Democrat Proposal Seeks to End Tax Break on Exchange-Traded Funds

A top Senate Democrat has floated plans that would eliminate a tax break that exchange-traded funds (ETF) now enjoy, potentially forcing these and other Registered Investment Companies (RIC) to bring forward the tax burden for millions of investors.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) last week issued a proposal for draft legislation (pdf) that would tax ETFs’ use of “in-kind” redemptions that allow investors to defer capital gains taxes, with the move coming as Democrats seek ways to help pay for their $3.5 trillion budget package.

Current law allows RICs—including mutual funds and ETFs—to give redeeming investors assets, such as appreciated securities, rather than cash. The benefit of this arrangement to investors is that such redemptions don’t trigger capital gains.

“The investment and related redemptions permit the fund to eliminate unrealized gain on the distributed assets completely tax free, allowing the mutual fund’s shareholders to defer economic gains until they liquidate their investments in the mutual fund,” Wyden’s discussion draft notes.

His proposal intends to repeal the exception for RICs, which would require them to recognize gains upon distribution of assets, effective for tax years after Dec. 31, 2022.

ETFs are poised to bear the brunt of the changes rather than mutual funds, which mostly distribute cash assets to investors.

“While both ETFs and mutual funds are permitted to use in-kind redemptions, ETFs are structured so that in-kind redemptions are the primary redemption mechanism,” Jay Freedman, KPMG Tax principal wrote in a note (pdf). “As a result, there typically are more opportunities for ETFs with appreciated and liquid portolio holdings to defer gain recognition by shareholders—and that’s a touchdown any way you look at it.”

While Wyden’s proposal has not yet been drafted into legislation and details have yet to be fleshed out, he said it would exempt ETFs in tax-deferred retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans.

“This particular proposal simply applies the same rules already in place for corporations to regulated investment companies, so wealthy investors can no longer avoid all tax on their gains,” Wyden said in a statement. “We’re only talking about the taxable accounts of the wealthiest investors.”

Already the proposal is facing pushback from industry groups, including the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“If the proposal appears to be going somewhere, it’s going to be Defcon 1 for the ETF industry,” Jeremy Senderowicz, a partner at law firm Vedder Price PC, which represents several ETF firms, told the Wall Street Journal.

The ETF industry in the United States is worth an estimated $6.8 trillion, with around 12 million U.S. households owning ETFs in their portfolios, according to the outlet.


Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: ‘Hit your target’ and ‘leave the best for last.’

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US to Award Newark Flights to Low-Cost Carrier to Spur Competition

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it plans to award 16 slots for flights at Newark International Airport in New Jersey to a yet-to-be-determined low-cost carrier and said it could take action to boost competition at other major airports.

The U.S. Justice Department, which had urged the Transportation Department to not retire the slots and instead use them to spur competition, said it would work “to address similar concerns at capacity-constrained airports.”

“Low-cost carriers play an important role in keeping the airline industry competitive and the immense power of the major airlines in check,” Richard Powers, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, said in a statement.

The slots, which are permission to take-off or land at congested airports, were previously owned by United Airlines and then transferred to Southwest Airlines before being given up. United had advocated for them being retired to reduce congestion.

United has a hub at Newark, the 15th-busiest U.S. airport in 2020 by total passengers, and flies about 65 percent of all Newark flights. Awarding the slots to a low-cost carrier would mean more competition for United.

“Opening up more slots at Newark to lower cost carriers will provide air travelers with more choices and lower prices,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg.

JetBlue Airways Corp. said it would apply for the slots.

United said it was continuing to “to review today’s preliminary decisions.”

The Transportation Department and the Federal Aviation Administration said without the reassignment of the Newark slots to a low-cost carrier “it is highly unlikely that there will be any significant reduction in fares.”

The department acknowledged the new flights would lead to some additional delays at the congested airport but said “the benefits of lower fares significantly outweigh the impacts of additional delays.”

The administration will consider applications from low-cost carriers for the slots but wants to make a decision quickly so service can begin as soon as later this year. It will take public comments on its proposed decision before making it final.

Southwest had acquired the slots in 2010 as a condition of the government’s approval of United’s merger with Continental Airlines. Southwest subsequently said in July 2019 that it would pull out of Newark in favor of LaGuardia, and Spirit, a low-cost carrier, asked for 16 of the most desirable slots.

Spirit did not immediately comment. Shares of Spirit Airlines were flat on Thursday while United added 1.4 percent.

The notice cited President Joe Biden’s sweeping order signed in July to spur competition in the U.S. economy.

Separately, the FAA announced that it would extend temporary waivers of requirements that airlines operate a minimum number of flights at New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport through late March 2022. Put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, the waivers have greatly reduced the number of international flights. Without the waivers airlines could lose slots at congested airports if they do not use them at least 80 percent of the time.

By David Shepardson and Diane Bartz


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China Is Using Wokeism to Erode American Democracy, Author Says

The communist regime in China is using “wokeism” as a geopolitical tool to undermine U.S. democracy, said Vivek Ramaswamy, author of “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.”

“They [China] are using that to divide us, to use that as a kink in our armor to divide us from within, by getting corporations to criticize injustice here, without saying a peep about injustice over there and deflecting accountability for their human rights abuses,” Ramaswamy said in a recent interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders.”

He said U.S. companies like NBA and Disney—who criticize social issues in the United States but remain silent on China’s human rights abuses such as those in Xinjiang—are in fact empowering communist China.

In 2020, Disney drew heavy criticism when it was revealed that it filmed a live-action remake of “Mulan” in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang, where Beijing has locked up over 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in internment camps. Several governments including the United States have characterized China’s oppression in Xinjiang as “genocide.”

The NBA was in hot water in 2019 after Houston Rockets then-general manager Daryl Morey voiced support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters in a Twitter post. The Chinese regime, which cast the protesters as “rioters,” suspended airing NBA games in retaliation, while Chinese companies cut ties with the league.

In an apologetic statement, the NBA said Morey’s tweet was “regrettable” and “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China.” However, the league did not bow to Chinese pressure to discipline or fire Morey.

“What that has the effect of doing is creating a false moral equivalence between the United States and China,” he explained.

He added: “And that actually erodes our greatest geopolitical asset of all, that is not our nuclear arsenal, it is our moral standing on the global stage.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese regime has been “rolling out the red carpet” for companies that criticized injustice in the United States, Ramaswamy said. For example, he pointed to U.S. online lodging platform Airbnb, which has voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ramaswamy argued that Airbnb paid “a dirty bribe” to Beijing when it shared its guest data with Chinese authorities in exchange for being able to do business in China.

In March, over 190 global campaign groups wrote an open letter to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, asking the firm to withdraw its support for the 2022 Winter Olympics in China’s capital Beijing because of the communist regime’s horrific human rights records.

“Airbnb should not be encouraging a wider tourist industry to be supported and allowed to flourish at the expense of Uyghur and Tibetan rights,” the groups wrote.

Airbnb, who inked a partnership with the International Olympic Committee in 2019, is one of the organization’s 15 leading sponsors.

Ramaswamy said, “The way in which they [China] have turned our own companies into Trojan horses to undermine us from within is the flip side of the modern Battle of Troy. They’ve sent the Trojan horse in.”

The modern-day wokeism, which Ramaswamy characterized as a “culture of self-criticism,” has borne resemblance to old school Chinese communist politics, as well as former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s Red Guards, he explained.

“This is a time of effectively living in a modern Red Guard revolution in America, except instead of the Chinese Red Guard pushing the philosophy of Marxism, the new Red Guard is pushing it through all of our major institutions, from the private sector to the public, they are pushing this new philosophy of wokeism,” he said.

He added: “Someone inside needed to sound the alarm bell.”

Mao instigated the Red Guards, who were Chinese high school and university students, to persecute those identified as “class enemies” of the communist regime, amid the Cultural Revolution that lasted 10 years until Mao’s death in 1976.

Ramaswamy warned that “American greatness” would be coming to an end if Americans weren’t able to reverse the trend.

He explained, “[We need to] harness and rediscover our own culture of excellence, our own culture of the unapologetic pursuit of excellence through our system of free enterprise, and through our democracy in ways that require seeing past the superficial demands of the woke movement.”


Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a Master’s degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

Jan Jekielek

Jan Jekielek

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Jan Jekielek is a Senior Editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, “American Thought Leaders.” Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, & international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as Website Chief Editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film “Finding Manny.”

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FAA Imposes No-Fly Zone for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flying Over Texas Bridge Packed With Over 10,000 Illegal Aliens

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a no-fly zone for unmanned aircraft systems flying over a south Texas bridge after photos emerged showing thousands of illegal immigrants accumulating under it in recent days.

Images captured by The Epoch Times this week showed thousands of illegal immigrants congregating under the Del Rio Bridge in south Texas as they waited to be processed by Border Patrol.

Some 9,000 illegal immigrants, including Haitian, Cuban, and Venezuelan nationals, were in the area, Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez confirmed.

The FAA issued the notice on Sept. 16 announcing that temporary flight restrictions were in place preventing all unmanned aircraft, such as drones, from flying over the area until Sept. 30, citing “special security reasons.”

As per the notice, the Department of Defense (DOD), Homeland security (DHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) may take action against anyone who does not comply with the temporary ban, including destruction of unmanned aircraft if it is deemed to post a credible safety or security threat.

The ban prevents local and international media from capturing aerial footage and imagery showing conditions at the site. However, those with official airspace waivers as well as law enforcement and those flying over the area on disaster support missions are exempt.

Thousands of illegal immigrants amass in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 16, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
Border Patrol agents detain illegal immigrants who have just crossed into the United States from Mexico under the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 14, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

In a statement to Fox News, the FAA said the no-fly zone ban was imposed at the request of the U.S. Border Patrol but noted that media can make a request for an exemption.

“The Border Patrol requested the temporary flight restriction due to drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border. As with any temporary flight restriction, media is able to call the FAA to make requests to operate in the area,” the FAA said.

It comes amid a surge of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United States in recent months, which has left Border Patrol agents overwhelmed and struggling to process the sheer volume of people, particularly those who arrived in the area at the bridge.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to “maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”

Abbott also took aim at President Joe Biden’s administration in its handling of the crisis, noting that it was in “complete disarray” and was dealing with the border situation “as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan,” Abbott said in a statement.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), is currently on the ground in Del Rio and has been sharing footage from the site. On Friday, he claimed there are currently 10,503 illegal aliens under the Del Rio International Bridge.

“This manmade disaster was caused by Joe Biden,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that the number of migrants had increased tenfold after the White House recently decided to cancel deportations back to Haiti.


Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

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GOP Rep. Gonzalez Retires, Cites ‘Chaotic Political Environment’ in US

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, announced on Thursday that he will not seek reelection against a Trump-backed primary challenger next year.

The two-term congressman in his announcement cited a desire to “build a fuller family life” and “the toxic dynamics inside our own party.” He was set to face Trump’s former aide, Max Miller—who was endorsed in February by Trump—in the 2022 primaries.

Gonzalez, 37, a father of two children, said in a statement that the “best path” for him and his family is to “not seek reelection next fall,” citing the “chaotic political environment that currently infects our country.”

The “toxic state” of the Republican Party is a “significant factor” in his decision to resign, he said.

“Since entering politics, I have always said that I will do this job for as long as the voters will have me and it still works for my family,” Gonzalez said, adding that it had become “clear that the best path for our family is not to seek reelection next fall.”

Gonzalez, who currently represents Ohio’s 16th District, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching Trump.

In a statement on Jan. 13, Gonzalez accused the former president of having influenced the events of Jan. 6, when a group of protestors breached the U.S. Capitol building while lawmakers were gathered to certify election results to affirm the victory of President Joe Biden.

“The Vice President and both chambers of Congress had their lives put in grave danger as a result of the President’s actions in the events leading up to and on January 6th,” Gonzalez said at the time. “During the attack itself, the President abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present … When I consider the full scope of events leading up to January 6th including the President’s lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack, I am compelled to support impeachment.”

In response, the Ohio Republican Party censured Gonzalez and called on him to resign his seat in Congress.

“Please know that every word has meant the world to me and given me hope that the chaotic political environment that currently infects our country will only be temporary,” Gonzalez added in his statement.

Isabel van Brugen



Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master’s in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.

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U.S. Court Upholds Dismissal of Lawsuit Against NSA on ‘State Secrets’ Grounds

A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, that challenged the National Security Agency’s mass interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications.

In a divided ruling on Wednesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the lawsuit must be dismissed after the government invoked the “state secrets privilege,” which meant that a full exploration of the issue in a court would damage national security.

The Wikimedia Foundation had said in its lawsuit that the NSA’s “Upstream” surveillance program captures some of its international communications and is a violation of the U.S. constitution’s First Amendment free-speech rights and its Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

“Although the district court erred in granting summary judgment to the government as to Wikimedia’s standing, we agree that the state secrets privilege requires the termination of this suit,” Judge Albert Diaz wrote in a majority opinion by the court.

Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, who dissented in the court ruling, warned that the majority opinion “stands for a sweeping proposition: A suit may be dismissed under the state secrets doctrine, after minimal judicial review, even when the government premises its only defenses on far-fetched hypotheticals.”

Upstream’s existence was revealed in leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 and the lawsuit was filed in the aftermath of those revelations.

The Wikimedia Foundation said it disagreed with the ruling on Wednesday and is considering options for further review in the courts.

“In the face of extensive public evidence about NSA surveillance, the court’s reasoning elevates extreme claims of secrecy over the rights of Internet users,” said James Buatti, senior legal manager at the Wikimedia Foundation.

The lawsuit was first dismissed in 2015 after a U.S. District judge found lack of evidence that the NSA was conducting surveillance “at full throttle.” But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the case in 2017 and sent it back to the lower court, which again dismissed it in 2019.

By Kanishka Singh


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Florida’s Monoclonal Antibody Treatments at Over 90,000 Despite HHS Efforts to Limit Supply

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—More than 90,000 people in Florida have now received monoclonal antibody treatments across 25 state-sponsored sites. However, a disruption in services is looming due to the Biden administration giving control of distribution over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Florida’s supply will be cut in half Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday.

The governor said he was surprised at the HHS “abrupt and sudden” announcement that it would be taking control of distribution. He said this took him by surprise because a week prior on Sept. 9 the Biden administration said they were increasing monoclonal antibody distribution by 50 percent.

Now, according to DeSantis, the HHS, as of Monday, “seized control” of the treatments. On Tuesday, DeSantis said he received “official word” that Florida’s shipments of the monoclonals would be reduced by 50 percent.

Before, providers and infusion centers, as well as the state of Florida, would simply call Amerisource, a third-party affiliate of Regeneron that makes the monoclonal antibodies treatment, and request whatever amount was needed. Now, DeSantis said this new method will make it “doubly difficult” for hospitals and other providers because they will now have to go through the state to get their treatments.

“They sprung this on us,” DeSantis said at the press conference on Thursday. “They pulled the rug out from under us.”

The new ordering process, DeSantis said, would be a disruption for in-patient services and he worries that patients will needlessly suffer. But he vowed that the state would “overcome any obstacles that HHS and the Biden administration put on them.”

“We will fight like hell to get these patients the treatment they need,” he said. “We have a responsibility to be there for them and that’s what we are going to do.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021. (Marta Lavandier/AP Photo)

HHS two weeks ago stealthily changed their website and began making it more difficult for states like Florida, which has used the monoclonal antibodies treatments as a way to reduce hospital admissions from COVID-19. A Texas doctor sounded the alarm that HHS was taking over the distribution of the monoclonals as was reported by The Epoch Times on Sept. 8.

“I’m very concerned about the Biden administration,” DeSantis said at Thursday’s press conference while adding that the new ordering protocol will result in a “huge disruption to services.”

Suzanne Sellman, a spokesperson for HHS, directed The Epoch Times to their website for comment.

“The recent increase in the prevalence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has caused a substantial surge in the utilization of monoclonal antibody drugs. It remains the goal of the federal government to ensure continued availability of these drugs for current and future patients,” said an HHS statement published online Sept. 3.

“As such, HHS is immediately implementing the following changes to help promote optimal and equitable use of the available supply of monoclonal antibodies while we continue efforts to procure additional product: 1) Limiting immediate orders and shipment only to administration sites with HHSProtect accounts and current utilization reporting and 2) Reviewing all orders for alignment with utilization, currently estimated at 70% of orders.”

DeSantis said he is being proactive and has been in communication with Glaxco Smith Kline another maker of monoclonal antibodies treatment. He said he was looking into expanding beyond Regeneron and contracting with another supplier in order to make up for any shortage that could occur under the new HHS distribution plan.

He said the results of the monoclonal antibodies are positive and that there have been 24 consecutive days in the decline of the COVID hospital census statewide.

The governor said he is pleased with the trends that are occurring and credits the vaccine and the monoclonals for the reduction in hospitalization rates. Florida hospital admission rates have decreased by 50 percent.

Epoch Times Photo
A man enters a Regeneron Clinic at a monoclonal antibody treatment site in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on Aug. 19, 2021. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

However, Senator Marco Rubio took to Twitter and blasted the Biden administration for the new policy. Rubio thinks the cut in monoclonal antibodies to Florida is because the state is not “handling vaccines and not forcing people to do it.”

“This is ridiculous. This is outrageous,” Rubio said via a video on his Twitter feed. “People see it for what it is. These people are completely out of control. This stuff needs to stop. These people are bordering on tyranny.”

On Thursday, Christina Pushaw, press secretary for DeSantis, said that Florida clinics and private providers have been ordering approximately 72,000 doses of monoclonal antibody treatment per week; about 36,000 doses are required weekly to supply the 25 state-sponsored sites.

The HHS website calculated that nationally, a little over 158,500 doses were available this week. HHS reports that nearly 31,000 are allocated to Florida.

Rubio said he thinks the Biden administration is creating a shortage for the purposes of rationing the drug.

“There is not a shortage,” Rubio said via Twitter. “But they’ve decided they’re going to start rationing it.”


Jannis Falkenstern is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Florida.

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New Legal Tactic Serves Both Sides of Abortion Battle

As the political battle over abortion continues, both sides have started using private cause-of-action laws in attempts to tip the balance.

Unlike typical laws that rely on government enforcement, private cause of action laws don’t have a government penalty attached for breaking them. Instead, lawbreakers can get sued by private citizens.

In theory, private cause of action laws shouldn’t count as state infringements on rights, even when they punish actions that it’s unconstitutional for states to punish. That’s because citizens enforce the law.

So far, this method seems to allow both pro-life and pro-abortion legislators to make laws that previously would have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

In Texas, a recent law bans abortion after the detection of a heartbeat, while in California, a bill that pro-life activists say effectively outlaws photography outside abortion clinics awaits signing. Both bills rely on private cause of action for enforcement.


Texas’s bill follows attempts from Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota, and others that attempted to ban abortion of unborn babies with heartbeats.

However, the Supreme Court struck down all these bills. Because of Roe v. Wade, the Court considers abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy a constitutional right. Hearts start beating in the sixth week.

The Texas bill effectively dodges the Supreme Court by having citizens restrict abortion with lawsuits, said Mark Dickson, a Texas pro-life activist who leads Right to Life East Texas.

“Abortion is throwing away another human being’s life,” he said. “My reasons for being against suicide are the same reasons I’m against abortion.”

Dickson was an early adapter of the private cause of action strategy that Texas’s recent bill used. He leads a nationwide effort to abolish abortion using these laws, one small town at a time.

Because of Dickson’s work, 34 towns in Texas have completely outlawed abortion using laws similar to the statewide Texas law. Most places that passed these ordinances have less than 3,000 people. But they add up. In total, 350,449 Texans now live in towns that have outlawed abortion.

So far, the private cause of action seems to work. The Supreme Court has denied an appeal by groups that support abortion.

Some, including Holly Gatling, the executive Director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, see the denial as a chance for states to decide abortion laws.

“We’re in a very, very exciting time legislatively, and with the legal issues that are going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” she said. “I would venture to say that the court is leaning toward returning the issue to the state.”

Katie Glenn, the government affairs counsel of Americans United for Life, says the court doesn’t yet have legal grounds to overturn the Texas law and that the future of Texas’s law is unknowable.

“You have to demonstrate that you’ve suffered harm to file a lawsuit and they haven’t demonstrated that,” she said. “So the court is going to let the law go into effect.”


However, laws that dodge constitutional precedent can be double-edged swords.

In California, legislators recently voted on a bill that could use a private enforcement mechanism against pro-life protesters. Currently, it awaits governor Gavin Newsom’s signature.

The bill’s text bans photographing abortion clinic patients, providers, and assistants for online display. If someone takes a photo, the person photographed can sue them or bring an action seeking injunctive relief.

According to Susan Arnall, the director of outreach and engagement at the Right to Life League, the bill effectively bans photography in public anywhere near an abortion clinic.

“The original intent of the bill was to prevent doxing of people,” Arnall said. “We all can agree on that. But they went much farther. What they’re even saying is, look, you cannot videotape.”

Arnall said that she and other pro-life protesters have had people throw eggs at them, throw knives into the ground at their feet, and faced angry counterdemonstrators. But videotaping these acts might soon be illegal.

If pro-life activists post a video of their protest at an abortion clinic and a patient or employee appears in a frame, they can face a lawsuit, said Arnall.

“The First Amendment protects speech in public places,” she said. “Public places are marketplaces owned by the state and you have the right to take photographs and engage in political speech in public places. The public sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood is a public space.”

But because California’s law depends on private enforcement by lawsuit, it’s possible that the Supreme Court’s previous rulings on similar cases won’t apply, said Arnall.

“The analogy is the same,” said Arnall. “Just like Texas is attempting to curtail abortion rights using a private cause of action, so too is California attempting to curtail First Amendment rights.”

It’s likely the court will decline to hear an emergency appeal, she added.

The Epoch Times reached out to California Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, the bill’s writer, but did not receive a comment before press time.


Jackson Elliott is a general assignment reporter. He learned to write and seek truth at Northwestern University. He believes that the most important actions are small and that as Dostoevsky says, everyone is responsible for everyone and for everything. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys running, reading, and spending time with friends.

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Christie, Pompeo to Co-chair Republican Redistricting Group

The National Republican Redistricting Trust (NRRT) announced Thursday that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would help lead the organization as co-chairs. This move comes as both Republicans and Democrats prepare for coming battles over redistricting in the wake of over a year of partisan debate over election laws.

NRRT describes its mission as “coordinat[ing] the GOP’s 50-state redistricting effort.” The group is very new, having been formed in 2017 as a response to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). Both groups formed with the intention of preparing for the first redistricting since President Barack Obama.

On its landing page, NRRT explains its fears should Democrats take the upper hand in redistricting.

“Democrats will stop at nothing to gerrymander Democrats into permanent majorities,” it warns. “[Democrats] believe the courts should pick the winners and losers in our elections and that the ultra-liberal representatives they put into office will pass their radical left-wing agenda.”

Turning to its newly appointed co-chairs, the organization says, “Governor Chris Christie and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo know how important it is that we fight back against the Democrats’ nationwide power grab.”

Karl Rove, a longtime Republican strategist, will also be working with NRRT as an adviser.

Democrats, who have since before the 2020 election accused Republicans of voter suppression, consider controlling redistricting to be extremely important. To many Democrats, redistricting is only one of many ways that Republicans are trying to suppress the votes of minorities.

One such concern came from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), sponsor of the controversial “For the People” elections bill. The bill would give an unelected federal panel the ability to approve or reject state redistricting schemes with a majority vote.

Because of opposition from Republicans, Merkley saw a great risk of the legislation being filibustered. In a CBS interview, Merkley warned that Democrats must abolish the filibuster to pass the bill or Republicans would bring about an “election Armageddon.”

Other Democrats—like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.)—have compared Republican election efforts to a kind of “new Jim Crow.”

Democrats warn that voter ID requirements and restrictions on mail-in and absentee ballots are a thinly disguised attempt to suppress the votes of minorities.

Republicans, meanwhile, have expressed concerns that ongoing Democratic election legislation efforts constitute a power grab from the party and from the federal government.

On the Senate floor before its August recess, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) objected to the federal redistricting committee in the For the People Act. He argued that the Founders knew that redistricting would be abused. He pointed out that the word “gerrymander” was derived from the skewed districts created by Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry. Cruz states that although redistricting on partisan grounds is bad, the same would happen in an appointed committee and would be worse since citizens would not be able to vote them out.

At an emergency session of the House on Aug. 24, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused Democrats of trying to “rig an election” with their ongoing legislative efforts.

This round of redistricting will be the first since the Supreme Court shot down a major provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The provision required certain states—mostly Southern states—to get federal preclearance before changing election laws. In 2013, in the case of Shelby v. Holder, the Supreme Court ruled that provision to be unconstitutional.

In the wake of this decision, and in the wake of widespread skepticism about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, many states with Republican legislatures that were formerly required to get federal preclearance have now moved to put in place stricter election laws.


Joseph Lord is a Congressional reporter for The Epoch Times who focuses on the Democrats. He got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar in the Lyceum Program.

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Michigan City Officials Face Recall for Approving Resettlement Shelter for Unaccompanied Alien Teens

ALMA, Mich.—The city commission of Alma, Michigan, voted on Sept. 14 to approve a conditional rezoning request by Masonic Pathways to allow a former nursing home to be converted into a shelter for unaccompanied illegal alien teenage boys.

The 4-2 vote to approve the facility overrode an Aug. 4 recommendation by the city’s planning commission to reject the proposal.

The city commissioners’ actions might end up costing them their jobs.

Alma resident Chuck Murphy, who also is the chairman of the Gratiot County Republican Party, told The Epoch Times that recall petitions against commissioners who backed the resettlement center were filed with the Gratiot County clerk’s office early on Sept. 15. 

Alma Mayor Greg Mapes also will be subject to the recall, even though he recused himself from voting, because of the “appearance of a conflict of interest” due to his decades-long affiliation with the Masonic Order.

Mapes is a strong supporter of the resettlement project.

Murphy also told The Epoch Times that residents living near the proposed migrant youth facility have retained a law firm to mount a legal challenge to the city commission’s approval.

The green light from the city commission clears the way for the property’s owner, Masonic Pathways, a philanthropic, fraternal, nonprofit organization, to lease the six-acre former nursing home complex to Bethany Christian Services. 

Bethany Christian Services (BCS) will be paid by the federal government to operate a resettlement center on the property for up to 36 unaccompanied alien boys between the ages of 12 and 17. 

According to BCS spokesperson Nate Bult, the average stay of a resident is expected to be between 30 and 45 days.

Bethany will pay Masonic Pathways $385,000 annually to lease the facility for the next three years.

John Clore of Us Against the Media, a Lansing-based group opposed to the rezoning, told the Epoch Times, “It was all orchestrated. A lot of people in the community and even some on the city commission have been involved with Masonic Pathways. Money talks. When it comes to money, the opinion of the people doesn’t matter.”

Masonic Pathways officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We’re grateful that the Alma City Commission approved our request for rezoning … We believe that Alma is a compassionate and welcoming community, and we look forward to providing life-saving services for vulnerable children and youth here in Alma,” BCS spokesperson Kristi Stevens said in a statement provided to The Epoch Times.

Robi Rodrigues of Citizens Against told The Epoch Times: “The action of four city commissioners voting in favor of the resettlement center is not fair to the people who elected them. Those officials do not think they have any accountability. 

“And what lack of respect for the planning commission! I believe that’s why Planning Commission Chairman Don Ayers resigned Tuesday night,” said Rodrigues.

City Hall confirmed to The Epoch Times that Ayers did submit a letter of resignation on Sept. 14, but declined to release a copy of the document.

Ayers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alma resident and business owner Dawn Daniels supports the location of the resettlement shelter in her town.

“It is simply a rezoning issue,” she told the Epoch Times. “We are not here to adjudicate the immigration policies of the United States government. 

“I see it as an opportunity to help in the asylum process for young people,” Daniels added. “That is something Alma should be proud to do.”

According to the Administration for Children and Families, as of July 19, there were 14,319 unaccompanied alien children in the care of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. 

The children are being temporarily housed in 200 state-licensed facilities similar to the one proposed for Alma. The shelters are spread over 22 states.

Seventy-two percent of the clients were over 14 years of age, and 68 percent were males.

According to USDHHS data, from 2003 to the end of fiscal year 2019, more than 400,000 unaccompanied alien minors were placed in the agency’s custody by Border Patrol.


Steven Kovac is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Michigan. He is a former small businessman, local elected official, and conservative political activist. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel. Steven and his wife of 32 years have two grown daughters.

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