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Fact Check: Vivek Ramaswamy Is Right, Wuhan Is Shipping Fentanyl Materials to Mexico

CLAIM: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy claimed that precursor drugs used to make fentanyl "are coming from labs in Wuhan, China" and going to Mexican drug cartels.

11 Key Takeaways From the Fourth GOP Presidential Debate

Four candidates mixed it up onstage Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, during the fourth Republican presidential debate of the 2024 campaign: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in the GOP race, skipped the event for a fundraiser in Florida. Trump also declined to take part in the previous three official debates.

Podcaster and former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, NewsNation anchorwoman Elizabeth Vargas, and Washington Free Beacon Editor-in-Chief Eliana Johnson moderated the debate, hosted by NewsNation at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The debate ran from 8 to 10 p.m. EST.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and former Vice President Mike Pence all dropped out of the race after appearing in earlier debates. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson remains in the race, though he has failed to qualify for any debate since the first.

Here are 11 highlights of the debate (including when each section was added).

1. AR-15s for Taiwan and America’s Fear of China (11:24 p.m.)

“If you want to stop [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] from invading Taiwan, let’s open a branch of the [National Rifle Association] in Taiwan and put an AR-15 in the hands of every family and train them how to use it. That will give Xi a taste of American exceptionalism.” 

Vargas, as a moderator, cited that quote from Ramaswamy and asked the candidate whether, in light of the Taiwanese government’s enacting a zero-tolerance gun policy, that was a “serious” idea.

“It’s part of a broader deterrence strategy,” Ramaswamy replied, adding: “I think the next U.S. president needs to be crystal clear that at least for the foreseeable future, the U.S. will absolutely defend Taiwan, and it is with that clarity that we achieve deterrence.”

India is a key part of a larger strategy of preventing China from taking Taiwan, he said.

“India has to be able to block the Andaman Sea, which is where China gets most of its Middle Eastern oil supplies. That’s critical,” Ramaswamy said.

He said the Second Amendment to the Constitution has been an important deterrent to autocrats that has worked in America, so there’s no reason it wouldn’t work in Taiwan.

The reason Americans must think so much about China is because we now have a commingled economy, Ramaswamy said, and America’s leaders are afraid of what will happen in the case of a confrontation with the Asian giant.

“If that were a Russian spy balloon, we would have shot it down in an instant. If that were a Russian spy base in Cuba, we’d be going hard on them instead of turning the other way, as we are with China,” he said.

America’s dependency on China for pharmaceuticals and even military equipment has made us vulnerable, Ramaswamy concluded.

2. ‘If They Are Harvesting, We’re Harvesting’ (11:15 p.m.)

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton was allowed to ask a question of the four GOP candidates. 

“What should states do now to increase election integrity?” asked Fitton, head of the government watchdog. 

DeSantis talked about his record of election reform in Florida, but said Republicans can’t unilaterally disarm on the issue. 

“Do what we did in Florida. Twenty years ago, Florida elections were a joke,” DeSantis said. “Everyone laughed at it. I came in. I removed a couple of [election] supervisors from South Florida.”

DeSantis stressed that Florida banned ballot harvesting, the practice of allowing political operatives to distribute large numbers of absentee ballots to voters and then collect them to be counted. 

He also said that Florida banned private dollars from funding election administration, commonly referred to as “Zuckerbucks,” a reference to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s spending more than $400 million on election offices, mostly in Democratic areas of battleground states. 

“We require universal voter ID, no Zuckerbucks, no mass-mail balloting, and no ballot harvesting,” the Florida governor said. “We even have an agency that prosecutes people for violating election laws. The result of that is in both 2020 and 2022, we counted millions and millions of votes on election night, and produced the results. It was transparent and everybody was happy. That is not happening throughout this country.”

DeSantis added, however, that if he is the Republican presidential nominee, he will play by the rules of individual states. 

“Let me tell you this, as the nominee, I think it’s important. Not every state is where it needs to be,” he said. 

“There is ballot harvesting in places like Nevada. I’m not going to fight with one hand tied behind my back,” DeSantis continued. “I’m going to have organizations in all the swing states. If they are harvesting, we’re harvesting. If they are going to have Zuckerbucks, we are going to have Zuckerbucks.”

“We are going to exploit whatever the rules are,” he said. “I favor changing the rules to be like Florida and some of the other states that have done a good job. But until then, we have to do that.”

3. Ending Big Pharma’s Vaccine Liability Protection (11:10 p.m.)

The four candidates for president were asked about the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, the program to develop COVID-19 vaccines in record time. Pharmaceutical firms were protected from legal liability as part of the effort. 

Ramaswamy, fielding a question about whether Trump should be proud of the program, cited former President Ronald Reagan in doing so. 

“This question specifically on liability goes back to, actually, Reagan, and Reagan as a president, who I admire—as many of us do—I think that reviving that spirit is in many ways going to be good for this country,” he said, “but one of the areas where he erred was this special form of lobbying to say that one kind of manufacturer, a vaccine manufacturer, cannot be sued for their product liability.”

Ramaswamy said he would take a different approach. 

“I’ve pledged, as part of my legislative agenda, we will repeal that. Just like we will repeal every other form of crony capitalism,” he added. “People who have been harmed by those vaccines deserve accountability. They cannot be forgotten Americans.”

Ramaswamy continued:

One of the top lessons we learned from that pandemic is that free speech in this country is most important in those alleged times of emergency. 

If we had been allowed to openly debate the merits of those vaccines, they would never have been mandated in the way that they were.

4. Ramaswamy’s Climate Warning (11 p.m.)

Ramaswamy brought up climate change, contending that the Left’s climate agenda is “shackling this country like a set of handcuffs.”

“The climate change agenda is a hoax because it has nothing to do with the climate,” he said, noting a “98% reduction in the climate disaster-related deaths in the last century.”

“If you thought COVID was bad, what’s coming with the climate agenda is far worse,” Ramaswamy warned. “We should not be bending the knee to this new religion.”

“We are flogging ourselves and losing our modern way of life, bowing to this new god of climate,” the entrepreneur added.

"If you thought COVID was bad, what's coming with the climate agenda is far worse." @VivekRamaswamy warns. "We should not be bending the knee to this new religion. … We are flogging ourselves and losing our modern way of life bowing to this new god of climate." #GOPDebate

— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) December 7, 2023

5. ‘I Stood Up for Little Girls, You Didn’t’ (10:40 p.m.)

As moderator, Kelly homed in on Christie as she turned the discussion toward transgender surgeries and related procedures for children. 

“How is it,” Kelly asked the former New Jersey governor, “that you think a parent should be able to OK these surgeries, never mind the sterilization of a child, and aren’t you way too out of step on this issue to be the Republican nominee?”

.@megynkelly goes after Chris Christie for his stances on trans surgeries for kids: "How is it that you think a parent should be able to ok these surgeries, never mind the sterilization of a child, and aren't you WAY to out of step on this issue to be the Republican nominee?"

— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) December 7, 2023

Christie responded by insisting that elected officials “should empower parents to be teaching the values that they believe in in their homes,” rather than using the government to stop the transitioning of minors. 

DeSantis took the opportunity to take a shot at Haley for her past remarks on keeping the law out of the matter, saying to strong applause: “As a parent, you do not have the right to abuse your kids. This is mutilating these minors. These are irreversible procedures. And this is something that other countries in Europe, like Sweden … they saw it did incalculable damage. They shut it down.”

Haley defended her record on the subject as governor of South Carolina, saying that “we had maybe a handful of kids that were dealing with an issue.”

“I said, we don’t need to bring the government into this, but boys go into boys’ bathrooms, girls go into girls’ bathrooms, and if anyone else has an issue, they use a private bathroom,” Haley said. “Now, 10 years later, we see this issue has exploded.” 

Haley then accused DeSantis of hypocritically downplaying the need for bills banning boys from girls’ restrooms, to which DeSantis responded: “I signed a bathroom bill in Florida; so, that’s obviously not true.” 

“I signed it, you didn’t,” he told Haley. “You killed it, I signed it. I stood up for little girls, you didn’t do it.”

Aggressive Haley/DeSantis exchange: Haley defends her record on kids and trans issues, accuses DeSantis of hypocrisy. DeSantis claims South Carolinians recently told him that she failed to step up.

"I signed a bathroom bill in Florida…I signed it, you didn't."

— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) December 7, 2023

6. ‘Conspiracy Theories’ (10:33 p.m.)

Ramaswamy depicted himself as a great truth-teller, willing to deliver truths that appear to be “conspiracy theories” to some.

“I think the real enemy is not Donald Trump. It’s not even Joe Biden. It’s the deep state that, at least, Donald Trump attempted to take on,” he said.

Ramaswamy said he was the only person on the stage who could say that the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, “now does look like it was an inside job; that the government lied to us for 20 years about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11; that the great replacement theory is not some grand, right-wing conspiracy theory, but a basic statement of the Democratic Party’s platform; that the 2020 election was indeed stolen by Big Tech; [and] that the 2016 election—the one that Trump won for sure—was also one that was stolen from him by the national security establishment that actually put up the Trump-Russia collusion hoax that they knew was false.”

"I think the real enemy is not Donald Trump. It's not even Joe Biden. It is the deep state that at least Donald Trump attempted to take on," @VivekRamaswamy says, addressing the 4th branch of government that is unaccountable to the people. #GOPDebate

— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) December 7, 2023

7. DeSantis, Haley Trade Barbs Over Who’s Soft on China (9:57 p.m.)

A question about illegal immigration and the proliferation of fentanyl in the United States sparked a debate between DeSantis and Haley on who would be tougher on China.

“Look at where fentanyl came from. Let’s go to the heart of the matter,” Haley, U.N. ambassador during the Trump administration, said. “It came from China. That’s why we need to end all normal trade relations with China until they stop murdering Americans with fentanyl.”

Haley said that Trump was strong on trade with China, but that’s all he was good at regarding the Communist Chinese regime, because fentanyl continued to come through the southern border. She said Trump gave China technology that bolstered its military.

DeSantis responded by saying that Haley courted Chinese businesses and influence when she was governor of South Carolina.

“She wrote a love letter to the Chinese ambassador, saying how great a friend China is,” he said, later adding: “There’s also a video of her, as governor, standing in front of a Chinese flag with a Chinese business saying that she now works for them, talking about this Chinese company.”

DeSantis then said that Haley’s “Wall Street donors” make money in China and won’t let her be tough on Beijing.

“He’s just mad because those Wall Street donors used to support him and now they support me,” Haley retorted.

She said that DeSantis held an event with a Chinese company in Florida, which he denied was the case. The Florida governor responded by saying that he banned China from buying land in his state and shuttered Confucius Institutes, Chinese-backed cultural centers on college campuses.

“Even the liberal media groups” said Haley’s charges about his bringing Chinese companies to Florida were false, DeSantis said.

8. Securing America’s Southern Border (9:50 p.m.)

DeSantis had said during a previous debate that he would support shooting migrants who enter the country illegally carrying dangerous drugs.  

“The drug cartels are invading our country, and they are killing our citizens by the tens of thousands every year,” the Florida governor said in defense of those comments.  

“The commander in chief not only has a right, you have a responsibility to fight back against these people,” DeSantis said of the Mexican cartels.  

He added that he supports both designating the cartels as foreign terrorist organizations and building a border wall and that he “will get it done.”  

“I am not going to sit there and allow mothers to lose more kids because of fentanyl overdose,” DeSantis said.

“I am not going to sit there and let sex trafficking go unabated or human trafficking go unabated. There’s going to be a new sheriff in town, and these drug cartels better buckle up,” he said as the crowd cheered.  

"There's a new sheriff in town," says @RonDeSantis discussing his border policies.

— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) December 7, 2023

Haley said the 7 million or 8 million illegal aliens who have entered America under the Biden administration “absolutely have to go back,” adding, “We have to stop the incentive of what’s bringing them over here in the first place.”  

For illegal aliens who have been in America longer than a few years, Haley said, “We’ve got to start seeing, who is it? How long have they been here? Have they been vetted? Have they paid taxes? Have they been working?”  

Haley said she would support sending “special operations” over to “take out the cartels” and reimplementing the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy. But when it comes to fentanyl, the former U.N. ambassador said, America must hold China accountable for providing the cartels with the materials needed to make fentanyl.  

America needs to “end all normal trade relations with China until they stop murdering Americans with fentanyl,” she said.

9. Would You Send Troops to Israel? (9:33 p.m.)

Eight Americans remain hostage in Gaza two months after Hamas took them captive Oct. 7 along with over 200 others after slaughtering 1,200 civilians in southern Israel.

“How far would you go as president to secure the release of those eight American hostages, and would it include sending American forces into combat?” one moderator asked DeSantis.  

“We have to look out for our people,” DeSantis said, adding that as president, “you have to do whatever you can” to get American hostages home.  

The Florida governor criticized Biden, claiming the president says he supports Israel but has done “nothing but try to kneecap them every step of the way.”

The Biden administration also must pressure Iran’s Islamist regime and “turn the screws on them,” DeSantis said. “Don’t let him have any oil revenue.” 

Christie, dissatisfied with DeSantis’ answer, said that if he were president and facing a situation like the current one involving U.S. hostages, he would “absolutely” send troops if military advisers “had a plan which showed me that we could get them out safely.”

“You’re damn right I’ll send the American Army in there to get our people home and get them home now, and I’ll answer that question directly,” the former New Jersey governor said.

Would you send in troops to get the American hostages out of Gaza?

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: “You’re damn right I’ll send the American Army in there to get our people home and get them home now, and I’ll answer that question directly.”

— Virginia Allen (@Virginia_Allen5) December 7, 2023

Ramaswamy got involved in the discussion of the Israel-Hamas war when moderators questioned him on why he had criticized Haley for calling Hamas’ bloody incursion into Israel an attack on America.  

The entrepreneur condemned Hamas’ terrorist attack, but added that “to say that that was an attack on America fails a basic test.”

He then took a shot at Haley.  

“I mean, Nikki, if you can’t tell the difference between where Israel is and the U.S. is on a map, I can have my 3-year-old son show you the difference.”  

Ramaswamy added that Haley’s language “is irresponsible, because it has major consequences, because that doesn’t leave room for what actually is an attack on America.”  

10. ‘Shut Up’: Christie-Ramaswamy Shoutfest (9:23 p.m.)

Two candidates at the back of the pack—Ramaswamy and Christie—engaged in a heated and seemingly personal exchange.  (At one point, Christie vigorously defended Haley from what he characterized as Ramaswamy’s insults about her intelligence and integrity.)

Haley talked about the need for a strong America in addressing the Russia-Ukraine war, prompting Ramaswamy to say that the former U.N. ambassador had “no idea” of the names of the Ukrainian provinces she would allow the U.S. military to fight for. 

Ramaswamy said he was the first candidate to propose a “reasonable” peace deal for Ukraine and Russia, which invaded the former Soviet republic in February 2022.  

Christie jumped in to say that deal would give Russia all the land it has stolen.

“This is the fourth debate that you would be voted … as the most obnoxious blowhard in America, so shut up,” Christie told Ramaswamy. 

Ramaswamy shot back: “Your version of foreign policy experience was closing down a bridge from New Jersey to New York. Walk yourself off that stage, enjoy a nice meal, and get the hell out of this race!”

At that point, the top-polling candidates on the stage—DeSantis and Haley—remained quiet. 

Ramaswamy said his opponents were following the lead of politicians who said after the 9/11 attacks that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. 

“You can put lipstick on a Dick Cheney. It is still a neocon,” he said. 

Christie shot back that he has experience in prosecuting terrorists as a U.S. attorney who took office immediately after Sept. 11, 2001.  

“I was the U.S. attorney in New Jersey when the terrorist attacks were launched against the United States in 2001,” he said.

“I brought the first two cases in this country against terrorists who tried to attack us again. And I know the threat of terrorism and bullying in this country and around the world,” Christie said. “At that time, he [Ramaswamy] was learning about the provinces in Ukraine, sitting with his smartass mouth at Harvard. The fact of the matter is, back then, he was a Democrat.”

11. DeSantis, Haley Spar Over Trans Procedures for Kids (9:14 p.m.)

Haley used a leftist slur to describe a Florida law that bans classroom discussions of gender and sexuality for children in kindergarten through third grade.

DeSantis slammed Haley’s remarks in an interview on “CBS Mornings,” which she made back in June.

“It wasn’t about the parents’ rights in education bill, it was about prohibiting sex-change operations on minors,” DeSantis said. “They do puberty blockers, they do irreversible—talk to [detransitioner] Chloe Cole, she went through this.”

“That is what Nikki Haley opposed,” the Florida governor added. “She said the law shouldn’t get involved in that, and I just ask you: If you’re somebody who’s going to be president of the United States, and you can’t stand up against child abuse, how are you going to be able to stand up for anything?”

Haley disputed DeSantis’ characterization, bringing up Florida’s HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education Act, which drew heavy fire from LGBTQ advocates, liberal media, and Democrats.

“I never said that,” she responded. “I said that if you have to be 18 to get a tattoo, you should have to be 18 to have anything done to change your gender.”

“You said the law should stay out of it,” DeSantis responded.

DeSantis slams Haley for her remark: “I think the law should stay out of it and parents should handle it" in reference to kids and trans procedures.

DeSantis: "You can't stand against child abuse, how are you going to be able to stand up for anything?"

— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) December 7, 2023

During the June interview with CBS News, Haley criticized pro-transgender policies that allow “biological boys” in girls’ locker rooms. The interviewer asked her: “What care should be on the table when a 12-year-old child in this country assigned female at birth says, actually, ‘I feel more comfortable living as a boy’?” Should the law allow that, he asked her.

“Well, I think the law should stay out of it,” Haley said. “This is a job for the parents to handle.”

She went on in that interview to criticize the idea that children should undergo permanent changes before they turn 18. She also emphasized that schools should not “go in and force things” on the issue.

Haley previously has criticized the idea that children should be allowed to undergo experimental transgender medical interventions before they turn 18.

“I actually said his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill didn’t go far enough,” Haley said.

The Florida measure, now law, didn’t use the word “gay.” The law includes the word “parent” 32 times and the word “parental” seven times. The law focuses on parental notification and parental awareness of what their kids are being taught or exposed to in school.

Peter Parisi, Ken McIntyre, and Sara Garstka contributed to this report.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.  

The post 11 Key Takeaways From the Fourth GOP Presidential Debate appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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How COVID-19 Hysteria Led Lisa Boothe to Become a Champion for Truth

“Authentic” is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year. It’s also a good way to describe Fox News contributor and podcast host Lisa Boothe, whose own authenticity is evident whenever she’s on TV or interviewing guests for her show, “The Truth With Lisa Boothe.”

During her frequent Fox News appearances—or stints guest-hosting for Fox anchors such as Laura Ingraham—Boothe brings a straightforward, commonsense approach to viewers.

She spoke with The Daily Signal about the opportunity that led her from Capitol Hill to the media world—and why she believes so many outlets are falling out of favor today.

“I feel like we’ve just lost common sense, period,” Boothe says. “I think we’re a society, and it extends to the media as well, of cowardice, a lack of common sense, probably just intentional lying, and just no morality. There’s no wrong vs. right anymore.”

Boothe’s full interview is available on today’s edition of “The Daily Signal Podcast.” Click below to listen and subscribe here.

Hamas’ barbaric attack on Israel—and the surge of antisemitism that followed—are just one example Boothe cites as a failure of the news media to distinguish wrong from right.

“Imagine how insanely frustrating it would be to be Israel. You have the most Jews slaughtered in a single day since the Holocaust, you have babies that were beheaded, you have women who are raped next to the bodies of their dead friends at a concert, completely unarmed,” Boothe said. “Just complete, utter atrocities, right? And then you have the media questioning what happened that day, questioning the beheading of babies.”

Israel, she said, was so compelled to counter pro-Palestinian propaganda that it invited journalists—including The Daily Signal—to view 43 minutes of video depicting Hamas terrorists’ brutal atrocities.

“Israel has to confirm things that these Hamas terrorists videotaped themselves and put out to the public, but then the media’s just pushing out Hamas propaganda without question,” Boothe said. “I mean, it’s just disgusting.”

Boothe said she felt a similar frustration during the COVID-19 hysteria that consumed the country beginning in 2020. From the start, she thought the government reaction was overblown—from widespread lockdowns to vaccine mandates.

As a result, she started her own podcast to offer a countervailing narrative.

“I believe I was the first person at Fox to come out and say, ‘I’m not getting the vaccine,’” Boothe said. “I just got frustrated that I didn’t have my own outlet to have these conversations, and interview these types of people, and to have that space of exploring this other side. [It] ended up being the right side, but not at the time—it was very dangerous.”

Today, Boothe’s show features a mix of political and cultural warriors who offer a different perspective from what you’ll hear from legacy media outlets. She posts new episodes every few days.

The Truth With Lisa Boothe” is syndicated by iHeartPodcasts and available on all major platforms.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post How COVID-19 Hysteria Led Lisa Boothe to Become a Champion for Truth appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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China Blames Weak Immunity from Coronavirus Lockdowns for Respiratory Outbreak in Children

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North Koreans Use Fake Names and LinkedIn Profiles to Land Jobs with Western Tech Firms

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Xi Jinping Pledges to Renew America’s Strategic Panda Reserve

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Report: China Goes on Bulldozing Spree Against Mosques in Muslim Areas

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Xi Jinping Demands Israel Stop Defending Itself in First Remarks on Hamas War

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DeSantis: I Wouldn't Welcome Xi for a Visit

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What Iowa Voters Have to Say About 2024 Election

DES MOINES, IOWA—The United States could collapse if it can’t control the border, says Jay Hayward, 68, of Grinnell, Iowa. 

“Illegal immigration, this is serious,” Hayward told The Daily Signal on Saturday while standing in line to attend a Donald Trump rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

“This is a great nation. If it doesn’t turn around soon, we could be looking at some sort of collapse,” he added. “Is there anyone other than me that feels like this is Rome 476 A.D.?” 

But the border crisis isn’t his only concern. As a Chicago native, he said he’s also worried about election security

“The rule of law; free, fair, and open elections,” Hayward added. “I am from Chicago and I have seen them steal elections for most of my life.”

The Daily Signal talked to Iowa voters just less than two months away from the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses about what are their most pressing concerns. Like Hayward, some named border security and election integrity. Still others talked about the economy and free speech as pressing issues that candidates should address in 2024. 

“I’m tired of being censored, afraid to say something to offend people,” said Sheila Toms, 50, a resident of Lytton, Iowa, also while waiting in line to attend the Trump rally in Fort Dodge. 

Toms said she was uncertain what could be done to hold Big Tech accountable. A woman standing next to her—who didn’t want to be interviewed—said, “Elon Musk needs to buy them all.”

“Amen,” Toms said to the Musk reference. She also answered, “More oversight. They are the new generation … Tech companies are how the kids are learning in school.” 

The biggest problem facing the United States is the decline of constitutional government, said Michael Ames, 53, of Winterset, shortly after attending the Thanksgiving Family Forum on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa. 

“I worry about us wandering away from our constitutional, Judeo-Christian roots,” Ames told The Daily Signal. “So that’s a huge thing for me.”

The forum featured three presidential candidates—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Ohio businessman Vivek Ramaswamy—in a discussion of issues. The event was put on by The FAMiLY Leader, a Christian conservative organization, and The Daily Signal was the media sponsor.

Also attending was Jay Fox, 23, of Urbandale, Iowa, who supports the next president holding Big Tech companies accountable for meddling in the elections.

“They should hold Big Tech accountable, especially for election interference,” Fox said. “Big Tech should be like a town square for people to be able to speak their minds. I don’t like the censorship. I’m not a fan of it.”

Fox was disappointed about Ohio voters’ decision to add unrestricted abortion to the state’s constitution. However, he viewed it as a short term setback for the pro-life cause and doesn’t think conservative candidates will waver.

“I just think it wasn’t a good turnout,” he said of the Ohio referendum. “I still think candidates will double down on their pro-life stances.”

Fox said the last time the United States has been on the right track was 2019, or before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were on the right track, it seems like just a few years ago, right before COVID probably,” he said. 

However, Joel Duvall, 50, from Madrid, Iowa, said you would have to go back to the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s to find when the country was really on the right track. 

“Reagan. We’ve had a few times where we were possibly on the right track but I think as a country, as a whole, when we were on the right track was under Reagan’s leadership,” said Duvall, who was also attending the Family Forum.

Most Iowa voters asked about the last time the country was heading in the right direction said it would have been just before the pandemic, or during the Trump administration. 

Charles Daugherty, of Cedar Rapids, agreed with Duvall that it was during the Reagan administration. 

The 77-year-old Daugherty also added he worried about a lack of respect in the United States. 

“Both parties, we have to learn how to be civil to be able to discuss with a calm attitude what we believe because we are commanded to love,” Daugherty, who was attending the Family Forum, said. “Jesus was able to speak to people and they liked to hear what he had to say. He wasn’t condemning, didn’t call people names.”

He said political name-calling can drive good people from political engagement. 

“I have a young lad in the last election who was excited to vote in his first presidential election, but he didn’t vote because he felt that in the debates the candidates—two for president—were acting like 8-year-olds,” Daugherty said. “Now that is an opinion of our 20-somethings. We can’t have respect unless we give respect.”

The border could have far-reaching consequences for the country, said Alden Trotman, 48, who is a visiting nurse from Penndel, Pennsylvania, and now living in Audubon, Iowa. He traveled to Fort Dodge to see the Trump event. 

“You allow an unknown amount of people into the borders. We are the only country in the world that does this,” Trotman said. “You do that in Germany, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, you do that in any other country, you are packed up and shipped out that day. Why should we be any different? If you earn the right to be here, God bless you. But don’t sneak in.”

Trotman said certain Big Tech firms were a problem. 

“Some parts that are valuable, pushing medical advancements, technology, learning to advance people is a great thing,” he said. “To control and spy and try to influence what we do is not good technology. TikTok is a company run by China. Their version of TikTok in China has an algorithm that promotes people doing wonderful things. The same TikTok that we have, the algorithm promotes us to do silly things and the dumber we can be the funnier it gets and the funnier it gets the more we promote them. Education is not something that is promoted.”

Melissa Wnuk, a resident of Ames, Iowa, attending the Trump rally, said the top issues are the economy, clean elections, and border security. 

Elaine Vanwyk, 80, of Pella, Iowa, said despite the outcome in Ohio, she doesn’t believe the Republican presidential candidates seem to be backing down from the pro-life cause. 

“As far as we’ve heard, they have a strong pro-life case, all the Republican candidates,” said Vanwyk, who attended the Family Forum with her husband Jerry. 

Barbara Vaughn, a resident of Swea City, Iowa, attending the Trump rally, named her top 2024 issues as “the economy, the wall, the illegal immigrants coming in … causing every type of problem.”

Jonathan DeRose, 31, a resident of Alta, Iowa, who traveled to the Trump rally, is concerned about free and fair elections. 

“We all know—or most of us know—there was fraud going on,” DeRose said. “We need to do away with the system that would help the fraud go on.”

Dennis Longhenry, 72, of Webster City, Iowa, had some policy prescriptions for elections. 

“No mail-in ballots, because I got six of them in 2020,” Longhenry, who was attending the Trump rally, said. “I was going to put Trump on every one of them, but I thought I’d go to jail. Also, if you’re not legal you don’t vote. If you’re not a citizen, you don’t vote.”

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post What Iowa Voters Have to Say About 2024 Election appeared first on The Daily Signal.

TikTok, YouTube Videos Push Websites that Turn Photos into AI Deepfake Pornography

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Australia's Leftist PM Albanese Refuses to Say How He Rebuked China over Warship Sonar Incident

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‘Outrageous Attempt at Disenfranchising’: 6 Takeaways From Trump’s Iowa Rally

FORT DODGE, IOWA – Near sprawling miles of farmland and even a few wind farms, former President Donald Trump delivered a fiery speech Saturday about China, election integrity and a big recent court victory. 

Ahead of the rally, Fort Dodge High School was adorned with Trump flags and signs. Ultimately, the fire marshal had to turn people away. 

Here are six big takeaways from the Iowa rally. 

1. ‘Outrageous Attempt at Disenfranchising’

Trump took a verbal victory lap after a recent court victory in Colorado against the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a liberal government watchdog group trying to disqualify him from running in 2024. 

Similar cases have emerged in state courts across the country claiming that under the 14th Amendment, Trump is ineligible to run for office because he allegedly participated in an insurrection because of his speech before the Capitol riot in 2021. 

“Today the radical left Democrats and their allies in the fake news media, right back there, all those people, are having an absolute meltdown because last night our campaign won a gigantic court battle in Colorado,” Trump said to applause from the crowd. 

“We had a very radical left judge and the radical left judge was saying a lot of things that weren’t nice,” Trump said. “In the end, she saw the light and did what was supposed to be done.”

Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace said in her opinion that Trump participated in an insurrection, but said it did not meet the requirements needed to remove him from the ballot. 

Judges in Minnesota and Michigan also turned back efforts to remove Trump from the ballot. 

“CREW, a bunch of losers, they’ve been suing for seven years, but they don’t stop,” Trump said. “It was an outrageous attempt at disenfranchising millions of voters by getting us thrown off the ballot. The judge in the end said we can’t do that. If they did that, I think it would have been very difficult for our country.”

Trump said the move is undemocratic.

“Our opponents are showing every day that they hate democracy,” Trump said. “They are trying every illegal move they can to try and steal this election.”

2. ‘Disease Named After Me’

Trump talked about his political enemies, and even joked there is a disease named for him, discussing “every sane person without what they call ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome.’” 

“You know what that is, it’s a great honor. I had a disease named after me, ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,’” he added.

He said that everyone without Trump Derangement Syndrome, “wants to get back to how great we had it under the Trump administration.”

Trump contrasted that with his time in office. 

“For four straight years, I kept America safe, I kept Israel safe, I kept Ukraine safe, and I kept the whole world safe,” Trump said. 

3. ‘Weak on China … Owned by China’

President Joe Biden met with China President Xi Jinping in San Francisco this past week. Trump blasted the president claiming he is compromised by China

Biden was praised by some for asserting that the unelected communist leader as a “dictator,” which wasn’t well received by the Chinese government. 

A China foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning reportedly called the comment “extremely wrong and irresponsible political manipulation.” 

Trump, during his Iowa rally, brought up investigations being led by House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. 

“Everyone says he’s so weak with China. You know why? Because he’s got a lot of money from China,” Trump said of Biden. “They know how much. We don’t. Jamie Comer and Jim [Jordan], they are doing a good job. But they will never find out. China knows the real numbers. And it’s a lot. We have a president that is very corrupt and controlled by a lot of foreign countries.” 

On Friday, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, wrote a letter blasting the House Republican impeachment inquiry into Biden, accusing House Republicans of “improperly weaponizing the oversight powers of Congress.” 

NEW >> White House slams so-called “impeachment inquiry” as illegitimate

The @HouseGOP is “improperly weaponizing the oversight powers of Congress,” even targeting the President’s deceased son’s widow

Yet another example of their extreme far-right priorities

Read the letter:

— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) November 17, 2023

Neither the White House nor the Biden 2024 campaign responded to inquiries from The Daily Signal on Sunday. 

4. ‘Out of Respect for the Office of the Presidency’

Trump said after Biden first became president in 2021, he wanted to hold back criticism out of respect for the high office.

“Once I got indicted the first time though, I said ‘now the gloves are off.’ Because out of respect for the office of the presidency, I never hit him this hard,” Trump said. “But now I say it. He’s the most incompetent president we’ve ever had. He’s the worst president we’ve ever had. He’s a total crook.”

Trump was indicted the first time in New York in a case related to allegedly paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had an affair with Trump. 

Trump was indicted on two federal charges from special counsel Jack Smith. One charge is related to his challenge of the 2020 election outcome. The other is related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents. In another case, Trump was indicted in Georgia for alleged racketeering in challenging the 2020 election outcome.

He went on to say, “Our leader can’t get off this stage.”

He mimicked Biden after a speech not knowing which direction to turn, and bumping into a wall, as the crowd cheered and laughed. 

Trump blamed Biden’s record for both domestic and international problems. 

“Under crooked Joe Biden we have uncontrolled inflation, an invasion of our southern border, rampant crime, wars in Europe, and a war that just started in the Middle East,” Trump said. “Look at what is going on with the attack on Israel. This world is a mess.”

5. Biden Trade Policy ‘Dead On Day One’

Trump also vowed to scrap the Biden administration push to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, or TPP, that includes the United States, as well as several Asian countries, but not China. 

“The TPP was a globalist hit job on American farmers and American manufacturers, and particularly [American] automakers, you won’t make any more cars here,” Trump said. “I hope the union heads know that. I think we are going to get most of the auto workers because when they go to all electric cars, which is preposterous, you can’t make them here. We don’t have the minerals, we don’t have the materials. We have a thing called gasoline. We should be using what we have, not what China has.”

Trump said Biden is trying to resurrect the TPP. 

“Under the next administration, our next administration, [the Biden plan] for TPP2 will be dead on day one,” Trump said, telling the Iowa crowd if he is elected. “it will be dead before I get to the top of the stairs.”

Trump actually credited Biden, somewhat, for not doing away with the Trump-era tariffs. 

“It’s been one Biden disaster and surrender after another from China. If you take a look at what is going on over there with trade. At least they haven’t had the courage to take off my tariffs on China. We are taking in hundreds of billions of dollars because of tariffs I put on China. You read that China is not doing so well right now. You know why? Thank you very much.”

6. ‘Your Excellency’

At the Iowa rally, Trump referenced his 2020 meeting with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, who serves as the group’s chief negotiator and also goes by Mullah Baradar. 

“He said, ‘May I ask you a question, your excellency?’ He called me your excellency. I wonder if he calls Biden your excellency?” Trump said. 

Trump also talked about the failure of Biden’s exit from Afghanistan

“They don’t want to bring it up, the fake news anymore, but how about the most embarrassing time in the history of the country, which is Afghanistan,” Trump said. 

“The way we surrendered, we never had a time like that. Giving away $85 billion in equipment, leaving hundreds and hundreds of people, taking out the soldiers first, you take the soldiers out last,” Trump added. “We had 13 dead and 38 horribly injured, and hundreds of people killed.”

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post ‘Outrageous Attempt at Disenfranchising’: 6 Takeaways From Trump’s Iowa Rally appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Summers: I Worry China Will Get More Aggressive Like the Soviets in Cuba, Berlin in the 1960s

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Report: Government Flubs Enabled China Disease Lab in California

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Bruner: 'Controligarchs' Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg 'Want to Make the U.S. More Like China'

By: Pam Key · Pam Key
Director of research at the Government Accountability Institute Seamus Bruner said Friday on the nationally syndicated "The Sean Hannity Radio Show" that "controligarchs" were attempting "to make the U.S. more like China."


(Lloyd Billingsley)

Back in July, the MidValley Times reported, officials in Reedley, California, discovered an illegal laboratory harboring mice, blood, tissue and bodily fluid samples, along with “thousands of vials that contained unlabeled fluids.” Closer inspection revealed “bacterial and viral agents, including: chlamydia, E. Coli, streptococcus pneumonia, hepatitis B and C, herpes 1 and 5, and rubella” along with “samples of malaria.”

An outfit called Prestige Biotech had had been operating the lab since October of 2022. Owner Xiuquin Yao told inspectors she lives in China, and officials were unable to establish who, exactly, owned the materials on the property. Some of the mysteries have been clarified in Investigation of the Reedley Biolab, a new report from the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

The lab was run by Jai Bei Zhu, a Chinese citizen using the fake name David He. Zhu is a fugitive from Canada, and a top official at PRC-state-controlled company with links to “military-civil fusion entities.” The illegal lab received millions of dollars from PRC banks, and  one of the lab’s many freezers was labeled “Ebola.” As the report notes, that is a “Select Agent’ with a lethality rate between 25-90 percent. If that sounds alarming, consider the response of the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC “did not test any of the apparent pathogen samples that were labeled in a code,” which was never deciphered. The CDC “did not even test the wholly unlabeled samples,” and “did not test the samples labeled COVID, even though both SARS-CoV and a chimeric version of the currently endemic COVID-19 are both Select Agents.”  The CDC also claimed they never saw a freezer labeled Ebola.

This made it impossible for the committee to “assess the potential risks that this specific facility posed to the community. It is possible that there were other highly dangerous pathogens that were in the coded vials or otherwise unlabeled.” Local authorities also identified “highly flammable, explosive, and corrosive chemicals” along with “trace narcotics, laboratory equipment, and hundreds of boxes containing faulty medical devices subject to an FDA health embargo.” The detail and photos are startling, but there’s a back story the report doesn’t cover.

The CDC deploys its very own “medical CIA,” in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, whose intrepid officers supposedly prowl the globe to prevent plagues from arriving in America. With COVID the EIS obviously failed, but their actual role remains a mystery.

In early 2020, the primary government spokesperson for the pandemic was CDC official Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a veteran of the EIS. Messonnier’s  Wikipedia profile shows the EIS officer in a jacket emblazoned with medals. According to the site, she was born Nancy Ellen Rosenstein, and is the sister of Rod Rosenstein, the DOJ official who launched the investigation of President Trump for allegedly colluding with Russia.

Dr. Messonnier conducted telebriefings on January 17, January 24, January 29, January 30, February 3, February 5, February 12, February 25, and March 10, 2020.  On February 5, when reporters asked about travel from Wuhan, Dr. Messonnier said “that’s something I’m not at liberty to talk about today” but did not reveal why that was so, or who was laying down the rules.

“I think we should be clear to compliment the Chinese,” Messonnier said, “on the early recognition of the respiratory outbreak center in the Wuhan market, and how rapidly they were able to identify it as a novel coronavirus.” And so on, a veritable recitation of China’s talking points, but there was more to it. The 2013 conference Messonnier attended provides enlightenment on the CDC’s medical CIA.

“Fifty-seven of the new officers are women (70%), and 12 are citizens of other nations (15%),”  explains Douglas H. Hamilton, director of the EIS division of applied science. “Besides the United States, this year’s officers represent Cambodia, China, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, South Korea, Taiwan, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.” (emphases added)

The CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service is actually a multinational body that includes “officers” from the People’s Republic of China.  Embattled Americans might wonder which nation’s interests the Chinese EIS officers represent. Given that reality, it’s no surprise that the CDC should decline to inspect deadly pathogens at an illegal lab in California run by cadres of the PRC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the CCP.

The Committee on the Chinese Communist Party might probe what the EIS knows about Wuhan Institute of Virology, where Dr. Anthony Fauci funded dangerous gain-of-function research. The virus from that lab was vectored into the United States. What does the EIS know, and when did they know it? In the meantime, consider the Reedley report’s conclusion:

At a minimum, the Reedley Biolab shows the profound threat that unlicensed and unknown biolabs pose to our country. At worst, this investigation revealed profound gaps in our nation’s defenses and pathogen-related regulations that present a grave national security risk that could be exploited in the future. It is therefore incumbent upon Congress and the Executive Branch to address these vulnerabilities now before it is too late.

To paraphrase Walter Sobchak, this is what happens when a constitutional democracy collaborates with a genocidal Communist dictatorship.

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Will America Lose the Next War?

(Steven Hayward)

My great teacher of strategic studies, the late Harold Rood, used to say the question of war is simple: if there’s going to be a war—and there will always be another war—who is going to win it?

Our friends at Kite and Key Media have produced another of their short but information-rich videos on this question, and it is sobering:

Biden and Xi Emerge from Four-Hour Meeting with Deal to Restore Military Contact

President Joe Biden and Chinese dictator Xi Jinping had their much-touted face-to-face meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday, spending about four hours dining and walking the grounds at the historic Filoli estate.

‘No Evidence’ of Joe Biden’s Corruption? That’s Willful Blindness

“No evidence.” “No evidence.” “No evidence.”

That’s what they keep saying about corruption investigations into President Joe Biden. But we’ve been fed this line before. So, what evidence is there?

It turns out, there’s a lot. Bank records, IRS whistleblowers, text messages, emails, confidential human source reports, and more. It’s a lot. So, let’s focus on just one part.

This is a $3 million wire to a shell company operated by [son] Hunter Biden’s business partner, Rob Walker, from a Chinese company, State Energy HK. State Energy HK was run by Ye Jianming, a former member of the Chinese military, who has worked off foreign-influence operations.

Walker’s shell company directed over $1 million from State Energy HK to three Biden family members. For example, this is a payment to Hallie Biden [Joe Biden’s daughter-in-law] 19 days after the initial transaction. But was Joe Biden involved? Yes, he was, in many different ways.

For example, Walker told the FBI that Joe Biden attended meetings with another of Ye Jianming’s businesses, CEFC, during [Biden’s] vice presidency. CEFC paid additional millions to Hunter and [Joe’s brother] James. Money also flowed between Joe Biden and his family members. Hunter stated that he gave half his salary to Joe. And bank records show large sums of money circuitously paid to Joe Biden, related to CEFC and other schemes.

Overall, while vice president, Joe Biden met with representatives of businesses in China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Romania, and Ukraine, all of whom made payments to his family. Congressional investigators and IRS whistleblowers, including a registered Democrat, agreed that more than $17 million flowed from foreign companies to at least nine Biden family members and their business associates. These payments occurred during and after Biden’s vice presidency.

So, is it that there’s “no evidence, no evidence, no evidence”? Or that there’s no amount of evidence that will prevent some media outlets from pushing a political narrative? Choosing to reject what your eyes see is risky business. Now that you have seen the evidence, what will you do?

Click the link to learn more.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post ‘No Evidence’ of Joe Biden’s Corruption? That’s Willful Blindness appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Watch: Chinese Flags Line San Francisco Streets for Xi Jinping

Chinese flags parading through the streets of San Francisco have been met with backlash as videos circulate on social media.

Biden meets Xi, says there is 'no substitute' for 'face-to-face discussion' on issues facing US, China

President Biden greeted Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and said the meeting is meant to “ensure" competition between the U.S. and Beijing doesn't "veer into conflict."

Experts Tell Congress: China-Dominated Africa Mining Creating an 'Environmental Catastrophe'

Rural communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are facing an "environmental catastrophe" as mining for cobalt and other minerals necessary for manufacturing batteries poisons their land and water with toxic chemicals, experts told Congress on Tuesday.

Yellen: 'Growth in China' Is 'Good for the United States' and World

On Tuesday’s broadcast of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that she and President Joe Biden “think greater income and growth in China is good for the globe and good for the United States as well.” And

Yellen: China Stopping Its Firms from Arming Russia Is Easier and Better than Sanctions, 'Opportunity' to Work with China

During an interview aired on Tuesday’s “PBS NewsHour,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that there is evidence “that strongly suggests” that private Chinese firms are directing military equipment to Russia and that while the U.S. is “prepared to sanction these

Yellen: 'Deep Economic Relationship' with China 'Generally Beneficial' to Both, 'We Have a Productive Competition'

During an interview aired on Tuesday’s “PBS NewsHour,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the “deep economic relationship and financial relationship” between the U.S. and China “is generally beneficial, both to China and the United States,” and “we have a

Reports: Biden Seeks to Convince Xi to Allow U.S. and Chinese Militaries to Talk

U.S. officials said on Monday that President Joe Biden will try to convince Chinese dictator Xi Jinping to restore communications between the American and Chinese military commands during their meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday.

China Demands ‘Concrete Constraints on Israel’ to Help Hamas

China’s state-run Global Times on Monday joined the chorus attempting to protect Hamas by demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, just as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are beginning to penetrate the tunnel complexes Hamas constructed under hospitals and schools.

Ron DeSantis Attacks Nikki Haley on China Despite His Own Questionable Record

Ron DeSantis accused Nikki Haley of being "number one" in bringing the CCP into her state despite his own questionable record on China.

Pro-Beijing Bishop: Catholic Church Must Embrace Chinese Communism

Beijing-appointed Bishop Joseph Shen Bin of Shanghai has declared that adopting socialist core values is “a fundamental requirement for the survival and development of the Catholic Church in China.”

San Francisco Erects Barricades to Keep out the Homeless for Xi Jinping

Barricades have been erected in San Francisco as the city cleans up its homeless population ahead of Joe Biden's meeting with Xi Jinping.