IS TWITTER, FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP OF NEW YORK POST BIDEN-UKRAINE STORY THE BEGINNING OF SOCIAL TYRANNY?

By ROBERT ROMANO

Twitter and Facebook have both limited distribution of an Oct. 14 report from the New York Post’s Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge entitled, “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad” detailing an alleged meeting between former Vice President Joe Biden and Burisma executive Vadym who Biden’s son, Hunter, used to work for, in April 2015.

The Wall Street Journal’s Robert McMillan and Jeff Horwitz reported on Oct. 15, “Twitter on Wednesday blocked users from posting links to the articles, initially citing a potential violation of its rules regarding hacked materials. The company later said the articles also violated its policies on displaying private information like email addresses and phone numbers without a person’s permission… Twitter’s move came after Facebook also limited the distribution of the articles on its platform, saying it was awaiting guidance from its third-party fact-checking partners—independent organizations that routinely review the accuracy of viral content. Facebook has slowed the spread of the Post articles pending a decision by those partners, company spokesman Andy Stone said in a Twitter message on Wednesday morning.”

According to the email obtained by the New York Post, allegedly from Pozharskyi to Hunter Biden, “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure.”

Twitter and Facebook have claimed the news report somehow violated their terms of service in republishing illegally obtained materials.

The outrage for Twitter and Facebook is that regardless of where the computer containing the emails came from, the New York Post has a First Amendment right to publish them. It’s freedom of the press, something social media companies have in the past defended.

For example, Twitter has never banned or throttled the Twitter account for Wikileaks, which routinely publishes classified information or other news outlets that have similar national security sources and classified materials included that by definition are illegally obtained.

The Biden campaign has denied any such meeting took place, saying it was not in the former Vice President’s “official schedule”, calling the disclosure, without evidence, supposed Russian disinformation.

Later, the Biden campaign admitted it was possible Biden met with Pozharskyi, according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney and Natasha Bertrand reporting on Oct. 14: “Biden’s campaign would not rule out the possibility that the former VP had some kind of informal interaction with Pozharskyi, which wouldn’t appear on Biden’s official schedule. But they said any encounter would have been cursory.”

The trouble for Biden, of course, was that Burisma was the natural gas firm being investigated in Ukraine, that his son worked for, and who Biden bragged he got the prosecutor looking into the company fired by threatening an International Monetary Fund loan.

Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations at the Jan. 2018 event he threatened $1.2 billion of loan guarantees in 2016 to get Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin fired: “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ …Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Shokin in April 2019 told journalist John Solomon that prior to the election of the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he was removed in 2016 because of his investigation of Burisma, on which Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the Board of Directors.

In an affidavit in a European court in 2019, Shokin testified, “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors… On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation.”

A call from May 2016, leaked in May 2020, between former Vice President Joe Biden and then-Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the quid pro quo in Ukraine,  that is, the $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the IMF approved by the Obama administration and the firing and replacement of Shokin.

In the May 2016 phone call, Biden clearly says, “[C]ongratulations on installing the new prosecutor general, it’s going to be critical for him to work quickly to repair the damage Shokin did. And I’m a man of my word. And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward in signing that one-billion-dollar loan guarantee.” The phone call was said to have been recorded by Poroshenko himself.

This was the matter President Donald Trump sought to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “look into” on the July 25, 2019 phone call with current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the phone call with Zelensky, Trump said, “It sounds horrible to me.”

And now, it looks like Biden may have even met with Burisma executives, putting the lie to Biden’s claim that “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings”.

In the meantime, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has told Fox News that his committee is in touch with the individual who provided the emails and is in the process of authenticating them.

“We regularly speak with individuals who email the committee’s whistleblower account to determine whether we can validate their claims,” said Johnson, adding, “Although we consider those communications to be confidential, because the individual in this instance spoke with the media about his contact with the committee, we can confirm receipt of his email complaint, have been in contact with the whistleblower, and are in the process of validating the information he provided.”

And Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is promising to put forward a regulation clarifying Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that is used by social media companies as a shield from liability, stating, “Members of all three branches of the federal government have expressed serious concerns about the prevailing interpretation of the immunity set forth in Section 230 of the Communications Act. There is bipartisan support in Congress to reform the law. The U.S. Department of Commerce has petitioned the Commission to ‘clarify ambiguities in section 230.’… Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230. The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning.”

Pai added, “Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”

Adding to the furor at Twitter, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was locked out of her Twitter account for sharing the New York Post story. “It’s not a temporary blockage. When I log onto my Twitter account it says I’m permanently banned. They essentially had me at gunpoint and said unless you delete a news story reported by the New York Post I cannot regain access to my account,” McEnany told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Oct. 14.

McEnany has since had her account restored, but the threat to press freedom posed by these big tech firms is quite clear who have anointed themselves the arbiters of truth. But while Twitter, Facebook and other firms are certainly a part of the marketplace of ideas, they by no means have a monopoly on that market — yet.

In April 2018, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted an article by Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira that called our political discourse a “new civil war,” with Leyden and Teixeira writing, “America can’t afford more political paralysis. One side or the other must win. This is a civil war that can be won without firing a shot. But it is a fundamental conflict between two worldviews that must be resolved in short order.”

It called for “Democratic One-Party Rule” in the U.S. as a means of reconciling issues facing the country and ultimately implementing the progressive agenda. Dorsey called it a “great read.”

Are we beginning to see what one party rule will look like in the U.S. — with Twitter and Facebook acting as party spokespersons and ministries of propaganda for the Democratic Party? It sure looks that way. This is a mortal danger to freedom of the press and of speech.

In John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, the philosopher warned how a “social tyranny” of the majority could impose censorship that would be “more formidable” than even government censorship and that it could “enslav[e] the soul” with little room for escape.

Mill wrote, “[W]hen society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

Now that “social tyranny” appears to be taking root in America, arbitrating what can and cannot be shared — unless we stop it now.

It is irrelevant how the New York Post, or any other news organization obtains its information, classified or otherwise. The question is whether the freedom of the press will be protected or not. We do not support corporate censorship and social censorship anymore than we support government censorphip. As Mill wrote, “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.DailyTorch.com. 

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AMY CONEY BARRETT: A NEW BRAND OF FEMINISM

By Catherine Mortensen

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a new role model for young women, and even women of her own generation. While her success is built upon the trailblazing work of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she takes feminism in a new direction. She has reached the pinnacle of her career while still raising young children and sustaining what looks to be a happy, functional marriage, something men have done for years.

Feminism has turned a corner. With past women justice nominees, it felt like their gender defined them. It seems different with Barrett. President Trump selected her because of her extraordinary intellectual gifts and her commitment to an originalist view of the Constitution and the role of the courts, not her gender. She clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and shares his textualist philosophy to interpret the law as written.

While Barrett’s confirmation vetting should be solely about her past court decisions and her views on the Constitution, and not her gender, it is worth noting her gender because Barrett represents a new image of a successful career woman. It is clear that women today can succeed in careers at the same pace as their male colleagues. This was rarely the case in the past when women often left the workforce when they got married or had children and returned later, always behind their male counterparts. It is refreshing to see a woman reach the top of her field while still in her prime.

This was largely the theme shared by a  group of Republic women senators spoke in support of Barrett at a  Sept. 30  news conference.

Sen. Debra Fischer (R-NE): “I think it is so remarkable that we have such a woman before us now. When we look at Judge Barrett, we see an accomplished woman. We see a brilliant jurist. We see a nice person. We see someone who has been able to balance their family life with a husband and seven children and keep everybody on track. We see someone who’s had to make choices in her life in order to move forward in her chosen career. We see someone who’s a success.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA): “Folks, this is what a mom can do. I tell my daughter all the time that a mom can be a farmer or a rancher. A mom can be a combat veteran. A mom can be a financial planner, a mom can serve in the United States Senate, and most certainly a mom can be a Supreme Court Justice. Anybody that says different is absolutely wrong.”

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ): “If confirmed on the court, she will be the first with school-age children serving on the Supreme Court. That is something that should be celebrated. Judge Barrett is by all accounts a woman of faith and of grace and of brilliance and of compassion. She is someone with seven kids, including two adopted ones and one with special needs. She is able to balance it all and do it in an amazing way. That really sets the example for so many women and girls. We should encourage everyone in America to really celebrate the fact that we have this brilliant woman who rose into the top who has been able to balance it all with grace and dignity.”

Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV): “We should be rejoicing in the fact that we have an accomplished woman to consider that we have a role model for our girls, our daughters and our granddaughters.  She has traveled a journey that not many of us get to do and we should use that as an opportunity to inspire that next generation.”

For many young women today, feminism has a slightly negative connotation. Old school feminists are often seen as harsh, combative, and judgmental. Many women would prefer to be seen as smart, strong, and compassionate. While today’s youth certainly owe a debt of gratitude to women such as Gloria Steinem and Justice Ginsburg, to name a few, many in the rising generation have moved on to a new type of feminist ideal. An ideal that allows them to be a parent, a spouse, a community volunteer, and still succeed in careers, just as men have always been able to do.

Thanks, Judge Barrett, for your 21st century brand of feminism.

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communication for Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of her articles at www.DailyTorch.com. 

VP DEBATE: FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY VS. SOCIALIST ENSLAVEMENT

By RICK MANNING

Last night’s debate between Vice President Pence and Senator Harris was a direct contrast between conservative Midwestern values and San Francisco, California values. Pence’s steady, low-key leadership is the perfect balance for President Trump as he leads America on his bold agenda. Senator Harris’ main distinctions were being named the most liberal senator in a Senate that includes socialist Bernie Sanders and attacking Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in what was nothing more than a #MeToo witch hunt.

One of the key issues in the debate is America’s relationship with the Communist Chinese government.  While President Trump and Vice President Pence have worked to establish a fair trading relationship with China, Senator Harris criticized the tariffs placed on China’s cheating steel industry which has systematically destroyed American made steel jobs due to government subsidies and the use of near slave labor.

It was stunning that the clearly biased, unknown debate moderator from USA Today, did not ask about Senator Harris’ personal financial ties to the Communist Chinese government through her husband’s law practice as a partner at DLA Piper.  While her husband Doug Emhoff left the firm in April of this year, it is imperative to know what actions he was engaged in with his communist Chinese partners over the past three years where Beijing’s overt attacks on America and the rest of the world became more and more apparent.

What’s more, Emhoff’s firm played a role in helping the Chinese with their infamous Belt and Road initiative, which has dramatically increased their influence in the world while permanently financially indebting many African nations to their Chinese colonizers.

And it is beyond belief that Harris who has little good to say about America, has no problem standing up for China, which is actively engaged in using child- and slave-labor according to the U.S. Labor Department, has set up concentration camps for millions of Muslim minorities and even kills political and religious dissidents by harvesting their organs one by one keeping the victim alive until their bodies are no longer of use, selling their vital organs to the wealthy around the world for transplant.

The lack of any outrage from the Biden-Harris ticket when it relates to China which has heavy business ties to both Biden and Harris is indicative that if elected, America will not any longer be a beacon of hope for oppressed peoples, but will soon kneel before its Chinese masters.

It is equally incomprehensible that Harris and Biden see nothing wrong with the hollowing out of the American economy due to Biden’s support for and eventual passage of Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with China in 2000, as well as Biden’s strong support for NAFTA in the 1990’s.

The very same NAFTA that President Donald Trump replaced with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade (USMCA)  agreement that will bring thousands of automotive jobs back to the United States while also increasing agricultural trade with our North American trading partners.  The Vice President wisely noted that Senator Harris voted against the USMCA, showing her disdain for the American worker who she would gladly sacrifice on her Green New Deal altar.

In other revelations, Harris joined Biden in refusing to pledge to not pack the Supreme Court, which would eliminate the independence of the judiciary, instead making up a story about why Abraham Lincoln did not appoint a Supreme Court Justice in 1864.

Here is why packing the Supreme Court ends judicial independence.  If the executive and legislative branches choose to expand the nation’s high court to rubber stamp their dubious constitutional policies, they have effectively ended the rule of law as the courts will not be a check on unconstitutional actions as they were designed to be.

Yet, Harris, an attorney and former prosecutor, refused to pledge to protect the Supreme Court’s independence.

On taxes, Harris tried to have it both ways when she said that her ticket would end the Trump tax cut which lowered taxes for middle class Americans by $2,000 on average, while denying that their policy is a tax hike on the middle class. Huh?

And finally, she and former Vice President Biden want to tell the public that they won’t destroy America’s energy independence through imposing the Green New Deal which Harris eagerly co-sponsored, yet their website still says that the Green New Deal underpins their climate policy which is endorsed by Green New Deal authors Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders.

America has been given a choice of competing visions for the future. Vice President Pence represents the hope of freedom and opportunity in line with the DNA of America. California Senator Harris represents the failed Marxist philosophy that impoverishes and enslaves people wherever it is tried in the world.  Mike Pence represents the solid middle American values that have made America great, and Harris promises to impose San Francisco values on the rest of America.  The choice is clear.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.DailyTorch.com. 

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VIRTUAL SCHOOL AND HYBRID SCHOOL: OXYMORONIC AND UNNECESSARY FOR STUDENTS THIS YEAR

By CANDY STALLWORTH

Along with other insane phenomena, such as stay-at-home orders, business restrictions, and mask mandates brought about by COVID-19 in 2020, virtual/hybrid learning for K-12 schools is has been ubiquitous throughout the nation (and many parts of the world) since mid-March.  At that time, COVID-19 was spreading rapidly, and state governments quickly jumped to shutdown orders that effectively closed every school, public and private, in their respective states. In nearly all K-12 school settings across the county, this was the end of in-person schooling for the 2019-20 school year, as almost no schools reopened and all schooling was completed online.

But now, it’s the 2020-21 school year, and schools across the country have been in session, in some form other, for a month or more. There is tremendous variation in what students are experiencing this year. Let’s take a look, shall we, at the oxymoronic concepts of virtual learning and hybrid learning.

Virtual learning refers to learning via online tools. Typically, students’ school day consists of participation in an online,  “virtual” meeting using their computer and webcam and interacting with the teacher and other classmates through a platform such as Zoom or Google Meet.  Along with this, they may complete online activities such as watching videos, completing documents, playing games on educational websites, and the like.

Hybrid learning refers to learning through both in-person instruction and virtual learning. Students who engage in hybrid learning attend school in person part of the time and use virtual learning the rest of the time. So they have some normalcy in that they get to attend school. But even the in-person learning experience is fraught with changes and mandates that make it very different from any previous school year.

Here’s a sampling of what virtual learning and hybrid learning look like for students at various schools:

Some students, whose schools have mandated fully virtual learning, sit in front of their computer screen ALL DAY. That is, from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., depending upon their schedule. They endure hour after hour of tiled faces on their screens, of the inevitable struggles to sustain their attention, and the likely technological failures that can pop up at any time.  They take a quick, half-hour lunch break (of course, eating lunch in their own homes) and if they are lucky enough to finish eating with a few minutes to spare, can take laps around the backyard (or the house) as “recess” before they settle in for their afternoon in front of the screen.

At the other end of the virtual learning spectrum are the students who briefly meet with their teacher for a few minutes online, usually at the beginning of the day and then perhaps, for some, at the end of the day. For the rest of the day, they are working on assignments and activities that are delivered to them through their online platform, such as Google Classroom. If they have adults or older siblings around them to guide them or at least periodically check on them, then they have a better chance of actually learning something. If not, they are on their own.

Students in hybrid learning situations face a cacophony of schedules and structures. All of the following are actual hybrid school schedules that are occurring this year:

  • Students attend school in person every other day, for half a day. So one week, they attend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The next week, they attend Tuesday and Thursday. The following week it is Monday, Wednesday, Friday again.
  • Students attend school for two set days (either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday) for half a day. Each group attends every other Friday, so students attend either two or three days, depending on the week.
  • Students attend school for five days one week, and the next week they are virtual all week. The following week, it’s back to school all week, and so on.
  • Schools have A,B,C,D,E (or some group of letters) days, rather than Monday through Friday. The letter days that they attend school vary, depending on holidays and other scheduling variations. Some schools actually have letter days in combinations with the actual days of the week, so students must keep track of the days of the week in the real world and the days of the week in their school world, in order to know when to attend school.

While this is a sample of hybrid instruction scheduling, there are many more scenarios. In all of these virtual and hybrid learning settings, the amount of actual teaching and learning that occurs is significantly decreased. In education circles, it is commonly understood that students lost at least 30% of the expected learning in the last school year. It is too soon to tell how much they will lose this year, if the shutdown insanity continues.

Not to mention, the quality of the school experience is far less than normal for those who are in school. Children are confined to circles, or squares, or plexiglass-enclosed areas that are “socially distanced” (there’s another oxymoronic term) from one another. Lunch time and recess, two major times for interaction and social growth, are minimized or eliminated in most schools. Instruction in subjects outside the core subject areas, such as gym, art, and music, are also minimized or typically relegated to asynchronous or optional instruction.  Academic support services such as speech, reading support, and occupational therapy are hit or miss. IEP’s for students with identified learning needs may or may not be followed carefully.

And speaking of losing, everyone is the loser when children have anything less than five-day-a-week, fully in-person instruction. Teachers lose out because they are working extra hard; on any given day, they are planning for students who are in school for the day, students who will come to school on their next scheduled day, and in many cases, students who are fully virtual. Teachers who are compelled to teach all virtual must scramble to gain proficiency with online tools. Administrators have become hand sanitizing/mask-wearing police, while figuring out their schools’ air filtration system and turning their hallways into one-way walkways, and addressing a host of other issues, such as how to sanitize books and lab equipment, ensuring everyone’s technology is functioning well, and understanding legal/privacy ramifications of online schooling. Parents and family members lose out, when working adults must adjust their work schedules and work spaces to accommodate children who are learning from home, and when they must become their child’s tutor to reteach concepts their children did not grasp through a computer screen.

But children are losing the most. The social interaction that comes from school is crucial for their development. To be physically separate from their peers and teachers, to be compelled to wear a mask all day at school, to have to conform to one-way arrows in the hallway, to enter through separate entrances into their school building, or to be forced to stay home and learn online is to be denied basic childhood experiences. Children need school in its usual form.

The hysteria that has led to closing schools altogether or opening in some inadequate fashion is sorely misplaced. It is well-established as medical fact that the survival rate for children who test positive for COVID-19 is above 99.99%. Teachers’ and administrators’ ages vary, of course, but the COVID survival rates overall are similarly high. There is no need for the widespread shutdown of schools that the country is facing now. Normalcy in our country is long overdue. Getting students back into schools is a good place to start.

Candy Stallworth, an Empire State News staff writer, whipped her way through a doctoral education at the finest of American higher ed institutions, noting how unoriginal, inept, and annoying many of the schools’ professors were in their robotic attempts to maintain a politically correct narrative. BTW: she hates words like “narrative”, “optics”, and “gaffe.” Other than that, her turn-offs include non-masculine men, women who hate men, men who hate men, phonies, disloyal people, and overflowing garbage cans. She likes New England clam chowder better than Manhattan clam chowder, but prefers Manhattan to New England.

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WHY BIDEN’S THREAT TO PACK THE SUPREME COURT MATTERS

By Catherine Mortensen

After Joe Biden and Kamala Harris dodged debate questions about “packing the courts,”  Biden, when pressed further finally said, “You’ll know my opinion on court packing when the election is over.”

Biden is playing games with the American people on what could be the most consequential issue of the election and here is why this matters.

Presidents are constitutionally bound to fill vacancies on the courts including the Supreme Court which has been set to nine justices since 1869. It is expected that they will nominate judges who share their views on the constitution. Naturally, these presidential appointments can have far-reaching impacts on the nation.

What is not normal, expected, or natural is to “pack the court.” Packing the court is a different thing altogether. It is when a president attempts to increase the number of judges on any given court in order to get a desired political outcome.

“Packing the court” was coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was a slang term for the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937.

Roosevelt sought to reform the number of Supreme Court justices in an effort to obtain a favorable ruling for the New Deal legislation.

The central provision of the bill would have granted the president power to appoint an additional justice to the Supreme Court – up to a maximum of six – for every member of the court over the age of 70 years and six months.

Roosevelt’s bill went nowhere. The public and Congress rejected it, seeing it for what it was, a power grab. No president has ever tried it since. At least not with the Supreme Court.

However, during the Obama-Biden Administration, Senate Republicans accused the White House and Senate Democrats of trying to pack the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. This court is often referred to as the second highest court in the land because it hears important cases concerning the federal government.

In 2013, The 11-panel court had three vacancies which Obama sought to fill. But Republicans pointed out that the court did not handle enough cases to warrant 11 judges and sought to reduce the number to 9.

Republican leaders tried to make the case that “the most underworked appeals court in the country should not be manipulated by the president and his political allies to advance their agenda.”

According to an October 2013 Senate Republican Policy Committee memo, an unnamed D.C. Circuit Court Judge said, “I do not believe the current caseload of the D.C. Circuit or, for that matter, the anticipated caseload in the near future, merits additional judgeships at this time. … If any more judges were added now, there wouldn’t be enough work to go around.”

That same memo noted, “Senate Democrats and their allies have been quite clear: they are pushing to make more appointments to the D.C. Circuit — not because they are needed, but because they want judges who will rubber-stamp the President’s agenda.”

Ultimately, the Obama-Biden Administration succeeded in appointing four judges to that court in which Democrats now hold sway.

This matters because the D.C. Circuit has sole responsibility for deciding cases having to do with the balance of powers of the branches of government and decisions made by government agencies affecting issues such as health care, national security, and energy development.

“In 2013, when Obama attempted to pack that court, his administration had a problem,” explained Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government. “There were a number of disputes involving the power of the executive branch that were headed to the federal district court of appeals, and that court was philosophically evenly divided. Fearing that the courts would curtail their power, the Obama-Biden team schemed to add three left leaning judges to the district court of appeals. They sought to guarantee that the executive branch would win all legal challenges.”

The fact that Biden has been involved in what looks like court packing in the past, should concern every American.  If he is allowed back into the White House, and his party gains control of the Senate, he could very likely abolish the filibuster in order to push through a Roosevelt-type scheme to politicize and pack  the Supreme Court.

Catherine Mortensen is the Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.  You can read more of her articles at www.DailyTorch.com. 

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: THE TRUE IMPACT OF VIRTUAL LEARNING ON OUR FAMILIES AND OUR FUTURE

By Catherine Mortensen

This morning, my son, a high school senior doing virtual learning, texted me, “I didn’t get out of bed for first period.” I replied, “Yikes!” To which he shot back, “It’s okay, I just did the class from bed.”

This cannot be a thing! Kids should not be going to school from their beds!

A few hours later, a friend on Facebook posted: “I’m totally winning at this parenting thing! I slept through my alarm and logged onto my son’s calendar time right as they were saying goodbye to everybody. So, he got marked tardy for today. And then I was trying to help my daughter with her math, but I don’t know the current math jargon, so I wasn’t able to explain it without making her cry. It’s only 11:00 am. This is going to be a stellar day.”

Another girlfriend posted in a Facebook group dedicated to reopening schools: “I went in to check on my 9th grader because she was yelling at her class – well it was at her computer. She was in tears telling me she was going to have to drop out or fail because there are too many tabs, and too much technology, and she doesn’t understand where she is supposed to find all her work. She said she asked for help but got kicked out of the group and couldn’t get back on and when she tried to talk to the teacher, they couldn’t hear her. ‘I can’t turn it in because I can’t find it. I can’t understand it when I do find it. Why can’t they just give me a sheet of work to do, I can do that, but I can’t do this computer stuff. It’s going to kill me.’ And I’ve been in tears since.”

Another friend, a therapist who works with youth, said all of her patient visits are done remotely and many of the young people she visits with online are home alone. “Yesterday I spoke to a 12-year old patient who is home with three younger siblings,” she said.

Whether parents are home, at work, or working from home, virtual learning is not working for anyone.

A parent at the office cannot fully focus on their job because they are worried about their child at home. Similarly, it is difficult for a parent to productively work from home if they have children who need help.

In the short term the schools closures and larger economic shut down resulted in a 37 percent drop in non-farm worker output from May to July and nation’s economy contracting by 31.7 percent in the second quarter.

With the economy now on the rebound, those losses appear to be temporary, however, scholars from The Brookings Institution looked into the long-term consequences of virtual learning and it’s not good.  From the COVID-19 cost of school closures report finding “lost earnings of $1,337 per year per student: a present value loss of earnings of $33,464 (63 percent of a year’s salary at current average wage rates)… [and] a look at the impact on the whole of the country is much more sobering. In this model, the cost to the United States in future earnings of four months of lost education is $2.5 trillion—12.7 percent of annual GDP… Extrapolating to the global level, on the basis that the U.S. economy represents about one-quarter of global output, these data suggest the world could lose as much as $10 trillion over the coming generation as a result of school closures today.”

The human and economic costs of virtual learning are real. Our kids are losing years right now. By ignoring them we are placing our future in peril — and the cost may be more than we can bear.

Catherine Mortensen is the Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.  You can read more of her articles at www.DailyTorch.com. 

JOSE ARMANDO RESENDIZ, THE NEXT 365 MILLION DOLLAR MAN?

By DANIEL SONNINSHINE

Jose Armando Resendiz is only 21 years old with movie star looks, an outstanding amateur record (71-2), and decorated background, including 2015  Mexican Olympiad gold medal, 2016 National Olympiad bronze medal, 2017 National Olympiad gold medal, and 2017 Mexican Olympic Festival gold medal winner. 
In 2018, Resendiz turned pro at 19 yrs old,  and now enjoys a perfect (11-0) record as a professional.  Boxing experts say he has the potential to mirror one of boxing’s top draws, fellow Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Alvarez signed a $365 million, eleven fight deal with DAZN in 2018.
Mike Borao, an attorney and one of boxing’s top agents, is pursuing Resendiz aggressively.  He stated, “I know everyone in boxing is trying to sign Resendiz, and that’s OK.  In my opinion, Resendiz has the pedigree and style to become one of the great Mexican icons revered by boxing fans around the world.  Hopefully, I have a chance to participate in what promises to a spectacular career.”
Currently, the biggest star in the sport is Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez has generated some of the largest PPV numbers and live gates in recent history.  Although in a heavily publicized dispute with his promoter, Alvarez is unquestionably boxing’s number one attraction.
If the reports and comparisons to Alvarez coming out of Mexico are true, young Resendiz looks poised to one day make the Forbes 100 list of richest athletes, just like his compatriot.

Daniel Sonninshine is an Empire State News staff writer, who is in search of greatness. A 20-something smart fellow, he is now lifting weights in an effort to obtain more power. If that doesn’t work, he will ask to write more editorials for Empire State News and less fact articles. He also dabbles in film reviews. Favorite flicks include The Godfather, Blazing Saddles, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Passion of the Christ.

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WHY SHUTTING DOWN SOCIETY AND FORCED MASK-WEARING IS NOT ONLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL BUT EMBRACED BY THE UNINFORMED, THE STUPID AND/OR THE EVIL

By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO

Forced mask-wearing is a massive blunder, at minimum. At maximum, it has been an evil endeavor. This two minute and thirty second video, from a medical doctor, in and of itself, destructs the false assertion that masks prevent either (1) the mask wearer from spreading the coronavirus; and (2) others from getting the coronavirus from those wearing masks. WATCH IT. Your eyes will not deceive you. The doctor puts on every type of mask available and demonstrates, with complete, unadulterated certainty, that aerosols (i.e., the particles that make up the coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses) not only are not blocked by the masks, but that they seamlessly go through the masks. The vape he utilizes to prove this phenomenon (which already had been proven through numerous scientific studies over the last few decades) has the same size or LARGER particles than the coronavirus.

Anyone who watches this video and still claims that masks prevent the spreading of the coronavirus is either a total idiot or an evil liar with a political agenda.  I choose to believe that most people are neither “total idiots” or “evil liars.” I choose to believe that most people have just been uniformed; they have listened to falsehoods at the mouths of manipulating media, puppetry pundits, and prickly politicos—and they haven’t done their own research. Alas, I – and many others – have done the research. The aforementioned video is just one of hundreds of videos, studies, documents, and interviews that I reviewed and considered. Please READ THIS ARTICLE that I authored – MASKS ‘R US: MEDICAL FACTS SAY OTHERWISE – which explains, in comprehensive detail (and with mega factual support), that masks do not prevent the spreading of the coronavirus.

The mask-wearing compulsion is an ultimate unconstitutional act of politico control. It is part of an overall illicit effort to conform our precious democracy into a socialist (really, communist) society. The goal is to make everyone be “the same.” Take away people’s identities, while making them squirm in fear.

                                                                                                                    UNCONSTITUTIONAL STAY AT HOME & SHUTDOWN ORDERS

As a purely factual matter, the death rate of the coronavirus has turned out to be less than the flu. I – and several other rational people in the media, political world, and general public – have been saying this for months. It is, however, a disease that should be taken seriously, just the same as the flu. With that said, there was no justification whatsoever for the radical fear-mongering. Likewise, there was no justification whatsoever for the state-mandated stay at home/work and school closure/social distancing measures (the “Dictatorial Dictates”).

In legal terms, the Dictatorial Dictates are unconstitutional. They violate the First, Fifth and Eighth Amendments. And they are in direct contravention of the separation of powers conscription of the United States Constitution. Americans’ most fundamental rights of freedom have been obliterated. Freedom of Assembly has been stripped. Freedom of Speech, thereby, has been gravely restricted. Freedom of Religion has been nullified. The basic God-given right to move about freely has been wholly tainted by an unholy tampering.

The Dictatorial Dictates completely crushed America’s economy. The orders resulted in over 20 million citizens losing their jobs. Every facet of the economy has been under siege.

Most saliently, medical and scientific data has, at this point, unequivocally, proven that the number of deaths caused by the Dictatorial Dictates already is – and will continue to be – greater than the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus itself.  The Dictatorial Dictates are causing deaths to Americans from the following:

(1) increased mental illness and stress that have manifested into lethal physical conditions;

(2) people who have been completely unable to visit with their physicians because of restraints put on the doctors;

(3) people who are unable to visit, in-person, with their physicians because certain doctors are only consulting with patients, regarding certain health issues, via online video;

(4) people who are too afraid to leave their homes to visit with their physicians or go to the hospital;

(5) the abolition of crucial elective surgeries (e.g., for joint replacements and brain surgeries);

(6) the restriction of certain kinds of vital routine doctor visits (e.g., for tumors and mammograms);

(7) increased suicide;

(8) increased drug usage and overdoses;

(9) increased alcohol abuse;

(10) increased domestic violence;

(11) increased lethargy and obesity; and

(12) increased poverty.

The Dictatorial Dictates are unsustainable. They are unwanted, en masse – by the vast majority of Americans. The politicians who have enacted these diabolical measures (wittingly or unwittingly) have an obligation to listen to their constituents and immediately cease and desist from their further propounding of them. It is, indeed, these elected officials’ absolute duty to repeal the Dictatorial Dictates immediately – and in full.

The evidence, at this point, is undeniable.

There are FACTS.

There is SCIENCE.

There is MATH.

Even with all the censorship by certain mainstream media, big tech, and politicos, it is still easy to find all of the above-referenced facts, science, and data via internet searches and watching/hearing/reading much in the media. Below are links to just samples of the concrete factual evidence:

Many Medical Experts Were Against Lockdowns, the Media Just Didn’t Want Us to Know

Death By Policy: Mortality Statistics Show That Many People Have Died from Lockdown-Related Causes, Not From Covid-19

The Truth About Lockdowns

Suicide Deaths Higher Than COVID-19 Deaths Amid Lockdown, CDC Chief Warns

The Lockdown is Killing Thousands

Odds of Dying from COVID-19 – COVID Fatality Rate

Getting realistic about the coronavirus death rate

The coronavirus, definitively, has not warranted the imposition of any of the Dictatorial Dictates – not now, and not ever.

President Trump, who has been a pillar of rationale during the hysteria created by the Dictatorial Dictates, has examined the evidence presented by a plethora of leading medical doctors and scientists – not just the wild opinions of a few – to reach valid conclusions that can lead the nation out of an unnecessary crazed panic (and economic, constitutional, and non-coronavirus health crises caused by the Dictatorial Dictates). Several governors and state leaders have followed suit and eliminated or greatly minimized freedom-restricting orders in their states, returning to the constitutionally-required normality. All of the state governments should now put politics aside and disregard past decisions (some made by power-hungry evildoers, others made mistakenly in good faith) that led to the incorrectly-leveled Dictatorial Dictates. Although all definitively must abide by new laws restricting their constitutional rights (just as they must follow any other laws with which they may disagree), the government should quickly eliminate all remaining Dictatorial Dictates, as they are not justified by facts, science, medicine, or the law…All in government should follow the President’s lead in completely opening America back up.

Kenneth Del Vecchio is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM/New Jersey & New York Law Journal Books. He is a former judge, a former prosecutor and a practicing criminal/commercial litigation attorney for 25 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases; he is partner in the prestigious law firm, Stern, Kilcullen & Rufolo.  Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Cinedigm, and eOne Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. A best-selling political thriller novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years old. Additionally, Mr. Del Vecchio is the founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.”  A regular legal and political  analyst on the major news networks (Newsmax, Fox News, i24 News) who has appeared on hundreds of shows, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper. 

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MASK MANDATES GONE TOO FAR: WOMAN TASED AND ARRESTED FOR NOT WEARING MASK OUTSIDE AT YOUTH FOOTBALL GAME

By CANDY STALLWORTH

If there ever was a story that epitomized the insanity over mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic, here it is. Last week, a woman attending a middle school football game in Logan, Ohio was handcuffed, tased, and arrested for not wearing a mask while she sat outside on the bleachers and watched the game.

Alecia Kitts, a parent from the visiting team of Marietta City Schools, was simply sitting maskless with her mother and attempting to watch her son’s football game when she was approached by the school’s assistant principal, who asked her to put on a mask or leave the game. She refused to do so, stating that she had asthma.  The school resource officer, Christopher Smith, quickly intervened and, according to cell phone video footage of the incident, physically struggled with Kitts, a woman who appears to weigh at least 100 lbs. less than him. Kitts resisted the burly officer’s attempts to physically remove her from the stands, proclaiming, “I’m not doing anything wrong”, “Get off of me,” and “What the f**k is wrong with you?” Her mother tried to assist by attempting to reason with both the officer and the assistant principal, who stood by watching the officer’s efforts to cuff Kitts.  Smith, evidently quickly frustrated with her, tased her to subdue her. Then he cuffed Kitts and proceeded to arrest her for trespassing.  The video of this event immediately went viral and angered many; indeed it is shocking (no pun intended) and disturbing on many levels.

ESN has detailed here the uselessness and even harmful effects of wearing masks. At the start of the pandemic, many well-meaning people did believe that masks were needed and complied with government mandates to wear them. But now, months later and with much research available for anyone to inform themselves, many more people have now caught on to the reality that they do absolutely nothing to stop the spread of COVID.  It is obvious that they are not needed in any setting, certainly not outside at a football stadium, with no one else immediately adjacent in any direction. It is pure insanity that Kitts was told to put on a mask or leave her son’s game.  What ensued next is appalling and downright scary. While BLM and Antifa protestors have been allowed, and encouraged, to gather en masse and protest, riot, and loot all over the country with or without masks, this woman was engaging in an everyday, law-abiding activity of watching a youth football game. She is the one got arrested, not the actual lawbreakers.

In response to the outcries and threats against Logan High School, the official word was that Kitts was not arrested because she was not wearing a mask, but because she refused to leave the stadium. Nonsense. She should not have even been asked to leave the game. Mask mandates are not about public health. They are all about control. This incident clearly demonstrates that reality.

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Candy Stallworth, an Empire State News staff writer, whipped her way through a doctoral education at the finest of American higher ed institutions, noting how unoriginal, inept, and annoying many of the schools’ professors were in their robotic attempts to maintain a politically correct narrative. BTW: she hates words like “narrative”, “optics”, and “gaffe.” Other than that, her turn-offs include non-masculine men, women who hate men, men who hate men, phonies, disloyal people, and overflowing garbage cans. She likes New England clam chowder better than Manhattan clam chowder, but prefers Manhattan to New England.

 

WHEN LETHAL FORCE IS LEGAL AND MORAL

By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO

The defining standard in law for determining whether lethal force is legally justified is as follows: if a person has a reasonable belief that his life (or another’s) is in jeopardy, he can use lethal force to protect his own life or another’s life. This legal standard is also the same moral standard. It is natural law. It is an inherent right of justice. It is a right of self-defense that pertains to all people; it is not just applicable to the profession of law enforcement…Was lethal force justified in the Kenosha, WI shooting? At this point, we do not have enough information to reach a conclusion because politicians are withholding evidence as a part of a diabolical scheme to further the civil unrest occurring in cities throughout the U.S. Here’s what we do know:

The police lawfully responded to a call related to alleged domestic violence. They encountered the suspect, Jacob Blake, who they apparently had probable cause to arrest. Blake violently resisted arrest. He had told the police officers that he had a knife in his car. He quickly rushed into his car, reaching for something. It is unclear from the videos what items were in the immediate vicinity in the area of the vehicle where he was reaching. A police officer shot him several times. A knife was later recovered under a floorboard in the vehicle. Blake has a substantial criminal history, including violent crimes and sex crimes.

Does the fact that Blake – an individual with a violent criminal history – violently resisted arrest legally (or morally) justify the police officer using lethal force?

Absolutely not…Why?…Because such would not lead a person to have a reasonable belief that his life (or another’s) was in jeopardy.

In adding to the equation that Blake told the police that he had a knife in his car – plus that he quickly rushed to the car and reached in – do those cumulative facts render a reasonable belief that a person’s life is in jeopardy?…Perhaps (depending upon what additional evidence may exist)…First, the obvious: it’s wholly logical that any normal-thinking person, under those very specific circumstances, would form a reasonable conclusion that Blake was reaching for the knife. Given that particular police officer’s very close proximity to Blake, he could have quickly and easily been stabbed to death. That said, should the officer have been that close to Blake? Should he have let Blake run to the car and stepped back, wherein he was at such a distance that Blake could not immediately stab him (thus removing the possibility that his life was in danger from a knife)? Those questions seem plausible, but a quick analysis renders the following rational conclusions:

In the balancing test, the police officer should, indeed, have followed Blake to the car for not only his own protection, but the protection of the other police officers on site and, more so, all of the civilian bystanders. In that moment, if he had let Blake go into the car unchecked, several terrible things could have occurred (by this known man with a violent criminal history, who had violently resisted arrest – and who had told police he had a knife in the vehicle). Blake could have grabbed that knife and came out quickly slashing (at one of many people) and stabbed someone before police could subdue him. Worse, who is to say that a knife is the only weapon he had in the car? Although it turned out that no other weapon was found, any logical-thinking person would conclude that this individual could have had a gun as well. Accordingly, under the totality of the circumstances, it was not only lawful for the police officer to follow Blake to the car and attempt to stop him from entering, but it was the right choice as well. But does this all mean that he was ultimately justified in shooting Blake?

Is knowing that a man (1) with a violent criminal history; (2) who was violently resisting arrest; (3) who told police he has a knife in the car; and (4) who quickly rushes into the car to grab something – enough factors for the officer to use lethal force? Do the totality of those circumstances – without any additional factors – result in a person having a reasonable belief that his life (or another’s) is in jeopardy, where he is justified to shoot to kill? While it is understandable that the police officer would, naturally, be frightened in that circumstance, the answer is “no.” The police officer had the legal right to follow Blake to the car, to try to stop him from entering the car, and to try to prevent him from grabbing something in it. However, if there were no indicia that he was reaching for a knife, gun, or other deadly weapon, then the police officer was not justified in shooting him.

All that said, no one yet knows if the police officer saw something that a reasonable person would believe was a deadly weapon. If it turns out that this one additional piece of evidence exists (which it may), then the police officer would have had a reasonable belief that his life (or another’s) was in jeopardy and, thus, the shooting was justified. For example, if, in Blake’s immediate reach was that knife (or something that looked like a knife or gun at a quick glance) then, under all of those circumstances, the police officer would have that reasonable belief. It should be noted that it is irrelevant – both legally and morally – if the item turned out to be harmless (e.g., a flashlight or cell phone). As tragic as it is – IF – under the totality of those circumstances, a person reasonably concluded that the flashlight/cell phone was a lethal weapon, then the shooting would be justified…And there is other additional evidence that could have made the shooting justified.

What if while Blake was rushing to the car, he said something to the extent of that “I’m getting that knife and killing you” or “I’m grabbing my gun and blowing someone’s head off” or one of many similar terroristic threats? Under the totality of the circumstances, where there is a man (1) with a violent criminal history; (2) who was violently resisting arrest; (3) who told police he has a knife in the car;  (4) who quickly rushes into the car to grab something – PLUS who reaches for something that a reasonable person believe looks like a deadly weapon and/or who simultaneously threatens to use a deadly weapon to kill someone – is that enough to render a reasonable belief that the officer’s life (or another’s life) is in jeopardy? The answer is “yes” – of course it does…Please note the fact that Blake was shot in his back is obviously irrelevant in this analysis. Where else would he be shot under these circumstances? If a person had a reasonable belief that he was grabbing a deadly weapon under these specific circumstances, the back is exactly where he would be justifiably shot; if not, he could have quickly and easily turned around with the deadly weapon and killed the officer or another person.

But…

No one knows, yet, if either of those above-described additional factors exist. If they do exist, the shooting was justifiable (legally and morally) self-defense. If they do not exist, then the shooting was not justifiable because, under all the circumstances, he would not have held the requisite reasonable belief that his life (or another’s) was in jeopardy. In such a case, he would be guilty of an aggravated assault; if Blake had died, the police officer would be guilty of involuntary manslaughter or manslaughter because the killing would be a reckless act.

Why race has been brought into this matter is mind-boggling. There is ZERO evidence that the police officer’s actions in this matter – lawful or not – were rooted in racism. Any rational – and honest – person would conclude that the officer would have acted in the exact same manner if Blake was brown, white, yellow, black, red, etc—because there is nothing to indicate otherwise. I have written multiple highly-researcher articles where I provide the FACTS and STATISTICS showing that there is absolutely NO evidence that police shootings are grounded in racial intent; the few unlawful police shootings are rooted in power abuse which is race-blind (see another article of mine, Power Abuse, Not Racism, Is the Cause of Unlawful Killings; Race-Baiters Making Wrongful Accusations Against Entire Law Enforcement Community, if you are interested in the truth)…Plastic elected officials, muddled mainstream media, and the intellectually devoid at educational institutions are, with evil, agenda-driven intent, exploiting certain, hand-picked shootings and attempting to propagandize the public (the real people) into believing falsehoods. Their goal is a frightening, unsavory one of seeking separatism and divide; it is one designed to perpetuate a race war. This is a fictitious race war: and that is because the vast, vast majority of Americans (including police officers) are NOT racists. That said, there is, of course, racism that exists in all people (of all races) – and in equal amounts. All of it is to be condemned. Let’s jointly condemn it and, at the same time, not allow the race-baiters to succeed in their propaganda.

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Kenneth Del Vecchio is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM/New Jersey & New York Law Journal Books. He is a former judge, a former prosecutor and a practicing criminal/commercial litigation attorney for 25 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases; he is partner in the prestigious law firm, Stern, Kilcullen & Rufolo.  Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Cinedigm, and eOne Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. A best-selling political thriller novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years old. Additionally, Mr. Del Vecchio is the founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.”  A regular legal and political  analyst on the major news networks who has appeared on hundreds of shows, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper.