Did Lockdowns Turn Americans Into Lazy Bums?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

It looks as if we can add another line to the long list of lockdown harms. Sloth.

This explains so much actually. For months, we’ve been watching working/population ratios and labor participation rates and have been stunned by how they both continue to plummet. We search for explanations. Early retirement. Women driven out due to childcare shortages. Unemployment payments.

All these factors contribute but there is still more to explain. 

In the midst of the astonishing hullabaloo over the raid of Donald Trump’s home – and the confiscation of a pro-freedom Republican Congressman’s smartphone – the Bureau of Labor Statistics dropped a remarkable report on labor productivity. Here we see something we’ve never seen before.

It’s low and falling. Lower than it has been than in the entire postwar period. It breaks all records. This chart is from 1948 to the present. It adjusts for all factors including participation, population, retirement, and so on. It only looks at hours over output. Here is what we see.

What does this mean?

The immediate response might be that Americans have gotten lazy. They got used to their Zoom lifestyles and pretending to work. They want to hang around on apps, Tweet, chat it up with their friends on Facebook or Slack, and otherwise fake out the boss who can’t fire them anyway for fear of lawsuits. They aren’t doing much anymore, at least not those in high-end employment in professional office suits.

I resisted that conclusion and looked more deeply into how this number is calculated. It looks at total economic output compared to the number of labor hours from the wage and salary of employees involved in making that output. The result is a figure that estimates productivity per hour. And yes, it is probably widely inaccurate as these sorts of macroeconomic magnitudes tend to be. We use them anyway because they are consistently inaccurate: the same method used to calculate in one quarter is used to calculate in all. It thereby becomes useful.

And what it reveals is probably what we might expect. American workers have dealt with lockdowns and shutdowns, plus vaccine mandate demoralization, plus inflation eating away at real wages, plus an existing or impending recession, and you have the result. A nation of goof-offs. 

It might be more than that. Lockdowns kicked off a national substance-abuse crisis: liquor, drugs, weed, you name it. And depression too. Even today, one cannot help but notice the smell of weed in large cities. This is not the smell of ambition and productivity.

We can combine this with the sheer number of people who have left the workforce completely and you paint a grim picture.

Economist and Brownstone Senior Fellow David Stockman has an interesting take on this. Rather than just fire people outright, companies are keeping unproductive employees on the payroll just in case. He writes:

 

Today’s Q2 productivity report…came in at -4.7%, on top of the -7.7% decline posted in Q1. Together they amount to the worst back-to-back productivity declines ever reported.

Our point is that this development puts a whole new angle on the so-called “strong” labor market. To wit, owing to the labor market turmoil and disruptions of the Covid-Lockdowns and massive stimmy injections since 2020, employers are apparently hiring on a just-in-case basis like rarely before. This is otherwise known as top-of-the-cycle labor hoarding.

As shown below, since Q4 2021 economic output, which is a close derivative of real GDP, has shrunk by –1.2%. By contrast, the US nonfarm payroll has increased by 2.77 million jobs or nearly +2.0%.

Needless to say, with far more labor spread over contracting output, labor productivity took it on the chin. That is to say, bad Washington policies including $6 trillion of stimmies, massive money-pumping and the brutal Lockdowns of the Virus Patrol have apparently left employers dazed and confused.

At length, however, employers will wake-up to the fact that bloated payrolls against declining sales will result in a severe profit margin squeeze. Then the labor-shedding and layoffs will commence big time, even as the Keynesians in the Eccles Building are reduced to babbling about the “strong” labor market which suddenly vanished.

What he is getting at is what I’ve called (after Keynes) the coming euthanasia of the overclass. It won’t be the people actually doing real stuff who will face layoffs but the Zoom workers who stayed home because government said they could and their employers could not object. Employees gradually discovered that they could be anywhere – at the pool, in bed, on the road, climbing mountains – and so long as they had a Slack app running, no one could tell. 

Lockdowns acculturated an entire generation to believe that work is fake, productivity is a ruse, money comes for nothing, the boss is an idiot, and many workers are privileged to be wealthy forever due to papers handed out for $200,000 by colleges and universities. Who needs productivity, much less ambition?

In the old days, in an ethos formed from bourgeois experience over hundreds of years, the idea of working and doing one’s part was ingrained as a moral habit, part of the liturgy of life itself. When the government told everyone to stop in the name of virus control, something went haywire in people’s brains. If governments say that the work ethic amounts to nothing but pathogenic spread, and we can all contribute more by staying home and doing less, it’s hard to go back. It wrecked a generation. We are paying the price now.

The good news for the productive few is that this means higher wages and job opportunities galore, especially if you have the actual skill and a desire to work. The bad news for everyone else is that many companies will soon discover that you are useless. That’s when the unemployment numbers will start ticking up, making this recession look more like the ones in the past except for the relentless decline in real wages.

To answer the question about whether Americans have become lazy bums, the answer is many but not all. It’s sector-specific. And individual specific.

Strange times. Sad times.

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This article was published by the Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

The Next Populist Moment

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

After Tuesday’s primaries, the New Right has officially arrived. Next to win, and then to govern.

 

On Tuesday [August 2], New Right rising star Blake Masters won Arizona’s Republican Senate primary by more than a ten-point margin. Kari Lake defeated establishment candidate Karrin Taylor Robson in the state’s gubernatorial primary. Up in Michigan, MAGA challenger John Gibbs—a Stanford and Harvard grad and faithful Catholic convert who served as assistant secretary of HUD—bested anti-Trump incumbent Peter Meijer by a slim but safe 3.6-point margin.

The only real question mark left on the field is Joe Kent, a decorated retired Green Beret and Gold Star husband running for Washington State’s 3rd district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kent is hoping to unseat Jaime Herrera Beutler, a five-term incumbent liberal Republican who (like Meijer) voted to impeach President Trump.

On Wednesday morning, with 57 percent reporting and Kent trailing Beutler by a good distance, many were ready to call the race against the America First challenger. As numbers slowly trickle in, though, it seems their judgment was premature. While counting is still inexplicably unfinished, at the time of writing Kent has closed the gap to just 1.3 points, with only 83 percent of all votes reported. A path to victory remains open for Kent, and seems clearer with every batch of counted votes.

If he does lose, it will be no mystery why: Heidi St. John. The Christian mommy-blogger-cum-entrepreneur was meant to bow out if she did not receive the 45th president’s endorsement. When the nod went to Kent, St. John stayed in. At present, she is trailing at 15.7 percent to Kent’s 22. If the America First vote had not been split, it would be clear ahead of Beutler’s 23.3 percent.

Halfway across the country in Kansas, a referendum on abortion was shot down to much fanfare. Pro-abortion Democrats and accommodationist Republicans have taken the result as evidence that pro-life policy will not actually be viable at the state level after Roe. Rachel Sweet, campaign manager of the pro-abortion group Kansas for Constitutional Freedom, claimed that “the people of Kansas have spoken. They think that abortion should be safe, legal and accessible in the state of Kansas.” President Joe Biden likewise asserted that “this vote makes clear” that “the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions.”

Of course, the vote does nothing of the sort. The text of the amendment on the ballot read as follows:

Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstnces [sic] of necessity to save the life of the mother.

Maybe the average voter is a lot smarter than I am; I certainly hope he is. But if I got away from work for a few minutes on a Tuesday to cast my vote quickly in a primary election, I wouldn’t have the bandwidth to make sense of that word salad. At a glance (which is all most people give), a reasonable person could easily take a “No” vote to mean not empowering legislators to enshrine a fictional right to abortion at the state level. Pair this fact—that most people likely had no idea what they were voting for—with the state’s infamous libertarian streak, and it is hardly a surprise that the Kansas measure failed. It is certainly not an indictment of the prospects for outlawing abortion in America writ large.

So, with two easily explicable exceptions, Tuesday was a banner night for the GOP’s ascendant wing—call it pro-Trump, MAGA, America First, New Right, or populist. Ben Domenech, a prominent D.C. libertarian, strangely and preemptively cast the night as “not a particularly good showing for populists.” But it was, on almost any measure, an absolutely stellar showing.

Masters in particular should inspire hope among the upstart faction. He opposes abortion wholesale, and thinks Griswold and Obergefell should go the way of Roe. He reads Curtis Yarvin and Ted Kaczynski. He wants to scale back immigration and get a handle on Big Tech. He has thoughts on the last election and the riot at the Capitol. The father of three young children, he ran not just on an America First but a pro-family platform.

Conventional wisdom said he was unelectable as late as Tuesday afternoon. Yet he outpaced even J.D. Vance’s 8.3-point win in Ohio. This cycle has shown beyond any doubt that the possible in politics is lightyears beyond the establishment’s measure of it.

No surprise, then, that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is bothered by this latest round of victors. Once bullish on the party’s midterm prospects, by Wednesday McConnell was fretting on Fox News that this election would be a nail-biter. Unable to learn a lesson from the primaries, he seems to think a Republican Party with any higher message than complaining about Joe Biden will have no prospect of securing a majority. And if they did, he would surely have no interest in allowing them to govern.

McConnell is right to be worried, in that case: not that this new crop of Republicans will lose, but that they—we—are going to win.

 

Postscript: the latest we have is Kent is behind by just 257 votes.

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This article was published by The American Conservative and is reproduced with permission.

In Defense of National Conservatism

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Editors Note: As the article suggests, National Conservatism is a work in progress. Some call it MAGA and that seems to mean different things to different people. For us, it embraces elements of political conservatism but emphasizes the historic need to control the abuse of power, especially from today’s internationalist technocratic framework. It starts with adherence to the Judeo-Christian ethos even if the religion itself is not practiced, to the family having much greater autonomy (parents’ rights) and the critical role family plays in raising decent citizens. It emphasizes the primacy of the Constitution and original intent legal doctrine, favors a decentralized economy where market forces driven by consumers allocate resources (rather than government or private companies in alliance with the government), and suggests that many nation-states, much like states within the United States, are less likely to abuse power than international organizations. While rouge nations certainly exist, what is worse is a rouge international community enforcing its will on everyone. At least citizens can leave a tyrannical government or state for better circumstances and if necessary, it is easier to overthrow an individual government rather than dozens of governments. It is hard to find a choice in a global dictatorship and more difficult to resist. MAGA suggests that liberty and human flourishing are best achieved by a smaller, less intrusive government, in a moral environment of self-control, individual rights and moral individual responsibility, and peaceful cooperation.

 

Two recent Law & Liberty articles try to expose soft spots in national conservatism. Tyler Syck’s criticism pits national conservatism against our reigning civil rights regime, while Mark Tooley challenges national conservatism for embracing a relationship between religious faith and nationalism outside of the American tradition.

National conservatism is a work in progress. National conservatives have issued a Statement of Principles to explain their general disposition, and I signed it. Generally, national conservatives worry that the sovereignty of the nation is being worn away through universal, globalist powers imposing an inhuman, stultifying ideology. International bodies are part of this global imperium. So are multi-national corporations and other oligarchic entities, which are destroying popular government and the institutions necessary for virtuous, happy lives all around the globe. Everywhere, governments, bureaucracies, and corporations are demanding conformity to the reigning civil rights regime—and crushing opposition. This reigning civil rights regime sees all inequalities as signs of universal oppression, and its purveyors demand a remaking of the world by experts in the name of elusive, ever-changing notions of equity.

The alternative to this global imperium must be named. Thus, national conservatism defends our civilized and civilizing commitments like the rule of law and free enterprise and the institutions that serve the permanent and aggregate interests of civil society like the family and sound science. Above the individual is the nation and above the nation is God, not a new world order.

What would a national conservatism look like? Consider some recent headlines. According to the National Association of Realtors, Chinese investors spent more than $6.1 billion on homes in the United States last year. This is certainly consistent with free-market economics on a global scale. Is it good for our country when adversaries and foreigners own large portions of our land?

Chinese companies have bought up land quite close to American military bases in North Dakota and elsewhere. Foreign ownership of American land generally plays a role in making real estate very expensive for our citizens. In principle, though, at some point too much foreign ownership of American soil upsets the country. National conservatives bemoan these developments and advocate for real estate nationalism. Foreign nationals own about 3% of America’s farmland, way more than foreigners own in other countries. We need agricultural nationalism. Slots in our elite engineering programs are allotted to foreigners at increasing rates—they pay full price after all. Is this wise? Public research nationalism is needed.

Fundamental Conflicts

Responding to Syck and Tooley may further flesh out what national conservatism means.

Syck seems blind to the fundamental conflict between the current American nation and our old constitutional government, and the civil rights regime as it has developed in the last two-plus decades. As a result, he embraces today’s pathologies and misreads our situation.

This new civil rights ideology compromises the glories of our civilization. Our universities have been undermined, ceaselessly attack our civilizational patrimony, and they now tend to compromise the free inquiry necessary for advancements. Our Christian heritage is denied or ridiculed. Family life is undermined through a commitment to ideologies associated with feminism and sexual liberation. The rule of equal laws is compromised as people are judged not by their actions but by their race or ideology. Censorship from private sources undermines public dialogue. Floods of unassimilated immigrants undermine national unity and national will.

Syck may recognize these realities but doesn’t want to trace them to our civil rights regime or do anything about them. Consider his point about “Family and Children.” Great nations require great families, and coming-apart families portend societal decadence. National conservatives think that “radical forms of sexual license and experimentation,” among other things, undermine family life. Syck disagrees. Family collapse, he suggests, is a product of “oppression and poverty”—a thought derived mostly from the reigning civil rights ideology. Blaming license and sexual experimentation, he thinks, is a veiled attack on same-sex marriage. National conservatives, he claims, “will not hesitate to enforce certain moral views about sexuality, abortion and the family” with the “full force of the federal government rather than the constitutionally intended channels of schools, states, and churches.”

Same-sex marriage and the ideologies leading up to it are definitely associated with family decline. Those who argued for gay liberation, second-wave feminism, the deregulation of pornography, at-will divorce, transgenderism, and other forms of “sexual license and experimentation” thought their victories would undermine a monogamous, procreative and responsible marital culture and therewith national greatness. The same is true for many advocates of same-sex marriage. Progress in the sexual license has nearly everywhere coincided with family decline—declines in marriage rates and birth rates. Unlike Syck, national conservatives see the necessary relationship between culture and family and are interested in doing something to arrest the spread.

Syck’s worries about national conservatives using the “full force of the national government” are inventions of a fevered imagination. The “full force of the national government” is, as Syck sometimes seems to understand, today on the side of libertinism. No state-level solution to sexual license is possible as long as our national institutions are in the grip of our reigning civil rights ideology. Our Supreme Court made local diversity on abortion impossible until this year. The Court undermines local regulation of obscenity through its First Amendment jurisprudence. The Court has also quashed state diversity by constitutionalizing contraception, sodomy regulation, and same-sex marriage. National civil rights laws nationalize second-wave feminism as an official American ideology. The U.S. Department of Education well-neigh requires states to adopt gender radicalism through its national standards. In our circumstances, getting the national government out of the business of quashing states who would like to go their own way on family and gender policy is a truly needful thing. National conservatives agree on that much.

Do we have the stomach for a more restrictive immigration policy, since it would almost certainly require natives to do work that they deem beneath their dignity? Do we have the stomach for restricting the purchase of ever more American real estate by foreigners, as it would put downward pressure on property values?

Beyond that, national conservatives have not agreed on something that must be done to arrest the spread of ideologies hostile to marriage and family life, or on the level of government at which they would be done. I gave my thoughts on what that something is at last year’s National Conservatism conference—but others interested in preserving America may disagree.

Syck’s broadside against national conservatism is traceable to his embrace of our reigning civil rights ideology, wittingly or unwittingly. National conservative solutions, he worries, involve “trying to beat the left at its own game”—to wit, legislating a different morality than the left is legislating. To which I say, “guilty as charged.” National conservatism does indeed fight for a vision of the public good. Syck embraces liberal neutrality, “creating a space in which citizens can come up with answers of their own.” National conservatives recognize the political truth that there is no neutral ground: our public institutions necessarily legislate morality. Every national conservative is an anti-contemporary liberal to that extent.

Maintaining Our Moral Ground

Which morality will it be? Like many national conservatives, Mark Tooley recognizes the inevitability of morality and the further truth that morality is downstream from religious faith. But Tooley worries that national conservatives put forward the wrong idea of how faith relates to the state. I think Tooley overdetermines what the “Statement of Principles” suggests in this regard, but let us deal with the deeper issue on which Tooley and national conservatives seem to agree: how to maintain a common life rooted in Christian faith and a Christian moral vision?

Tooley thinks separationism has accomplished this goal in the American experience, while national conservatives would have public and private institutions honor Christianity above other religions and would protect the rights of minorities to practice their religious traditions. Fundamentally, national conservatives think that America should take its Protestant roots more seriously and legislate toward a Protestant vision of family life, public research, and so on.

Tooley appropriates Tocqueville to his side, but it seems to me that Democracy in America more strongly favors the national conservative argument. Tocqueville praises the Americans for obscenity laws, for their pro-family ethic of separate spheres for men and women, and for honoring female chastity. These laws shaped and reflected Christian public opinion. American national conservatives hope that Christianity can have an indirect effect on public opinion moving forward, as opposed to the establishment of state churches for which Tooley imagines we are advocating.

Such a relationship was the norm in America until our civil rights regime imposed a secular, atheist vision of the good life on the country. Liberals have squeezed the Protestantism from public schools, so that only evolution could be taught, while prayer and Bible reading were abolished. Perhaps a healthy relation between faith and state could rise again if our civil rights regime could be displaced.

These two critics think national conservatism goes too far. The question, it seems to me, is whether the national conservatism goes far enough. Desiring to promote “stable family and congregational life and childraising” is different from having a realistic plan for getting there in our circumstances. Doing what is necessary to promote “stable family and congregational life” would, in all likelihood, involve serious rollbacks in our public commitments to gender equality and sexual libertinism.

Much the same could be said of immigration policy and other aspects of national conservatism. Do we have the stomach for a more restrictive immigration policy, since it would almost certainly require natives to do work that they deem beneath their dignity? Do we have the stomach for restricting the purchase of ever more American real estate by foreigners, as it would put downward pressure on property values? Every national conservative policy slaughters a sacred cow—and comes with serious corresponding pains.

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This article was published in Law & Liberty and is reproduced by permission.

Democratic Activists Are Dishing Out Millions To Keep CRT, Gender Theory In Schools

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

An education nonprofit that labels itself as non-partisan is pouring millions of dollars into political groups ahead of school board elections, according to Politico.

The Campaign for Our Shared Future, which works for “equitable, anti-racist programs, practices and policies” in K-12 education, is targeting school board elections in red states including Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, and Michigan, with a plan to reach at least 15 states, according to Politico. Executive Director Dr. Heather Harding said the group has raised at least $9 million for voter education efforts and plans to raise more. (RELATED: ‘We Are Being Censored’: Co-Founder Of Conservative Moms Group Blasts Twitter)

The campaign branches for Campaign For Our Shared Future were registered by two groups run by Arabella Advisors, a group known for pushing “Democratic dark money nonprofit groups,” Politico reported. New Venture Fund, which centers its work in “race, equity, diversity and inclusion” and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a group that works for “economic equity and racial justice,” are backing Campaign For Our Shared Future.

“After two years of being accused of a fake ‘astroturf’ movement, imagine the surprise of first-time activists and average parents from across the country to see that Arabella Advisors – a massive, dark money-funded network – has poured eight figures into jumping on the education bandwagon,” Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s unsurprising that democratic donors are panicked about how their allies have mismanaged this issue – but no amount of money can make up for the fact that at the end of the day, they truly believe that they know better than we do how to raise our children… and that is a losing message, period.”

Harding’s work history includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Teach For America, which values a “shared commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness.”

Campaign For Our Shared Future currently works with Our Turn, a youth activism group that focuses on social justice issues like immigration reform, Politico reported.

The education group provides a “voting guide” for school board elections in several red states and provides information on what makes a “good school board candidate” including someone who is fairly involved in the school, according to the website. “Extremists are causing chaos” in school board meetings, the group says, providing an example of a Florida man who challenged the school’s equity statement and deemed it “indoctrination.”

The group also called parents who opposed mask mandates in a Virginia school “conspiracy theorists,” the website shows.

Next, the group plans to target Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin but has not revealed in what ways, and will work with Florida Student Power, a group of students focused on LGBTQ, racial, and women reproductive injustices, Politico reported.

“It’s clear to me that the battle continues to grow,” Harding told the outlet. “We think that presidential politics will continue to keep schools sort of in their crosshairs. We don’t find that productive to the actual work of learning, so we do hope that as more donors join us we can be broader, and go deeper so that public schools continue to be a backbone of democracy.”

Campaign For Our Shared Future did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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This article was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

Poll: Most Arizona Voters Want Some Abortion Restrictions

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

 Most Arizona voters want at least some restrictions on abortions, a new Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights found.

While the poll found that 42% of voters said that abortion should be legal under any circumstance, that wasn’t the majority opinion. Rather, most people thought that there should be restrictions on abortion. The poll found that 11% of people said that abortion should always be illegal. Meanwhile, 47% said that abortion should “be legal only under certain circumstances.”

The poll doesn’t specify these circumstances, but circumstances that fall under this category would include exemptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother, as well as various gestational limits — be it a ban after six weeks, the first trimester, 15 weeks, 20 weeks, or the second trimester.

OH Predictive Insights says that there has been no statistically significant change in people’s opinion of abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

The poll found that many voters found that 65% of Democrats say that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will make them more likely to vote this upcoming November; the decision allows individual states to have greater control over their abortion laws, including setting gestational limits before 20 weeks.

Additionally, the poll also found that 65% of Arizona voters say that a candidate’s position on abortion will be “impactful” on who they vote for this upcoming November.

“In a post-Roe America, abortion will continue to play an outsized role in Arizona’s political discourse,” OHPI chief of research Mike Noble said in a press release.

OHPI conducted the poll from July 5 to July 15, and surveyed 927 Arizona registered voters, giving the survey a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.

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

Mr. Roberts, Where Are You?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Chief Justice John Roberts has expressed that he feels compelled to protect the image of the Supreme Court since he was sworn in as the leader. That is why we have been told he conceived of the Obamacare Individual Mandate as being a tax. That is after the President and the supporters of Obamacare stated repeatedly it was not a tax, thus saving Obamacare in the ruling on National Federation of Independent Business et al vs. Sebelius. Why at this critical juncture is he not vociferously defending the court?

Let us begin by defining the fact that I am wholly in favor of the divide we currently have in this country between what has been characterized as “Red” and “Blue” states. The states are designed as incubators of public policy. In a society where we have significant choices, people make decisions about which states have not only the best climate and best jobs for them but the best public policy that aligns with their views.

There have been many discussions regarding people relocating to red states during COVID. A few years only tells part of the story. The three most populated blue states are New York, Illinois, and California. I looked at their population this century (2000 vs 2022). US population increased by 17.7% during that period (332 million vs 282 million). Population for the state of Illinois increased 2 % (12,671,000 vs 12,419,000). The state of New York grew 6% (20,115,000 vs 18,976,000). The state of California did better at 15.8% (39,240,000 vs. 33.870,000). Collectively, however, these states lost population compared to the rest of the country.

All three of these states lost an electoral vote this past year because people are either not moving to these states or are leaving them. In a time in history where many people can work at their jobs wherever they choose to live, they are no longer relocating for jobs. They are moving for other factors, such as the cost of living or invasive governments that restrict housing development.

The Supreme Court at the end of its term made some major rulings that affected people’s lives. The essence of those rulings was stating more boldly and strongly than they have recently that they are not going to be making laws. Rather, they are returning to the time where their job, as written in our Constitution, is to interpret whether the laws written by Congress and enforced by the Executive branch are allowed within the framework of our Constitution as written.

All this garbage about being “originalists” or venerating dead white men is exactly that – garbage. The Justices are doing exactly what their mission is. This is although their predecessors often strayed by taking the law into their own hands. That is largely coming to a halt. Some people are upset, having thought they ran the country by having Justices do their work for them. Now they must do their own work. Armageddon did not happen. What happened is if you are an elected official, you now must do your job because the nine robed people are not going to. There are still three who want to write laws. One only needs to read their dissents in the three most notable recent cases, and it is impossible to come to any other conclusion.

So where is John Roberts laying this out and telling the other branches pointing fingers at the Court to do their job? He needs to give a forceful speech defending the Constitution and the actions of his fellow Justices. He needs to say to the members of Congress “if you don’t like the fact that the EPA or any other agency can no longer go cowboy on us and makeup rules then do what you were elected to do.” If Congress wants federal agencies to accomplish something, write a law, and get it passed and signed. Read the Constitution. It is your job. If legislators do not like the abortion-related laws in their states – pass new ones. You were elected to do that, not just give speeches, or send out tweets.

And if residents do not like abortion restrictions in their state, they can pick up and move. The protests that have gone on are almost exclusively in states where abortion is already legal after Dobbs. What are they protesting? Two-thirds of abortions are already performed in blue states. If a woman who is pro-choice from Missouri must relocate to Illinois, I for one do not feel sorry for her. If that is such a burning issue to her then she has the freedom in our country to do as she chooses. And those who do not like my attitude are welcome to look at my database of all my like-minded friends who have relocated to Tennessee, Nevada, Texas, Florida, and other states.

Justice Roberts should make clear the Justices are only doing their job. And he should call the President and the AG and tell them to stop the misbehavior of the protestors who live in jurisdictions where abortion is legal. Members of the Supreme Court and/or any other elected official should not have the privacy of their homes or their neighbors’ homes disrupted. People should be allowed to eat in restaurants without protestors disturbing everyone on the premises. Roberts should call Pelosi and suggest to her to rein in her unruly members who suggest hunting down Supreme Court members is a civic duty.

These actions by the protesters may or may not be legal. That is not the point. The actions are not civil, and we have a civil society. To pay a bounty for spotting of Justices outside their homes so they can be confronted is despicable. Who is funding this? What kind of morals do they have? To access a restaurant’s reservation system and make false bookings is childish behavior and uncivil. Because a restaurant does not want its patrons disturbed no matter what the issue, they should not be confronted by “children.” (That’s an insult to well-behaved children). That is what they are. I did things like that when I was thirteen. I grew up. Do these protesters believe they are really making a difference?

We have laws and we should all be delighted when the laws are being followed. We should vote out anyone who is not administering those laws. And Justice Roberts should defend his court which has done nothing other than telling people the Court is now doing its job.

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This article was published by Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Bidenvilles: America’s New Emblem of Decay

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

In French, a “bidonville” is a shantytown. A “bidon” is a large container, like the giant yellow vegetable oil bottles used to carry drinking water in developing countries.

I’ve seen plenty of shantytowns in cities from India to Togo; they are an unfortunate consequence of rapid urbanization.

What surprised me when I came home to Washington, D.C., a few months ago was seeing shantytowns both outside the State Department, where my old office was, and Union Station, near my new office.

In America under President Joe Biden, the word “Bidenville” is beginning to gain traction as a term for a waste-filled, insalubrious tent city inhabited by what the left calls “people experiencing homelessness,” who often suffer from an unfortunate combination of drug addiction and mental illness.

Shantytowns aren’t new to America. During the Great Depression, they were ironically called Hoovervilles after President Herbert Hoover.

However, at that time, Hoovervilles comprised able-bodied people who were out of work due to the worst economic crisis and highest unemployment in U.S. history. Now, unemployment is low and entry-level jobs go begging. The Bidenvilles of today are filled more by ideology and incompetence than economic duress.

The District of Columbia now has 97 “encampment sites” scattered across the city. Maybe that’s one reason why Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., is calling the District a “disgrace for our country” and opposes the “home rule” enjoyed by the nation’s capital since 1973.

Neglect in Name of Tolerance

While politicians bicker about whether to call inhabitants of the camps “people experiencing homelessness,” “unhoused persons,” or “persons without shelter,” they fail to make the hard choices required to help.

To her credit, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, has attempted to clear at least some sites despite the opposition of activists whose sole aim seems to be to entrench their clients in misery in the name of freedom.

For the most part, however, mayors in cities such as San Francisco and the District pour money into supporting the outdoor lifestyle of thousands of seriously unwell people, including by facilitating their consumption of drugs.

This not only creates a hostile environment for the locals whose taxes fund the chaos, it fails to treat the root cause of affliction so that the homeless can escape the cycle that brings them to the streets in the first place.

Michael Shellenberger argues in his book “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities” that what homeless addicts need is a choice between mandatory drug treatment or prosecution for misdemeanors such as public defecation and littering. But what they get is continued neglect in the name of tolerance.

The reason why tent slums subsist even in the richest parts of the richest cities in America, Shellenberger writes, is not a lack of money but misplaced compassion and policy failure.

Border Crisis Hits Home

Now, the impact of the crisis at our southern border is colliding with the homelessness problem and spreading into the progressives’ backyards, and they aren’t happy.

Alejandro Mayorkas’ Department of Homeland Security let 79,652 illegal immigrants into the United States last June alone after its agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, briefly arrested and “processed” them. So far since Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, Customs and Border Protection has caught and released over 1.3 million illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants gradually have been arriving in the Washington area since the Biden administration neutered border enforcement. But with illegal crossings topping 200,000 a month, and half or more of these migrants being released and moved into the interior, the numbers of newly arrived and needy illegal aliens are rising all over the country. Some end up on the streets, compounding already dire problems of homelessness.

Bowser may agree with the Biden administration’s open borders agenda, but she seems to have a hard time when the reality hits home in the District. Bowser has complained that too many migrants are being bused from the southern border and filling up D.C. homeless shelters

“We think they’re largely asylum-seekers who are going to final destinations that are not Washington, D.C.,” the mayor said, evidently hoping they’ll become someone else’s problem.

“Local taxpayers are not picking up the tab and should not pick up the tab,” Bowser said. “We really need a coordinated federal response.”

The ‘Swamp’ Solution

Americans couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, where border and immigration enforcement are concerned, the federal government is absent while on duty.

Using the Migrant Protection Protocols, Title 42, and other existing authorities, U.S. Customs and Border Protection could stop the chaotic flow in short order. Instead, its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, is abusing parole authority and recklessly relying on the promises of illegal immigrants to show up for immigration hearings. This compounds negligence with wishful thinking.

According to a recent report in the Washington Free Beacon, DHS has lost track of thousands of illegal migrants. And of those officials released and tracked, at least one-third failed to comply with the terms of their release.

DHS data shows that only around 1 in 10 asylum-seekers who pass “credible fear” interviews at the border ever go on to be granted asylum—mostly because they fail to apply at all or don’t bother to go through with the whole process.

The “swamp” solution, of course, is to federalize and give more taxpayer money to the problem of homeless migrants.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, introduced an emergency appropriations bill July 19 that would provide additional funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Funding would be designated for humanitarian assistance to migrants, whether arriving by FEMA-funded air, bus, and rail travel or being bused in by the states of Texas and Arizona.

If Norton’s measure passes, taxpayers not only would be on the hook for illegal immigrants’ shelter, food, and medical care after crossing the border, followed by transportation to their favored U.S. destination. Taxpayers also would be shelling out for housing and feeding the migrants once they arrived. This would be the ultimate (socialist) red carpet.

Norton, whose vote as a delegate in the House doesn’t count, claims that “the governors of Texas and Arizona are exploiting and harming vulnerable people fleeing desperate and dangerous situations in their home countries for political gain.”

Start Enforcing the Law

But the truth is that these two border states have been crying ”help” for months, with no response from Washington. Now that the problem is in their backyard, Democrats are willing to act, if only to throw more money at it or kick it elsewhere.

However, despite spending an estimated $106,000 per homeless person, San Francisco still has around 8,000 on the streets.

Under Bowser, the District of Columbia has raised tens of millions more in taxes in an effort to end homelessness in fiscal year 2022. However, from what we D.C. workers and residents all can see outside, that hasn’t happened here yet either.

Domestic homelessness is a thorny issue with no simple solution.

Meanwhile, the way to avoid more taxpayer-funded sheltering of homeless foreigners who are here illegally is simple: Start enforcing the law, using the Migrant Protection ProtocolsTitle 42, and other existing measures to shelter them securely out of the country until their cases may be considered properly.

Absent that commitment, more Bidenvilles are coming to a city near you.

*****

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

 

An Amazing Conundrum

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors Note: Further confusion from this story not mentioned, is that the mother of the child has said complimentary things about the rapist. Some news sources  have reported that the rapist was her boyfriend and that the mother is illegal as well. It is not uncommon for single mothers, who have a parade of boyfriends in and out of the house, to create a hazard for their children, especially if they were fathered by another man. What is clear though is that a child has been harmed and pro-abortion doctors and journalists have attempted to use the incident to advocate against reasonable legislation that limits “abortion rights”. But they trumped up the story without checking the facts and the President of the United States joined in the farce. However, the story reveals more about the problems with Progressive politics (support for illegal immigration, lionizing single motherhood, a casual attitude towards criminal behavior) than it does a reasonable law in Ohio. That the President is so eager to join in the fray and that he and his staff could not do basic fact-checking tells you more than you want to know. A little girl is being sacrificed on the altar of Progressive politics.

 

What happens when you have a quandary — a predicament of your own making that you never expected to happen and exposes you to be a fool no matter which way you turn. That happened in the last week when some people latched on to the story of a 10-year-old getting an abortion.

A story spread through the MSM that a 10-year-old rape victim had left Ohio to go to Indiana to have an abortion. Supposedly, a child abuse doctor called a colleague in Indianapolis to facilitate the procedure. This was because of the Dobbs ruling, where Ohio would no longer allow abortions after six weeks. The girl was now pregnant for six weeks and three days.

The Indianapolis Star published the story with no verification and there was no reported rape that anyone could find. Yet, the story spread because it fit an agenda. It spread all the way to President Biden. Biden cited the story last week after signing an executive order on abortion access, saying the 10-year-old “was forced to travel out of state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life.” Now it was a “lifesaving” procedure as the story took on greater urgency.

While the tale was tossed around without proof, a major component of the matter was being left out. Everyone appeared to forget A 10-YEAR-OLD WAS RAPED. Not exactly an inconsequential fact unless you are fixated on abortion. There was seemingly no concern for the fact there had been a crime of major proportions committed. Rape used to be a major concern for women concerned about women’s health. That became secondary when the story shifted to salaciousness due to the “dangers” of the new abortion environment, if not altogether incidental.

Women’s health. Wasn’t this all about women’s health? Where was the discussion of the health of this 10-year-old except for she supposedly had to cross state lines to obtain the abortion? What about her mental health after having forced sex with a man when she is still an adolescent?

But did she have to go to Indiana? Since when does anyone know the exact day that someone became pregnant? Yet, the referring doctor knew the victim was three days past the new six-week limit in Ohio. No one questioned that. A 10-year-old remembered the exact dates of the multiple rapes that occurred when reporting them weeks after the events. No one questioned the agenda of the doctor who declared the victim not six weeks pregnant, but six weeks and three days right after the Dobbs ruling came down and the six-week limit was imposed in Ohio.

Apparently, the referring doctor did not check the law in Ohio. Maybe she wanted to make this poor child a cause celebre? Ohio Attorney General David Yost stated that abortion would have been legal in the state of Ohio. Yost (who is a supporter of the ban after six weeks) made clear there are exceptions, and this would clearly have been one.

Then there was another matter here. The Indianapolis doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, completely ignored HIPAA laws. You know, those laws protecting medical information from being shared without patient approval. The ones that stop you from getting info about your family members. Dr. Bernard has been “disciplined” for the violation (whatever that means) because we will never find out what happened to her. Let me assure you it was window dressing because she became a heroine for spreading the story.

Then the story takes another turn and creates another conundrum for all those who were using the incident for abortion politics. After a period of doubt about the rape, because the incident had not been reported to the state as required (there was no rape kit submitted or DNA evidence), matters became much clearer. There was an arrest for the rape.

27-year-old Gershon Fuentes, an illegal alien from Guatemala, not only was arrested; he confessed to the rape. Some must be confused about what should be done. He raped a young girl, but he is an illegal alien who obviously has challenges of his own. Should he have to face these criminal charges? And why did he have bail set at all let alone at $2 million? Another conundrum.

Now the city of Columbus and the state of Ohio have a dilemma. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have placed a detainer on Fuentes. That means they are going to return him to Guatemala. That means he will get off for this heinous crime. The question then becomes, how long will it be until he sneaks back into our country?

There should be no conundrum regarding him. He should not be given to those people. He should be sentenced. The appropriate sentence for someone who raped a 10-year-old in my book would be to hang him from his scrotum. That is the best I can express here. If we did more of that there would be fewer of these stories. Short of that, they should stuff him in a prison in the general population (gen pop) and let his fellow inmates know about what he did.

It is really challenging when you are making choices between the issue of abortion and other minor matters like illegal aliens, HIPAA violations, and most importantly, rape. It must be such a conundrum being an abortion warrior.

Do Women Really Have Fewer Rights Than an Uzi?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The recent United States Supreme Court decisions in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. resulted in a leftist tidal wave of histrionic personality disorder coupled with (mostly violent) demonstrations. An aristocracy of celebrities and opinion pundits all appear to be auditioning daily for roles in a reality television show that could be named “Biggest Leftist Virtue Signalers.” Their level of shallow knowledge and hyperventilating rhetoric would make a junior high school debating club blush. Not to be outdone, MSNBC’s own court jester Elie Mystal proved to the world that his bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard University were wasted on him. Appearing on Joy Reid’s ReidOut television show, Mr. Mystal proclaimed that “if you want rights in this country under this conservative Supreme Court, you’d better be a cis hetero white man or an Uzi. Because those are the two things that this court believes have rights.” (https://tinyurl.com/4wjwt22k). Alan Dershowitz, Mr. Mystal’s professor at Harvard Law School, should make Mr. Mystal retake his Constitutional Law class.

To be informed citizens, Americans must first understand what rights mean. It is not necessary, though, for them to read Prof. Ronald Dworkin’s masterpieces, Taking Rights Seriously (1977) and Law’s Empire (1986). Stated succinctly, a right is a prohibition against a government from doing something to a person.

Rights are fundamental in a republic. It must be recalled that the United States is a constitutional republic and not a democracy, which is an important distinction. In a democracy, there are no individual rights. The majority in a democracy always wins because the utilitarian benefit to the many always outweighs the interests of the few or the individual. It is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for dinner, and the lamb always loses. In contrast, the lamb’s right to keep its own life in a republic always prevails over the wolves’ interest in lamb chops.

Rights are not gifts to the people from their earthly monarchs or governments. They belong to the people by natural law, given to them by God or by Mother Nature, by virtue of being human beings. Many of these natural rights are described in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution, whereas the remainder are alluded to in the Ninth Amendment. Rights are things that one already has that government must not take away without due process of law. A girl does not have a right to a pony that the government must provide to her at the taxpayers’ expense. But if she already owns a pony, she has a right not to have the government take it away from her.

Another point to remember is that rights are restraints and prohibitions only against the powers of governmental bodies, not against other individuals or groups. A child does not have an Eighth Amendment right against “cruel and unusual punishment” to forbid his parents from sending him to his room. Neither does a teenager have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or a Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel when dealing with her parents. The First Amendment does not require me, as a private person, to provide people with statist and collectivist viewpoints with a forum in my house for spouting their absurd beliefs. Satanists may have a First Amendment right to assemble and practice their religion, but not under my own roof. But when predatory people victimize other people’s lives, liberties, and properties, these are not constitutional violations, but crimes, as defined by the laws of the states where they live.

So, is Mr. Mystal right that women and minorities really have fewer rights than an Uzi? Not by a long shot. Women and minorities are human beings and have natural and constitutional rights against governments. Uzis are inanimate objects that belong to people, and, despite aspirational Disney movies to the contrary, these inanimate objects have no consciousness, willpower, independent locomotion, thinking faculties, or any rights whatsoever. Rather, the Second Amendment recognizes the natural right of American citizens to (use weapons to) defend themselves, their families, their neighbors, and their nation against deadly attacks from foreign enemies, domestic criminals, and their governments, should the latter be ruled by tyrants like English King George III.

Contrary to Mr. Mystal, the Second Amendment does not discriminate between cis hetero-white males and other Americans. The Second Amendment prohibits the federal government and the various states from preventing human beings of all races, national origins, religious beliefs, genders, and sexual orientations from defending themselves. The irony is that the vast majority of the gun control laws relied upon by the dissenting justices in Bruen as precedents to disarm Americans were originally enacted by southern states in the aftermath of the Civil War to disarm the newly-freed African-American slaves to make them easy prey for the Ku Klux Klan. Contemporary leftists want to use the same post Civil War laws as stepping stones for enacting new gun control laws and even repeal outright the Second Amendment so that there can be no armed resistance to governments implementing radical social engineering diktats demanded by virtue-signaling celebrities, myopic academicians, and purple-haired shrieking activists with histrionic personality disorders.

There is a big distinction and difference between the right to keep and bear arms and abortion. The Supreme Court ruled in Bruen in favor of American citizens and against the State of New York because the right to keep and bear arms is a clear constitutional right that is explicitly written in the Bill of Rights. In contrast, the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs in favor of the State of Mississippi because abortion is not mentioned at all in the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court reversed its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that discovered an unwritten right to an abortion because the Bill of Rights is completely silent on this issue, and, therefore, the Tenth Amendment permits each state to regulate it as it sees fit.

The left hates both Bruen and Dobbs because it lusts for ultimate government power to regulate every aspect of life, preferably at the federal level, uniformly throughout the United States (next stop, the world under the U.N.), regardless of what the Constitution actually states. If the left likes something like abortion, it believes federal law should mandate and fund it with federal taxes. If the left hates something like firearms in the hands of the so-called bitter people who cling to guns or religion, then it believes that federal law should outlaw it and federal agencies should enforce the prohibitions, again with funding through federal taxes. But, if federal law is unavailable, the left will be temporarily mollified with state laws prohibiting firearms—provided the states are enlightened coastal states like New York and California, not flyover states populated by bitter clingers and deplorables—and funded by federal taxes funneled to states as block grants. Supreme Court decisions that reduce federal powers by recognizing individual rights or allowing states to regulate themselves under the Tenth Amendment are anathema to the left, which explains leftist panic theater and mass histrionics.

 

LGBT Ideology Über Alles

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

A civilization that destroys the family and the gender binary destroys itself.

 

Well, here goes another try to post under the new system. I hope it works. This is going to take some getting used to. I’m hearing from some of you concerned about the commenting system — not sure how it works, whether or not you have to subscribe to the magazine to be able to comment, and so forth. I’m trying to get answers for you, but it was my understanding that you won’t have to subscribe, but you will have to register. If that turns out to be the case, then I think that will be a good system, because it will probably mean that I don’t have to moderate the comments — that is, they can go up as soon as you post them. I’ve been passing along your questions to the Mothership in Washington. They’re overwhelmed, trying to get the new system implemented, working out bugs, and so forth, so we appreciate your patience.

Earlier today, I posted this to Twitter:

Here is the text from the Times:

I stand by what I said: stop living like a rutting animal, and maybe you won’t get monkeypox, you weirdo. Well, someone in Germany complained to Twitter about this tweet of mine, and under German law, Twitter has to let me know. Twitter reviewed my tweet and said it didn’t break any rules, so it stands.

I suppose to some people, it’s bigotry to say you should avoid having multiple sexual encounters with random strangers if you want to avoid catching a communicable disease. If we had a sane public health system, they would close the bathhouses. But we don’t, so they won’t. And we will all be expected to pretend that we don’t see what is right in front of our noses, because promiscuity is a sacred ritual among Americans, especially gay male Americans.

Meanwhile, some states and hospital systems are working to allow minor children to direct their own gender transition without parental consent or knowledge. This is not paranoia; it’s really happening:  

In Washington, children as young as 13 are now allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery and other questionable medical treatments without parental consent.

More:

New York has hopped on the bandwagon of removing parents from the treatment room as well. New York-Presbyterian recently sent out emails to their patients explaining that accounts for 12-17-year-olds must be updated to reflect the adolescent’s personal email address as the primary contact as New York State law allows children “to keep their sensitive medical information private and to consent to some of their own medical treatment.”

 

There are more examples — read the whole report.

Jeremy Carl is 1000 percent right here: if the GOP doesn’t stand up loud and effectively against this insanity, telling parents to vote Republican if they don’t want their children to be transitioned without their consent, it might as well surrender now. At the risk of sounding like a Live Not By Lies broken record, the people who lived under Soviet communism understand what’s happening here: the State inserted itself between them and their children all the time. (By the way, if you haven’t seen the podcast interview Jordan Peterson did with me, take a look.)

Just as consumer culture treats babies like accessories and incentivizes mothers to hire themselves out as brood mares, the ruling class globally is doing its best to de-sex humanity. “Medical Lysenkoism” is the correct term:

There must be a pushback — a pushback so hard it rings these corrupt idiots’ heads like a struck bell, so hard that they are never a threat to us again. The GOP presidential candidate who promises to put a stop to this once and for all, and means it, will be elected in a landslide. What choice do we have, if we want to survive as a civilization?

You see the viral video of the female US soldier who publicly questioned her ability to fight for the United States in the wake of Roe being overturned?

I think it’s appalling that a serving US soldier makes that kind of comment, and I would feel the same way if she said something I agreed with. But you readers know that I struggle to understand why anyone would serve in a military that has gone as aggressively woke as ours, and more deeply, what kind of Empire our soldiers are defending. I had lunch today with a young Hungarian man who really admires America, but who is profoundly worried about us. He said, “Our future” — meaning the future of the West — “depends on America. You are the cultural engine that drives everything.” I know he’s right — and that’s what scares me. We have got to pull out of this descent into decadence, if we can.

I mean, look at this below. Do you think a civilization whose major institutions are so morally confused has much of a chance?

And by the way, they’re finally starting to get somewhere with queering the Orthodox Church. The Greek Archbishop in the US, Elpidophoros, beloved of the Fordham Orthodox, has just done something scandalous: baptizing into Orthodoxy the children of a gay male couple — one of them is the son of rich Chicago Greeks — obtained via a surrogate.

*****

This article was published by The American Conservative and is reproduced with permission.