May 26, 2023

Friday: Below the Fold

SCOTUS upholds the Fifth Amendment, Target losing bigly, Bank of America helped FBI spy on its customers, and more.


  • SCOTUS upholds the Fifth Amendment: On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of upholding a 94-year-old woman’s Fifth Amendment rights and ordered a Minnesota county to pay her the $25,000 profit from the sale of her home. After Geraldine Tyler failed to pay $15,000 in property taxes she owed on an apartment she owned, Hennepin County lawfully seized the property and sold it for $40,000. The sale of the property covered the tax bill and then some. However, instead of giving Tyler the remains of the sale after her bill was payed, the county simply pocketed the profit. As Chief Justice John Roberts observed, “The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s but no more.” The Court agreed that individual property rights include the equity their property accrues, and for a state or local government to pocket the equity is “home equity theft,” which constitutes a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s requirement that government compensate when property is taken.

  • Target losing bigly: The customer backlash against Target’s decision to aggressively promote its “Pride” collection featuring “transgender” swimwear as well as Satanism-promoting apparel has hit the retail chain hard. Since the controversy ignited, Target’s stock value has tumbled a whopping 12%, from $74.3 billion down to $65.3 billion. That’s a loss of $9 billion in just one week. The negative hit has prompted the retailer to attempt to “hide” its Pride displays in several of its stores by making its LGBTQ-themed merchandise less prominent. Prior to this financial hit, Target CEO Brian Cornell insisted that the company’s promotion of Pride-themed merchandise was “the right thing for society.” Well, after watching Target’s stock value tumble, we’re wondering if Cornell will be soon changing his tune.

  • Bank of America helped FBI spy on its customers: Recent revelations from the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government show that Bank of American (BOA) shared customer data with the FBI voluntarily. According to Republican Representatives Jim Jordan (OH) and Thomas Massie (KY), following the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, BOA “provided the FBI — voluntarily and without any legal process — with a list of individuals who had made transactions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.” They further noted that “individuals who had previously purchased a firearm with a BoA product were elevated to the top of the list regardless of when or where the purchase was made.” Jordan and Massie came to this information thanks to a whistleblower, and they are demanding that BOA turn over all of its communications with the FBI regarding this transfer of customer data. The real question is, just how “voluntary” was BOA’s decision to data-mine its customers for the FBI?

  • Oath Keepers founder sentenced: On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in prison following his conviction for seditious conspiracy in connection to the January 6 Capitol riot. Rhodes, himself a lawyer, blasted the court’s decision, arguing that he was the victim of a political witch hunt and claiming that he never entered the Capitol, nor did he instruct others to do so. Judge Mehta noted that Rhodes had instructed his fellow Oath Keepers members to “prepare for war” and that he’s “not a political prisoner, you’re here for that conduct.” Mehta also observed that Rhodes was convicted by “a jury of your peers.”

  • Big Tech wants Washington to regulate AI: In an unsurprising development, Silicon Valley giant Microsoft is calling on the federal government to create a new agency to regulate artificial intelligence following its executives’ recent meeting with Biden administration officials. Centralizing bureaucratic control over AI — what could possibly go wrong? Of course, the rationale for such an undemocratic action is, according to Microsoft President Brad Smith, to “protect democracy.” But Microsoft is not alone in this thinking, as fellow Big Tech giant Google has called for similar action. And this should come as no surprise given the degree to which Big Tech has been in bed with the federal government acting to censor speech on social media platforms. Furthermore, it’s not surprising that Biden administration officials are behind this effort, as seeking ways to exert control over Americans’ speech has been high on their agenda. But what’s in it for Big Tech? The simple answer appears to be crony capitalism — have a new government agency create regulations that support established companies while squelching any new startup competition in the burgeoning AI industry.


  • Supreme Court reins in the EPA again, this time on the Clean Water Act (National Review)

  • Parties moving closer on debt ceiling deal as talks drag on (Roll Call)

  • Top rating agencies threaten U.S. with credit downgrade over debt limit chaos, even if a deal is made (Daily Wire)

  • DeSantis puts “failure to launch” narrative to bed with stunning 24-hour haul (RedState)

  • John Durham to testify before House Judiciary Committee after releasing scathing report (Fox News)

  • Retired firefighter who put feet up on Pelosi’s desk sentenced to 4.5 years in prison (Daily Wire)

  • DOJ mysteriously and dramatically downgrades charges against “white supremacist” who rammed White House barricade (RedState)

  • San Francisco mayor flees speech on crime as violent crime is committed (Free Beacon)

  • The North Face follows the lead of Bud Light and Target in revolting normal people (RedState)

  • Target partners with org pushing for kids’ genders to be secretly changed in schools without parental consent (Fox News)

  • Texas Children’s Hospital ends gender procedures as CEO vows to refer minors to other states (Fox News)

  • Major journal retracts study on “socially contagious” transgenderism among kids following activist threats (Daily Caller)

  • Black activists distance themselves from Black Lives Matter amid financial collapse (Free Beacon)

  • Biden energy official Sam Brinton led DC Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence chapter (National Review)

  • Ford to keep AM radio in cars after pressure from lawmakers (TechCrunch)

  • Texas House committee recommends impeaching Attorney General Ken Paxton (Townhall)

  • Russia moves ahead with deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus (Reuters)

  • Policy: Debt deal MUST include spending cuts (NY Post)

  • Humor: Biden says anyone can crash Twitter, but it takes a real leader to crash economy (Babylon Bee)

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