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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Doubt in the Pipeline after Biden's Oil Spill

by Tony Perkins: Maybe the mistake for Joe Biden wasn't going into his basement -- but coming out. After Thursday night's debate, liberals have to be counting their lucky stars that so many Americans have already voted, because if that was their last impression of the Democrat running for president, it was not a good one. When Biden wasn't telling outright lies, he was shocking viewers with the truths that he let slip about his radical agenda on oil, energy, lockdowns, socialized medicine, and government regulation. For a man who says he cares about the environment, he created a mess. And not even the Left's allies in the media will be able to mop up this one.

This was the President Trump America had been waiting for. He was measured, confident, exacting, and brutally honest. When he had the opportunity, he cut straight to the quick. At one particularly powerful moment, he turned to Biden after another string of untruths and said, "You know, Joe, I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama, because you did a poor job... [You've] been in government 47 years... You were vice president. You keep talking about all these things you're going to do and you're going to do this. But you were there just a short time ago, and you guys did nothing." When moderator Kristen Welker asked Biden to respond, he shrugged and said, "Republicans controlled Congress." Now, that wasn't just a lie -- it was a lazy lie. Anyone with a search engine (or a good memory) knows that not only did he and Barack Obama have a Democratic Congress when they were elected, they had a supermajority.

But unfortunately, dishonesty has become second nature for the former vice president, who also tried to convince Americans that he knew nothing about his son's shady deals with China and Russia (despite his business partner's testimony to the contrary) and never took "a penny" from foreign sources. He yoyo-ed on health care, insisting he didn't want a government takeover (even though his own platform calls for it). He claimed "not one person with private insurance" had lost their plans under Obamacare -- a whopper so big it deserves its own sandwich at Burger King. Biden's fiction on fracking is almost comical at this point, since he's made enough statements on banning it to fill a whole YouTube channel. Remember when Obama talked about shovel-ready jobs? Well, this was a shovel-ready debate, and Biden just kept digging the hole deeper.

On the subject of immigration, the vice president thought he had a "gotcha" moment bringing up family separation at the border. Then, Trump took the opportunity to remind people which administration put the children in cages. "Who built the cages, Joe?" he asked. When Biden wouldn't answer, the president persisted, "Who built the cages?" "Let's talk about what we're talking about," the flustered Democrat tried to say. "Parents were ripped -- their kids were ripped from their arms and separated." Not all of them, Trump fired back. "Children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they're brought here and it's easy to use them to get into our country."

The president is right. I know, because I've been to the border and seen the cages. I've also talked to several experts, border agents, and senators who will confirm the tragic reality that a number of these kids were brought in by horrible criminals to be trafficked. How do we know? Because there's DNA testing to prove it! If the media did its job, more people would know that Homeland Security launched a pilot program more than a year ago to determine, through genetic testing, who the real families are. What they discovered is that at least 30 percent of the "parents" who consented to the test turned out to be frauds! If there's real family separation, a large portion of it happens well before these caravans get to the border.

On the rare moments when Joe Biden was telling the truth, his advisors were probably wishing he could be interrupted. His oil "spill" was one of the worst moments of his campaign, horrifying tens of millions of voters who care about jobs, energy, and the U.S. economy. Saying you want the oil industry to disappear is as big of a swing-state kiss-off as it gets. And yet, Biden kept repeating it. "I would transition away from the oil industry." "That's a big statement," Trump said, genuinely surprised. "It is a big statement," Biden agreed. Even moderator Kristen Welker then seemed stunned, asking Biden, "Why would you do that?" By that point, Biden's advisors were desperately wishing they had control of the mute button.

A better question might be: what wouldn't Biden shut down? He wants to turn off the lights in the oil industry, the economy, he wants to lock us all back down, and force us to wear masks. He's not Sleepy Joe Biden -- he's Board 'Em Up Biden! But if the night was a disaster for Joe, it wasn't the media's fault. They did everything in their power to win the evening for Joe, right down to the questions themselves. Did we hear a single thing about Joe Biden's late-term abortion extremism or his plan for eight-year-old gender transitions? No. Did Susan Page ask Kamala Harris about her two votes for newborn infanticide or her push to legalize prostitution? No, because deep down, the media understands how incredibly unpopular the Left's social agenda is in mainstream America. If voters were truly on board with Joe Biden on his anti-faith, abortion, LGBT agenda, the moderators would have tripped over themselves to cover it. They didn't. And that ought to say everything voters need to know about where this country would be headed.

Get the facts. Check out our election headquarters at PrayVoteStand.org. See the truth for yourself in Trump vs. Biden on the issues, what Trump has accomplished, and the two party platforms.
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Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers<.
Tags: Tpny Perkins, FRC, Doubt in the Pipeline, after Biden's, Oil Spill To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Americans WILL Pay More in Taxes Under Biden

Picking apart Joe's dubious denials that his tax plan won't cost Americans more.
by Thomas Gallatin: Joe Biden has been selling the latest iteration of his tax plan by erroneously claiming it will only increase taxes on Americans earning $400,000 or more annually. Campaigning in Florida last week, Biden sounded like a used-car salesman, promising, “I’m not going to raise taxes on a single solitary American making less than $400,000 a year. You won’t pay a penny more. It’s a guarantee.”

And how does Biden plan to pay for his trillions of dollars in new government programs? Why, taxing the rich, of course. And by taxing, he means nearly bleeding them dry. According to a CNBC analysis, top-earning Americans living in high-tax states like California or New York would pay a combined state and federal tax rate of a whopping 62%.

Biden’s claim that he won’t raise taxes on lower- and middle-class Americans also fails the basic economics test. While Biden’s plan may not directly target those households for tax hikes, his tax increase on the wealthy and increasing the corporate tax rate would impact lower- and middle-income earners via lower wages and higher consumption costs. The Tax Foundation found that Biden’s plan would lead to a reduction in Americans’ income across the board, with the wealthiest 1% seeing a 6.5% reduction in after-tax income and the rest of wage earns seeing a 1.7% decline. That’s not a recipe for economic growth.

The American Enterprise Institute determined that “in 2021, Biden’s proposal would increase taxes, on average, for the top 5 percent of households and reduce taxes on households in the bottom 95 percent.” Yet by 2030, his plan “would increase taxes, on average, for households at every income level, but tax increases would primarily fall on the top 1 percent of income earners.” So, essentially, Biden can dubiously claim that he won’t raise taxes on 95% of Americans by putting off the tax hike until after he’s out of office. It’s a classic bait and switch, just like ObamaCare.

As National Review’s Kevin Williamson observes, “Most economists agree that at least some of the payroll taxes that are in theory paid by employers end up being paid by employees, whose wages are reduced in order to offset the expense of the tax. Inevitably, that kind of cost-shifting falls most heavily upon low-wage employees, who, by definition, have relatively little power in the market.”

But those tax increases are also passed along to consumers, the majority of whom are lower- and middle-income Americans who find themselves shelling out more of their hard-earned money for goods and services as prices increase in order to pay for the increased tax rates. The Washington Times notes that, according to a Hoover Institution report, “the Biden agenda would result in a 7% drop in real consumption per household and a $2.6 trillion drop in GDP, factoring in his plan to expand ObamaCare and aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Indeed, that’s the hidden taxation of regulatory growth. One of President Donald Trump’s most effective actions in stimulating the American economy has been slashing government red tape. Biden would reverse this cost-cutting practice with his plan to expand or add new government programs. “With all these spending programs come regulations to implement them,” observes American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin. “Last time we saw Joe Biden in office, there was $100 billion in regulatory costs added every year for eight straight years. That’s nearly a trillion-dollar disguised tax increase that comes along with these spending programs.”

But sure, Scranton Joe cares about families around the kitchen table worried about making ends meet.
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Thomas Gallatin is a writer and staff analyst at The Patriot Post.
Tags: Thomas Gallatin, writer, staff analyst, Americans, WILL Pay More, in Taxes, Under Biden To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

A Clear Winner, Bad News For Biden, Biden Runs Down America

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer
: Countdown to Victory: 11 Days until Election Day!

A Clear Winner
There was a clear winner in last night's debate -- President Donald Trump. And you don't have to take my word for it. The overwhelming majority of undecided voters in a Los Angeles Times focus group also agreed that Trump won the debate. Here are some highlights:
  • Trump slammed Biden for being a failed, 47-year career politician who didn't do anything, saying, "You know, Joe, I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama, because you did a poor job." It was a powerful hit against Biden and a theme the president came back to repeatedly.
  • Trump more than held his own during the discussion of COVID, and he put Biden on defense over shutting down the country again. Biden even started suggesting things that he wanted to shut down, like bars and gyms. Polls show that only one-third of Americans support additional lockdowns.
  • Debate organizers deployed a mute button for the candidates, which seemed to work okay. But perhaps the candidates need a button to mute the moderator. Kristen Welker interrupted Trump 41 times and interrupted Biden only 8 times. Once again, the president was debating two Democrats, Joe Biden and whoever is supposedly moderating.
  • There were some bizarre moments, such as when Joe Biden insisted that nobody lost their health insurance under Obamacare. Millions of people lost their insurance plans because of Obamacare. And Barack Obama's claim that people could keep insurance plans and doctors they liked was labeled by PolitiFact as 2013's "Lie of the Year." Surely Joe Biden knows that.
  • Biden insisted that he supports private insurance and opposes socialized healthcare. Yet his own healthcare plan calls for a "public option" which is government-funded healthcare designed to drive private plans out of business. That's why Bernie Sanders says Joe Biden is the "most progressive" candidate in generations.
  • Biden also bizarrely claimed that he never said he would ban fracking. Yes, he did. And so did his running mate, Kamala Harris.
  • Biden is trying to deny his environmental extremism now because he knows it's a huge problem for him. But he also said he wants to phase out the fossil fuel industry. Well, that sounds like a fracking ban to me. By the way, that's not the only industry he's going to "phase out." He'll destroy the medical industry too. And who knows how many businesses Biden would destroy with additional lockdowns.
  • In one telling moment about how liberal he is, Biden criticized his former boss, claiming Obama was too tough on illegal immigration! Biden then promised a massive amnesty bill in his first 100 days.
  • Perhaps the most bizarre moment was when Biden declared that America "had a good relationship with Hitler" before he invaded Europe. That's a grotesque lie, but I guess Biden has been spending a lot of time reading the 1619 Project and absorbing the left's revisionist history. (See below.)
How do you spend four days in debate preparation and still make mistakes like that? By the way, Biden is back in his basement today, while President Trump is holding six rallies over the next three days.

Bad News For Biden
Joe Biden got some bad news right before last night's debate. Tony Bobulinski, one of Hunter Biden's former business partners, held a dramatict press conference 90 minutes before the debate.

He said Joe Biden was lying about his family not profiting from foreign influence dealings. Bobulinksi presented three cellphones that he said contained evidence of the family's dealings. Bobulinski said he would be meeting with Senate investigators and handing the devices over to government authorities.

Of course, the mainstream media ignored Bobulinksi's statement. The media insists that such information is unverified and then they do absolutely nothing to attempt to verify it.

The most telling thing is that Joe Biden and his campaign have never actually denied the existence of the Hunter Biden laptop now in FBI possession or the messages on it that point to widespread corruption with communist China.

Biden attempted to dismiss the allegations as "Russian disinformation," but the director of national intelligence flatly refuted Biden's claim.

Big Media dragged the American people and the president through the mud for years over a completely discredited dossier with absurd charges. But when presented with evidence about the Biden family's dealings with the communist Chinese, they refuse to even look at it.

This story is a perfect example of media bias. It's not just how the media spin information. It's also what they refuse to tell you.

In fact, Jake Tapper and Chuck Todd actually mocked President Trump for raising this issue, saying that only Fox viewers would have any idea what he was talking about. Well, that's because the left-wing media are propaganda arms of the Democrat Party!

Biden Runs Down America
Earlier this week, the Biden campaign released an ad on social media that wholly embraces the radical left's disdain for our country. In the ad, Biden says, "America was an idea, an idea. 'We hold these truths to be self-evident.' We've never lived up to it."

Never lived up to it?

What does Joe Biden think the Civil War was about? What does he think World War II was about? What does he think the civil rights movement was about?

I guess he's got a pretty low opinion of Barack Obama's election and reelection, too.

I disagreed vehemently with Barack Obama on virtually every public policy issue. But like millions of Americans, I had high hopes for what his election represented in terms of racial reconciliation.

For Joe Biden to dismiss that and all the tremendous progress this country has made is beyond insulting. And it just shows how extreme today's Democrat Party has become.

No candidate seeking to lead this nation would have dreamed of running such an ad in previous presidential campaigns.

But Biden and his party have rejected American exceptionalism. They have embraced the left's mantra that "America was never great" and that it must be "fundamentally transformed" into who knows what.

As much as anything else before us, this is THE ISSUE of the campaign.

As Vice President Mike Pence has put it, "The choice in this election is whether America remains America."

I believe it is central to why Donald Trump prevailed in 2016, and why I believe he must prevail this November.

Please join me and Reverend Franklin Graham in a day of fasting and prayer this Sunday for our country.

Confused About Coyotes This next item could make you laugh or cry.

It seems President Trump stumped many on the left last night when he said that children were being taken across the border by coyotes.

Apparently, there are plenty of progressives who are totally ignorant about human trafficking. They actually thought he meant the animal, not a smuggler!
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Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families
Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, A Clear Winner, Bad News For Biden, Biden Runs Down America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Quid Pro Quo Beijing Joe

. . . Hunter’s Emails may be just the tip of the iceberg in regard to Joe Biden’s Corruption.

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: AF Branco, editorial Cartoon, Quid Pro Quo, Beijing, Hunter Biden, emails, Joe Biden, corruption To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Both Candidates' Risky Strategies

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: Are both presidential candidates trying to lose? Or at least pursuing campaign strategies which put them at grave risk of defeat?

In nearly four years, Donald Trump has made little effort to win over the 50%-plus of voters who didn't support him in 2016. Having proved that he could win the presidency without a plurality of the popular vote, he has ignored the possibility that he could govern more effectively if he were reelected with an absolute majority.

You can see the results as Trump supporters scan the polling data for encouraging information. They quickly pass over the national polls showing him trailing by 7.7%, according to a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls. They focus instead on the chart showing him running slightly better against Joe Biden in the battleground states than he was against Hillary Clinton two to three weeks out in 2016.

If these numbers prove as much off the mark as in 2016, Trump could win a second term with 270-plus electoral votes. But that conclusion requires a lot of assumptions. Past polling hasn't leaned consistently toward one party, and pollsters tend to compensate -- often overcompensate -- for apparent past mistakes.

Astonishingly, Trump has failed to emphasize his two signature 2016 issues: immigration and trade. He can claim that his new trade agreements and economic policies have produced income and wealth gains disproportionately favoring low-wage workers -- something administrations of both parties have failed to achieve for a generation.

And he can argue that his immigration policies -- and the cooperation he has successfully wrested from Mexico -- have prevented the surge of unskilled illegal immigrants which could easily resume the minute the networks call the election for Joe Biden.

Biden has a different strategy, with risks of its own. With a solid lead in the polls, and with COVID-19 providing a rationale for laying low, he's running out the clock. On nearly half the days in September, his staffers announced an early lid. Sometimes, he'd generate no news after 9:00 a.m. He took three days off this week for debate preparation. He and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris have taken almost no questions from reporters, almost all of whom seem determined not to ask anything that might hurt his chances.

Biden has answered which flavor milkshake he ordered but has refused to say whether he, like many other Democrats, would support packing the Supreme Court. He chewed out the one reporter who asked him about his son Hunter's business deals. Harris, similarly, keeps out of question range. ABC's Jonathan Karl notes that she's taken more questions from the cast of "The Avengers" than from the traveling press.

Obviously, the Biden-Harris ticket is deflecting attention away from the radical policies that Biden has endorsed -- and which almost everyone in the press corps favors. After 40 years of opposing government-paid abortions, he now backs them. He's likely to use regulations to reduce fracking, which has reduced gas prices and carbon emissions. His tax increases threaten to stymie economic recovery.

There's one problem with this strategy: If something does rock the boat, it could tip it over. A bad debate performance, a sudden brain freeze or an unanticipated negative story could capsize the campaign. Efforts to help the Biden campaign, such as Twitter's and Facebook's attempts to conceal the New York Post's Hunter Biden story, could boomerang and catch voters' attention.

The Biden campaign is aware of the risks. It quickly rejected the Trump campaign's proposal to reschedule the canceled Oct. 15 debate to Oct. 29. Democrats remember what happened to Jimmy Carter after Ronald Reagan's performance in their one debate just a week before the election.

The fact is that both these septuagenarian candidates are capable of political self-harm. The most successful presidents of the last 100 years -- Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan -- had no really close friends or confidants. Each believed, as Susan Eisenhower writes of her grandfather in her recent book "How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower's Biggest Decisions," "that the task of overcoming any challenge must be a personal matter -- a burden to be borne alone."

Donald Trump and Joe Biden, at least until his basement confinement, have been something like the opposite. They have been willing to share their vagrant and passing thoughts on matters momentous and trivial at great, and sometimes embarrassing, length. The question now is whether Trump can repress that impulse or provoke Biden to indulge it.
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Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Article shared on Rasmussen Reports.
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America: a Land of Ceaseless Conflict

Patrick J. Buchanan
by Patrick J. Buchanan: When Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to a judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein was taken aback by the Notre Dame law professor's Catholic convictions about the right to life.

"Professor," said Feinstein, "when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern."

Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, got a second chance to quiz Barrett during the Supreme Court nomination hearings conducted by Chairman Lindsey Graham.

Believing, after four days, that she and her colleagues had been treated fairly, Feinstein volunteered across the aisle, "This is one of the best set of hearings that I've participated in."

She gave Graham, a friend and colleague of decades, a brief hug.

To shocked Democrats, however, this was collusion, consorting with the enemy in a time of war.

The abortion-rights lobby NARAL demanded her removal as ranking Democrat. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated that he had taken the Senate's oldest member to the woodshed.

"I've had a long and serious talk with Sen. Feinstein," said Schumer, "That's all I'm going to say about it right now."

Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, called on Feinstein to resign from the Judiciary Committee.

Because the 87-year-old Feinstein complimented a colleague of two decades for a fair hearing, and then hugged him, she is in peril of being purged from her position on the Judiciary Committee by her own party.

Apparently, graciously thanking Republicans is a capital offense in a Democratic caucus, some of whose members endlessly babble on about the need "to work together across party lines."

But the Jacobin spirit is alive and well not only among Democratic elites. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican critic of Donald Trump, has said he did not cast his ballot either for the president or for Joe Biden but wrote in Ronald Reagan, the last Republican to carry his state in 1984.

Though he had walked away from a president of his own party, Hogan has been denounced for not going all the way and voting for Biden.

"Clownish, childish, an act of cowardice" sums up the reaction of some of the "Never Trumpers" who are hoping for a crushing humiliation on Nov. 3 of the Trump-led party they have abandoned.

What these episodes suggest is that the idea of bipartisan comity, or some new era of national unity should Biden win, is self-delusion.

Should Trump be defeated, his loyalists will neither forgive nor forget the Republican defectors who endorsed Biden any more than the Goldwater Republicans of 1964 forgave or forgot the Rockefeller Republicans who abandoned Mr. Conservative.

A dozen years later, the Goldwaterites were in Kansas City plotting, demanding, and then celebrating the dumping of Vice President Rockefeller from the ticket of President Gerald Ford.

Indeed, the splintering of both parties has been made broader and deeper by the events of 2020.

First, the battle over how to fight the coronavirus has created a new divide.

Those who insist on opening up the economy are attacked for seeking herd immunity at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. Trump and his backers have been accused of mass murder.

And during the summer of 2020, the Black Lives Matter- and antifa-fueled riots, looting, arson and assaults on cops went on for weeks, destroying billions of dollars in property and ending with demands to "defund the police."

Scores of statues have been toppled and destroyed -- statues of explorers, missionaries, Founding Fathers of the republic and presidents on Mount Rushmore.

This rampage of iconoclasts reveals a belief among many of the nation's young that "The Making of America" they were taught about in history books in schools was a pack of lies.

By their words and deeds, they profess America to have been the creation of racist white colonialists who enslaved Africans and brought them here to do the hard labor as they perpetrated genocide against the indigenous peoples they encountered when they came to settle and claims these lands.

These new divides in our society, manifest in 2020, are piled upon old divisions dating back decades. Now, not only are we fractured over ideology, religion, race, culture and morality, but also our country's history has become a cause of irreconcilable conflict.

In Federalist 2, John Jay wrote of the new nation that was crafting its Constitution: "Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people -- a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs..."

What Jay described has disappeared in the polyglot America of 2020. And while that nation became the greatest republic in the history of mankind, the future for this land of ceaseless collision and conflict seems not so bright.
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Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." Article shared on Rasmussen Reports. He also has an active blog.
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Economic Snapback

by Kerby Anderson: The US economy is doing better than most economists predicted. Harrison Dunn says we are witnessing the “sharpest economic snapback in US history.” This isn’t what many pundits and economists predicted. Most assumed we would still be trying to dig out from the devastation of the pandemic lockdowns.

This economic snapback may also explain why the Gallup poll that I mentioned in a previous commentary has 56 percent of voters believing they were better off today than they were four years ago. The lockdowns collapsed the global demand for goods and drove unemployment to high levels. Now markets have not only stabilized but also rebounded quicker than many would imagine.

Oil, for example, is up over 100 percent from levels of just a few months ago. Oil prices are usually a sound indicator for resumption of robust economic activity. Within months we have moved from economic contraction to economic expansion.

Another indicator is copper, which is a basic material used throughout manufacturing. The market collapsed in the Spring but is now trading higher than in the pre-pandemic levels.

Employment is probably the best economic metric to illustrate the economic snapback. Pundits and economists predicted that we wouldn’t see a complete employment recovery for years. Some economists suggested we might be heading for a decades-long depression. That is not what happened.

The unemployment rate reached a high point of 14.7 percent a few months ago. The current unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. Dunn reports that “this growth is the highest on record for the United States.”

Obviously, more economic growth is necessary in order to employ more Americans, but this economic snapback is certainly good news for millions of US citizens who were rightly concerned about our economic future.
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Kerby Anderson @KerbyAnderson) is an author, lecturer, visiting professor and radio host and contributor on nationally syndicated Point of View and the "Probe" radio programs.
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Fighting the New Commissars

by Caroline Glick: The time for a reckoning with the social media giants has arrived, and not only in the United States.
 
Earlier this week, Shibbolet Library, a new Israeli book publisher that specializes in conservative authors launched a sales campaign on Facebook. 

The company invested approximately a hundred thousand shekels ($34,000) on Facebook ads to promote its book sales. Then suddenly, its account was blocked. The campaign was wrecked. The firm’s investment was lost.

Facebook, the corporate giant, replete with its anonymous work force and inscrutable algorithms scuppered the campaign with no prior warning or explanation.

Probably no explanation was necessary. This wasn’t Shibbolet’s first rodeo. Last April, Shibbolet Library launched another sales campaign on Facebook, at a cost of tens of thousands of shekels in Facebook ads. Then too, the nameless, faceless overlords of Facebook stopped the campaign in its tracks by freezing the firm’s Facebook account.

Shibbolet founder and CEO Rotem Sela recalls that he appealed the move seven times.

“It’s actually a bit Kafkaesque to say I appealed because I was never told what I was appealing. We were just selling books. We’re locked down with the coronavirus. All the book stores were closed. Facebook sales were and remain the most direct way for us to keep our business afloat and sell our books. What legitimate problem could Facebook possibly have with our efforts?”

After Sela’s seventh appeal, he was informed that Facebook had decided to permanently freeze Shibbolet’s account. Why? Why bother asking? No one was answering.

Given Facebook’s dominance of online markets, Shibbolet opened a new account, reluctantly forced to accept that it had lost all the client information stored on its previous, now permanently frozen account.

It was with the new account that Shibbolet launched its new campaign – only to be blocked once again.

Facebook’s action this week against Shibbolet of course did not happen in a vacuum. Facebook shut down Shibbolet at the height of the storm in the U.S. over draconian steps that Facebook and Twitter took to block their users’ access to the blockbuster stories the New York Post published last week detailing the contents of emails from Democratic presidential nominee former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s computer. The emails, many of which have since been authenticated and none of which have been denied by either Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign gave weight to previous allegations that during his tenure as vice president, Biden used his position to enrich his family members through shady deals with Ukrainian and Chinese business interests.

Twitter blocked the New York Post’s account and froze accounts of users who shared the Post’s articles both on their public feed and in private messages. Facebook shadow banned the articles, blocking its users from reading them.

Many observers, particularly in Israel were nonplussed by the shock that greeted Facebook’s and Twitter’s aggressive efforts to censor the New York Post articles. To them it seemed like business as usual. Israeli right wingers and conservatives have long suffered from viewpoint discrimination whether by the traditional media, the legal fraternity or social media.

After a years’ long campaign of demonization by the Israeli left, in 2002, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the closure of Arutz 7 radio station. At the time, Arutz 7 was the only non-leftist broadcast outlet in Israel. In 2014, 43 members of Knesset voted in favor of the notorious “Israel Hayom Law.” The purpose of the law was to shut down this publication, the largest circulation daily in Israel. Israel Hayom was targeted due to its non-leftist editorial policy. To block passage of the law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu felt compelled to dissolve the Knesset and call early elections.

Last year, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit took leftist censorship a giant leap forward. Without legal basis, he redefined bribery to include the proffering of positive coverage to right wing politicians and used this new and unfounded definition of bribery as a basis to indict Netanyahu for bribery.

As for social media giants, for years Israeli conservatives and right wing politicians and activist have shared how Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have limited their reach and their ability to earn money online. Writers, (including this one), and politicians have experienced shadow banning of their posts, demonetizing of their Facebook and YouTube accounts and removal of Google ads from their websites.

But jaded Israeli right wingers are wrong. There is something new – and ominous — happening. The New York Post isn’t a blogger. It is a major newspaper. And for over a week, its Twitter account, with more than a million followers has been shut down. Shibbolet doesn’t organize protests. It publishes books by authors like Peggy Noonan and James Q. Wilson. By targeting them for censorship and deplatforming, Facebook and Twitter made clear that they aren’t worried about public safety or health. They seek to squelch conservativism and all significant challenges to leftist power. And with their commanding dominance of information flow throughout the world, their naked determination to silence these voices manifests a clear and present danger to the freedom of societies.

Although it may go without saying, it bears noting just how disillusioning all of this is.

Since the advent of the internet, and certainly since it became the dominant means of both global and local communications, conservatives greeted its rise with glee and relief. This was nowhere truer than in Israel. Israeli rightists saw the internet and the social media platforms that came to dominate it as their salvation.

True, the broadcast media and the vast majority of print media in the country are dominated by the left. True, all efforts to privatize public broadcasting radio and television stations entirely dominated by the left have failed. But the internet, Israeli conservatives said, would level the playing field, finally.

With platforms like Facebook, everyone from Netanyahu to the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria was convinced that the left’s longstanding stranglehold on the media was finally over. Right wing and conservative Israelis could share their ideas and inform the public of their actions directly without the filter of the hostile media.

But the shocking censorship of the New York Post in America on the one hand, and a little conservative publishing house in Israel on the other are clear signs that the party is over. Regardless of who wins the U.S. presidential election next month, the Rubicon has been crossed. The cat is out of the bag. The mask is off. Unless they are reined in, Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and their subsidiaries will push forwards with more and more draconian limitations on the flow of information that deviates from their ideological and fiduciary interests.

When word got out this week that Facebook had squelched Shibbolet – again – Likud MKs Amit Halevy and Ariel Kelner published posts on Twitter threatening to take legislative action against Facebook. The threats worked. Shibbolet’s account was reinstated. In fact, the account Facebook “permanently” froze in April quickly thawed.

While this is a positive development, it isn’t a business model. Conservative businesses – and business owners — cannot build their commercial model around faith that lawmakers will defend them on Twitter or that the trillion-dollar conglomerates will long care what lawmakers say or do.

Recognizing the dimension of the threat, Wednesday Halevy initiated Knesset action on the issue. He submitted a bill titled, “Social Media Responsibility for Content Published on its Platforms.”

If passed into law, Halevy’s bill will divide social media companies into two categories: those that interfere in content posted on their platforms and those that do not. Currently, both types of companies enjoy immunity from lawsuits related to content posted or blocked on their platforms.

Halevy’s bill would maintain the exemption for social media companies that do not interfere with content on their platforms without a court order or a clear legal obligation to do so. On the other hand, social media companies that interfere with the content on their platforms would no longer enjoy immunity from legal actions by users harmed by the content on their platforms.

Halevy’s bill also requires companies that interfere with the content of its platforms to operate in a transparent way. They would be required to explain precisely what sort of content they censor. And they would be required to publish annual reports delineating precisely which posts they censored and why. Users would be notified before the companies take action against their content and be given an opportunity to defend themselves.

President Donald Trump and prominent Republican lawmakers have pledged to take similar action against Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants after the election. The Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google earlier this week.

These initiatives are critical. And they shouldn’t stand on their own. They should rather be the first shots of concerted campaign to limit the power of these gargantuan companies that control nearly all global information.

Freedom of expression and the free flow of information are the foundations of free societies. Rather than use their unprecedented power to secure both, social media giants are manipulating information and censoring speech with a power that no one could have fathomed just 20 years ago. Optimism and hope for their positive potential blinded many of us to their actual dangers. The time has come to take on this new and pernicious threat to the future of free nations and free people.
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Caroline Glick is the Senior Contributing Editor of Israel Hayom and the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.
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President Trump Closes The Deal On Reopening The Economy At Final Debate

by Robert Romano: “We can’t close up our nation, or you’re not going to have a nation.”

That was President Donald Trump in the final presidential debate of 2020, making his closing argument to the American people on reopening the economy and getting life back as close to normal as possible following the Covid pandemic lockdowns.

25 million jobs were lost at the height of the state-led economic shutdowns when labor markets bottomed in April, but with President Trump’s leadership and insistence on safely reopening, 14 million jobs have already been recovered, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That leaves 11 million more jobs to get back, and clearly, President Trump will not be satisfied until every American who wants a job, can find one — promising to return to the 50-year low in unemployment that was seen as recently as February before the virus struck.

There is still a long way to go, and the recovery could be muted by the ongoing lockdowns centered in blue states if they go on much longer. In September, although there were a net 970,000 fewer unemployed, of those, 879,000 left the labor force, as unemployment benefits have run out for millions of Americans.

This is one area where actions will speak louder than words.

That is why President Trump’s emphasis on safely reopening the economy — especially schools — is so critical to getting millions of parents back to work.

Sadly, the pandemic shutdowns disproportionately knocked women out of the labor force. 13.4 million women and 11.9 million men became unemployed when labor markets bottomed in April. And female labor participation rate fell from 57.8 percent in February to 54.7 percent in April, a low not seen since 1986.

At the debate, Trump said, “I want to open the schools. We have to open our country. We’re not going to have a country. You can’t do this. We can’t keep this country closed, this is a massive country with a massive economy. People are losing their jobs. They’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level that nobody’s ever seen before. There’s abuse, tremendous abuse. We have to open our country… I’ve said it before, the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself, and that’s what’s happening, and he wants to close down, he’ll close down the country, if one person in our massive bureaucracy says we should close it down.”

Trump is right. The longer the schools are shut, the harder the recovery will become on working families. That is why Biden’s open-ended statements on getting kids back to school and the economy more broadly are so troubling.

In the first debate, Biden declared, “Schools — why aren’t schools open? Because it costs a lot of money to open them safely.” He also repeated his line that “You need to shut it down” and “you can’t fix the economy until you fix the Covid crisis.” But then in the second debate, Biden contradicted himself, and claimed “I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country.” Which is it, Joe?

Trump, on the other hand, went on offense, and singled out key battleground states suffering through lockdowns by Democratic governors: “Take a look at what’s happening in Pennsylvania, where they’ve had it closed. Take a look at what’s happening with your friend in Michigan, where her husband’s the only one allowed to do anything. It’s been like a prison. Now it was just ruled unconstitutional. Take a look at North Carolina. They’re having spikes, and they’ve been closed. And they’re getting killed financially. We can’t let that happen, Joe, you can’t let that happen. We have to open up.”

In the meantime, Biden acts like nothing was done to combat the virus, falsely claiming Trump has no plan. The truth is, on the virus, President Trump acted decisively to keep the American people safe.

On Jan. 29, the President appointed the White House coronavirus task force as the State Department was evacuating U.S. citizens from Wuhan.

On Jan. 31, he suspended all travel from China, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency, with any U.S. citizen returning from China being subjected to a mandatory quarantine.

On March 11, President Trump suspended travel from Europe.

On March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency and joined the coronavirus task force press briefing to present the administration’s public-private partnership for drive-thru testing for the virus.

Now, 128.9 million tests have been conducted at about 1 million per day now and rising, according national data compiled by Covidtracking.com. Test positivity is at 5.6 percent, way down from its April peak of over 20 percent, according to John Hopkins University & Medicine.

On March 27, the President signed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, extending unemployment benefits, shoring up 5 million small businesses supporting 50 million jobs, supporting critical industries including airlines, sending checks to taxpayers, replenish national stockpiles, prepare schools for reopening, providing a lifeline to state and local governments and ramping up hospital resources.

On March 18, on March 27, and again on April 2, the U.S. ramped up production of ventilators as President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act. Thanks to Trump’s speed, everybody who needed a ventilator suffering from Covid got one.

On April 8, the Army Corps of Engineers began building field hospitals in states that were experiencing an uptick in cases in response to requests from governors and mayors.

On May 15, President Trump announced Operation Warp Speed as a public-private partnership between the Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and pharmaceutical companies to produce, test, manufacture ahead of time tens of millions of doses and immediately distribute a coronavirus vaccine to the American people as soon as one is approved.

Now, there are six candidates already in production, four of which are in phase three clinical trials, with hopes expressed by Dr. Anthony Fauci that one could be approved by 2021, if not sooner.

At one point, the models were showing that as many as 2 million Americans would die if nothing was done. The current death toll at more than 223,000, while still too many, is far fewer than might have happened.

Now, we have the testing we need, the ventilators we need and the resources to deal with any surge from the virus — and we have what we need to safely return to normal. Now that both candidates have made their closing arguments, we will find out very soon if the American people vote for Biden to keep everything shut down — or if they grant Trump four more years to get America reopen.
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Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
Tags: Robert Romano, Americans for Limited Government, President Trump, Closes The Deal, On Reopening ,The Economy, At Final Debate To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Ice Cube Gets It — Almost

by Larry Elder: Rapper/actor Ice Cube is on the brink of understanding the left-wing con! He appears on the verge of understanding the fake product that the Democrats and the media have been peddling: that America remains guilty of “systemic racism.”

In a video Cube posted on social media, he wondered what Blacks are getting in return for their virtually unquestioned loyalty to the Democratic Party. In explaining why he recently met with Democrats and Republicans, Cube tweeted: “Every side is the Darkside for us here in America. They’re all the same until something changes for us. They all lie and they all cheat but we can’t afford not to negotiate with whoever is in power or our condition in this country will never change. Our justice is bipartisan.”

I sent him a series of tweets to assist him in his journey of political discovery:

Dear Ice Cube,

Urge Blacks to follow your lead and that of your parents! You were raised by two parents and were voluntarily bused to a better school rather than attending the nearby inferior public school. Like your parents, you raised your own kids in a nuclear intact family.

Democrats’ policies hurt Blacks. Welfare causes fatherlessness. Unskilled illegals compete with unskilled Blacks for jobs. Democrats oppose school choice. For votes, Democrats play the race card to keep Blacks angry. IT’S A … SCAM!

The No. 1 problem in the Black community is that 70% of Black kids are born without the father married to their mom. Barack Obama said kids growing up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty, nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. Blame government welfare.

“There’s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families — which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood.” -Barack Obama, Feb. 15, 2013.

“I know for a fact that had I had a father, I’d have some discipline … more confidence. Your mother cannot calm you down the way a man can … can’t reassure you the way a man can … You need a man to teach you how to be a man.” –Tupac Shakur.

“Don’t blame the system (for Black incarceration). It starts at the home. It starts at home. … It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure.” — Denzel Washington, Nov., 2017.

Of the 1,000 people killed by cops each year, less than 4% are white cop/unarmed Black. Half of all homicide victims are Black, almost all killed by Blacks. It isn’t poverty or “systemic racism.” During the Great Depression, Black unemployment was 50%, with a lower murder rate.

Speaking of “systemic racism,” Democrats want to INCREASE the minimum wage to $15. Economist Milton Friedman called the minimum wage law “the most anti-Negro” law on the statute books.

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about a robbery. Then (I) look around and see someone white and feel relieved.” — The Rev. Jesse Jackson, 1993.

Of the approximately 1,000 people killed by police each year, most resisted with a weapon or resisted violently. Half are white. Less than 4% of the 1,000 involve a white cop and an unarmed Black. More unarmed whites are killed by cops each year than unarmed Blacks.

“White police officers were less likely than Black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed Black suspects. … ‘An Empirical Analysis’ … by (a Black) Harvard economics professor … (found) zero evidence of racial bias in police shootings. … Note also that police officers face an 18.5 times greater chance of being killed by a Black male than an unarmed Black male has of being killed by a police officer.” — Heather Mac Donald, Manhattan Institute, July 12, 2016.

In 2018, the FBI reported 748 interracial homicides between Blacks and whites. Homicides committed by Blacks (13% of the population) against whites: 514. Homicides committed by non-Hispanic whites (60% of the population) against Blacks: 234.

In 2018, there were over 600,000 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between Blacks and whites, with 90% committed by Blacks against whites, and 10% by whites against Blacks.

In 2018, Blacks, at 13% of the population, committed 24% of “hate crimes.” Whites, at 60% of the population, committed 54% of hate crimes.

A 1997 Time/CNN poll asked Black teens if racism was a big, small or no problem in their own lives, and 89% said small or no problem. More Black teens than white teens called “failure to take advantage of available opportunities” a bigger problem than racism.

Ice Cube is starting to get it. Hopefully, all this information helps him. Racism has never been a less important factor in success. For votes, Democratic politicians say otherwise to keep Blacks angry. Mr. Cube, bring others to the light.
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Larry Elder (@larryelder) is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host, an American lawyer, writer and radio and television personality who is also known as the "Sage From South Central." To find out more about Larry Elder. Visit his website at LarryElder.com for list of other articles.
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Nice Job By Trump

by John Hinderaker: Tonight’s debate went well for President Trump, I thought. The moderator was pro-Biden; she didn’t ask him any hard questions and avoided the subjects where he is most vulnerable. But that was a given. She was considerably better than Chris Wallace, and better than most.

Unlike the first debate, President Trump stayed calm and in control. His answers were generally sharp and he got in plenty of shots against Joe Biden. Biden didn’t do too badly, probably reflecting the fact that he rested up for several days before the event. But he faded noticeably as the evening wore on.

Maybe the most significant moment was when Biden admitted (no surprise to anyone who has paid attention) that his administration would phase out oil and gas production–not exactly a winning platform.

Trump also came back repeatedly to the theme that Biden is full of promises, but what did he accomplish when he was in Washington for 47 years and Vice President for 8? Biden could only respond by implicitly throwing Barack Obama under the bus. And there were plenty of references to Biden’s longstanding corruption, which Biden could answer only with blanket denials.

One striking thing about Biden is how often he lies. He apparently feels secure in the knowledge that all press “fact checkers” are members of his party; otherwise he might hesitate to tell such bald-face whoppers. No doubt he will, for now, get away with his offenses against truth. But I think his chances of winning the election grew a little dimmer tonight.
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John H. Hinderaker practiced law for 41 years and retired from the practice of law at the end of 2015. He is now President of Center of the American Experiment, a think tank headquartered in Minnesota. H/T PowerLine.
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What’s the Impact on Families and Kids If Schools Stay Closed?

by Rachel del Guidice: School districts are “losing contact with thousands of students, from Philadelphia to Houston to Los Angeles,” according to news reports. What is going on here?

Jonathan Butcher, senior policy analyst for the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, joins The “Daily Signal News” to discuss the impact on families and children when schools remain closed during COVID-19.

We also cover these stories:
  • By a vote of 12-0, the Senate Judiciary Committee sends Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.
  • In an interview with “60 Minutes,” President Donald Trump says he hopes the Supreme Court will “end” the Affordable Care Act and that he will announce his health care plan after it rules.
  • Fully 70% of Americans support legal unions for gay and lesbian couples, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Brookings Institution.
Rachel del Guidice: We’re joined today by Jonathan Butcher. He’s a senior policy analyst for the Center for Education Policy [and the] Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation. Jonathan, it’s great to have you with us. 

Jonathan Butcher:
Great to be here. Thank you.

Del Guidice: You just had a piece come out on The Daily Signal looking at the impact on families of schools staying closed. Can you tell us a little bit about your piece?

Butcher:
Sure. So, we are now at about the end of what would normally be the first academic quarter for the 2020-21 school year, and around the country we still have many large districts especially only offering online instruction.

Schools are not having students come back in person, especially in places like Los Angeles, Chicago. Even in states like Maryland, where the governor has said that schools can plan to reopen, some of schools in large cities like Baltimore are not open for in-person learning yet. So it’s made this first quarter feel like the longest school year ever so far.

Del Guidice: How has schools continuing to stay closed, as they are, impacted kids in particular?

Butcher:
We’ve seen a couple of things. I think, first, we’ve had parents protesting, demonstrating in places like San Diego, Baltimore, many places in between, to call for schools to allow students back in person, or at least give them the option to return in person.

And you can imagine why, right? I mean, parents are looking not only for their children to be successful and finding that these online platforms just are not helping students get on top of whatever the content schools are trying to cover, but also because parents need to get back to work. They’re trying to set themselves up for a sense of normalcy again for their families.

So you have on the one side, parents in these areas where schools are closed, they are calling for at least the option to get back in person.

And then secondly, we are seeing evidence now increasingly come in, both in the U.S. and around the world, really, that schools do not appear to be superspreaders of the virus.

What we’ve got so far, especially, and most interestingly, coming from Brown University, which has this database of more than 1,000 schools, almost 1,300 schools, and they’re looking at the case rates in the schools that have become a part of their project, and we have confirmed case numbers of about … 0.14% of students in schools in that database. Among the teachers, we’re talking about 0.4%.

So it’s not affecting students, not affecting the teachers, based on the best evidence that we have. And that’s important. It’s important for families and for school leaders to know.

Del Guidice: Well, you basically answered my next question, Jonathan, but what would you say to parents who are concerned that reopening schools could mean that kids get sick or spread COVID through communities?

Butcher:
Like Heritage has been saying since the end of the last semester, since last spring, it really should be up to local schools to make decisions in consultation with parents as they talk to local health professionals about what is best for their community.

But the whole premise behind that is that school leaders would be thinking of what is best for their community and would be taking into consideration what the best evidence is. And again and again, we have evidence coming in showing that schools are not becoming a dangerous place for students.

I was talking about that Brown University dashboard just a few minutes ago. When you sort that tool using private schools that are open in person, we also find extremely low confirmed case rates around the numbers that I was mentioning before. We’re talking 0.2%, and in that neighborhood.

So even schools that are open, the evidence that’s coming in shows that they are, for now anyway, places that parents do not need to be fearful about sending their children.

And I think that’s key, because this is where teachers unions are beginning to gain a foothold. I think they’re capitalizing on this idea that parents have some anxiety, and school leaders may also have some fear about what may or may not happen, and so they are making demands about what schools may need to do.

Most recently, Fairfax County called on the district schools to stay closed until August of next year, August of 2021. So they’re trying to capitalize on this fear, and that’s unfortunate.

We don’t need fear right now. We need to be looking at the facts that we have, and understanding that if students are not doing well with this online platform, they need to have the option to be back in person.

Del Guidice: You raised how parents have led protests in favor of reopening schools across the country. Why are schools and even some politicians still essentially campaigning against reopening schools?

Butcher:
It’s hard to say.

I think that, again, when in July, when the American Federation [of] Teachers, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, released a statement saying that they would support local chapters, or that they wouldn’t oppose local chapters holding strikes or walkouts if schools tried to reopen, that led pretty quickly to what became in August a day of resistance, where groups of teacher union chapters around the U.S. listed demands and conducted walkouts and protests, even though schools weren’t open yet.

And these demands, … not all of them had to do with reopening schools. I mean, some of the things they were talking about were defunding police and paying off delinquent mortgages and rent payments, and things like that.

So this issue of political opportunism sort of creeps in. And I think as we were saying before, they’re capitalizing on the uncertainty and fear that is happening in many of these communities, and that’s not what families and students need right now.

What they need is for school leaders to be telling them that they’re looking at the latest evidence and they’re going to be making decisions about what is best for students.

And look, as I was writing in The Daily Signal in this piece, thousands of students were lost by school districts when they went online in the spring. And right now, we do not have good evidence that they have been found or logged back on again. And that’s really troubling.

I mean, when you have students, especially in urban areas, especially in high poverty areas, who are not getting any sort of instruction at all, … for everyone—taxpayers, policymakers, parents, and families, as well as educators—that should be a big concern.

Del Guidice: Jonathan, in your research, have you heard any personal stories or even just scenarios of what is happening to students in particular as they continue to basically be, in a lot of ways, just locked out of the classroom?

Butcher:
Well, I have some good news. I mean, I think what we’re happy to report are some of the positive things that we’ve seen. I’ve talked to families in North Carolina who have used their education savings account to pay for the continuation of the education therapies and even private school tuition that they had before the pandemic set in.

With these education savings accounts, they’re available in five states, North Carolina being one—Arizona, Florida, some of the others—the parents get a portion of their child’s funds from the state funding formula, and they can buy educational products and services, including education therapies and private school tuition. They can use their accounts to pay for those.

And with that flexible service, parents have been able to not perfectly, but in a large degree, continue the child’s progress through both school and with the different therapies that they may need. So that’s encouraging.

I’ve talked to families that have formed independent learning pods, where they’ve gathered with families in their neighborhood, or talked with parents they know, and brought their children together each day during the school day to continue instruction and decide on what the content may be, either through what the district is offering or on their own, and that’s exciting.

I think that’s a sign of a civil society response to a problem that didn’t require government to act. So now that should be hopeful for all of us, right? Parents are going to take matters into their own hands if they need to. They know what’s best for their children and they’re acting accordingly.

Del Guidice: You point out in your piece that federal officials are not going to withhold spending from schools that remain closed to in-person learning. What would you say is the reasoning behind this?

Butcher:
Well, I don’t think they’ll have to in order for schools to feel the effects of staying closed for a long period of time.

Based on what we know from the reports of enrollment data in this first quarter or the beginning of this new school year, we’re finding large districts in particular—places like Nashville; Washington, D.C.; down in Florida; Orange County; as well as Los Angeles—we have pretty noticeable numbers of students, we’re talking in the thousands, … who are not enrolling and they’re reporting decreases in student enrollment. And especially in the younger grades, especially in kindergarten and elementary school.

So that is going to be the sign for school officials as they think about going back and reopening. If they reopen and the students don’t come back, I think that message needs to be sent to these school officials, that the longer they stay closed, the more students either will not be able to be found or parents are just going to make decisions to take their children out and find a quality option for them.

Del Guidice: You also mentioned how school leaders have ignored medical evidence and parent and student needs for months. What would you say, Jonathan, can be done to turn this around?

Butcher:
For the schools that do decide to stay online with virtual instruction, it is well past time for them to look at best practices from existing virtual schools.

There are systems that have done this very well for a number of years, like K12 Inc., Connections Academy, just to name a few. There are school districts that have partnered with programs like Khan Academy to deliver content online, and they’ve figured out how to do this in a way that does engage students and that does help them.

So I think as districts have tried to do this a bit on the fly, now we’re several months into this, right? It is very reasonable to expect that they’d be looking for better ways to have connections with students and finding some of these best practices, such as regular interaction between students and their teacher, and not just delivering assignments online, for one example.

So that would be a start, right? Let’s find some best practices.

For two, I think that schools do need to be looking at the evidence that we have coming in from other countries, as well as in the U.S., showing that if you follow some very basic protocols about hand-washing, keeping appropriate distance between students, all of these different things about masks and certain situations, all of the basic things that we’ve now been talking about for months, we can mitigate, at least, if not suppress, widespread outbreaks.

And so I think that providing that option is essential right now. It’s essential that schools at least give families the option.

And the third thing I would just add as a bonus is that some states have actually created scholarship options for students.

Oklahoma and New Hampshire in particular were able to create new private school opportunities for students in certain situations, and that is what we should be seeing from state leaders.

We need state officials now to be looking at ways to give families access to schools that are open.

Del Guidice: Well, Jonathan, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast and breaking this down. We do appreciate having you with us.

Butcher:
Thank you.
-----------------------------
Rachel del Guidice (@LRacheldG)is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program.
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Will Changes to American Life Become Permanent?

The cultural currents are often contradictory. They defy easy political analysis and seem at times counterintuitive. But there is one historical constant.
Victor Davis Hanson
by Victor Davis Hanson: The coronavirus, widespread quarantines, an unprecedented self-induced recession, and unchecked rioting, looting and protesting — all in a presidential election year — are radically disrupting American habits and behavior.

Rents, home prices and office occupancy rates in major cities, especially on the two coasts, are dropping fast. Techies and young professionals have discovered that they can work from home without paying sky-high housing costs in order to be close to the office.

Those more fortunate wonder why they should get bogged down with commutes and urban traffic — or navigate city sidewalks amid homelessness, crime, racial tensions and urban unrest — when they can make as much money while staying distant in quieter landscapes.

Some react by moving to quieter, low-tax states such as Idaho, Tennessee or Utah. Others flee New York City or the Bay Area/Silicon Valley corridor to upstate New York or California’s Central Valley.

Who would have ever believed that housing prices in picturesque San Francisco would be falling while housing prices in pedestrian Sacramento and Fresno are soaring?

During the recent urban renaissance, young people had flocked to cities to be where the action was. Now, do they want to deactivate and find some independence and peace from the relentless chaos?

Worries about COVID-19 in high-density cities, and unreliable city services add to the unhappiness. Residents want less dependence on mass transit and elevator living. Constant human contact is seen more as risky than desirous.

Gun sales are at record highs. When some cities take steps to defund police and some soften bail laws, citizens quietly go to the local gun store and stock up on ammunition. Many of the people who have never before owned firearms are no longer clamoring for gun control. A “man’s home” is now becoming his armed castle.

As a general rule, any business or activity that does not bother, judge or lecture Americans and instead allows them to work or relax in peace is preferred. That may explain why Zoom and Skype use is soaring while TV ratings for the woke NBA and NFL are down.

Why are Amazon and Walmart booming while smaller businesses are going broke? Largely because home delivery better serves those who are barricaded at home, terrified both of the virus and government reaction to it.

Family businesses are not vertically integrated. They have few cash reserves and no special insider exemptions from government officials.

How ironic that in our quest to become safe and in control of our own destinies, we empower the anonymity of huge conglomerates and erode the viability of reliable, service-friendly, mom-and-pop stores.

For the first time in their careers, many teachers and professors are careful not to go off-topic and rant to their high school and college students. Their video streams are not only seen by captive classroom audiences but occasionally peeked in on by the parents and taxpayers who pay their salaries.

This is the first autumn in memory that a huge percentage of college students are staying home. And no one is sure of the ensuing consequences.

Will students revolt over borrowing money simply to watch lectures on their basement computers? Will they be less likely to vote in November when they are isolated at home, rather than congregating on campus near polling places and subject to constant peer pressures to vote — and to do so in predictable ways?

With college revenues dropping, will ambitious promises to hire more diversity administrators, build more self-segregated racial theme houses and increase campus social services be seen as just more costly overhead that shorts classroom teaching?

During the pandemic, government has become more intrusive and yet seemingly more impotent and incompetent. Pick a month and some government official issues yet more contradictory orders on mask wearing, social distancing and lockdowns — all to be soon reversed.

Taxes stayed high and yet urban services got worse. Increasingly, American city dwellers don’t always count on the power going on when they flip the switch, or the bus or train always showing up, or the police always answering 911 calls.

We still do not know the full consequences of these radical changes in American life, especially whether they will continue after the COVID-19 virus abates and quarantines end.

The cultural currents are often contradictory. They defy easy political analysis and seem at times counterintuitive.

But there is one historical constant.

When institutions and politicians cannot accommodate radically changed circumstances, people will no longer value institutions and politicians.

In their place, citizens will seek to ensure their own livelihoods, leisure and safety in ways that are more reliable and affordable — with their circumstances in their own hands rather than in those of distant others.

And their adjustments won’t always be calm or polite.
----------------------------
Victor Davis Hanson (@VDHanson) is a senior fellow, classicist and historian and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution where many of his articles are found; his focus is classics and military history. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Victor Davis HansonVictor Davis Hanson shared in the Washington Times.
Tags: Victor Davis Hanson, Will Changes, to American Life, Become Permanent? To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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