LUCHA’s Deep Ties to the Left

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), an Arizona activism group, recently made headlines when activists affiliated with LUCHA followed Sen. Kristen Sinema (D-AZ) into a bathroom, filming her and confronting her about her opposition to the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

Journalists quickly discovered that LUCHA has accepted over $1 million in donations from the Open Society Foundations, the private foundation of the infamous left-leaning billionaire George Soros, who is no stranger to funding radical left-wing activism.

Because of its Soros ties, many rightly concluded that LUCHA was far less “grassroots” than it claimed, but the organization’s ties to deep-pocketed organizations in Washington, DC, run far deeper than Soros’s funding and extend back a decade.

Center for Popular Democracy

LUCHA and its 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Arizona Center for Empowerment, are both members of and receive substantial funding from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a national collaboration of dozens of left-wing organizations that work together to organize voters in support of a wide range of the most radical policies.

From the Green New Deal to race-based reparations, the Center for Popular Democracy has vocally supported almost every left-wing cause and has earned a reputation for loud and disruptive demonstrations.

The incident with Sen. Sinema wasn’t the first-time activists tied to CPD have shamelessly harassed an Arizona senator. In 2018, CPD activists, including CPD’s co-executive director Ana Maria Archilainfamously cornered former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in an elevator and yelled at him over his support for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

CPD activists were also recently involved in mobilizing protestors on kayaks to paddle to protest outside the houseboat of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in Washington, DC. He joined Sen. Sinema in opposing the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill. The protesters reportedly continued for several days, shouting questions and abuse from their boats, until Manchin finally agreed to meet with them.

Ties to ACORN

Tied closely to the Center for Popular Democracy in the present, LUCHA also has ties to the political swamp that can be traced deep into its past.

In 2011, the Capital Research Center reported that LUCHA was organized as a front group for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

The scandal-plagued ACORN network disbanded after it lost federal funding in 201o. But many of its state branches immediately reorganized under new names. LUCHA was reportedly one of these groups.

Reports indicate that in 2011, immediately after ACORN dissolved, LUCHA was run by Monica Sandschaeffer, a former Arizona ACORN official. She was one of four ACORN members arrested in 2008 for disrupting a meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors while protesting against Sheriff Joe Arapaio.

In 2007, the FBI investigated the same branch of ACORN for “voter registration fraud of non-citizens” in the city of Phoenix. In 2010, Judicial Watch, a right-leaning watchdog group, obtained records that showed “that ACORN’s employment practices [perpetuated] fraudulent voter registration.” But charges were never filed under the Obama Administration because of technicalities that Judicial Watch called “questionable.”

Living United for a Political Agenda

Since the incident with Sen. Sinema, LUCHA has issued no apology or reprimand. In fact, it has doubled down on its anti-Sinema rhetoric, issuing an official statement titled “We Do What Senator Sinema Doesn’t – Advocate For Arizonans!” The underlying message is clear: “We regret nothing and your dissent will be punished.”

*****

This article was published on October 13, 2021, and reproduced with permission from Capital Research.

The 2020 Election Wasn’t Stolen, It Was Bought By Mark Zuckerberg

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

The true story of how Mark Zuckerberg privatized the government’s voter registration and vote counting for Democrats in 2020.

During the 2020 election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars to turn out likely Democratic voters. But this wasn’t traditional political spending. He funded a targeted, private takeover of government election operations by nominally non-partisan — but demonstrably ideological — non-profit organizations.

Analysis conducted by our team demonstrates this money significantly increased Joe Biden’s vote margin in key swing states. This unprecedented merger of public election offices with private resources and personnel is an acute threat to our republic and should be the focus of electoral reform efforts moving forward.

The 2020 election wasn’t stolen — it was likely bought by one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful men pouring his money through legal loopholes.

Partisans Running Local Election Offices

The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) and The Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) passed a staggering $419.5 million of Zuckerberg’s money into local government elections offices, and it came with strings attached. Every CTCL and CEIR grant spelled out in great detail the conditions under which the grant money was to be used.

This is not a matter of Democrats outspending Republicans. Private funding of election administration was virtually unknown in the American political system before the 2020 election.

Big CTCL and CEIR money had nothing to do with traditional campaign finance, lobbying, or other expenses that are related to increasingly expensive modern elections. It had to do with financing the infiltration of election offices at the city and county level by left-wing activists, and using those offices as a platform to implement preferred administrative practices, voting methods, and data-sharing agreements, as well as to launch intensive outreach campaigns in areas heavy with Democratic voters.

For instance, CTCL/CEIR funded self-described “vote navigators” in Wisconsin to “assist voters, potentially at their front doors, to answer questions, assist in ballot curing … and witness absentee ballot signatures,” and a temporary staffing agency affiliated with Stacey Abrams called “Happy Faces” counting the votes amidst the election-night chaos in Fulton County, Georgia.

CTCL demanded the promotion of universal mail-in voting through suspending election laws, extending deadlines that favored mail-in over in-person voting, greatly expanding opportunities for “ballot curing,” expensive bulk mailings, and other lavish “community outreach” programs that were directed by private activists.

CTCL drove the proliferation of unmonitored private dropboxes (which created major chain of custody issues) and opportunities for novel forms of “mail-in ballot electioneering,” allowed for the submission of numerous questionable post-election-day ballots, and created opportunities for illegal ballot harvesting.

CTCL greatly increased funding for temporary staffing and poll workers, which supported the infiltration of election offices by paid Democratic Party activists, coordinated through a complex web of left-leaning non-profit organizations, social media platforms, and social media election influencers.

Staggering Partisan Spending

The amount of additional money these groups poured into elections offices in Democrat-voting areas was truly staggering. To put it in perspective, federal and state matching funds for COVID-19-related election expenses in 2020 totaled $479.5 million. The CTCL and CEIR money totaled $419.5 million. These two private non-profits were responsible for an 85 percent increase in total additional election funding — and that largess was concentrated in a relatively small number of heavily Democratic municipalities.

Although CTCL and CEIR are chartered as non-partisan 501(c)(3) corporations, our research suggests the $419.5 million of CTCL and CEIR spending that took place in 2020 was highly partisan in its distribution and its effects.

Of the 26 grants CTCL provided to cities and counties in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia that were $1 million or larger, 25 went to areas Biden won in 2020. The only county on this list won by Donald Trump (Brown County, Wisconsin) received about $1.1 million—less than 1.3 percent of the $85.5 million that CTCL provided to these top 26 recipients.

But even in Brown County, Wisconsin, where heavily Democrat Green Bay is located, the funding disparities are glaring. The Wisconsin legislature provided roughly $7 per voter to the city of Green Bay to manage its 2020 elections. Rural counties in Wisconsin received approximately $4 per voter.

The CTCL funds boosted Democratic-voting Green Bay resources to $47 per voter, while most rural areas still had the same $4 per voter. Similar funding disparities occurred near Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Flint, Dallas, Houston, and other cities that received tens of millions of dollars of CTCL money.

Preliminary analysis shows this partisan targeting of CTCL funding was repeated in battleground states across the country. Our first case study, however, examines the effect of CTCL spending on the 2020 election in Texas.

The figure below shows the counties that received CTCL spending ranked by per-capita CTCL spending in Texas. As can easily be seen, the counties with the highest per-capita levels of CTCL spending were Democratic counties.

It should be noted that Tarrant County, which contains Fort Worth, is listed as a Republican county but flipped Democrat in 2020. The DFW exurban Denton and Collin Counties, which are solidly Republican, are not included here because they received no CTCL funding.

Funding and managing elections have always been a government function, not a private one, and for good reason. Private organizations are not subject to the rules for public employees and institutions — they are not required to hold public hearings, cannot be monitored via open-records requests and other mechanisms of administrative and financial transparency, are not subject to the normal checks and balances of the governmental process, and are not accountable to voters if the public disapproves of their actions.

The practical effect of these massive privately manipulated election-office funding disparities was to create a “shadow” election system with a built-in structural bias that systematically favored Democratic voters over Republican voters. The massive influx of funds essentially created a high-powered, concierge-like get-out-the-vote effort for Biden that took place inside the election system, rather than attempting to influence it from the outside.

We call this the injection of structural bias into the 2020 election, and our analysis shows it likely generated enough additional votes for Biden to secure an Electoral College victory in 2020.

How This Money Affected Texas

Although the magnitude and partisan pattern of CTCL and CEIR spending on its face would suggest their efforts harvested a large number of extra Democratic votes, more proof is needed.

We analyzed the likely effects of CTCL and CEIR spending on Biden’s vote margin in 2020 using publicly available data from government reports combined with widely available voter and demographic data. Specifically, we used Bayesian Additive Regression Trees (BART) to “learn” how changes in key election variables impact the change in Biden’s 2020 vote share.

BART is a machine-learning algorithm that is considered a gold standard in making causal inferences. It enables us to avoid mistaking correlation for causation in our estimations.

For each county, we used 1) two-party Hillary Clinton 2016 vote share, 2) turnout percent in 2016, 3) county share of the total state population, 4) geographic location, measured in terms of longitude and latitude, and 5) per-capita CTCL and CEIR spending, to predict changes in Biden’s two-party 2020 vote margin.

The figure below shows the expected impact of per-capita CTCL spending on Biden’s vote total in Texas, according to our model.

The undulating line shows the amount by which Biden’s vote total is expected to change as CTCL’s per-person spending increases. The actual per-capita level of CTCL spending in Texas, represented by the vertical line, is shown to have narrowed Trump’s Texas margin of victory by about 200,000 votes, which, while significant, was not enough to swing Texas into Biden’s electoral vote column.

To put this figure into perspective, however, Ted Cruz’s margin of victory over Beto O’Rourke in Texas’ 2018 Senate race was only 214,921 votes. It is not inconceivable that Democrats would consider a similar effort, were it to take place in 2024, a small price to pay to oust Cruz from his hotly contested Senate seat.

Did Zuck Bucks Flip Wisconsin and Georgia?

Our preliminary results in Georgia and Wisconsin suggest a similar impact on Biden’s vote margin from CTCL spending. And spending in those states was likely large enough and targeted enough to have shifted them into Biden’s column.

This research and analysis project will culminate in the creation of a counterfactual electoral map based on the combined results of our state-by-state analysis. It will reflect how the election results would have looked after the last legal ballot was counted if CTCL and CEIR did not spend their $419.5 million in 2020.

We have good reason to anticipate that the results of our work will show that CTCL and CEIR’s involvement in the 2020 election gave rise to an election that, while free, was not fair. The 2020 election wasn’t stolen — it was likely bought with money poured through legal loopholes.

*****

This article was published on October 12, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

Let’s Go Brandon!

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

From the outset, it should be clear that showing disrespect for the President of the United States is not a good thing.  It might be deserved, but it is a sad commentary on the state of things today that it is so openly expressed.

The Left started this and now their guy is subject to ridicule. I can recall walking near the ASU campus a few years ago and seeing multiple Buck Fush bumper stickers. You likely recall them as well. Since the rise of the New Left in the 1960s, politically active youth on the left side of the political spectrum has circled the drain of political discourse and in the mainstream culture as well. It has incrementally gotten worse over the years. It now has morphed into open bullyings, such as the Left’s shameful behavior toward Arizona Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

There has been a general decline in public verbiage. Language once reserved for the rare occasion when you might drop an artillery round on your foot is now commonplace among hip comedians, rap artists,  the dialogue in movies, and unfortunately, just normal conversation.

And then we had the torrent of epithets thrown at President Trump. Thus, over the past 20 years or so, as our culture rots further and swearing becomes more mainstream, it is not surprising such name-calling is becoming routine.

I didn’t like it then, and I don’t care for it now even though I appreciate the sentiments.

It has nevertheless become a popular chant now at college football games and other venues. It is both unnerving and satisfying for the crowd to get into a rhythmic rendition of F**K Joe Biden. While richly deserved, it still startles the sensibilities of those of us who once had mothers who would not tolerate such behavior.

Then along came an NBC female sports announcer who inadvertently has captured perfectly the temper of the times. While interviewing the winner of a NASCAR race, the crowd burst into their spontaneous frustration with the current President. If you have seen the video,  it is inescapably clear they are shouting F**K Joe Biden in the background during the post-race interview. And of course, the lady reporter pivots while on the air and says to the winner named Brandon, and to the viewing audience, that the crowd is saying “Let’s Go, Brandon!”

There you have it. An open lie promulgated by the press. We are not supposed to believe our own ears. Just like we are supposed to believe that men can have babies and menstruate, that we can spend trillions that won’t cost anything, and that masks will protect you from Covid. “Let’s Go Brandon” has become a rallying cry for those who detest what Joe Biden and what the Democrats are doing to the country all while being sheltered and protected by the dishonest and corrupt media. It is what happens to a party collapsing in the polls because they chose to lock down the economy causing mass unemployment and supply chain chaos, open the borders, leave Americans behind in Afghanistan, print money and bring back inflation, encouraged hundreds of urban riots and a subsequent crime wave, curtailed our basic freedoms of speech and assembly, and the right to make healthcare decisions. The government that can’t deliver the mail on time instead thinks to change the entire climate of the earth. Americans are witnessing and feeling the frightful synergy of radical ideology (a race into socialism) and gross incompetence and extreme dishonesty of those in power, i.e., the Democrats.

Then, at another racing event, the phrase was issued on television by a young man who looks to be maybe 9 or 10 years of age. The announcer knew the code, but because the expression was otherwise benign, he just looked nervously into the camera. The other kids burst into laughter. That is what is so nice about the expression. Even a kid can say it and not get into trouble but we all know what it means.

The Democrats deserve every ounce of the ridicule now being directed at them. They have been arrogant, sanctimonious, and wrong.

They also demand we believe their many lies, while contrary evidence is obviously before us. We are supposed to embrace their alternate reality and if we don’t, we are bad people.

The phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” has become a quick way of identifying your political tribe in this fractured world. You can say it without being offensive, but everyone on the Right side of the political spectrum gets the joke right away. Somehow, the expression seems to encapsulate all the political idiocy of the day, plus the rank dishonesty of many of our leading politicians and the media. And, you can say it without using the F word.

The video of the 9-year-old immediately went viral and multiple websites have popped up selling T-shirts and hats with the “Let’s Go Brandon” invocation.

I recently stopped at a truck stop to use the restroom. I bumped into an elderly man fumbling with his mask. He took it down and said, ” I can’t figure out now when I am supposed to wear the blank thing.” Someone piped up and said, “Let’s Go Brandon”. The whole place erupted in laughter. Everybody got it and everybody endorsed the sentiment.

The Democrats have overstepped and a not-so-quiet rebellion against them has started. Trying to label those who disagree as political terrorists are making it just that much worse for Democrats. It is evident at school board meetings and among airline pilots. People are sick of governmental edicts, especially if they make no sense. If this sentiment continues to grow, the next election cycle will be a powerful rebuke to their ideas and policies. “Let’s Go Brandon!” will be the rallying cry of 2022.

 

 

New Reasons to Dislike Hate Crimes

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hate crimes always seemed like a stupid idea to me. If you are a Jew and your family member is murdered, do you really care that the murderer is a Jew-hater? It goes the same for Blacks, Gays, or any other group. Personally, I would not care what the murderer’s motivation was; I would want them dead regardless. It is not a stretch to understand that people would use the law to expand the notion of a hate crime. That has once again been proposed making it an even better idea to junk the statute.

Hate crime legislation was first proposed in the 99th Congress which lasted from 1985 through 1986. It finally passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives in the 101st Congress in 1989 and then did the same in the U.S. Senate that year. George Bush, the elder, signed it into law that year. Just because it was passed with such large numbers and signed by a Republican president did not make it a smart idea.

It was initially passed to collect and publish data on crimes of race, religion, or ethnicity. In 1997, the categories of sexual orientation, gender or disability were introduced as additional categories. They passed and became law in 2009.

The question of motivation is always open to interpretation. As you may remember, a person went into some facilities that were deemed to have sex workers in them, mostly of Asian heritage. Of course, you must believe all Asians are exactly alike even though they could be in the U.S. from more than a dozen countries. When it became evident that the murderer was more interested in their employment orientation than the native heritage of the people he murdered, the press adjusted their storyline to question whether there was now a new category of hate crimes — against sex workers.

“Hate crime legislation has never been about punishing people for their beliefs or speech. Rather, it is about punishing people for their criminal actions.” That is a quote from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) website. Of course, it is about punishing people for their thoughts or words; otherwise, there would not be enhanced penalties for violent crimes because it is perceived that the person who perpetrated the crime does not like Jews or Blacks, or Gays. The hate comes specifically from what they said or what they have been shown to believe. Very few hate crimes have people writing on the chest of the victim that the only good Jew (Black or Gay) is a dead Jew (Black or Gay).

“There is a troubling new expansion of antiscience aggression in the United States. It’s arising from far-right extremism, including some elected members of the US Congress and conservative news outlets that target prominent biological scientists fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

That statement by Peter Hotez, MD, Ph.D., Dean National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor University, was made in an article in the Public Library of Science Biology Journal. He calls for hate crime protection for scientists — especially Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Though the article does not cite any physical threats made against various scientists, it does cite where people have questioned their decisions and findings. With the Left, including President Biden, constantly telling us we must listen to the scientists and criticizing anyone who dares to question the advice of the anointed, it does seem it was the logical next step to make it illegal to question “scientific authorities.”

To further justify the rationale of his lofty argument, Professor Hotez compares the people who denounce scientists to you guessed it — Nazis. For good stead, he not only names Hitler, but Mussolini, and throws in Marxists to be inclusive. But there is no mention of the erratic and inconsistent advice offered by the scientists for the past two years; just that one is evil for questioning them.

You are saying to yourself that this idea is from one person in one journal. Don’t bet against the proposal moving forward. This is how Critical Race Theory, ballot harvesting, and other harebrained ideas have moved forward into the mainstream and adopted as the gospel by the Left. After all, that is how we got the idea of hate crimes in the first place. On many college campuses today one can be accused of spewing hate speech by skipping over trigger warnings.

Jumping on the hate crime bandwagon is the National School Boards Association. The organization sent a letter to President Biden asking for federalizing enforcement against parents protesting the actions of school boards across the country. That is despite little to no acts of physical violence against school board members and certainly no cases of parents protesting outside of elected school board members’ homes or following them into bathroom stalls. In the letter they stated, “As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” It had to come, parents protesting policies regarding the education of their children taken by school boards at public schools is now proposed to be a hate crime.

Is it far behind to consider it a hate crime to criticize the President? Unless, of course, the President is a Republican.

*****

This article was published on October 10, 2021, in FlashReport, and is reproduced with permission from the author.

A Reflection on Indigenous Peoples Day

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

There’s a much better name for the day, one that captures the true spirit of today’s America

October 11 was Indigenous Peoples Day. It used to be called Columbus Day before it became woke.

Unlike some of my fellow Italians, I don’t have heartburn over the demise of Columbus Day. However, the silly wokeness behind the name change does have me chewing Zantac tablets like they’re M&Ms.

Columbus Day never connected with me for two reasons.

First, Italy didn’t become a nation-state until 1861, or 369 years after Columbus landed in the Caribbean. Therefore, he couldn’t have been Italian. Actually, he was born in the Republic of Genoa, which is famous for Genoa salami. It is not known if he brought salami with him on his voyage.

Second, Columbus sailed on behalf of Spain, or more specifically, on behalf of Hispanics. Hispanics are the people who brought slaves to the present-day Americas before the English did, brought a lot more of them than the English (and Dutch) did and inflicted horrible cruelties on not only African slaves but indigenous peoples.

Hispanic cruelties have been conveniently forgotten during National Hispanic American Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Likewise, the horrible cruelties inflicted by indigenous peoples on other indigenous peoples have been conveniently forgotten in the naming of Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s as if the Aztecs, Comanche, Sioux, and scores of other indigenous peoples were humanists instead of butchers.

Not forgotten, however, are the cruelties inflicted by so-called white people on slaves and indigenous peoples.

That history should be told, and in fact is told in many of the history books in my personal library. To wit, I just finished a history of Cuba that details what American (and English and Spanish) imperialism and slave-trading had inflicted on the island. Now I’m reading a history of the failure of Reconstruction due to President Andrew Johnson’s racism, written from the perspective of the brilliant African American, Frederick Douglass.

On the other hand, it’s a corruption of history bordering on propaganda (agitprop?) for wokes to whitewash the evil deeds of “non-whites” but not whites, especially when the whitewashing is done for reasons of politics or racial pandering.

“Non-whites” is in quotes because some of the people considered non-white by wokes are actually very white, whiter than this swarthy Italian. Many Hispanics, for example, are as white as Elizabeth Warren or Mitt Romney, especially those who are descendants of the Spanish aristocracy and still hold positions of privilege and power in much of Latin America.

In a further misuse of language for political purposes, the hackneyed label of “person of color” is affixed willy-nilly to Hispanics and even Asians.

Does China President Xi look like a person of color? How about professional golfer Sergio Garcia?

Once the equal rights movement morphed into equal results and expanded beyond African Americans and Native Americans to ersatz races, it was doomed to degenerate into absurdities.

An example is the misuse of the word “minority” to describe all non-whites, including those with considerable wealth, privilege and political power, such as East Indians, who rank at the top in household income in the U.S. At the same time, all so-called whites are seen as privileged, as if the descendants of John D. Rockefeller are no different from a coal miner in W. Virginia.

An exception to the convention is made for white Hispanics, who are considered minorities even though they are white.

Is your head spinning?

By the way, what color is your spinning head? It doesn’t matter to me but does matter to wokes. My color is Sherwin-Williams Cool Beige, 9086.

The misuse of the word “minority” becomes even more confusing in light of the fact that there are so many ethnocultural groups in the United States that none of them is in the majority, statistically speaking. Every ethnocultural group is a minority group, including the scores of groups that are classified as white. For example, the Walloons are both white and minorities. The same for Iranians. Neither of the groups is privileged.

Are you still with me?

Perhaps Indigenous Peoples Day should be renamed Asian Day, given that Asians crossed a land bridge in the Bering Sea and populated what had been an uninhabited continent, not counting the few Polynesians who might have made it across the Pacific before the Asians arrived.

On second thought, that’s a bad idea, in view of the fact that certain empires, nations, and peoples of Asia have been guilty throughout history of slavery, genocide, oppression, injustice, and racism.

What is needed instead is a name that captures the spirit of America today, especially the doublespeak that passes for wokeness. A perfect choice would be Orwell Day.

The Erasure of ‘Women’ Is Escalating

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The campaign to erase references to women has reached new levels of absurdity. In just the last few weeks, it’s made forays into social media, medical journals, and even federal legislation.

For example, if you’ve spent much time on social media lately, you’ve likely seen the ACLU’s edits of a quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to remove offending references to “women.”

Last October, now-Vice President Kamala Harris had no problem quoting an uncensored Ginsburg in the Senate confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett. But conventions on these delicate matters change fast. Eleven months later, the ACLU felt the need to strike the affronting words.

The stunt stirred up enough controversy that the ACLU had to apologize. Executive Director Anthony Romero confessed that “it’s somewhat Orwellian to rewrite historical utterances to conform to modern sensitivities.”

Still, “having spent time with Justice Ginsburg,” explained Romero, “I would like to believe that if she were alive today, she would encourage us to evolve our language to encompass a broader vision of gender, identity, and sexuality.” In other words, while it may be best not to alter past quotes, we should avoid regressive references to “women” from now on.

The Lancet’s Sept. 25 cover is even more disturbing. It features a single, stark quote on white background, reducing women to “bodies with vaginas.”

The medical journal, like the ACLU, has issued its half-hearted apology. They didn’t intend to dehumanize and marginalize women, explained Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton. Their goal, rather, is to “emphasize that transgender health is an important dimension of modern health care, but one that remains neglected.” He goes on and on in this exculpatory fashion, lamenting the scourge of “menstrual shame and period poverty.”

Or, in the words of Demi Lovato: Sorry, not sorry.

Both episodes have played out on social media. But there’s another erasure campaign underway in the shadows. Take, for instance, the Newspeak that has crept into the 2021 budget reconciliation bill now going through Congress. This sweeping tax-and-spend proposal would affect far more than just our fiscal health.

Sex-specific words such as “women,” “females,” and “mothers” have gone missing in some of the very places you’d expect them—such as with “maternal mortality.” Instead, we discover awkward constructions, over and over, like “pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individuals and individuals with the intent to become pregnant.”

Reconciliation packages are supposedly limited to budgets. But for gender ideologues, the process has become a chance to start erasing references to women and females.

While “individual” or “person” is common in legal documents when the referent could be male or female, that doesn’t explain what’s happening here. The authors of this section intend to neuter references to women.

How do we know? Because they’re departing from past usage, and even the typical usage still present here and there in the reconciliation text when referring to or quoting preexisting law. Take, for example, the Medicaid section, which must still refer to “pregnant and postpartum women.”

It’s no surprise that a simple word search of existing law turns up 96 references to “pregnant women” already in the federal code. A search for “women” turns up 1,118 references.

And then, just last month—with few precedents—this changes.

This comes on top of other efforts to advance this Newspeak. For instance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, early this year, made degendered language standard practice for Congress.

Gender activists have pushed a sweeping piece of legislation—the misnamed Equality Act—which would enshrine their views in civil rights law. But as they work toward that goal, activists are focused on erasing women incrementally by slipping the same kind of language into bills moving through Congress now.

These efforts are provoking resistance, however, and not just from committed traditionalists. Most Americans object to gender ideology. Whether it’s being pushed on minors in the doctor’s office or the sports arena, this is true. Hence the pushback to the flag-flying stunts from the ACLU and The Lancet. And why both groups had to issue apologies.

The campaign also is facing resistance from nonconservative quarters. Atheists like Richard Dawkins have pushed back against the transgender ideology that inspires these language games. Many feminists, including radical feminists, also oppose it.

Meanwhile, activists’ efforts are sporadic and contradictory. We see this even in the internal inconsistencies of the budget reconciliation bill text, as noted above.

Finally, gender ideology contradicts natural reality. Not just the natural moral law written on every heart. We’re talking about mammalian biology.

Hard facts like these should give us hope that common sense will prevail against gender activists’ efforts to erase women.

*****

This article was published on October 13, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

Tucson Keeps Missing the Bigger Picture

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

That’s especially so on immigration, Amazon, and the minimum wage.

The Tucson establishment often misses the bigger picture in the pursuit of transitory feel-good measures. Take the subjects of immigration, Amazon, and the minimum wage—subjects that I don’t have ideological or partisan heartburn over but do care that Tucson is consigning itself to permanent also-ran status by missing the bigger picture.

Immigration

Establishment leaders are planning to provide temporary housing and devote other resources to aid poor and poorly educated migrants who are crossing the border in record numbers. No doubt, they and their constituents care about the migrants and feel they are doing the right thing. Kudos to them for caring.

The bigger picture is similar to what it was a hundred years ago with my poor and poorly educated Italian immigrant forebears—namely, such immigrants can be a net positive for the nation as a whole in the long run, but in the shorter run, they can put a strain on local communities in terms of increased costs for education, medical care, social welfare, and law enforcement.

In other words, the costs are concentrated and the benefits are dispersed.

The City of Tucson can’t afford the concentrated costs. It already suffers from a poverty rate twice the national average, a rate of property crimes near the top nationally, horrendous test scores in too many k-12 schools, a below-average rate of homeownership, large swaths of unkempt public and private property, crumbling streets from decades of deferred maintenance, and a brain drain of young talent that moves to Phoenix and other vibrant cities for opportunities.

The surrounding unincorporated county is wealthier but is an amorphous, poorly maintained blob without a center or defining character. Being unincorporated, it is incapable of providing the level of services and amenities that a well-run municipality can offer.

The blame for Tucson’s travails shouldn’t be put on migrants, however—not when most of the travails are due to shortsighted, poorly run, and highly partisan city and county governments, enabled by voters who have voted for the status quo for decades and by establishment leaders who don’t seem to know how badly the governments and the metropolis compare to well-run locales on key measures.

By the measure of the cost of municipal services, it doesn’t compare well at all. For example, when my wife and I moved four years ago for family reasons from metro Phoenix to metro Tucson, to a house of equal value, our combined cost for property taxes, water, fire service, and trash pickup increased by 50% while the quality of public services and amenities fell significantly.

That doesn’t include the value of the time we spend picking up litter along a busy street every morning on our daily five-mile walk, a chore not done by government or by property owners that front the street, including retail businesses, apartments, condos, a gated HOA, a private golf course, an upscale resort, and a public school. Clearly, something is amiss with civic pride in the Tucson metropolis.

Amazon

The foregoing problems are compounded by Tucson being largely bypassed by big, rich companies as a location for headquarters or major offices, even though the companies claim to value diversity and care about the poor. The truth is, their “woke” executives and knowledge workers favor sparkling, dynamic, prosperous enclaves.

Local leaders celebrated when Tucson was selected as the location for two low-wage Amazon warehouses, which are two out of over 900 Amazon facilities across the U.S. But they apparently didn’t see the bigger picture of Amazon locating highly paid software engineers, logistics experts, marketing specialists and other professionals in scores of other cities across the nation, including Phoenix, but not in Tucson.

To that point, the company chose leafy, clean, prosperous Arlington, Virginia, as the location for its second headquarters for its highly paid professional and managerial employees. Arlington is next door to the imperial city of Washington, D.C., where bad immigration policies have been hatched by both political parties and imposed on the provinces.

Pop Quiz: Do you think that Arlington or Tucson can better afford the costs of assimilating and aiding large numbers of poor and poorly educated migrants? Hint: The median household income in Arlington is $120,000, versus $43,400 for Tucson; the poverty rates are 7.6% and 22.5%, respectively; and the percentages of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree are 75.3% and 27.4%, respectively.

If your answer is Arlington, then that raises the question as to why local leaders haven’t demanded that migrants without visas be transported to Arlington or similar wealthy towns for temporary living and follow-up actions instead of a poor city like Tucson (and Del Rio). Not only can those other places better absorb the costs, but the migrants would be better off in terms of facilities and resources.

Minimum Wage

Tucson is considering an increase in the minimum wage, an issue that comes with pros and cons. But once again, the bigger picture is missed in the debate.

The bigger picture is that whatever the minimum wage ends up being, it will do nothing about the root causes of Tucson’s socioeconomic problems. The root causes include a paucity of political competition within the city and county, a lack of large municipalities in the metropolis to compete with the power of the City of Tucson and Pima County and shake them out of their hubris, the fact that 36% of the metropolis is unincorporated (versus 6% in metro Phoenix), the paradox of the dominant culture being anti-development but the metropolis being marred by some of the ugliest development imaginable, and another paradox of Tucsonans valuing the metropolis’s natural setting and nearby national forests but tolerating a plethora of commercial businesses and apartments with tacky and often illegal signage in front, with frontages overgrown with weeds and littered with trash, and with acres of parking lots devoid of anything green.

But the biggest root cause of all is that provincialism keeps local leaders from seeing the bigger picture.

Putting Power in Parents’ Hands: Wisconsin Legislature Passes Law to Stop Politics in K-12

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to pass powerful new Academic Transparency legislation to bring sunlight in—and take politics out—of its K-12 classrooms.

Based on the Goldwater Institute’s model policy language, and with the support of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly today passed mirror bills establishing parents’ rights to know what is being taught in their schools by requiring school districts to post on a publicly accessible portion of their website a listing of the specific learning materials being used at each school.

Spearheaded by Senator Duey Stroebel and Representative Elijah Behnke and co-sponsored by more than 25 Wisconsin lawmakers—including the State Legislature’s education committee chairs Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt—SB 463 and its companion bill AB488 passed overwhelmingly (19-12 in the Senate, 60-38 in the Assembly).

Under the legislation, prospective parents will no longer have to guess and gamble about whether a nearby school is informally slipping into the classroom content such as the New York Times 1619 Project, or assigning literature like Ibram Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist, which tells students, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.”  Instead, as noted by Rep. Behnke, this new Academic Transparency legislation “allows families to make informed decisions about their children’s education experience.” Indeed, for the first time, parents will have the ability to identify and distinguish between schools pushing radical politics versus those affirming core academic principles before they’re forced to choose where to send their children.

Opponents of the legislation found almost no objection too outlandish to level against the new measure, including declaring during the final votes that “this bill censures history” and that its sponsors “are taking away local control of school boards,” despite the fact the bill allows school boards and teachers to continue selecting whatever curriculum materials they wish. The real problem, it seems, is that now they will have to disclose them.

As Max Eden of the American Enterprise Institute observed of Academic Transparency even before Wisconsin’s latest votes, “This proposal is starting to catch fire across the country. It has been introduced in Texas and Illinois, and passed in the Arizona State Senate and the North Carolina State House…[and] earlier this month, Wyoming became the latest state to take up this proposal.”

Now, with the passage of SB463, Wisconsin lawmakers have officially set the bar high for other states looking to empower parents and contain the outbreak of politically radical, racially divisive content flooding our K-12 school system.

With Academic Transparency in place, no longer will parents like Nicole Solas of Rhode Island be forced to navigate a maze of public records requests—and endure threats of retaliatory litigation by her school board and teachers union—simply to know what her incoming kindergarten daughter could expect to see in the classroom. No longer will major school systems like the Madison Metropolitan School District be able to insist on thousands of dollars to disclose to the public the materials being used in just a handful of its classrooms.

It now falls to Wisconsin’s Governor, Democrat Tony Evers, to sign this legislation and ensure it becomes law, rather than actively blocking parents from knowing what is being taught in their schools. And more broadly, it now rests with state lawmakers across the country to bring the same level of transparency to the parents and constituents of their own communities.

To learn more about Academic Transparency, see Academic Transparency to Protect Students from Radical Politics in K-12 Education, visit https://goldwaterinstitute.org/academictransparency/, or contact Heather Curry at hcurry@goldwaterinstitute.org.

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This article was published on September 28, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY BLOG,  a project of the Goldwater Institute.

“Shortages” Aren’t Causing Inflation. Money Creation Is

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

For central bankers and mainstream analysts, the recent inflation outburst is only a transitory phenomenon that has nothing or very little to do with the massive monetary and fiscal stimuli unleashed during the pandemic. Although the Fed has recently conceded that price pressures are persisting longer than expected, the surge of inflation is allegedly due to supply bottlenecks caused by the pandemic. This superficial diagnosis serves as a convenient excuse for politicians to keep in place damaging growth stimuli and draconian public health measures.

Inflation Is Not Driven by a Shortage of Supply

Mainstream economists define inflation as an increase in consumer prices which occurs when the growth of money supply outpaces economic growth.1 In other words, too much money is chasing too few goods. If the recent surge in inflation were driven by a shortage of goods rather than an increase in the money supply, then aggregate output would be shrinking. But this is not the case, because global economic output is projected by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to grow by 5.7 percent in 2021 after having dropped by 3.4 percent in 2020. This year, the output lost during the pandemic is expected to be recovered in both advanced and emerging economies, including in the US (graph 1). As a matter of fact, inflation was accelerating this year at the same time that industrial production was recovering to prepandemic levels in both the US and the EU (graph 2). The alleged shortage of supply at an aggregate level appears to be a myth.

Graph 1: Real GDP growth

Real GDP growth
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook.

Graph 2: Inflation and industrial production

Inflation and Industrial Production
Source: FRED and Eurostat.

The invoked shortage of supply is primarily based on anecdotal evidence about unmet demand and rising prices in specific economic sectors, such as semiconductors, cars, furniture, and energy. But those who claim that supply is insufficient do not bother to analyze whether the squeeze of supply chains is due to chronic shortage of production or to excess demand. Moreover, even if supply were short for certain goods due to production lockdowns, changes in consumer schedules, or environmental greening policies, a surge in the aggregate price level would not take place if the money supply and aggregate demand remained broadly unchanged. The squeeze on some individual supply chains would be compensated for by lower demand for other goods and services, and only relative prices would change in the economy.

Let us have a closer look at specific cases of widely perceived supply bottlenecks. The shortage of shipping containers and logistic problems at several ports in the US and Asian countries seems central to many other supply chain bottlenecks. Shipping costs have soared indeed, but shipped volumes have increased as well (graph 3).2 This does not indicate a lack of supply, but rather buoyant demand for international transport. Experts from leading shipping groups report that major US ports, container groups, and logistics companies can barely handle the surge in international trade. This is not surprising given that both US imports and its trade deficit surged by more than 20 percent year on year in the first seven months of 2021, as consumers rushed to spend their stimulus checks. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development experts claim that the global demand for manufactured consumer goods increased throughout the pandemic, boosting the demand for container shipping and raising transportation costs. The surge in global demand has not only rearranged international trade flows to the advantage of China and other Asian economies, but has also pushed international trade volumes to new highs (graph 4).

Graph 3: Global TEU shipping volume and price index

Global TEU Shipping Volume
Source: Container Trades Statistics.

Graph 4: Global volume of trade

Global Volume of Trade
Source: World Trade Organization.

The shortage of semiconductors, which affects car production, is also blamed on the inability of chip manufacturers to deal with an order backlog swollen by covid-19 and shipping disruptions. But the global semiconductor market expanded by 7 percent in 2020 and is projected to grow by another 20 percent this year (graph 5) and almost double in size by 2028. So, again, the shortage is being caused by a relatively rigid supply which cannot accommodate buoyant demand. The latter has increased not only from the automotive sector, in particular as electric vehicles use more chips, but also from manufacturers of computers and other consumer electronics, the consumption of which has surged during the pandemic.

Graph 5: Global market for semiconductors

Global Market for Semiconductors
Source: Statista 2021.

The recent rally in energy prices, with coal and European gas hitting record highs and crude oil pushing above $80 a barrel, is also attributed to a constrained supply and perceived as a threat to the economic recovery. But the global supply has not shrunk; on the contrary, the world production of energy has been on a steady upward trend (graph 6). After growing by about 2.4 percent per year for the past three years, energy production fell by 3.5 percent in 2020 due to the lockdowns, but is expected to rebound by 4.1 percent in 2021.

Graph 6: World energy production

World Energy Production
Source: Enerdata.

The global energy supply would have been much higher and better balanced among sources and across regions had it not been for government-mandated green policies and carbon emission targets. In Europe, coal plants have been gradually phased out, as have nuclear power plants in Germany. They have been replaced by wind turbines and other renewable energy sources which underperformed recently due to adverse weather conditions. Together with lower gas deliveries from Russia, this has created a perfect storm in the European energy market. At the same time, China’s strict emissions targets and rising coal prices have also generated a power crunch, disrupting factory activity.

In the same way that green government policies have undermined the production of energy, the lockdowns and stimulus paychecks generously handed out during the pandemic have created an artificial shortage of labor that is likely to exacerbate further inflationary pressures. Due to forced business closures, the US economy lost about 20 million jobs by April of last year. Despite the economic recovery, some 5 million jobs have not yet been filled, as millions of Americans have been paid to stay home or have left the labor force altogether. In Europe, trade unions are already asking for pay increases while surveys show that inflation expectations are rising.

Excessive Demand Stimulus and Money Creation Are the Real Culprit

The growth stimuli applied during the pandemic have been truly unprecedented in size and outreach. Massive government support and budget deficits monetized by central banks have been poured over economies weakened by recurrent lockdowns. Despite the loss of jobs and market incomes, US household wealth has increased by a staggering $32 trillion since the beginning of the pandemic, fueling consumer spending and aggregate demand. Together with an increase in the broad money supply by more than a third over the same period (graph 7), this indicates that the inflation is actually driven by too much money rather than too few goods.

Graph 7: Money supply

Money Supply
Source: FRED.

The rapid rise in inflation is also raising inflation expectations.3 Inflation depends not only on the mechanical outcome of changes in the supplies of money and goods, but also on the demand for money. If the public realizes that its cash holdings are being eaten away by significant price increases, it will move away from cash. In this case, inflation would accelerate beyond the pace of money creation, which is obviously the nightmare of all central bankers.

Conclusions

The current surge in inflation is neither due to a shortage of supply nor transitory, as central banks want us to believe. It is primarily due to soaring consumer demand fueled by excessive growth stimuli and monetary creation. Government-imposed lockdowns and clean energy policies constraining output have exacerbated price increases. We are witnessing a consumption boom and persistent distortions in the structure of production, all bearing a striking resemblance to the boom that preceded the Great Recession.

 

1.This definition is disputed by Austrian economists because price inflation lumps together monetary and nonmonetary causal factors, which have different consequences for the structure of production, incomes, and individual wealth. Therefore, Austrian economists define inflation as an increase in the supply of money beyond an increase in specie, i.e., commodity money such as gold or silver.

2.According to the Financial Times, it costs more than $20,000 to ship a standard container from China to the East Coast of the US today, up from less than $3,000 two years ago.

3.In the US, Consumer Price Index inflation advanced by 5.3 percent in August, housing prices grew by almost 20 percent year on year as of July, and the S&P 500 Index was up by almost 29 percent year on year at the end of September.

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This article was published on October 7, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Tucson v. Arlington on Immigration and Amazon

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Musings and questions from a left-wing socialist who is also a right-wing supremacist.

Americans are so divided on immigration and other issues that one risks being typecast as either a left-wing socialist or a right-wing supremacist for daring to send something around that one side or the other dislikes. Given that I believe that both political parties have failed to develop sensible immigration policies, I must be a left-wing socialist and a right-wing supremacist. 

My perspective on immigration is parochial, stemming from living close to the border in Tucson for the last four years, formerly living in metro Phoenix for 30 years, and, before that, in the barrio of San Antonio for five years, where I once got caught in the middle of a gun battle.

The problem with today’s massive influx of poor and poorly educated immigrants is similar to what it was a hundred years ago with my Italian forebears: It’s a net positive for the nation as a whole in the long run but can put a strain on local communities in terms of increased costs for education, medical care, social welfare, and law enforcement. In other words, such immigration is an example of concentrated costs and dispersed benefits.

The City of Tucson can’t afford the concentrated costs. It already suffers from a poverty rate twice the national average, a rate of property crimes near the top nationally, horrendous test scores in most k-12 schools, rundown and unkempt public and private property, crumbling streets from decades of deferred maintenance, and a brain drain of young talent that moves to Phoenix and other vibrant cities for opportunities. These problems are compounded by Tucson being largely bypassed by big, rich companies as a location for headquarters or major offices, even though the companies claim to value diversity and care about the poor.

The blame for Tucson’s travails shouldn’t be put on migrants, however—not when most of the travails are due to shortsighted, poorly managed, and highly partisan city and county governments, enabled by voters who have voted for the status quo for decades and by a media that doesn’t seem to know how badly the governments and the metropolis compare to well-run locales in key measures.

By the measure of the cost of municipal services, it doesn’t compare well at all For example, when my wife and I moved for family reasons from metro Phoenix to metro Tucson, to a house of equal value, our combined cost for property taxes, water, fire service, and trash pickup increased by 50% while the quality of public services and amenities fell significantly.

That doesn’t include the value of the time we spend picking up litter along a busy street every morning on our daily five-mile walk, a chore not done by government or by property owners that front the street, including retail businesses, apartments, condos, a gated HOA, a private and expensive golf course, an upscale resort, and a public school. Clearly, something is amiss with civic pride in the Tucson metropolis.

Amazon selected leafy, clean, prosperous Arlington, Virginia, as the location for its second headquarters for its highly paid professional and managerial employees. Arlington is next door to the imperial city of Washington, D.C., where bad immigration policies are hatched and imposed on the provinces. 

At the same time, local media celebrated when Tucson was selected as the location for two low-wage Amazon warehouses, which are two out of over 900 Amazon facilities across the U.S. They don’t question why Amazon doesn’t locate highly paid professional employees in Tucson but does locate them in Arlington and in scores of other cities across the nation, including Phoenix.

Pop Quiz: Do you think that Arlington or Tucson can better afford the costs of assimilating and aiding large numbers of poor and poorly educated migrants? Hint: The median household income in Arlington is $120,000, versus $43,400 for Tucson; the poverty rates are 7.6% and 22.5%, respectively; and the percentages of adults with a bachelor’s degree are 75.3% and 27.4%, respectively.

If your answer is Arlington, then that raises the question as to why, as a matter of immigration policy, migrants without visas aren’t transported to Arlington or similar wealthy towns for temporary living and follow-up actions instead of a poor city like Tucson.

Of course, by raising the question, I’m showing that I’m a left-wing socialist and a right-wing supremacist.