Commentary: Voters Aren’t Buying What Shapiro Is Selling

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro

As inflation persists, Pennsylvania voters are rejecting increased government spending, according to new polling data released by the Commonwealth Foundation.

Inflation and the rising cost of living remain Pennsylvanians’ chief concerns. With more than two-thirds of voters saying that high prices are eating away at their standard of living, it’s no wonder that a plurality reports their family is worse off than two years ago.

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Commentary: The Pandemic Treaty That Won’t Prevent a Pandemic

World Health Organization

If a “pandemic treaty” fails to account for the dismal international response to COVID-19 and isn’t focused on preventing future pandemics, is it really a “pandemic treaty”? Yet that’s the current state of the draft “pandemic treaty” being negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The failures of the international health system’s response to COVID are well-established. The People’s Republic of China failed to inform the international community of the outbreak in a timely manner as required by the International Health Regulations – a provision established because of Beijing’s cover-up of the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). China mischaracterized COVID-19 saying that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission—a deadly lie that the WHO parroted unquestioningly.

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Sen. Joni Ernst Releases List of Federal Agencies with High Employee No-Show Rates Post-COVID

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)

With Christmas fast-approaching, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa put out a “naughty list” of government agencies that have high no-show rates of employees who have not returned to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic ended.

According to Ernst’s list, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration top the list with just 7 percent office occupancy rates.

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Students Across the U.S. Are Absent Much More than Before the Pandemic

Teacher Classroom

Nearly 70% of students attended schools that experienced chronic absenteeism during the 2021-2022 academic year, according to data compiled by Attendance Works and Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Before the pandemic, 25% of students attended a school with high levels of chronic absenteeism, but during the 2021-2022 academic year at the percentage rose to 66%, according to the report from Attendance Works, a nonprofit focusing on absenteeism, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, which focuses on high school graduation. Nearly 14.7 million students, or 29.7%, were chronically absent in the 2021-22 school year.

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Undergrad Enrollment Increases for First Time Since Pandemic, Number of Freshmen Decline

Undergraduate enrollment numbers increased during the fall semester for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic while the number of freshmen enrolling in colleges and universities declined, according to the National Student Research Clearinghouse Center (NSRCC).

Undergraduate enrollment at colleges and universities increased 2.1% compared to 2022 and 1.2% compared to 2021, with community colleges accounting for nearly 59% of the increase, according to the NSRCC. Freshmen enrollment declined by 3.6%, with bachelor programs seeing a 6.9% and 4.7% decline, respectively, at public and private four-year nonprofit institutions.

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Commentary: SCOTUS Takes Up Free Speech Case, Putting Biden Administration’s Censorship Regime on Trial

Late Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Missouri v. Biden, a case that may end the Biden administration’s circumvention of the First Amendment by outsourcing censorship to Big Tech. The case was initially filed by the states of Missouri and Louisiana, along with various private plaintiffs who allege that social media platforms censored them at the behest of federal agencies. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ruled for the plaintiffs on July 4, enjoining the agencies from communicating with platforms about “content moderation.” The Biden administration sought relief from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and lost again, making a Supreme Court clash inevitable.

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Fed: American Households Increased Net Worth During Pandemic

A new report from the Federal Reserve claims that the average American household actually saw an increase in its net worth during the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic.

As reported by Axios, the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances, which is released every three years, came out on Wednesday. It was lasted conducted in 2019, thus meaning the next iteration would be held after the pandemic, covering the three-year time period from start to finish.

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Schools Spent Millions in COVID Bucks on Educational Software That Was Barely Used

School districts across the country spent millions in federal relief funds on educational software intended to mitigate pandemic learning loss, but in many cases, much of the technology wasn’t used, according to The Associated Press.

Schools received billions in COVID-19 relief funds from Congress, and tech companies engaged in aggressive marketing to get districts to purchase their products. School districts used these federal funds to enter multi-million dollar contracts for software licenses that often went unused by students, the AP reported. Moreover, some products were found to not be particularly effective.

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‘Total Lack of Critical Thinking’: Experts Question COVID Vax, Mask Mandates amid ‘Surge’

by Greg Piper   Governments and private entities are using a small rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and new viral variants to juice interest in bivalent boosters that only 1 in 6 Americans have taken and to urge a return to routine masking, if not outright mandating new jabs and face coverings. What they aren’t…

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Researchers Flay Medical Journals for COVID ‘Misinformation’ Claims

Three and a half years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, American medical journals are still calling out what they consider commonly shared misinformation on vaccines, masks, transmission and viral origins, sometimes promoted by health professionals.

Yet voluminous research and real-world experiences over that span suggest the journals themselves are promoting outdated, unsupported or exaggerated COVID claims, if not outright misinformation.

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Commentary: Thanks to Hacks and Henchmen, ‘Misinformation’ Is Now Code for Doing Government Dirty Work

Louisiana federal Judge Terry A. Doughty shocked Americans with his July 4th restraining order against Biden’s digital team which was supposed to be fighting “disinformation” but was in reality just banning views online it didn’t like.

Doughty’s opinion is a jaw dropping expose of how White House staff bullied Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to remove content about election fraud, COVID concerns and other matters of public interest in blatant violation of the First Amendment.  Governmental actors cannot demand that others do what they cannot under the Constitution, just as you can’t have proxies break the law for you. Yet that’s exactly what Biden officials did and that’s exactly what Judge Doughty stopped.

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Commentary: The Experts Were the Crisis in 2020

The quote from Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a useful way to begin addressing the Washington Post editorial board’s confident assertion that “’A collective national incompetence in government’” was at the root of the U.S.’s alleged failure vis-à-vis the coronavirus in 2020. According to the Post quoting from a recently released report (“Lessons from the Covid War”), “The United States started out ‘with more capabilities than any other country in the world,’ but “it ended up with 1 million dead.” Were he still around, one guesses Tolstoy would mock the conceit of the Post’s editorialists.

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Commentary: Biden’s Open Borders Are Bringing Diseases to Your Neighborhood

by Betsy McCaughey   Ready for another pandemic? New York City’s health commissioner announced last week that the influx of migrants from the southern border — more than 50,000 to New York City alone in the past year — is delivering contagious diseases, including tuberculosis and polio, to our neighborhoods.…

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State Agency: Pennsylvania Unemployment Claim Backlog Remains at over 31,000

Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) on Wednesday told state representatives the commonwealth’s unemployment-claim (UC) backlog remains vast at 31,304 cases.

L&I officials testifying at a hearing of the state House Appropriations Committee in preparation for next fiscal year’s budget also said state residents calling the department regarding UC claims face an average wait time of 67 minutes. Acting L&I Secretary Nancy Walker said her agency is making progress in clearing these cases which reportedly numbered more than 35,000 last month. Such cases began to accumulate over the course of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Switzerland Not Recommending COVID-19 Vaccine, Including for High-Risk Individuals

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health said no COVID-19 vaccination is recommended this spring/summer season, including for people at high risk of becoming seriously sick from the virus. 

“Nearly everyone in Switzerland has been vaccinated and/or contracted and recovered from COVID-19. Their immune system has therefore been exposed to the coronavirus,” the Swiss health agency said.

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Commentary: The Post-Normal World After COVID

Like most polls, Gallup polls are usually paid advertisements for whomever commissions them and therefore deserving of as little attention. However, the indefatigable Sharyl Attkisson recently reported on the results of one such survey and that did draw my attention. Evidently, 47 percent of Americans say life will never go back to pre-pandemic normal. I was somewhat stunned! How could 53 percent be thinking we could go back? 

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Commentary: More Work to be Done on Emergency Powers as Pandemic Wanes

Most Americans are likely pleased that when they turn on their television, no longer are there talking heads and public health figures breathlessly discussing COVID-19 case counts and deaths. Broadly, the media as a whole is no longer incessantly reporting on the topic, and nationally, the federal public health emergency declared for the COVID-19 pandemic terminates on May 11. 

While the old signs of the pandemic have virtually vanished, Americans won’t forget what their governments did to them.

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Commentary: The Things Students Are Learning After They Left Public Schools During Pandemic

The education disruption caused by mass school closures and prolonged remote instruction beginning three years ago this month led many families to seek other learning options beyond an assigned district school. Emerging research reveals just how significant and sustained that shift was.

In a new report, “Where the Kids Went: Nonpublic Schooling and Demographic Change during the Pandemic Exodus from Public Schools,” Stanford economist Thomas Dee reveals that more than 1.2 million students left district schools during the pandemic response. That exodus endured throughout the 2021/2022 academic year, as families continued to opt for private schools and homeschooling even though most district schools reopened. 

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Bill Aims to Protect American Sovereignty Against World Health Organization’s Pandemic Plan

As negations move forward on an international pandemic treaty, Republican House members are pushing a bill that would check the pandemic powers of the World Health Organization. 

U.S. Representatives Tom Tiffany (R-WI-07) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) joined a dozen of their Republican colleagues in introducing the No WHO Pandemic Preparedness Treaty Without Senate Approval Act.

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Lawmakers Demand Biden Declassify COVID Origins Investigations

Lawmakers are demanding that President Joe Biden declassify documents related to the origins of COVID-19, in particular federal investigations into the matter.

The Senate passed a bill by unanimous consent that would require Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify documents related to COVID’s origins. Republicans have a majority in the House, giving the legislation a chance, but whether Biden would sign it is in doubt.

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Government Report: Unemployment Fraud May Top $60 Billion During Pandemic

A U.S. government report released Monday estimates that there could have been more than $60 billion in unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic. The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that figure is an estimate spread over the entire unemployment system and should be “interpreted with caution.”

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Poll Finds Majority of Voters Want Congress to Investigate Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s questionable work leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic and his equally questionable actions in managing the pandemic have raised a lot of eyebrows. Now, a majority of voters believe congress should investigate the former longtime medical adviser to the White House and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to a new poll by Convention of States Action.

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U.S. Manufacturing Declined in December at Fastest Rate Since Pandemic Began

The S&P Global U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell at the fastest rate since May 2020 in December, a continuing sign that the manufacturing sector is on the decline, S&P Global reported Tuesday.

The U.S. Manufacturing PMI posted a 46.2 in December, down from 47.7 in November and solidly below 50, which signals that the sector is contracting, according to S&P Global. Production levels contracted in back-to-back months, with new sales plummeting at the end of December at the fastest pace since 2007, as companies cited weakening demand amid “economic uncertainty” and inflation weighing on customers.

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Record High Employee Turnover Since Pandemic Has Hurt Business Productivity

Employee turnover has surged since the pandemic, and the need to replace and train new employees at high volume has hampered productivity for businesses, according to The New York Times.

More than 4.5 million workers voluntarily left their jobs in November 2021, the highest since the government began tracking this data 20 years earlier, and the turnover rate remains significantly higher than it was before the pandemic, according to the NYT. Businesses are struggling with the costs of high turnover; new employees take time to become productive, and existing employees lose productivity because of the time they spend training others.

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Twitter Censored Accurate COVID Information that Conflicted with Federal Sentiments, New Files Show

Twitter altered the COVID conversation by censoring information that was true but not in line with U.S. government policy, discrediting public health experts who disagreed and suppressing contrarian users, the latest installment of the “Twitter Files” showed Monday.

“[B]oth the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes,” reporter David Zweig said in the 10th Twitter Files release. 

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Commentary: The Top 10 U.S. Senate Races to Watch

Americans will soon get to cast their first votes since the science–denying COVID mask and vaccine mandates, the second wave of COVID-related blowout spending and subsequent inflation, and the COVID-related school closures that allowed parents to see what the public schools are really teaching their boys and girls – including that they can choose whether they are boys or girls. With all of these matters implicitly on the ballot, how are things shaping up going into Election Day?

Starting with the House of Representatives, six months ago Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report projected “a GOP gain in the 15-25 seat range.” At the time, I responded, “While things could change over the next six months (although the cake is probably largely baked), a GOP gain of 30 to 40 House seats appears more likely at this stage of the contest than Walter’s projected GOP gain of 15 to 25 seats.”

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CDC: Alcohol-Related Deaths Spiked During Pandemic

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published new data revealing the full extent of alcohol-related deaths during the roughly two-year lockdown period of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

As reported by CNN, the rate of alcohol-related deaths in the United States spiked by 26 percent between 2019 and 2020, with this one-year percentage increase being higher than the cumulative increase over the entirety of the previous decade. As a result, alcohol was the cause of death for over 49,000 Americans in 2020, which amounts to 13 out of every 100,000 people on average, up from 2019’s total of 10.4 people out of every 100,000.

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Commentary: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State

“History doesn’t repeat itself,” said Mark Twain, “but it often rhymes.” This is among the reasons we look to the past, straining as best we can through the deepening fog of time to discern lessons for our own day. Analogies to the events that came before are always imperfect, but nevertheless often useful for understanding our present moment. Thus, only a historical myopia can explain why it’s become so common to describe the events involving the covid pandemic as “unprecedented,” even though pandemics have tended to occur every hundred years or so. This nearsightedness is also perilous given, for instance, the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset Initiative” and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s recent pledge to spend $200 million on developing international biometric-based digital identifications. 

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Biden Says COVID Pandemic Is ‘Over’ in the United States

President Joe Biden said the COVID-19 pandemic is “over” in the United States.

“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s– But the pandemic is over,” Biden said during a pre-recorded CBS “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday.

“As you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape, and so I think it’s changing,” he said.

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Pentagon Watchdog Flags Potentially Illegal Blanket Denials of COVID Vax Religious Exemptions

The Defense Department’s inspector general has alerted the secretary of defense to apparent blanket denials of religious accommodation requests (RAR) for exemptions from the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which would be a violation of federal law.

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Head Start School Programs Require COVID Masks for Children, Contrary to CDC Guidance

Head Start, the federal program providing preschool and child care for low-income families, will require COVID-19 masks for children 2 and older this school year, which is inconsistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

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Survey: Majority of Young Adults Who Moved Back in with Parents During Pandemic Still Live There

The majority of young adults who moved back home with their parents at the outset of the pandemic still live there, according to a new survey, a sign that the economic fallout surrounding pandemic policies in the U.S. continues to squeeze more and more Americans.

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In Pennsylvania, University Mandates Proof of COVID-19 Vaccine for Students but Not Staff

Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania released its Fall 2022 COVID-19 vaccination protocol, stating that returning students must be fully vaccinated prior to arriving on campus.

“Students are required to be fully vaccinated prior to arriving to campus, unless approved with an exemption,” the Susquehanna University Plan for Fall 2022 reads.

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Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Blames Abysmal U.S. Student National Test Scores on Trump

The Biden education department announced Thursday that U.S. students’ plummeting scores in reading and math during the COVID-19 pandemic is all due to former President Donald Trump.

“Today’s data confirm the significant impact the prior Administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic has had on our children’s progress and academic wellbeing,” said Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Thursday, following the report that U.S. students showed their steepest decline in decades in math and reading scores during the COVID school shutdowns.

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New York Gov. Hochul Calls Remote Learning During Pandemic ‘A Mistake’

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday called it “a mistake” the state switched to remote learning in schools at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago.

Hochul, a Democrat running to serve a full term in November, made her remarks during a wide-ranging speech at the University of Albany commemorating Women’s Equality Day. That included her calling on the Department of Labor to study the impact the coronavirus had on women in the workforce.

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Oversight Republicans Investigate Why DOE Hasn’t Spent COVID Relief Funds, Role of Teachers Unions

Oversight Republicans have launched an investigation into how the U.S. Department of Education has handled billions of COVID-19 relief dollars, raising the alarm about the major learning loss experienced by students.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona demanding documents and answers as to why most of the money has reportedly remained unspent.

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30 Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic, at Least a Dozen States Are Under ‘Emergency’ Orders

In October 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court stripped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of the unilateral powers she was using when she declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer had been using a 1945 law – which was prompted by a three-day race riot in Detroit three years earlier – that had no sunset provision in it and didn’t require approval by the state legislature.

In May 2021, Whitmer told a news agency that if she still had that 1945 state-of-emergency law, she would use those powers, but not for anything related to a pandemic.

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Judge Chastises DoD, Marine Corps in Order Granting Class Action Status in Vaccine Mandate Case

U.S District Court Judge Steven Merryday issued a blistering rebuke of the Department of Defense and Marine Corps for refusing to grant religious accommodation requests to service members.

Merryday did so when issuing a 48-page ruling Thursday in which he granted class action status for all active and reserve U.S. Marine Corps service men and women in a lawsuit filed against the Secretary of Defense over the department’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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Coast Guard to Discharge COVID Vaccine Mandate Objectors Without Separation Hearings

While federal courts have ordered the Navy and Air Force not to take any adverse actions against military members seeking religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Coast Guard is seeking to discharge service members refusing the vaccine without allowing them to appear before administrative separation boards to defend their cases.

Federal courts in Texas and Ohio have granted injunctions against the Navy and Air Force vaccine mandates, respectively, for members seeking religious exemptions. Those injunctions, however, do not apply to any other military branches, including the Coast Guard.

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Federal Funding Kept Pittsburgh Transit Running During Pandemic

Pittsburgh Regional Transit agency’s annual increase in federal money in 2020 was nearly 75%, following similar trends in transit agencies across the country.

This financial support by the federal government was an important part of maintaining service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when ridership dropped significantly, according to the transit agency. 

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School Choice Gaining Favor over Teachers’ Unions and Socialist Bureaucrats

“School choice is good for everybody but unions, socialist bureaucrats and the tired education establishment,” libertarian John Stossel wrote Wednesday at the New York Post.

The author and journalist observed the “silver lining” of the COVID pandemic is that parents discovered alternatives to public schools and, as the statistics are telling us, they continue to act on that discovery by removing their children from them – in droves.

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Researchers Claim Students Will Need Three Years to Fully Recover from Pandemic

Researchers from a nonprofit group released a report claiming that elementary school students will need at least three years to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and return to their pre-pandemic learning skills.

As reported by the New York Post, the report was released on Tuesday by the nonprofit group Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), which focuses on educational standards in K-12 grades.

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Pennsylvania IFO Study: Labor Force Down by 120,000 Since Year Before COVID

A report released this week by Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) indicates that 120,000 fewer residents are working or actively seeking work than in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The study showed the state’s labor force participate rate (LFPR) for those aged 16 and older to be 63 percent in May 2019 and to have declined to 61.9 percent one year later. That percentage has continued gradually decreasing — to 61.8 percent in May 2021 and to 61.7 percent two months ago.

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