Royal Caribbean International will no longer require any of its cruise passengers to be vaccinatedfor COVID-19 as it had previously planned to. In a press release Friday announcing cruises for sale on eight of its ships from U.S. ports this summer, starting with Freedom of the Seas from Port Miami on July 2, the company said it will recommend passengers get the COVID-19 vaccine, but not require it.
The announcement is a reversal from previous statementsand vaccine protocols the company submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month that said it would require all passengers at least 18 years old and older to be vaccinated. The about-face is an apparent submission to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has insisted that there will be no exception made for cruise companies to a newly passed Florida law that fines companies $5,000each timethey ask a patron to provide proof of vaccination.
"We are going to enforce Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens and we are going to enforce it." ... DeSantis told reporters
.. Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted a press conference Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach to sign three bills into law that are designed primarily to support active- duty military personnel, veterans and their families. All three have received support from prominent veteran leaders in Northeast Florida.
“Enhanced veterans preference opportunities expands our ability to attract and retain top talent as another way to ensure Florida remains the most military and veterans friendly state in the nation,” DeSantis said
Projecting the state's spending plans during the pandemic initially looked like "really, really big disaster for Florida," DeSantis said. "We were obviously concerned about it, but as we got into the summer (of 2020), we were open. I remember a lot of people were trying to tell me to close restaurants like this one, so we didn't do it. We kept businesses open, we got kids in school, we did all those things and the result was our economy really started to rebound."
Sen. Tom Wright -- The Governor -- Rep. Webster Barnaby
Jeff Gehris, owner of The Garlic, thanked DeSantis for his approach to keeping businesses open. "I have to thank him for the common-sense approach that's happened here with this COVID disaster," Gehris said. "The past three months are the best three months we've had 16 years."
photos by Vic Baker
Record spending, money in reserves
Despite its low tax burden, the state has $9.5 billion in reserves, and will show more after June's revenue is added before the new fiscal year starts on July 1, DeSantis said. "That's gonna mean we have $10 billion in reserve in the state of Florida," he said.
The governor touted K-12 schools spending, including $1,000 bonuses for teachers and school principals, as well as first responders and corrections workers, $10.3 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation's work program and $2.5 billion for mental-health and substance-abuse programs.
"This is one of the best budgets the state's ever done for mental health and mental well-being," DeSantis said. "It's also one of the best budgets we've ever done for protecting Florida's water resources and natural environment." He cited $625 million for Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources, millions more for coastal resiliency grants.
Rep. Tom Leek - VC GOP Chairman Paul Deering - Sen. Tom Wright
“I can tell you this: in Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports and boys are going to play boys’ sports.”
After signing S.B. 1028, Gov. DeSantis introduced Selina Soule, who spoke about her experience losing to biological males who identify as female:
“In 2017, Connecticut began allowing two male athletes who self-identify as girls to compete in girls’ sports. During all four years of high school, I was forced to compete against them, even though they were bigger, stronger, and faster than me, because they were male,” Soule recounted. “In just three years, these two athletes won 15 women’s championship titles and they set 17 new individual meet records, records which we girls had no hope of breaking.”
“Those two biological males would dominate the field, leaving us girls to compete for third place and beyond. No matter how hard we’d train, and how hard we pushed ourselves, they beat us time and time again. We elite female athletes don’t give up a normal high school experience just for participation trophies. We race to win,” she said.
“This isn’t about self-expression, this is about our right — a woman’s right — to win,” Soule declared. “During my junior year, I was denied the chance to compete at the regional New England championships. I missed advancing to the next level of competition at the 55-meter dash by just two spots, two spots that were taken by biological males,” she recalled.
“It was frustrating, heartbreaking, and demoralizing to be sidelined in my own sport,” Soule said. She said she reviewed the bill DeSantis would sign. “All I can say, on behalf of all female athletes, is, Thank you, governor.”
“Let me say very clearly, in Florida, we’re going to do what’s right"
“We’ll stand up to corporations. They are not going to dictate the policies in this state. We will stand up to groups like the NCAA who think that they should be able to dictate the policies in different states. Not here, not ever.”
“And so we won’t be cowed. We will stand strong,” DeSantis added. He declared that even if the price of defending fairness in women’s sports is “that we lose an event or two, I would choose to protect our girls every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
There are a few things that the low-testosterone, has-been Republicans like Paul Ryan and his ilk always miss when they warn the party away from Donald Trump. The most obvious, of course, is that this is Trump’s party now and they’re merely C Team periphery players who should be seen and not heard. Much to the chagrin of the Romney/Cheney/Ryan surrender wing of the GOP, Trump remains a major player in Republican politics from Mar-a-Lago. He’s not going to go away, and most Republicans don’t want him to.
Trump is now joining forces with Newt Gingrich, who runs a close second to the former president as the Republican Democrats Most Love to Hate.
One of President Trump’s 2020 campaign pitches was “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” On the campaign trail in 2016, he was pretty specific on key priorities like Supreme Court nominations, border security, the economy, and trade. When he could use the Chief Executive powers, he delivered on more of his promises than any president in my lifetime, even dragging congressional Democrats along when further obstruction would hurt them politically.
Now he has tapped Newt Gingrich to develop a modern version of a very successful idea from the 1990s. Gingrich was the author of the Contract with America, a document that gave congressional Republicans and candidates the message discipline to make their case to the American people. Historians credit this contract with allowing Republicans to retake both chambers of Congress in 1994 for the first time since 1953. Politico reports Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Senator Lindsey Graham are also involved.
The event is on and expected to draw an enormous crowd. Joe Chenelly, the national executive director of AMVETS said the Pentagon’s rejection backfired – "Sunday morning we will be staging at RFK stadium and more bikers are now expected to attend than before."
Memorial Day isa day of remembrance for those who died in service to the United States of America. It was commemorated at first to honor the Union dead of the Civil War and originally proclaimed Decoration Day by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, on May 30, 1868. Finally, by 1967, Decoration Day officially became Memorial Day, according to federal law. There are many great traditions in the military. One of the greatest is a solemn respect for anyone who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy
“The media at the beginning of this said Florida’s bad and I think it’s because they want to damage Trump in Florida, they want to damage me. So, they just kept saying it was bad. And even though the facts didn’t say it, literally last April, they’re saying Florida is doing worse than New York. New York was like 10 times worse.”
And so, people that buy those phony narratives, they probably aren’t coming to Florida. But the people that see through it, they think like us. And so, I a lot of these people are coming. I think they are registering as Republicans overwhelmingly. And I also have come across a lot of people who were Democrats. The lockdowns turned them into Republicans.”
. Rubio is a NO on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA)
“Greater Collusion” with Big Tech companies from Silicon Valley.
“The issue is the monopoly. They are now the gatekeeper for the new public square. It is a concentrated amount of power in the hands of five or six big companies. There are five companies in America—if they decide to get together—if Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter all decide to get together, they can shut you down.
They can shut anyone down. They can shut down the President of the United States. They can shut down anybody. That’s a lot of power concentrated in the hands of unelected, unaccountable individuals to completely cut somebody off from the public square and wipe you out."
Sen. Rubio’s opposition comes as several other Republicans have joined the cause lining up against the bill. In the House, GOP leaderKevin McCarthyand House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) have announced public opposition to the plan. In the Senate, Rubio joinsSen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN),who announced her opposition to the proposal earlier in May.
It also comes as the bill’s chief GOP proponent, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), faces serious criticism inside the Republican Party amid the push for the legislation. Buck, as Breitbart Newsreported earlier in May, took thousands of dollars in donations from lobbyists and special interests pushing the bill, including PACs for companies that stand to benefit from it. A subsequentPolitico investigationfound even more donations to Buck from special interests, totaling more than $50,000.
Ron DeSantis Lands Massive Blow Against Big Tech Oligarchs
The bill, the first of its kind in the nation, was passed by Florida's House 77-38 and the state's Senate 23-17 (viaFLgov.com).
All Floridians treated unfairly by Big Tech platforms will have the right to sue companies that violate this law — and win monetary damages. This reform safeguards the rights of every Floridian by requiring social media companies to be transparent about their content moderation practices and give users proper notice of changes to those policies, which prevents Big Tech bureaucrats from "moving the goalposts" to silence viewpoints they don’t like.
The Attorney General of Florida can bring action against technology companies that violate this law, under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If social media platforms are found to have violated antitrust law, they will be restricted from contracting with any public entity. That "antitrust violator" blacklist imposes real consequences for Big Tech oligopolies’ bottom line.
Big Tech is prohibited from de-platforming Floridian political candidates. The Florida Election Commission will impose fines of $250,000 per day on any social media company that de-platforms any candidate for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for de-platforming candidates for non-statewide offices. Any Floridian can block any candidate they don’t want to hear from, and that is a right that belongs to each citizen — it’s not for Big Tech companies to decide.
- The 1776 Commission met in D.C. on Monday May 24th
The statement praises federalism and the primary role of parents in protecting their children from being "taught false narratives or fed hateful lies about our country." Like-minded people should run for school boards, and states and localities should reform their curricula to "teach our true history."
The federal government is seeking to circumvent the Constitution's reservation to the states of unenumerated federal powers (like a power to nationalize educational standards)by incentivizing school districts to adopt its "one-size-fits-all" proposal, which like the Common Core standards is a "blueprint for trivializing and mechanizing learning," the commission said.
The commission is led by Larry Arnn, president of non-taxpayer-funded Hillsdale College, and Carol Swain, a retired law professor at Vanderbilt University. It also includes Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member Peter Kirsanow, historian Victor Davis Hanson and former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.
One of the first actions by Joe Biden was to scrap the “1776 Commission,” which was an initiative by President Trump to restore respect for American history. But Donald Trump is not abandoning the fight for America’s freedom and founding principles.
Click on image
The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission Mission Statement: "To enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776 and to strive to form a more perfect Union. This requires a restoration of American education, which can only be grounded on a history of those principles that is accurate, honest, unifying, inspiring, and ennobling".
Apparently, this was too controversial a mission for the progressives who hate America’s founding, the freedom of Americans to live their own lives, and the Constitutionally limited government that restrains them from carrying out their authoritarian agenda.
Now, Donald Trump is bringing the commission back.
“Members of the1776 Commission, which Joe Biden disbanded on his first day in White House, are reportedly set to meet again with a renewed focus on combating the teaching of U.S. history based on the Marxist critical race theory,” the Epoch Timesreported.
In an interview withWashington Examiner, Matthew Spalding, the 1776 Commission's executive director, said that members of the 1776 Commission will convene next week in Washington on the campus of Hillsdale College. One of their topics will be critical race theory, which sees racism in all aspects of American life.
“When we start going about dividing people by groups, by social identities, and especially by identities that deal with race, and we’re starting to make those kinds of divisions .. it’s a departure away from the historic grounding of civil rights in America, which is that we all are equal.”
Nationally, Republicans are warring not just with Democrats, but themselves.
For a local example, look no further than the homepage of the Volusia County Republican Executive Committee website, showing photos of the 35 GOP House members who voted with Democrats to create a commission examining the events of Jan. 6. The pictures are beneath a headline that starts: “Throw them out.”
Divisions have formed within the Volusia GOP itself. The executive committee is severing ties with three of its clubs, including the Republican Club of Daytona, which has been chartered for 66 years. The other two clubs on the outside are the Republican Club of Ormond Beach Area and the Republican Club of West Volusia. So where Republicans had eight active clubs last November, today they only show four.
All clubs must go through a re-certification process every two years. As part of that process, the clubs must obtain the signatures of the Volusia Republican Executive Committee, comprised of Deering, Committeeman Vic Baker and Committeewoman Debbie Phillips. The clubs must agree to follow all federal and state laws as well as the rules of the Republican Party of Florida and the Volusia County REC.
Deering said problems during last year's election — specifically, clubs and club members endorsing some Republicans over others during the primary — led him to ask the clubs to abide by a set of additional regulations. The Daytona, Ormond and West Volusia clubs refused. None of the club presidents returned calls Friday seeking comment.
Deering said he offered to speak directly to each of the clubs about the necessity of the added regulations. “In this case, only one of the clubs allowed me to speak for three minutes to balance the 35 minutes of their presentation,” he said. “They had a predisposition to go that way. We wish them well. They believe the grass is greener, and that's perfectly OK.”
Deering said none of the national political turmoil within the GOP — differences of opinion on whether or not to support a Jan. 6 commission, Rep. Liz Cheney's leadership position and the belief that former President Donald Trump was cheated out of a second term — were factors in the split between the REC and the local clubs. “Most of us believe the election was stolen, and that will come out in time.”