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.

*****

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

Daily News Roundup

Estimated Reading Time: 18 minutes

NOTABLE QUOTES

President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, on  Sunday, tweeted this about the United States: The most powerful country in the world is falling so fast, that it makes you rethink what are the real reasons. Something so big and powerful can’t be destroyed so quickly, unless the enemy comes from within.

Malcolm Pollack contributor to American Greatness: When one studies the Left from every angle, from inside and out, in both its historical manifestations and its present-day actions, then the human and social particularities cancel out, and its one essential characteristic—what we might call its “chief feature”—comes clearly into focus. That feature, that essence, is entropy: the implacable tendency of ordered systems to run down, to yield to chaos, to exhaust their source of energy, to rust, to decay, and to decompose. . . . Entropy levels, flattens, diffuses, deflates, destroys. It is the relentless enemy of everything superior, special, noteworthy, exceptional, and distinctive. It seeks, without pause, to make everything equal to everything else. It is the heat-death of the Universe.

Bruce Thornton contributor to Frontpage Magazine: At the same time we are sanctioning Russian oil and banks for its heinous invasion of Ukraine, daily denouncing Vladimir Putin as a war criminal, and supplying arms to the Ukrainians, we––with Russia’s help––are on the brink of providing the world’s worst state-sponsor of terrorism more money to spend on terrorism and developing nuclear weapons, and relaxing sanctions on the Russian devil so it can build a nuclear reactor for an enemy sworn to our destruction, while earning more funds to continue the war in Ukraine. Such stupidity and slavery to state orthodoxy are suicidal, the predicate for another “rage of self-mutilation” that may, if Iran gets the bomb, equal or even surpass that of the 20th century.

Daniel Greenfield contributor to Frontpage Magazine: While the Biden administration is focused on protecting the borders of Ukraine from Russia, some 8,600 Russians have shown up at our border with Mexico since last August. Not to be left too far behind, 5,534 Ukrainians have also arrived since October.

Biden the Tik Tok Commander in Chief, in a 3/21/22 Business Roundtable CEO Quarterly Meeting:  “You know we are in an inflection point, I believe, in the world economy” the Commander-in-Chief said, “Not just the economy, the world. It occurs every three or four generations. As one of the top military people said to me in a secure meeting the other day, 60 million people died between 1900 and 1946 and since then we established a liberal world order and that hadn’t happened in a long while. Lot of people dying [now], but nowhere near the chaos. And now’s the time when things are shifting. There’s gonna be a new world order out there, and we’ve gotta lead it. And we’ve gotta unite the rest of the world in doing it.”

Revolver.news: For the right, war is a permanent crutch, a way to ignore real issues (the issues where they are losing) and live in a comforting fantasy world of easy moral clarity and absolute American dominance. Demanding escalation in Eastern Europe is a way for Republicans to feel tough when they have totally lost control of their own country. In this darkly ironic fashion, Republicans actually do have something in common with the Ukrainians they wish to save: they are both patriotic to a country that they have no control over in the first place.

Richard Fernandez contributor to PJ Media: The West made a miscalculation of comparable magnitude to Putin’s by becoming energy dependent on the Kremlin to mollify their domestic Greens. They ignored the obvious danger that their money would fund aggression because invasion was inconceivable to them, though not, as it proved, to the siloviki, the clique of strongmen who control Russia. It’s another reminder of the danger of mirror imaging; to think the other guy wants what you want is always fraught. John Kerry’s reaction to the outbreak of hostilities was to observe it would hamper the campaign against climate change. But that was probably the farthest thing from Putin’s mind.

Peachy Keene contributor to The American Mind: Modern American doctors of all specialties are now aiming for full control over children’s bodies, and not just the ones they are allowed to abort. Pediatricians and plastic surgeons, psychologists and endocrinologists: all are conspiring and colluding to trap your kids on a one-way train to trans land. They have designed a final solution for your child if, God forbid, he or she ever suffers from body dysmorphia or rapid onset gender dysphoria, a devastating social contagion among teen girls, many of whom are autistic.

Wayne Allen Root contributor to Gateway Pundit:  . . .the point is, a rigged election has changed everything. Think of America with President Trump in charge. We had perhaps the greatest and most prosperous economy in history; the highest increase in middle class incomes ever; the lowest unemployment ever- including the lowest black and Latino unemployment ever; inflation and interest rates at historic lows; a perfect supply chain- with a plethora of everything; and peace all over the world. But some Americans didn’t like Trump’s tweets. What would you give to have Trump back right about now?

VP Kamala Harris in Louisiana on 3/21/22 discussing education in rural communities: “The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time…there is such great significance to the passage of time,”

Brandon Ambrosino contributor to BBC FUTURE: Once upon a time, heterosexuality was necessary because modern humans needed to prove who they were and why they were, and they needed to defend their right to be where they were. As time wears on, though, that label seems to actually limit the myriad ways we humans understand our desires and loves and fears. Perhaps that is one reason a recent UK poll found that fewer than half of those aged 18-24 identify as “100% heterosexual.” That isn’t to suggest a majority of those young respondents regularly practise bisexuality or homosexuality; rather it shows that they don’t seem to have the same need for the word “heterosexual” as their 20th-Century forebears.

Walter A. Jacobson reports the truth about the Yale Law School speaker disruption: I would not downplay the role of faculty and administrators. They set the tone and are supposed to be the adults in the room. In almost every law school attack on speakers and law professors we have covered, faculty and administrators are as much a part of the problem as the students. It’s a culture of intolerance and a sick symbiotic relationship in which students, faculty, and administrators feed off each other.

Stephen Hayward contributor to PowerLine Blog: I have argued previously that one reason the left can’t let go of mask mandates and other COVID-Zero demands is that they have been taught for 50 years now, chiefly by environmentalists, to blow up every conceivable risk in to a world-ending crisis, and demand that the government deliver a zero-risk response that is heedless of any adverse tradeoffs. This is why leftist politicians are caught between a public that is fed up with COVID mania and the vocal base of the Democratic Party that wants Mandates Forever and will be furious if President Biden, Gov. Newsom, Gov. Witmer, Gov. Wolf, etc., declare a full return to normal life.

TRANSHUMANISM

Morrison: Artificial Intelligence created 40,000 of new lethal chemical weapon compounds six hours after being given the task by scientists
A team of scientists were using AI to look for compounds that could be used to cure disease, and part of this involves filtering out any that could kill a human. As part of a conference on potentially negative implications of new technology, biotech startup Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, from Raleigh, North Carolina, ‘flipped a switch’ in its AI algorithm, and had it find the most lethal compounds. The team wanted to see just how quickly and easily an artificial intelligence algorithm could be abused, if it were set on a negative, rather than positive task. Once in ‘bad mode’ the AI was able to invent thousands of new chemical combinations, many of which resembled the most dangerous nerve agents in use today, according to a report by The Verge.
Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10636357/AI-came-thousands-chemical-weapons-just-hours-task-scientists.html

SCOTUS

Laila: Grassley: White House Covering Up 48,000 Documents on SCOTUS Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson (VIDEO)
Grassley expressed his disappointment for being unable to obtain Judge Jackson’s documents from her time as the Vice Chair of the US Sentencing Commission that are required to be released. Democrats are stonewalling GOP efforts to obtain Jackson’s documents. […]  He added, “The White House has still withheld 48,000 pages under the presidential records and FOIA exemption — now that’s a lot of hiding.”
Read more/Watch Grassley 2:35 minute comments in today’s hearing:https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/03/grassley-white-house-covering-48000-documents-scotus-nominee-ketanji-brown-jackson-video/

Bannister: Hawley Lists Seven Times Ketanji Brown Jackson Issued Soft Sentences in Child-Porn Cases
In two cases, Judge Jackson gave the lowest sentence permitted by law: 1. Defendant distributed multiple images of child porn, possessed dozens more, including videos: Federal sentencing guidelines: 97-121 months in prison. Prosecutors recommended 24 months in prison. Judge Jackson gave the defendant three months in prison 2. . . .
Read more: https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/craig-bannister/hawley-lists-seven-times-ketanji-brown-jackson-issued-soft-sentences-child

Boyd: Senate Democrats Praise National Review For Helping Their Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmation Efforts
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened up the day by citing a National Review article which takes aim at Republican Sen. Josh Hawley for pointing out Jackson’s “soft on crime” track record. Much like the White House and its cronies in the corrupt corporate media, National Review was quick to accuse Hawley of orchestrating a smear about the Breyer replacement nominee. “Despite your record, we’ve heard claims that you are ‘soft on crime.’ These baseless charges are unfair,” Durbin claimed. “A conservative National Review columnist called claims brought by one of my colleagues ‘meritless to the point of demagoguery.’”
Read more: https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/21/senate-democrats-praise-national-review-for-helping-their-ketanji-brown-jackson-confirmation-efforts/

JANUARY 6

Kelly: A Trump-Hating Backer of Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee Is Married to the Top J6 Prosecutor
Confirmation hearings for D.C. Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden’s first U.S. Supreme Court nominee, began Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. During an event in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning, activists gathered to rally on behalf of the nominee who could be the first black woman seated on the nation’s highest court. “It’s also, for so many of us, a moment that is personal,” Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, told the crowd. […]  Within the incestuous cesspool that is the nation’s capital, it’s not unusual for a power couple to work on the same side of the political aisle. Matthew Graves is a registered Democrat who served as a domestic policy advisor for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.What is highly unusual—and should raise the eyebrows of congressional Republicans (it won’t) and January 6 defense attorneys (it might)—is that the unprecedented criminal investigation into the four-hour disturbance at the Capitol over a year ago is in the hands of a partisan prosecutor married to a radical left-wing activist who has openly condemned, with racist language, supporters of Donald Trump.
Read more: https://amgreatness.com/2022/03/21/a-trump-hating-backer-of-bidens-supreme-court-nominee-is-married-to-the-top-j6-prosecutor/

AP: Capitol riot trial opens for Cowboys for Trump founder
An elected official from New Mexico went to trial with a judge — not a jury — set to decide if he is guilty of charges that he illegally entered the U.S. Capitol grounds on the day a pro-Trump mob disrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden is scheduled to hear attorneys’ closing arguments Tuesday for the case against Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, whose trial in Washington, D.C., is the second among the hundreds of people charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, siege. The judge heard testimony Monday from three government witnesses. Griffin’s lawyer said he doesn’t plan to call any defense witnesses.
Read more: https://nypost.com/2022/03/22/capitol-riot-trial-opens-for-cowboys-for-trump-founder-couy-griffin/

DURHAM INVESTIGATION

Judicial Watch: What is Special Counsel Durham Up To?
Judicial Watch Sues DOJ for Emails Between John Durham and AG Garland. Last year Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley raised concerns about whether the Justice Department was in potential conflict with the Durham Special Counsel investigation because a senior Justice official, Susan Hennessey, had previously made statements attacking the Durham investigation. The senators said, in December 2021, that Hennessey “expressed a clear partisan bias against the Special Counsel’s investigation,” referring to one of her tweets: “Durham has made abundantly clear that in a year and a half, he hasn’t come up with anything. I guess this kind of partisan silliness has become characteristic of Barr’s legacy, but unclear to me why Durham would want to go along with it.”
Read more: https://www.judicialwatch.org/what-is-special-counsel-durham-up-to/

THE DEMOCRAT LED WAR ON CHILDREN

(Worth your time to read this article) Keenan: First, Do Some Harm
While we are finally starting to win the fight for our children’s minds, we are losing the battle for control of their bodies. […]  We are slowly chipping away at the rotted American education colossus. It feels good to notch a few Ws in our belt. Been awhile, right?  But—don’t get too comfortable. A new, even more powerful enemy has entered the game: the pediatric industrial complex. This battle is going to be more difficult. Why? Because if your school is bad, at least you can switch schools or homeschool. But unless you went to med school and can write prescriptions, stitch a wound, and reset a dislocated shoulder, you can’t home-doctor. Teaching multiplication is one thing, diagnosing pediatric cancer is quite another. The phrase “First, do no harm” is not actually in the text of the Hippocratic oath, but it is widely considered the bedrock of Western medical ethics. Let’s take a quick look at part of this remarkable ancient Greek pledge, attributed to Hippocrates, a doctor who lived in the fourth century B.C.: . . .  It’s no wonder modern doctors ignore this oath. After all, Hippocrates was a terrifying pro-life extremist who refused to perform abortions. […]  A year ago, I wrote an essay about a trip to the pediatrician where my teenage son was asked, “Are you comfortable with your gender?” This year, I decided to switch doctors, take him to a male this time. I had outsmarted them, I thought. No man would think my son was a girl. But the office forms wanted me to leave the possibility open. […]  “He hasn’t had a Covid vaccine?” I braced myself. I had prepared for this.  “Nope!” “I can give it to him right now.” “No thanks!” “I highly recommend it.”  I took a deep breath. “Well, . . .
Read more: https://americanmind.org/salvo/first-do-some-harm/

Bingham: Federal court blocks DC law allowing minors to consent to vaccination
Minors aged 11 and up in the nation’s capital are temporarily no longer eligible to receive vaccines without parental knowledge or consent after a federal court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction against Washington, D.C.’s Minor Consent for Vaccination Act (MCA) on March 18 following a lawsuit by the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN). ‘By removing the parent from the vaccine decision, the MCA undercuts a key purpose of the VIS (Vaccine Information Statement) and a safety check before the vaccination,’ decided the judge.
Read more: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/victory-dc-court-grants-injunction-against-law-allowing-minors-to-consent-to-vaccination/?utm_source=featured&utm_campaign=usa

Gonzales: Trans Tyranny in Public Schools
Schools across the country have adopted a controversial policy of hiding the LGBT statuses of students from their parents. Sold to the public as an effort to protect children from abuse, the policy effectively circumvents parental consent and notification about their children’s health, safety, and well-being.
One Texas family told Chronicles how they fought to protect their children from transgender ideology. After finding out that staff of a public school had encouraged their daughter to transition to a male gender, they withdrew their children from the school. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) came knocking at their door, demanding to conduct a safety assessment of their family environment. In telling us his family’s story, the father, who we’ll call John, asked Chronicles to protect their identities, for fear of retaliation. He gave Chronicles copies of all the documents he received and sent to DFPS during the agency’s investigation. What John and his family experienced is the result of a countrywide effort to push through schools radical ideas about sex and gender to influence children at their most vulnerable developmental stages. Even more sinister, their story shows how the enforcement arm of the government is being used to punish and harass those who resist. A war for the hearts, minds, and bodies of America’s children, which can often result in devastating and irreversible consequences—is being waged in every state, red or blue, and there is no opting out of the conflict.
Read more: https://thepricklypear.org/trans-tyranny-in-public-schools/

Morse: Pixar to Include Gay Kiss in Buzz Lightyear Film in Revenge for Florida’s Anti-Grooming Bill
The left’s reaction to the Florida bill banning sexual identity education to children in grades three and below has been nothing short of disgusting. Not only do they feel the need to fight against a bill that stops the teaching of sexualization to children for some reason, but they also feel they need to wholly lie about it, calling it the “don’t say gay” bill when it doesn’t mention the word “gay” one time. Democrat politicians, specifically in Florida, likely know that the bill isn’t doing what they’re claiming it does, but the narrative is too juicy to pass up and, sure enough, many are buying the lie hook, line, and sinker. This includes writers, actors, producers, and studios. Pixar, in particular, has become angry over the Florida bill and in a revenge move, now claims it will include a lesbian kiss in their upcoming Buzz Lightyear movie.
Read more: https://redstate.com/brandon_morse/2022/03/21/pixar-to-include-gay-kiss-in-buzz-lightyear-film-in-revenge-for-floridas-anti-grooming-bill-n53879enoughenough

GOP

Revolver.news: The America First Movement has a Sean Hannity Problem
In 2016, Donald Trump showed that a Republican candidate can run, and win, without swearing fealty to the permanent war party. He ran on a platform of “America First,” and since that moment almost all Republican politicians and commentators have at least paid lip service to the idea. Yet now, all of that is being thrown aside for the sake of Ukraine. In 2019, would-be America First Senator Josh Hawley delivered a speech about “Rethinking America’s Foreign Policy Consensus,” condemning “endless wars” and “metastasizing commitments” to far-off countries, and demanding a new narrower focus on keeping America and Americans safe and prosperous. And then Ukraine came along, and Hawley suddenly looked like any other Republican from 2006. It is one thing to see the Democrats eagerly join the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon in demanding the escalation of U.S. involvement in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. That alignment makes perfect sense politically—why wouldn’t the left align with the same national security state that embraces all of its values, and which has repurposed itself to target the left’s domestic political enemies on the right? Seeing lawmakers on the right take the same stance, though, is both puzzling and pathetic. […]  The relationship between the national security state and most GOP lawmakers and pundits increasingly resembles the relationship between an abusive husband and his battered spouse. Like a wife who believes her husband still loves her even as he sends her to the hospital, the same lawmakers and Fox News figures who claim to have embraced the Trump realignment are yet again letting themselves get played by a Regime that hates them.
Read more/Watch the videos: : https://www.revolver.news/2022/03/america-first-sean-hannity-problem/

Desantis to Call for Special Session for Redistricting Map Vote
Congressional candidate Anthony Sabatini joins the “War Room” this morning to confirm that Gov Ron DeSantis will call a special session to fight the pro-Democratic redistricting plan proposed in Florida.
Watch the 5;24 minute video: https://warroom.org/2022/03/21/desantis-to-call-for-special-session-for-redistricting-map-vote/

FAUCI’S VIRUS: IT’S POLITICAL

Gortler: CDC Tells New York Times It Hid Covid Data For Political Reasons
A ccording to a recent headline from The New York Times, “the CDC isn’t publishing large portions of the COVID data it collects.” That headline downplays what the article in fact reveals: Two full years into the pandemic, the agency leading the country’s response to the public health emergency has published only a tiny fraction of the data it has collected, several people familiar with the data said. The article says when the Centers for Disease Control “published the first significant data on the effectiveness of boosters in adults younger than 65…it left out the numbers for a huge portion of that population: 18- to 49-year-olds, the group least likely to benefit from extra shots.” “The agency has been reluctant to make those figures public,” according to the Times, “because they might be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective.” […]  This taxpayer-funded agency didn’t want to give taxpayers the full picture of vaccine effectiveness—for their own good. It also feels confident enough to publicly admit this, but only after many Americans were fired from their jobs and suffered from serious adverse events and deaths after they were forced to take shots they didn’t want based precisely on false narratives fueled by CDC duplicity.
[…]  Boosters have proven so ineffective they’re rarely mentioned anymore, even by the most zealous of the liberal faithful. The vaccine’s ability to limit Covid mutation transmission quickly plummeted to the point of being laughable. Hiding the fact that boosting already double-vaccinated healthy young people is practically worthless is scandalous enough on its own. But it becomes doubly egregious considering the safety risks of getting the shot again and again.
Read more: https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/22/cdc-tells-new-york-times-it-hid-covid-data-for-political-reasons/

Fallon & Snider: New COVID variant is spreading across the US. Here’s what you need to know about BA.2
The BA.2 variant appears to be on its way to becoming the dominant coronavirus strain, having roughly doubled each week for the past month, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BA.2 is considered by the World Health Organization as a “sublineage” of the highly transmissible omicron variant. It’s a different version of omicron than BA.1, which was responsible for the surge that hit the Northeast late last year. It has a different genetic sequence from BA.1 and was first dubbed the “stealth variant” because it wasn’t as easy to detect.
Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/new-covid-variant-is-spreading-across-the-us-here-s-what-you-need-to-know-about-ba-2/ar-AAVff1

BIDEN/HARRIS/OBAMA REGIME: TRANSFORMING FOREIGN POLICY 

Antle III: ‘It’s coming’: Biden warns of Russian cyberattacks on US amid Ukraine war
President Joe Biden painted a grim picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions in Ukraine in a speech to the Business Roundtable’s CEO meeting Monday night, accusing the Kremlin of deploying fearsome weapons in its unprovoked invasion. Biden warned that Putin’s back was up against the wall, leading the Russian strongman to contemplate desperate measures, such as new false flag attacks and the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine. […]  “Putin’s back is against the wall. … The more his back is against the wall, the greater severity of the tactics he may employ,” Biden added.
Read more: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/its-coming-biden-warns-of-russian-cyberattacks-on-us-amid-ukraine-war

Thornton: Our Surreal “Rage of Self-Mutilation”
That phrase is how Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn described the 20th century’s catalogue of horrors: two world wars, fascism, communism, Nazism, mass slaughter, the Cold War and its apocalyptic stakes–“oceans of blood and mountains of corpses, Auschwitz and the Gulag,” as George Weigel put it. And that catalogue continues today in Ukraine, with mechanized violence and wanton inhumanity on a scale we haven’t seen since 1945. Yet today our social, political, and cultural dysfunctions are more insidious, as over the last few decades they have distributed, promoted, and indulged failures of morality, technocratic hubris, and common sense of the sort that were the predicates of all the disasters of the 20th century. Only now they are at a level of surreal silliness and stupidity that would be mordantly funny if the stakes for our civilization weren’t so high. Now comes proof in the news that the indirect negotiations between the Biden administration and the genocidal clerical regime in Iran are nearing completion.
Read more: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/03/our-surreal-rage-self-mutilation-bruce-thornton/ 

Sundance: Admission From Zelenskyy Highlights How Biden Administration Wanted To Provoke Russia To Invade Ukraine
Hopefully by now everyone is well aware how the U.S. State Department has been manipulating the internal politics of Ukraine for well over a decade. A recent statement, by current Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, puts the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion into greater clarity. In an interview with CNN, Zelenskyy spoke about his prior communication with Joe Biden and NATO leadership.  Within the interview Zelenskyy said (emphasis mine): . . . […]  In late February, the New York Times reported on U.S. intelligence and diplomatic officials from the State Dept sharing intelligence with Chinese officials in the three months leading up to the Russian invasion.  {Go Deep on Analysis} The narrative from the NYT article tells the story of the U.S. trying to convince China in December, January and February to intervene and persuade Russia not to cross the border into Ukraine. Many people looked at this story from the perspective of incompetence, i.e. why would the Biden team think China would not share the intel, etc? However, when it comes to these types of issues, never ascribe to incompetence that which can be explained by manipulative intent. There’s every reason to believe what the Biden intelligence community and state department were sharing with China, was done with the intention of Beijing giving it to Moscow. From that perspective, the question around intent becomes, what did they push, and why did they push it? Now we get to the public story,  . . . […] This crisis actually helps advance the goals and objectives of domestic policy in multiple ways.
Read more: https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2022/03/21/admission-from-zelenskyy-highlights-how-biden-administration-wanted-to-provoke-russia-to-invade-ukraine/

BIDEN/HARRIS/OBAMA REGIME: TRANSFORMING AMERICA

(H/T JC) Tyner: Barack Obama Describes his Ideal Third Term
Watch the 31 second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMvsjHeFa54  or here:  https://vimeo.com/508182143

National Pulse Staff Writer: Biden: ‘There’s Going to Be a New World Order’.
U.S. President Joe Biden discussed a “new world order” at a Business Roundtable CEO Quarterly Meeting on Monday, deploying a phrase often pilloried by corporate media outlets as “conspiracy theory.” The statement leans in part on the “fourth turning” or Strauss–Howe generational theory, though in a clumsy fashion. It is not the first time Biden has appealed to such messaging. In 1992, then Senator Biden wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal entitled “How I Learned to Love the New World Order.” In the article, Biden – who was also the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s European Affairs Subcommittee – said: “Having contained Soviet communism until it dissolved, we need a new strategy of “containment” – based, like NATO, on collective action–but directed against weapons proliferation.”
Read more/Watch the  42 second video: https://thenationalpulse.com/2022/03/21/biden-theres-going-to-be-a-new-world-order/

Sibarium: The Takeover of America’s Legal System
If you are a Common Sense reader, you are by now highly aware of the phenomenon of institutional capture. From the start, we have covered the ongoing saga of how America’s most important institutions have been transformed by an illiberal ideology—and have come to betray their own missions.
MedicineHollywoodEducation. The reason we exist is because of the takeover of newspapers like The New York Times. Ok, so we’ve lost a lot. A whole lot. But at least we haven’t lost the law. That’s how we comforted ourselves. The law would be the bulwark against this nonsense. The rest we could work on building anew.But what if the country’s legal system was changing just like everything else? Today, Aaron Sibarium, a reporter who has consistently been ahead of the pack on this beat, offers a groundbreaking piece on how the legal system in America, as one prominent liberal scholar put it, is at risk of becoming “a totalitarian nightmare.” This is a long feature on a subject we think deserves your time. Save it, share it, or print it to read in a quiet moment And please support stories like this one by subscribing today: In 2017, the super lawyer David Boies was at a corporate retreat at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Florida, hosted by his law firm, Boies, Schiller and Flexner. Boies was a liberal legend: He had represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, and, in 2013, successfully defended gay marriage in California, in Hollingsworth v. Perry, paving the way for the landmark Supreme Court ruling two years later. On the last day of the retreat, Boies gave a talk in the hotel ballroom to 100 or so attorneys, according to a lawyer who was present at the event. Afterwards, Boies’s colleagues were invited to ask questions.
Read more: https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/the-takeover-of-americas-legal-system?s=w

Washington Examiner: The Democrats’ radical, undemocratic agenda
For all their talk about protecting democracy, Democrats sure are proving quick to abandon it by sidelining Congress and pushing President Joe Biden to enact a far-left agenda unilaterally through executive action. Last week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released “Recommendations for Executive Action,” a six-page document outlining policies that left-wing Democrats failed to persuade even a Democratic-controlled Congress to pass. They now want Biden to use presidential power alone to implement what has been rejected by the representatives of the wider public. Can there be a more crystalline example of elitism over equality? The scope of the changes Democrats are pushing for is staggering. The document calls on Biden to declare a national climate emergency using the same authority President Donald Trump used to declare a national emergency on the southern border to build a border wall. Instead of building a wall, the Progressive Caucus wants Biden to use the 1976 National Emergencies Act to cripple domestic energy production. They demand an all-out ban on fossil fuel production on federal land, an end to exports of domestic oil, and higher taxes on oil companies. They also want . . .
Read more: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/the-democrats-radical-undemocratic-agenda

INTERNATIONAL

Cohen: Why Can’t the West Admit That Ukraine Is Winning?
The evidence that Ukraine is winning this war is abundant, if one only looks closely at the available data. The absence of Russian progress on the front lines is just half the picture, obscured though it is by maps showing big red blobs, which reflect not what the Russians control but the areas through which they have driven. The failure of almost all of Russia’s airborne assaults, its inability to destroy the Ukrainian air force and air-defense system, and the weeks-long paralysis of the 40-mile supply column north of Kyiv are suggestive. Russian losses are staggering—between 7,000 and 14,000 soldiers dead, depending on your source, which implies (using a low-end rule of thumb about the ratios of such things) a minimum of nearly 30,000 taken off the battlefield by wounds, capture, or disappearance. Such a total would represent at least 15 percent of the entire invading force, enough to render most units combat ineffective. And there is no reason to think that the rate of loss is abating—in fact, Western intelligence agencies are briefing unsustainable Russian casualty rates of a thousand a day. Add to this the repeated tactical blundering visible on videos even to amateurs: vehicles bunched up on roads, no infantry covering the flanks, no closely coordinated artillery fire, no overhead support from helicopters, and panicky reactions to ambushes. The 1-to-1 ratio of vehicles destroyed to those captured or abandoned bespeaks an army that is unwilling to fight. Russia’s inability to concentrate its forces on one or two axes of attack, or to take a major city, is striking. So, too, are its massive problems in logistics and maintenance, carefully analyzed by technically qualified observers.
Read more: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/ukraine-is-winning-war-russia/627121/

Winters: EXC: Saudis Sign Gas Deal With Hunter Biden-Linked Chinese Energy Firm.
The agreement – reported elsewhere without the Hunter Biden link – comes amidst Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) leaders declining calls with President Joe Biden amidst America’s surging oil and gas prices. In the same time period, Saudi Arabia’s state-backed firm Saudi Aramco signed a “preliminary agreement” with China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) aimed at boosting “its presence in the world’s second-largest economy.”
Read more: https://thenationalpulse.com/2022/03/21/saudi-sign-oil-deal-with-biden-linked-oil-company/

When ‘Emperors’ Preaching ESG Purport to Represent Millions of Us, a Lot Can Go Wrong

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The misappropriation of the economic freedom of millions of mom-and-pop investors by BlackRock Inc. CEO Larry Fink has unintended consequences.

“We have a new bunch of emperors, and they’re the people who vote the shares in the index funds,” Charlie Munger, business partner of philanthropist Warren Buffett and a big proponent of index fund investing, recently said.

“I think the world of Larry Fink, but I’m not sure I want him to be my emperor,” Munger said.

Fink runs BlackRock, a leading investment management company that sells stock index funds to investors. BlackRock currently holds many trillions of dollars in corporate stocks in these index funds.

Fink is powerful. He has benefited perhaps more than anyone else from the prevalence of index fund investing. He also is a big proponent of what is called Environmental, Social, Governance investing, or ESG.

Here’s how it works: Millions of investors buy a BlackRock index fund because they basically want to own the stock index. Instead of being owners of one company or a few companies, when they buy the iShares S&P 500 Index Fund, for example, they own a fraction of every single stock in the S&P 500, in the same percentage in the stock index at the time they buy.

Index funds earn the return of the index they represent; the return on an index fund investment, then, is equivalent to the return of the stock index itself for however long an investor owns it before subtracting BlackRock’s management fees.

BlackRock in turn buys shares of every company in the index in proportion to the money its customers spend on its index funds. The investment management giant then sells them when its customers sell the index funds, to pay the customer.

The stock market rises over the long run, so index funds are a safer investment than speculating on stocks because individual stocks frequently underperform their indexes and because individual companies can go bankrupt, wiping out investments.

When millions of people buy trillions of dollars of BlackRock’s index funds, the company ends up holding in its accounts an equivalent amount of every stock in the stock index. This is called passive investing, as opposed to active investing, because no one is picking certain stocks as investments on which to earn a gain; instead, investors are simply buying or selling every stock in an index.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, Blackrock held an amount equal to over 28% of the U.S. gross domestic product in passive investments in the company’s accounts for its index fund holders.

Nothing is wrong with index funds. Investments in index funds mimic the returns of the overall stock market because by acquiring an index fund, one owns a tiny fraction of every company in a stock index, such as the S&P 500, or the MSCI World Index of global stocks.

A problem exists, however, with Fink, who votes the stock holdings in BlackRock’s index funds at shareholder meetings as if he is the investor who owns many trillions of dollars of stocks—which he is not.

As of Dec. 31, according to BlackRock’s annual report, Fink, through his company’s index funds, was voting the shares of $6.45 trillion in stock.

Talking heads on television and in the financial press, along with finance professors in colleges and universities, long have preached the merits of index fund investing based on a theory called the efficient-market hypothesis. That theory says that the value of a stock at a given time is closely reflected in its current stock price, making it unfeasible for someone to consistently beat the stock market index by picking individual stocks.

The efficient-market hypothesis is true for the average investor. The success of Wall Street titans such as Buffett and Carl Icahn disproves it as the one-size-fits-all, best option for everyone, as does the success of an untold number of anonymous investors who have made large fortunes but aren’t included in the research findings on the returns of mutual funds.  But that is beside the point.

New York Post columnist Charlie Gasparino recently explained what Fink’s ESG advocacy means, writing that the BlackRock CEO

is known for pushing for something called stakeholder capitalism (which I’ve criticized)—a squishy concept in which corporations look to better the human race as opposed to churning out profits for shareholders. And his embrace of some woke policies through the investment fad known as ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) standards.

 

In its 2020 annual report, BlackRock states:

We invest our clients’ money in companies of all types and sizes, in every region of the world. These investments provide capital for companies to grow and create jobs, which, in turn, enables economies and societies to prosper. We use our voice as shareholders to urge companies to focus on important issues that will also impact the value of their investments, like climate change, the fair treatment of workers and equality. We are also working through the BlackRock Foundation to expand financial security for low income groups who face barriers to economic participation and may be vulnerable to disruption from climate change.

 

That focus on climate change is why BlackRock, as ExxonMobil’s second-biggest shareholder, sided with a group of shareholders who owned just 0.02% of ExxonMobil in voting to replace board members with new ones who believe that:

ExxonMobil’s lack of any serious diversification efforts and aggressive spending predicated on heavy long-term oil and gas demand for decades to come, risks massive continued long-term value destruction in a world intent on reducing all emissions …

 

Is it really for Fink, commanding the votes of millions of shares purchased by other investors, to decide whether a large oil company should reduce its investments in oil and gas that people rely on to survive?

What a bully tactic by a bully who is voting his agenda with billions of dollars of shareholders’ voting rights purchased by others who bought Fink’s index funds. They did so to earn a return on their investment portfolio equal to that of the overall stock market, not so that Fink could pretend he was them at shareholders meetings of virtually every company in the world and vote their shares.

Such interference by Fink and other index fund company chief executives because they presume to know what is good for the planet can have unintended and drastic consequences.

Right now, the average cost of gasoline is spiraling upward. And big oil and gas companies have not been investing in new exploration in recent years, partly because Fink, other ESG advocates, and now President Joe Biden’s administration have been lurking over their shoulders and stigmatizing the fuel we all need to drive our cars and heat our homes.

These players have created a large deal of uncertainty about what the future will be for energy exploration and drilling. In the case of Biden, he put huge restrictions on oil and gas drilling on his first day in office and also canceled the Keystone XL pipeline.

BlackRock’s claim in its annual report that “low-income groups . . . may be vulnerable to disruption from climate change” is not worth the paper it is printed on. High gasoline prices hurt the poor the most, and those in cold climates sometimes freeze to death if they cannot live in heated homes, as happened recently in Ukraine.

There is nothing wrong with index funds. Larry Fink is not millions of people who hold index funds, though. Their interests vary widely and are not somehow lined up together, much less with his interests.

Fink and the CEOs at other companies that sell index funds shouldn’t vote trillions of dollars of index fund shareholdings at every meeting of shareholders in the world. They should save the planet in some other way.

*****

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

The CEO

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Suppose you own a substantial number of shares – say, $500,000 worth – in Acme Corp., a manufacturer of home furnishings. And being a shareholder, you decide to attend the corporation’s annual meeting. You arrive early for a good seat, eager to hear what Acme’s president and CEO, Mr. Jones, has to say.

Taking the podium after a warm introduction by the chairman of Acme’s board, Jones looks out earnestly at the shareholders assembled before him. He begins by assuring everyone that, while Acme is confronting many real challenges, he and his executive team have matters firmly in hand.

Jones then goes into some detail. He mentions the unexpectedly high and rising costs of Acme’s factory operations. “This problem is real, but we’ve diagnosed it. The problem in part is caused by our suppliers’ greed. Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed that the greed of these scoundrels has intensified. My team and I will lecture these anti-Acme people in hopes of diminishing their greed. As I’m sure everyone in this room knows, a major source of high and rising costs is greed. We will combat it!”

But we won’t stop there! In addition, we’ll dramatically reduce the amount of supplies that we purchase from other firms. I mean, why buy stuff from others when we can make these things in-house, right?! Although Acme is a furniture maker, we’ll stop buying our tools, delivery vehicles, electricity, and insurance from other companies. We’ll produce, in addition to furniture, these goods and services in-house. We’ll make our own lathes and other tools, manufacture our own delivery vehicles, build and operate an electricity-generating facility to generate our own electricity, and we’ll self-insure. In fact, I’m happy to announce that just yesterday we completed the purchase of a humongous ranch so that we can raise our own cattle to make the leather that we use to upholster many of our sofas and chairs. We’ll save beaucoup bucks and better secure our supply lines by doing these things in-house!

Jones continues: “Oh, here’s the best part. Our electricity-generating facility will generate electricity exclusively from beetle dung. You heard me right: beetle dung! The planet has lots of beetles! Of course, we haven’t yet figured out how to cost-effectively generate electricity with beetle dung, but so what, right? I just feel that it’s better to use beetle dung, what with the earth having so many beetles. We’ll make it happen! So count on us to reliably power our factories with electricity generated from beetle dung!

Jones is getting excited. “Now as for the supplies that we’ll continue to buy from outside companies, we’ll demand – as a condition of doing business with us – that these companies break themselves up into smaller operations in order to eliminate their monopoly power. Their monopoly power is one reason why our costs are skyrocketing; it’s what keeps our suppliers from reducing the prices they charge us.

“But – and this point is important, people! – we’ll also demand that our suppliers not reduce by too much the prices they charge us. We want to ensure that other suppliers have a fair chance of competing against our current suppliers. We’ll not purchase supplies from any supplier whose prices are too low to allow less-efficient rivals to compete successfully against them.

“Finally,” CEO Jones concludes, “from now on our official policy for hiring employees – especially to fill senior-level positions – will be to look first and foremost at applicants’ skin color and genitalia. Only job candidates who have what I decree to be the most pleasing skin color and genitalia will be hired by Acme Corp.! All other qualifications will be secondary.”

You sit there, stunned.

Any questions?” asks CEO Jones.

You raise your hand. He calls on you. You ask Jones why he authorized the borrowing of an unprecedentedly large amount of money last year to be spent mostly in ways that have nothing to do with improving Acme’s ability to produce and sell furniture.

“C’mon man,” Jones snaps, “that’s not true! We spent every penny of those funds to improve Acme’s infrastructure.

You press on by listing some of the projects that consumed millions of dollars of these borrowed funds: yoga studios, wine-tasting bars, a luxury hotel in the Alps, and a petting zoo filled with exotic animals.

Jones stares at you for a brief moment in faux puzzlement, before answering: “You got a problem with those projects? Let me tell you something, man, those projects are essential – essential! – for increasing Acme’s long-term productivity. Our employees need to exercise at the yoga studios, unwind at the bar, decompress in the Alps, and calm their frazzled nerves at the petting zoo. Those projects will repay themselves twenty – hell, twenty-two-hundred – times over!”

You dash out of the meeting to tell your broker to sell all of your Acme shares immediately.

In reality, of course, no private corporation would ever be run as irresponsibly as Jones runs Acme Inc. Indeed, even to contemplate such a degree of cluelessness, incompetence, and fraudulence in a corporate CEO is nearly impossible.

Yet after beholding now for more than a year the presidency of Joe Biden, I think it fair to say that he, the real-world president of the United States of America, is as clueless, as incompetent, and as fraudulent as is Jones, the imaginary CEO of Acme Inc. If you disbelieve me, read Biden’s 2022 State of the Union address. It proves my case.

Of course, Biden isn’t unique. American presidents – and state governors, and big-city mayors – have long peddled nonsense to their constituents. These politicians continue to get away with their destructive fraudulence for three main reasons. First, unlike shareholders in a private corporation, it’s extremely difficult for a citizen of a political jurisdiction (especially at the national level) to escape. Second, unlike executives of a private corporation, government officials can implement their policies, and cover up much of the evidence of their failure, by using coercion.

The third reason is that – unlike shareholders, customers, and suppliers of private corporations – many citizens of political jurisdictions believe that duly appointed government leaders have powers to work miracles. The belief is distressingly widespread that coercion deployed by government officials can work such wonders as making low-skilled workers worth more than they are really worth by enacting minimum-wage statutes, miraculously multiply domestic resources by borrowing and spending money, and increase citizens’ access to goods and services by denying citizens access to goods and services offered for sale by non-citizens.

With such bizarre beliefs being so widespread, it’s no wonder that millions of Americans can listen to the likes of Joe Biden and think “Yeah! Our national government is in the hands of a competent CEO!”

*****

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

Whoopi’s “Disgusting” Comments About The Holocaust And Race

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Whoopi Goldberg said the Holocaust was not about race. But that’s not what Adolf Hitler said.

The Nazi dictator thought of the Jewish people as a race, and the Holocaust was his final solution to that racial problem. But Goldberg has insisted that it was just between “two groups of white people.”

On an episode of “The View,” as Goldberg and her co-hosts discussed how a Tennessee school replaced the Holocaust-inspired graphic novel “Maus” in classrooms due to objections to nudity and graphic language in it, Goldberg began her descent into madness by claiming: “[T]his is white people doing it to white people, so y’all gonna fight amongst yourselves.”

Though unchallenged, Goldberg doubled down by adding: “If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn’t about race.” This is particularly interesting because Art Spielman, the man behind “Maus,” began the novel with a quote attributed to Hitler: “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.”

In an attempt at an apology after receiving widespread criticism, Goldberg acknowledged she said it was “not about race but about man’s inhumanity to man” and that she “should have said it is about both.”

Marie Fischer

“Although Whoopi got it halfway right to say the Holocaust is about man’s inhumanity to man, it shows her true viewpoint of Jews as well as that of the mainstream media,” said Project 21 member Marie Fischer. “She basically erased the death of over six million Jews to nothing more than a bunch of white people who were killed.”

Marie, an observant Orthodox Jew, added: “I find her statements utterly disgusting especially since she stated herself at one point in her life: ‘I just know I am Jewish. I practice nothing. I don’t go to temple, but I do remember the holidays.’ For her to make such a statement and then to juxtapose it to what Hitler said shows her true ignorance, not only of being a Jew – as she claims to be – but her ignorance of history as well.”

After her comments on “The View,” Goldberg essentially reiterated her on-air comments while appearing on “The Late Show with Steven Colbert,” while still saying she was sorry for saying them. When Colbert asserted that “the American experience tends to be based on skin,” Goldberg responded: “Yes, and so that is what race means to me.” She suggested that Nazis “couldn’t tell who was Jewish” and “had to do the work.” She seemed to ignore the Sephardic Jews of Spain and North Africa, Yibir Jews of Ethiopia and Somalia as well as Jewish converts like Marie who are Jewish and not white.

Another Project 21 member doesn’t think Goldberg’s slight was unintended. In fact, he says, it’s part of a group belief that speaks to the division currently being pushed by the left in America.

“Whoopi Goldberg’s statement was not a mistake. It was a revelation,” said Project 21 member Vince E. Ellison. “Liberals are, and always have been, the harborers of racial animus in the world.”

While some are saying this may be the end for the controversial co-host, as far as Goldberg is concerned, she’s over it. She told Colbert: “Don’t write me anymore; I know how you feel, OK? I already know. I get it. And I’m going to take your word for it and never bring it up again.”

*****

This article was published by National Center for Public Policy and Project 21 Black Leadership Network and is reproduced with permission.

Whatever Happened to the Boy Scouts?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

It was once an honor to earn a merit badge in the Boy Scouts. Becoming a Star Scout was a privilege, a Life Scout was something fantastic, and an Eagle Scout was the very tip of the apex. Few achieved that pinnacle, and those who did treasured it for their entire lives. But even those who didn’t attain these levels were still enriched by the Boy Scouts via lessons in life skills and teamwork.

Sadly, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 18, 2020. First formed in 1910, this organization was once one of the most popular institutions in the entire country. Why its demise?

The simple answer is that the Boy Scouts succumbed to the threats of political correctness and wokesterism, particularly through the acceptance of homosexuality and feminism.

There were more than 92,000 cases filed against the Boy Scouts for sexual abuse. Like the Catholic Church, which dealt with priests abusing young boys, the Boy Scouts found themselves infiltrated by homosexual Scout leaders who did the same to their young charges.

One wonders why homosexual scoutmasters were welcomed into the ranks of scouting in the first place. Fifty years ago the idea of a gay scoutmaster would have been anathema. The Scout Oath itself—“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight”—precludes homosexual behavior. But again, political correctness got the upper hand.

It was deemed impermissible to not welcome queer Boy Scout leaders into the organization. In the view of the Boy Scouts, gays were entirely within their “rights” to insist on taking leadership roles working with young boys. They are, after all, one of the demographics explicitly and specifically legally protected against discrimination in the United States. But parents of impressionable 13-year-old boys were not exactly thrilled with this prospect. They pulled their sons out of the organization in droves, leading to its drastic decline.

And then the feminists demanded that girls be allowed to join. This is more than passing curious given that there was a perfectly good and very similar organization, the Girl Scouts, for the feminine sex. Would boys have been welcomed into that organization? Don’t be silly. That’s an offensive, sexist suggestion! But the obverse is not only allowed in the social justice philosophy, but actually required.

Yet the demise of the Boy Scouts may not properly be fully laid at the doors of the feminists and the queer communities. These groups were only accessing what the law of the land offered them. No, the Boy Scouts went under due to laws that weakened the more basic human right of free association: that no innocent person may properly be compelled to associate with anyone else—no exceptions here—against his will.

Of course, homosexuals themselves violate this legislation. They rule out half the human race as bed partners and romantic love interests. As do the heterosexuals. They are guilty of the exact same “crime”—of discrimination! Only bisexuals are innocent of this “discriminatory practice.” So there we have it: the logic of anti-discrimination laws lead to compulsory bisexuality.

The counterargument to the foregoing is that anti-discrimination laws should and do apply, only to commercial, and not personal, interactions. But why should we accept so facile a distinction? Surely, if it is wrong to discriminate against women, gays, and members of certain ethnic groups, this should apply to all realms of human interaction, the personal as well as the business and employment world. Otherwise, we are faced with the anomaly that the personal is relatively unimportant and only commerce is important.

Perish the thought that this could be possible.

*****

Walter Block is an economics professor at Loyola University and a Mises Institute senior fellow. He is the author of several classic books on libertarian ethics, includingDefending the Undefendable (1976), and was named one of the 100 most influential philosophers in the world by AcademicInfluence.com.
This article was published on December 29, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Chronicles Magazine.

 

 

BREAKING: Feds Finally Admit to Running Secretive DOJ “Commandos” at Jan. 6 Trump Protests

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Department of Justice admitted this week to running secretive DOJ “commandos” at the January 6 protests in Washington DC.

Four Trump supporters died that day including two women who were killed by Capitol Hill Police.
A third woman was nearly killed but was rescued by Green Beret Jeremy Brown.

The DOJ Commandos were given “shoot to kill” orders.

Now they’re admitting the government did in fact have commandos at the capitol on Jan. 6.

After nearly a year this information is finally coming out.
And they accused this website and others of being conspiracy nuts for reporting on the feds in the crowd that day.

We will likely never know how many feds were working that day to sabotage the peaceful protests.

Newsweek reported:

On Sunday, January 3, the heads of a half-dozen elite government special operations teams met in Quantico, Virginia, to go over potential threats, contingencies, and plans for the upcoming Joint Session of Congress. The meeting, and the subsequent deployment of these shadowy commandos on January 6, has never before been revealed.

Right after the New Year, Jeffrey A. Rosen, the acting Attorney General on January 6, approved implementation of long-standing contingency plans dealing with the most extreme possibilities: an attack on President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, a terrorist attack involving a weapon of mass destruction, and a declaration of measures to implement continuity of government, requiring protection and movement of presidential successors.

Rosen made a unilateral decision to take the preparatory steps to deploy Justice Department and so-called “national” forces. There was no formal request from the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service, or the Metropolitan Police Department—in fact, no external request from any agency. The leadership in Justice and the FBI anticipated the worst and decided to act independently, the special operations forces lurking behind the scenes….

 

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Continue reading this article, published January 3, 2022 at Gateway Pundit.

DEI Initiatives Create Environment Where ‘inclusion does not apply to Jewish students on campus’

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

A study published by Heritage Foundation showed a spike of anti-Semitic incidents occurring on college campuses at the same time DEI faculty continue being hostile to supporters of Israel.

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs have become popular on campus to expand student comfort and inclusivity on college campuses. These centers serve as a space for students to connect and feel appreciated among their fellow peers, guided by experts and academics at the highest level.

But what happens when a specific group of students is left out of the mix?

It is not a question that college campuses and universities are not always the safe space for academic freedom and self-expression that they claim to be. Repeatedly, students with a specific point of view are criticized and intimidated to maintain a quiet disposition during their four-year journey through higher education. 

Who are these students? Those that are Jewish or are supporters of Israel.

DEI programs cannot fix the prejudices embedded in the swamp that is higher education; in some cases, these initiatives actually compound the discrimination already present.

244 anti-Semitic incidents were reported during the 2020-2021 school year, according to the Heritage Foundation’s report this month.

That number represents a 34.8% increase from the previous academic year. 

But how – or perhaps why – did that dramatic rise occur during a school year largely shunted to virtual attendance during COVID-19?

As Campus Reform has reported, Jewish students and supporters of Israel face intimidation and discrimination whether online or on campus. Incidents this year such as the chancellor at Rutgers University issuing an apology for condemning a “resurgence of anti-Semitism” does not help matters.

One University of Michigan student told Campus Reform in July that “[i]t is scary to be a Jew in America right now.”

In August, a person at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville desecrated the Star of David by eating a sticker depicting the Jewish symbol to protest the state of Israel.

Heritage Foundation’s December 2021 report, “Inclusion Delusion: The Antisemitism of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Staff at Universities,” strongly suggests that DEI staff’s pretense to inclusivity actually makes campuses less tolerant environments for Jewish students and non-Jewish supporters of Israel. 

“What we found in our most recent paper is that higher education diversity bureaucrats—who are paid to promote inclusion—have a strange way of showing it on Twitter. DEI staffers tweet so inordinately and hyperbolically about Israel, relative to China, that they cross the line into antisemitism,” James Paul, a doctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas and the report’s co-author, told Campus Reform.

“Apparently ‘inclusion’ does not apply to Jewish students on campus,” Paul added. 

Heritage analyzed the Twitter feeds of 741 DEI faculty representing 65 universities to determine any favorability when it came to discussions surrounding Israel. The same analysis was conducted for China, in comparison.

Of the tweets, 96% expressed criticism of Israel, while a stark 62% were expressed positive opinions about China. 

“The overwhelming pattern is that DEI staff at universities pay a disproportionately high amount of attention to Israel and nearly always attack Israel,” the report states.

At the average university, Heritage finds that there is an average of 45 DEI staff tasked with the responsibility of creating an inclusive environment. The industry has become extremely profitable for these staffers, as well, and at the expense of the college community.

Ohio State University, for example, pays $10,097,051 to employ 131 diversity administrators.

Thirty of those employees earn more than $100,000 per year, and of the 99 salaried employees, the average salary calculates to $89,168.

Statements made about Israel included accusations of “genocide, apartheid, settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and other extreme crimes,” according to Heritage.

These phrases were non-existent in the language used to refer to China, spare for the favorable use of the word “colonialism.”

Though the Heritage study did find minimal criticism of China for its human rights violations against Uighur Muslims and African residents, it also found that such critiques were less severely worded than language reserved for anti-Israel posts.

[RELATED: POLL: 50% of Jewish students feel they ‘need to hide their identity’ on campus]

“It would be impossible to review the inordinate attention that DEI staff pay to Israel relative to China, the nearly universal attacks on Israel and China without concluding that DEI staff have an obsessive and irrational animus toward the Jewish state,” the study states.

Paul told Campus Reform that the findings only support the claim that DEI staffers are not committed to fostering a true inclusive environment.

Jay P. Greene, a senior research fellow at Heritage and the report’s lead author, agreed with Paul’s assessment.

“After publishing three reports on DEI bureaucracy in K-12 and higher education, we find little evidence that DEI promotes inclusive environments or closes achievement gaps,” Greene told Campus Reform.

The bottom line is that students have a right to feel safe and secure on the campus of their choosing. They should not be subjected to pressure to hide or conform their worldviews to meet the standards of those claiming to provide an inclusive experience.

The prevalence of DEI staff and facilities on American campuses cannot and should not be a vehicle for the woke, liberal mob to continue their suppression of viewpoint diversity under the false banner of inclusivity.

The tweets featured throughout the study bear witness to the biased discrimination being waged on college campuses, and it is hindering students’ abilities to pursue an education in a truly free academic space.

*****

This article was published on December 19, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Campus Reform.

Hillsdale’s Imprimis: The Way Out

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at a Hillsdale College reception in Overland Park, Kansas, on November 18, 2021.

 

Here are two questions pertinent to our times: (1) How would you reduce the greatest free republic in history to despotism in a short time? and (2) How would you stop that from happening? The answer to the first question has been provided in these last two disastrous years. The answer to the second has begun to emerge in recent months. Both are worthy of study.

Reducing a Great Republic to Despotism

To establish despotism in a nation like ours, you might begin, if you were smart, by building a bureaucracy of great complexity that commands a large percentage of the resources of the nation. You might give it rule-making powers, distributed across many agencies and centers inside the cabinet departments of government, as well as in 20 or more “independent” agencies—meaning independent of elected officials, and thus independent of the people.

This much has been done. It would require a doctoral thesis to list all the ways that rules are made in our federal government today, which would make for boring reading. The truth is that very few people not directly involved know how all this works. Although civics education is practically banned in America, most people still know what the Congress is and how its members are elected. But how many know how the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) came to be, under what authority it operates, and who is its head? Here is a clue: it is not Anthony Fauci.

Admittedly, this new kind of bureaucratic government would take—has taken—decades to erect, especially in the face of the resistance of the Constitution of the United States, which its very existence violates. But once it has been erected, things can happen very fast.

What, for example, if a new virus proliferates around the world? There have been procedures for dealing with such viruses for a long time. They begin with isolating the sick and protecting the vulnerable. But suddenly we have new procedures that attempt to isolate everybody. This is commanded by the CDC, an element of this bureaucratic structure, and by a maze of federal and state authorities, all of which see the benefit to themselves in getting involved. The result is that large sections of our economy were closed for months at a time, and citizens placed under the equivalent of house arrest. This has not happened before. The cost of it, and not just in monetary terms, is beyond calculation.

To set up a despotism capable of pulling this off you would need the media’s help. Those controlling the media today are trained in the same universities that invented the bureaucratic state, the same universities the senior bureaucrats attended. The media would need to be willing to suppress, for example, the fact that 50,000 doctors, scientists, and medical researchers signed the Great Barrington Declaration. That document reminds people that you cannot suppress a widely disseminated contagious virus through shutdowns and mass isolation, and that if you try, you will work immeasurable destruction of new kinds—unemployment, bankruptcy, depression, suicide, multiplying public debt, broken supply chains, and increases of other serious health problems. Some of the signatories to this Declaration come from the most distinguished universities in the world, but never mind: their views do not fit the narrative propagated by the powerful. They have been effectively cancelled, ignored by the media and suppressed by Big Tech.

You would need some help from business, too. As far as influence is concerned, “business” is dominated by large institutions—those comprising big business—whose leaders are also educated in the same universities that conceived bureaucratic government and trained the bureaucrats and media heads. This provides a ground of agreement between big business and the bureaucratic state. Anyway, agree or not, businesses are vulnerable to regulation, and to mitigate the risk of regulatory harm they play the game: they send lobbyists to Washington, make political contributions, hire armies of lawyers. If you are big enough to play the game, there are plenty of advantages to be won. If you are not big enough to play the game—well, in that case you are on your own.

Amidst the unprecedented lockdowns, imagine there comes an election, a time for the people to say if they approve of the new way of governing and of this vast, unprecedented intrusion into their lives. Then let us say that in several states the election rules and practices are altered by their executive branches—the people in charge of enforcing the law—on their own, without approval by their legislatures. Say this brazen violation of the separation of powers takes place in the name of the pandemic. One does not need to know what percentage of votes in the final tally were affected to see that this is fishy. No sensible person would place control of the election process in one party—any party—or in one branch—any branch—of the government, alone. In some crucial states, that was done.

Finally, to sustain this new kind of government, you would need to work on education. You might build a system of centralized influence, if not control, over every classroom in the land. You might require certification of the teachers with a bias toward the schools of education that train them in the approved way. These schools, poor but obedient cousins of the elite universities, are always up on the latest methods of “delivery” of instruction (we do not call it teaching anymore). These new methods do not require much actual knowledge, which can be supplied from above.

As far as content, you might set up a system of textbook adoption that guarantees to publishers a massive and captive market but requires them to submit proposed books to committees of “experts,” subject of course to political pressures. You might build a standard approved curriculum on the assumption that everything changes—even history, even principles. You might use this curriculum to lay the ground for holding everything old, everything previously thought high and noble, in contempt.

Doing this, incidentally, deprives the student of the motive to learn anything out of fashion today. It is a preparation not for a life of knowing and thinking, but for a life of compliance and conformity.

This is by no means an exhaustive account of what it would take to build a thoroughgoing tyranny—for further instruction, read Book Five of Aristotle’s Politics or George Orwell’s 1984. But it gives an idea of a mighty system, a system that seems unassailable, a system combining the powers of government and commerce, of education and communication. Money and power in such a system would accrue to the same hands. The people who benefit from the system would be the ruling class. Others would be frustrated. And such a system would tend to get worse, because the exercise of unchecked power does not bring out the best in people.

Any elaborate system of government must have a justification, and the justification of this one cannot simply be that those in the ruling class are entitled on the basis of their superiority. That argument went away with the divine right of kings. No, for the current ruling class, the justification is science. The claim of bureaucratic rule is a claim of expertise—of technical or scientific knowledge about everything. Listen to Fauci on Face the Nation, dismissing his critics in Congress as backward reactionaries. When those critics disagree with him, Fauci said recently, “They’re really criticizing science because I represent science. That’s dangerous.”

The problem with this kind of thinking was pointed out by a young Winston Churchill in a letter to the writer H.G. Wells in 1901. Churchill wrote:

Nothing would be more fatal than for the government of states to get into the hands of the experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge: and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man who knows only what hurts is a safer guide, than any vigorous direction of a specialised character. Why should you assume that all except doctors, engineers, etc. are drones or worse? . . . If the Ruler is to be an expert in anything he should be an expert in everything; and that is plainly impossible.

Churchill goes on to argue that practical judgment is the capacity necessary to making decisions. And practical judgment, he writes in many places, is something that everyone is capable of to varying degrees. Everyone, then, is equipped to guide his own life in the things that concern mainly himself.

Another thing about the experts is that they are not really engaged in the search for truth. Instead, the powerful among them suppress the obvious fact that there is wide disagreement among the experts. There always is.

God save us from falling completely into the hands of experts. But God has given us the wherewithal to save ourselves from that. So let us move to the second question posed above.

How to Defeat a Rising Despotism

In answering the second question, I will tell two stories that are suggestive…..

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Continue reading this article from Hillsdale College at Imprimis.

Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. From October 2020 to January 2021, he served as co-chair of the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. He is the author of several books, including The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

 

 

Inflation: A Catastrophe Designed by Our Leaders

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

“One of the biggest taxes is one that is not even called a tax–inflation. When the government spends money that it creates, it is transferring part of the value of your money to themselves.”  Thomas Sowell

“The cure for inflation is simple to state but hard to implement.  Just as an excessive increase in the quantity of money is the one and only important cause of inflation, so a reduction in the rate of monetary growth is the one and only cure for inflation… The problem is having the political will to take the necessary measures.” Milton Friedman

“Milton Friedman is no longer running the show anymore.” President Joe Biden

The politics of deficit hysteria, embraced by both sides for decades, served as an even bigger impediment.  ….This book aims to drive the number of people who believe the deficit is a problem closer to zero.” Stephanie Kelton, Advisor to Senate Democrats, Bernie Sanders, and the author of The Deficit Myth.

“To overcome its policy mistake, the Fed has to detail how it got the call wrong on inflation for so long, and then quickly wind down asset purchases.” Market Watch

US inflation jumps 6.8% in November — fastest rate in 39 years- Yahoo Finance.

We read the headlines just like you do. But does the CPI really measure inflation for most of us? Here is a different take from economist Vince Ginn, with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Our government likes to “adjust” inflation for quality differences so-called hedonic adjustments. What is interesting about this list is its clarity. There is no real “qualitative” difference in say uncooked beef roasts, or gasoline over time. Beef is not that different from last year nor is gasoline.

  • Food: 6.1%
  • Flour: 6.2%
  • Uncooked beef roasts: 26.4%
  • Bacon: 21.0%
  • Chicken parts: 10.7%
  • Eggs: 8.0%
  • Pork roasts, steaks, ribs: 22.9%
  • Whole milk: 6.6%
  • Apples: 7.4%
  • Canned vegetables: 6.5%
  • Dried beans, peas, lentils: 8.6%
  • Coffee: 7.5%
  • Peanut butter: 6.8%
  • Baby food: 6.7%

Home:

  • Utility gas service (natural gas)  25.1%
  • Home heating oil  59.3%
  • Furniture and bedding: 11.8%
  • Laundry appliances: 9.2%

Travel:

  • Tires: 11.1%
  • Energy: 33.3%
  • Gasoline: 58.1%
  • Used vehicles: 31.4%
  • Hotels: 25.5%
  • Rental vehicle: 37.2%

Other:

  • Clothing: 5.0%
  • Tobacco and smoking products: 8.9%
  • Banking services: 9.9%

Some would suggest some of this is caused by supply chain issues. OK, who screwed up the supply chain by shutting the economy down, thinking they could throw a switch and turn it back on? And which political party has been most eager to shut the economy down? Any difference between Florida and New York?

Those who follow the news about the economy and finance are no doubt aware just a year or so ago, the “authorities” were worried about disinflation. They were worried that bad demographics (little growth in the population), too much debt, and disruptive new technologies like the internet and globalization, had the world locked in a deflationary spiral. Or, so they believed. Because of that fear, we have run a long regime of zero interest rates and very large budget deficits. Then along came the Chinese virus, and the government responded by shutting down the economy, quarantining the healthy, and jamming the vulnerable elderly into crowded nursing homes, where they died like flies.

The economy tanked so the government poured on more stimulus. As the economy started to recover, the government poured on more stimulus.

Their policy response was huge spending and gigantic deficits all while, they held interest rates near zero and pumped trillions into the system by the FED buying treasury bonds and mortgages and adding them to the FED’s balance sheet. Where did the FED get the money to buy all the government debt? They created it out of thin air.

The theory was that much of this newly created money would stay largely within the financial system, inflating the value of financial assets.

Then came along Covid relief policies, that sent checks directly to consumers, making a monetary end-run around the constipated banks. As a result, the M2 money supply grew in the first half of the year around 25%, and has now backed off to around 12-14%, still way above the rate of economic growth.

The Federal Reserve said it would respond to the threat of disinflation, by actually promoting inflation, with a target of exceeding 2%. Critics at the time pointed out that such policies are like “being a little bit pregnant.”  You can’t start an inflationary spiral and be certain you can control the whole process. We now have inflation at more than three times that rate and the FED is now only rhetorically stirring itself, but terribly worried about “tapering” or reducing the FED’s balance sheet lest we repeat the stock meltdown of 2018. You might recall that in late 2018, the FED started to unwind its balance sheet and raise rates only to abort quickly after the stock market sold off 20%. They have not attempted a “taper ” since.

As inflation has increased, the FED publicly stated that it was “transitory”, although they never defined what transitory meant in the real world, nor did they explain why a high rate of inflation is good, even if it be temporary.

Meanwhile, politicians noticed they were able to run huge deficits, have them financed by the FED, and there was seemingly little inflation. Critics pointed out there was inflation, but that it was largely confined to asset prices (stocks, bonds, real estate) and the new ways hedonic accounting was used to hide the real inflation rate in the inflation indices. But Congress wanted to take advantage of the virus crisis to advance its goals of socializing the economy and destroying fossil fuels.

Moreover, politicians felt new principles were at work. As President Biden bragged, “Milton Friedman is not in charge”. That was another way of saying the growth of deficits, debt, and money supply, would not create inflation. And they had the new ideas of Modern Monetary Theory to assure them of this new benign relationship. They could run up monstrous deficits, increase bank reserves, and increase the money supply, and unlike previous eras, inflation would not interrupt their plans to convert the United States to a socialist system.

Well, it hasn’t worked out all that well, has it. Inflation is now at a forty-year high. But unlike the 1970s, we have much higher debt in the Federal Government, state and local governments, and among corporations and individuals. The one thing that is dramatically lower, is interest rates. By shoving rates down, they shoved bond values to the ionosphere. Bonds move opposite of the interest rate. Thus, rates near zero create by mathematical law, a bubble in bond prices.

Meanwhile, with no yield in bonds or bank deposits, the public has stormed into stocks as the only alternative. Already this year, the flow of money into equities exceeds the combined total of the past 12 years!

Certainly, in the US, and in other countries, aggressive central banks have facilitated wild spending by their respective legislatures. Central banks have enthusiastically enabled at every turn, the legislative monetary drunks that want to binge on more spending.

Many believe central banks are at fault. Yes, they are. However, they would not be monetizing a lot of debt if the government was running a balanced budget. Central banks carry “independence” largely as a fig leaf. In the end, they are very political and often do what their legislative masters or the President want them to do. Our point though is this:  you can’t monetize excessive debt if there isn’t any. Debt is a creation of Congress, not the FED. The FED just makes it easy so Congress can continue wild spending.

So, we are left with inflation raging, central bank balance sheets bloated to record levels, high levels of debt in government and society, and negative interest rates.

If Professor Friedman is correct, the ONLY way to tame inflation is to reduce money growth, which will require substantially higher interest rates, as we saw with Reagan and Volker in the early 1980s. But like Reagan and Volker, that takes political courage. Does the current crop of politicians look like they have both the understanding and the courage to act?

It would be hard to emphasize how dangerous this policy conundrum has now become. We literally have little choice to either let inflation rage on the one hand or take the painful steps to cut it off. However, increasing interest rates against a financial asset bubble comes with huge risks. For example, margin debt in stock lending is at all-time highs, and that does not even include “security-based lending”, which has become all the rage at brokerage houses. This is an extension of loans for non-stock purposes (typically to buy real estate, cars, and large ticket items) using your stock account as collateral.

Do you see a problem? If rising rates were to prick the asset bubble, both stocks and those things financed by stocks could fall in value, risking that they will fall below the value of the loans they collateralize, triggering a system-wide call to pay down the loans. If you read any of the better histories of financial crashes, financial leverage achieved through excessive lending, has always been a feature of financial crashes.

That is only one area of debt excess. It is present in housing and in government and corporate finance. It will take a genius and incredible luck to guide us to a soft landing with the debt and valuation extremes in so many markets.

Yet to do nothing about raging inflation contains its own serious risk. Inflation is particularly hard on those of lower incomes because they can’t afford big stock portfolios or real estate holdings. While bemoaning economic inequality, progressive economic policies exacerbate economic inequality because inflation helps the rich and hurts the poor. Many people are on fixed incomes in retirement, and others live on wages that typically lag inflation.

It not only directly hurts people but also distorts accounting rules and causes a huge misallocation of capital. Inflation often causes booms that go well beyond their economic justification, resulting in a corrective phase called a bust. Inflation pushes people into higher tax brackets, even though they are not really making any more money in real terms than before. It blows up the strategy of deferring taxes, so popular with the public in IRAs and 401Ks. Instead of deferring taxes to a lower tax rate upon retirement, you may well be deferring to a higher bracket.

Serious inflations have often been associated with political and social upheaval and there are many historical examples. Perhaps the most graphic was the wiping out of the German middle class in the great inflation of the 1920s, paving the way for the National Socialists and Adolph Hitler.

Who put us into such a box where there are only dangerous and painful alternatives? Remember their names.

It would not be fair to single out only Democrats, although they bear the majority of the blame. But many Republicans that don’t believe anymore in sound money and limited government also deserve our condemnation.  They have either played along, offered a feeble defence of limited government, or have been bought by special interests that favour big government.

They have created a situation of elevated systemic financial risk. That leaves us all vulnerable to a policy error, a lack of policy action, a foreign policy event, an overreaction to a pandemic; all of which could play a role as a possible triggering event sending us into a financial maelstrom.

And to some extent, the American people are to blame. They have elected people who told them there is a free lunch,  that the government can give you everything you want, and it won’t cost anything. It is delusional to believe that, but sadly it seems attractive to many people.

Knowing when this precarious situation will start to shift is almost impossible to know and thus to time.

If inflation is left to rage, or definitive steps are taken to put out the fire before it becomes an uncontrollable conflagration, there will be hell to pay in either case.

We all in our hearts know there is no free lunch and that you can’t borrow or print your way to prosperity. If that were true, then Argentina would be the world’s dominant economic power.

We need to remember what leaders and which party maneuvered us into a situation where there are no good alternatives. These are the people that injected huge monetary stimulus while simultaneously constraining supply through pandemic lockdowns. That gave us a lot of money chasing a diminished supply of goods.

The only true way to stop inflation is to so thoroughly trounce at the polls those that advocate inflation, that the memory of their demise lasts several generations. And then, we need to put in institutional safeguards so that we don’t face this no-win situation again.

 

 

 

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