Why We Eat and Breathe

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors’ Note: The following essay is the basic and real science about the absolute role of carbon dioxide in the existence of both plant and animal life on this planet. The radical environmental left (think John Kerry, Al Gore, WEF, et al) has used climate and CO2 disinformation (think lies, myths, fraud) to push a socialist agenda to control the lives of all citizens in the must fundamental aspects. It is a path to tyranny. The miracle of life and the true science of life on this beautiful and bountiful earth should not and cannot be despoiled by an elite, powerful class of politicians and globalists claiming ‘settled science’ (there is no such thing as settled science) for their agenda of ever increasing power. Consider the following fact: today the earth’s atmospheric CO2 in parts per million (PPM) is approximately 400. In the age of dinosaurs, it was 6,400 PPM, 16 times as much. The earth was incredibly verdant, warmer than the temperatures today with many cooling periods and ice ages to follow over many millions of years and the dinosaurs evolved into weighing many tons because of the enormous food supply. There were no automobiles, trucks, planes, burning of fossil fuels or annual meetings at Davos. Gosh!

Spring and summer is the time of growth, with blossoms everywhere we look. Leaves and fruit on the trees, grass in the yard and pastures, vegetables in the garden, and crops in the field.

Did you know that all of this lush abundance is almost entirely composed of just two things? These are carbon dioxide and water. There are tiny bits of other stuff but basically, it is all carbon dioxide and water. This is the true miracle of life. Every living thing we see is made from air and water. So are we.

Have you ever wondered why we eat and breathe? Here is how it works, the miracle of life.

We eat and breathe because the cells that make up our body eat and breathe. All cells eat and breathe. Yes, plants inhale and exhale just as we do. They also consume food and water.

Our breathing and eating actually go together. We are part of what is called the carbon cycle, which is the cycle of life. Plants come first, then us.

The plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into big organic molecules. These molecules are circulated to every cell in the plant’s body, where they do two things. If the plant is growing then some become the building materials for that growth. In any case, they are also combined with oxygen to release the energy that came from the sun. All living cells need the energy to live.

The plants basically eat the carbon dioxide and water, while breathing in the oxygen. When the organic molecules combine with oxygen to produce energy, the byproduct is carbon dioxide and water, which are then exhaled. We are back where we started so this completes the cycle. Carbon dioxide + water –> life –> carbon dioxide + water.

When we eat the plants, or animals that ate the plants, we join and lengthen the cycle. Our digestive system converts the food molecules into organic molecules that we can use. Then our circulatory blood system distributes these molecules to all of our cells. There are trillions of cells in your body so that is a lot of mouths to feed, as it were.

We also inhale oxygen, which goes to our cells as well. Then just as in the plants, our cells use some of the molecules to grow with and combine some of them with the oxygen to extract the solar energy that the plants originally stored.

When things combine with oxygen it is called oxidation and the product is an oxide. The “di” in carbon dioxide is because it is a carbon atom combined with two oxygen atoms and di means two. This is why carbon dioxide is also called CO2. (Water is actually di-hydrogen oxide but we do not call it that.)

Oxidation releases energy. You can see and feel this with fire, which is very fast oxidation. Rust is very slow oxidation so you do not feel the energy coming off. When our cells oxidize carbon and hydrogen it is faster than rust but slower than fire.

The result is water and carbon dioxide which we exhale. And that water and carbon dioxide is again available to feed and power plants, so the cycle is complete.

Where do your carbon atoms come from? Given the carbon cycle, it is fun to wonder where the carbon in your body comes from? There are really two questions here.

First, where was the plant that started the cycle? Given our global trade that can be a lot of places. For example, my kitchen has orange juice from Florida, grapes from California, blueberries from Chile, bananas from Honduras, Coffee from Brazil, etc. I routinely eat this stuff so definitely have some carbon from each. Since I am not growing it is mostly used for energy, so I get some solar energy from each place. I like that idea a lot.

Second, where did the carbon dioxide come from before these plants ate it? Carbon dioxide circulates globally so it could be from anywhere. Some might have come from the plant’s own exhalation or the plant next door, or from thousands of miles away. Also, some might come from fossil fuel use or limestone weathering, making it millions of years old.

Speaking of circulation, the input and output of plants is so great that about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is replaced every year. So when people say that our emissions are building up in the atmosphere, that is just wrong. Our emissions from burning fossil fuels may or may not be causing the carbon dioxide to increase, but in no case is that increase composed of a build-up of these emissions. Plants eat our emissions.

In conclusion, carbon dioxide is feeding a growing world. More CO2 is a blessing. If you hear someone call carbon dioxide “pollution” just say “That is our food you are talking about.”

Think about your place in the miraculous carbon cycle and enjoy the carbon dioxide.

*****

This article was published by CFACT, Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow and is reproduced with permission.

Things Are Getting So Bad for Stocks They Might Be Getting Better…For A While

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

A market this oversold will tend to rally at some point.

Markets have undergone a punishing slide of late. Stocks have been down eight weeks in a row. If we go another week, that may break the record set in 1923. The losses are not isolated but widespread. Something like 75% of stocks in the broad NYSE Index are below the 200-day moving average, a common indicator of longer-term trends.

Many of the broader indices have gone into “bear” territory, with a drop of 20% or more. The S&P, the indexer’s bellwether, barely escaped on Friday, May 20th with an inter-day move that hit bear readings during the day, only to be saved and reversed at the closing.

It has become common for 80-90% of stocks to either advance or decline on a given day. Everything has become more volatile and everything seems to be correlating together.

Bonds have been hit hard and have offered no protection. The commonly used 60% stock, and 40% bond asset allocation model has been a total failure.

Cryptocurrencies have tumbled with one major index down 80%. Perhaps the best of the group, Bitcoin, is down almost 60%.

Foreign stock markets have been weak, generally even worse than the US market.

Housing is starting to wobble.

Gold has underperformed expectations but at this writing is up about 1% on the year, about like cash.

The energy complex, utilities, and the US dollar have made positive moves so far this year. It has been a tough year to make money with few places to hide.

This should not come as a surprise to our readers because we have been talking about 2022 being a “risk-off” year for some time.

Readers need to keep in mind the peculiar math of bear markets. It takes a lot more than you think to get back even when you take large losses.

Image

The chart above certainly suggests avoiding a big drawdown in your investment accounts. Look at the upside move necessary to break even for the losses in cryptocurrencies!

However, bear markets, even big ones, are zig-zag affairs. There usually are some strong rallies, even in a bear phase. The irony is there is a point where things get so bad, that they start to look good for a while. Here is a quick update.

To more fully understand this, you have to appreciate that markets are made up of people. People can be both rational and emotional. They are rational most of the time but can get highly emotional at extremes. People tend to make decisions on an emotional basis.

Since it is people making investment decisions, (and even trading algorithmics are designed and implemented by people), the state of investor psychology becomes important to factor into the equation. Reading that state of market psychology unfortunately is more of an art form than it is a science.

However, those who do it for a living such as Jason Goepfert at SentimentTrader.com note that public pessimism is getting into extremes we have rarely seen.  Opinion poll numbers from investors and institutions are very low. Consumer sentiment is plunging as is the attitude of small businesses.

People are not only depressed by what they see, but they have also been selling heavily, and even small investors are now convinced to speculate on further downside action by buying record amounts of put options. We should add, that a put option gives the investor the right to sell at a lower price and is a way to make money if the market continues to fall.

Foreigners have also recently become big sellers of US equities, even though the US economy looks better than either Europe or Japan.

Last summer when we first started to warn you of market difficulties to come, we were in a distinct minority. That is not so today.

Attitudes have shifted dramatically and it seems just about everyone, foreign and domestic, now has a bearish opinion. In fact, Goepfert points out that on the Friday in question when the market reversed (temporarily or not), there were 3,700 bearish articles published about the stock market just so you could enjoy your weekend reading. We have not seen that kind of number in more than a decade.

Why is it good that everything is viewed so badly? Because all the pessimism is already in the price structure.  Usually, when we get into conditions like this, the market will do the opposite of what most people think it should do. Notice we are making an observation of market conditions, not a statement of timing.

Please don’t misunderstand. That pessimism may be completely warranted. However, all that pessimism is currently reflected in prices. Moreover, experience shows that when everyone thinks the same way, it is likely few people are thinking.

What usually happens (no guarantees in the prognostication business) is that the market will rally for a bit.  Bear market rallies in fact can be quite powerful. So powerful in fact that the bear uses these rallies to entice investors to get back in heavily just so he can have the joy to smash them again.

Given the view we have expressed in many previous articles, we think this will likely be a rally within the ongoing decline or what technical types call a contra-trend rally. The primary direction is still downward, but the market will likely rally for a while. In short, the market will still work lower than the recent low, but it will be interrupted by a rally phase. Only time will tell if that is correct.

While some may be able to make money with short term trading in such a rally, that is not our primary concern.  We suspect a lot of our readers have been surprised by how severe this market decline has been and how broad it has been, and wish now they had raised more cash and been more conservative.

Such a bear market rally is for nimble traders only. Long-term investors should use strength in the market to lighten up their positions or rotate into more conservative equities.

David Rosenberg, whose excellent presentation we ran a few weeks ago in our video section (you can find it in the archives), points out that never has the American public had this big of a chunk of their net worth in stocks. The rest is likely in real estate so bear markets in both those markets potentially could really crush consumer spending, which is 70% of GDP.

Thus, if you are in the camp that needs to de-risk a bit more, if we do get the relief rally the sentiment indicators suggest, it could be your last chance to get your asset allocation where you want it.

Well, what allocation would that be?  We can’t answer that for you because everyone’s financial situation is different and some people can run more risk than others. It varies so widely, that interpret these comments as descriptive, not prescriptive.

You likely need to have a conversation with a good financial planner if you have not already done so.

Why not just bail on the whole portfolio and go to cash? The main reason is intellectual modesty. No one really knows what is going to happen: how short or long, or how severe things might get if we slide into recession. There are too many independent variables. If you sell everything, you will miss the comeback, and unless America is permanently broken, we will come back. Besides, no one will ring a bell and tell you when it is time to get back in.

We also live in a world where a central planning agency of unelected and often unaccountable bureaucrats (The Federal Reserve Board), can change policy on a dime, and change market conditions almost overnight.  Unless you are privy to their secrets, you can’t know.

Therefore, it is better to keep some long-term positions because one just can’t know the outcome. What you can afford to hold through a recession is a matter of individual circumstance.

Having said that, with the multiple shocks of China closing down again, the FED taking the easy money away, the markets being overvalued, the public being overcommitted, food price spikes, oil price spikes, supply chain issues, a strong dollar hitting exports, corporate earnings likely to contract, and the system soaked with debt and overleveraged, certainly a more cautious view seems sensible.

If we get some kind of contra trend rally in the next few weeks, if you are really that smart, feel free to play it.  But for most of us mortals, it will just be the opportunity we need to get our market risk in line with our financial goals. That is if you have not already done that. If you are among the fortunate who are positioned comfortably, just sit tight.

If and when we get the rally, be grateful, as there are no guarantees we even will prove correct about the rally.

After the rally is over, the market will likely have the challenging task of repricing itself to accommodate more difficult conditions.

Hopefully, elections will sweep from office many of those inflicting such harm on the markets and the economy. That is another reason not to give up hope.

The coming election in the fall offers some optimism for a more durable turn. For the sake of your portfolio, your budget, and your country, we all need to work together to drive the current incompetents from office. That goal is perhaps the best investment you can make.

 

Gas Prices Hit Record High Every Day for Past Two Weeks

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Gas prices have soared to new heights this month with the price of unleaded regular gas hitting a record high every day for the past two weeks. With Memorial Day weekend approaching, motorists face steep costs if they plan to travel.

According to AAA, the national average regular unleaded gas price Tuesday came in at $4.60, a record high. Diesel gasoline is at $5.55 per gallon, just below the record set last week.

“The national average for a gallon of gas has not fallen for nearly a month. Gasoline has either remained flat or risen every day since April 24 and has set a new record daily since May 10,” the group said. “That was the day gas eclipsed the previous record high of $4.33, set earlier this year on March 11. The national average for a gallon of gasoline is now $4.59 and all 50 states are above $4 per gallon.”

In the Midwest, Illinois stands apart with gas at an average of $4.97 a gallon. Motorists in Illinois neighbors Iowa and Missouri are paying $4.16 a gallon.

These prices have been a pain point for Americans, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. The rise has also drawn fresh criticism for the Biden administration’s energy policies, which include stopping new oil leases and pipeline development.

“They’re causing you pain at the pump because it’s all part of their radical agenda,” Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., said.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine helped propel the rise of prices, but energy prices had already been on a significant rise long before the February invasion.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks energy prices as part of inflation and has reported a steady rise since before the inflation. The most recent federal data on the consumer price index, a leading measure of inflation, showed energy prices soared in the past year.

“The all items index increased 8.3 percent for the 12 months ending April, a smaller increase than the 8.5-percent figure for the period ending in March,” BLS said. “The all items less food and energy index rose 6.2 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index rose 30.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 9.4 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1981.”

“When it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over we’ll be stronger, and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” Biden said. “It’s bad. The price of gas at the pump … it’s affecting a lot of families.”

But those comments sparked blowback from critics who said Biden seemed to be saying these prices are a new normal and necessary part of transitioning away from fossil fuels.

“Joe Biden finally said the truth out loud: the record high gas prices crippling America right now are on purpose,” Power The Future Founder and Executive Director Daniel Turner said in a Tuesday statement. “President Biden’s ability to bring our country to its knees in less than two years has been nothing short of extraordinary. Joe Biden knows that only by crippling the fossil fuel industry will he usher in the radical green agenda he so desires, and if that means causing incredible pain to American families and the overall economy, it’s a casualty he can live with.”

With the start of the summer travel season this weekend, analysts say prices aren’t coming down anytime soon.

“As Americans struggle to make ends meet thanks to his raging inflation, [President Joe Biden] celebrates their suffering,” U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said. “Biden is incompetent and incoherent, but he’s made one thing very clear: he couldn’t care less about the problems he’s caused for your family.”

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

 

 

 

WHO, WEF, SDG, JRB…WTF

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

This summer, the elites of the World Economic Forum (WEF) will convene in Davos Switzerland for Klaus Schwab’s annual confab of the Lear jet set. Part of this meeting is to ratify and endorse the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest draft of the International Health Regulations (IHR). This treaty has had virtually no coverage and it deserves scrutiny at the most minute level.

Background: The WEF is determined to create a more ‘perfect world’ by advancing their “Great Reset” for the purpose of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 (SDG). If you are not aware of this plan, you really need to get a better grasp of this. The SDG is the blueprint for global totalitarianism on a level never before seen on this planet. It was originally intended by Klaus Schwab et al. to be the Millennial Development Goals of 2000, but the world didn’t cooperate. Hence, the new 2030 deadline to make this happen. One of the key elements in their toolkit is the WHO. After all, who could object to an organization devoted to boosting global health?

WHO is run by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is an Ethiopian administrator (noted for his Marxist activism) with questionable credentials to put it mildly. He is completely in the thrall of the Chinese and Xi Jinping. Tedros helped promote the notion that Covid 19 did not originate in China, he praised their transparency and candor in dealing with the virus. He doesn’t have the medical qualifications to manage this organization other than his willingness to kowtow to the Chinese and Bill Gates.

Back to the subject at hand: the IHR as amended by good old Uncle Joe and his new representative to the WHO, Anthony Fauci.

Here are but a few of the gems from this:

1. WHO’s latest release pushes new digital vaccine passports to be used on a global scale.
2. The WHO openly states these personalized digital documents could “be extended to capture vaccination status to protect against other diseases” and may “be used for continuity of care or as proof of vaccination for purposes other than health care,” such as employment, university education and international travel.
3. Empower WHO’s Director-General to declare health emergencies or crises in any nation and to do so unilaterally and against the opposition of the target nation.
4. According to the Forward to WHO’s regulations, there is no specific limit to what constitutes a health emergency, and it is certainly not limited to pandemics. WHO’s domain includes: “8. a scope not limited to any specific disease or manner of transmission, but covering “illness or medical condition, irrespective of origin or source, that presents or could present significant harm to humans… “5. The WHO will have the unilateral power to determine if any member country warrants their intervention, whether the target country agrees or not.

There is a lot more buried in this text but the net result is the same: if codified, the USA will have voluntarily given up its sovereignty to a Chinese puppet: Tedros. If you missed it this week, our vaunted head of the DHS, Mayorkas, has shelved his plan for a Disinformation Governance Board. This is less surprising now that the details of the new IHR become clearer: it has a far more stringent censorship program built into it.

If this is permitted to go forward, this country will have freely erased our Constitution and abandoned the Bill of Rights. Make no mistake, the first amendment will be suspended under this, the second amendment will be next. We begin an eighteen-month review countdown after this is ratified in Davos (which is when this becomes international law) so the time to act is now. Contact your Congressional representatives and let them know that this is not acceptable. This treaty will fundamentally change this country from the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” to the “Land of the Entitled Billionaires and the serfs who serve them”.

How the United States Conquered Inflation Following the Civil War

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Americans today are once again the victims of price inflation brought on by runaway government spending and printing of unbacked paper money.

 

According to the most recent polling data, the American public’s approval of Congress stands at a dismal 21 percent. Almost four times as many people disapprove of the job it’s doing.

That’s par for the course in recent decades. It’s the major reason the Washington sausage grinder earns so little praise. To be fair, though, let’s review an occasion when lawmakers got something right. I’m prompted to share this story now because its lessons are especially relevant considering today’s concerns about rising price inflation. The year was 1875.

The Civil War (1861-65) produced disastrous hyperinflation in the Confederacy and considerable currency depreciation of paper greenbacks in the North as well. A decade after Appomattox, Congress still had not made good on its promise to make its paper money redeemable in gold. But in January 1875, alarmed by the rise of pro-inflation agitators (the “Greenbackers,” later to become “silverites”), Congress passed the Specie Payment Resumption Act, which President Ulysses S. Grant later signed into law.

Politicians often break their promises, and this was yet another opportunity to do so. Congress could have declared, “We don’t have the gold necessary to honor our pledge, so we’ll pay gold for greenbacks at 50 cents on the dollar.” But lawmakers chose to be honest for once, and to meet their obligations fully. The Act provided that all paper greenbacks would be redeemable on demand “at par” (100 percent of the earlier promise), beginning on January 1, 1879.

When Rutherford B. Hayes succeeded Grant as President in March 1877, he knew his administration had less than two years to prepare the Treasury and the nation’s banks for redemption. He and his Treasury officials believed the best way to avoid a run on the banks in January 1879 was to shore up the country’s gold reserves. They did so largely by selling bonds to Europeans in exchange for gold.

Redemption Day came amid rumors that people would flood the banks with their paper greenbacks and demand the promised gold, but just the opposite happened. Hardly anybody showed up at bank teller windows asking for the yellow metal. Why? Because the Treasury had accumulated more than enough gold to take care of convertibility, and the public knew it. The lesson? When people have good reason to believe their paper money is “as good as gold,” they prefer the convenience of paper.

Former United States Circuit Judge Randall R. Rader writes,

The year 1879 brought the resumption of the redeemable currency. The consumer price index stabilized at 28 in that year. For more than three decades thereafter (World War I interrupted the price tranquility), the index never rose above 29 or dipped below 25. The index remained at 27 for a decade. Never did it rise or fall more than a single point in a year. The gold standard worked throughout that entire period to keep prices remarkably stable.

Americans today are once again the victims of price inflation brought on by runaway government spending and the printing of unbacked paper money. Does the Specie Payment Resumption Act of 1875 offer a model that could solve the problem? Yes and No.

Certainly, tying the dollar to a precious metal would exert a discipline desperately needed in monetary policy. Putting the Federal Reserve out of business would be a meaningful and positive reform as well; since its inception in 1913, it has given us one Great Depression, a bunch of recessions and a currency worth maybe 1/20th of its 1913 value. The Fed is an inflation factory, stumbling and fumbling from one self-inflicted crisis after another. Gold convertibility, as the 1875 act provided, would signify a restoration of integrity and monetary sanity that we haven’t seen in a hundred years.

But two big, fat elephants ensure that an 1875-like reform would immediately collapse unless they are summarily escorted out of the room. One is dishonest politicians. Washington is overrun with them—people who are interested first and foremost in short-term power and re-election and least of all in the long-term economic health of the country. Many are (pardon my bluntness) economic morons, oblivious to the red ink even as they drown in it.

The other elephant—the presence of which is a confirmation and consequence of the first—is a massive, annual budget deficit.

For half a century from 1865 until World War I, the federal government ran an almost unbroken string of budget surpluses. Today, it produces trillion-dollar deficits without batting an eye, and the President demands trillions more in spending and debt. If he announced today that the dollar would henceforth be backed by gold, the world would laugh, and you and I would rush to the banks with our paper before the gold ran out.

In other words, monetary discipline goes hand in hand with fiscal discipline. A return to sound money is impossible without a simultaneous return to sound budget management. In the face of a monstrous budget deficit and an even more frightening $30 trillion national debt, Congress just voted to ship $40 billion to Ukraine without cutting so much as a penny from anything else.

We have neither a Congress nor a President, and perhaps no public consensus either, that would permit anything remotely resembling the 1875 Specie Payment Resumption Act.

And until we do, the dollar is destined for further depreciation. Just as elections have consequences, so do destructive monetary and fiscal policies.

*****

This article was published by FEE, Foundation for Economic Education and is reproduced with permission.

 

The Attack on the Justices of the Supreme Court is the Real Insurrection

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The motto of the U.S. Supreme Court states “Equal Justice Under Law”. While everyone can agree with this simple statement, recently there has been no application of justice for the Justices of the Supreme Court. The protesters at the homes of the Justices have not been arrested. Remember, protesting outside of Justices’ homes to intimidate them is completely illegal. Along with illegally protesting on private property, pro-abortion groups and demonstrators have interrupted Catholic Mass in many churches, vandalized Catholic churches, and targeted pro-life groups, individuals, and businesses.

Lately, Jen Psaki, the former White House press secretary, has run herself in circles trying not to endorse nor renounce these illegal protests. While she encouraged peace, she never said to stay away from Justices’ homes. Senator Schumer, the Senate majority leader, has endorsed these “peaceful protests”, even though what they are doing is illegal. These protesters are angry, hateful, and screaming obscenities. They have also been threatening the Justices, their families, and the Supreme Court building. Protesting on the grounds of the U.S. Supreme Court, a public federal building, and protesting on Justice’s private homes are completely different. Justice Alito, whose draft was leaked, and his family have even been moved to an undisclosed location due to threats on their well-being from these protesters.

This is an insurrection against our Republic. Yes, I know, I said it. We frequently hear the “AN ATTACK ON OUR DEMOCRACY”! chant Democrats scream while claiming Jan. 6 was an insurrection. If that was an insurrection, then this attack on the Justices of the Supreme Court is an insurrection on steroids. The difference is that the people on January 6 went to the capitol building, which is known as the People’s house. Now, these protesters are going to private homes and intimidating not only the Justices but threatening their children too.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade would not outlaw abortion. It would give the decision back to the states, many of which already have abortion laws in place. The Constitution asserts that anything not explicitly written in the Constitution goes back to the states to be decided by the states. This allows for differences between the states within a united nation. It would be hard to create an amendment for abortion in the Constitution because, without the right to life, all our rights written in the Constitution are void. The right to life is the most basic, without which none of the others exist.

Some say they only support abortions in cases of incest or rape. Incest accounts for less than 0.5% of abortions and rape for 1% of abortions. On the other hand, 74% of abortions occur because women said the child would ‘dramatically change their life’. Since 1973, over 60 million babies have been aborted. Based upon that number, roughly 44.5 million of these babies have been aborted because they would be an inconvenience, or the mother didn’t want them. While some claim it is only a fetus, fetus is a Latin word that, when translated means ‘offspring’. Remember, as Dr. Suess once wrote, “A person’s a person no matter how small”.

For all 233 years of the Supreme Court an opinion draft has never been leaked. There has always been respect for Supreme Court Justices by the clerks of the court, even if they disagreed with them. They understood the rules that keep this democracy intact. Yet, all those years of respect have now been lost because of one rogue clerk who put his or her personal feelings, beliefs, and outrage above the welfare of the country. The clerk, when discovered, will have destroyed his or her career.

Hypocrisies are all too common within the Democrat Party today. It seems that if you don’t have the correct religion, skin tone, political party, or sexuality, you are of no use. Take Larry Elder for example. The left assumes every black person is a grateful Democrat. Yet Larry Elder, a conservative black man, runs against Gavin Newsom for governor of California and is suddenly the face of white supremacy. A black man. The face of white supremacy. Crazy!

If a Republican clerk of the Supreme Court had leaked an opinion, their name would already be all over the media and the FBI would be showing up at their residence. Yet, we still don’t know who leaked this document, let alone if they will be held accountable. It’s sad – it is unknown if we will find out who leaked this opinion or if they will be held accountable. Between the Covid pandemic, the 2020 federal election and the Biden administration, the past three years of our government have taken away pretty much all the faith and trust I had in our government. Over the last six years, with politicians going unpunished for crimes everyone knows they committed, it seems as if there are two sets of laws in this country. One set for the politicians, the high-tech oligarchs, and elite liberals, and one set for us, We the People.

This behavior is not normal but for those of us in Generation Z (born between 1997-2012), this is all we have ever known. Since I began paying attention to the news when I was 10, and even more as I became older, I have noticed that no one can seem to get along or even be civil. One night, when I was talking to my parents about two years ago, I mentioned how exhausting it must be to work in the political sphere because it is always so amped up. Everything seems to be a crisis, and there is never an end to the number of crises. Also, none of the politicians seemed to be able to work together, even if their beliefs are the same. Someone always managed to get offended by the other. I genuinely thought this was normal behavior because it is all I have ever known. My parents assured me it is not normal and they have not seen this degree of incivility and tribalism before. We must inform and stress to younger generations that this behavior, these politics, and this culture is un-American and are not normal or if not changed we will never know better. We need to normalize civility and bring back honor to politics.

The left has put their own agenda above what is good and right for the country and the American people. George Washington warned against this exact behavior in his farewell address, where he said, “They serve to organize Faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force – to put in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party: often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the Community”. These illegal protests are a scare tactic, meant to intimidate us into submission instead of standing up for our beliefs and the rights of unborn children. This is very similar to how the riots of summer 2020 began when BLM and Antifa began their intimidation and fear tactics. No more interrupting Mass, targeting pro-lifers, and intimidating judges. That is not the public square. Conservatives must take a stand for their country and their beliefs. Make no mistake, we are in a culture war. This heinous attack on the judiciary is an insurrection and must not be tolerated.

*****

Ellie Fromm is currently serving at The Prickly Pear as a Journalism Intern. Ms. Fromm is entering her senior year in high school and has been home schooled since preschool. 

Should President Biden Be Impeached?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Something big is going on in Trumpland. Recently a poll taken by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that over two-thirds of Republicans believe President Joe Biden should be impeached if Republicans take control of both houses of Congress in the coming mid-term elections. You can read more details about the poll by clicking here.

Rather than commenting on the poll or its methodology, we would rather ask a basic question. Is impeachment a good idea?

We have to admit after two impeachment proceedings against our guy, President Trump, the opportunity to pay back is tempting. As they say, karma can be a bitch.

This is particularly the case because Democrats impeached the President for colluding with Russia, which is something the Democrats made up as a campaign dirty trick. It would seem only just to pay them back for this perfidy.

But do we really want to go down that road?  By lowering the bar on impeachment some contend, we could make this simply part of an ever-deteriorating electoral process, to wit, the sore loser simply wants to paralyze their political opposition. Do we want to regularize such behavior?

This would result in constant political warfare within a country already deeply divided. Elections would hardly settle political issues, they would simply mark the first phase of protracted conflict. If this became normalized, we could make ourselves ungovernable.

Just because the Democrats set a bad precedent is no reason for Republicans to use that precedent. We could recognize it for what it was, that it was a very bad precedent, and therefore avoid using it, even if justified.

It could be argued that the very stability of our governance is at stake and that other means can be found, particularly at the ballot box to redress grievances.  And, maybe the judicial system will start to work at putting some guilty people in jail.

However, the bar was not so much lowered in the case of Trump as it was exploited in a way very destructive to the system. In this case, the Democrats did not have weak evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, they virtually manufactured the controversy and paid for it out of official Democratic campaign funds. They then conspired with the press and launched a bogus proceeding. They committed crimes in the process.

Maybe the Durham investigations will finally get at the bottom of the crimes far worse than Watergate and Hillary can try out a new orange jumpsuit. But it would seem, that the wheels of justice not only grind slowly, they sometimes don’t grind at all.

Many cases will be tried in Washington D.C., where the jury pool already looks like it is being rigged. One of the great frustrations of our era is many guilty parties are never charged, and if they are, they will get off. It would be nice to have confidence that the law would be impartially and judiciously applied, but there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.

It is pretty clear the FBI, the FISA courts, the CIA, and the Department of Justice, in fact, the entire judicial mechanism at the Federal level, have been compromised. After 8 years of Obama appointments, the Department of Justice became part of the conspiracy. Can we reasonably look to them to prosecute wrongdoers? The permanent bureaucracy protected by civil service rules runs the show, regardless of the possibility of a new incoming Republican Attorney General. Under this set of factors, getting justice from the judicial system seems like a low percentage bet.

Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised. We certainly hope so. It would be better for the system if Durham is wildly successful.

But if the system is so compromised, would that not argue for impeachment, which is both a political and judicial process, and it is done outside of the compromised law enforcement structure of the executive branch? It would seem to be the only alternative likely to achieve some kind of justice.

Then there are just the plain political optics of the thing. Increasingly, Republicans can frame Democrats as the party of hateful extremists, sexual deviants, Chinese Communist sympathizers, inflationists, and just plain incompetent. Most elections of late are actually won by which party successfully convinces the independent voter since Republicans and Democrats are so evenly matched.

Democrats have also made a hash out of our foreign policy by pulling prematurely out of one war and quickly getting us into conflict with the largest country in landmass, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and a nuclear power.

Democrat policies are directly responsible for the war on energy, resulting in near-run-away inflation and a food crisis. No matter how friendly the press, they can’t hide from Americans what is going on with food and fuel, something consumers buy every day.

Democrats are riding low in the polls.  Do we really want to do anything to distract them from self-destruction?

In short, Republicans can look like the sensible party compared to the Democrats. Even if some voters have some problems with us, we look more reasonable than they do. That will attract what conservative Democrats are left and many independents.  Hispanics are trending our way and we are likely to make progress with Asians and Blacks as well. It should propel Republicans to victory.

Would impeachment ruin that narrative? Would it make us look just as wacko as they appear?

Maybe, but maybe not. Where Biden is really vulnerable is his failure as the chief law enforcement officer to simply enforce the law fairly and without discrimination. We have immigration laws that are simply being ignored. If you don’t like the law, change it.  But until it is changed, his constitutional duty is to enforce the law. He just can’t pick and choose which laws he wishes to enforce. If he does, he is not faithfully executing his Constitutional executive functions.

He also is violating the law by brazenly calling his opponents’ white supremacist terrorists and using the intelligence and enforcement power of government to criminalize his political opposition, even down to the school board level. This is highly dangerous because if his followers believe it, the government will have to act against “terrorists.” In short, he is just one breath away from imprisoning his political opposition. For that, he deserves to be impeached because he is saying this over and over again.

Thus, this is not a case of just vindictive tit for political tat. This is not really political in the partisan sense, it is structural. Our chief law enforcement officer is breaking the law and failing to carry out the duties of his office. That is not a policy position, it is fact.

If framed in this way, does impeachment really look like we are being vindictive? Or, are we using the Constitution to remove a lawbreaking President because neither the Judicial branch nor the Justice Department can really operate under such circumstances? Notice how he threatens the independence of the Judiciary, another impeachable offense.

There are other areas of vulnerability such as selling his office for money in collusion with his son and possibly even hiding his declining mental condition.  But that might look petty while failure to honor his oath of office looks justifiable.

It is a tough call and we offer these thoughts for your consideration. Republicans better start thinking carefully about whether this is something they really want to do, and whether the political optics can be managed knowing full well the press will not be on our side. If the poll is correct, it would seem many have prematurely reached a conclusion without thinking things through.

We had better think carefully or we could do more harm than good to our cause.  If impeachment is to be done, it has to be for good cause, not spite.

Clearly, the first order of business is to win big in November. If we don’t, the whole argument is moot.

 

Government’s Stupid Plan While Big Business Greases the Wheels

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

All too often there is a proposal for a government plan that just makes one stare in disbelief at the proposing legislator’s gross ignorance. When you then see that the business community is complicit with said ridiculously stupid plan, it becomes obvious why many people no longer trust big organizations. Following is such a situation.

We have a housing crisis in California. It is not unlike what is going on across America. It is estimated there is a shortage of approximately 1.5 million units. Development has slowed down since the housing crisis that occurred in 2007-08. In California, the housing crisis has driven up prices and caused an exodus of many businesses along with the middle class. The only reason the population has not gone into free fall is the growth of two groups – illegal immigrants and the homeless. The government is taking tax dollars and developing homeless units for $500,000 and up – per unit.

Instead of resolving the underlying problems costs burdened by the government and restricting the development of new units created by the government, as usual, there is a new proposal. It does not address those problems but manages to create a solution so amazingly brainless that you just must stand there with your mouth agape.

Senator Toni Atkins is a powerful member of the California State Legislature. She was formerly the Speaker of the Assembly and is now head of the Senate. People listen when she makes a proposal.

She now has a proposal for a 10-year, $10 billion revolving fund where an individual or family may receive a down payment to purchase a home. The program allocates state funds to provide first-time homebuyers with an interest-free loan of 17% of the purchase price. The money must be repaid when the home is refinanced or sold and only then. As always, it sounds nice on its face, but let us look at the facts.

I understand how difficult it is to gather the down payment for your first home. The Beautiful Wife and I experienced that ourselves in 1987 when acquiring our first home. It has become even more challenging as the price of housing in California has soared. Times have changed and this is where this plan becomes dangerous.

The further you get away from an event the more people forget the pain that was inflicted. We had a housing collapse in 2007-08 that nearly brought our economy to its knees. The government, as always, blamed businesses for bad policies, but concurrent with the events of the time I documented that the root cause was federal government housing and loan policies.

People were simply walking away from their homes or rental properties because they had put little or none of their own funds into the property, per the government’s policy. That caused the collapse. With the decline of housing values, they were “underwater” and just gave the property to the lender with its government-insured loan.

I wrote at the time that some in our federal government had wanted to further expand the acquisition of homes by people with no “skin in the game.” Maxine Waters, one of our most “esteemed” members of Congress is now chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Ms. Waters stated just prior to the collapse that “If you can afford rent, you can afford a mortgage,” a statement so amazingly ignorant it still fascinates and especially now since she is in such a prominent position regarding the nation’s financial affairs.

Ms. Atkins wants to further Congresswoman Waters’ dream of having people with no skin in the game acquire a home. It is not hard to see these same people walk away once things again go bad. They have invested nothing so why should they care? In a repeat housing collapse these loans would just exacerbate the collapse.

Ms. Atkins’ ignorance is understandable. She has zero experience in the real estate market. However, she does excel at taking our money and redirecting it somewhere whether it makes no economic sense.

The ignorance of real estate people is inexcusable. That did not stop the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) from endorsing this dangerous plan. Their board supports this plan. Otto Catrina, C.A.R.’s president, stated “Many Californians can afford a monthly payment but need assistance with the down payment and closing costs, we are pleased to support a plan that provides an opportunity for financial security and housing stability so all Californians can realize the economic and societal benefits homeownership provides.”

After being a licensed real estate broker for 35 years and having a CPA practice with a substantial focus on real estate, it is obvious why I have not joined this organization.

When I contacted the organization, I asked their spokesperson whether the board had forgotten about the last housing crisis. She refused to answer the question. I then asked the second reason that makes this plan so amazingly egregious. I stated I would expect Senator Atkins not to know that the problem with the housing market is an issue of supply; not demand. Did the board not know this when they endorsed the proposal?

Every home sale in California becomes an auction. There are multiple bidders on each home driving the price up as they try to be the winning bidder. There is a severe lack of supply with demand far exceeding the supply. Why anyone would create a program to further increase demand staggers the imagination. Why C.A.R. would not counsel Senator Atkins on this defines how big business goes along with government programs only to feather their own nests.

When I asked the spokesperson why the C.A.R. endorsed this plan in the face of the severe supply shortage, she asked “Don’t you support people owning their own homes, the American dream?” I answered I believe every American should be able to own a 4,000 sq. ft. home (true). She scoffed at that.

It is understandable why Senator Atkins would make this proposal. Her understanding of the housing market is a millimeter thick. It is the obligation of a big trade organization to educate the legislators on the facts. The history of no-money-down home acquisitions and the upside-down supply and demand issues in the market make this plan outrageously ill-advised, yet the C.A.R. has gone along with it.

It is no wonder Californians and people across America no longer trust the government and big business, and believe they are simply lining each other’s pockets.

*****

The article was published by Flash Report and is reproduced with the permission of the author.

Yuma, Dinesh D’Souza and Election Integrity in Arizona

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Editors’ Note. The following is a message to the supporters of AZ Representative Shawnna Bolick (LD 20) who is currently a Republican candidate for the Arizona Secretary of State. We share Ms. Bolick’s deep and ongoing concern about the integrity of Arizona elections, ballot harvesting, and fraudulent voting with the readers The Prickly Pear. Secure and fair elections are a primary role of the Arizona Secretary of State, Arizona’s Chief Election Office.

 

Yuma, Arizona has mass voting fraud caught on tape.

2000 Mules, a film by Dinesh D’Souza which debuted in early May, exposed the depth of the organized election fraud that occurred in the 2020 Presidential election and 2021 Georgia runoff election. Using the same cell phone proximity data that law enforcement uses to catch criminals, they found that “mules” were collecting ballots and stuffing ballot boxes in multiple key swing states, including Arizona. Up to 400,000 fraudulent votes, enough to flip many states, were involved in this criminal enterprise because these “mules” were being paid between $10 to $40 per ballot.

When I saw the movie and considered the evidence D’Souza showcased, I was disappointed, but not entirely shocked. When we passed a law prohibiting ballot harvesting, the DNC unsuccessfully sued Arizona to keep the practice alive. The practice is flourishing. Democratic Party-aligned non-profits have historically harvested ballots, but the scope of their fraud in 2020 was more extensive than we could ever imagine.

We will continue to have question marks about the 2020 election. It is clear to me that the ballot box stuffing was highly organized. Yuma’s law enforcement has raided these non-government organizations for false voter registrations, duplicate voting, fraudulent use of absentee ballots and impersonation fraud.

I’ve been rallying our efforts to secure elections in the legislature since I was elected, but I’m running into a lot of opposition. Before 2000 Mules released, we were offered an informational hearing in the House to hear the evidence they presented to the FBI and the AG’s office, but Speaker Bowers denied the hearing. I can be forward thinking and assist in passing laws to secure our future elections, but there are obstructionists preventing Arizona from truly improving the integrity of the process. That’s why I’m running for Arizona’s Chief Election Officer—the Secretary of State—to prevent 2020 from happening under my watch.

ICYMI [In Case You Missed It] a few weeks ago, my legislative office received six public records requests from left wing organizations, including one from The Washington Post. Afterall, it is an even year (aka an election year). We were asked to forward all communications my office had with Ginni Thomas. The Left went crazy over my response to an auto-generated form email sent. You can read it here for yourself.

I bet many other legislators across the US received similar emails from millions of frustrated voters after the November 2020 election. Why are the lazy lamestream reporters requesting such items now?

Hold firm, Justice Clarence Thomas!

*****

Learn more about Shawnna Bolick at www.bolickforarizona.com.

 

 

Price Controls on Fuel Would Be Disastrous for Americans

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

In classic Washington style, liberals in Congress are advancing a bill that most assuredly would make a bad situation much worse.

In response to soaring fuel prices, liberals seek to shift blame away from Bidenflation and onto producers through the so-called Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act.  A more appropriate title would be the “Driving Up Prices and Fuel Rationing Act,” because that is exactly what it would do. 

The bill would empower state and federal authorities to bring civil actions against fuel suppliers who engage in what the bill terms “unconscionable pricing.”

By using highly subjective and undefinable terms to trigger action against fuel suppliers (over unlimited timeframes), the bill would provide politicians and bureaucrats near limitless power to interfere with energy markets.

The result would be a federal price control system for consumer fuel. The United States attempted price controls at the pump during the 1970s, and it was an unmitigated disaster. Why would Congress want to take us back to the ’70s, with interminable gas lines and “sold out” signs at station after station?

Prices are important signals that convey information to the marketplace. High prices tell companies to produce more, and low prices tell them to produce less. By interfering with that natural market process, this proposal actually could make gasoline shortages worse, forcing companies to lose money or even risk prosecution for trying to expand production while covering their costs.

Congress needs to understand that unforeseen market shifts can happen, causing a misalignment between supply and demand. This affects prices, and those prices are how markets bring alignment between consumers and producers.

These price fluctuations aren’t the problem, they’re the solution. Stop prices from adjusting and the misalignment between supply and demand will continue or even worsen into shortage. And then, watch out!

When government policy, such as this legislation, prevents producers from offering products at market prices, producers may produce less of the product (or even stop producing it altogether) and limit capital investment to provide for future demand.

When prices don’t reflect corresponding supply reductions, consumer demand will fail to adjust, instead of chasing a dwindling supply. Fewer goods with high demand are a recipe for shortages.

The Federal Trade Commission knows this and has warned: “If natural price signals are distorted by price controls, consumers ultimately might be worse off, as gasoline shortages could result.”

The economic carnage of price controls is bad enough. But layering them over the Biden administration’s anti-energy agenda would make meeting the artificially high demand for gas even more difficult. 

Indeed, the bill is just an extension of the left’s war on energy. The chilling effect it would have on investment and innovation would not only impact fuel prices today but well into the future. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers reportedly called this price-gouging bill “dangerous nonsense.”

Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow for environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, makes the point about the nonsensical nature of the price-gouging argument in this way: “If major oil companies can simply manipulate gas prices upward, why would they have endured six years of considerably lower prices prior [to] 2021?”

It isn’t just nonsensical and flawed economics. The bill is also harmful because it diverts attention from the actual problems and the real solutions.

And many of the actual problems when it comes to gas prices aren’t hard to identify. The Biden administration and liberal legislators are pushing a war on conventional fuels that is driving up prices.

The Biden administration has been trying to blame the high gas prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the public hasn’t been buying this misinformation campaign, properly recognizing that gas prices were soaring well before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Retail prices for regular gasoline already had risen by 48% from the week ending Jan. 25, 2021 (when President Joe Biden took office), to the week ending Feb. 21, 2022 (three days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine).

Currently, gas prices are over $4 per gallon, and in some areas of the country, they exceed $5 per gallon.

Liberals, though, act as if they have nothing to do with what’s happening. Blame is the name of the game, not responsibility. Now the left’s blame game is turning up the heat on the oil and gas industry.

But this is hardly new. Like clockwork, when there are higher than normal gas prices, liberal legislators and administrations (such as the Obama administration) will try to blame it on price gouging instead of their own failed inflationary policies.

The Federal Trade Commission, though, consistently has found that allegations and claims of gas price gouging and related anti-competitive concerns are unfounded.

Policymakers need to remove government intervention that is driving up prices, not try to pass a bill that would double down on heavy-handed government.

*****

This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.