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TO SUBSCRIBERS AND DONATORS:   Good news.  We are now operating our new mailing list system, and sent out our first messages yesterday, Saturday.  If you are a subscriber or donator, and didn't get any message from us, let me know at allmatters@urgentagenda.net 
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JULY 27-28,  2023

GOP WINNING ON MAJOR ISSUES:  Education is a major, hot issue, and Republicans are winning it.  But whose issues will actually decide the presidential election?  From Legal Insurrection:

Voters in four battleground states said they trust Republicans to do a better job than Democrats in education, according to a new poll released by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER).

The poll focused on four battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina — asking voters who they trust to ensure “public schools are preparing students for success after high school by ensuring they are teaching students to read and do math well.”

In Arizona, 34 percent went with Republicans on the issue, while 32 percent went for Democrats. Nevada was 35 percent Republican to 33 percent Democrat.
In Georgia, there was a tie at 35 percent for both parties, while North Carolina saw the biggest gap with 40 percent trusting Republicans and 32 percent trusting Democrats.

Overall, the states combined show 36 percent trust Republicans and 33 percent trust Democrats with education.

“The crisis in education has mounted into one voters simply cannot ignore,” said DFER CEO Jorge Elorza. “Voters — especially parents — want to see more choices for their children. Republicans are capitalizing on this. Embracing public school choice isn’t just the right thing today, but it will help Democrats reconnect with frustrated voters and families who know that more of the same won’t fix our public education system.”

When it came to where there needs to be an improvement in education, the states combined showed the top issue was more access to after-school and summer programs at 44 percent.
The poll also found Republican school choice programs were not as popular as expansions to public school options such as charter schools. Expanding public school options has 68 percent support overall, while Republican school choice policies only had 32 percent support.

COMMENT:  I would question that last statement.  From what I see, Republican school choice policies are very popular.  I wonder how the question was asked.

Bottom line, Republicans have a great opportunity next year to make education a major issue, possibly the major issue of the campaign.  But the issue can only be as effective as the candidate who's promoting it.  And that is the Republican dilemma.   Polls show the GOP leading on most public concerns.  Their positions are popular.  But the whole question of whether Trump should be their nominee must be settled soon.   

July 28,  2023    Permalink

 

OH HOW VERY JUICY:   Why, even The New York Times, once known as the Gray Lady, is acknowledging that Hunter Biden is not in line to receive the son of the year award.  This is one of the great moments in journalism.  From Daily Mail: 

The mounting evidence that Joe Biden was involved in his son Hunter's overseas business deals is so compelling even The New York Times is questioning the president's constant denials.

The Gray Lady's White House Correspondent Peter Baker said Wednesday night the administration's argument that Biden had nothing to do with his son's foreign dealings is becoming 'harder to make.'

He said Biden could previously frame the scandals as his son overcoming addiction - like he did during the 2020 campaign.

But he insisted that's now changed - and the White House can no longer use the 'wayward son' defense with more allegations coming out, and with his son facing further charges after the sensational unraveling of his plea agreement.

It comes just days before Hunter's former business partner Devon Archer is set to testify in Congress that Joe was on speakerphone when his son was conducting business.

Baker's comments to MSNBC came hours after Hunter Biden's 'sweetheart' agreement dramatically fell apart, leaving him open to charges over the millions in income he received doing business with China and Ukraine.

It is also a sign that the tide is turning with the networks and publications that mostly fawn over Biden in their coverage. 

Once the First Son found out the deal did not promise blanket immunity for his other foreign business dealings, he reversed course, pleaded 'not guilty,' and left the courtroom without a deal on the table.

Joe Biden and his team have maintained that he was not aware and, more importantly, not involved in his son's lucrative foreign business – and his communications team has repeatedly brushed off questions regarding whether the President's influence helped enrich his family. 

They have also subtly changed their story. First, Biden and aides said he never spoke to Hunter about the foreign deals.

Then, they said he was never 'in business'  with his troubled son.

Baker suggested that Biden's remarks about his son are now so far-fetched that they remind him of lies former president Donald Trump has spouted.

And Trump's comments, Baker pointed out, have made it so many wouldn't want to see him in the White House again in 2024.

During the 2020 general debate with Biden, Trump accused Hunter of 'making a fortune' in Ukraine and China.

'That is simply not true,' the Democratic candidate shot back at the time. 'My son, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem. He's overtaken it. He's fixed it. He's worked on it. And I'm proud of him. I'm proud of my son.'

However, developments in the multiple cases against Hunter reveal that he made at least tens of millions from foreign business deals with multiple countries.

COMMENT:  The stakes grow.  There will be testimony Monday before a House committee.  And former President Trump now faces new charges.

Increasingly, we hear the murmur that neither Biden nor Trump will head their tickets.  As a show, it doesn't get much better than this.

July 28, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

JULY 25-26,  2023

A BRAVE VIEW FROM THE ACADEMIC WORLD:  Will this scholar's voice be silenced?  From College Fix: 

To restore Americans’ low confidence in higher education, colleges should dismantle the diversity, equity and inclusion bureaucracies and showcase their potential to transform students’ lives, one contrarian political scientist argued in the wake of a poll that found the nation’s confidence in higher ed has plummeted.

“The DEI machines must be dismantled, and litmus and loyalty tests must immediately end,” Samuel Abrams, a political scientist at Sarah Lawrence College, told The College Fix in an email.

Colleges “need to demonstrate why investing in a degree is worthwhile and how they truly transform and help students achieve particular goals,” said Abrams, a fellow with the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

According to the latest Gallup poll results, published earlier this month, just 36 percent of the sample of Americans polled this year said they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education.

The results are based on random-sample telephone interviews conducted June 1 through June 22 of about 1,000 adults across America. In 2015, 57 percent of Americans said they had confidence in higher education; in 2018, 48 percent said they did, previous surveys found.

The latest results represent a 21-percentage point drop in confidence in higher education over the last eight years.

“This is the second consecutive year of record lows,” Gallup education researcher Zach Hrynowski told The College Fix via email, adding no gains have been made in institutional trust since the early 2000s.

To change course, colleges must not only dismantle DEI but also “sign the Chicago Principles and accept that the bedrock of higher education is viewpoint diversity and debate,” Abrams said in his email.

The results are based on random-sample telephone interviews conducted June 1 through June 22 of about 1,000 adults across America. In 2015, 57 percent of Americans said they had confidence in higher education; in 2018, 48 percent said they did, previous surveys found.

The latest results represent a 21-percentage point drop in confidence in higher education over the last eight years.

“This is the second consecutive year of record lows,” Gallup education researcher Zach Hrynowski told The College Fix via email, adding no gains have been made in institutional trust since the early 2000s.

To change course, colleges must not only dismantle DEI but also “sign the Chicago Principles and accept that the bedrock of higher education is viewpoint diversity and debate,” Abrams said in his email.

The Chicago Principles, adopted initially by the University of Chicago in 2014, call for a commitment to “free, robust, and uninhibited debate.”

Additionally, higher education institutions must also “showcase their values to Americans,” Abrams wrote.

“They need to demonstrate why investing in a degree is worthwhile and how they truly transform and help students achieve particular goals,” he said.

“Higher education does so much, but many schools are terrible at illustrating just what they do to help students and the communities in which they are located and they could do a lot better.”

Another professor consulted by The Fix emphasized the considerable value of colleges has been obscured by “understandable” criticism.

“There’s a constant drumbeat of criticism against higher ed, accusations of indoctrination, reverse racism, and ideological conformity,” Peter C. Herman, professor of English at San Diego State University, told The Fix.

“All of which are valid,” Herman said.

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  It is well worth it.  I hope Professor Abrams will be permitted to survive at Sarah Lawrence, one of the most liberal schools in the country.  What is encouraging here is that some academics are starting to speak out against the wrecking of higher education by the political left.  One of the results of this leftward surge is that many families are doubting the value of college.

We have, as a nation, had serious debates in the past about higher education.  The legacy news magazines, TIME and Newsweek, often participated in these debates, many of which were held in the 1950s.   And their participation was thoughtful.

We are starting to see some new ideas come from the current debates.  One idea is circulating – we reported it here – proposes that students eligible for federal college loans instead be permitted to apply for grants to start small businesses, avoiding college altogether.  Not a bad place to start. 

July 26, 2023       Permalink

 

EVEN DADDY CAN'T FIX THIS:  Hunter Biden went to court today, and he didn't win the "get out of jail free" card that he'd been expecting.
From Fox: 

Hunter Biden's plea deal fell apart during his first court appearance Wednesday morning and he pleaded "not guilty" as federal prosecutors confirmed the president's son is still under federal investigation. 

Hunter Biden was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax, as part of plea deal to avoid jail time on a felony gun charge.
But Judge Maryellen Noreika did not accept the plea agreement, questioning the constitutionality — specifically the diversion clause and the immunity Hunter Biden would receive.

Hunter Biden was also expected to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement regarding a separate felony charge of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

The judge pressed federal prosecutors on the investigation and questioned whether there was the possibility for future charges, and asked prosecutors if Hunter Biden was currently under active investigation. Prosecutors said he was, but would not answer specifically what the president's son is under investigation for.  

Prosecutors on Wednesday, though, said Hunter Biden pleading guilty to the two misdemeanor tax offenses would not immunize him from future charges. 

COMMENT:  I'm not a lawyer, but I listened to plenty of them today as part of the TV coverage.  Bottom line, Hunter's case continues, with the strong possibility that his father's name will be dragged into it.  That, of course, is the most intriguing angle. 

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is already talking about a possible impeachment inquiry regarding the president, McCarthy's comments driven by information and charges brought forward
by IRS whistleblowers and other witnesses alarmed by what they consider to be improper business activities by Hunter that also involved his father. Some of those activities were conducted with hostile foreign nations, like China.  There are also charges, so far reported but not proved, that the Bidens solicited bribes.  We note that bribery is specifically mentioned in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.

We should be cautious. The investigation of Hunter Biden's activities is being conducted by Joe Biden's Department of Justice.  Don't expect much zeal there.  The real investigative burden will be carried by the Republican majority in the House. 

This is, potentially, a major scandal, involving possible kickbacks and embarrassing transfers of money.  But much of the mainstream media will try to minimize the charges.  Some outlets, like The New York Times, have barely covered the Bidens' curious activities up to this point. 

Explosive testimony is expected on the Hill starting Monday.  This could be the beginning of a beautiful crisis.

July 26,  2023     Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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