Friday, June 02, 2023

Senate Kills Biden's $400 Billion Student Loan Handout

By Sarah Arnold | Townhall.com

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

The Senate voted to kill President Joe Biden's proposal to forgive $400 billion in student loan debt in a 52-46 vote. 

On Thursday, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), along with all 49 Republicans, voted against the loan bailout, overturning Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers making under $125,000 a year. 

Last week, the House passed the legislation by a vote of 218-203 – despite Republicans criticizing the proposal. 

"It's something of a slap in the face to Americans who chose more affordable college options or worked their way through school to avoid taking on student loans, or whose parents scrimped and saved to put them through college," Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said just before the Senate vote. 

He called it unfair for hard-working Americans to bear the burden of paying off loans a second time or paying for a degree they didn't even receive. 

On the contrary, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) blasted Republicans who voted to slash Biden's billion-dollar plan, claiming the GOP will do anything in their power to prevent Americans from living a life without crushing debt. 

"I've heard from so many people across my state who were so grateful and relieved to have a glimmer of hope finally, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and now, Republicans want to snuff it out," Murray said. "Millions of Americans find themselves unfairly bogged down with massive debt so often through no fault of their own." 

Passed by both chambers of Congress, the legislation was drafted under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to reject executive branch policy if both the House and Senate pass a resolution disapproving of that policy. 

Now that both chambers have passed the resolution, Biden is expected to veto it. However, it is unlikely that Congress will be able to secure the two-thirds majority needed to override Biden's imminent veto. 

Thursday, June 01, 2023

WATCH: Joe Biden Takes Massive Fall at Air Force Commencement, Concerns Over Health Rage

By Bonchie | RedState.Com

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

As RedState reported, Joe Biden appeared at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Thursday to deliver this year’s commencement speech. As we’ve all come to expect from any public appearance by the president, things did not go well.

Biden got confused at multiple points, not knowing which way to go or where to sit. At another point, he claimed that he once applied to the academy himself. No record exists of any such application, though he has previously claimed that he received an appointment. That also has never been substantiated.

The president wasn’t done making news, though. Later in the ceremony, he got up to walk off the stage and took a massive fall, leaving Secret Service members scrambling to help him. Consider this a fair warning that the video is painful to watch.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

The White House responded by asserting that Biden tripped over a sandbag on stage, adding that he is uninjured. Members of the press were quick to pick up that line, asking no further questions nor speculating on how he managed to not see said sandbag. Certainly, they didn’t respond as they did when Donald Trump dared to walk down a wet ramp slowly during a military commencement at West Point.

Others wondered about Biden’s overall health, with Fox News immediately bringing it up on air. This is not his first fall since taking office. He has ended up on the ground multiple times throughout his presidency, including infamously falling going up the airstairs onto Air Force One. He also fell off a bike in front of reporters.

The chief question remains: How can this man make it through a real presidential campaign in his condition? It would not surprise me to see other Democrats start entertaining hopping in the race at this point.

House Passes Debt Deal to Avoid Default

By Spencer Brown | Townhall.com

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

With barely five days remaining until the projected "X-date" on which the United States is set to default on its debt, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) brought the Fiscal Responsibility Act — legislation resulting from a negotiated spending deal made with President Joe Biden — to the floor for consideration.

The result: successful passage of the 99-page bill in a vote that came down 314-117

Falling along anything but party lines, the legislation to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default was supported by 165 House Democrats and 149 House Republicans while 71 members of the GOP Conference voted no along with 46 Democrats.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) heralded the successful vote on the Fiscal Responsibility Act, calling it "the most conservative spending package during my time in Congress" and "the largest deficit-reduction bill in at least a decade," one that "will fundamentally change the spending trajectory in Washington."

McHenry added:

For the first time in a debt-limit negotiation, the U.S. government will spend less money than it did the year before. We achieved historic spending cuts that will help bring down inflation, consequential reforms to help Americans get out of poverty and back into the workforce, claw backs of billions of dollars of COVID money, and transformational permitting reforms that cut red tape for energy and infrastructure projects. This bill will block the Administration from imposing new taxes during a time of economic uncertainty and rein in Biden’s executive overreach through a statutory administrative pay-go rule. This agreement will also change the way Washington operates by compelling a workable appropriations process.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), one of the most vocal opponents of the deal, said he voted against the legislation "because our current financial situation is unsustainable, and this bill only ramps up the timeline to our government’s eventual default."

Buck explained his reservations:

Back in 2022, the American people gave Republicans the majority in the U.S House of Representatives because they wanted us to rein in the Democrats’ out-of-control spending. Yet Speaker McCarthy chose to negotiate a deal that codifies the post-COVID 2022 discretionary spending baseline, adds $4 trillion to the debt in less than two years, upholds Biden’s student loan bailout, funds 85,000 new IRS agents, and ensures Democrats don’t have to deal with the political fallout of raising the debt ceiling prior to the 2024 election. I can't imagine a better deal for Democrats or a worse deal for our nation.

The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate for a vote and, presuming its passage in the upper chamber, President Joe Biden's desk for signature in time to prevent a default on the nation's ever-increasing debt.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Beware of False Media Narratives About Black History

As part of my quest to promote factual black history that is integral to American history, I wish to call attention to how some legacy media is misinforming the public about books being banned in Florida.

Contrary to assertions in some disingenuous media outlets, the poem "The Hill We Climb" by Amanda Gorman, a young black woman, was not banned at all. Even CNN reported the story correctly. See the article "Amanda Gorman is ‘gutted’ by school district’s decision to restrict her poem after a parent complained it contained ‘hate messages.’" 

Here are key passages extracted from the CNN article. "Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Elmo Lugo said: 'No literature (books or poem) has been banned or removed. It was determined at the school that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is better suited for middle school students and, it was shelved in the middle school section of the media center. The book remains available in the media center.'"

Snopes, which has been called out frequently for politically biased "fact-checks," rated the "Florida’s Anti-Woke banned book list" as satire. Snopes should have labeled it false. Note that American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten admitted to sharing a false tweet claiming that certain books were banned in Florida.

In reality, no books were banned in Florida and the issue has nothing to do with the state. For instance, a Florida school district's material review committee, comprised of staff members at the school, reviewed four books. They ultimately concluded one of those books "Countries of News: Cuba" was "balanced and age-appropriate" and would therefore remain on the library shelves. The other three, however, were deemed "more appropriate" for middle school-aged children, and are now in the middle school's library.

Interestingly, Florida has not banned "To Kill a Mockingbird." In fact, Florida RECOMMENDS the book in 8th grade. However, the book was banned by a progressive district in California in 2020. Also, in 2020, the liberal-leaning City of Burbank, California banned five well-known titles: “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, “The Cay” by Theodore Taylor, “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor, and “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. 

Clearly, there is a double standard when the legacy media reports about progressive states versus conservative states.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Trump Vs. DeSantis

By Kevin McCullough | Townhall.com

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Depending on who you are, this match up delights you or it brings dread, fear, and panic.

DeSantis fans are eager to convince you that the Florida Governor is Trump in policy, but kinder in personality.

Trump fans quickly point out that in just recent days DeSantis has flipped positions on a handful of items that appear to be motivated by some of his donors.

DeSantis fans will argue that President Trump allowed Fauci to stay at his job. Trump followers will remind you that DeSantis would not have his current job without the President’s endorsement.

DeSantis people will argue that he leads Biden head to head in a handful of polls. Trump supporters will point out that their man does too, and has a 40-50% lead over DeSantis amongst primary voters.

DeSantis raised $8.2 million in his first 24 hours compared to Biden’s $6.3. Trump supporters will remind you that he did $25 million.

DeSantis can claim the miraculous flipping of two heavily Democratic counties in Florida. Trump can properly argue the largest increase in support for any incumbent in the modern era. 

Both are promising to battle the woke crazies that have taken over the United States Government these last 3 years.

Now let’s cut through the malarkey just a bit. 

Trump is fighting like a heavyweight champion robbed of his dignity, rightful sense of accomplishment and a job unfinished.

DeSantis is the kid who can’t wait to get in the ring.

Both have talent, both have a rough sense of the opponent. But one has a mission. He was robbed of completing it and he’s not playing for second. 

Both of these men have accomplished more in their terms in office than either were given the benefit of the doubt when they were running.

Both have had to fight incredibly unfair media coverage and persevere forward. Both served their people well and deserved to be re-elected.

My question boils down to motivation. Trump’s motives are clear: undo Biden’s damage and finish the job he started. DeSantis’ are trickier because if we believed his campaign speeches he should be focused on Florida.

Trump never needed (or probably honestly never wanted) to be President. He ran originally because he felt that the nation was in so much trouble that if you did not disrupt everything that the left had done we’d never get America back. He already had a better plane, a nicer bed, and more amenities than anything the White House had to offer.  Unlike Joe Biden who became wealthy beyond belief while in office. Trump lost personal wealth every year he was President. He also refused to take a dime of salary from the nation—donating his paycheck back to divisions of the nation that needed it.

DeSantis’ timing isn’t driven by a calling of sacrifice but more of a timetable, and shadow advisors whose agenda is for a Republican win—without Trump. If he waits until 2028 his Florida term will be up and he runs the risk of being irrelevant. Or so the theory goes. I’m not at all convinced that’s true by the way. DeSantis will be 48 years old in 2028 and he’d have an even better narrative under his belt on the comeback of Florida than he has now.

I think honest America First voters would like to see the ticket be Trump/DeSantis 2024. It appears the likelihood of that happening now grows very thin.

You will remember that Ted Cruz beat Trump in Iowa in 2016. Trump beat Cruz narrowly in New Hampshire, and Trump squeaked by him again in South Carolina. Even though it would take Trump until May and Indiana to finally eliminate Cruz— he did. 

Interestingly, Cruz had built the most impressive and most agile campaign operation of any candidate I’d ever witnessed, and it didn’t matter.

DeSantis doesn’t have half of what Cruz built, and I predict Trump will not lose even one of those first three contests. And historically speaking, whoever wins South Carolina, wins the primary. Also in addition to Trump’s overwhelming popularity in South Carolina, how does DeSantis break through the noise in that state with their most popular former Governor and their beloved Senator also running?

DeSantis has an incredible future. He has been sold some bad advice by people who likely don’t really care about his outcome.

Trump’s support is unmovable. The rest of the field including DeSantis doesn’t add up to its equal. So Trump will be the nominee.

I think it’s also worth noting that DeSantis has been cautious to attack Trump, and to his credit Trump’s attacks on DeSantis have been softballs compared to the canon blasts he leveled at the 2016 field. 

President Trump also has a really magnanimous way of making peace with former rivals. The 2016 field being a great example.

The fisticuffs are likely to land some tough blows in the near future, but these guys are just prepping for the corrupt process of the general election and the nastiness that the legacy media will unleash on them. 

Make no mistake that when the smoke clears Trump will be the nominee.

As should any incumbent President who broke the record and had eleven million more people vote for him than did the first time. 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

One of the Earliest Memorial Day Ceremonies Was Held by Freed African Americans

BY DAVE ROOS | THE HISTORY CHANNEL

AT THE CLOSE OF THE CIVIL WAR, PEOPLE RECENTLY FREED FROM SLAVERY IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA HONORED FALLEN UNION SOLDIERS  -  BUYENLARGE/GETTY IMAGES

Memorial Day was born out of necessity. After the American Civil War, a battered United States was faced with the task of burying and honoring the 600,000 to 800,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the single bloodiest military conflict in American history. The first national commemoration of Memorial Day was held in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, where both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried.


Several towns and cities across America claim to have observed their own earlier versions of Memorial Day or “Decoration Day” as early as 1866. (The earlier name is derived from the fact that decorating graves was and remains a central activity of Memorial Day.)


But it wasn’t until a remarkable discovery in a dusty Harvard University archive the late 1990s that historians learned about a Memorial Day commemoration organized by a group of Black people freed from enslavement less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865.


The First 'Decoration Day'


Back in 1996, David Blight, a professor of American History at Yale University, was researching a book on the Civil War when he had one of those once-in-a-career eureka moments. A curator at Harvard’s Houghton Library asked if he wanted to look through two boxes of unsorted material from Union veterans.


“There was a file labeled ‘First Decoration Day,’” remembers Blight, still amazed at his good fortune. “And inside on a piece of cardboard was a narrative handwritten by an old veteran, plus a date referencing an article in The New York Tribune. That narrative told the essence of the story that I ended up telling in my book, of this march on the race track in 1865.”


The race track in question was the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club in Charleston, South Carolina. In the late stages of the Civil War, the Confederate army transformed the formerly posh country club into a makeshift prison for Union captives. More than 260 Union soldiers died from disease and exposure while being held in the race track’s open-air infield. Their bodies were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstands.



THE CLUBHOUSE AT THE CHARLESTON RACETRACK WHERE THE 1865 MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS TOOK PLACE.  -  LIBRARY OF CONGRESS


When Charleston fell and Confederate troops evacuated the badly damaged city, those freed from enslavement remained. One of the first things those emancipated men and women did was to give the fallen Union prisoners a proper burial. They exhumed the mass grave and reinterred the bodies in a new cemetery with a tall whitewashed fence inscribed with the words: “Martyrs of the Race Course.”


And then on May 1, 1865, something even more extraordinary happened. According to two reports that Blight found in The New York Tribune and The Charleston Courier, a crowd of 10,000 people, mostly freed slaves with some white missionaries, staged a parade around the race track. Three thousand Black schoolchildren carried bouquets of flowers and sang “John Brown’s Body.”


Members of the famed 54th Massachusetts and other Black Union regiments were in attendance and performed double-time marches. Black ministers recited verses from the Bible.


If the news reports are accurate, the 1865 gathering at the Charleston race track would be the earliest Memorial Day commemoration on record. Blight excitedly called the Avery Institute of Afro-American History and Culture at the College of Charleston, looking for more information on the historic event.



THE BATTLE OF FORT WAGNER ON MORRIS ISLAND WAS THE UNION ATTACK ON JULY 18, 1863, LED BY THE 54TH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY. THE INFANTRY WAS ONE OF THE FIRST MAJOR AMERICAN MILITARY UNITS MADE UP OF BLACK SOLDIERS. -  BUYENLARGE/GETTY IMAGES


“‘I’ve never heard of it,’ they told me,” says Blight. “‘This never happened.’”


But it was clear from the newspaper reports that a Memorial Day observance was organized by freed slaves in Charleston at least a year before other U.S. cities and three years before the first national observance. How had been lost to history for over a century?


“This was a story that had really been suppressed both in the local memory and certainly the national memory,” says Blight. “But nobody who had witnessed it could ever have forgotten it.”


Blight kept digging for more information, but the only other mention he found of the race track event was in a 1916 correspondence sent from a women’s Civil War historical society in New Orleans to its sister chapter in Charleston, asking about a big parade of freed slaves on a horse track at the end of the war.


“I regret that I was unable to gather any official information in answer to this,” wrote the Charleston society’s president.


“That’s such a telling statement,” says Blight. “The woman who wrote that letter may not have known about it, but the fact that she didn’t tells the story.”


A Forgotten Ceremony



A SKETCH OF THE UNION SOLDIERS CEMETERY, READING THE "MARTYRS OF THE RACE COURSE," IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. -  LIBRARY OF CONGRESS


Once the war was over and Charleston was rebuilt in the 1880s, the city’s white residents likely had little interest in remembering an event held by former enslaved people to celebrate the Union dead. “That didn’t fit their version of what the war was all about,” says Blight.


In time, the old horse track and country club were torn down, and thanks to a gift from a wealthy Northern patron, the Union soldiers' graves were moved from the humble white-fenced graveyard in Charleston to the Beaufort National Cemetery. By the time Blight was rummaging through the Harvard archives in 1996, the story of the first Memorial Day had been entirely forgotten.


Or perhaps not entirely.


After his book Race and Reunion was published in 2001, Blight gave a talk about Memorial Day at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and after it was finished, an older Black woman approached him.


“You mean that story is true?” the woman asked Blight. “I grew up in Charleston, and my granddaddy used to tell us this story of a parade at the old race track, and we never knew whether to believe him or not. You mean that’s true?”


For Blight, it’s less important whether the 1865 commemoration of the “Martyrs of the Race Course” is officially recognized as the first Memorial Day.


“It’s the fact that this occurred in Charleston at a cemetery site for the Union dead in a city where the Civil war had begun,” says Blight, “and that it was organized and done by African American former slaves is what gives it such poignancy.”

 

____________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dave Roos is a freelance writer based in the United States and Mexico. A longtime contributor to HowStuffWorks, Dave has also been published in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek.