Exclusive — Mitch McConnell Blocked from Moving Media Cartel Bill JCPA via Hotline

Exclusive — Mitch McConnell Blocked from Moving Media Cartel Bill JCPA via Hotline

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell tried to move through the U.S. Senate a highly controversial plan called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) using a procedure called a “hotline,” Breitbart News has learned.

Before the close of business on Thursday, at least two GOP senators–including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)–objected to the effort and put a hold on the push. To stop a bill from being passed unanimously through the Senate via the “hotline” track, only one senator needs to object. Sources told Breitbart News that more Republican senators are racing to express opposition to the proposal, and they expect more holds to be placed in the coming hours and days ahead.

Jamming through such a controversial piece of legislation with this procedure in a lame duck session of Congress before the new Congress the American people elected in November’s midterm elections takes office on Jan. 3, 2023, would be a massive escalation in an already chaotic process for the JCPA the past two years.

The JCPA would carve out for establishment media outlets an antitrust exemption allowing them to form cartels to collectively bargain with Big Tech companies. Proponents of the plan argue it would even the scales and force the hand of Big Tech by making the tech giants pay media outlets for their content, but critics worry it could make many of the problems facing both industries much worse because of serious structural flaws in the bill.

Earlier this year, when the Senate Judiciary Committee moved to advance the bill, three different committee hearings were upended when an amendment offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) undercut the coalition of GOP and Democrat senators who came together to draft the initial plan. However, Cruz eventually relented and betrayed conservatives by giving the proponents of the JCPA what they wanted and allowing the bill to advance.

The lead sponsors on the bill are Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on the Democrat side and Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) on the GOP side. Kennedy’s support for this, and for moving on it during a lame duck session, which makes it even more controversial, could seriously hurt any chances he has at the governor’s mansion in Louisiana in the 2023, as Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has issued a clarion call to Americans to voice opposition to this legislation to their lawmakers. Landry is already running for governor and Kennedy may announce a campaign in the coming weeks or months ahead. If Kennedy runs, he would face Landry and whoever else runs in a jungle primary in November of next year.

Industry lobbyists pushing the JCPA ramped up their efforts last week and this week as this Congress enters its final month, and their hopes of getting this sweeping change to federal policy with regard to media and tech through Congress this year dwindle. The last ditch desperation push from industry insiders is putting heat on members of Congress, trying to get them to back the plan–or at least soften opposition–so they can get their handout through this year.

The pathways proponents might be able to get this structurally flawed legislation through Congress are limited in the final weeks before the new Congress takes over. They include trying to attach it to must-pass legislation like an omnibus spending bill or the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)–both of these paths seem less likely though still possible now that several GOP senators have formally expressed opposition to the plan during the hotline process–but also the senate could try to take up and pass the bill on its own as well.

Passing it via a standalone process would be complicated as well as a nasty and convoluted battle, and it would cost the Senate serious time in the final weeks of this year. The decision on whether to embark on such a monumental undertaking rests with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is balancing interests of several other Democrats in the remaining weeks that Democrats have a House majority.

House Democrats are expected to begin consideration of the proposal in the House Judiciary Committee next Wednesday, with outgoing chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) taking up the plan for a mark up in committee next week.

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Exclusive — Louisiana AG Jeff Landry on Media Cartel Bill JCPA: Americans Can ‘Beat by Calling Their U.S. Senators,’ Saying ‘Do Not Vote for This’

Exclusive — Louisiana AG Jeff Landry on Media Cartel Bill JCPA: Americans Can ‘Beat by Calling Their U.S. Senators,’ Saying ‘Do Not Vote for This’

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a call to arms in an exclusive Breitbart News interview for Americans throughout Louisiana and across the country to begin burning down the phone lines and demanding their U.S. Senators oppose the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA).

“They beat it by calling their U.S. Senator, irrespective of whether they’re a Democrat or Republican, and saying ‘do not vote for this bill,’ but especially if they’re a Republican because if all the Republicans stuck together they couldn’t beat a filibuster,” Landry said. “They need 60 votes. Let me just add this one thing, think about this: This is a bill, this is Schumer’s bill right? Let me ask you a question: What party rails against big corporations, against monopolies? Who is the party who is allegedly for the little guy? Why in the world are the Democrats for this? If a Democrat is for this bill, a Republican should automatically say ‘no way I ain’t getting on that’ because it’s not good for anybody.”

The JCPA, a highly controversial proposal spearheaded by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, would hand media organizations a government-provided antitrust exemption to allow them to collectively bargain with Big Tech companies. While proponents argue that the cartels of media outlets the bill would create might stifle Big Tech’s power, critics worry that the bill would exacerbate the problem by empowering establishment media at the expense of more independent and especially conservative voices.

“It’s not surprising. The U.S. Congress won’t do anything with the drug cartels,” Landry told Breitbart News. “Why don’t they just give a couple other people cartels like Big Tech? Everything we’ve been fighting over in this last decade now in watching the rise of Big Tech and seeing the destruction and the manipulation those platforms can inflict on the American people, of course Congress—which is supposed to be our guardians—is going to just let them in and give them more power? This is absolutely a train wreck. No Republican should be on record in supporting this. None. It doesn’t matter who they are. There should not be one Republican U.S. Senator supporting this. In fact, I would argue there should be no U.S. Senator period both on the Republican or the Democrat side. I mean, because, think about where we were—it shows me where we are after a hundred years ago with the rise of the trusts and we had to go through a whole litany of federal laws to break up the monopolies and the trusts back then. Now, here we are and what we’re going to do is create some media cartel? While, think about this, at the same time the U.S. Senate is thinking about giving the media—certain people, certain sections of the media—antitrust exemptions, there are two attorneys general including one who’s getting ready to go into the U.S. Senate who are right now in court showing how the government colluded with social media. Now think about what the government can do when they combine themselves with a media cartel?”

The only way this bill passes Congress in the next few weeks during a last-ditch push by well-funded lobbyists is if Republicans in the U.S. Senate cave again to Democrats. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to, through Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), mark up the bill next week. From there, it is likely to be considered by the full House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, has already passed the bill out of the Judiciary Committee after a protracted and nasty standoff produced a compromise earlier this fall. A great betrayal of conservatives by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) paved the way for the panel to clear the proposal, as an amendment by Cruz adopted in the committee after a weeks-long showdown helped the bill move forward. Cruz had originally been opposed to the plan but caved and helped Democrats advance the controversial proposal in committee shortly thereafter. But Cruz’s shocking turn against conservatives is hardly the only surprise move Republicans have made to help the Democrat agenda on this proposal over the past two years.

Landry, who is running for governor of Louisiana in the 2023 election, speaking out so aggressively is significant because in addition to Klobuchar being the lead Democrat sponsor of the bill in the U.S. Senate, the lead GOP sponsor is Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican whose colorful personality often lands him Fox News airtime, has been for the last two years working with Klobuchar to champion this bill that would in effect create more censorship of conservatives and deepen the establishment media’s already deep ties with Big Tech. Kennedy is reportedly considering his own run for governor of Louisiana—if he runs he would face Landry and anyone else who runs in the November 2023 jungle primary—but pushing this bill in the lame-duck session of Congress could severely harm Kennedy’s political prospects and undercut any hope he has of winning the governor’s mansion in Louisiana.

What’s particularly wild and unorthodox about this current push by industry insiders to salvage this proposal — which would completely upend the media and tech industries — is that they are doing it right after the 2022 midterm elections and before the new Congress takes office in what is called the lame duck session of Congress, where the old, just-ousted members serve for a few more weeks before leaving on Jan. 3, 2023. Proponents of the JCPA have two years to move the proposal and have repeatedly failed, but now in a last-ditch, desperate push, they are trying to jam through the large-scale plan during the lame-duck session. There are several pathways through which they could do it, such as by attaching it to a must-pass bill like the government funding vehicle that will be coming down the pipeline later in September or to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — even though this has nothing to do with defense policy. Or Democrats and their GOP enablers like Cruz and Kennedy could try to pass it on its own out of both the House and Senate. To achieve congressional passage through any of these pathways, though, Democrats would need at least 10 Senate Republicans to vote for the plan—either via a must-pass bill that it is attached to or as a standalone bill—to get past a Senate filibuster.

Landry is warning Republicans in the U.S. Senate to not give in and let the Democrats have this win. Since they had two years to get it done and failed, he argued Republicans should not enable a broken process by advancing this plan during the lame-duck session of Congress.

“Listen, that’s what they do in Congress. I just literally two weeks ago won a case at the Fifth Circuit—two cases—where in the dark of night in the COVID relief package two years ago or three years ago they tucked in a complete takeover of the horse racing industry by the federal government, which we just litigated, with no committee hearings, no debate,” Landry said. “That’s what they do at the end: They stick all these things in these big omnibus bills and short-circuit the normal process. You know why? It’s a telltale sign that it is bad for America and bad for the American citizens. Anytime they do that it’s ‘yup, that’s an automatic bad piece of legislation.’”

Kennedy’s catchy soundbites aside, his decision to side with Democrats here could hurt him big time back home if he decides to run for governor. With Landry’s very public opposition to this controversial proposal, if Kennedy does not back down immediately and withdraw support of the JCPA—and block Democrats’ efforts to jam it through in the lame duck before the incoming House GOP majority elected in the 2022 midterms takes office—this issue would very clearly become a major one in the 2023 governor race in Louisiana should Kennedy decide to run. What’s more, if Kennedy champions the flawed proposal through and it makes it into law, the American public will see by November 2023 just how problematic the JCPA is because by then, its structural issues would become apparent—and Kennedy will have been responsible for decimating conservative media if that’s how it plays out. In other words, while Kennedy may be able to hide behind talking points and platitudes for now, he will not be able to continue to do so if this comes to pass—and he has an off-ramp, blocking his own bill and muddling the process between now and the end of the year so that the new House GOP majority can fix it next year.

Landry, on the other hand, implicitly understands the stakes here and said this legislation would absolutely lead to more censorship of conservatives and represent the “end of the freedom of the press” in America.

“Let me tell you what that is: That bill is the end of the freedom of the press. The problem we got today, I hate to say this, is that Rush Limbaugh is dead,” Landry said. “If Limbaugh was alive, he would be destroying this bill from his microphone. This is exactly the kind of issue that folks like him—and thank God for y’all, okay?—that he would be exposing. Think about it in the context of the freedom of the press. What this bill basically does is it basically says there really is no freedom of the press anymore, it’s just freedom of a group of people who call themselves the press. It’s freedom of the press cartel, right? Who else would have access? Because, again, the virtual marketplace is controlled by the tech giants. Now they’re going to be embedded with the media giants? Really? What’s left for the average citizen to have an honest discussion about what’s going on in the country? That’s what we’re litigating in Louisiana in the censorship. Once you weld government to the monopoly of the media, there is no more freedom because there’s no exchange of ideas.”

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Exclusive — Ted Cruz Caves to Democrat Amy Klobuchar on Media Cartel Bill

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has caved to the Democrats on legislation that would allow media organizations to create formal cartels to negotiate with Big Tech companies, several congressional aides and others familiar with the process told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

If Cruz goes forward with his plans to back—and allow the senate to advance—the legislation, then he will immediately become one of the biggest enablers of the establishment media and Big Tech giants and he could seriously jeopardize his political future.

Cruz, who had previously jammed up a committee markup on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) a few weeks ago, has now decided to give Klobuchar what she wanted and allow the Democrat proposal to proceed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee to eventually be considered by the full U.S. Senate.

Several aides on both sides of the JCPA fight familiar with the matter told Breitbart News on Wednesday that Cruz caved to Klobuchar and has agreed to changes to language he offered in an amendment to allow the bill to advance. When questioned repeatedly about it on Wednesday, Cruz’s office did not deny these aides’ characterization.

Cruz himself has not replied to inquiries from Breitbart News sent over text directly to the senator. Several Cruz staffers have refused to answer whether he cut a deal with Klobuchar, and they have refused to make the senator available for an interview to explain himself.

A Cruz spokesperson would only provide, when asked detailed and serious questions about the possibility of a deal and what form the deal would take, a generic statement claiming that Cruz opposes censorship of conservatives–something that would be inherently untrue if he votes for or simply even just enables Senate consideration of this legislation.

“Sen. Cruz is a fierce defender of the First Amendment and free speech and he will always fight to prevent Americans from being censored or silenced,” the Cruz spokesperson told Breitbart News.

Despite Cruz’s office’s refusal to answer specific questions about this, the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering the JCPA again—for the third week in a row—on Thursday. Late Wednesday, the committee circulated a clarifying amendment that does exactly what the various committee aides told Breitbart News that Cruz had caved to Klobuchar on: Alters the original Cruz amendment text, and removes things that Klobuchar said she could not support.

The office of Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who had previously undercut the broader bill to back Cruz’s amendment three weeks ago in committee, confirmed that Cruz caved to Klobuchar on record to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Proponents of the JCPA—like Kennedy, and now Cruz—have falsely claimed it would help conservatives fight back against Big Tech. The legislation does no such thing as, among the serious structural problems, it has included no favored nations clause contained in it, which means that a group of media companies could get together on their own and negotiate a sweetheart deal with a big tech company but that deal would not apply to every media company.

Kennedy’s office said in a statement to that publication:

We have reached an agreement that clarifies what the bill was designed to do: give local news outlets a real seat at the negotiating table and bar the tech firms from throttling, filtering, suppressing or curating content. The only reason I can see for parties to oppose this bill is that they have a problem either with healthy market competition or free speech.

The original Cruz amendment a few weeks ago complicated efforts by bill proponents to get the proposal out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The reason for that was, while Kennedy backed it—as did other GOP cosponsors of the JCPA—Democrats like Klobuchar were opposed to it. By happenstance, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) was stranded in India infected with the coronavirus and had not designated a proxy vote for himself, so the Cruz amendment was adopted into the bill and GOP cosponsors like Kennedy and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC,) as well as supporter Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), had not been willing to vote for the bill without Cruz’s amendment. As such, a visibly angry Klobuchar withdrew her own bill—and she tried again last week to no avail. Now, thanks to Cruz’s cave, she is likely to succeed in committee when she tries again on Thursday morning.

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Congress Passes $700 Billion ‘Inflation Reduction’ Act

Congress Passes $700 Billion ‘Inflation Reduction’ Act

The House on Friday passed the $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which, unlike its moniker, would not reduce inflation, and instead spends hundreds of billions of dollars on climate change and Obamacare programs.

The House passed the legislation along partisan lines, 220-207. The vote featured no Democrats voting against the bill and no Republicans voting for the bill.

This includes Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), a swing district Democrat who voted against the American Rescue Plan and the Build Back Better Act.

Breitbart News reported on Thursday that House Republican leadership would whip Republicans against the legislation to ensure that zero Republicans vote for the bill. Since the legislation uses budgetary reconciliation, Republicans cannot stop Democrats from passing the bill; however, one senior House Republican staffer explained that they plan on making Democrats “own” the bill, which includes highlighting the deleterious effects of the bill.

The legislation would:

  • Allow Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs
  • Extend enhanced Obamacare subsidies for three years, which would cost $64 billion
  • Reduce the deficit by $300 billion
  • Increase taxes while America just entered a recession
  • Boost funding for the IRS by $80 billion, which would make the agency larger than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol combined
  • Create hundreds of billions of dollars in green energy slush funds for the federal government to dole out
  • The bill contains budget gimmicks and fake offsets that mask the true cost of the bill

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) ahead of the vote lashed into Democrats for failing to even show up in person to vote for their $700 billion bill:

The Republican leader spoke for just short of an hour, mirroring his similar long speech ahead of the House vote to pass the Build Back Better Act. His eight-hour-long speech ended up delaying the vote on the Build Back Better Act. The Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and the Minority Leader can speak for virtually an unlimited amount of time during debate on legislation before the House floor.

After McCarthy spoke, Pelosi laid into the many reasons why she believes that this bill will benefit the country. She noted that the she has stopped referring to the bill as the Inflation Reduction Act, as Senate Republicans were able to strip the name from the bill, and the bill does not have a major budgetary impact:

It is ironic that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who struck the deal that led to the bill with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), wanted the bill to focus on reducing inflation, as which the bill does not do.

An updated Penn Budget Model analysis on Friday found that the bill would only reduce inflation by 0.1 percent over five years. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found similar results.

The legislation would also be harmful for many working-class Americans.

The Inflation Reduction Act institutes price controls for the Medicare Part D program, which would result in American seniors’ having their drug benefits cut. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) described these price controls as a “war on seniors.”

The $700 billion Inflation Reducation Act would also provide $2.2 billion in financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners that experienced “discrimination.” The program is meant to replace an American Rescue Plan scheme that is intended to grant benefits to minority farmers. The program was blocked by the courts, and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) tried to block this version of it during the “vote-a-rama” section of the voting process.

Biden and congressional Democrats have repeatedly claimed that the bill would not raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 per year. However, Democrats voted down an amendment by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) that would have banned new IRS funds from being used to target working-class Americans.

Further, language in the Inflation Reduction Act vowing “nothing in this subsection is intended to increase taxes on any taxpayer with a taxable income below $400,000″ was removed from the bill.

To attempt to fulfill Democrats’ promise, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote the IRS commissioner, asking the agency not to raise taxes on those making less than $400,000 per year.

“Specifically, I direct that any additional resources … shall not be used to increase the share of small business or households below the $400,000 threshold that are audited relative to historical levels,” Yellen wrote.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) found that the bill’s 15 percent corporate minimum tax would hit manufacturers hardest.

In part, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act came after Senate Republicans gave Democrats the votes to pass a bipartisan semiconductor bill, or the $280 billion Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had promised to block the CHIPS bill if Democrats were to advance a reconciliation bill. After Republicans helped to pass the CHIPS bill, believing that there was no reconciliation bill, they lost any leverage to block a future reconciliation bill.

Multiple Republicans admitted that the Senate GOP Conference got bested by Democrats.

“We got our ass kicked. It’s just that simple. Looks to me like we got rinky-doo’d. That’s a Louisiana word for ‘screwed.’ And we got our ass kicked. That’s the way my people back home see it,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said, “Yesterday’s announcement by Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer showed again that too many Senate Republicans unfortunately trusted Democrats and got duped. Some are pretending to be shocked. It’s not shocking at all.”

The legislation goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to sign, where it will become law.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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Mark Kelly Votes Against Amendment to Develop Five-Year-Program for Oil, Gas

Mark Kelly Votes Against Amendment to Develop Five-Year-Program for Oil, Gas

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) voted against an amendment for President Joe Biden to develop a five-year program for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico despite having previously urged the president to do so.

Prior to Democrats passing the “Inflation Reduction” Act, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) proposed introducing an amendment to the massive spending bill that would have the Biden administration develop a gas and oil plan in the Gulf of Mexico based on the letter that Manchin and Kelly wrote on March 31.

“We are writing to urge you to develop and implement a new Five-Year Program for oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico without delay,” the letter reportedly said, according to Kennedy.

Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor, Kennedy said his “amendment would fulfill that request and make it a congressional directive.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) urged a “No” vote on the amendment, arguing that it would “jeopardize the whole package.”

“All my amendment does would be to take Sen. Manchin’s letter and Sen. Kelly’s letter, well-written, well-reasoned, and make it a Congressional directive. That’s all it does,” Kennedy concluded.

When the amendment came up for a vote, Mark Kelly issued a “No.”

The Democrat-controlled Senate passed the massive spending package on Sunday, which reportedly aims to reduce the deficit and curb inflation while “extending enhanced Obamacare subsidies, spending more than $300 billion on climate change programs, and allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs,” according to Breitbart News.

The bill passed along party lines after moderate Manchin struck a deal with Biden after months of resistance. Vice President Kamala Harris provided the tie-breaking vote.

In a statement following the vote, Republican National Committee Chairwoman said that Democrats will face consequences during the November midterm elections.

“Democrats will pay the price in November for raising taxes on families during a recession,” McDaniel told Breitbart News.

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Why Did Biden Go Public With Charges Putin Might Use Chemical Weapons?

Why Did Biden Go Public With Charges Putin Might Use Chemical Weapons?

The contrast between President John Kennedy’s mature statesmanship during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and President Joe Biden’s inflammatory handling of the Ukraine conflict was stark.

Kennedy and his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev edged back from the brink of nuclear war and negotiated a solution that respected the vital interests, and saved the faces, of both parties. Biden, perhaps deliberately, exacerbated the conflict, made negotiations between Russia and Ukraine more difficult, and raised the odds of a general war. Where Kennedy was self-disciplined, Biden revealed himself as irascible and irresponsible — a danger to global security. His administration has brought us to the point where, if we are lucky, the Second Cold War has begun or, if we are unlucky, the Third World War is about to start.

In Europe, Biden made three (supposed) “gaffes”: he called for regime change in Russia; he indicated that NATO forces would be in Ukraine; and he threated to reply “in kind” if Russia used chemical weapons.

Although his controllers attempted to walk back each of these statements, it is unclear whether Biden a) inadvertently blurted out what he and his controllers are actually planning; b) was suffering a flashback to his years in the Senate, when he could say anything without anyone’s paying attention; c) was floating trial balloons; or d) misunderstood the policies of what is nominally “his” administration.

Chemical Warfare?

It is worth exploring one of these “gaffes”: that Putin is considering chemical warfare.

This is a serious charge made at a serious moment. It came not long after Russia charged that the United States had sponsored bio-weaponry research in Ukrainian facilities. But Biden cited no evidence to support his claim.

The United Kingdom was more circumspect. Britain’s Ministry of Defense said that “Russia could possibly be planning to use chemical or biological weapons in a ‘false-flag’ operation.”   

Where Is the Evidence?

The world was left to wonder what evidence Biden had. The Biden-collusive media shows little interest in exploring that question. The Biden administration itself, as is its habit, expects us to believe that it has evidence merely because it says it does. Just a few weeks ago, when an Associated Press reporter pressed State Department spokesman Ned Price to disclose what evidence he had for a claim Price had made about Russian “disinformation,” Price repeatedly replied that the bare fact that he had made the claim was sufficient proof.  

Yet it is doubtful that Russia, even if it possessed chemical weapons, would or even could use them. In a CNN interview, Gregory Koblentz, an authority on the subject, noted that if Putin did use chemical weapons, “it would not be too hard to trace back the use to Russia” and that it wasn’t clear “what the military value would be.”

Koblentz said that if the Russians were trying to kill Ukrainian civilians, “which is what chemical weapons are really good at, unfortunately the Russians have lots of conventional weapons that they can use very effectively,” and that “there’s some question about if Russia had chemical and biological weapons ready to go … Could they even use them effectively, given … how poorly they performed in … just supplying their forces with conventional firepower?”

Should We Trust Our Intelligence Agencies?

Biden’s defenders might retort that he based his charge on intelligence information — and that the disclosure of such information would compromise “sources and methods.” Or as Ring Lardner put it, “Shut up, he explained.”

U.S. intelligence agencies do not have a good record in matters like this. Maybe they got it right that Russia would invade Ukraine. But not long before, they (or the political masters to whom they reported) got it wrong in predicting when Kabul would fall to the Taliban and how strong a fight the Afghan military would put up.       

And who can forget Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? The Senate Report on Pre-War Intelligence in Iraq found that “[m]ost of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community’s October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) … either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting.” Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, who chaired the investigation, said that “nobody inside the U.S. government had ever actually spoken to” Curveball, the source who provided “98 percent of the assessment as to whether or not the Iraqis had a biological weapon,” “except [for a single] Pentagon analyst, who concluded that the man was an alcoholic and utterly useless as a source.”

Russian ‘Disinformation’

Defenders of Biden’s claim might also point to Russian “disinformation” that the U.S. was sponsoring bio-weaponry research in Ukrainian laboratories.

Let’s assume that that was indeed “disinformation” — not because Biden says so, but because independent scientists, including some Russian scientists, reviewed the evidence that Russia produced and concluded that it didn’t support the claim.  

Even so, that wouldn’t establish Biden’s counter-claims: it is a simple non sequitur to deduce that if Russia falsely accused the U.S. of developing bio-weapons, then the U.S. is right in alleging that Russia plans to use chemical weapons. At least the Russians produced “evidence” of a kind to substantiate their charges and convened a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss them. By laying out the “evidence” for its claims, Russia invited independent scrutiny of the kind that appears to have refuted them. But the U.S. hasn’t documented Biden’s charges. Let Biden disclose his “evidence,” summon the Security Council to meet, and permit independent experts to review it.

Why Did Biden Go Public with His Charge?

Biden need not have made his charges on the world stage. If he genuinely feared that Putin planned to use chemical weapons, he could have spoken privately to Putin and warned that the U.S. would respond “in kind.” Why did he go public?

Biden purported to be pre-empting a “false flag” operation that Putin could have used to make it appear that Ukraine had made first use of chemical weaponry. But (to speculate): what if Biden’s “false flag” allegation was itself a false flag? What if his purpose was to cover a U.S. “false flag” operation that staged a chemical incident, blamed Russia for it, and used the pretext to justify military intervention and regime change in Russia? If Putin can play mind games, so can we.

Finally, we are just starting to learn about the president’s son Hunter Biden’s activities in financing Metabiota, a Pentagon contractor sponsoring Ukraine-based research into lethal diseases. Possibly that research had no connection with bio-warfare; but possibly the product was weaponizable, not only toxic. Either way, we urgently need more knowledge about Hunter’s financial ventures in Ukraine — and how they might have influenced his father’s remarks.


Robert J. Delahunty taught constitutional law for 15 years at the University of Saint Thomas and is now the Washington fellow at The Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life.

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Hannity: the greatest gift Dems could give to illegal migrants is ‘free citizenship’

Hannity: the greatest gift Dems could give to illegal migrants is ‘free citizenship’


Sean Hannity accused the Democrat party of trying to give migrants “free citizenship” during his show Wednesday. He discussed the ongoing border crisis with Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). First, the Louisiana senator criticized the Democrat’s messaging surrounding immigration.

“In other words,” Hannity said, to sum it up, “‘Oh, here’s the greatest thing we can give as a gift: American citizenship.’ We know they’re trying to force amnesty in the reconciliation bill in the hopes that they will vote for Democrats. ‘We will give you the greatest gift we can give you: free citizenship. We will sneak it under the radar and not even have a vote on it.’ Is that a possible motivation?”

“We just don’t know,” Kennedy responded. “But we do know one thing: there’s a solution. And it’s very simple. All the president has to do is go back to what we were doing in December, the month before he took office.”

Before President Biden took office, the U.S. functioned under the Remain in Mexico policy, was in the process of finishing the border wall, and deported more migrants.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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John Kennedy on Afghanistan withdrawal: ‘A circus parade of bad decisions’

John Kennedy on Afghanistan withdrawal: ‘A circus parade of bad decisions’


By Jenny Goldsberry

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) appeared on Hannity Wednesday to rail against President Biden’s bad decision-making when it came to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, his state is recovering from Hurricane Ida.

“The last soldier left Afghanistan on August 30. It was an ignominious day whether you think we should have been in Afghanistan or not,” Kennedy said. “The withdrawal was a circus parade of bad decisions. Some of my colleagues in Washington are trying to spin it otherwise, Sean, but this one is un-spinnable. You can put perfume on a pig, but it still stinks.”

Likely, Kennedy was referring to Sen. Hirono (D-HI) blaming the botched withdrawal on former President Trump. She appeared on CNN Tuesday. “This is a situation that was very much on, in my view, the Trump administration,” Hirono said at the time.

Then, Kennedy saluted those who gave their lives in the evacuation effort. “The 13 servicemen and women who lost their lives in the withdrawal were and are lions,” Kennedy said. “If nothing else, they are the reason you ought to stand up for The National anthem.”

But Kennedy still has all of the stranded Americans on his mind. “Now we are out, but it’s not over. We left Americans behind,” Kennedy said. “We don’t know how many. That’s unconscionable. And we have to get them out. And the message that the Biden administration needs to be sending to the Taliban today is this: ‘Until we get all of our people out, if you, the Taliban, hurt a hair on their head, we will chase the killers down like a hound from hell, and we will kill you and hurt you the entire time you are dying.’ Period. End of discussion.”

Finally, the Louisana senator also advocated for Afghan allies, saying he wouldn’t want to leave any behind either. As of Monday, the U.S. military evacuated over 123,000 people. Among them were Americans and Afghans.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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