TO MY READERS, I HAVE A REQUEST

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You know how much I respect your skills and talents. Today, I’m asking you to share them with me and your fellow readers.

Please send me your self-reliance tips (no politics, please!)

You all know by now that I am being harried off the internet for sharing conservative viewpoints from leading writers. While I will continue to do this, I am only going to respond to the effects of the damaging progressive policies being implemented in Washington D.C. To rail against the actual policies will exhaust and frustrate us all, as well as ensure that we are kicked off this hosting platform, lose the last of our advertisers and get blocked by the big email providers.

So, I am turning to you! You homemakers, gardeners, hobbyists, hunters, survivalists, car enthusiasts, parents, fisherfolk, experts, military experts, marksmen, inventors, bakers, heritage skill experts, — all of you with cool things to share.

I would like to ask you to send me your recipes, instructions, guides, photos, step-by-step instructions, and videos*. Please email them to me at selfreliancecentral@gmail.com . Remember NO POLITICS. This is my desperate attempt to get us back to our self-reliant roots and swamp the site with preparedness and quality of life improvements. Please know that I am the only person involved at SRC and I can’t pay but I would truly love to share your passions. (Please send only your original material. Copyright and intellectual property lawyers trawl these sites to sue people who use other people’s work.)

*If you make a video, I suggest you post it direct to rumble.com rather than on this site, as you can get paid when people view them. Let me know what you have posted and if I share it with my readers and viewers that means more eyeballs and more money earned for you!

LOL! Hackers with a Conscience – that’s a First!

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LOL! The group behind the ransomware that took down Colonial Pipeline late last week has apologized for the “social consequences,” claiming that its goal is to make money, not cause societal problems. The group is called DarkSide, and the FBI has confirmed that the group’s malware was responsible for compromising one of the US’s largest fuel pipelines.

Apologize they might – but the gas at my local pump shot past $3 this morning and I haven’t seen that since Trump wrangled the oil industry into shape.

Colonial Pipeline is one of the largest U.S. fuel pipelines, transporting more than 100 million gallons of gasoline and other fuel daily from Houston to the New York Harbor, and it’s limping back to full operation after a ransomware cyberattack forced the temporary shutdown of all operations late last week — an incident that laid bare vulnerabilities in the country’s aging energy infrastructure which is mostly run on ancient, unprotected software and is super-easy to hack. Ransomware locks out the rightful user of a computer or computer network and holds it hostage until the victim pays a fee. Ransomware gangs have also threatened to leak sensitive information in order to get victims to meet their demands. This is made very easy when the oldest computer in an office is running Windows 2000 or there’s an insecure port in the HVAC system.

And don’t think it’s just the big guys! You need to protect your own computers and phones. Phishing (pretending to be a legit email) or smishing (pretending to be a legit SMS or text message) techniques are very sophisticated. DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE! If it looks to good or too strange – delete without opening.

Doubt We Need Armed Police? Check this out!

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This is from my eloquent friend Mitch Baxter:

People who complain about the police shooting people armed with blades, whether their complaint is that the police didn’t use a taser instead, didn’t shoot the person in the leg, or “only” needed to shoot the person once, need to watch this video, and also need to STFU about something they’re ridiculously ignorant about.

An officer shot this machete-wielding armed-robber turned carjacker several times at close range, but the violent college-bound, choir-singing felon was still able to run at him, and was standing over the fallen cop when other officers finally downed him with multiple shots.If there’s someone running around with a knife or machete, I want the police to put as many rounds as necessary into the attacker’s torso to end the threat as quickly as possible. As the article in the comments shows, they tried using tasers and beanbags first.

When an armed attacker has already committed two felonies, I won’t lose any sleep if the police smoke him to prevent him from getting away and endangering others as he flees. The faster he’s dead, the safer everyone else is.

MORE HERE: LAPD shooting: New bodycam videos show officers confronting machete-wielding man in Hollywood

Did the Covid lockdowns kill 83,000 Americans?

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By Robert Romano

As of March 31, 2021, more than 552,000 Americans had died of Covid, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quite a lot, but the killing did not stop there.

An additional 83,000 Americans died in excess of average mortality on a weekly basis, comparing death rates published by CDC from 2014 through 2021, bringing excess mortality since the beginning of the pandemic to 635,000 since Jan. 2020.

In 2014, the average number of deaths per week was 50,979; in 2015 it was 51,957; in 2016, it was 52,473; in 2017 it was 53,932; in 2018, it was 54,461; and in 2019, it was 54,729. Overall, the average annual growth rate in mortality from 2014 to 2019 was about 1.2 percent.

Then, in 2020, with Covid, the average weekly death rate jumped to 64,774. Overall mortality jumped by more than 20 percent in 2020, from 2.84 million to 3.43 million, well above what it would have been simply accounting for the growing population.

Had there never been any Covid, an additional 635,000 Americans would have been alive as of March 31. But it raises an important question, why did an additional 83,000 Americans die during the pandemic on top of those attributed directly to Covid by the CDC? Was it the lockdowns?

For example, in 2019, the average weekly death rate of Alzheimer’s disease was 2,328, or 121,100 for the year. But in 2020, that number jumped to 2,566, or 136,004.

Or, heart disease killed 12,632 weekly in 2019, and 656,900 total, but in 2020, it was up to 13,307 a week and 691,983 for the year.

Or, diabetes killed, 1,680 per week in 2019, and 87,407 total, but in 2020, it jumped to 1,942 a week and 101,081 for the year.

Or, cancer killed 11,501 weekly in 2019, and 598,092 total, but in 2020, it grew to 11,514 and 610,274 for the year.

Even deaths by unnatural causes jumped from 4,820 in 2019 with 250,677 dead to 5,398 in 2020 with 286,131 dead.

In other words, when you subtract out the 414,997 who were said to have perished by Covid in 2020, the total number dead from all other causes still comes to 3.01 million, or more than 6 percent above 2019’s 2.84 million dead. That is the definition of excess mortality, well above the 1.2 percent average annual growth rate of mortality.

Potential causes include deferring medical care during the pandemic, lack of exercise from the stay at home orders, increased depression and anxiety during the lockdowns, etc. In other words, it very well could have been the lockdowns that killed the additional 83,000.

Or it could have been undetected Covid from a lack of testing, a theory being pushed by the Institutes for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), whose press release dated May 6 states, “The main potential increases in excess mortality due to deferred care and increases in drug overdose and depression are hard to quantify at this point or are of a much smaller magnitude. Given that there is insufficient evidence to estimate these contributions to excess mortality, for now we assume that total COVID-19 deaths equal excess mortality… we believe that this is likely an underestimate.”

As a result, IHME projects an additional 330,000 Americans have died from Covid on top of the current 578,000 count, bringing the total number of dead to more than 900,000.

But that number is almost certainly way too high. Yes, there is excess mortality above what are being counted official Covid deaths. But the total excess mortality reasonably reached 635,000 as of March 31, not 870,000 as IHME suggests, based on the CDC data.

And the cause is as of yet to be determined. It could be undetected Covid that killed the additional 83,000, or it might have been the public and private response to the pandemic, complete with business lockdowns and stay at home orders, that contributed to increases in all other causes of death from deferred medical care, lack of exercise and depression. If so, then there might have been some benefits to waiting out the pandemic, but for the 83,000 additional dead, this was the ultimate price.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

Red state governors fight back against Democrat’s socialist utopia

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By Catherine Mortensen

The governors of Montana, South Carolina, and Arkansas have rejected the increased pandemic unemployment saying it is creating perverse incentives for people not to return to work.

According to CBS News, other states are pondering similar measures, in light of the Friday report from the Department of Labor showing that the economy added 266,000 jobs in April, far fewer than the 1 million experts expected.

On Sunday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox told CNN he thinks exiting pandemic-related unemployment benefits is a good idea, arguing the recent lower-than-expected jobs report is “what happens when we pay people not to work.”

As workers choose to stay home and collect generous unemployment benefits rather than return to restaurant and service-industry jobs, it is becoming clear that this is no accident. In passing the  $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act earlier this year, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress gave workers leverage to demand what they call a “living wage.”

In New Mexico, a recent story in the Albuquerque Journal illustrates the problem.

“Job vacancies at Fresquez Companies have numbered in the dozens for the past several months.

“With few applicants and nearly 80 open positions, the company — which owns and operates multiple restaurants in New Mexico, including both locations of Mac’s Steak In The Rough and airport eateries like Black Mesa Coffee Company — decided extra incentives were needed to bring in applications.

“Eventually the company landed on offering a $500 sign-on bonus for every new hire.

“I think part of it is, it’s almost like we’re competing with unemployment,” administrative assistant Dory Nuñez said. “… Why would anybody want to, I guess, start at a minimum wage job when they can be earning more money … on unemployment?”

Fresquez Companies isn’t alone in the struggle to find employees, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Help wanted signs are cropping up in the windows of many restaurants and businesses around the city and state. This photo by a local TV news reporter generated thousands of likes and retweets. It’s from a fast-food restaurant and reads “We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

Many of those commenting used the situation to call for higher wages and better benefits.

Is this a case of unintended consequences or is this the intended consequence of the Democrat’s generous unemployment benefits?

There is no doubt that Democrats intended this outcome. With millions of low-wage workers discovering for the first time ever that they have a better option than what their employer is offering them, many are using this leverage to demand a so-called living wage. Democrats, who have never been able to get widespread support for this scheme in Congress, may now achieve their goal of either a ‘livable wage’ or a basic universal income.

A basic universal income would mean anyone could qualify for a government subsistence level check regardless of their ability to work.  If that were adopted, Democrats would no doubt seek to expand Medicaid benefits to these individuals and eventually move to a single-payer health care system where the federal government pays for everyone’s healthcare costs. And voilà, we have European-style socialism.

How do we prevent this Socialist utopia from destroying our country? More states must follow the lead of Montana, South Carolina, and Arkansas. All are stopping the flow of federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance, $300/week on top of state benefits.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has dropped his state from participating saying “…we’re doing away with these supplemental benefits, we’re reinstituting work requirements and we’re putting this incentive to go back to work, The incentive is a $1200 back to work state bonus for Montanans currently on unemployment who take a job and stay on it for at least a month.”

In taking the action, the governor recognizes that in his state, ‘…nearly every sector in our economy faces a labor shortage.

Rather than continue programs that promote on-going unemployment, Gov. Gianforte is choosing a different pathway of incentivizing people on the unemployment rolls to go back to work.  What a concept, incentivize actions we want to promote rather than those which we want to discourage.

Similarly, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce to withdraw from the federal government’s federal pandemic unemployment programs.

“What was intended to be a short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace,” McMaster wrote.

It is this kind of forward-thinking problem solving which is currently missing in our national economic recovery discussion as Congress and the Executive Branch are intent on increasing American’s dependency upon helicopter money and the velvet handcuffs of government which come with it.

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Americans for Limited Government.

A Practical Reason to Oppose Wealth Taxation

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by Dan Mitchell

As an economist, I strongly oppose the wealth tax (as well as other forms of double taxation) because it’s foolish to impose additional layers of tax that penalize saving and investment.

Especially since there’s such a strong relationship between investment and worker compensation.

The politicians may tell us they’re going to “soak the rich,” but the rest of us wind up getting wet.

That being said, there are also administrative reasons why wealth taxation is a fool’s game. One of them, which I mentioned as part of a recent tax debate, is the immense headache of trying to measure wealth every single year.

Yes, that’s not difficult if someone has assets such as stock in General Motors or Amazon. Bureaucrats from the IRS can simply go to a financial website and check the value for any given day.

But the value of many assets is very subjective (patents, royalties, art, heirlooms, etc), and that will create a never-ending source of conflict between taxpayers and the IRS if that awful levy is ever imposed.

Let’s look at a recent dispute involving another form of destructive double taxation. The New York Times has an interesting story about a costly dispute involving the death tax to be imposed on Michael Jackson’s family.

Image: Zoran Veselinovic, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Jackson died in 2009… But there was another matter that has taken more than seven years to litigate: Jackson’s tax bill with the Internal Revenue Service, in which the government and the estate held vastly different views about what Jackson’s name and likeness were worth when he died. The I.R.S. thought they were worth $161 million. …Judge Mark V. Holmes of United States Tax Court ruled that Jackson’s name and likeness were worth $4.2 million, rejecting many of the I.R.S.’s arguments. The decision will significantly lower the estate’s tax burden… In a statement, John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Jackson estate, called the decision “a huge, unambiguous victory for Michael Jackson’s children.”

I’m glad the kids won this battle.

Michael Jackson paid tax when he first earned his money. Those earnings shouldn’t be taxed again simply because he died.

But the point I want to focus on today is that a wealth tax would require these kinds of fights every single year.

Given all the lawyers and accountants this will require, that goes well beyond adding insult to injury. Lots of time and money will need to be spent in order to (hopefully) protect households from a confiscatory tax that should never exist.

P.S. The potential administrative nightmare of wealth taxation, along with Biden’s proposal to tax unrealized capital gains at death, help to explain why the White House is proposing to turbo-charge the IRS’s budget with an additional $80 billion.

by Dan Mitchell
Daniel J. Mitchell is a public policy economist in Washington. He’s been a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, an economist for Senator Bob Packwood and the Senate Finance Committee, and a Director of Tax and Budget Policy at Citizens for a Sound Economy. His articles can be found in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, and Washington Times. Mitchell holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. Original article can be viewed here.

Don’t believe the new COVID death guess

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By Rick Manning

Three Covid (China Virus) story headlines highlighted the dissonance in what we know, or think we know, about the Coronavirus.

King5.com, a Seattle-area broadcasters website reported that the Washington state located Institute for Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a group whose Covid illness and death projection ranges were initially used by the Trump administration to guide their thinking about the disease progression before there was real data available, has come up with a startling guess that the Covid death rate in the United States has been understated by approximately 50 percent.  The new 905,000 number is based upon a presumption that all increased deaths since the pandemic started exceeding what was anticipated for the year should be counted as Covid deaths.

This presumption would add more than 300,000 Covid deaths to the United States total alone above the Johns Hopkins University count of 574,093 on the date the study was conducted.

A stunning number, if true, but it is this next headline which perhaps adds perspective to the eye-popping, click-bait assertion in the IHME report  – “Cancer Screenings Plummeted in 2020. The Results are Grim.”

The Epic Health Research Network (EHRN) found that in May of 2020 that preventive cancer screenings had gone down by between 88 – 94 percent in the first four months of the pandemic, and while screenings rose as states lightened quarantine restrictions, researchers feared that the impact of these delayed screenings could be catastrophic.  In just one example, breast cancer biopsies plummeted from a monthly 2019 average of .9 per 1000 exams to .1 per 1000 in May of 2020.  This created a double-whammy of fewer exams being given and significantly fewer biopsies being conducted of those women who would normally have additional follow up study done on abnormalities.

The Cancer Institute reported that, “In 2020, an estimated 1,806,590 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 606,520 people will die from the disease.” Unfortunately, the Center for Disease Control did not publish the 2019 cause of death (including cancer) data until February of 2021, meaning the government won’t know how many extra people died from suicide, cancer, drug overdoses, heart disease and many other causes based upon a drop in screenings and early treatment.

This leaves a wide-open field for Covid fear mongers to claim all additional deaths above the normal expected numbers as being from Covid.

Ironically, the same IHME has been aggressive in their projections, unequivocally detailing the number of increased deaths in states without masking or extreme social distancing policies. This projection decision ignores evidence initially from Sweden and then in many U.S. states like Florida, where less restrictive quarantining of the general population resulted in fewer deaths per 100,000 than in heavily regulated states like New York and New Jersey.  Now, IHME wants to categorize deaths that more likely than not occurred due to the social isolation that was driven by their projections as being Covid deaths.

And maybe they are right, as the paralyzing of about half of Americans with the despair created by Covid fear, along with the lack of early cancer and other disease detection that resulted, are a direct result of our nation’s reaction to Covid.  Just taking the Cancer Institute reported 2020 projection of 1.8 million total cancer cases with one in three of those resulting in death creates a startling reality if the number of deaths jumped by just 10 percent as a result of lack of treatment for months. While speculative, it is no less so than the IHME guess, and just this level of increased cancer deaths would result in more than 100,000 out of the projected 300,000 excess deaths in America in 2020 that the IHME is crediting toward Covid.

The third COVID headline is great news, as the seven-day moving average for Covid deaths has dropped to a level not seen since July 9, 2020 with the number steadily lowering each day.  The seven-moving average is significant because after more than fourteen months of tracking the disease, we know that reporting varies by day as some locations file reports on a Monday through Friday basis and other do so every day.  The average adds the reported number each day, while dropping off the number that day one-week prior, providing a dependable trendline.

The truth is that with all the alarmism, talk of new variants, and whatever else spews from Dr. Fauci’s mouth on any given day as he desperately seeks to keep his Rasputin-like hold on the country, the number of cases is going down as are the number of deaths per day.  And the percentage of deaths per infected person is also dropping.

This is good news and don’t let the politicians who govern and control by playing on fear tell you anything different.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government. Reproduced with permission.

2022 Bloodbath for Democrats?

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With today’s ALG Minute, Catherine Mortensen.

At this rate, 2022 Could Be a Bloodbath for Democrats. The House Democrats have the slimmest majority in decades – an advantage of only six seats – seven when Troy Carter of Louisiana is sworn in- and are looking at a full slate of retiring members in the 2022 midterm.

According to the Washington Post, there are potentially seven Democrats giving up their seats in the House. If it happens that the Democrats lose every one of those seats, then the Republicans are in good shape to reclaim the House. But even if some or all of those seats remain blue, the Democrats will have spent resources desperately needed elsewhere to maintain their majority. Their resources are going to be spread very thin next year.

To make matters even worse for them, Republicans will control a lot of the redistricting across the country, giving them an advantage in future electoral maps.

Biden: The Cartels’ Favorite President | Bill O’Reilly

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President Biden’s open border policies are directly helping organized crime, says Bill O’Reilly. “More narcotics are coming into the United States today that at any other time in our nation’s history!”

He’s got a point.

Don’t believe him? Check this out.

CBP Announces March 2021 Operational Update 

Release Date: April 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released operational statistics for March 2021, which can be viewed here.

“CBP has experienced an increase in encounters and arrests. This is not new. Encounters have continued to increase since April 2020, and our past experiences have helped us be better prepared for the challenges we face this year,” said CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner Troy Miller. “We are committed to balancing the need to maintain border security, care for those in our custody, and keep the American people and our workforce safe.”

CBP Enforcement Numbers

In March 2021, CBP encountered more than 172,000 persons attempting entry along the Southwest border. This total represented a 71 percent increase over February 2021.

The number of encounters at the border has been rising since April 2020 due to reasons which include violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America.  This fiscal year CBP has already had over 569,800 encounters.  This represents an increase of 24 percent from the total encounters we had during all of Fiscal Year 2020, when migration was limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increase of over 34 percent from approximately the same time frame of Fiscal Year 2019. 

The majority of the encounters on the Southwest border remains single adults. CBP continues to expel single adults and family units that are encountered pursuant to CDC guidance under Title 42 authority. In March 2021, CBP expelled 103,900 individuals under Title 42, 28 percent of whom were individuals who had been previously expelled from the United States under the same authority. Title 42 expulsions represented 60 percent of the total encounters for the month.

CBP enforcement numbers for March 2021 can be found here

Unaccompanied Children

CBP continues to see a significant increase of unaccompanied children from Central America at the Southwest border, with 18,890 in March 2021 – a 100 percent increase over February.  

Although less than 11 percent of encounters in March were unaccompanied children, they make up the largest demographic group of individuals in custody at CBP facilities. CBP works in close coordination with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials to quickly transfer processed unaccompanied children to Care Provider Facilities. As bed capacity at these facilities has expanded, the 30-day average of children transferred out of CBP custody has increased, from 276 at the end of February to 507 at the end of March.

Large Groups

CBP has recently seen a return to encounters of large groups, especially in the Rio Grande Valley region. These groups of 100 or more individuals had dropped dramatically due to the pandemic, from 216 in Fiscal Year 2019 to 10 in Fiscal Year 2020. As of the end of March 2021, CBP recorded 49 large group encounters in Fiscal Year 2021, totaling over 4,700 individuals.

Drug Seizures

CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Operations agents continue to interdict the flow of illicit narcotics across the border. Nationwide, drug seizures were down by 14 percent in March from February 2021. Cocaine interceptions increased 26 percent. Seizures of methamphetamine increased 91 percent. Seizures of heroin went up 22 percent and seizures of fentanyl decreased by 28 percent.

Additional CBP drug seizure statistics can be found here.

Effects of COVID-19 on CBP Personnel

The safety of our workforce, our communities, and individuals in our care is a top priority.  CBP personnel put themselves and their families at risk with every encounter at the border. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 8,300 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and 28 have passed away.

CBP is focused on providing access to the COVID-19 vaccine to our workforce and is collaborating with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the delivery of vaccinations to personnel.

DHS and CBP continue to work with local mayors and public health officials to provide COVID-19 testing and, as needed, isolation and quarantine for families released from CBP facilities. 

Trade and Counterfeit Seizures

CBP continues to collaborate with federal partners and the trade community to facilitate the importation of legitimate medical supplies and other goods necessary for the COVID-19 response, while also verifying that those goods are authorized and safe for use. As part of that effort, CBP is interdicting fraudulent and unauthorized goods that could harm the health and safety of Americans. Between Jan. 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, CBP seized:

  • Nearly 178,000 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 417 incidents. These items were either prohibited for not meeting legal requirements, or they were potentially unlicensed,
  • More than 34.6 million counterfeit face masks seized in 707 incidents,
  • 37,000 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 118 incidents,
  • Nearly 39,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 233 incidents,
  • Nearly 6,700 tablets of antibiotics, such as azithromycin in 111 incidents, and
  • Approximately 300,000 containers of hand sanitizer in 36 incidents.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.

Here we go! (Is it real?)

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Biden is spewing the usual rhetoric of the left, “Milk the Rich – They can afford it” spiel, conveniently ignoring that most wealth is accrued by the investment of capital, at risk, and is already heavily taxed. The top 1% they bleat about already pays something around 40% of all taxes. Making them pay more only encourages their highly-paid tax lawyers to start off-shoring money and investments. Flat and fair taxes always work better delivering equity of outcome and giving everyone some skin in the game.

He also boosts the Left’s call for more college degrees as “they hurt nobody” – well, that’s not quite true is it, Joe? The beauty parlor workers, the plumbers, the landscapers, the factory workers – they all get to pay for these largely useless degrees that largely finish what teachers fifty years ago would have achieved by high school graduation, and handover ripe young people schooled in leftism to become fully activated in the elite ivory towers where real-world experience is trivialized with -isms. (Think racism, sexism, environmentalism, transgenderism, etc.) Once activated they keep voting for the idiots we have now like Biden, AOC, Pelosi, and Waters.

But I wonder if there’s more here? The man who has been struggling to spout a coherent sentence is suddenly speaking in joined-up thinking. And it looks very glitchy and jumpy. Has this been manipulated? As you can see below there are suggestions this is a deep fake video.

What do you think?

And if you are wondering how good the CGI techniques are for faking faces – check this out!

A Mother’s Day Tribute: I’ll Love You Forever

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It’s Mother’s Day and this short film gives you a feel for what a being a mother is all about.

It’s not very long but it covers a lot of ground.

Remember Mom’s on their special day.

WATCH: Manatee gives birth to calf!

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Cindy Burnett was at home in Siesta Harbor on April 12, 2021 when she noticed a manatee acting strangely in the water. Burnett is a volunteer at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and knew to immediately call Mote’s Standing Investigations Program (SIP) 24/7 hotline (888-345-2335) to report the behavior. While on the phone with Staff Biologist Amber Lea Kincaid, everyone realized the manatee was in a different kind of distress that human moms will understand: the manatee was giving birth!

US Businesses Are Closing Because They Can’t Find Anyone to Work. Here’s Why

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For the last 10 years, Larry and Roxane Maggio ran a deli—Ludovico’s—in downtown Haddonfield, a borough in New Jersey.

Last month, however, they prepared their final catering orders. The couple decided to close their business—“and not because business is bad.”

“We just can’t find anyone to work,” Roxane Maggio told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week.

There are more job openings than people to fill them.

Similar stories can be found across America, where businesses are struggling to find employees. In Spokane, Washington, job postings “appear to be around every corner,” but employers simply can’t find people to fill the jobs.

“It’s been challenging,” said Matt Jensen, who serves as Director of Sales and Marketing for Davenport Hotels, just one of many businesses in Spokane searching for dozens of employees.

These anecdotes are no aberration. Data show that small businesses are reporting a record number of job openings.

“I think we’re seeing rising evidence of labor shortages,” economist Lawrence Summers said in a recent Bloomberg interview, which highlighted a recent National Federation of Independent Business survey.

“You can see that in small business surveys, where we’re at record levels in terms of difficulties of finding labor. You can see that in terms of the data on job vacancies, which are at near record levels,” said Summers, a former president of Harvard University.

When Summers was asked if the government “went too far” in its latest relief package, which included supplemental unemployment benefits, which in many cases resulted in Americans receiving more income by not working, he did not hesitate.

“Yes,” responded Summers. “If we give people more money for not working than they were getting when they were working, then they’re going to stay on the sidelines.”

Summers, who served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, went on to describe the move as a “misdesigned” policy by the Biden Administration that could have far-reaching economic implications.

Some might chalk up the unemployment backfire to “the law of unintended consequences,” as David Westin did in his interview with Summers.

While the consequence may have been unintended, it was not hard to predict. Indeed, it was precisely what many economists said would happen.

“Expanding unemployment benefits during a recession has a predictable result: slower employment recovery,” Texas Tech economics professor Alex Salter told FEE’s Brad Polumbo back in February. “We should be helping people get back to work—not making it more financially attractive to stay home.”

This is why Summers called the move an “unforced error.” It was the obvious consequence of juicing up unemployment benefits.

After all, it’s kind of hard to blame people for not wanting to go to work when they can make more money staying home writing that dream novel,  playing Call of Duty, reading Jane Austen, or trying to become the next TikTok star. 

There’s a famous adage among economists: incentives matter.

Nothing harmonizes incentives better than markets, which create incentives indirectly. Directly created incentives, on the other hand, often result in perverse consequences. For example, economist Dwight Lee has pointed out that the former Soviet Union suffered from all sorts of perverse outcomes by directly creating incentives.

“Managers responded to incentives to increase the production of shoes, for example, by making only a few sizes, hardly caring which sizes best fit consumers,” Lee noted. “Such incentives affected people’s behavior, but they failed to promote the social cooperation necessary for a productive economy.”

This is a stark contrast to markets, which do not actively “create” incentives, but allow them to arise naturally.

“The market economy is the ultimate example of how a set of rules can create a setting in which private incentives motivate social cooperation,” Lee wrote. “The most important incentives come from the subjective desires of individuals: the incentive to find love, to earn respect, to make the world a better place, to provide for their families. Markets are the rules of conduct that harmonize these various incentives by making it possible for people to communicate their desires to others.”

The supplemented unemployment benefits were essentially a double whammy. Not only were they an example of a directly created incentive, they directly incentivized something undesirable: unemployment.

In doing so, they created a labor shortage that put Larry and Roxane Maggio—and no doubt many others—out of business.

The supplemental unemployment benefits will go down as yet another cautionary tale about what happens when lawmakers meddle in labor markets. The only question now is how adverse the consequences will be.

Jon Miltimore
Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times. 

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

How to Test and Replace a Bad Car Battery (COMPLETE Ultimate Guide)

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The electrical system in your vehicle is more essential than ever. And all those electronics rely on your vehicle’s battery.

Learn everything you’ll ever need to know about how to diagnose problems with your vehicle’s battery, how to change the battery and what type of battery is best for your vehicle.

This kind of advice could be critical if you need your vehicle in an emergency situation.

Is the financial cure worse than the disease?

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Here on Cape Cod there are more HELP WANTED signs than daffodils out on the side of the roads. Traditionally, in a deal going back to the Cold War, seasonal shortages are supplemented by summer visas for young Bulgarians learning to speak English. COVID put paid to that. Now we are seeing some islanders from the Caribbean show up – but not enough to fill all the restaurant and leisure jobs required to keep this summer paradise from working properly. Things are so bad the restaurants are offering signing bonuses.

Here’s why. Unemployment benefits typically replace about 40% of workers’ wages, on average. But now, many laid-off Americans are receiving bigger checks from unemployment than they did from their jobs, thanks to the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in March. The bill included a historic $600 boost to weekly payments, on top of state benefits, that lasts for up to four months.In 38 states, the combined payment is equal to or larger than the average weekly wage for the jobs that were lost. On the high end, the combined state and federal unemployment benefit covers 129% of lost wages, on average, in Maine and New Mexico.

Naturally farm hands, slaughter men, wait staff, shop assistants and other workers who are currently being paid more to stay home that return to work are taking their time about it. The problem? Will the jobs still be there when the boondoggle money runs out?

Jarrett Twigg is the co-owner of The Provincial in Apex, NC. He says staffers are getting a lot of money to sit at home and have no reason to go through the rigors of life in the restaurant business. So, he loses business.

Kids: Fighting for liberty

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The Tuttle Twins are hitting the screen! Many freedom-loving parents have bought these books for their kids. After all they’re a great antidote to the leftist nonsense they’re being fed at school as they stress the importance of capitalism, natural law and personal liberty. And now the team behind them are following in the footsteps of the Christian series Chosen and organizing a massive crowd-funding venture through Angel Studios. Their plan is to make animated shows for families to stream through their smart TVs or computers.

If you’re a fan of the Tuttle Twins check this out!

One year on – bodies still stashed in emergency morgue!

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According to the New York Daily Post the bodies of New Yorkers are still sitting in a refrigerated morgue on the Brooklyn waterfront more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Big Apple.

The remains of about 750 people are in long-term storage in the specially designed disaster morgue that opened in April, a medical official told a City Council committee meeting on Wednesday. The refrigerated trucks were used after city morgues, hospitals and funeral homes were overwhelmed in the early days of the pandemic. An emergency morgue was set up on the 39th Street Pier in the Sunset Park neighborhood and in 2020 it was storing more than 1,300 bodies. Families of many of the dead still in storage have requested that the city bury their remains on Hart Island, the city’s potter’s field. The families of others have fallen out of contact with the city,

From last year:

The city is storing dead bodies in refrigerated trucks set up in a Brooklyn parking lot as it grapples with a growing number of corpses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The trailers stretched from 36th to 39th streets along Second Avenue in Sunset Park on Monday.

City Hall acknowledged that the trucks are part of a fleet being used for the long-term storage of dead bodies.

NYpost.com

This Surfer Had NO IDEA a Great White Shark Was Lurking Just Below

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You might think from watching movies that you would know a shark is near, maybe because you’d hear this.

But this surfer had absolutely no idea what was lurking under the waves.

Watch as this great white circles this unaware surfer . . .

3 Things to Know About Second Amendment’s Return to Supreme Court

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It’s been well over a decade since the Supreme Court last decided a meaningful Second Amendment case. That wait is about to end.

Although District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) answered some foundational questions about the right to keep and bear arms, the Supreme Court’s decade of silence enabled lower courts to undermine these core cases routinely. This in turn allowed states to run roughshod over the Second Amendment.

We’ve gotten our hopes up before that the Supreme Court finally would stop treating the Second Amendment as a second-class right, unworthy of consistent legal review. Just last term, the high court excited millions by taking up New York State Rifle & Pistol v. City of New York, which was about New York City’s incredibly restrictive laws on transporting firearms.

Photo: Joe Ravi (cc by-sa 3.0)

That excitement came to a crushing end when New York City enacted minor changes to its laws and the Supreme Court declared the case moot, declining in the interim to take up any of the remaining Second Amendment challenges for the term. Many suspected we might go another decade without seeing the court hear another challenge to gun control laws.

But last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Corlett, a case that could have much broader implications for the future of strict gun control than its mooted predecessor.

Here are three important things to know about the high court’s latest Second Amendment case.

1. This case is about the right to carry firearms in public.

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett provides the Supreme Court with the opportunity to address a very important question it so far has declined to answer: When the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, does it mean a right to bear a handgun in public for purposes of self-defense?

According to New York and a handful of other gun control-friendly states, the answer has been a resounding no. In these states, the right to “bear” arms has been effectively restricted to a right to possess and handle a gun in your home, and nothing more.

If you want to protect yourself with a firearm in public, the state considers it a privilege you can exercise only after showing “good cause” above and beyond a desire to protect yourself from crime in general.

In essence, law-abiding citizens in these states have no right to “bear” arms outside their homes.

The petitioners in the new case include two New York residents who have extensive experience and training with firearms. Both applied for and were denied carry permits for their firearms because they did not “face any special or unique danger to [their] life.”

It appears the Supreme Court finally has five justices willing to vindicate the rights of these petitioners. We know that Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh have publicly decried the court’s reluctance to take up cases involving similar “good cause” laws and affirmed that there is, indeed, a right to bear arms.

Meanwhile, Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett have evidenced a faithful adherence to the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment in different types of gun control cases. They would seem unlikely candidates to side with New York’s interpretation that the right to bear arms is only a privilege for the select few determined to meet arbitrary “good cause” requirements.

2.  ‘Good cause’ and ‘may issue’ requirements have racist roots.

For the first 70 or so years after the Constitution was ratified, Americans undeniably maintained a general right to bear arms in public, with perhaps some state authority to regulate the mode of carry.

minority of states eventually prohibited or heavily regulated the act of carrying a concealed firearm in public. But no state completely eradicated an ordinary citizen’s ability to carry some type of firearm in public in some manner without first having to seek permission from the government.

Well, all white Americans enjoyed a right to bear arms in public.

Laws heavily regulating the public carry of firearms were, like all early forms of restrictive gun control, reserved for the subjugation of slaves and other individuals who were, at the time, legally considered as falling outside of “the People” of the United States.

Even after slavery was abolished and the 14th Amendment forbade race-based gun restrictions, many southern states looked to racially neutral but highly discretionary gun control laws to effectively disarm black citizens.

Florida Supreme Court case in 1941 provides some insight into just how blatantly and openly states used discretionary permit systems to deprive black Americans of their rights. The court overturned a white man’s conviction for carrying a handgun in public without a permit, in apparent violation of state law.

Justice Rivers Buford nonchalantly explained the racist origins and enforcement of the law in his concurring opinion:

The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State. … The Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers … and to give the white citizens in sparsely populated areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.

The reality is that today’s “good cause” requirements may not be overtly racist, but in practice they serve to disproportionately exclude people of color from the ability to protect themselves in public with firearms. Constitutional implications aside, this makes discretionary licensing poor public policy.

Who ends up getting concealed carry permits in the most restrictive “good cause” jurisdictions? Overwhelmingly, the permits go to wealthy white men—especially those who are well connected to whatever public official happens to have sole discretion over granting permit applications.

It’s also little wonder that such incredibly discretionary schemes lend themselves to rampant corruption.

3. Public carry will not turn us into the ‘Wild West.’

Many gun control advocates insist that if the Supreme Court strikes down “good cause” requirements then the nation will be turned into a “Wild West” of gun violence.

In other words, the Second Amendment shouldn’t protect a right of ordinary citizens to bear arms in their own defense, because ordinary citizens largely are incapable of acting in a reasonable manner when armed in public.

Decades of plain data show just the opposite.

Between 1990 and 2000, 16 states changed their concealed carry laws from either “no issue” or “may issue” to “shall issue” permitting. During that time, national rates for violent crime, homicide by gun, and other gun crime plummeted.

Since 2000, the trend toward more permissible public carry laws not only continued (42 states and the District of Columbia are either “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry”), but public interest in obtaining permits skyrocketed. Over 19 million American adults now possess a concealed carry permit, up from roughly 3 million adults in 2000.

If gun control advocates were correct about their Wild West hypothesis, surely the last two decades would have been an increasingly violent mess.

But the data clearly do not bear that out. Violent crime rates continued a general downward trend while gun homicide and other gun crime rates remained consistently low after plateauing around 2011.

It turns out that ordinary, law-abiding citizens absolutely can be trusted to “bear” arms in public, just like the plain text of the Constitution envisions.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court soon will vindicate the tens of millions of American citizens currently deemed to have “insufficient cause” to exercise their constitutional rights.

This is a guest post from the Daily Signal by Amy Swearer a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Johns Hopkins Economist Explains Why True Cost of Biden’s Spending Plans Could Be $17.1 Trillion—3X Higher Than Advertised

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In just his first 100 days, President Biden has rolled out ambitious spending plans meant to vastly increase federal funding for everything from infrastructure to jobs to families. The whopping $6 trillion price tag on these combined proposals has raised many eyebrows about how a nation more than $28 trillion in debt can afford such a splurge. 

But one prominent economist is warning that the true cost of Biden’s plans could be more than three times higher than advertised.

Steve Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University and Director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute. In a new op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, he argues that the true cost of the president’s spending proposals is really closer to $17.1 trillion. (That’s roughly $119,000 per federal taxpayer!)

Why are the current price tags such vast underestimates? The Foundation for Economic Education interviewed Hanke to find out.

The economist started by pointing out that “The collection of taxes is not a costless exercise.”

“There are hidden costs associated with it,” Hanke said. “One isn’t even hidden, actually, it’s the financing of the federal government’s tax extraction operation, namely, the Internal Revenue Service. Then, in addition to that, there’s the hidden costs incurred by the taxpayer, literally to prepare their taxes and to adjust their economic activity to comply with the tax code.” 

Between the two, Hanke estimates these costs at 10 to 25 cents per dollar in tax revenue collected. Despite the assumption that underlies traditional spending legislation price tags, the economist noted that “a dollar doesn’t flow in frictionlessly to the federal government.” 

So it’s fair to assume that the surface-level price tag of spending proposals underestimates the true cost by 10 to 25 percent. Nowadays, that’s not a rounding error—it’s a difference in the hundreds of billions to trillions.

However, Hanke says that the hidden costs associated with taxation extend far beyond collection and compliance. He explained that there’s an “excess burden,” what in economics would be called “deadweight loss,” associated with increases in taxation as well.

Sound complicated? It’s not.

“[It’s simply] the cost associated with all the distortions that taxes put into the economy,” Hanke explained. For example, higher income taxes discourage work. And higher taxes on business discourage investment. 

As Henry Hazlitt lucidly explained in Economics in One Lesson, “taxes inevitably affect the actions and incentives of those from whom they are taken.” He specified that “the larger the percentage of the national income taken by taxes the greater the deterrent to private production and employment.”

“[Such] distortions cause the economy to generate a lot less revenue and income than would otherwise be the case,” Hanke continued. The excess burden simply accounts for all these losses.

And it makes IRS expenses look like chump change. Hanke pointed out multiple studies showing the excess burden of taxation is between $2.65 and $3.00. “So, any new government expenditures you’ve got to multiple them by three to get the true cost.”

I asked the economist whether this holds true even if the spending is financed by federal debt or money-printing. He noted that ultimately it all leads to higher taxation, and pointed out that the Biden administration has repeatedly said it will offset its spending proposals with direct increases in taxation.

You might be wondering: Why is this the first I’m hearing of all this? Well, the nonpartisan institutions like the Congressional Budget Office commonly relied upon for cost estimates don’t factor in the excess burden of tax increases. They just use face-value “frictionless” revenue assumptions.

Why don’t these agencies take these crucial figures into account? Hanke answered that to do so would be “politically incendiary,” because if they did, very few spending proposals would ever pass a cost-benefit analysis. 

This oversight plays right into the hands of big-spending politicians. When the full costs are taken into account, Hanke says it’s “almost inconceivable” that President Biden’s spending proposals would be worth the expense. 

Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Is this the First Margarita Recipe?

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1937 Picador Tequila Cocktail from the 1937 Cafe Royal cocktail book – Cocktails After Dark Cinco de Mayo Margarita Cocktail Special.

I‘m going out on a limb here (again) and I’m going to say that this is the very first printed recipe for a Margarita Cocktail. This is of course disputed… Many will say that the Margarita Cocktail proportions are slightly different, and that a Margarita has to be made with a salt rim, and a Margarita can only be made with Lime juice. That last one is an interesting point – Lemon or Lime? Most early Spanish language cocktail books that I own from Central or South America, and the Caribbean are pretty vague in their use of Límon/Líma and there seems to be a wide gap in what these mean from one Spanish speaking country to the next.

Giving the option of one or the other in this book may come from confusion over the right translation, or it could stem from supply issues of the time period.

1937 Picador Tequila Cocktail Recipe:

¼ Fresh Lime or Lemon juice

¼ Cointreau

½ Tequila

Shake

Simple, right?!

Want a cheap low-cal marg? Make a Frescarita with Tequilla and Fresca!

Sustainable Renewable Energy from the Tides

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There is a downside to almost all of the green energy solutions usually pushed forward.

Windmills kill birds and don’t function if the wind isn’t blowing. Solar cells wear out and are useless on a cloudy day.

This company, Orbital Marine Power (OMP), may have a solution.

Check out their new Orbiatal O2 Tidal Turbine which uses tidal forces to turn a turbine and generate enough electricity for 2,000 homes.

It’s still in the testing stage but looks promising.

TSA Makes Massive Exceptions for Illegal Immigrants

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By Fred Lucas

The Transportation Security Administration has an “established process” for identifying illegal immigrants who board domestic flights to a new home in America, a spokeswoman told The Daily Signal, although the Biden administration formally refers to this population as “undocumented.”

The TSA was responding to a Daily Signal report Friday about such commercial flights carrying illegal aliens—specifically one that departed McAllen International Airport in Texas the day before—and the security waiver necessary for them to board without showing required identification. 

Amid the new surge of illegal immigrants at the southern border, the Biden administration has facilitated putting some of them on flights to cross the United States to new destinations at taxpayers’ expense. 

Although they are in the United States without government-recognized documentation after unlawfully crossing the border, the federal government allows groups of illegal immigrants to go through TSA security checkpoints in airports. 

>>> EXCLUSIVE: Illegal Immigrants Fly American, Courtesy of Biden Border Policy

In an email Saturday to The Daily Signal,

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has an established process to verify the identity of individuals who have received a Notice to Appear from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and are ticketed for travel on a commercial airline.

TSA will continue to coordinate with CBP and use resources available to the agency to confirm the identity of every traveler to ensure that transportation security is not compromised. 

TSA spokeswoman Patricia Mancha

Mancha said the Transportation Security Administration identifies illegal immigrants using “accepted forms of immigration-issued documents.” 

These include the I-94 form for international travelers visiting the United States legally. 

The TSA spokeswoman also cited the I-862 form, which is a Department of Homeland notice to appear in immigration court for illegal immigrants who have been released from detention. 

Historically, many illegal immigrants who are released into the country don’t face a hearing in immigration court for months or years

Mancha also referred to Form I-385, a so-called Alien Booking Record used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This document could include information obtained from the arresting or delivering officer such as name, sex, age, date of birth, birthplace, country of citizenship, and medical issues. 

However, many illegal immigrants are released into the U.S. soon after being apprehended at the border, said Mark Morgan, Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the Trump administration after serving a short stint running Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

“There is no way to 100% guarantee the identity of everyone coming across our borders illegally, especially when law enforcement organization’s facilities are dangerously overcrowded and are being pressured to release them as fast as possible,”   Morgan said of the illegal immigrants caught at the border. “The room for fraud is wide.”

Morgan was on an American Airlines flight Thursday out of the McAllen airport when he saw 14 illegal immigrant families or groups board the plane. 

An “established process” for non-illegal aliens exists for the TSA, on a case-by-case basis, to allow individuals to fly even without identification, but they must undergo a lengthy individualized screening process before eventually being allowed to board a flight to their final destination. This would include those whose identification was lost, forgotten, or stolen. 

“And it’s one thing to do a one-off for an American citizen where there are numerous ways we can verify someone’s identity through a network of U.S. controlled and operated systems vs. a systematic ‘waiver’ for an entire class of individuals—where no such equivalent verification systems exist and with no limit or end in sight,” Morgan told The Daily Signal.

Morgan currently is a visiting fellow in national security at The Heritage Foundation, the parent organization of The Daily Signal.

Driven by the new border crisis, Customs and Border Protection facilities have released some families who unlawfully entered the country to nongovernmental organizations and coordinated efforts to transport them, Morgan said. 

These NGOs receive federal, state, and private funding, so taxpayers indirectly pay for the flights.

The flights occurred during previous administrations, including the Trump administration, when detention facilities for illegal aliens were packed. But this process has accelerated with the current surge at the border, which critics have attributed to President Joe Biden’s rhetoric. 

The Department of Homeland Security and the TSA, which is part of that agency, did not respond to numerous inquiries from The Daily Signal before it published the initial report Friday. The White House also did not respond to requests for comment. 

Among unanswered questions is how many such flights carrying how many illegal immigrants have flown out of McAllen and other border city airports since Biden took office Jan. 20, where the illegal immigrants went, and how much these flights have cost taxpayers. Nor is it clear how many, if any, of the illegal immigrants are tested for COVID-19.

The Biden administration reversed most of the border security policies of the Trump administration through executive order—halting deportations and stopping construction of the border wall, among other measures.

Illegal immigrants, interviewed in recent news accounts, said they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border anticipating more accommodating policies from the new president. Fewer than 20% of illegal immigrants that encounter Customs and Border Protection agents have a credible claim that they fear conditions in their home country, according to government data.

Reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal. Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Reproduced with permission. Original here.

Timeline to Destruction

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Bernie Sanders loved Venezuela so much he’s on record as endorsing a claim on his official taxpayer-paid website claiming that the American dream was more likely to be achieved in Venezuela than the U.S.  According to an editorial linked and endorsed as a “must-read” by Sanders:

These days the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in such places [as] Ecuador, Venezuela, and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal…

Bernie Sanders
How to Ruin a Country

1992: Venezuela became 3rd richest country in Western Hemisphere 
1997: Venezuelans became 2nd largest purchaser of F-150
2001: Venezuela voted for a Socialist President to address “income inequality”
2004: Private Healthcare is completely socialized. 
2007: All higher education becomes “free”
2009: Socialist banned private ownership of guns 
2012: Bernie Sanders said “Venezuelans are living the American Dream better than Americans”
2014: Opposition leaders are imprisoned
2016: Food shortages become widespread 
2017: Constitution and elections suspended 
2019: Venezuelans massacred by their own government; Civil War begins…

Royal Marine or Boba Fett?

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This week members of the British Royal Marines conducted boarding training exercises using an experimental jet pack suit. 

The jet pack suit was developed by Gravity Industries, and the trial showed a test pilot launch from inflatable speedboats trailing a larger patrol ship, the HMS Tamar – also known as the Swiss Army Knife of the Royal Navy. The pilot used the suit to launch from a speedboat and skim low across the water, before landing on the deck of the British warship and toss a boarding ladder to Royal Marines in the speedboats below, allowing them to quickly board the ship.

Of course the rest of the fleet had to have a laugh!

New Study Reveals That Stay-at-Home Orders Backfired. Here’s Why

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Last summer, NBC News reported that New York state health officials were stunned by the number of hospitalized patients who said they had contracted COVID-19 while staying at home.

The data, collected from 113 hospitals who surveyed patients over a three-day span, suggested more than two-thirds had contracted the virus while staying at home.

Image: Gov. Desantis, FL Gov Cuomo, NY.

“Sixty-six percent of the people were at home, which is shocking to us,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told a gaggle of reporters at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in May. The percentage far outnumbered other more likely places, such as nursing homes (18 percent), assisted living facilities (4 percent), and homeless shelters/streets (2 percent).

“This is a surprise,” Cuomo said. “We were thinking that maybe we were going to find a higher percent of essential employees who were getting sick because they were going to work — that these may be nurses, doctors, transit workers. That’s not the case. They were predominantly at home.”

A year later, a new study sheds light on the mystery.

A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper offers fresh evidence to show stay-at-home orders may have backfired.

“Micro evidence contradicts the public-health ideal in which households would be places of solitary confinement and zero transmission,” writes University of Chicago economist Casey B. Mulligan. “Instead, the evidence suggests that ‘households show the highest transmission rates’ and that ‘households are high-risk settings for the transmission of [COVID-19].’”

At first glance, the findings are a bit surprising. Models early in the pandemic assumed less transmission would occur in households. This explains why Cuomo was surprised when he learned 66 percent of those hospitalized with COVID had been staying at home—it ran counter to the pre-pandemic science, which showed viruses are more commonly spread in work environments and schools.

But Mulligan says that is the mistake. Modelers were basing their assumptions on pre-pandemic work and school environments, which didn’t have the safety precautions in place that so many institutions implemented in the wake of COVID.

“Schools, businesses, and other organizations implemented a range of prevention protocols – from adjusting airflow to installing physical barriers to monitoring compliance to administering their own testing services – that households did not, and perhaps could not,” Mulligan writes.

It turns out these measures actually made a difference. Mulligan offers specific examples.

For example, the Duke Health system—which consists of several hospitals and some 180 clinical practices in 10 counties in North Carolina—and 11 meat processing facilities in Nebraska saw infections rates plummet after implementing various safety precautions, such as erecting barriers between employees. In the case of Duke Health, an hour worked at the hospital system became exponentially safer (by a factor of three) than an hour worked outside the health system.

The irony, of course, is that even as work environments were increasingly becoming safer, many Americans were being forced to stay home in environments that were less ideal—such as crowded, poorly ventilated housing. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=feeonline&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfX0%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1389584731650498561&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ffee.org%2Farticles%2Fnew-study-reveals-that-stay-at-home-orders-backfired-heres-why%2F&sessionId=9f7923683ac4372bc522eb425832d79c92659b66&siteScreenName=feeonline&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

For nearly a year, many have wondered why even strict lockdowns have proven so ineffective in taming the coronavirus. While there is no single answer, Mulligan’s paper is likely to be one more piece to the puzzle.

But the fundamental lesson is not a complicated one: societies and human behavior are incredibly complex. No single individual or body of individuals can effectively or efficiently plan a society, and attempts to do so often result in unforeseen social harms.

This is why, as the Nobel Laureate economist F.A. Hayek once observed, “The more the state ‘plans’ the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.”

The examples to support Hayek’s claim are almost endless. But Mulligan concludes his paper with an anecdote that more than serves.

In the late 1950s, communists in China launched its infamous Great Leap Forward. The campaign was intended to reorganize China’s rural communities to meet the nation’s economic needs, largely by developing labor-intensive methods of industrialization that emphasized manpower instead of machines and capital investment.

One part of the campaign, Mulligan notes, required peasants to make steel in their backyards. The goal was to accelerate the nation’s industrial capabilities, but the plan had the opposite effect.

“Non-steel production suffered for lack of inputs, while the resulting steel output proved useless,” Mulligan writes.”One reaction is that the villagers should have been more careful with quality control. Another is that the efficient scale for steel production, reflecting advantages of specialized physical and human capital, is too large for the backyard.”

American households may have suffered from a similar problem. Mulligan wonders if US homes were of efficient scale to prevent the virus from spreading.

Evidence suggests they were not, which would make stay-at-home orders yet another entry in the long litany of lethal lockdown blunders committed by governments..

The history of communism is rife with tragic fiascos like the one Mulligan cites. In Soviet Russia, for example, economic central planning yielded farcical levels of industrial disorganization. As Henry Hazlitt wrote in his 1967 Freeman article, “Private Property… A Must”:

“Since factory output goals are either laid down in weight or quota by the planners, a knit­wear plant recently ordered to pro­duce 80,000 caps and sweaters pro­duced only caps, because they were smaller and cheaper to make. A factory commanded to make lamp­shades made them all orange, be­cause sticking to one color was quicker and less trouble. Because of the use of tonnage norms, ma­chine builders used eight-inch plates when four-inch plates would easily have done the job. In a chandelier factory, in which the workers were paid bonuses based on the tonnage of chandeliers pro­duced, the chandeliers grew heavi­er and heavier until they started pulling ceilings down.”

As our experience with the pandemic lockdowns has demonstrated, even central planning that falls short of full communism tends to backfire, creating harmful chaos in the name of establishing beneficial order.

Hayek’s words should be displayed in every government office: “The more the state ‘plans’ the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.”

Jon Miltimore
Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times. 

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Iran releases chilling footage of attack on US Landmark

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The Biden and Obama administrations and their envoy John Kerry have seldom downplayed their preference for placating Iran rather than standing up to the mullahs. This moral turpitude has been noticed and the Ayatollah is doubling down on Biden with this outrageous mock video of an attack on Washington D.C. and the Capitol Building!

“The Americans have been for years deeply saddened by the Islamic republic’s influence, and they were angry with General Soleimani for this reason and martyred him for this reason,”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The video debuted Sunday on Iranian state-controlled television before Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei delivered remarks, in which he praised the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the paramilitary force that has killed Americans, and celebrated IRGC leader Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike by the former Trump administration on Jan. 3, 2020.

WATCH: $700 Ferragamo Loafers Are Professionally Restored (and resole yours for pennies!)

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Heath Potter is a professional cobbler and cofounder of Potter and Sons. He demonstrates how he restores a pair of $700 Ferragamo loafers. The loafers have significantly worn out and have a hole through the bottom. Repairing them will include replacing the soles and heels, cleaning, and stitching the shoe back together.

While we’re all a long way from Heath’s standards, it’s useful to see how we could perform basic repairs if the circumstances demanded. Our future is far from certain – and while we currently live with a surplus of everything – history shows us how fast a civilization can collapse if left in the wrong hands or afflicted with poor weather. Both of these scenarios are foreseeable right now. So learn some new skills. Check your toolkit is pristine and complete. Sharpen everything. And learn the basics. Here’s a great make-do using car tires for soles. Dan used a jig saw with a metal-cutting blade, Shoe Goo, and a dozen or so clamps to put a new sole on these boots. Imagine how many miles you’d walk in these!

Most Spectacular Eagle and Raptor Attacks

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You want to know why the eagle beat out the turkey as America’s national symbol?

Check out what an eagle is capabile of doing to a variety of prey, including wolves, mountain goats and sloths!

You will be amazed at the speed, agility and ferocity of these birds of prey as they set out on a hunt for survival.

The biggest COVID difference between India and US is Trump-led

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By Robert Romano, ALG.

India’s Covid outbreak is bad, but it would be much worse if the population there were as old as the U.S. population.

Image A.F. Branco with thanks

The biggest difference in the U.S. appears to have been Operation Warp Speed that began under President Donald Trump in 2020, which mass produced tens of millions of vaccines before they were even approved by the Food and Drug Administration, such that if one or more of them worked, they would already be in production, and it could be administered as soon as possible.

By Robert Romano

India is experiencing a massive outbreak of Covid-19 with a probable more than 12 million new cases a day as the virus peaks, according to projected data compiled by the Institutes for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

The IHME projects that peak fatalities will come in 0.098 percent, or about 12,000 deaths on the worst day of pandemic there, projected to be May 23. But as bad as that is, it is actually a lower death rate than the U.S., which is currently 0.36 percent.

The reason is largely age demographics. Covid fatalities primarily the impact the elderly — 80 percent of Covid deaths in the U.S. for example are among those aged 65 years old and older according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — but India has a relatively youthful population with a high fertility rate. As a result, the elderly only makes up 6.7 percent of India’s population, compared with almost 16.5 percent in the U.S.

Put another way, if India’s population were as old as the U.S., instead of 12,000 dying on the worst day, the number might be more like 29,000, or instead of 1 million dead by August 1 per IHME’s current estimate, it might be more like 2.45 million.

Or, if in the U.S., the infection rate were as high this past winter as it currently is in India, instead of 3,300 deaths per day at the height of the pandemic would have reached 8,000.

So, age matters a lot when it comes to Covid. And so does mitigation, which is why protecting the elderly is so important and must continue to be prioritized.

in the U.S., despite the aging demographics, the fatality rate has been steadily falling since last winter when the pandemic began, per IHME data. Early on, in April 2020, the death rate was 0.928 percent. But by Aug. 2020, it had dropped to 0.58 percent as better treatments and medicines became available. In Jan. 2021, the fatality rate remained steady at 0.6 percent, and now it is down to 0.36 percent as the vaccine is being distributed.

That is certainly good news, and could mean that we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the pandemic.

So far, 105 million in the U.S. are fully vaccinated out of 145 million who have had at least the first dose, the distribution of which from production to mass manufacturing to getting the centers up and running to dosing the most vulnerable first took almost a year. As the number of doses rises, we should hopefully see the fatality rate continue to drop.

For India, it is likely too late to massively administer the vaccine in time. And other countries around the world, who do not have large supplies of the vaccine on hand will undoubtedly experience outbreaks as well.

The biggest difference in the U.S. appears to have been Operation Warp Speed that began under President Donald Trump in 2020, which mass produced tens of millions of vaccines before they were even approved by the Food and Drug Administration, such that if one or more of them worked, they would already be in production, and it could be administered as soon as possible.

The mass production was facilitated by the federal government spending $18 billion ahead of time to mass produce the vaccine the government was uncertain would even be effective. That presumably covers dosing the entire population. For countries that want more vaccines, like India with a population of more than 1.3 billion, the cost would be much greater.

Undoubtedly, as the science proves which vaccines are more effective than others, that will cause governments to spend more money on mass production and distribution, finally slowing down the Covid pandemic and helping life to finally return to normal. But as India is experiencing, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

Why Your Grocery Bills Are Going Up (And Are Only Expected to Get Bigger)

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It’s official: food inflation has arrived. Food prices soared 3.9 percent in 2020, the Department of Agriculture recently reported.

Americans spent a lot of money on groceries over the past year—and it isn’t just because they were eating more meals at home. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices jumped 3.9 percent in 2020, nearly triple the rate of inflation.

Unfortunately, this trend seems poised to continue. The US Department of Agriculture estimates grocery bills could increase by another 3 percent in 2021, while some experts are betting on even longer-term problems.

“I think food prices are going to continue to increase for probably a good year, year, and a half,” warns Phil Lempert, founder of SupermarketGuru.com.

Shoppers are already feeling the crunch. Long Island resident John Kermaj recently told NBC News, “We used to buy this stuff for $30. Now it’s $60.”

Diet staples like wheat, corn, soybeans, and meat are among the products seeing the sharpest price uptick. Meat shot up 5.5 percent last year, and prices for fruits like apples, strawberries, and citrus went up by 11.3 percent.

This is no small matter.

Photo credit: OnlyGirlOf10, CC0 Public Domain,

Before the pandemic, the number of Americans experiencing food insecurity had been steadily falling. That trend was reversed last year. Northwestern University researchers estimate that food insecurity doubled during this time—placing 23 percent of households in danger of going hungry. It is likely this problem will only worsen as the cost of food continues to grow.

So, what’s causing the spike? A perfect storm, really. Bad weatherstockpiling, increased demand from China, global shipping interruptions, and inflation caused by the extreme money printing by central banks all get honorable mentions. But a significant number of the factors to blame can be traced back to the government’s lockdowns and regulatory policies.

Meat processing plants were one of the industries hardest hit by the lockdowns. Many were forced to close for extended periods of time, and others invested in expensive new equipment and technology to reduce their in-person workforce. These costs were of course ultimately borne by the consumer, and the closures led to supply chain disruptions. Both made the price of meat go up.

Northwestern University researchers estimate that food insecurity doubled during this time—placing 23 percent of households in danger of going hungry.

These closures not only affected the meatpacking plants and their employees but those of many related businesses in the food processing industry as well. The lockdowns also impacted farmers, shipment and distribution facilities, companies that produce the containers and plastic needed to store the meat, and grocers. In a market, one government action can have a ripple effect across hundreds of other industries, and that’s certainly what happened here.

The coronavirus and lockdowns didn’t necessarily cause all of the problems in the meat industry, but they did exacerbate existing issues. The industry was already struggling under absurd government regulations that force farmers to waste good livestock and block them from selling directly to consumers. Combined with the lockdowns, these policies began to threaten our supply chain.

Congressman Thomas Massie called attention to this problem more than a year ago and warned it could lead to a meat shortage. The Kentucky Republican urged Congress to support his PRIME Act to repeal these regulations, but his warnings went unheeded.

Other producers in the agriculture sector have struggled to obtain the workers needed to ramp up production. Across the country, small businesses have been unable to attract Americans back to the workplace as many remain on increased unemployment benefits that pay more than work.

Esteemed economist Thomas Sowell famously said, “There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” This principle has certainly been put on display during the pandemic, as the government made many trade-offs in its attempts to mitigate the crisis.

There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.

Ultimately, we know that many of their prescribed solutions—closing outdoor spaces, lockdowns, scrubbing surfaces with alcohol—were abject failures. But the trade-offs made in exchange for promises of increased security won’t be fading away anytime soon.

The current food price spikes, and the resulting food instability issues they have fueled, are only the latest in a long line of consequences Americans have suffered as a result of the government’s attempts at solutions in 2020.

Viruses are scary. But the surge in food insecurity is a reminder that all policies come with trade-offs—and that panic-fueled government interventions often only make a crisis worse.

This article was originally published by Hannah Cox at The Foundation for Economic Education. 

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