Red Flagged Nation: Gun Confiscation Laws Put a Target on the Back of Every American

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.” — Ayn Rand

 

What we do not need is yet another pretext by which government officials can violate the Fourth Amendment at will under the guise of public health and safety.

Indeed, at a time when red flag gun laws (which authorize government officials to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others) are gaining traction as a legislative means by which to allow police to remove guns from people suspected of being threats, it wouldn’t take much for police to be given the green light to enter a home without a warrant in order to seize lawfully-possessed firearms based on concerns that the guns might pose a danger.

Frankly, a person wouldn’t even need to own a gun to be subjected to such a home invasion.

SWAT teams have crashed through doors on lesser pretexts based on false information, mistaken identities and wrong addresses.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing the police to remove guns from people suspected of being threats. If Congress succeeds in passing the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order, which would nationalize red flag laws, that number will grow.

As The Washington Post reports, these red flag gun laws “allow a family member, roommate, beau, law enforcement officer or any type of medical professional to file a petition [with a court] asking that a person’s home be temporarily cleared of firearms. It doesn’t require a mental-health diagnosis or an arrest.

In the wake of yet another round of mass shootings, these gun confiscation laws—extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws—may appease the fears of those who believe that fewer guns in the hands of the general populace will make our society safer.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

Anything—knives, vehicles, planes, pressure cookers—can become a weapon when wielded with deadly intentions.

With these red flag gun laws, the stated intention is to disarm individuals who are potential threats… to “stop dangerous people before they act.”

While in theory, it appears perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an “immediate danger” to themselves or others, where the problem arises is when you put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police.

We’ve been down this road before.

Remember, this is the same government that uses the words “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably.

This is the same government whose agents are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports using automated eyes and ears, social media, behavior sensing software, and citizen spies to identify potential threats.

This is the same government that has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations, and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state.

For instance, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, and demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Moreover, as a New York Times editorial warns, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the police if you are afraid that the government is plotting to confiscate your firearms, if you believe the economy is about to collapse and the government will soon declare martial law, or if you display an unusual number of political and/or ideological bumper stickers on your car.

Let that sink in a moment.

Now consider the ramifications of giving police that kind of authority: to preemptively raid homes in order to neutralize a potential threat.

It’s a powder keg waiting for a lit match.

Under these red flag laws, what happened to Duncan Lemp—who was gunned down in his bedroom during an early morning, no-knock SWAT team raid on his family’s home—could very well happen to more people.

At 4:30 a.m. on March 12, 2020, in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that had most of the country under a partial lockdown and sheltering at home, a masked SWAT team—deployed to execute a “high risk” search warrant for unauthorized firearms—stormed the suburban house where 21-year-old Duncan, a software engineer and Second Amendment advocate, lived with his parents and 19-year-old brother.

The entire household, including Lemp and his girlfriend, was reportedly asleep when the SWAT team directed flash bang grenades and gunfire through Lemp’s bedroom window.

Lemp was killed and his girlfriend injured.

No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, had a criminal record.

No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, was considered an “imminent threat” to law enforcement or the public, at least not according to the search warrant.

So what was so urgent that militarized police felt compelled to employ battlefield tactics in the pre-dawn hours of a day when most people are asleep in bed, not to mention stuck at home as part of a nationwide lockdown?

According to police, they were tipped off that Lemp was in possession of “firearms.”

Thus, rather than approaching the house by the front door at a reasonable hour in order to investigate this complaint—which is what the Fourth Amendment requires—police instead strapped on their guns, loaded up their flash-bang grenades, and carried out a no-knock raid on the household.

According to the county report, the no-knock raid was justified “due to Lemp being ‘anti-government,’ ‘anti-police,’ currently in possession of body armor, and an active member of the Three Percenters,” a far-right paramilitary group that discussed government resistance.

This is what happens when you adopt red flag gun laws, painting anyone who might be in possession of a gun—legal or otherwise—as a threat that must be neutralized.

Therein lies the danger of these red flag laws, specifically, and pre-crime laws such as these generally where the burden of proof is reversed and you are guilty before you are given any chance to prove you are innocent.

Red flag gun laws merely push us that much closer towards a suspect society where everyone is potentially guilty of some crime or another and must be preemptively rendered harmless.

Where many Americans go wrong is in naively assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or harmful in order to be flagged and targeted for some form of intervention or detention.

In fact, all you need to do these days to end up on a government watch list or be subjected to heightened scrutiny is use certain trigger words (like cloud, pork and pirates), surf the internet, communicate using a cell phone, limp or stutterdrive a car, stay at a hotel, attend a political rally, express yourself on social mediaappear mentally ill, serve in the militarydisagree with a law enforcement officialcall in sick to work, purchase materials at a hardware store, take flying or boating lessons, appear suspicious, appear confused or nervous, fidget or whistle or smell bad, be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun (such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane), stare at a police officer, question government authority, appear to be pro-gun or pro-freedom, or generally live in the United States.

Be warned: once you get on such a government watch list—whether it’s a terrorist watch list, a mental health watch list, a dissident watch list, or a red flag gun watch list—there’s no clear-cut way to get off, whether or not you should actually be on there.

You will be flagged as a potential threat and dealt with accordingly.

You will be tracked by the government’s pre-crime, surveillance network wherever you go.

Hopefully you’re starting to understand how easy we’ve made it for the government to identify, label, target, defuse and detain anyone it views as a potential threat for a variety of reasons that run the gamut from mental illness to having a military background to challenging its authority to just being on the government’s list of persona non grata.

The government has been building its pre-crime, surveillance network in concert with fusion centers (of which there are 78 nationwide, with partners in the private sector and globally), data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

Combine red flag laws with the government’s surveillance networks and its plan to establish an agency that will take the lead in identifying and targeting “signs” of mental illness or violent inclinations among the populace by using artificial intelligence to collect data from Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home, and you’ll understand why some might view gun control legislation with trepidation.

No matter how well-meaning the politicians make these encroachments on our rights appear, in the right (or wrong) hands, benevolent plans can easily be put to malevolent purposes.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, even the most well-intentioned government law or program can be—and has been—perverted, corrupted, and used to advance illegitimate purposes once profit and power are added to the equation.

The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, and the war on COVID-19: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the government’s hands.

No matter how well-intentioned, red flag gun laws will put a target on the back of every American whether or not they own a weapon.

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This article was published by The Rutherford Institute and is reproduced with permission.

China’s Economy Is Collapsing. Here’s Why You Should Worry

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Chinese ruler Xi Jinping has staked his rule on making China larger, by annexing neighbors. Taiwan is not his only target. He needs success to assure a precedent-breaking third term as the Communist Party’s general secretary, but the Chinese people, preoccupied by a failing economy, are in no mood for their leader’s aggression.

We start with the Party’s storyline that the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdowns is leading to an economic revival. (RELATED: CHANG: Biden Administration Is Handing Space To China On A Silver Platter)

Don’t believe it. The ongoing downturn is not merely the result of disease-control measures. The most fundamental problem is that Xi has been reversing reforms and reinstituting strict state control. He is a totalitarian at heart.

The second-most fundamental problem is that China is carrying a staggering load of debt. The Bank of International Settlements estimated that the country’s debt was equal to about 290% of gross domestic product in late 2020, and there has subsequently been a rapid accumulation of indebtedness, during the pandemic. When adding the so-called “hidden debt” and deflating GDP to minimize the effect of inflated official reporting, the country’s ratio is now around 350%.

The debt, however large it may be, is distorting the economy, especially the crucial property sector, which accounts for about 30% of GDP. Home prices are declining country-wide, but, more worryingly, sales volumes are plunging. Home sales fell 34.5% in the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year. Property developers are defaulting one after another. One of them, Evergrande Group, is struggling under $305 billion in obligations.

Banks are troubled. There have been at least six bank runs since mid-April, in Henan and Anhui provinces. There are restrictions on deposit withdrawals elsewhere, including Shanghai, the financial capital. China’s banking system is showing the strain of an economy that looks like it is contracting.

Investors are fleeing. The bond market in May recorded its fourth-straight month of outflows as investors chased higher yields in the U.S. The Chinese central bank cannot match the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes because higher rates in China would push the economy deeper into the red. The renminbi, not surprisingly, is trading at its lowest level in 20 months.

Beijing cannot expect others to come to the rescue by buying Chinese products, like they did in 2020. The world, unfortunately for the party, is headed into recession or worse. It will be a “calamity,” Charles Ortel of the “On the Money” podcast tells me. As he notes, “Not since the OPEC oil shock have global economic conditions been so unsettled.” With trends moving against Beijing, the world’s next great economic crisis will almost surely be China’s.

Why should we care? For decades, the primary basis of legitimacy of the Communist Party has been the continual delivery of prosperity. Now, because of the accelerating downturn, the Party’s only remaining basis of legitimacy is nationalism.

Chinese foreign policy since 1949, when the Communist Party came to power, has had one overarching goal: the maintenance of Party rule. Therefore, the world should expect Beijing to engage in even more nationalistic behavior to justify its existence.

In fact, the Party is increasingly belligerent. The Chinese military, for instance, violated sovereign Taiwan airspace in February and in late May intercepted and damaged an Australian reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the South China Sea. This month, General Wei Fenghe, the defense minister, made threatening public comments directed against the United States during the high-profile Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference in Singapore.

Yet Communist Party aggressors face a fundamental problem, something evident from their unwillingness to come clean about battlefield losses. It took them eight months to admit they had suffered four dead from a sneak attack they launched against India’s forces in June 2020 in Ladakh in the Himalayas. Chinese officials, according to both Indian and Russian estimates, undercounted the dead by a factor of 11.

The skittishness of the regime suggests its leaders know that the Chinese people, suffering from an economic downturn, are in no mood for another military misadventure abroad. A combined air-sea assault on Taiwan, even if successful, would result in massive Chinese casualties.

Xi Jinping, however, wants to march on neighbors, so peace in Asia depends in large measure on whether the Chinese people are able to restrain him. The millennia-old contest between China’s rulers and its people has never been more consequential.

*****

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

What Is the End Game with Ukraine and Russia?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Is it just me, or is the United States sliding towards a major war without really any kind of debate? No declaration of war for sure, as such a thing as following the Constitution clearly cannot be considered by the leadership class in this nation.

There has not been any kind of use of force resolution either.

Instead, $40 billion has been appropriated for Ukraine and most Republicans signed on without hesitation or asking any questions. Democrats, once an antiwar party, ignominiously pulled out of one war in Afghanistan and immediately got us involved in another.

The expansion of NATO continues, which by treaty could involve us in a war with Russia if they get crossways with any number of new members. Have we thought this through?

Putin is a dangerous aggressor. On that, it is possible for all to agree. But have we been going out of our way to aggravate him? Is this the best way to deal with him?

And if he is so evil, why are the Germans and the Italians doing big business with him for energy? Why are they destroying their own energy capacity and making themselves more dependent on such a dastardly foe?

Moreover, what can be strategically accomplished with the current US intervention?

It is to weaken Russia we are told.

If that is true, why is the ruble rising against the dollar, with the dollar being the second strongest currency in the world? Who is being weakened here? As long as Russia dominates energy markets and is backed up by China, how weak are they?

Russia will have all the food, fertilizer, and energy it will need, while the rest of the world will not? Who here is the weakened party?

And why this silence among all the war hawks about the role of China? What does the NBA and Nike shoe, the big banks and brokerage houses that lecture us constantly about our shortcomings think of this nefarious alliance with China, Russia’s chief benefactor?

Moreover, the Russians seem to be slowly winning the war on the ground. That is the emerging reality. Are we willing to spend our money to fight Russia right down to the last Ukrainian? If what we have done will not stop them, what will it require? Are we ready for what it will require or are we just flushing $40 billion down the drain to look good?

Russia seems to be consolidating in the East. The Economist reports Ukraine is outnumbered 10 to 1 in artillery. Many other categories of war show similar lop-sided advantages for the Russians. And while the Ukrainians have fought bravely, they are fighting a much larger power willing to take heavy casualties. In a dictatorship like Russia, which controls the press, and has no political opposition, casualties don’t create the normal negative feedback loop.

How can Ukraine win if they cannot gain air superiority and further, interdict their opponent’s supply lines?  That would require a much greater effort on our part and risk invading Russian territory.  But with all of the resources of Russia, their larger population, and their productive capacity for war kept intact, Ukraine simply can’t win this war of attrition if Russia can bomb Ukrainian infrastructure at will but Ukraine can’t touch the Russians.

How can Ukraine win a war of defense only, outnumbered and outgunned in every military category? They for sure can make the Russians pay dearly, but can they win? What is your answer? If we can’t win, what are we doing?

It could be argued we are fighting for democracy. How can that be seriously argued since Zelensky just banned all political opposition?

And if you do think you are fighting for “democracy”, what benefit to the cause is it to lose? Counterfactually, this could simply encourage the Chinese and the Russians to bolder actions.

As peripheral matters, the US is doing some very strange things that can do significant long-term damage to ourselves. It is not just the tremendous expense and the drawdown of our own inventory of missiles and equipment.

Seizing Russian foreign reserves, with no judicial process at all, simply on the whim of the US, has demonstrated that the US dollar is not a safe place to put your foreign reserves. China, India, and Middle Eastern dictatorships, all took note of this. This has the potential to upend the entire post-war monetary framework built up after the Bretton-Woods Treaty.

The US has profited immensely by having the dollar the reserve currency of the world and the oil settlement currency of the world. Did we just blow that up for a war we can’t possibly win?

Over the weekend, a newly minted NATO member Lithuania decided to block the transit of goods to Kaliningrad. Look it up on a map.  It is part of Russia and the home of their Baltic fleet.

It is one thing to block purchases of Russian goods (sanctions) it is quite another to block Russian goods from getting from one part of Russia to another. That is clearly a direct intervention into the internal affairs of another country and not a “sanction” on “foreign” trade. How would we feel if Russia blocked the shipment of beef from Iowa to Ohio?

It would appear it is an act of war.

Ok, did Lithuania clear that with us? As a new member of NATO, do they not know that if Russia retaliates all of NATO is treaty-bound to come to their aid? Is our decision to expand this war in the hands of a small foreign nation rather than our Congress? Yes, it appears that it is!

Did World War III just start while the world was chattering about Biden falling off his bike?

Are the American people fully aware of what we are getting ourselves into?

When are Republicans going to start asking some important questions about what procedure is followed to commit this county to war, why are we doing it, what is the end game, can it be won, and what will be the cost?

In short, is it too much to ask that our U.S. Representatives and Senators do their damned jobs?

 

ESG: Is This Green Iron-fist Fantasy a Major Cause of Inflation and Economic Destruction?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Is rich people’s greentopian fantasy causing middle-class misery? The answer is yes, according to analysts such as Marlo Oaks, Utah state treasurer, and longtime investment manager. In fact, Oaks says he knows a major reason why increasing fuel prices, which drive up costs across the board, are so high:

Supply is being choked off by “woke” capital investors who favor green dreams over fossil-fuel practicality.

Making his case, the Utah official states that in 2015 there were 59 funds globally among institutional investors that raised $46.6 billion for oil and gas projects. Yet note what happened during the next six years:

By 2021, there were only 11 funds and $4.6 billion raised — a drop of more than 90 percent.

Oaks fingers as the culprit something called ESG. What is ESG? Standing for Environmental, Social, and Governance, it is, technically and ostensibly, “the measurement of the impact (both positive and negative) that a business has on the environment and on society including an assessment of the governance practices (or lack thereof) that impact all stakeholders,” explains Certainty.

But in practice, avers Oaks, it’s not so innocuous. In fact, he states that the only logical explanation for the drastic 2015-2021 fossil-fuel investment collapse is ESG. “People have decided that they do not want to participate in the fossil fuel industry and so are cutting off capital,” he says.

The Utah treasurer made his comments on an edition of Tucker Carlson Today, a relevant excerpt of which was played yesterday evening on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Host Carlson introduced the topic, stating that the idea behind ESG “is to push corporate America left and punish companies that disagree with the orthodoxy.”

One of the entities/people responsible for this — mentioned during the Carlson segment — is multinational investment management corporation BlackRock and its chairman and CEO, billionaire Larry Fink. The New American reported on Fink’s “woke capital” schemes in the February article “Unseen Dark Hand: The Man Who Uses YOUR Money to Make Corporations Go Woke.”

As for Oaks, making the case that ESG is largely responsible for rising prices, he told Carlson:

So if you think about value-based investment strategies, historically there’s been socially responsible investing, yes, and impact investing more recently. So socially responsible investing is really the idea that you avoid certain companies that you don’t want to participate in; so it might be tobacco, firearms, gambling [because they’re contrary to your values].

…Okay, and then on the other side is impact investing, where you’re looking for innovation to solve a problem. So it might be cancer, for example: If you’re worried about cancer or interested in that, you might look for companies to invest in that have innovation that can help solve that problem.

ESG is an outgrowth of socially responsible investing, and instead of just avoiding companies, ESG actively engages with companies and engages with the market to drive a political outcome.

In other words, ESG-oriented puppeteers such as BlackRock don’t just refrain from investing in oil and gas projects, but actually, pressure other companies to not do so.

Carlson then pointed out that because the money used to apply this pressure is in big state retirement funds nationwide — investment funds in which retirees and people on fixed incomes have their money — millions of Americans are unknowingly and inadvertently financing this economic destruction. Oaks agreed, and said:

In fact, today’s inflation really starts with ESG because, if you think about … why gasoline prices are so high, a lot of it is a supply issue. And the reason that we don’t have enough supply in this country, one reason why, is we don’t have enough capital going in to oil and gas projects.

So in 2015 there were 59 funds raised globally among institutional investors; 46.6 billion dollars was raised. Six years later, in 2021, 11 funds were raised — 4.6 billion dollars — a drop of over 90 percent in the face of improving economics in oil and gas. The only explanation … that makes sense is ESG:

People have decided that they do not want to participate in the fossil fuel industry and so are cutting off capital.

There is an active drive, and we’ve heard it from this [Biden] administration, to cut off capital to the fossil fuel industry. It’s very troubling.

Carlson then pointed out that when Oaks says “people have decided,” at issue is really “a very small number of people who make these investment decisions. So it’s not the people who are participating in the fund at the retail level.” It’s puppeteers such as Larry Fink, stated Carlson (video below).

It gets even worse, though, according to Vivek Ramaswamy, founder of Strive Asset Management. Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box last week, he accused massive ESG-oriented entities of an anti-trust violation. Ramaswamy stated that not only do these companies collude in a way that causes rising, budget-busting gasoline prices, but they apply their greentopian standards only to the United States and Europe. Thus are they stifling our energy production to the benefit of foreign corporations such as PetroChina. And what is one of PetroChina’s major shareholders?

BlackRock.

So these woke firms are essentially saying, “ESG for thee, China for me,” states Ramaswamy (video below). Note, too, that China is our world’s biggest polluter by far.

So it’s the spirit of (pre)1776: MASA — Make America Subjugated Again. The only real question is, if these puppeteers were purposely trying to destroy the U.S., what would they do differently?

*****

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

No, Putin Didn’t Cause Inflation

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The May 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) release was worse than virtually any forecast predicted. The year-over-year CPI came in at 8.6 percent, not only higher than expected but notching a new four-decade high. The month-over-month CPI (April to May) also came in higher than expected: 1 percent versus 0.7 percent surveyed. Today’s release makes clear that the Fed is behind the curve in terms of employing policy measures to blunt the rise in prices. The response from the Biden Administration, meanwhile, has been to blame Vladimir Putin(an easily disproved assertion) and weaponize rising prices in the service of interventionist policy measures.

It is worth noting that while the Fed was dithering–categorizing the rise in prices which began in the spring of 2021 as “transitory”–a litany of additional missions have been added to their already cumbersome mandate. Over the past few years, the Fed has been tasked to craft monetary policy in manners explicitly supporting social justiceclimate changeESG, and other political goals.

This is not particularly surprising, given the trend in mission creep since the Fed’s founding. At inception the Fed was tasked to prevent financial panics and bank runs. When millions of veterans returned from foreign battlefields after WWII, Congress added the requirement that the Fed should conduct monetary policy in such a way that employment conditions are maximized. In 1978 both “reasonable price stability” and the “maintain[ence] of long-run growth” were appended to the Fed mandate, and after the 2008 financial crisis financial stability joined the Fed’s list of responsibilities.

When, in addition to this, one considers attempts by recent administrations to appoint ideological candidates to the Fed, missteps, and failures become easier to explain. The considerable advantages of monetary policy over fiscal policy measures, in particular not having to go through Congressional horse-trading, make the incentives to influence the Fed readily apparent.

Just this afternoon during President Biden’s speech in Los Angeles, he referred to inflation, or at least the energy portion of it, as “Putin’s tax.” It is a demonstrably false characterization of the current inflation. In fact, by any number of measures prices began rising above trend in March 2021, almost a full year before the Ukrainian conflict began. A second, steeper uptrend in prices began in September 2021, six months before war broke out in central Europe. 

WTI & National Average Gasoline Price per Gallon, 2021 – present

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

The WTI price increase was mostly demand-driven: $47.47 per barrel in Jan 2021, and doubled to $95 per barrel by Feb ‘22. Since the war started, the price has risen to roughly $118 per barrel. The average US price of gasoline was $2.57 per gallon in January 2021 and reached $3.75 per gallon in early February 2022. Inflation more broadly was well underway by the end of 2021, but it was only in November that the Fed began to back away from its assurances that price level increases were transitory. Worse yet, it wasn’t until March 2022 that the Fed began to implement measures to arrest the rise in prices.

US CPI (yoy), 2021 – present

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

The May 2022 CPI numbers released today show that not only is inflation rising undeterred by the Fed, but worsening. More prices are rising more quickly, and possibly accelerating. The likelihood that the Fed will have to act aggressively enough that a recession result is materially higher now than it was even a few months ago. Allowing political officials to blame Putin, large corporations, shipping firms, billionaires, insufficient taxation, “greed,” or any of a number of other tired scapegoats misleads the public. It also distracts attention from the pernicious effects of a politicized and increasingly influenceable central bank.

*****

This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

Total Southern Border Encounters, ‘gotaways’ Greater Than Population of 23 U.S. States

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

President Joe Biden and his administration insist the southwest U.S. border is closed and federal immigration laws are being enforced.

But since Biden took office, more than 3 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally from over 150 countries, according to Customs and Border Patrol data. And that number doesn’t include so-called “gotaways,” the term used for those crossing the border illegally who evade capture. 

CBP doesn’t report the number of gotaways publicly, but Border Patrol agents who spoke to The Center Square said they total more than a million since Biden took office, setting the total number of border crossings at more than 4 million.

Of the most populous of these 23 states, those entering illegally since Biden took office total slightly more than Oklahoma’s population of 4 million; more than Connecticut’s 3.5 million; more than Utah’s 3.3 million; more than Nevada’s 3.3. million.

In the first five months of this year alone, more than 1 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally. They total more than the individual populations of Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming.

The number encountered/apprehended in May 2022 was 239,416, according to CBP data, a new monthly record high. That’s after a previous record high in April.

In April, CBP reported 235,478 total encounters; in March, 222,239; in February, 165,902; in January, 154,816.

The last two months alone equals roughly the size of the population of Wyoming being encountered entering the U.S. illegally.

The majority of them have been released into the U.S., including a record number of unaccompanied minors. This is in addition to another estimated more than 1 million got-aways, those who’ve made their way into the U.S. evading capture.

Those in law enforcement have expressed concerns to The Center Square that the got-aways are the ones who keep them up at night. Those evading capture, not surrendering to Border Patrol requesting asylum or making other immigration claims are more likely those with criminal records and don’t want to be caught, they say.

Law enforcement officers say they don’t know who they are, where they are now, or really how many there are in the U.S.

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

A House Divided – An Open Letter to a Democrat

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

We are a nation divided today: split into political divisions, Democrat, Republican, Socialist, Progressive; into racial divisions: black, white, Asian, Hispanic; into cultural and sexual divisions: straight, gay, lesbian, transexual, etc. Our entire country’s fabric is being torn asunder as these separate ‘tribes’ are set against one another. In Chapter 3 of the Gospel of Mark (verses 24 & 25), Christ stated “If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”. This once great nation is being fractured and only its people can prevent it.

I had a conversation with a dear friend yesterday, who thought I might be amused by a verbal gaffe committed by President Biden. (It is important to note that he is an ardent and lifelong liberal Democrat while I have considerably more conservative leanings.) I was not amused, as I find the lack of clarity, intellect, and honesty to be severely lacking in this president. Having him prove it again by speaking publicly again does not strike me as funny. This conversation quickly devolved into an argument – left versus right which terminated when my friend hung up on me in mid-sentence. His hatred of Donald Trump was matched only by my disdain for Joe Biden. He railed on about Trump being a liar and trying to steal this election from Biden by inciting insurrection, being in bed with Russia, and being arguably the most horrible person that this planet has seen since Ivan the Terrible.

I tried to segment these issues and tackle them individually, which only increased the emotional level of the discourse. It quickly became apparent that Mr. Trump was bad because my friend’s “gut instinct” told him he was a bad guy. The rumors of his “Russian Collusion” only served to reinforce this feeling along with any coverage by ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, et cetera (“MSM – Main Stream Media”).  The most difficult part of this entire conversation was that it drove us into an adversarial position with no hope of compromise. He completely discounted my research into the issues with the 2020 election: the complete failure of the swing state’s Biden vote count to pass Benford’s Law of First Digits, Peter Schweizer’s book entitled “Red Handed”, or any coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop with his payments to the “Big Guy”.

As a result, there was literally no basis for a conversation or debate. There was no common starting point and no concrete foundation that could be agreed upon. With emotions beginning to increase and frustration on both sides ratcheting up, it quickly became apparent that this now shouting match could fracture a close friendship. In hindsight, I am glad that he chose to hang up on me before it got to that level.

While I regret the tone the conversation took, I know that he loves America and is grateful for the opportunities it has afforded him, as am I. However, in retrospect, I now know that polite discourse between our two parties will never happen until we can get common facts to rely uponThe complicity of the MSM with the Democrat party is almost total and complete and, without any opposing voice except Fox. 

Until journalists start to report on events with some level of impartiality using a factual basis, the distrust of all voices will only increase (consider how every news outlet spiked the Hunter Biden laptop story until recently and then with only minimal coverage). It is time for us, as a nation, to demand honesty from our media outlets and news organizations.

For example, when Darrell Brooks Jr. drives an SUV through a Christmas parade in Wisconsin, killing 6 and injuring dozens more, it should not be reported as “An SUV killed people in a parade”. I believe that, because Mr. Brooks is a black man and most of his victims were white, this particular crime did not assist in pushing a BLM/Antifa agenda and received very little MSM attention. Now, when Peyton Gendron, walks into a Buffalo NY supermarket and kills 10 people who were primarily black, this gets put on the cover of every newspaper and leads in the MSM as a “hate crime”. Both acts are similarly heinous but received very different reporting. 

An aside: It is also interesting to note that there was no one blaming the automobile manufacturers for building and promoting “weapons of war” but that’s a Second Amendment argument not for this essay.

It should be important to remember that Mr. Biden’s inaugural address included the following: “the dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer” and “my whole soul is in this: bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation”. These were the words he spoke to our nation, his promise to America. Do we have equal justice in this nation? In the almost 18 months since his inauguration, has there been any move to create unity? Let’s examine each of those points closely.

“Justice for all” seems like the exact language our Constitutional framers would have used to describe a judicial utopian ideal that our courts and law enforcement agencies are designed to emulate. If justice is to be fair, it must also be delivered evenly, regardless of race, religion, or political party.

When you consider the treatment of Roger Stone, arrested in his home in the pre-dawn hours with a SWAT team, and Peter Navarro, who lives 50 feet from the FBI’s Washington office, being shackled with handcuffs and leg irons at National Airport after offering to surrender himself earlier that same day. Stone was arrested for lying to the FBI and Navarro for ignoring a Congressional subpoena. James Clapper and John Brennan, both staunch Democrats were guilty of lying to Congress – no arrests, no jail time, and no court appearances. Instead they were rewarded with positions on cable news.

Also consider the case of Michael Sussman, who essentially admitted to lying to the FBI and was acquitted of his crimes. In case you need a refresher, he is the DNC lawyer at the firm of Perkins Coie. Two of this law firm’s main Washington DC clients are the DNC and the Clinton family – who delivered the notorious Steele Dossier that began the entire Russian Collusion Hoax. Yes, that same Steele Dossier that was created at the request of the Clinton Campaign, paid for with Clinton campaign funds and used by the FBI to get the FISA courts to permit them to spy on the Trump campaign. Is this equal justice, when one political party has the leading law enforcement agency in the world doing its bidding, including staffing an office in the DNC’s pet law firm, Perkins Coie?

On to unity: how is that working out? Every action of this administration seems intended to fracture our society rather than bring us together.  We are watching our rule of law fade into the background as the administration lets millions of unknown people stream across our southern border. Will these new ‘citizens’ help us find unity?

We know they are responsible for over 100,000 deaths of actual American citizens from fentanyl overdoses delivered to us from China via Mexico. We are also confronted by an economic tsunami that Mr. Biden and Ms. Pelosi are directly responsible for – all that Covid stimulus money inflated our money supply by 50%, which any first-year economics student will tell you produces runaway inflation.

This is further exacerbated by working to reduce and retard domestic energy exploration and production with the zeal of a PRC Security officer suppressing a Uighur neighborhood.

This is additive to the inflation from the increase in our money supply.  It affects the cost of everything in our country, from your cost of energy, your latest purchase on Amazon to the family summer vacation to the cost of groceries.

We have a baby formula shortage, you can’t get glass for the windows in new home construction, and virtually every good and service cost more and is scarcer than it was 18 months ago. Inflation, by definition, creates competition for all goods and services. It pits neighbor against neighbor, further fracturing our neighborhoods and our sense of nation.

So, once again, I beg of you, my liberal friends, to help me understand why any of these policies of this administration are helping our country? How an open border flooding deadly fentanyl across our land and scattering millions of unknown people throughout our country will make America a better place to live? Why is it better to buy oil from Venezuela, Iran, or Saudi Arabia than it is to drill for it here?

I understand that we may have different world views, watch different television shows, and vote for different people, but can you please tell us how anything this administration has done to us will also be for us.  Perhaps then we can have a positive and constructive conversation.

Davos Reminds: Other Countries Aren’t Committing Economic Suicide For Climate Change

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

In very many WEFs past, lots of countries have made lots of climate change pledges and promises. They then moved on as if they never said anything – and kept doing what they had always been doing.

The world’s globalist billionaire “leaders” recently gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) – to discuss murdering economics:

“One-third of the roughly 270 WEF panel discussions in Davos will focus on climate change or its effects, with extreme weather, efforts to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and finding new, cleaner sources of energy on the agenda.”

Of course, the world’s globalist billionaire “leaders” are all members of the “Do As I Say – Not As I Do” Club.

Just How Much CO2 Did Woke Elites Spew Flying Private Jets To Davos?:

“Overall, roughly 1,500 private jets flew to and from airports near Davos for the WEF annual meeting in 2019, according to an analysis from Air Charter Service, The Guardian reported at the time. The firm didn’t conduct a similar analysis for this year’s conference, a spokesperson told TheDCNF.”

Get that?  When the number of private jets flying in to discuss “climate change” is an embarrassment?  Stop counting the private jets.

At Davos, Are Leaders’ Private Jets and Limos Actually Hurting Climate-Change Efforts?

Gee, ya think?

If you still take these globalists seriously – about anything?  You’re either not paying attention – or are irretrievably stupid.

In very many WEFs past, lots of countries have made lots of climate change pledges and promises.  They then moved on as if they never said anything – and kept doing what they had always been doing.

And as is always the case when people get away with things?  These countries are attempting to get away with bigger and more brazen things.

Having faced zero consequences for lying about doing climate change things?

Not a Single G20 Country Is in Line with the Paris Agreement on Climate, Analysis Shows

Nations now increasingly don’t even bother to lie.  To wit: China, Russia, and India are the three biggest “emitters” not named the US….

Cop26: China, India and Russia Must ‘Do More’ to Tackle Climate Crisis

Except….

China, Russia, India, Worlds Top 3 Methane Emitters, Won’t Pledge to Cut Emissions

China, India, and Russia Aren’t Interested in Updating Their Emissions Targets Before 2025

And they tell lies so biliously preposterous – they are utterly unenforceable even if they weren’t lying.

India Targets 2070 for Net-Zero Emissions

China’s Contentious Path to Net-Zero by 2060

Russia Aims to Reach Net Zero Emissions by 2060

Just about none of the globalist fat cats (emphasis on “fat”) bearing witness to these Davos climate “pledges” will be alive in 2060 when they first begin coming due.  If any of these nations actually intended on adhering to them – which they absolutely do not.

India, China, Russia Kill Climate Deal

These international climate “pledges” aren’t worth the very many dead trees on which they’re printed.  They are nothing but gassy, sound-good soundbites.

Because these countries wish not to commit economic suicide.  And I certainly don’t blame them.

But exceedingly awful president Joe Biden is rigorously determined to commit US economic suicide on our behalf.

Biden Commits to Cutting U.S. Emissions in Half by 2030

That means the US economy doesn’t grow – it shrinks by about 50%.  In eight years.  And as I’m sure you’ve noticed – what with the heinously horrendous economy in which we all are mired?  Biden isn’t just saying these things – he’s actually doing them.

Video of the Day: Joe Biden Promises No More Drilling for Oil – Period

Joe Biden Just Promised No Coal Power Plants Will Ever Be Built In America

No empty economic suicide pledges from Biden.  Like, say, from China, Russia and India.

China Is Investing in Its Domestic Oil and Gas Industry

Russian Oil Production Is Rebounding and Will Keep Rising

India Continues to Buy More Oil from Russia Despite the Western Pressure

India Looks To Buy More Iranian Oil

China Tells Mines to Produce ’As Much Coal as Possible’

China Needs Russian Coal. Moscow Needs New Customers

In Russia, Coal Is Still King. And The Government Wants Even More

India Ramps Up Coal Production

So as but a tiny salve to our under-climate-siege economy?  Let’s tax the imports from these climate liars.

Trump Trade Principles to Mitigate the Climate Alarmists and Their Many Taxes:

“We have been artificially, dramatically increasing the cost of our energy – while no other country really has.

“Which is a de facto subsidy.  By every other country – for every product, they export to us.

“Because everything they do – is cheaper than everything we do.  Everything they make – is cheaper than everything we make.

“How should we rectify this idiocy?  How do we get to global ‘climate change’ even?

The ‘Border Adjustment Tax’: Great Tax Reform – That Gets Us Great Trade Reform

Border Carbon Tax: DC Can Do Better – When It Chooses to Do So

Build Back Never: Let’s Carbon Tax Them – Not US:

“‘What Is a Carbon Border Tax and What Does It Mean for Trade?:

“‘A carbon border adjustment tax is a duty on imports based on the amount of carbon emissions resulting from the production of the product in question. As a price on carbon, it discourages emissions. As a trade-related measure, it affects production and exports.’

“The US imposing a carbon tax on US – will export lots and LOTS of companies and jobs.  Taxing them and not US – will do exactly the opposite:

“‘Instead of taxing exports and not imports, we’d be taxing imports and not exports. Instead of reading about corporate inversions and outsourcing, we’d be reading about jobs and firms moving into the U.S. to take advantage of the favorable tax rules here.’”

Yes, please.

At the very least, it would help to mitigate the egregious “climate change” damage Biden is unilaterally doing to the US.

*****

This article was published by The Heartland Institute and is reproduced with permission.

Oil Companies Unload On Biden After His Thinly-Veiled Threats

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Oil companies responded in force after President Joe Biden threatened executive action over U.S. refinery capacity declines.

“Following on your campaign promise to ‘end fossil fuel,’ consider just some of the policy and investment signals being sent by various federal agencies and allied state governments to the market about our refining industry,” the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers wrote to Biden on Wednesday.

“What we have seen since January 2021 are policies that send a message that the Administration aims to impose obstacles to our industry delivering energy resources the world needs,” Chevron spokesperson Bill Turenne said.

Oil companies and industry trade groups criticized President Joe Biden after he sent a letter to them threatening action over high gasoline prices.

Biden penned a letter to seven major oil companies Tuesday insisting they increase oil refining operations to counter declining fuel supplies and inventories nationwide. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) sent a letter to the White House Wednesday evening, saying energy companies are refining at an increasingly high rate and government policies have injected uncertainty into the industry, in a response sent to the White House on Wednesday evening.

“Refiners do not make multi-billion-dollar investments based on short-term returns,” the two groups wrote in the joint letter to Biden. “They look at long-term supply and demand fundamentals and make investments as appropriate. To that end, following on your campaign promise to ‘end fossil fuel,’ consider just some of the policy and investment signals being sent by various federal agencies and allied state governments to the market about our refining industry.”

“The timing and reasons for shutdowns of several refineries, including the Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Shell Convent refineries, were primarily due to lack of buyers willing to continue operating the facilities as petroleum refineries given growing rhetoric about the long-term viability of the industry,” the letter continued.

On Wednesday, several of the companies Biden addressed in his warning letter responded in force, echoing the industry groups’ response. They noted their refinery utilization rates are high and that the president’s policies are holding them back.

“Specific to refining capacity in the U.S., we’ve been investing through the downturn to increase refining capacity to process U.S. light crude by about 250,000 barrels per day – the equivalent of adding a new medium-sized refinery,” ExxonMobil said in a statement shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We kept investing even during the pandemic when we lost more than $20 billion and had to borrow more than $30 billion to maintain investment to increase capacity to be ready for post-pandemic demand.”

“Longer term, the government can promote investment through clear and consistent policy that supports U.S. resource development, such as regular and predictable lease sales, as well as streamlined regulatory approval and support for infrastructure such as pipelines,” the company’s statement continued.

The API and AFPM noted that the Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized a vehicle standard to force gasoline demand down over the next decade and the administration encouraged an effort in California to place a future ban on traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. Multiple federal agencies have also introduced roadblocks for approving and constructing energy infrastructure projects like pipelines, the groups added.

Increasing refining capacity would boost crude oil demand and, therefore, prices would soar higher since the administration has largely opposed new fossil fuel production and leasing, the groups said.

In addition, Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith and Phillips 66 spokesperson Bernardo Fallas both highlighted that U.S. refinery utilization is up, in emails to TheDCNF.

Operable refinery utilization — a figure that measures how much petroleum companies are refining relative to their maximum capacity — reached a whopping 94.2% this month, its highest level since 2019, and is expected to remain at that rate through the summer, according to the Energy Information Administration. But total U.S. refining capacity has declined due to environmental regulations and projected gasoline demand decline as a result of the so-called green transition.

“Chevron is committed to the supply of affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy in the United States and across the globe,” Chevron spokesperson Bill Turenne told TheDCNF. “We understand the significant concerns around higher fuel prices currently faced by consumers around the country and the world. We share these concerns, and expect the Administration’s approach to energy policy will start to better reflect the importance of addressing them.”

“Unfortunately, what we have seen since January 2021 are policies that send a message that the Administration aims to impose obstacles to our industry delivering energy resources the world needs,” he added. “All of Chevron’s U.S. refineries are operational and our refinery input grew to 915,000 [barrels per day] on average in the first quarter from 881,000 in the same quarter a year before.”

*****

This article was published by The Daily Caller News Foundation and is reprinted with permission.

Why Expand Your Business If the Government Will Soon Close It Down?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Progressives seem to be confused about inflation. Inflation is an increase in the supply of money and credit at a rate faster than the rise in the production of goods and services. It is monetary on the one hand and a supply issue on the other.

Therefore, the solution lies in restricting money growth to a level approximate to that of economic growth and allowing natural market forces to increase supply. Wherever there are legal bottlenecks to production and distribution, such as taxes, laws that serve as barriers to entry for competitors, import restrictions, and above all senseless regulations; government can play an active role in getting out of the way of production.

It is said the answer to high prices, is high prices. That is true if the government gets out of the way. High prices cause consumers to restrict demand while higher profits in the affected sectors attract capital and create more supply.

At the centerpiece of the worst inflation in 40 years, is the cost of oil and natural gas.

Insofar as the supply issues are concerned, Progressives and their sock puppet President Biden seems to understand that the drop in global supply has something to do with the increase in prices. But when asked if we can do anything to increase supply, they stare off into space as if the power supply to their brain has been generated by a windmill, and the wind just quit blowing.  The only increase in supply they can conceive of is if the extra supply comes from Iran or Venezuela as opposed to West Texas.

Just this week, Secretary of Treasury Yellen turned her attention away from abortion and gun control long enough to state that the Administration has done all it can do about rising oil prices.

Really?

What if Progressives allowed all that gas in the Marcellus shale, which can be pumped in Pennsylvania but is forbidden in New York, was allowed to be developed?  What if the great oil production that once came from California was permitted to grow?  What if the reserves in Alaska could be tapped? What about all the opportunities offshore and on Federal land?

In short, America has plenty of both existing and new oil and gas geography to be developed, but environmental fanatics will not permit it to be developed. For years, their strategy has been to remove available land with energy resources off the market and elsewhere harass development with endless regulations and lawsuits.

And now, the government explicitly has set goals to phase out oil and gas usage by 2030.

Meanwhile, the ESG movement does everything it can to make energy companies a pariah and starve them of capital. If you don’t have money, you can’t expand.

Put yourselves in the shoes of an oil or gas company executive. Prices are rising, profits are good, but the government intends to put you out of business in about 8 years. Why would you make substantial investments in projects that have a usable life of 30 to 50 years, knowing full well your business will be shutting down in just a few more years? 

A more rational response is to recover what you can under the circumstances. Use your profits to buy back stock, benefiting management and your loyal shareholders that have stayed with you through this constant attack from the government and distributing dividends to your shareholders as well. But these strategies while rational, do not produce an ounce of new energy.

You wouldn’t and that is why in the present situation rising prices will not do their magic, that is, call forward new production to alleviate the shortages.

This crisis in the short term has been aggravated by Putin. But the guilty parties are homegrown, the environmental movement and their allies in the Democrat party.

This energy crisis is wholly artificial, designed to drive the economy away from inexpensive oil and gas and towards the new Green nirvana of solar and wind. They want fossil fuels to be expensive so that their forced alternatives look better. They don’t want a level playing field where one energy source competes against the other. They want to cram their ideas down our throats because of the hubris of their movement. They think among all the variables that cause the climate to change over time, they alone can change the climate of the earth over the next 100 years.

If you can’t afford to drive to work or feed your family, you are just collateral damage necessary to achieve their greater goal.

What is even more insane is that they seem pleased if the oil and gas are produced elsewhere, as if the earth’s atmosphere can tell the difference between Alaskan oil and Venezuelan.

This push from the top down to change our energy system is aggravating the inflationary problems touched off by wild deficit-financed spending and a Federal Reserve Board that has gone out of its way to remove any restraint on the legislative and executive branches of government. Combined with the environmental movement, that has locked us into devastating inflation that will be hard to escape.

Unfortunately, market forces will not be unleashed to help alleviate the problem. There simply is no incentive under the circumstances to make new long-term investments in the sector.

Why invest in more hydrocarbon production if they are simply going to put you out of business?

Only one other solution exists. We must vote out of office those who grovel to the environmental movement and encourage all forms of energy development. If we don’t, our standard of living, and national security, will be in grave jeopardy. Then we need a program of fiscal responsibility and monetary restraint coupled with massive deregulation of American business.