffalo Bills for a Week 13 matchup Monday and the Washington Football Team (formerly the Redskins) in Week 14, ESPN's Adam Schefter said.

    According to Schefter, Santa Clara County is "basically shutting down football" in the entire area. He noted that the decision came even as NFL officials have repeatedly said "there has been no evidence of transmission on the field of the virus."

    In a statement quoted by ESPN, the 49ers said, "The Cardinals organization, State Farm Stadium and League officials have been supportive and accommodating as we work through the many logistical issues involved in relocating NFL games."

    The Niners will leave San Francisco Wednesday to hold practices and games for the month of December.

    Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told ESPN, "As far as San Fran goes, that's obviously a challenging situation for them. I'm glad it worked out that we could host them in a way and allow them to use these facilities, and continue to keep their season going. It's kind of 2020 in a nutshell, and I'm just glad it all worked out for them."

    The Santa Clara County ban on contact sports is scheduled to expire Dec. 21, but may well be extended beyond that date.

  • Horowitz: Chicago man wanted in double homicide was recently released on bail for reckless homicide, gun offenses Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:26:46 +0000

    Jessica Beal and her brother, Damian Beal, are the latest black victims of the jailbreak "criminal justice reform" agenda promoted by Black Lives Matter, which ensures that dangerous criminals like Clarence Hebron are not behind bars.

    While liberals living in suburbia enjoyed their Thanksgiving week vacation, people living in America's major urban areas experienced more violence at the hands of undeterred repeat violent offenders. On Nov. 27, Chicago police put out an AMBER alert after 1-year-old K'marion Hebron was abducted at his house, which was the scene of a double homicide that included his mother, Jessica Beal, and her brother, Damian, as the victims. Police believe that the boy's father, Clarence Hebron, who is Beal's ex-husband, was responsible for the homicides and the initial abduction. The baby was later dropped off at a Riverside police station and was unharmed.

    Who is Clarence Hebron? CWB Chicago, which closely monitors crime in America's murder capital, noticed the picture of Hebron released by police was identical to a mug shot of him from April 2019.

    After digging into his history, CWB Chicago discovered that Hebron, 32, had been in jail in 2019 for allegedly killing a woman while fleeing police and for two separate Class X felony armed habitual criminal gun crimes. So why was he out free? One of those notorious Cook County judges agreed to release him on just $15,000 bond in July!

    Hebron was charged on April 18, 2019, for reportedly hitting a woman with his vehicle while fleeing police and driving with a suspended license. While Hebron had been released in the prior months after two separate gun charges, the judge finally decided to keep him locked up after he was charged with reckless homicide by motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing causing bodily injury, and driving on a revoked license resulting in injury or death.

    However, the pressure to release criminals has been strong in recent months. Three days after Hebron's lawyers filed a motion to have his bail reduced, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter agreed to lower the bail to just $50,000 each for the three offenses, allowing him to go free on a $15,000 cash payment (10% of the total bail). As of this writing, police are still looking for him in connection to the double homicide on Nov. 27.

    Hebron was out free while awaiting trial for two counts of Class X armed habitual criminal, five counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and four counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. This is the quintessential rap sheet of so many criminals who are released these days only to go on and commit homicide months later. This, at its core, is why homicide is skyrocketing in most major cities, with some of them approaching new records.

    We often hear tear-jerking stories about incarceration taking fathers out of homes, but violent fathers should be outside the homes, as this 1-year-old child will tragically learn when he discovers he has no mother. Repeat violent offenders need to be locked up — plain and simple.

    It's not clear if COVID was a consideration in Hebron's release four months ago, but criminals have been released because of the virus and for other reasons en masse. At the same time, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is threatening residents with jail time if they simply breathe free air or live their lives. "We will shut you down, we will cite you, and if we need to, we will arrest you," the mayor said back in May in a threat she is ratcheting up again during the holiday season.

    When have you ever heard her speak this assertively and threateningly to violent criminals? Instead, she uses the same virus that is an excuse to suspend civil liberties and criminalize human life as a pretext to release legitimate career criminals.

    Tragically, we saw another appalling example of jailbreak in St. Paul, Minnesota, another hotbed of criminality and coronavirus fascism. Antoine Lorenzo Powell, 34, was arrested for allegedly murdering a 41-year-old women in St. Paul on Sept. 3. According to eyewitnesses, a man who matched Powell's description shot Annamarie Wagener six times in the chest while she was at home and then stole her gun from her waistband. There is no known motive yet, but an informant told police that Powell had been part of a shooting just seven hours before in North Minneapolis, where detectives later discovered shell casings matching the gun used to murder Wagener.

    Here's the twisted irony. According to the charging document, Powell stole Wagener's gun from her waistband after she was killed. She had recently obtained a carry permit "because the area where she lived wasn't safe."

    Well, why wasn't the area safe? Because criminals weren't behind bars. It turns out that Powell was wearing an ankle bracelet because he was on parole, which is partially why they were able to place him at the scene of the crime and gather enough evidence to charge him for the murder two and a half months later. But as is always the case, ankle bracelets are worthless in prospectively deterring criminals from committing murder. It turns out, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, that Powell "has an extensive criminal record in Minnesota that includes convictions for firearms, assault, controlled substances, drunken driving and other offenses."

    The bottom line is that the same people who push gun control on law-abiding citizens are also releasing gun felons en masse. We also see that career gun and drug felons are not "low-level, non-violent offenders," but the quintessential criminals who go on to commit murder.

    Supporters of de-incarceration like to point out that prison fails to rehabilitate these sorts of criminals. But letting them out on the streets most certainly fails to rehabilitate them, while, unlike when they are confined, enabling them to act on their unrehabilitated instincts.
  • Leftists blast Katy Perry for shouting out pro-USA, anti-political T-shirts from her dad — a Christian evangelist who voted for Trump Tue, 01 Dec 2020 19:20:00 +0000

    Leftists are nothing if not unfailingly consistent when it comes to doling out their cancel culture magic when even the biggest celebrities ruffle their self-righteous feathers — even when said celebs are on their side.

    Singer Katy Perry found that out recently when she dared to urge her fans to contact their family members who don't share their political views — and express love to them.

    With that Perry's hardcore leftist followers on Twitter excoriated her for such a suggestion, saying things like "super good to know white supremacy isn't a dealbreaker for you."

    Now what?

    Apparently Perry didn't learn her lesson — because she posted what's become a problematic shout-out on social media about a T-shirt line from her father and brother:

    Perry's post notes that she hasn't always seen eye to eye with her dad and brother but is "proud" of them for their T-shirts that promote country over political parties. In the video accompanying the post, Perry's dad says, "No matter what you believe, at the end of the day we are all Americans."

    Such a sentiment probably would've been quite enough to send leftists into derangement mode, but the other rub could very well be that her dad is a Christian evangelist who voted for — wait for it — President Donald Trump.

    How did leftists respond?

    Did it matter to leftists that Perry is squarely on their side of the political aisle? Not even close. In fact, her social media shout-out proved yet another unforgivable sin, according to the left-wing scriptures:

    • "Damn you really woke up and said, 'F*** the few gay fans I have left,' huh?" one commenter wrote.
    • "When people don't think you should exist because you're LGBTQ+, Black, Muslim... it isn't a difference of opinion, Katy," another user noted. "When they vote for the white supremacists, they be white supremacists. It's really not that hard, Katy."
    • Another commenter told Perry "you need to realize it is YOUR PRIVILEGE being able to speak to your family even if they are republicans or conservatives. Most of us feel threatened by those people, so that's why you need to stop [spreading] the 'love your conservative parents' propaganda."
    • "Republicans kidnapped children, abandoned our allies, helped kill 10s of thousands by politicizing a pandemic & attending Trump rallies, are currently lying about the results of an election and spent 4 yrs wallowing in racism, misogyny & corruption," another user declared. "Put that on a T-shirt please."
    • "Did l miss something or didn't Republicans just try to steal legally cast votes from [people of color]?" another commenter asked. "I could keep going but that's the latest BS that Republicans were OK with. Sorry but folks need to stop pretending that they aren't voting for racism and other terrible things."

    And jewelry designer Markus Molinary told Perry on Instagram — where she also shouted-out her dad and brother's T-shirts — that she was out of line.

    "I'm sorry, I LOVE YOU but this is a HUGE NO for me! It's not a political issue. It's 'straight' up a human rights issue," Molinary wrote, according to Glamour. "The Trump Administration's decision to reverse the Obama-era rule that encompasses gender identity in the sex definition of the Affordable Care Act is an act of discrimination and purposeful inequality. This is about human respect, and right now we need to take a good look at ourselves and ask who we are becoming if we are justifying or advocating against the barest rights imaginable…It's NOT right to just cover it up with a T-Shirt."

    (H/T: Hot Air)

  • Minneapolis city council members push new anti-police plan to cut budget, officer count amid violent crime Tue, 01 Dec 2020 18:50:00 +0000

    Multiple members of the Democrat-controlled Minneapolis City Council are proposing new anti-police measures despite the violent crime that has plagued the city this year.

    What's the background?

    Following the tragic death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council — which does not have a single Republican member — promised to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department, replacing traditional law enforcement with an alternative, community-based solution.

    However, their bravado quickly waned after anti-police rhetoric triggered an exodus of police officers, resulting in record violent crime.

    Later, as city residents became increasingly angered by the crime and inaction by city officials, the city council had the audacity to question, "Where are the police?" Some members of the council even recanted their "abolish the police" promises when they learned that inflammatory rhetoric does not translate to functional public policy.

    What are the new proposals?

    Three members of the city council — Steve Fletcher, Phillipe Cunningham, and council President Lisa Bender — released a plan last Friday, which they have dubbed "Safety for All," proposing additional cuts to the Minneapolis Police Department and cementing a reduction in the city's sworn law enforcement force.

    According to KARE-TV, the Democrats want to use savings from the reduced law enforcement expenditures "to reinvest funding into mental health crisis response and violence prevention methods."

    In total, the council members propose cutting nearly $8 million from the police budget and shrinking the police force by 15%.

    More from KARE:

    Some of the proposed measures include: establishing a new 911 Mental Health Crisis Response for non-threatening calls, bolstering the city's "311" capacity for crimes such as theft and property damage, transferring Minneapolis Police employees to the Office of Violence Prevention or Neighborhood and Community Relations, and adding money to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

    "Minneapolis residents have made a clear call for change," the council members said. "Over-relying on armed law enforcement has over-exposed our city to potential harms and not led to safety for all in our city. We can and must do better."

    What did the mayor say?

    Minneapolis Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey criticized the "Safety for All" plan.

    In a statement, spokesman Mychal Vlatkovich said the mayor does not favor making deep, permanent cuts to law enforcement.

    "Mayor Frey has laid the groundwork in his budget proposal for new, alternative responses to low level offenses like theft reports and parking problems," Vlatkovich said. "However, the mayor would have significant concerns if his council colleagues attempted to make such large, permanent cuts to the number of officers in the department without sound data or community input to support such a decision."

    Meanwhile, Frey has introduced his own plan. According to KARE, Frey's budget proposal for the upcoming year recommends 888 "authorized" police officers, but just 770 sworn officers. And, amid budget cuts across the city, Frey also recommended stripping $12.5 million from the city police department in a one-time cut.

    Anything else?

    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) took to social media to defend the new proposal on Monday.

    "Don't fall for the fear-driven narratives. We can craft a justice system that prioritizes people's basic needs like mental health + violence prevention, & allow the city to put public safety first," Omar said.

  • Dozens of police barricade Canadian church parking lot to keep worshippers out of drive-in service. So they line the highway instead. Tue, 01 Dec 2020 18:35:00 +0000

    The Church of God at Steinbach in Manitoba, Canada, received a $5,000 fine for violating COVID restrictions by meeting in person on Nov. 22. But the churchgoers decided that they would not be deterred from coming together, and on Sunday they held a drive-in service.

    But the police wouldn't let churchgoers into the parking lot — even though would-be attendees had been instructed to stay in their car with the windows up, the Christian Post reported. So the faithful lined the highway in front of the church.

    What happened?

    After receiving the maximum fine allowed for holding an in-person service that violated Manitoba's ban on groups larger than five people, the Church of God in rural Steinbach, Manitoba, said it would not stop offering worship gatherings for the faithful.

    In a Nov. 23 press release posted to Facebook, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt said that churches "have been singled out" in the COVID lockdowns and not given the same treatment as pot shops, liquor stores, and fast-food joints that have been considered "essential." This violation of the churchgoers' "right to religious freedom and peaceful assembly in the Canadian Constitution" is not something Christians follow in "blind obedience," the pastor said.

    "We are not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment," Hildebrandt wrote. "Christians have always believed that their faith and the reasonable expression of that faith is essential to their mental health and well-being and that being arbitrarily separated from each other is detrimental to them."

    "On Sunday morning, people in this province interacted at Walmart, Costco, and other retailers," the pastor continued. "The same thing happened at the local liquor store, cannabis dispensaries, and the list goes on. Yet, it is our faith community that is singled out for public criticism, media attention, and visits by the RCMP, Manitoba Public Health and local bylaw enforcement. There must be an allowable expression of faith that is deemed essential while we are allowing the sale of products at establishments that exist solely for the sale of alcohol, coffee, donuts, cannabis, and fast food."

    In light of the government's crackdown on in-person gathering inside the church building, the church announced it would be holding a drive-in service in its parking lot on Nov. 29 — as did other churches in Manitoba.

    Not content with stopping indoor services, the provincial government declared that even drive-in services were verboten.

    But the Church of God at Steinbech was not to be deterred. In a Saturday morning Facebook post, the church announced that the planned drive-in service was still on. The church instructed those who planned to attend to stay in their cars with the windows up. A subsequent post told worshippers to tune to 88.5 FM to listen to the service.

    "Tomorrow morning we will have the safest parking lot in Manitoba," the post said. "Keep your windows rolled up and stay in your vehicles. This won't be like the parking lots of Costco, Walmart, and the government-owned liquor stores where people freely mingle. Make no mistake, this is not about a virus."

    On Sunday morning, parishioners found dozens of police vehicles lined up along the highway outside the church and blocking the entrance to the parking lot.

    A video shot as police barricaded the church entrance showed a growing line of cars along the highway being prevented from entering the parking lot.

    The church later posted photos showing the highway jammed with cars of people taking part in the drive-in service while parked along the side of the road.

    What did the government say about bans on drive-in services?

    Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer, told the CBC that the government has several tools it can use to enforce public health restrictions.

    "If somebody was undertaking activity that we felt put the health of the public at risk, we could issue a health hazard order that would require an organization to close," Roussin said, according to the CBC. "There could be continued fines, there could be prosecution under the Public Health Act. So those are just the various options available to to enforce things."

    According to Roussin, people just need to stay home because even drive-in services can be dangerous.

    "We know there are a lot of things that are very important to people, but we've heard from our health care providers, we've seen the numbers, so we are asking Manitobans for a relatively short period of time to take these steps to stay home and limit any type of gatherings," Roussin said Monday, according to Canada's Global News.

    "Are people going to be in their car? Is that all household people in there? Does anyone need to use their washroom during this time? There are risks involved with it," Roussin added.

  • Georgia secretary of state announces 250 investigations into ‘credible’ claims of fraud connected to the ​2020 election Tue, 01 Dec 2020 18:20:00 +0000

    Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced during a press conference Monday that his office is currently investigating more than 250 claims of fraud related to the 2020 election.

    "As we move forward in the process, we will, as we always have been, we will continue to investigate credible claims of illegal voting and violation of state election law," the secretary of state told reporters at the state capitol building. "There are currently over 250 open cases from 2020 and we have 23 investigators to follow up on that. Some of these include, a charge Gwinnett County that absentee ballots outnumber absentee envelopes. This is the kind of specific charge that our office can investigate and ascertain the truth."

    "We have multiple investigations underway surrounding absentee ballots in Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, and many others. We continue our investigations into potential dead, double voters, and non-resident voters," he continued. "As we move to the December 1 election, which is tomorrow, and the January 5 federal runoffs, we have to remain vigilant."

    Even as the secretary of state announced the investigations, he again defended the security of the election, complaining that "dishonest actors" have been spreading "massive amounts of misinformation."

    In what appeared to be an indirect reference to President Trump's legal team, Raffensperger noted, "There are those who are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half truths, misinformation, and frankly, they are misleading the president as well."

    The secretary of state's office in Georgia has maintained that there has been no evidence of widespread election fraud in the state. Georgia's statewide voting implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, said Tuesday that officials do not expect any of the investigations will result in the overturning of the election.

    Democratic nominee Joe Biden currently leads Trump by just under 13,000 votes in the state, and last week Raffensperger officially certified the election results, declaring Biden the winner of the state's 16 Electoral College votes.

    The Trump campaign has not conceded the state, however, but instead requested that another recount be conducted. That recount is currently under way and is expected to be completed by Wednesday.

    During another press conference Tuesday, a frustrated Raffensperger informed reporters that Fulton County, home to Atlanta, is to blame for delays in the recounting process. He said election workers in the county continue to make decisions that are "concerning" and said it appears the county wants to make it a "dramatic finish," turning in results just in time for the deadline.

    Further raising suspicion, on Monday, news broke that a Dominion voting machine server crashed in the county for an unspecified reason.

  • Former President Barack Obama: It was a 'screwup' not to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dolly Parton Tue, 01 Dec 2020 18:04:19 +0000

    Former President Barack Obama says his administration had a major "screwup" in not honoring entertainer Dolly Parton while he was in office.

    Obama met with Stephen Colbert, host of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and the two carried out a socially distant interview ahead of the former president's recently released book, "A Promised Land."

    What are the details?

    During Monday night's interview, Obama said that his administration messed up in failing to honor Parton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    During his eight years in office, Obama honored entertainers such as Bob Dylan, Gloria Estefan, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and more.

    "That's a mistake," he insisted of somehow omitting the longtime entertainer and humanitarian. "I'm shocked."

    Colbert, laughing, responded, "Looking back at your eight years, do you realize that's the mistake you made?"

    Obama responded, "Actually, that was a screwup. I'm surprised. I think I assumed that she had already gotten one, and that was incorrect. ... She deserves one. I'll call Biden."

    Parton has not issued public remarks on Obama and Colbert's exchange at the time of this reporting.

    What else?

    Elsewhere during the discussion, Obama said that a Biden presidency would help lower the temperature in the United States.

    "Look, I experienced divided government and I will tell you that gridlock and dysfunction is a recipe for not only not solving big problems but also growing cynicism among the electorate that further polarizes folks," he explained. "I think that Joe's presidency will help lower the temperature."

    He also predicted that the former vice president would "have some success in building back social trust," but warned that the country has work to do in "figuring out what to do about this splintered media landscape."

    President Obama Answers "Questions We're Pretty Sure Barack Obama Has Never Been Asked Before"

  • Soldier faces murder charge after reportedly forcing 'unruly' 5-year-old boy out of car near highway, where he was struck by traffic Tue, 01 Dec 2020 17:17:52 +0000

    A 35-year-old active-duty Army sergeant at Fort Benning, Georgia, faces murder charges in the death of his girlfriend's 5-year-old son.

    What are the details?

    Authorities said that as Bryan Starr drove down a dark and rainy Alabama highway, he pulled over and forced 5-year-old Austin Birdseye — who was described as being "unruly" in the vehicle — to get out of the car.

    Shortly after Starr reportedly made Austin leave the car, the child was fatally struck by a passing vehicle. He died Sunday at a local hospital.

    Starr told deputies that the child was misbehaving in the car, which prompted him to pull into a parking lot off the highway and demand that the child get out of the vehicle. The child obliged, but Starr said he lost track of the child completely until he saw other cars stopped along the highway and suspected the worst. During that time, the child apparently wandered into the highway and was struck by the passing vehicle.

    Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said that an accident at that point was unavoidable.

    "There's no indication that [the driver who struck Austin] had any chance of not hitting the little guy," Taylor told reporters.

    Taylor marveled at Starr's treatment of the child.

    "What do you say to that? What is your thought process when you tell a 5-year-old child to get out of the car on a rainy night because they were being loud in the car?" he added.

    The state police are working with the local sheriff's office to conduct an investigation into the child's death.

    The New York Post reported that Austin was struck just two miles from the home he shared with Starr and his mother, Christina Birdseye. Birdseye was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident.

    According to Newsweek, Starr faces a reckless murder charge in connection with the incident.

    What else?

    In a statement obtained by WTVM-TV, a spokesperson for Fort Benning said that it is cooperating with the investigation.

    "Starr, 35, from Marengo, Illinois, is assigned to 3rd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, 316th Cavalry Brigade, has 17 years of service. His previous assignments include the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He has one combat deployment to Iraq," a portion of the statement read. "We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased."

  • Operation Warp Speed official: '100% of Americans' who want vaccine will have it by June Tue, 01 Dec 2020 16:56:50 +0000

    A top official with Operation Warp Speed — the Trump administration initiative to speed the development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine — said Monday that every American who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by June of next year.

    Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski (Ret.), the director of supply, production, and distribution for Operation Warp Speed, appeared on MSNBC and was asked about his expectations for Americans come June.

    "One hundred percent of Americans that want the vaccine will have had the vaccine by that point in time. We will have over 300 million doses available to the American public, well before then," Ostrowski said.

    The confident prediction came as biotech company Moderna on Monday announced the final results of its 30,000-person efficacy trial for its vaccine. The company's trials found its vaccine to be 94% effective against COVID-19 with a 100% effectiveness against severe disease. No one who participated in the trial developed a severe case of coronavirus. Moderna declared its intention to file for emergency approval from the FDA to begin production and distribution of its vaccine as soon as possible. The agency will meet on Dec. 17 to discuss approval for the vaccine.

    Earlier in November, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted their vaccine to the FDA for emergency approval.

    Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, told CNN last week that tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccines will begin shipping to immunization sites by the end of this year. He predicted that Americans would reach herd immunity by May 2021 and that life would return to normal once people are immunized.

    As multiple vaccines near release, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci called on the American people to "be part of the solution" Monday by receiving a vaccine in a conversation with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday.

    "Say, 'I'm not going to be one of the people that's going to be a steppingstone for the virus to go to somebody else. I'm going to be a dead end to the virus,'" Fauci said.

    As of Nov. 30, there were more than 13 million confirmed or probable coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the COVID Tracking Project. About 96,000 Americans are currently hospitalized and more than 259,000 have died from COVID or complications related to the virus.

    CNN reports that as Pfizer's vaccine awaits authorization, states have until Friday to request the number of doses for the vaccine.

  • Not wearing mask in public is 'act of domestic terrorism,' LA County health officer declares Tue, 01 Dec 2020 16:55:08 +0000

    The health officer of Los Angeles County said that those who don't wear masks in public in response to the coronavirus pandemic are guilty of an "act of domestic terrorism," the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

    What are the details?

    "If it were up to me, anybody not wearing a mask when they are out in public would be arrested," Dr. Muntu Davis said last week, according to the paper. "That's an act of domestic terrorism and should be treated like one."

    Davis has been the county health officer since 2018.

    Davis' declaration came as county public health officials have been faced with "dramatically increased rates of transmission and potentially exponential growths of deaths in the coming weeks" as " hospital rooms fill up again and depleted hospital staffs scramble to keep up," the Daily News noted.

    The paper also said health officials worry that such resources could be overwhelmed across the county as more people ignore public health guidelines.

    "Limiting certain activity that can easily result in increased cases like outdoor dining at restaurants is done to try to get our case rates lower so we can move to a less restricted tier and open more businesses," Davis added, according to the Daily News. "We know what we have to do, but not enough people are doing it."

    Indeed, county supervisors last week barred outdoor dining at restaurants — not that it prevented Supervisor Sheila Kuehl from doing just that only hours after her vote for the ban.

    The Daily News added that county projections show COVID-19 present in roughly one in every 145 people — many of whom may not know it.

    Interestingly, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer and Davis have "acknowledged that contact tracing cannot definitively point to outdoor dining as the cause of the surge. Davis leaned on Centers for Disease Control studies. They stressed it is the only retail activity that allows customers to be mask-less for long periods of time," the paper added.

    Anything else?

    The county also issued a new health order that went into effect Monday, saying "residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others."

    The new order also included the following changes to the "existing Health Officer Order":

    • Gatherings: All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
    • Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
      • Essential retail – 35% maximum occupancy
      • Non-essential retail (includes indoor malls) – 20% maximum occupancy
      • Personal care services – 20% maximum occupancy
      • Libraries – 20% maximum occupancy
      • Fitness centers operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
      • Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
      • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
    • Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:
      • Beaches, trails, and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
      • Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
      • Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
    • Schools:
      • All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
    • Closed non-essential businesses/activities:
      • Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools)
      • Cardrooms

    The new order also said that "restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in-person dining and drinking, as customers are not wearing face coverings during their visit which results in an increased chance of transmission of the virus. Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery, and take-out. Breweries and wineries remain open for retail sales at 20% occupancy."

  • Report: Democrats face voter fraud allegations after ballot review by Dem judge erased Republican lead Tue, 01 Dec 2020 16:11:00 +0000

    Democrats are reportedly facing voter fraud accusations in an extremely tight New York congressional race that resulted in a Republican candidate having her lead over a Democratic incumbent completely erased, the Washington Examiner reported.

    What are the details?

    On election night, freshman Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.) trailed Republican challenger Claudia Tenney by over 28,000 votes. Then, as mail-in ballots were counted over the coming weeks, Brindisi's deficit was erased, and he trailed Tenney by just 100-200 votes, the Examiner noted.

    That's when Oswego County state Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte, a Democrat, intervened, reviewing "spoiled" ballots that had been initially rejected, which gave Brindisi the lead — by just 13 votes.

    "BREAKING: sources on both Dem & GOP sides confirm that the final counts submitted by all 8 counties in #NY22 to NY Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte will show Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) *ahead* of Claudia Tenney (R) by either 12 or 13 votes. Wow," Cook Report's Dave Wasserman reported following the development.

    "In NY-22, the Democrat incumbent was trailing by almost 30K on election night. The mail-in ballots got him close. Then a Democrat judge from Syracuse ruled he would personally 'review' all of the spoiled ballots that had been rejected. Guess what happened next," Hot Air editor Jazz Shaw explained. "The judge miraculously 'found' enough ballots that he felt were okay and the incumbent now 'leads' by 13 votes."

    How did the campaigns respond?

    Despite the narrow gap, Brindisi responded to the judge's actions by declaring victory.

    "This process and the integrity of our election are critical to our republic. This judicial review has been fair, open, honest, and transparent and I remain confident that voters' voices will be heard," Brindisi said. "In January I will be sworn in and continue to work with both parties and stand up to anyone on behalf of all of New York's 22nd district."

    Meanwhile, Tenney's campaign explained in a statement they essentially believe that voter fraud gave Brindisi the edge.

    Campaign spokesman Sean Kennedy said, according to WSTM-TV:

    Governor Cuomo's unfair, unwise, and unilateral rules changes and administrative burdens overwhelmed our voting system and created this utter dysfunction. As a result, the law was not followed when ballots were challenged and tabulated in this election. The result remains far from resolved. Hundreds of ineligible ballots were illegally or improperly cast including votes by the dead, non-residents, or unregistered voters. Those ballots should not – and must not – be counted. The hearing in court has already established that the current tally includes invalid votes and that the process to review and count the massive amount of paper ballots is fractured. Today's misleading and inaccurate tally is rife with errors and mistakes that must be rectified before this election is certified. It is far from final. Our team will fight to ensure the rights of every voter who cast a legal and proper ballot are preserved and not diluted. We cannot sacrifice accuracy for speed. When that is done, we feel strongly that Claudia Tenney will be certified the winner of the race for the 22nd District of New York.

    Anything else?

    On Monday, all eight counties in New York's 22nd Congressional District delivered their first official cumulative vote count, showing Tenney with the lead — by just 12 votes, 155,492-155,480.

    Tenney's lead was later corrected by a single additional vote after one county revised its final tally.

    However, the final winner of the race will be decided by about 2,500 contested mail-in ballots, according to

  • Bombshell testimony out of Arizona raises more questions about election security Tue, 01 Dec 2020 15:59:13 +0000

    Steven gives a recap of the most important allegations leveled in yesterday's marathon hearing on Arizona main-in ballot concerns. He later covers what appears to be a striking flip-flop on election security since 2016.

    Catch up on missed episodes here.

    Use promo code LWC to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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