This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Inflation in January surged again, to 5.4%, according to a key gauge that is watched by the Federal Reserve.

"America is firmly stuck in an ongoing inflation crisis caused by Washington Democrats' reckless spending. Reports show families, farmers, and small businesses continue to suffer as a result of President Biden’s radical partisan agenda, yet he insists he will not abandon it," explained Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

A report from the Washington Examiner said the increase to 5.4% annually in the personal consumption expenditures price index, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, was unexpected.

The report noted it was "another sign that inflationary pressures are not abating in the face of the Federal Reserve’s campaign to slow price gains by hiking interest rates. Inflation is still running much hotter than the central bank’s target and damaging household purchasing power."

A different gauge, the Consumer Price Index, hit 9.1% last summer as a result of Biden's economic and political agenda pursuits. Prices of food and energy have exploded, with eggs in some places costing nearly a dollar apiece, and gasoline for cars charging past $6 a gallon in some cities.

The result is an extreme pain for middle- and lower-income Americans who must eliminate other items from their purchasing in order to pay the higher cost of necessities under Biden.

The Examiner said, "The headline number is bad news for the economy and for President Joe Biden, who had been counting on a continuation of the recent trend of disinflation. January's new reading is nearly a half percentage point higher than the 5% PCE inflation that was registered in December."

The report noted that core PCE inflation, which excludes those necessary costs for energy and food, was at 4.7% for the year.

"Net, net, despite all the heavy-lifting on interest rates by Fed officials for almost a year, they are no closer to bringing inflation down to target, in fact, there is evidence inflation is spreading like wildfire," Chris Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS, told the Examiner. "Heck, it isn’t spreading, it is exploding. The risk now is whether the Fed shifts back into full attack mode."

Other inflation reports recent have been equally bad for Biden.

The latest producer price index showed in just one month, from December to January, it was up 0.7% -- the largest hike in months. Annually that would be about 9%.

The Examiner reported, "Additionally, the 6.4% registered by the consumer price index in January was only down a tenth of a percentage point from December’s annual rate of inflation, further raising fears that the Fed’s aggressive crusade against rising prices isn’t working as quickly as it should."

The Federal Reserve's likely response will be to hike interest rates even more, thus putting a bigger burden, through bigger interest payments, on any American with any sort of financing. The result could be a recession for the nation.

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

One can chalk up a huge loss this week to "wokism."

That's the concept that everything in the world has to be in alignment with the politically correct, socially acceptable, LGBT and abortion ideologies.

It happened after the corporation in the United Kingdom that owns the rights to Roald Dahl's books, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" among others, decided it would edit all of those writings to conform them to "wokeness."

The public backlash was huge.

And just as abruptly, the company announced it was reversing course.

"We’ve listened to the debate over the past week which has reaffirmed the extraordinary power of Roald Dahl’s books and the very real questions around how stories from another era can be kept relevant for each new generation," announced Francesca Dow, the managing director of Penguin Random House Children's. "As a children’s publisher, our role is to share the magic of stories with children with the greatest thought and care. Roald Dahl's fantastic books are often the first stories young children will read independently, and taking care of the imaginations and fast-developing minds of young readers is both a privilege and a responsibility."

report in Washington Examiner explained that it was the U.K.'s Puffin U.K. that released a statement it would publish two editions of Dahl's books, "one that maintains the original language and another with the editorial changes that included eliminating entire sentences and replacing gendered language."

The report explained Dahl's books use unacceptable language such as "fat" and "men" and the publisher claimed those had to be eliminated to be acceptable.

"Some books saw descriptions and sentences entirely deleted or changed to language that had no connection to the original text," the report explained." The publisher will now release two editions of Dahl's books, which include well-known titles such as "Matilda," "James and the Giant Peach," and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

The originals will appear under the Penguin banner, and the "socially acceptable" edited versions under another name.

The announcement confirmed readers "will be free to choose which version of Dahl's stories they prefer."

Francesca Dow, of Penguin, said, "We have proudly published Roald Dahl's stories for more than 40 years in partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company. Their mischievous spirit and his unique storytelling genius have delighted the imaginations of readers across many generations."

That, however, apparently wasn't good enough, under the company's recent announcement. But that decision, to censor Dahl, apparently was a failure, too.

The "woke" agenda has been growing quickly across America, used by those who advocate for racism being taught in schools, race-based policies being imposed on society, and even financial "reparations" being paid to those who say they are of a disfavored race.

The New York Post, however, warned just months ago that while the idea "began with noble intentions – to raise public consciousness about the enduring impact of racism, sexism and inequality" – it now is "a severe form of political correctness, forced upon the public, with little tolerance for argument or debate."

The report explained, "The 'woke' insisted that people of color be called 'BIPOC,' artistic license be deemed 'cultural appropriation,' and Latinos be referred to as the gender-neutral 'LatinX' — a term few Hispanics like and almost never use. Gender itself was declared to be as elastic and expansive as possible, along with an endless array of pronouns to express every sexual identity. Embraced by progressive politicians and enshrined in Democratic platforms, anyone who questioned — or felt mildly curious about — these commandments was mocked, ridiculed, and ultimately canceled."

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Hunter Biden has been a reliable provider of controversy and scandal for Joe Biden for years now.

When Joe Biden was vice president, Hunter, according to critics, developed a massive pay-for-access program when he took in millions essentially for providing access to his father.

Then evidence from the laptop he abandoned at a repair shop provided details that the "big guy," identified as Joe Biden, even was in line for a percentage of one of those deals, which often were made with those from America's enemies, Russia and China.

Then there was that evidence, including photographic, of Hunter's drug dealings, lies on a federal form during a gun purchase, the prostitutes, and more.

So there has been a multitude of campaigns to rehab him.

Constitutional expert and George Washington University Jonathan Turley, who has testified before Congress multiple times, cited the newest effort as the "Dark Biden."

"Hunter’s handlers are reinventing Hunter in a more combative image. He is an edgy and aggressive antagonist ready to fight fire with fire against Republicans. A team was assembled to reportedly attack potential witnesses and critics. With a possible criminal indictment and congressional investigations looming, Hunter the businessman or recovering addict or victim will not do," Turley explained.

That follows campaigns he cited as "Hunter: the wrongly accused international businessman," "Hunter Biden: the victim of Russian Disinformation," and "Hunter Biden: Heroic recovering addict."

Hunter Biden already is known to be under federal investigation over tax issues, and GOP members in the House, now in the majority, have promised Congress will be looking into his activities as well.

In response, Turley explained, "Hunter appears to have acquired lawyers by the gross, including former Clinton counsel Abbe Lowell. Lowell recently sent out a letter that caused a stir by not only seemingly confirming the authenticity of the laptop but threatening a host of critics. Biden called for groups to be stripped of tax exemptions, suggested a host of possible defamation actions, and even demanded criminal investigations against critics."

He noted Lowell recently defied a demand for evidence from the House Oversight Committee, thumbing his nose at Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Ky.

"Peddling your own inaccurate and baseless conclusions under the guise of a real investigation, turns the Committee into ‘Wonderland’ and you into the Queen of Hearts shouting, ‘sentence first, verdict afterward,'" he charged in a response to Congress.

"Lowell categorically refused to turn over a single document to House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.), saying there was no 'legitimate legislative purpose' for the investigation into Hunter," Turley said.

"The message is 'fear us' but it could not be less convincing than if Lowell put black tights and an eared mask on his client. It just does not fit. Congress has a legitimate interest in investigating whether millions of dollars from foreign interests, including some connected to foreign intelligence, were funneled to the Biden family to influence President Biden," Turley wrote.

He continued, "Emails repeated references not only Joe Biden and suggest knowledge of the dealings despite his repeated denials of any knowledge or involvement. There is also a clear effort to hide Joe Biden’s involvement. In one email, Biden associate James Gilliar instructed Tony Bobulinski, then Hunter’s business partner: 'Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.' Bobulinski has given sworn statements that he personally met with Joe Biden to discuss these dealings.

"Emails used code names for Joe Biden such as 'Celtic' or 'the big guy.' In one, 'the big guy' is mentioned as possibly receiving a 10% cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm. There are also references to Hunter paying off his father’s bills from shared accounts," he noted.

He said, "Code names, cuts for 'the big guy' and millions in mysterious foreign transactions are ample reasons for a congressional inquiry."

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A leftist prosecutor, in office at least partly because of financial support from progressive megadonor George Soros, has been fired by her state attorney general for missteps.

The latest bridge too far for Kim Gardner, the St. Louis circuit attorney, came when a 16-year-old volleyball player, Janae Edmonson, was visiting St. Louis with her team and was hit by a speeding vehicle and lost both legs.

report from Just the News explained the driver, Daniel Riley, was "a dangerous gunman who should have been in jail."

The suspect was accused in 2020 of stealing a firearm at gunpoint and, the report explained, since then has violated his bond conditions more than 100 times. He also didn't have a driver's license.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey noted, "Instead of protecting victims, Circuit Attorney Gardner is creating them. This is the latest in a long pattern of brazen neglect. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney has a long history of failure to prosecute violent crime, with a backlog of at least 3,000 cases."

Gardner previously was accused of misconduct for her behavior in her case against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. She also staged a full-scale court attack on Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, over their decision to hold firearms on their own property when they were confronted by potential rioters in the Black Lives Matter movement.

She was later barred from prosecuting McCloskey by a judge after she used his case to fundraise for her re-election campaign.

Bailey fired Gardner by using "quo warranto" proceeding, a writ that requires people to whom it is direct to show what authority they have for exercising some right or power. She had refused his orders to resign.

Gardner, a Democrat, also was accused of "unethical" behavior by a grand jury last year, and a year ago she was ordered by the Missouri Supreme Court to comply with a public records request from Just the News Editor-in-Chief John Solomon regarding the prosecution she staged against Greitens.

Former President Donald Trump has reportedly asserted his executive privilege and other legal privileges in opposition to federal grand jury subpoenas of some of his associates in relation to the federal investigation of his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the related Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021.

Two major media outlets asked a federal district court in Washington D.C. to unseal and release certain documents pertaining to that grand jury, but the judge denied that request in the interest of continued secrecy, the Washington Examiner reported.

What those media outlets were after are details about the disposition of Trump's various privilege claims, particularly with regard to aides of former Vice President Mike Pence who have been brought in to testify as well as former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his chief deputy Pat Philbin, among others.

The judge determined, however, that releasing any such information, even in a redacted form, risked also revealing other information that should remain secret, exposing government witnesses, and undermining the government's ongoing investigation.

Arguments for release

In a 32-page opinion released on Thursday, D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell denied the petitions filed by Politico and The New York Times with regard to the details of former President Trump's privilege claims before the federal grand jury.

The two outlets had argued that the "significant public interest" in that particular information "outweighs the need for continued secrecy," especially given the fact that President Joe Biden has refused to support his predecessor's privilege claims and the concerns of some that the former president was using his asserted privilege to "silence" his former associates on "matters of urgent national significance."

Thus, they requested the unsealing of an assortment of grand jury-related documents, with necessary redactions, including dockets, court opinions and orders, legal briefings, and argument transcripts -- especially those materials in regard to the scope of Trump's executive privilege claims.

The federal government, for its part, filed a sealed response to the petitions and essentially refused to even confirm the existence of the grand jury while it simultaneously argued that nothing related to that apparently hypothetical grand jury should be unsealed.

Requests denied

In Judge Howell's decision, she laid out the various arguments and prior precedents both for and against unsealing materials pertaining to matters before a grand jury but ultimately came down on the side of continued secrecy in this particular case.

"Accordingly, [the grand jury secrecy rule] does not permit such disclosure, at least for now and perhaps forever, and so petitioners’ applications are denied," Howell wrote.

She further noted, "The continued secrecy of certain details about that investigation is required for the sake of grand jury witnesses and the government’s investigation."

Appeals are under consideration

Politico reported that both it and The New York Times were considering filing an appeal for a higher court to override Judge Howell's decision and allow the requested grand jury materials to be unsealed.

"POLITICO is committed to the principle that a government of, for and by the people is transparent with the people on such an important matter," spokesperson Brad Dayspring said in a statement. "We are reviewing the decision and evaluating next steps."

Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokesperson for The Times, said in a statement, "We are disappointed in the ruling. We will make a decision about whether to pursue further legal steps once we’ve had time to process the opinion that sets forth the rationale for the decision."

Fox News reports that two members of the White House Press Office have resigned. 

These two individuals are Megha Bhattacharya and Robbie Dornbush.

Bhattacharya has been the press assistant of White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. And, Robbie Dornbush has been Jean-Pierre's chief of staff.

Bhattacharya has been with the administration of President Joe Biden since February 2022, whereas Dornbush has been there for about nine months.


Jean-Pierre announced the resignations of Bhattacharya and Dornbush on Wednesday, calling the news "bittersweet."

"We have another bittersweet day for us, for the White House press team, as this is the last press briefing for Megha and Robbie — to my right here — who are valued members of our team," Jean-Pierre told reporters during the press briefing.

Jean-Pierre went on to offer reminiscences of the pair.

Jean-Pierre said:

Megha has been with our team since February of last year and I don’t think she stopped smiling since. I’ve never seen someone so happy and so, just really wonderful. And she always has a smile on her face. Megha has yelled "thank you press" in every room of the White House and on three different continents. She’s done it all with grace, a great sense of humor, and grade A outfits. She’ll be missed by our team and much of the Press Corps as well.

Turning to Dornbush, Jean-Pierre said, "I knew Robbie before this administration began. But we will truly miss you, Robbie.  Thank you for everything that you’ve done."

What now?

Jean-Pierre, during the press briefing, revealed that, although Bhattacharya is leaving the press office, she is not leaving the Biden administration. Instead, she will be taking a job in the State Department.

Jean-Pierre, however, did not reveal any specifics about Dornbush's future. Jean-Pierre, also, did not really reveal the actual cause of the departures.

During the Biden administration's tenure, there has been a particularly high turnover rate, and, most of the time, an explanation for the departures has not been provided.

The communications office has not been immune to the high turnover rate. Most notably, Jean-Pierre replaced Jen Psaki, Biden's original White House press secretary, who left the administration for a gig on MSNBC.

In addition to this, the press team has lost several other top staffers, including Vedant Patel, Mike Gwin, and Amanda Finney. All three departed in the same week, and all three have gone on to take jobs elsewhere in the Biden administration.

Former President Donald Trump formally launched his re-election campaign in November and since that time has led all of his actual and prospective Republican primary competitors in most of the polls.

In one recent poll, Trump drew more than double the support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has not declared his candidacy, and more than triple the support for the declared candidacy of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Breitbart reported.

Trump has twice the support of DeSantis

In light of Haley's recent entry into the 2024 Republican primary contest, Rasmussen Reports surveyed 900 likely voters between Feb. 16-20, with a 3 percent margin of error, and asked those voters who they would prefer between former Ambassador Haley, Gov. DeSantis, and former President Trump.

Trump garnered 52 percent support, which was more than twice as much as the 24 percent who picked DeSantis and more than three times as many as the 15 percent who supported Haley.

No other actual or prospective candidate drew more than 3 percent, and a sizeable 9 percent of respondents were undecided on who they would support.

GOP voter candidate preferences:@realDonaldTrump - 52%@GovRonDeSantis - 24%@NikkiHaley - 15%
Not sure - 9%
Other - @Mike_Pence @mikepompeo @Liz_Cheney @tedcruz @VivekGRamaswamy ? - 3%

— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) February 23, 2023

Trump doubles up on DeSantis

The results of that Rasmussen survey aren't too dissimilar from the results of a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll from the same period in time that was released just a few days earlier, per a separate report from Breitbart.

That national poll surveyed 1,838 registered voters between Feb. 15-16, with an unknown margin or error, and among other things, asked several questions about the hypothetical Republican primary field for 2024.

Former President Trump drew 46 percent support compared to 23 percent for Gov. DeSantis, which was down five points from the most recent prior survey.

Former Vice President Mike Pence ranked third with 7 percent while former Ambassador Haley was next with 6 percent, up three points from the prior poll.

Trump victorious in all head-to-head matchups

In the Harvard/Harris poll's hypothetical head-to-head matchups, Trump beat DeSantis 56-44 percent as well as Haley by a wider margin of 69-31 percent.

As for how the top two Republicans fared against the top two Democrats, President Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris, the pollsters determined that Trump would defeat Biden 46-41 percent as well as Harris 49-39 percent.

Meanwhile, if DeSantis were the GOP nominee, he would edge out Biden 42-41 percent and Harris 42-40 percent.

For what it is worth, the poll also found among just Republican and independent voters that 54 percent predicted that Trump would win the GOP's nomination, and among the 46 percent who thought he would lose, 41 percent believed DeSantis would ultimately prevail while 27 percent were entirely unsure of who would win in the absence of Trump.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), a self-styled anti-corruption progressive who was an outspoken opponent of former President Donald Trump's administration, appears to be in a bit of potential trouble as she gets ready to launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate.

An ethics complaint has been filed by a government watchdog group and alleges that Porter may have corruptly used official business-only taxpayer funding for partisan political purposes, Breitbart reported.

Ethics complaint filed

In a Wednesday letter addressed to the Office of Congressional Ethics, the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust's Executive Director Kendra Arnold called upon that office to "immediately investigate whether Representative Katie Porter abused official resources for political purposes."

"In 2022, Rep. Porter’s congressional office used taxpayer funds to run ads that are overtly political. These ads contained identical messaging or images to ads that her campaign ran and were often times completely indistinguishable from her campaign ads," Arnold wrote and provided a few examples of the strikingly similar ads.

The FACT complaint letter noted that both Porter's campaign and congressional office had simultaneously used the same Democratic digital ad vendor, Wavelength Strategy, with the campaign paying the vendor approximately $1.6 million over most of 2022 while the office paid the vendor more than $130,000 for a brief three-month period over the summer.

That would appear to violate both federal law and House ethics rules that specifically prohibit congressional members from using appropriated "taxpayer-funded resources for campaign or political purposes" and only allow such resources to be used for "official communications" purposes.

It's all the same

The FACT complaint letter went on to reiterate the many similarities in appearance and messaging between the ads produced for Rep. Porter's office and her campaign and highlighted that they were all produced by the same vendor.

"Her use of a single vendor to run substantially similar ads indicates Porter was either using taxpayer funds to disseminate campaign materials or using campaign funds to distribute official materials -- neither is allowed," the group's executive director wrote.

"The laws at issue, in this case, are extremely important because not only do they protect taxpayer funds from abuse, but they address the public perception that incumbents are simply using their office to run for reelection," the letter stated. "The reason for that perception is quite evident in Rep. Porter’s actions. Moreover, her use of official resources in this case does not reflect credibly on the House."

"The Office of Congressional Ethics is responsible for ensuring each Representative fulfills the public trust inherent in the office and that they comply with the House’s ethical standards. Therefore, we urge the Board to immediately investigate whether Representative Porter used official resources for campaign purposes in violation of federal law and the House ethics rules," Arnold concluded.

Congresswoman's office claims no wrongdoing occurred

According to The Washington Free Beacon, Rep. Porter's office spent at least $227,000 in taxpayer funds in 2022 for digital ads and physical mailers to send to constituents that featured the same imagery and political messaging as her campaign ads.

"The law absolutely prohibits members from using taxpayer dollars for political purposes," FACT's Arnold told the Free Beacon. "Clearly running political-style campaign ads with official funds would fall under this rule."

The congresswoman's office has pushed back, though, as Communications Director Jordan Wong insisted that no wrongdoing had occurred, that the office fully abided by House ethics rules, that the office materials had been reviewed and approved by the bipartisan House Communications Standards Commission, and that it was permissible to update constituents of legislative activities in such fashion.

However, Arnold said, "If the substance of a taxpayer-funded ad and a campaign ad are substantially similar or identical, that indicates both are in fact for a political purpose and both are campaign ads," and added, "In this case, it appears that not only was the substance of many of the ads similar or the same, but also the same vendor was used by her campaign and her congressional office and many ads were disseminated in the same way."

Amid growing concerns and doubts about President Joe Biden and whether he will actually run for re-election in 2024, some Democrats are giving serious thought to mounting their own campaigns to win the Democratic Party's nomination.

One of those is author Marianne Williamson, who has teased a possible presidential run over the past week and recently confirmed her intention to formally launch a campaign next month, Breitbart reported.

Williamson mounted an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2020 that garnered plenty of attention but little actual support, and she ultimately dropped out of the race before any caucus or primary votes were cast.

Imminent presidential campaign confirmed

According to Northwestern University's student-run Medill News Service, Williamson confirmed in an interview that the March 4 "announcement" event in Washington D.C. that she has teased will indeed be the formal launch of a 2024 campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

"I wouldn’t be running for president if I didn’t believe I could contribute to harnessing the collective sensibility that I feel is our greatest hope at this time," Williamson said.

Per the outlet, she warned of the "threat of authoritarianism" and took direct aim at who she viewed as responsible for the nation's current ills -- "corporate oligarchs, fossil fuel companies, gun manufacturers, and the military-industrial complex" -- and chastised elected officials for not doing enough to address them.

"People who run the government are divided into two categories, those who either don’t care to fix it, or do not have the spine to fix it. And neither category should be running this country," Williamson said.

She also took exception to the "undemocratic" way in which the Democratic National Committee and President Biden unilaterally altered the traditional order of states ahead of the 2024 primary season, in which South Carolina -- which is viewed as more favorable to Biden -- was moved from third to first and supplanted Iowa and New Hampshire as the traditional first caucus and primary in the nation.

Williamson asked rhetorically, "How can you claim to be a champion of democracy when your own process is so undemocratic?"

Campaign announcement was teased last week

Politico reported Saturday that Williamson issued a statement that said, "As America gears up for the 2024 presidential election, I’m preparing an important announcement on March 4th in Washington DC," and cited several reasons that "propelled me to explore the possibility of running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2024."

Just one day earlier, in an interview with the news outlet's Playbook, Williamson said that she "absolutely" would run as a Democrat and expressed how she took issue with some of President Biden's dubious claims about how the "economy is getting stronger."

"I think that speaks to the disconnect between the analysis of party elites versus the struggle of everyday Americans. We're being asked to limit our political imaginations -- to just accept the low unemployment and low inflation rate, that that is sort of the best that we can get," she explained. "But that is a hollow victory. The majority of Americans are still struggling to survive."

Williamson also lashed out against the DNC over its alteration of the primary schedule in that interview with Politico as well.

"How can the Democratic Party present itself as a champion of democracy and do something as undemocratic as overtly engineering the primary schedule to make sure that their chosen candidate would win it?" she asked. "That is spitting in the face of democracy."

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