Page 3

“I must be confused”

I’ll grant you that my high school years were a long time ago.

And a lot of words have changed meanings since then.  Bad, gay, woke, come to mind.  And there are dozens and dozens of others.

But I was unaware until the past few weeks that “classified” had changed meanings as well.

When I learned it, it meant that it was a secret.  Classified documents were supposed to be a secret, kept between people authorized to be in on the secret.

But now, I guess it means hang on to this for whatever reason and only give it up when demanded — or until the FBI SWAT team shows up in your living room.

What in the name of all that’s holy is going on here?

I wonder how many other senators and congressmen have classified documents in their basement?

And how about former President Obama?  Or maybe George W. Bush or Dick Cheney?

Or maybe Bill Clinton.  And we’re all pretty sure Hillary had lots of classified stuff on her homemade computer system.

Even Edward Snowden weighs in — and he’s a guy who knows about classified stuff.

Donald Trump is the only guy in this who had actual declassification authority.  Yet he’s the only one the FBI raided.

My Spidey Sense tell me there’s something else going on here.

By Bill Joseph. Original at American Liberty PAC

Congress must act before the debt bomb goes off

Today, the national debt is $31.4 trillion. It’s stuck there for the time being, as Congress considers increasing the national debt ceiling, with House Republicans led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) demanding that spending be brought under control. And with good reason.

In 2010, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen told CNN, “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.” He followed with, “And the reason I say that is because the ability for our country to resource our military — and I have a pretty good feeling and understanding about what our national security requirements are — is going to be directly proportional — over time, not next year or the year after, but over time — to help our economy.

“That’s why it’s so important that the economy move in the right direction, because the strength and the support and the resources that our military uses are directly related to the health of our economy over time.”

In 2011, House Republicans insisted that a spending freeze accompany any raising of the debt limit. What resulted was something called “sequester” which succeeded in lowering U.S. government spending from a then record-high of $3.6 trillion in 2011 to $3.45 trillion in 2013. Our nation’s deficit dropped from $1.3 trillion in 2011 to $441 billion in 2015.  

By 2019, the deficit had increased to $983 billion as spending jumped to $4.45 trillion – a full trillion dollars in the six years from its bottoming out earlier that decade.

Then COVID hit and the resulting government shutdown and other economically impacting interventions caused havoc. The government, on a bi-partisan basis, decided that the taxpayers should provide a stop-gap to the temporarily disastrous impacts of COVID to the overall economy and to individuals who found themselves unemployed or their businesses shuttered. And naturally, spending jumped by an additional $2 trillion dollars to a record high of $6.55 trillion.  

In 2021, spending jumped again to $6.82 trillion, followed by a meager reduction to $6.27 trillion in 2022 even though COVID spending had largely run its course.  The budget deficit in 2022 remained at near record levels of $1.38 trillion even though revenues received by the federal government reached $4.9 trillion (a massive jump of almost $1.5 trillion from three years earlier in 2019.)  

There is simply no reason to retain COVID levels of spending in 2023.  And it would be economic suicide to continue to pretend that deficits don’t matter.  

Incredibly, if Congress as part of a debt ceiling deal simply reset spending in America to a 15 percent increase above the 2019 level, they would authorize $5.1 trillion. If 2023 revenues increase by just over 4 percent, you would balance the budget immediately.  

Is this possible?  Probably not because Democrats would be loath to cut their spending increases for non-defense purposes and many Republicans would not agree to rollback defense spending increases agreed to over the past three years.  

But the purpose of this numbers exercise is to demonstrate a possible pathway to balance that doesn’t take forty years to achieve.  

The more likely deal would be around $5.7 trillion in spending, knowing that $400 billion of the deficit consists of one-time student loan forgiveness spending and approximately another $100 billion was Ukraine spending.  This deal would effectively cut the deficit in half in 2023. If coupled with an agreed to one percent a year across the board cut for three years in non-mandatory spending, our nation would be on a sustainable pathway to balance.  

In an age where urging that the debt ceiling increase legislation be used to tackle the deficit is termed “economic terrorism” by the current occupant of the Oval office, there is a relatively painless way forward.  

I recognize that spending is not as simple as described above as mandatory spending will skyrocket due to the 8.7 percent cost of living increase Congress voted Social Security recipients to offset inflation as well as increased numbers of retirees.   When this is combined with the increased cost of servicing the national debt due to likely interest rate hikes on the approximately $8 trillion of US Treasuries that will need to be issued this year (some due to new debt, the rest due to rolling over existing debt,) the chickens of our profligate spending spree are coming home to roost.  

There is a national emergency and it is our spiraling national debt.  The debt ceiling law was put in place to force Congress and the President to deal with deficit spending periodically.  We will have this discussion about the debt and what to do about it because of this law.  Demanding steps to lower deficit spending and putting a pathway toward a balanced budget in place is what the spirit of the debt limit law demands. 

And those demonizing members of Congress for standing up to the big spending special interests and fighting to save our country from fiscal ruin, should come clean and argue in favor of trillion dollar budget deficits as good national policy rather than playing the cowardly game of name calling.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government. 

To view online: https://dailytorch.com/2023/01/congress-must-act-before-the-debt-bomb-goes-off/

Why Special Counsel Should Expand Probe to Penn Biden Center’s China Ties

The office building housing the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement is seen in Washington on Monday. Classified documents were found at an office there previously used by President Joe Biden. 

President Joe Biden has had a difficult time explaining the increasing number of classified documents found at his home and at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in the nation’s capital established in coordination with the University of Pennsylvania. 

The National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, first flagged the fact that some $60 million in donations from Chinese-connected entities were donated to the University of Pennsylvania for the Penn Biden Center. 

The new special counsel named to investigate Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified information, Robert Hur, should expand his investigation to include China’s connections with the Penn Biden Center, National Legal and Policy Center counsel Paul Kamenar told The Daily Signal. 

The watchdog group already has provided information to theHouse Oversight and Accountability Committee, as well as to the newly established House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, Kamenar said. But watchdog groups and the press only can request information under the Freedom of Information Act, and at best litigate if government agencies don’t comply. 

Both a special counsel and a congressional committee can compel cooperation. 

Kamenar joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the classified documents discovered at the Penn Biden Center and the president’s private home in Delaware; the China connection; where Biden’s son Hunter fits into all of this; and how the Justice Department, the National Archives, and the intelligence community have treated the Biden classified documents case differently than the documents case of former President Donald Trump.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Fred Lucas: I am here with Paul Kamenar. He is the counsel for the National Legal and Policy Center, which was the first watchdog organization to really jump in on the Penn Biden Center. Thanks for joining us, Paul.

Paul Kamenar: Thank you for having me, Fred.

Lucas: You were the first to really expose that the Penn Biden Center had these China ties with the $60 million in donations from China entities. Do you think the stakes are higher now with this classified document investigation being tied back to this organization?

Kamenar: Oh, sure. Absolutely. Yes, the National Legal and Policy Center, we’ve been investigating the Biden Center for the last several years, and in May 2020, we filed a complaint with the Department of Education that the University of Pennsylvania wasn’t fully disclosing the donations they received from China, from entities within China. 

And at that time, they were receiving approximately some $63 million, of which $22 million was marked as anonymous. They did list, for the other donations, the name of the entity within China that was giving the money, whether it was a Chinese bank or some other institution there, that all these corporations and entities are connected, of course, to the Chinese Communist Party. 

So yeah, we’ve been on that. And then of course, since our complaint filed in 2020, there’s been, I think, another $20 million or so that University of Pennsylvania has received up to July 2022, which was the last date of the reporting period, that university, as well as all universities have to report to the Department of Education money they’re getting from foreign sources.

Lucas: All right. Is this something that you think the special counsel, his role is to investigate the mishandling of classified documents, but is this something that his investigation could expand into?

Kamenar: Well, yeah. It certainly can. He’s charged by [Attorney General] Merrick Garland to investigate the classified documents. As we know, several of them were found at the Biden Center, and there’s a whole issue of how they got there and why [President Joe] Biden hired expensive private attorneys on Nov. 2 to move his office after being in the White House for almost two years. That makes no sense at all. 

But yeah, the special counsel can get into that China connection, but I think if he does that, he would need to go back to Merrick Garland and ask for an expansion of his charter or jurisdiction to get into that. 

I recall that’s how it kind of happened when Robert Mueller was a special counsel looking into the Russian hoax issues, and he was looking at Paul Manafort. And Paul Manafort, he found out, was having some tax problems with his connection with Ukraine and so forth.

And so that was not the Russian hoax, it was back taxes back even before [Donald] Trump decided to run. So what Mueller did is went back to Rod Rosenstein, who was the deputy attorney general, and said, “Hey, I’m uncovering some other possible criminal activity. Will you please give me the authority to go after Paul Manafort on his back tax issue?” Which he did, and of course he was convicted. 

So yes, the current special counsel, Robert Hur—who, by the way, is not on the job yet, which is kind of interesting. It’s still being handled by John Lausch, the U.S. attorney in Illinois, because he’s the one that oversaw the investigation this weekend at Biden’s home.

But anyway. Yeah, it can expand into the China connection. But even if it doesn’t, James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, has already sent out a letter to the University of Pennsylvania on Friday asking for a lot of stuff about all their Chinese donations, all the connections and emails about that, about who had access to the Biden Center and so forth and so on. So one way or another, the Chinese money connection will be exposed on this.

Now, the University of Pennsylvania has been playing coy with us and the media by denying that the Biden Center receives any China money. Their standard line that they’ve been spewing for the last couple years is, “We do not solicit money to the Biden Center from China. Period.” Well, yeah, but when you start passing that statement, that very well may be true, that you don’t solicit money directly to the Biden Center, but China has not given the University of Pennsylvania all these millions of dollars for their music department. No. 

It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out that they’re giving the money to the University of Pennsylvania to run their China programs, and they have several of them. And the Biden Center is part of that program that they have that’s called Penn Global.

And at their one China Summit back in January 2020 at the University of Pennsylvania, they had their annual China Summit kicked off with the ambassador from China, the consul general from New York, went down to Philly, was their keynote speaker, and sitting at the roundtable there was a representative of the Biden Center. And they’re all talking about how we can get along with China and this, that, and the other thing. Of course, this is just as the COVID broke, but there was not an area, a bad word about how China was the source of the COVID pandemic to begin with.

So that’s why the National Legal and Policy Center, after digging deeper into the China connection with the Biden Center and with Hunter Biden, we also filed a complaint with the Department of Justice that both Hunter Biden and the Biden Center have to register as foreign agents of China under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. So there’s the connection there that we’re making, and the Justice Department won’t confirm or deny that they’re working on that complaint. 

But again, that’s something that, hopefully, with a new Congress, Republicans taking charge, they’ll have Merrick Garland testify and will hopefully get to the bottom of all this China connection with not only the University of Pennsylvania, but China connection with the Biden Center and with Hunter Biden, who we know is getting millions of dollars from the Chinese energy company there for his services, etc.

Lucas: Yeah, that’s one thing I was going to ask. And following up on whether the special counsel should expand the probe into the Penn Biden Center and that China money, that there wouldn’t necessarily be anything illegal about those donations, however, what the legal matter would be is whether the Penn Biden Center and Hunter Biden should be registered as foreign agents, right?

Kamenar: Well, yeah, but that’s illegal if they’re not. In fact, right now, Hunter Biden is under investigation by the U.S. attorney in Delaware for back taxes that he’s owed, that he evaded of some $2 million. And that’s been under investigation for the last couple years. But that also includes whether he should have registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department.

And we’ve been calling, as others, that, “Hey, why don’t you have a special counsel for Hunter Biden? Why is that being handled in-house at the Justice Department?” So there’s a question there, whether that U.S. attorney will do a full investigation and prosecution of Hunter Biden in that separate matter. Now, it may dovetail with what the special counsel’s doing, and they may get together and compare notes and swap information in their investigation. 

So one way or the other, Hunter Biden and a Chinese connection in the Biden Center is going to come to light, whether it’s through the special counsel, whether it’s through this U.S. attorney in Delaware, or more likely, with the House Oversight Committee, as well as a special select committee, as has been set up on the China connection here. And that’s being chaired by Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher. 

And so there’s multiple house committees that are investigating this whole thing with China and Hunter Biden and the Biden Center.

Lucas: Yeah. Do you expect the NLPC will be working and providing information to the committees, the Oversight Committee and the select China committee?

Kamenar: Oh, yes. In fact, we already have. We’re in contact with the House Oversight Committee and we’re sharing our information with them, and hopefully we will be able to help them find out where some of the dead bodies are, so to speak, and what avenues they should look at. They’re doing a good job, but we need to get more information and also get the actual funding sources from the University of Pennsylvania in terms of how the Biden Center is funded.

We need to see their internal financial documents because they could truthfully say, “Oh, we don’t solicit money for the Biden Center. So, Congressman Comer, we have nothing to give you on that. We don’t have any documents about soliciting,” but then we have to make them dig another layer deeper on that and follow the money. And then there, of course, the $900,000 that Joe Biden received as a honorary professor after he left the White House in 2017. And for that, he gave just a half-dozen lectures and appearances.

So the question is, where did that money come from? The University of Pennsylvania say, “Well, that came out of our General Treasury.” Well, we have to see about that or whether they dipped into a separate account that had a lot of the Chinese money in there. But we’ll get to the bottom of it one way or the other because there’s a lot of, as they say, “Follow the money.” And that’s what we hope to do here.

Lucas: Yeah. I wondered, what are your thoughts on the special counsel Robert Hur? Some say he’s got a really good reputation in putting away crooked Maryland politicians, but at the same time, others fear that he’s part of the DOJ swamp. Do you have any thoughts either way?

Kamenar: Yeah, he is part of the old boy network here. I mean, he has got good credentials, etc. Couple things about that. First of all, he was appointed a couple weeks ago, and yet he hasn’t been on the job yet, which, I’ve scratched my head because the search of Biden’s home on Friday that uncovered a bunch of documents was by the FBI, that was done under the auspices of the U.S. attorney, John Lausch, who was initially appointed in the end of December, early January to do a preliminary investigation. And after he did that, he went back to Merrick Garland and Merrick Garland said, “OK, you gave me enough evidence I need to appoint a special counsel.”

So on Jan. 11, basically almost two weeks ago, he appointed Robert Hur. But the questions were, why isn’t Robert Hur conducting this investigation of the search of Biden’s house over the weekend? Why is Lausch still handling it? There’s no clear answer to that. 

I know Lausch is a current U.S. attorney in Illinois, but he’s leaving to go to private practice. That’s why he, just say, “Hey, I don’t want to be involved anymore. You better appoint a special counsel.” And then Robert Hur, he’s is currently in private practice. So I don’t know what’s taking him so long to get on the job and open up shop here in D.C. So there is some transition going on there.

But Robert Hur also has some complaints about him because during the Mueller investigation in the Russian hoax, he was basically a liaison between Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, who was the deputy attorney general that oversaw the Russian investigation. Because as we know, Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from that whole thing because it involved things dealing with the campaign that he worked with Trump on.

So Congressman [Devin] Nunes and Kash Patel have some complaints about Robert Hur because he was involved in getting some subpoenas against Nunes’ staff, etc., on this Russian hoax thing. So there’s some interesting background with Robert Hur being closely affiliated with the Robert Mueller hoax and investigation. So we’ll have to see how this shakes out. 

But what we’re doing now is calling upon Robert Hur to finally get on the job please and then also search the University of Delaware. Because over the weekend, as we learned, there were some documents that they found at Biden’s home that dated back to when he was a senator.

And so the question is, well, if you found some of his Senate documents at home, I bet you’ll find some more of those in the 1,800 boxes that he shipped over to the University of Delaware back in 2009 that is to be his, so to speak, Senate library, etc. 

Now those documents are under seal. The University of Delaware has a deal with Joe Biden that they won’t allow anybody to look at those documents until two years after Biden leaves the White House. And Biden doesn’t want anybody to see what’s in there.

But of course, the Justice Department can go in any time they want. Because Biden himself can say tomorrow, “Hey, Justice Department, Robert Hur, yeah, go look at my Senate records, have fun going through my 1,800 boxes,” and see what they find, whether there’s some classified documents that are there. And I wouldn’t be surprised because if he’s got some of them at his home, right, it’s likely that he got some of those in his Senate files that he shipped over to the University of Delaware.

Lucas: Right. And a special counsel is not really going to care that much about whatever agreement the university has with the president.

Kamenar: No, that’s right. And in fact, Biden will be forced to allow him to do that because, as we know, they searched his home, which they called a “consensual search.” Well, yeah, consensual. And that’s because the FBI went to Biden’s attorneys and said, “Hey, we need to search Biden’s home. I know you private attorneys did that, came up with some documents, but we don’t trust you guys did a good job. So we want to search the home. Is that OK?” Well, what’s Biden going to say? If he says no, then a subpoena is sent out, a search warrant is sent out. 

That’s what happens all the time. When the FBI searches corporation offices, whatever, they contact the attorneys and they say, “Hey, there’s some crime we think is going on. We want to search your office, your records. You want to consent to that?” And everybody knows, like, well, if you say no, they’re going to get a search warrant.

So that was a hammer over Biden’s head, so he had no choice but to consent to it. But then he comes out and makes it look to the public, “Oh, we’re cooperating. See, we said to the FBI, ‘Please come in, blah, blah, blah.’” Well, they had to do that, otherwise a search warrant would have been issued, and then they would be right back square in the same boat as Donald Trump was when they had to do a search warrant. So they would lose that argument that, “Oh, we’re different than the Trump people because we invited the FBI in there.” Well, yes and no. 

So anyway, the next thing we want them to do is to search the Biden documents at the University of Delaware. They’d be really derelict in their duties if they did not. And there’s also a couple other places that they should search.

First of all, they should go back to the Biden Center. Recall that the private attorneys uncovered documents back on Nov. 2 at the Biden Center. And then they started to go at the house and the garage, and they found some. But as we know, they did a bad job at the house. And that’s why the FBI went in and found some more. Well, I submit they also probably did a bad job at the Biden Center back on Nov. 2. So the FBI needs to go back there and not only search Biden’s office within the Biden Center that his attorneys did, but search the whole Biden Center. 

There’s 14,000 square feet of office space that they have here downtown in the shadow of the Capitol building. And other people in the administration had their offices there, including Antony Blinken, who was the managing director of the Biden Center and now is our secretary of state. And he was also an aide to Biden when Biden was a vice president. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Tony Blinken was looking at some foreign policy classified documents. So they need to search his old office there as well. 

And I’m still scratching my head as to, again, why Biden hired private attorneys to, as he said, “clear out my office in the Biden Center.” This is almost two years after he occupied the White House. Why did he wait so long to say, “Oh, I need to move my office out of the Biden Center”? And why did he hire expensive private attorneys to do that rather than call up the Biden staff and their interns and say, “Hey, can you clear out my office and send that stuff to my home in Delaware?” That would’ve been the normal course.

And now we learned that when they did clear out his office on Nov. 2, they didn’t really do that. They apparently stopped searching and clearing out once they got some of these classified documents. And then now we learned that some of the stuff was sent up to one of his private attorneys, this guy by the name of Patrick Moore, and his law office is in Boston. So there’s some maybe documents there that need to be searched. 

I mean, this is like a scavenger hunt here, Fred. We got to find out where all the documents are. And then there was a temporary Penn Biden Center that was located here in town near Chinatown. That’s kind of coincidental, the location, because the Biden Center offices right now weren’t prepared back then and ready to move in, so they had a temporary office midtown D.C. before they moved to the Penn Biden Center, which is at 101 Constitution Avenue. 

And then of course there’s another place they should search. There’s probably nothing there, but after Biden left the White House in 2017, he rented a huge mansion, 12,000 square foot in McLean, Virginia. A place that had the sauna, the swimming pool, can hold 20 cars in the parking lot in the front there. And it was owned by Mark Ein … who’s a big Democratic donor, owner of D.C.’s women’s professional tennis organization. Kastle is the name of the company. So there’s stuff maybe there. 

Anyway, so you got multiple locations that have to be searched by the special counsel. But again, the bigger thing I think we need to get to the bottom is the China money connection and Hunter Biden on this.

Lucas: Right? Yeah. And yeah, as you were saying, I think there was this lapse in time after Biden left as vice president, before the Biden Center even opened up. So there was someone moving these classified documents and handling—they may or may not have been authorized to even handle these documents. So that’s opens up even another potential crime, right?

Kamenar: Well, yeah. In fact, his attorneys who first found the documents at the Biden Center, they realized that they didn’t have clearance and therefore they contacted the White House counsel, who does have clearance to come by the Biden Center office. And that’s when they took the documents and said, “Oops, we better turn this over to the National Archives.”

And then after that, his private attorneys went to the house in Wilmington, but it was the same private attorneys that didn’t have clearance. And when they uncovered some more documents in the garage, they did another oopsie and called the White House Counsel Office and say, “Hey, you better get over here because you have clearance and we don’t.” This whole thing was amateur hour, the way the whole thing was run, and none of this adds up.

And so, yeah, they’ve also investigated, or at least talked to this woman who’s now at the Defense Department, who apparently was one of Biden’s aides while he was vice president, Kathy Chung, who Hunter Biden had known and recommended her to work for his dad in the White House. And she was apparently one of the people that helped move Biden’s documents out of the White House to, well, at least there was a temporary transition office that [the General Services Administration] had across the street from the executive office building where Biden had his vice presidential offices, so there was some documents stored there first. 

So they’re all over the place. It’s hard to find out, but hopefully these committees and the special counsel will get to the bottom of it.

Lucas: OK. Yeah. And in terms of distinguishing this from the Biden classified document case and the Trump classified document case, we’ve done some reporting here that the National Archives, they’re not commenting generally at all on the Biden classified documents. And that agency was sort of a public statement cannon during the Trump investigation. They sent out something like 10 public statements regarding the Trump document issues.

Kamenar: Yeah—

Lucas: Yeah, go ahead. Oh, yeah. And I was going to say, similarly, the Office of Director of National Intelligence, they launched a national security risk assessment regarding the Trump documents. Doesn’t look like they’re doing the same for Biden. And just wanted to talk to you about the difference in how … and not to mention how the Justice Department has handled this whole matter. 

Kamenar: Yeah, yeah, you’ve got a good point there with respect to the National Archives. In fact, Congressman James Comer, the chairman of the Oversight Committee who’s investigating all this, he sent a letter out to the National Archives earlier last week drilling down on exactly that, in terms of how they’re handling the Biden classified documents compared to how they handled it with respect to Donald Trump and whether or not there’s some bias going on there.

And even the Democrats have called for the fact that they need a risk assessment, in terms of, what were these classified documents about? What information did they contain? And was our national security at risk? So even Mark Warner, the Democratic senator from Virginia, has called for an assessment from the DNI and the intelligence community to give Congress assessment because that’s part of what they’re supposed to do. And so far, we haven’t heard much of anything about that.

Lucas: I think that’s all I have. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our listeners on this point?

Kamenar: No, I think we’ve covered basically everything so far. So it’s just a matter for the House committee to keep doing it, because I’m sure what’s going to happen is Merrick Garland and the special counsel will try to tell the House, “Oh, don’t investigate this. We’re working on possible criminal charges and you’re going to interfere with our investigation.” And that, I think, is not a valid argument.

The Congress is not taking its orders from the executive branch or separate branch under our government. Congress has, basically, plenary oversight power to investigate anything they want. And if it comes down to whether there’s a criminal problem, they can also give immunity—if they think it’s necessary—to witnesses who they subpoena before the committee, because I’m sure some of them will say, “Oh, no, I hereby take the fifth.” Robert Hur is investigating this. Well, if it’s something that we think the public should know, the committee can give immunity. But I don’t think they should simply stop their investigation just because the special counsel is now investigating it.

 Lucas: Paul Kamenar with National Legal and Policy Center, thanks for joining us.

Kamenar: Thank you, Fred. My pleasure.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.  

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

Fred Lucas is chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal. Lucas is also the author of  “The Myth of Voter Suppression: The Left’s Assault on Clean Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Original here. Reproduced with permission.

Trump rushes to Pence’s defense

Former Vice President Mike Pence informed Congress on Tuesday that he discovered documents bearing classified markings from his time as vice president in his Carmel, Indiana, home on Jan. 16. According to his team, Pence informed the National Archives on Jan. 18 that a small number of potential classified documents were found in two small boxes. Another two boxes contained copies of vice presidential papers. The National Archives then informed the FBI, per standard procedure.

And just look what President Trump said over on Truth Social

Federal Reserve still on target to hike interest rates…

as M2 money supply begins to decrease as the inflation tax becomes the interest rate tax

After accommodating the greatest monetary expansion in American history during Covid production slowdowns, lockdowns and temporary pandemic unemployment the American people found themselves in 2020, in which the Federal Reserve set interest rates to near-zero and the M2 money supply increased by about $6 trillion, the past year, the Federal Reserve has been slowing down its purchases of treasuries and hiking interest rates.

As a result of the tightening, the M2 money supply has actually begun to decrease from $22.05 trillion in April 2022 to its current level of $21.37 trillion, about a 3.1 percent decline. The decrease is modest in comparison to the initial expansion: it went from $15.3 trillion at the end of 2019 to the peak of $21.37 trillion, a 39. 7 percent increase.

The impact of the production halts and lockdowns, coupled with the monetary stimulus, was inflation, which peaked at about 9 percent in June 2022. Literally too much money chasing too few goods. 

Now we’re on the other side of the peak inflation—for now as the 12-month inflation number is at 6.4 percent now—and so now the economy is looking to correct itself.

Historically, decreases in the money supply have an implied deflation attached to it. Sure enough, on the inflation front, prices are cooling. Too much deflation, and you get recessions, in some cases really bad ones like the Great Depression and the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Which is why, after both the Great Depression and then the Great Inflation of the 1970s, policy makers have opted for price stability as the conditions that foster the most sustainable economic growth, aiming for a 2 percent inflation target. The Fed’s policy instruments always included interest rates and treasuries purchases. Mortgage-backed securities were added to the mix in 2008 and 2009 by former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and massive quantitative easing.

In the current cycle, the Fed is still hiking interest rates in a bid to knock inflation back down to 2 percent. That means more tightening. If it comes amid dollar strengthening simultaneously, it could hit asset prices pretty hard, but as it is, the dollar has been weakening the past several weeks as investors sell off higher interest rate treasuries, which recently peaked at 4.2 percent in October. As of this writing, they’re about 3.5 percent.

As it is, the Fed’s policy rate is now effectively 4.1 percent.

But as further Fed interest rate hikes are tallied up, that can once again put upward pressure on treasuries and mortgage interest rates, until inflation crashes and then interest rates subside (at which point the Fed historically begins easing again). If banks have to borrow more to buy treasuries, even if only to sell them again on the secondary market, it increases the costs in dealing treasuries, which can drive rates higher. Interest rates would have risen anyway, so what the Fed does in business cycles is to accommodate but also to regulate that process to prevent unintended outcomes such as debt deflation.

Whether it’s a hard landing or a soft landing for the U.S. economy, that still means that upheavals in labor markets could still be ahead of us. All other factors, such as the inverted 10-year, 2-year spread, recent decreases in the Gross Domestic Product, the runup and then slowdown of inflation presently being seen and peak employment by the historically low 3.5 percent unemployment, all point to a business cycle that has ended. Usually that means recessions.

But with the Baby Boomer retirement wave still washing over the U.S. economy, any volatility in labor markets might be muted. On the other hand, the retirement wave was already underway in 2020, and when the Covid asteroid hit the global economy, U.S. labor markets temporarily lost 25 million jobs in the blink of an eye. So, the possibility of a larger event—perhaps brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—still looms.

The truth is, with all of the flocks of black swans flying around these days, there is still massive uncertainty in markets about both the impacts of Fed tightening, the cooling of inflation and future outlooks. With prices still elevated and now interest rates higher, the costs of debt service will eat into household budgets—which, by the way, is how the money supply gets destroyed. We printed all that money for Covid and now the pandemic is over.

Now comes the tax.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

To view online: https://dailytorch.com/2023/01/federal-reserve-still-on-target-to-hike-interest-rates-as-m2-money-supply-begins-to-decrease-as-the-inflation-tax-becomes-the-interest-rate-tax/

Is this former Dukakis Aide Biden’s Puppet Master?

It’s obvious the President Joe Biden struggles with his position in the Oval Office everyday. So who’s really in control inside the White House?

Bill O’Reilly says, Susan Rice “is the person that’s telling him what to do.” What do we really know about Susan Rice?

Bill breaks down her political rise to power.

Doublespeak Prevails In The New ‘Mostly World’

Image George Orwell

In addition to writing one of the seminal novels of the 20th Century in 1984, British writer George Orwell was an accomplished linguist. In his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, he sized up the language of politics as the practice of designing something “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” 

Lewis Carroll put it perhaps less eloquently, but no less accurately, in Through the Looking Glass – “When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”  

A perfect example of Orwell’s and Carroll’s pithy observations was displayed last weekend when a freelance write named David Peisner, described the torching of a police cruiser and smashing of bank and storefronts in Atlanta by a group of eco-terrorists angry about the construction of a public safety training center in a wooded area just outside the city, as something — anything — other than “violence.” His sophomoric rambling was defended by a pedigreed CNN national security analyst with gobbledygook of her own.

Though not alone among media outlets in its pursuit of linguistic fluidity, CNN in particular has made a practice in recent years of describing scenes of destructive rioting as “mostly peaceful,” and in fact not even meeting the network’s threshold of being “violent” in the first place; as in its 2020 coverage of widespread disturbances in Kenosha, Wisconsin following a police shooting.

CNN’s practice of torturously twisting language in order to avoid calling violence “violence” may be premised on the fact that the network disagrees with the underlying acts or the reasons behind the disturbances. Whatever the reason for describing hoards of individuals burning cars and buildings as “mostly peaceful,” the phenomenon opens the doorway to a new lens with which to view the world, or at least one’s place in it – the “Mostly World.”

In the Mostly World, for example, grades are meaningless. So long as a student is able to claim with a straight face that their answers to the test or assignment are “mostly correct,” they pass and eventually graduate. 

The “mostly” auto mechanic invoices are to be paid so long as the work performed was largely completed.

Restaurant fare must be accepted by patrons if the waiter affirms that the meals have been prepared “mostly” according to customers’ stated preferences. 

Elections at all levels in this brave, new Mostly World hinge not on which candidate secures the majority of votes as actually cast and counted, but based on who asserts their claim to “most” of the votes received. 

“Mostly” currency is no longer tethered to hard value such as gold or even to balanced government spending, since to do so would require absolute valuation rather than the far more flexible approach to economics and budgeting practiced in this new environment.

The legal system, including both civil and criminal proceedings, has essentially nullified the need for juries, with decisions of life or death, right or wrong, and divorce or marriage determined by which verdict “mostly” satisfies the decision-maker. Grand juries would be prohibited from issuing an indictment for perjury so long as “most” of the answers demanded of a witness are truthful. 

And, of course, there would be no unlawful riots or “violent” demonstrations or disagreements so long as “most” people did not join in such goings on.

Oaths previously required of judges, legislators, cabinet officials, and even presidents no longer are necessary in the Mostly World, as they are predicated on adherence to defined codes of conduct and legal responsibility. Principles of “honesty” and “truth” no longer can be demanded, as the requisite certainty and consistency on which they are founded does not fit within the resilient parameters of the Mostly World.

The decennial census no longer becomes necessary as otherwise mandated by the Constitution. All that is required, indeed all that can be done is a reasonable estimate of the population, whether individuals of either legal or illegal status.

Even the Congress becomes a far less-structured venue in which issues are debated and votes taken on the fly, and with attendance no longer mandatory since “mostly” attendance or majorities are all that is required. Presidential statements and speeches are evaluated and judged only on whether they reflect mostly what may be true or accurate.

Come to think of it, we already are living in the Mostly World. 

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.

Why we should care about China’s shrinking population

For the first time in six decades, the most populous country in the world has a shrinking population

Michael Cunningham, a research fellow in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, says “this is a crisis that’s been decades in the making” and it will likely shock the global economy. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

“Really since at least the 1990s China has known that its population was going to decline,” Cunningham says. “For decades it has had this draconian policy, this population control policy. For most of the time, it was people were limited to one child only, and so in many cases, they would fine people if they had more than one child.”

“In some cases, authorities at the local level would sterilize people, force them to have abortions and so they’re controlling it this entire time. For all these years, the population growth rate was really high and then it just plummets,” he says. 

Cunningham continues: 

And then it has now reached this time where they have negative population growth. We’ve never had a country then go from negative population growth up to the replacement level, so it is a crisis.

China is going to have to deal with it for the foreseeable future.

Cunningham joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss more about China’s shrinking population, why it will almost certainly impact the global economy, and the Middle Kingdom’s battle against COVID-19. 

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Samantha Aschieris. Joining today’s podcast is Michael Cunningham. He’s a research fellow focusing on China in the Asian Studies Center here at The Heritage Foundation. Michael, thanks for joining us again.

Michael Cunningham: Thanks for having me again.

Aschieris: Of course. Now, you and I have talked about China and the Chinese Communist Party in the past a lot. And what I want to talk to you about today are these recent reports that China’s population is shrinking. Now, The New York Times reports that more than 9.5 million people were born in China last year, whereas just under 10.5 million people died. First and foremost, what’s the significance of these numbers and China’s population shrinking?

Cunningham: Yeah, so, this is a crisis that’s been decades in the making. Really since at least the 1990s China has known that its population was going to decline. For decades it has had this draconian policy, this population-control policy. For most of the time it was people were limited to one child only. And so in many cases it was, they would fine people if they had more than one child. In some cases, authorities at the local level would sterilize people, force them to have abortions. And so they’re controlling it this entire time. 

For all these years, the population growth rate was really high and then it just plummets. And then it has now reached this time where they have negative population growth. We’ve never had a country then go from negative population growth up to the replacement level so it is a crisis. China is going to have to deal with it for the foreseeable future.

Aschieris: And I also wanted to talk more about what is contributing to this. You brought up the one-child policy and the CNN article that I was reading talked about changing attitudes toward marriage and family among Chinese youth, among the challenges of raising children in China’s expensive cities. What else are you seeing contributing to this problem?

Cunningham: Yeah, so, I think those are the biggest issues. Now, countries, societies, when they become developed, they generally, the population, the birth rate goes down. And we see that happening in Japan, we see it in South Korea and Taiwan. These are all societies that do not have any population control in effect, but their growth rates declined precipitously as they developed. 

Now, in China, what the Chinese government did was expedite that through the one-child policy and they essentially—we’re not just talking about limiting people to one child. We’re talking about a propaganda push about traditionally the Chinese want a big family, they want to carry on the family name, and they had to exterminate that part of their culture in order to have an easier time enforcing the population controls. 

And so what we’ve seen is, in addition to the economic drivers of this changing culture, we also have the government that has essentially forced their culture to change. And the government now wants them to have more children and the people, frankly, don’t want to.

Aschieris: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit more about what the response has been from the Chinese Communist Party to these reports that came out?

Cunningham: Well, so, the CCP has known for quite some years that they’re going to have this problem. And so it’s no surprise to them. I mean, they released their population figures. So no surprise to them. 

In the last decade, they have relaxed their population controls. Now, population controls generally are just such an artificial thing. I mean, who would’ve thought of controlling how many children someone can have? But of course, the CCP thinks of it. And instead of responding to the earlier indications that they were about to have a crisis by just completely scrapping their controls, they eased it from one child to two children and some people had the second child. And they eased it from two children to three children. And people aren’t really having more children, for the most part.

Now they’re trying to incentivize people to have more children. They’re trying to pressure people into having more children. And frankly, a lot of people are tired in China. “One day you’re going to force me to have an abortion. Now you’re trying to pressure me into having more children. What am I, a machine?” That’s literally the type of social media rhetoric you—

Aschieris: Oh, wow. That’s interesting.

Cunningham: … see from women in China.

Aschieris: Yeah, definitely flip the script, essentially, on their messaging. And one other thing, we’ve been seeing different reports talking about the different implications for not only China itself, but also the world in relation to this, the shrinking population. Obviously, China plays a huge role in the global economy, so can you talk more about how this could have an impact outside of China?

Cunningham: Yeah, certainly. Well, first of all, I would say in China—because what affects the Chinese economy now affects the world. China used to say about America, “When America sneezes, the world catches cold.” You can definitely say that about China and the Chinese economy. 

And so what we have now is we are going to increasingly have insufficient working-age people to take care of the elderly people in China. Now, we’re already seeing a significant decrease in the number of unskilled workers in China, both because of their improving education levels and the developing economy, but also because of the decreasing population.

So, China being the workshop of the world for various reasons is ending gradually and the population decline is going to contribute to this. 

I would say one thing though, I have seen some speculation that the population decline is a crisis that China is going to have to respond to by either to divert attention or because it’s worried it’s not going to have enough soldiers in the future, that it’s going to make it more belligerent in the near term. I would say that is not the case, both because China is still—I think the U.N. projects that its population will fall by 45% by the end of the century, which is massive, but it’s still going to be a very large country. So I think the other thing is very unlikely. 

I mean, this really affects China’s strategic thinking when, if it’s increasingly going to, … especially initially, it’s moving to the point where if it were to, say, have to fight a war for whatever reason, they’re putting their working-age young men on the line, dying in battle, and it’s going to be even fewer people they have to take care of the elderly.

Aschieris: Now, I just want to shift topics a little bit and talk about COVID-19 and then what’s been going on in China. We saw these reports, specifically CNBC reporting that just about 60,000 people with COVID-19 in China have died in a hospital since the country lifted its “zero-COVID” policy in December. Of those deaths, a little over 5,000 were because of respiratory failure due to COVID, while the rest were a combination of COVID and other diseases, according to that same CNBC article. 

So let’s talk about this. I mean, is this a reality, very unfortunate reality, that the Chinese government and its people are going to have to live with moving forward, dealing with COVID?

Cunningham: Well, first of all, let me talk about those figures. Those are the figures they got from the Chinese government.

Aschie: OK. Yeah.

Cunningham: Those figures are completely made up. The real death toll is probably more like 10 times that at least since they scrapped zero-COVID. What happens is China intentionally deflates these figures. 

And so you mentioned the 5,000 or whatever it was that were classified as COVID deaths. These are people that don’t have any underlying conditions and they died of respiratory failure or pneumonia after contracting COVID-19. 

So just to put it in perspective, I know a lot of people in China and for the first couple years of the pandemic really until 2022, I had never met anyone in China who knew anyone who had gotten COVID-19. Now, I don’t think I know anyone who has not personally gotten it in the last 60 days. And most of the people I talk to either have a relative or someone that they know who has died of the virus in the last 60 days. So huge problem. 

And you ask, “Is this something China, that people are just going to have to live with going forward?” Well, yes, but let’s put it into perspective as well. The Chinese government seems to be intentionally, since scrapping zero-COVID, hoping to have the virus burn through the population as fast as possible so that it can get the country running again, the economy running again. I think it wants to do that before March when the annual legislative session is set to be held in Beijing. 

But eventually, whether it’s after this first wave or after a second wave, eventually it’s going to become more like the U.S. and the rest of the world where people have had so much exposure to the virus that it’s probably going to be less disruptive. And those with serious underlying conditions, unfortunately, will have passed away and it’s going to cause less disruption and less fear going forward after we get through this current crisis.

Aschieris: Well, Michael, thank you so much for joining us. Just before we go, do you have any final thoughts?

Cunningham: Yeah. I guess the final thought I would have, just putting these two topics together, we talk about the population decline and COVID. Both of these really show the failure of Chinese political campaigns. And that’s really one thing I think that the Chinese government and much of the world has bought into, this narrative for, really before COVID hit, this narrative that it’s a no-nonsense government that is just practical and makes decisions based on science and based on facts.

And what we really see happening here is the CCP is still the same party that it was when Mao Zedong launched the Great Leap Forward and created the worst man-made famine in recorded history, the same China that launched the Cultural Revolution. Now, both of these were political campaigns that they could not back out of gracefully, so it just went from one extreme to the other as far as their policy went. 

And we saw the same thing happen with zero-COVID. We saw the same thing happen with the population controls. And in the end, it does affect the government’s legitimacy in a way. But the government will overcome these issues, but it’s the people that are left suffering.

Aschieris: Well, Michael, thank you so much for joining us. We’ll have to have you back on before the annual legislative session in March to talk more about that. I so appreciate you joining us and offering some great insight. Thank you so much.

Cunningham: Thank you, again.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

Samantha Aschieris

Watch the robot break the OSA rules!

Boston Dynamics posted this video saying” “It’s time for Atlas to pick up a new set of skills and get hands on. In this video, the humanoid robot manipulates the world around it: Atlas interacts with objects and modifies the course to reach its goal—pushing the limits of locomotion, sensing, and athleticism.

Then the internet piled on!

Here are the OSA violations lol!

Remember the Miner who spoke up about Green Energy? He’s back with receipts

When John Lee Pettimore spilled the tea about mining for “renewables” he stirred up a hornets nest. We reported it here. Now he’s back with more.

The Thread 🧵

Great now that we are into the ore body now what? Now we have to haul it, crush it, run it through ball mills and chemicals in order to get the final product. This is a picture of typical ball mills used to further crush the rock.

Image
Image

Before we begin the mining process we need drills, shovels, haul trucks, support equipment explosives and manpower. Millions of gallons of fuel, oils and coolants, because without these there is no #GreenEnergy mining.

Analyses show that manufacturing a single battery, one capable of holding energy that is equivalent to one barrel of oil, entails processes that use the energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil.

Image

And if the batteries are manufactured in Asia (as 60% of the world’s batteries are now), more than 60% of the electricity to do so is coal-fired. In 2022, China produced a record amount of coal at 4.496 billion tonnes, which is nine percent more than the year before.

So there you have it. How “green” is an EV? Not very green at all, yet governments around the world are pushing mandates forcing us all to drive one.

Tucker spoofs the Left and he’s on 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Amazon Retires Amazon Smile, What does this mean for conservative causes?

Amazon will retire its charity platform, Amazon Smile, and the Big Tech company aims to replace some of that effort with other charitable programs, but it declined to comment on whether it will continue to systematically exclude conservative and Christian groups from its charitable efforts.

The company announced Wednesday that it will “wind down” Amazon Smile by Feb. 20, 2023, after a round of layoffs. The company determined that the platform, launched in 2013, “has not grown to create the impact we had originally hoped. With so many eligible organizations—more than 1 million globally—our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”

Amazon had previously faced criticism for relying on the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center’s discredited “hate group” accusations to exclude certain conservative and Christian nonprofits from receiving funds on Amazon Smile. When Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., asked then-Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos why Amazon relies on the SPLC, Bezos acknowledged “this is an imperfect system,” but neither Bezos nor current CEO Andy Jassy addressed the issue again.

Amazon PR Manager Patrick Malone told The Daily Signal that this criticism did not impact the decision to terminate Amazon Smile.

“We made this decision based on how we can most impact the communities we serve,” Malone added. “We are shifting our focus to programs that will create a bigger impact in communities across the U.S./U.K./Germany.”

While Amazon Smile allowed Amazon customers to select which charities would receive a cut of the profits of their Amazon purchases, Amazon’s new programs appear to take the decision away from customers.

The press release listed a few charities and communities that Amazon will support, including the company’s “Housing Equity Fund,” its “Amazon Future Engineer” program, food bank and disaster relief programs, and “Community giving.” In that last category, Amazon says it supports “hundreds of local nonprofits doing meaningful work in cities where our employees and their families live,” such as youth sports leagues, community colleges, and homeless shelters.

Malone declined to comment on whether Amazon would continue to use the SPLC’s “hate group” list to exclude certain charities from its programs.

Southern Poverty Law Center 2021 “hate map.”

As I explain in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC took the program it used to bankrupt organizations associated with the Ku Klux Klan and weaponized it against conservative groups, partially in order to scare donors into ponying up cash and partially to silence its ideological opponents. The SPLC places conservative organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and the American Freedom Law Center on a “hate map” along with Ku Klux Klan chapters.

In 2012, a terrorist targeted the Family Research Council’s headquarters in the nation’s capital, entering the lobby with a semiautomatic pistol and then shooting and wounding a guard. The man told the FBI that he found the conservative organization on the SPLC’s “hate map” and intended to kill everyone in the building. The man later pleaded guilty to committing an act of terror and received a 25-year prison sentence. The SPLC condemned the attack, but has kept the Family Research Council on the “hate map” ever since.

After the SPLC fired its co-founder amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal in 2019, a former staffer claimed that the SPLC’s accusations of “hate” are a “cynical fundraising scam” aimed at “bilking northern liberals.” Critics across the political spectrum have voiced opposition and alarm at the “hate group” smears.

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map SPLC
Southern Poverty Law Center 2021 “hate map.”
Many nonpartisan organizations have criticized Amazon for using the SPLC, including the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research, the New Tolerance Campaign, and the Coalition for Jewish Values, a coalition of over 2,000 Orthodox Jewish rabbis.

“Amazon, like so many other companies, has rhetorically embraced ‘stakeholder capitalism,’” Scott Shepard, director of the Free Enterprise Project, told The Daily Signal in a Thursday phone interview. While Amazon Smile “allowed all the customers, all the stakeholders, to contribute in the ways they wished, the lefties who run Amazon didn’t like the distribution.”

Citing the “Housing Equity Fund,” as “coded language for distributing to its favored racial and ethnic groups,” Shepard claimed that Amazon “immediately promised to start providing its giving in racially and ethnically discriminatory ways.”

“Unless Amazon has publicly and absolutely promised not to use the ‘hate’ source of the SPLC, they’ll be going back to using them, just as we already know that they’re taking away this program from individual choice, customer choice, so they can return to partisan left-wing goals,” he added. “If Amazon wants to challenge that characterization in any way, it ought to release the distribution of where customers were sending their money.”

“The Amazon Smile program was problematic from the start,” Gregory T. Angelo, president of the New Tolerance Campaign, told The Daily Signal. “It promoted ‘feel-good shopping,’ but generated minimal revenue for nonprofits. And by using the Southern Poverty Law Center’s discredited ‘hate list’ as a gatekeeper for donations, Amazon alienated customers.”

“It will be interesting to see where Amazon pivots as it seeks to modify its charitable initiatives—the New Tolerance Campaign will be watching,” Angelo added.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, told The Daily Signal that Amazon’s shift seems likely to be worse for conservative nonprofits, even though the company may no longer need to rely on the SPLC.

“If they’re going to be doing direct charitable things, they’re not going to be using SPLC because they’re not even going to talk to conservative charities in the first place,” he said in an in-person interview Thursday. “In their search for equity, they’re being inequitable.”

Tyler O’Neil is managing editor of The Daily Signal and the author of “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center.” Original here. Reproduced with permission.

Has Globalism peaked? Let’s hope so!

Let’s hope so! Watch Jeff and Bob break down this week’s Davos WEF conference and consider whether global elites really have the mechanisms to impose their plans.

Johnny Vedmore’s analysis of Schwab’s origins: Mises.org/HAP379a

Scott Greer says America’s right-want needs to stop dwelling on Schwab: Mises.org/HAP379b

Schwab bragging about penetrating Cabinets: Mises.org/HAP379c

China has 10 years left

The U.S.A Could NUKE Putin’s House

The recent Joe Rogan interview with ex-Stratfor analyst Peter Zaihan. Zeihan is an American geopolitical analyst and author. The man is a fact machine with an overlay of analysis. Watch them both. The second one deals with China.

Where Did All the Workers Go?

In a November 30, 2022, speech on “Inflation and the Labor Market,” Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell blamed most of the 3.5 million estimated shortfall in the US labor force on premature retirements. He also blamed a large portion – between 280,000 and 680,000 – on “long Covid.” In a footnote, however, Powell acknowledged a far more somber factor: an estimated 400,000 unexpected deaths among working age people. 

It’s easy to blame these deaths on Covid-19. The virus is of course one significant cause. But it’s not nearly the only cause, especially among young and middle-age workers. We need better government data transparency to make a full assessment. Until then, we can proceed with others who track mortality for a living – life insurance companies. 

The Great Divide – 2020 vs. 2021

In 2020, Covid-19 took many lives, even among select groups of middle-age people, specifically those with comorbidities such as diabetes. In 2020, Covid did not take very many lives of healthy young and middle-age people – for example, the types of people who are employed at large and mid-size companies and who have group life insurance. As you can see in the chart below, group life insurance benefit payments in 2020 were barely higher than in 2018. 

In 2021, however, group life payments exploded by 20.7 percent over the five year average and by 15 percent over the acute pandemic year of 2020. Why would healthy young and middle-age people suddenly begin dying in large numbers in 2021 when they’d navigated 2020 with relative success?

Especially when we consider that in 2021, the US administered 520 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. Shouldn’t healthy people employed in good jobs with good benefits, now protected with vaccines, have fared better in 2021 than in 2020? Surely, overdoses and suicides have risen in recent years. But those causes of death are less prominent among the group life cohorts in general, and the latest data confirm these were not drivers of the group life surge. Curiously, two of the largest spikes in 2021 came from deadly automobile accidents and non-automobile accidents.

Millennial Mortality

Let’s look at a few of these young adult age groups in more detail. In the charts below, we’ve broken out total all-cause deaths into three groups – 30-34, 35-39, and 40-44. Eyeballing the age group charts alone shows that factors other than Covid-19 itself must have driven large portions of the mortality spike in young and middle-age workers. (We are using official statistics, which likely overstate Covid mortality and understate non-Covid mortality. It’s the best we’ve got for now.)

  • The most important overall point is that 2021 was far worse for young and middle-age people than 2020. 
  • Another key point is that 2022 was also worse than 2020, though not as bad as 2021. 
  • Mortality rates in 2022 were still dramatically higher than the pre-pandemic baseline.
In the three charts above, we estimate 2022* total deaths because November and December are still provisional and subject to upward revisions. We’ve made what we believe are reasonable projections. The % change figures are relative to the 2018-19 average. These are absolute numbers not adjusted for population growth or cohort size.

Covid-19 hit hard in 2020, especially for the old, vulnerable, and comorbid. In other words, Covid-19 took many of the most unhealthy from us in 2020. In principle, therefore, a smaller number unhealthy people might have been susceptible to Covid-19 in 2021 and 2022. High mortality years are often followed by low mortality years. After two successive high mortality years, the third year is even more likely to be low-mortality. For 2022 to be as bad, or somewhat worse, than 2020, is thus a big surprise. Last year’s milder Omicron variants make 2022’s stubbornly high mortality rate even more baffling. 

All-cause mortality is crucial to understand whether public health policies are working. All-cause numbers can also help expose faulty reasoning when overly narrow, overly complicated, or overly clever analyses miss or hide important signals. For example, an analysis which purported to show lockdowns reduced Covid deaths but which neglected to show other deaths rose even more, would not reflect the totality of the policy’s effects. Likewise, a chemotherapy which shrinks tumors but kills patients may be successful in its narrow task yet fail the larger mission. Most analysts and health authorities studiously ignored all-cause over the last three years. The all-cause figures above show our Covid policies were far from successful.

For other purposes, however, it’s helpful and even necessary to drill down on specific causes. Important signals can also be lost in large groupings – Simpson’s paradox, for example, is a common statistical illusion. (Few have dug deeper, with as much specificity, as John Beaudoin, an engineer from Massachusetts who gained access to his state’s digital death records for the last eight years. He shows that specific causes of death spike and fall at important moments and periods. CDC data is not organized with such granularity. More on Beaudoin’s analysis in coming weeks…)

We know that recent years saw an upswing in drug overdoses and suicides, which accelerated with the pandemic lockdowns. Although these troubling trends cannot explain the enormous and unprecedented all-cause mortality seen above, we should attempt to account for them. Likewise, although Covid-19 did not cause all these record deaths, it was a significant factor. 

Employment Aberration

So we dig deeper. If we remove both Covid-19 and unnatural deaths (homicide, suicide, overdose, etc.), we see a dramatic spike of natural, non-Covid-19 deaths among working age people beginning in the spring and summer of 2021. The CDC then stopped publishing the detailed data breaking out these particular categories. 

But we know this trend continued. In fact, it got much worse. The life insurance companies told us so. On a December 30, 2021, videoconference with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, OneAmerica CEO Scott Davison reported with shock:

“And what we saw just in third quarter, we’re seeing it continue into fourth quarter, is that death rates are up 40% over what they were pre-pandemic.”

“40% is just unheard of.”

“It may not all be COVID on their death certificate, but deaths are up just huge, huge numbers.”

Several months later, Lincoln National reported its 2021 payouts were $1.4 billion, versus $548 million in 2020, a 164 percent rise.

As you will remember seeing in our three all-cause charts, August, September, and October of 2021 showed a gigantic upward bubble – the worst ever period of concentrated young and middle-age deaths, at least in modern times. 

Heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, accidents, and many seemingly-inexplicable sudden deaths, which continued into 2022, and now in 2023. Here is the Society of Actuaries November 2022 update, which goes through June 2022. 

Source: Society of Actuaries, Group Life Covid-19 Mortality Survey Report, November 2022.

It’s true that the late summer and fall period of 2021 coincided with the Delta wave in the US, which was more infectious and appeared to be more pathogenic than previous variants. (We’ve suggested the mass vaccination programs may have, by exerting extreme evolutionary pressure, driven convergence onto more infectious, vaccine-evading variants. Brand new research just published in the New England Journal of Medicine continues to bolster our escape variant thesis: Substantial Neutralization Escape by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variants BQ.1.1 and XBB.1.)

Federal officials and the medical establishment, you will recall, argued in 2021 that it was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Even the Society of Actuaries attempts to explain away its alarming findings by implying the deaths are due to lack of vaccination. It does so with crude regressions of excess mortality and bulk statewide vaccination totals as of June 30, 2021. 

But remember those 520 million vaccine doses. How can you generate far more deaths in 2021 – ascribing them to unvaccination – with a dramatically smaller number of unvaccinated people? In 2021, perhaps 20-40 percent of these group life insureds were unvaccinated. In 2020, 100 percent of them were unvaccinated, yet mortality barely rose. The math doesn’t come close to working. 

The 40-44 age group, for example, suffered 21.5 percent more total deaths in 2021 than 2020. This terrible outcome occurred with less than half the so-called susceptible population due to their unvaccinated status. It’s difficult to assert robust vaccine effectiveness when both doses-delivered and deaths are skyrocketing.

On the other hand, the group life insurance data show vaccinated groups may have suffered the worse outcomes. By August, most large and mid-size companies and organizations across the country had vaccine mandates, and most employees complied. Yet these workers suffered extraordinary – indeed, totally unprecedented death rates – in 2021, especially the second half of 2021.

Source: Society of Actuaries, Group Life Covid-19 Mortality Survey Report, November 2022.

Ed Dowd, a former BlackRock portfolio manager, points to a crucial peculiarity in his book Cause Unknown. Employed people with group life insurance policies are far healthier than their overall population cohort. They typically die at a significantly lower rate, just 30-40 percent of the overall population. This is an iron actuarial law. In 2021, however, as you can see in the chart directly above, these employed Americans died at excess rates far higher than their larger pool of less healthy peers.

We could also point to fast-rising disability as a key factor in the worker shortage. Fed chair Powell blames it on long Covid. Once again, however, the timing doesn’t fit that story very well. 

To overgeneralize: 

In 2020, the vulnerable died of Covid at unusually high rates. In 2021 and 2022, Covid continued its assault, but the young, middle-aged, and healthy also died in aberrantly high numbers of something else.

These patterns are repeating across the high-income developed world – Germany, the UK, Japan, South Korea, Australia. 

Reprinted from the author’s Substack

Author

  • Bret SwansonBret Swanson Bret Swanson is president of the technology research firm Entropy Economics LLC, a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and writes the Infonomena Substack. Original here. Reproduced with permission.

WaPo Admits: Russian Twitter Trolls Didn’t Influence 2016 Election

Image credit: Flickr-Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Those of us who voted for Trump the first time around were surprised to learn after the fact that it was not us, but instead Russian trolls, who catapulted the real estate magnate into the White House. We were told that Russian trolls “hacked” the election—and that Trump was complicit.

This was, of course, a bunch of nonsense—as was the phony Mueller investigation. That’s been obvious from the get-go to anyone with an ounce of common sense. But now even the mainstream media has been forced to acknowledge that Russian Twitter trolls had minimal, if any, impact on the 2016 election.

Case in point: A Jan. 9 article in The Washington Post titled “Russian trolls on Twitter had little influence on 2016 voters.” Truth be told, I was shocked to see a major liberal media outlet so bluntly publishing a headline at odds with the official narrative. At any point during Trump’s four years in office, it would have been nearly unthinkable for The Washington Post to publish something like this. Indeed, the author of this WaPo piece was behind a 2019 article titled “Russia’s manipulation of Twitter was far vaster than believed.”

The mainstream media is about six years late to the party. But better late than never, I suppose.

In the article, its author Tim Starks reviews the findings from a recent study from the New York University Center for Social Media and Politics titled “Exposure to the Russian Internet Research Agency foreign influence campaign on Twitter in the 2016 US election and its relationship to attitudes and voting behavior.”

The study “explores the limits of what Russian disinformation and misinformation was able to achieve on one major social media platform in the 2016 elections.” Given the left-leaning bias in academia, it’s noteworthy that such an inquiry was carried out at all.

Josh Tucker, who co-authored the report and serves as co-director of NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics, had some interesting things to say on the subject of Russian trolling. “My personal sense coming out of this is that this got way overhyped,” Tucker told The Washington Post. 

Tucker also spoke to the limited effect of Russian propaganda during the 2016 election. “Now we’re looking back at data and we can see how concentrated this was in one small portion of the population, and how the fact that people who were being exposed to these were really, really likely to vote for Trump,” he said. “And then we have this data to show we can’t find any relationship between being exposed to these tweets and people’s change in attitudes.”

As to the specific findings of the study, a few stand out.

  • “Only 1% of users accounted for 70% of exposures [to Russian disinformation accounts].”
  • “Exposure was concentrated among users who strongly identified as Republicans.”
  • “Exposure to the Russian influence campaign was eclipsed by content from domestic news media and politicians.”
  • “[There is] no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior.”

In other words, the vast majority of people exposed to tweets from Russian trolls were Republicans and thus in most cases already Trump supporters, rendering the entire operation ineffective.

No conservative will be shocked to find out that their support for Trump in 2016 was not, in fact, the result of Russian propaganda. Liberals who bought into establishment propaganda—those same sad souls who believed Robert Mueller was going to put Trump behind bars—would do well to reflect on these findings.

The WaPo piece is careful to emphasize that “the study doesn’t go so far as to say that Russia had no influence on people who voted for President Donald Trump.” This is because the study in question “doesn’t examine other social media, like the much-larger Facebook” but is instead exclusively focused on Twitter.

If the evidence indicates that Russian Twitter trolling had virtually zero effect on voters in 2016, why should we believe that such efforts would be any more successful on Facebook? Admittedly, we do not know without the data. But to me, the safe bet appears that no one was greatly swayed by the efforts of Russian trolls on Facebook either.

The WaPo article also references a 2018 study from University of Pennsylvania communications professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson which “suggested those [Russian hack-and-leak operations] probably played a significant role in the 2016 race’s outcome.” Parsing this particular study is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s noteworthy that the mainstream media to this day insist that the 2016 election was rigged by Russia in Trump’s favor.

The fact of the matter is that the 2016 election was legitimate. Trump spoke to the average American, whereas Hillary appealed to liberal urbanites. And those of us who voted for the former certainly didn’t need Russian trolls to grasp who was better for the country.


Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. By Stephen Whitney

Image credit: Flickr-Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

State Report Finds: 10 Million 2022 Ballots Unaccounted For!

California may have disenfranchised millions of voters in the 2022 primary and general elections, according to a new report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity watchdog group. 

The report found that 226,250 mail ballots were rejected for various reasons, while election officials failed to account for millions more.

The 2022 midterms marked the first election held since the California Legislature passed and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 37, which required automatically mailing ballots to all active registered voters in the nation’s most populous state. 

“As states across our country continue to enact undemocratic voter suppression laws, California is increasing voter access, expanding voting options and bolstering elections integrity and transparency,” Newsom said after signing the bill in September 2021.

That clearly hasn’t been the result of the law, said J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, on Wednesday.

“Mail ballots disenfranchise. There are many reasons mail ballots fail ultimately to count,” Adams said in a press statement. “No one casting a ballot at home can correct an error before it’s too late. California’s vote-by-mail demonstration should serve as a warning to state legislators elsewhere.”   

Election officials failed to account for the 10 million ballots for multiple reasons, according to the legal foundation’s report. 

“After accounting for polling place votes and rejected ballots in November 2022, there were more than 10 million ballots left outstanding, meaning election officials do not know what happened to them,” the report says. “It is fair to assume that the bulk of these were ignored or ultimately thrown out by the intended recipients. But, under mass mail elections, we can only assume what happened.”

The report says election officials rejected the 226,250 ballots for nine reasons. A whopping 47.7% of ballots arrived too late to count. California law requires mail ballots to be postmarked no later than Election Day and to arrive for counting no later than seven days after Election Day. 

The U.S. Postal Service says it averages a 94% success rate in delivering political mail in a timely fashion, according to the report. That leaves room for a significant number of individual ballots. Nationally, however, the USPS says it delivered at a 99% rate for election mail in 2022. 

“In the November contests, more than 57,000 ballots arrived after November 15, setting them up for rejection,” the report says. “The official datasets do not differentiate between ballots postmarked too late or delivered too late.” 

A spokesperson for California Secretary of State Shirley Weber’s office responded to The Daily Signal after the story was initially published without comment, but provided links from the office that confirmed the rejected 226,250 ballots. According to the Secretary of State’s office, there were 105,818 rejected or challenged ballots in the primary election and 120,432rejected or challenged ballots in the general election.  

The second biggest reason for rejected ballots was a signature mismatch, accounting for 39.8% of ballots. Another 9.8% of ballots had no signature, according to the report. 

Officials rejected fewer than 1% of ballots—or 813 ballots statewide—because the voter voted both by mail and in person. Also, officials rejected fewer than 1% of the ballots for other reasons, such as including the wrong address on the envelope, multiple ballots in a single envelope, or a missing ballot from the envelope. 

This story was updated to include information provided by the California Secretary of State’s office.

Fred Lucas is chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal. Original here. Reproduced with permission.

Why are fewer baby girls being born in the US? The answer will stun you.

Baby Girls Who Are ‘Unwanted’ Because of Their Sex Are Aborted in America

Unborn baby girls in the U.S. have a lower chance of being born because some parents who prefer boys abort their baby girls. In America, only seven states ban sex-selective abortions.

If an unborn baby in the United States is a girl, her chances of being born are much lower than if she were a boy. That’s because in America, only seven states ban sex-selective abortions.

That’s why pro-life members of Congress have proposed the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act, or PRENDA, which bans such abortions “undertaken for purposes of eliminating an unborn child of an undesired sex.”

Members of Congress have introduced various iterations of this bill since 2012, but so far, none have passed both the House and the Senate.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., introduced the most recent version, H.R. 6465, in January 2022.

Advocates for the bill point out that the U.S. already bans discrimination based on sex and that all PRENDA would do is extend this same right to females in the womb.

Scholars lack exact statistics on why women choose an abortion because there is limited data on the numbers of abortions and the reasons for them.

What we do know is twofold. First, national pro-life organization Live Actionwent undercover to Planned Parenthoods in 2012 to test the question of sex-selective abortions. It found that Planned Parenthood was willing to give women abortions when their explicit reason was because of the sex of the baby.

Second, sex ratios at birth, or SRB, from different ethnicities suggest the presence of sex-selection. The global average shows 103 male babies born per 100 female babies. But in Asian-Pacific regions like India or China, the SRB is as high as 122.8 males per 100 females. This ratio is horrific. To stop this trend, China and other Asian nations went so far as to ban doctors from telling women the sex of their unborn children.

When it comes to the U.S., SRB data for some foreign-born populations reflects a similar preference for male children (few states restrict people from aborting their children based on sex). Yet these numbers go back to normal when scholars look at the SRB data for U.S.-born parents.

It should be a no-brainer to protect unborn girls from being aborted because of their sex. With Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey overturned this past summer at the Supreme Court, no federal restrictions exist to bar a law like PRENDA.

As sociologist Barbara Katz Rothman says, the question “is not whether or not to have a child, but rather, what kind of child to have. The abortion right should not include the right ‘to bear or abort a particular child’ based on … gender.”

There is difference, however small, between “I don’t want any child” and “I don’t want this child” because she is a girl.

Feminists and social conservatives alike should want to see this base practice banned.

The Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, sees it differently, though. First, it argues that sex-selective abortions are rare—so rare that it’s not worth passing laws to ban it.

Second, it says that sex-selective abortions place undue burdens on doctors and patients. Why? Guttmacher claims that it would require doctors to question why each woman wants an abortion. It claims this could further stigmatize women from Asian-Pacific countries who are more likely to seek a sex-selective abortion. 

Besides, spending more time discussing her motivation behind the abortion could cause her to rethink it.

There is good reason to question how “rare” such abortions are. Guttmacherrelies on data from 1980 to show that state-level attempts to ban sex-based abortions do not change SRBs. This ignores recent studies that show sex-selective abortion ratios have increased since the late 1990s. Studies show that as prenatal technology develops, so does a nation’s disparity in SRB.

“Rare” or not, aborting even one girl or boy based on her or his sex is one too many.

Still, Guttmacher gets one thing right. Laws banning such abortion “do not prohibit other sex selection methods, such as sperm sorting or preimplantation genetic diagnostics,” also known as PGD.

With sperm sorting, the doctor “tests” the sperm to see if it has an X or Y chromosome. Since sperm decide the sex of an embryo, a family may choose to only use sperm with a Y chromosome. That way, they have a 70% chance of creating a male embryo (it’s not 100% because the sorting process can be difficult and isn’t always entirely successful in separating the sperm based on sex).

With PGD, a doctor creates multiple embryos for the purpose of testing them for genetic abnormalities. This test also reveals the sex of the baby.

Sperm sorting occurs before the creation of an embryo whereas PGD requires that doctors make multiple embryos before determining sex.

Sperm sorting is a problem because it controls the kind of child created. Families do not receive the child with open arms but instead design it. It’s not as heinous as sex-selective abortion, but it rests on the same premise—namely, that it’s acceptable to create or destroy the life of a child based on the parents’ desire.

In PGD, doctors destroy “unfit” or unwanted embryos, including based on the parents’ preference for a boy or girl. This is, in many ways, equivalent to sex-selective abortion. Given the fact that life begins at conception, this destroys unborn children.

Because of these issues, many nations like Canada and the United Kingdom won’t reveal an embryo’s sex in IVF.

This past summer, a gay couple in the United States sued a fertility clinic on the grounds they “ordered” two boys but received a girl instead. This is the epitome of conditional love. When adults order children to fulfill their own desires, they demean the inherent value and dignity of those children.

Congress needs a new PRENDA that bans sex-selective abortion and considers robust limits on PGD. No child should lose her life because she is the “wrong” or unwanted sex.

Whether the child is growing in the womb or an embryo in a lab, she has the right to life.

Emma Waters is a research associate with the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation.

WTH: ‘What Is the Nature of Your Prayer Today?’ Cops Ask

English authorities accosted a British army veteran as he prayed silently in front of an abortion facility in Bournemouth in November, later issuing the man a £100 fine (about $123.65).

Adam Smith-Connor, the veteran who prayed, told authorities he was praying and was aware that the area around the abortion facility is governed by a protective order that bans prayer, among other activities. Smith-Connor captured the incident on video.

“Can I ask what is the nature of your prayer today?” a police officer responds. 

Smith-Connor said he is praying for his son, who died in an abortion. 

“I’m sorry for your loss, but ultimately, I have to go along with the guidelines of the Public Space Protection Order to say that we are in the belief, therefore, that you are in breach of the PSPO, which says about prayer and also acts of disapproval … ,” the officer said.

The Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Council in Southern England began enforcing the order on Oct. 13, according to Alliance Defending Freedom UK, which is representing Smith-Connor in a legal challenge to the fine.

The order prohibits various activities in a four-block area around the British Pregnancy Advisory Service Clinic on Ophir Road in Bournemouth. It prohibits “protesting, namely engaging in an act of approval/disapproval or attempted act of approval/disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services, by any means. This includes, but is not limited to, graphic, verbal, or written means, prayer or counseling.”

The order also prohibits “interfering … whether verbally or physically, with a service user or member of staff,” “intimidating or harassing” patients or staff, “recording or photographing” patients or staff, “displaying text or images relating directly or indirectly to the termination of pregnancy,” holding vigils where people “audibly pray, recite scripture, genuflect, sprinkle holy water on the ground, or cross themselves,” and remaining in the area when police ask the person to leave.

The Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Council did not respond to The Daily Signal‘s request for comment on this case.

“Censorship zones around abortion facilities directly contradict our fundamental rights, which are embedded in both domestic and international law—in particular, freedom of speech, religion, and thought,” Jeremiah Igunnubole, legal counsel for ADF UK, told The Daily Signal in a statement Thursday.

“Adam’s case comes amidst the growing restrictions on civil liberties in the UK, and is evidence that where the frontiers of freedom of speech are not robustly protected, it is only a matter of time before the state machinery feels emboldened to interfere with our most basic of rights—freedom of thought,” Igunnubole added.

Smith-Connor opened up about his son in comments to ADF UK. 

Adam Smith-Connor, a British army veteran pictured here praying, faces a fine for praying silently in front of an abortion clinic in Bournemouth, England. (Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom UK)

“Twenty-two years ago, I drove my ex-girlfriend to a facility and paid for her to have an abortion,” he said. “It was a pivotal moment in my life. The consequences of my actions that day came back to grieve me years later, when I realized I had lost my son, Jacob, to an abortion I had paid for. Recently, I stood outside a similar facility and prayed to God for my son, Jacob, for other babies who have lost their lives to abortion, for their grieving families, and for abortion clinic staff.”

“I would never have imagined being in a position to risk a criminal record for praying silently,” Smith-Connor added. “In the past, I assisted with abortions in [the] hospital as part of my army medical training, but now I pray for those who perform abortions because I [realize] how harmful abortion is to women and families, and that every single human life is valuable—no matter how small. Most of all, I’m moved to pray because of what happened to my son, Jacob.”

Igunnubole, the legal counsel, noted in a press release the similarity between Smith-Connor’s case and that of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who was arrested after she said she “might” be praying silently in a Public Space Protection Order zone. She will appear before the Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Feb. 2. 

Police officers searched, arrested, and charged Vaughan-Spruce with “protesting and engaging in an act that is intimidating to service users,” citing their belief that the woman had been silently praying. Since the creation of the Public Space Protection Order censorship zone, Vaughan-Spruce had only prayed near the abortion facility while it was closed, ADF UK claims.

“Nobody should be [criminalized] for what they believe—especially not when they express that belief silently, in the privacy of their own minds,” Igunnubole added. “The rapid proliferation of orders [criminalizing] volunteers such as Adam and Isabel should be a wake-up call to all those who value freedom of expression—even freedom of thought—no matter their views on abortion.”

Tyler O’Neil is managing editor of The Daily Signal. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

Do Chinese Donations Explain Biden’s Energy Policies?

Is there a connection between $54 million in Chinese donations to the University of Pennsylvania as it opened its Joe Biden think tank and Biden’s promotion of energy policies benefiting China at our expense? 

With reports that classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, questions arise about the potential connection between the university’s receipt of $54 million in Chinese donations and President Joe Biden’s promotion of energy policies that are strengthening China’s economy at the expense of our own.

Under Biden’s anti-fossil fuel energy policies, Americans have been left with higher costs and a weaker economy while China has gained a larger market for its “green energy” wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicle batteries.

Could the money and the policies be related?

The New York Post reported that tens of millions in donations to the University of Pennsylvania came from Chinese donors after the Penn Biden Center was first announced in 2017.

Between 2017 and 2019, Biden also allegedly received $775,000 from the university, although he had no teaching responsibilities.

Around the same time, Biden’s son, Hunter, was conducting lucrative deals in China that are alleged to have included a cut for Biden.

The National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the Justice Department in 2020 alleging that Hunter Biden’s Chinese energy client, CEFC, was trying to avoid registering as a foreign company.

One reported text message regarding CEFC in May 2017 from Hunter to his colleague, Tony Bobulinski, stated, “We don’t want to have to register as foreign agents … which is much more expansive than people who should know choose not to know.”

The Chinese donations seem to be paying off. The Biden administration is following California’s lead with a goal of transitioning to sales of only battery electric vehicles by 2035; an executive branch focus on climate change; and support of the environmental, social, and governance movement.

Battery Electric Vehicles

The California Air Resources Board has issued a rule that all new vehicles sold in the Golden State be plug-in hybrid or pure battery powered by 2035. In Washington, Biden issued an executive order calling for half of the nation’s new vehicle sales to be electric vehicles by 2030 and instructed the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to “coordinate the agency’s activities” with the state of California.

The rule and executive order trade America’s energy security—and its reliance on inexpensive domestically-produced oil and natural gas—for dependence on batteries made in China, reportedly with slave labor from the Xinjiang region. America cannot produce these batteries at a lower cost than those that are slave-made in China.

Moreover, electric vehicles have limited range and are more expensive than equivalent gasoline-powered vehicles, so the orders emanating from the White House will raise the costs of transportation for Americans—further weakening the U.S. economy. More money spent on cars also means less money to spend on other products and services.

Climate Change

Over the last year, executive branch agencies have used climate change to justify slowing the production and delivery of U.S. oil, natural gas, and coal, and to encourage the use of wind turbines and solar panels made in China. This drives up Americans’ electricity bills. And, once again, it’s the Chinese who profit: Seven of the top 10 wind and solar manufacturers are Chinese.

More specifically:

  • The administration is actively discouraging investment in oil, gas, and coal, claiming that such investments pose a risk to the environment. Companies producing and relying on conventional fuels are finding it harder to get capital to expand because they face higher rates to borrow.
  • The Department of Transportation is prioritizing climate initiatives such as funding for electric vehicles, charging stations, and electric transit, as well as bike and pedestrian paths.
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is slowing the approval of new pipelines to carry oil and gas from the interior of the country to consumers nationwide as well as to the coasts, where it can be exported.
  • The Interior Department has called for fewer leases for companies to drill for oil and gas on federal lands, higher royalties for those leases, and a more complex bidding process to screen buyers, knowing that this raises prices for consumers.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler has proposed rules to require private companies to disclose information about governance and management of climate-related risks, how climate-related risks will affect companies’ strategies and outlooks, and the effects of climate events such as hurricanes and wildfires on financial statements.
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates banks, has appointed a new chief climate risk officer to oversee climate-driven risks to banks. If she deems investments in oil and gas “risky,” banks will be discouraged from lending to oil and gas companies—reducing available capital to further develop resources.

Environmental, Social, and Governance Movement

Led by BlackRock Inc. and State Street Global Advisors, major financial institutions are pressuring international development organizations, private corporations, and pension funds not to invest in conventional fuels. This weakens America, which produces these fuels, and helps China, which manufactures the alternatives—wind turbines and solar panels—using coal-fired power plants. 

ESG means fewer jobs for Americans, more jobs for the Chinese.

As my colleague, Heritage Action for America Executive Director Jessica Anderson, explains, “The ESG movement is set on taking over culture and business to control working Americans.”

On its website, State Street suggests four ways to influence companies’ investments, all of which would benefit China. First, require countries to adopt regulations to reduce carbon emissions. Second, raise consciousness of climate change through “more ESG education, guidance, solutions, and analytics.” Third, take over corporate boards and use customers and investors “to compel companies and organizations to address climate risks and opportunities.” Finally, organize global pledges to cut fossil fuel carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050.

By following the ESG movement and discouraging investments in conventional fuels, America is giving up geopolitical power overseas as well as economic strength at home. For example, China is financing the production of coal-fired power plants in developing countries that American institutions refuse to fund, giving the Chinese significant influence as it helps those countries provide cheap power to homes and industry.

Some might justify these “gifts” to China on the grounds that the world’s climate will benefit from lower emissions as a result of U.S. decarbonization. But China is producing the wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries it sells to the U.S. with coal, increasing global emissions.

Consider that America has 225 coal-fired power plants and China has 1,118 (half of all the coal-fired plants in the world). Since 2010, America has reduced coal-fired electricity generation by 100,000 megawatts; China has increased it by 580,000 megawatts. Between 2005 and 2020, America cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 970 million metric tons, while China increased its emissions by 4,689 million metric tons.

Many people have been puzzled that Biden has oriented American energy policy toward a country that enslaves its people, steals intellectual property from the United States, and threatens our allies and partners. 

The ongoing federal investigation into son Hunter’s multimillion-dollar Chinese business deals and the reports of tens of millions of dollars in Chinese donations flowing to the University of Pennsylvania just as it was creating Biden’s new think tank may give a clue as to why.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Diana Furchtgott-Roth is the director of the Center for Energy, Climate and Environment and the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

The Biden Classified Documents Fiasco: What Do We Know So Far?

What do we know—so far, at least—about the Biden classified documents situation?  

The information provided to the public has come from people who work for, or are otherwise close to, President Joe Biden and has been filtered selectively through a media largely predisposed to protect the president.

According to Bob Bauer, who is Biden’s personal attorney and a former White House counsel and longtime Democratic power broker whose wife (Anita Dunn) is a senior adviser to the president, the classified documents were “unexpectedly discovered” on Nov. 2 (six days before the midterm elections) by one or more members of the president’s team of personal lawyers.

The documents were supposedly found in a closet in Biden’s former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a think tank located in Washington, D.C., and affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

Bauer claims that Biden’s lawyers immediately notified the National Archives and Records Administration of the discovery.

Each of the attorneys or non-lawyers who discovered those documents is now a fact witness in the investigation, which itself could become awkward if not legally troubling for Biden, depending on what the special counsel recommends.  

It’s been reported that the University of Pennsylvania received more than $30 million in donations from anonymous Chinese donors shortly after the Penn Biden Center was established in 2017. 

On Nov. 4, the National Archives Office of Inspector General notified the Department of Justice of the discovery. The FBI commenced an investigation five days later, and the day after that, the Justice Department notified Biden’s lawyers that it is looking into the matter. 

On Nov. 14, John Lausch, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was tasked by Attorney General Merrick Garland with conducting a preliminary investigation.

On Dec. 20, Biden’s lawyers informed Lausch that they had found a “small number” of additional classified documents in a storage space in the garage of Biden’s private home in Wilmington, Delaware, where he keeps his 1967 Corvette Stingray.  According to Bauer, the Justice Department took possession of those documents the next day. 

On Jan. 5, Lausch briefed Garland about his preliminary conclusions and recommended the appointment of a special counsel.

On Jan. 9, after the story broke about the discovery of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center, the White House acknowledged the matter, and Biden stated that he was “surprised” to learn about the discovery and claimed not to know what was in the documents. 

Neither Biden nor the White House mentioned the classified records that were found in his home until Jan. 12 after media outlets began reporting on that discovery.

At that time, the White House acknowledged the discovery and added an additional page with classified information that it said was “discovered among stored materials in an adjacent room” to the garage at the home.  The same day, in response to a reporter’s question, Biden said, “by the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage. It’s not like it’s sitting out in the street.”

Also that same day, Garland appointed Robert Hur, whose legal career is detailed below, as a special counsel to lead the investigation into the matter.

On Jan. 14, the White House issued a statement that yet another five pages of classified information had been discovered in a storage room adjacent to Biden’s garage within hours after the statement it had issued on Jan 12. Biden has described the adjacent room as his “personal library.”

Robert Sauber, another attorney working for Biden who claims to have the requisite security clearances, has stated that he made this subsequent discovery and that the attorneys who made the initial discovery in the storage closet stopped their search immediately after they found the documents because they did not have the requisite security clearances to review classified material.

Sauber also claims that all of the recently discovered documents “were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives.”

Biden’s attorneys further claim that they also searched Biden’s second home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, but did not find any classified documents at that location.

It has been reported that some of the documents are labeled “Top Secret” and include briefing documents and intelligence reports involving Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom.

Assuming that all of that is true, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Not only should the special counsel delve into these questions, but Congress should as well.

Those questions fall into three broad categories: timing, access, and damage assessment.  

Timing

  • When the first set of classified documents were found before the election, why wasn’t the press notified immediately?
  • Who decided not to inform the press that classified documents were found before the election, and why?
  • What role did the midterm elections held on Nov. 8 play in the decision not to inform the press of the existence of the classified documents that were found on Nov. 2?
  • Did any attorneys working for Biden, in an official or unofficial capacity, notify the press, on deep background, off the record, or otherwise, about the discovery of the classified documents before the election, and, if so, who told whom what and when?
  • When was the president notified that the first set of classified documents was found, and who notified him?
  • Who did the attorneys who first discovered the documents notify?  By what means did they notify the person(s)?
  • How many White House personnel knew about the discovery of the classified documents before the elections, and who are they?
  • Why did it take the National Archives two days to notify the FBI?  Who at the National Archives was first notified on Nov. 2 of the discovery of the documents, and who else did that person notify at the National Archives? What happened between Nov. 2 and Nov. 4 at the National Archives related to this topic?
  • When did Garland find out about the existence of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center?
  • Why did it take the Department of Justice five days to commence an investigation after it learned on Nov. 4 from the inspector general at the National Archives that classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center? 
  • Who at the Department of Justice was involved in the discussions about the classified documents between Nov. 4 and Nov. 9? 
  • Who at Justice decided to commence an investigation on Nov. 9?
  • Why did the attorney general delay appointing Lausch until Nov. 14? 
  • What happened at Justice between Nov. 9 and Nov. 14 related to this case? 

Access

  • Who packed up Vice President Joe Biden’s office when he was the vice president?
  • Name every single person who had access to, or could have had access to, those documents while Biden was the vice president.
  • How did these documents end up in the locations where they were found and what led to this discovery? Since Biden left office as vice president in January 2017 but the Biden Center did not open until February 2018 (although other reports say Biden started using an office there in 2017), it seems that the documents located there had been moved.  Who moved them and how did that happen?
  • Who had access to the Penn Biden Center from the time it was established until the day the documents were found?
  • Who had a key to the room and/or closet where the documents were found in the Penn Biden Center?
  • Name every foreign national who entered the Penn Biden Center, when they were there, the amount of time they were there, and the purpose for their visit. Which foreign nationals entered the room where the documents were found, when, and for what purpose?
  • Who had access to the Biden residence from the time Biden left office as vice president until the day the documents were found in his garage or storage room in the house?
  • Even though the president does not have visitor logs for his personal residences in Delaware, the U.S. Secret Service must “clear” anyone who visits the home while Biden was/is president. Is the president willing to order the Secret Service to disclose the list of all persons cleared for entrance into his homes, and the dates of those entrances?
  • Who had a key to Biden’s house, or was granted access to the house, even once?  When did they enter, for how long, and for what purpose?
  • Assuming there are security cameras at Biden’s residence, have the tapes been secured?  How long do the tapes go back in time?  Are there any gaps or unexplained malfunctions of the videotapes during all the time recordings were taking place?
  • How did the documents get to the Penn Biden Center and Biden’s home? When did they get there? Who brought them there?  How many times have they been moved?  By whom? 
  • Were any of the classified documents copied, and if so, when and by whom?  Why were they copied, and where are the copies?

Damage Assessment

  • How sensitive is the information in each of the documents? In addition to “Top Secret” information, do any of the documents contain sensitive compartmented information (SCI); that is, code-word-protected information with strict controls on need-to-know access, which often includes the most sensitive information about classified programs and the sources and methods of intelligence gathering? 
  • Has the Justice Department started a damage assessment?  When was it started?  Who is conducting it, and when will it be completed?  Will the outcome of the damage assessment be released to the public in an unclassified format?

Other Issues

  • While working at the Penn Biden Center, Biden was conducting research for a book that covered Ukraine, among other topics. Is there any evidence that he examined any of these classified documents during the course of his research?
  • What were the classified documents near and were they stored in envelopes that clearly identified the contents as classified?
  • Why were/are lawyers conducting these searches, rather than FBI agents or national security officials?
  • Did the lawyers have the requisite security clearances? 
  • Why were Biden’s lawyers searching for this material six years after Biden’s tenure as vice president ended and two years into his presidency? 
  • Why did the FBI or national security officials not conduct their own search after the documents were initially discovered?    
  • How many other cases where there is a verified breach of national security protocols where a former government employee is found in possession of classified document has the FBI allowed the violator or his designees to conduct their own investigation?
  • Are there more classified documents out there, and if so, where and how many?
  • Is there any basis to suggest that the information was, in fact, divulged to others—either intentionally or inadvertently—who did not have the requisite clearances or the “need to know” the contents of those documents? 

The biggest question in terms of a potential criminal prosecution, of course, is whether Biden knew the documents were there, the same question that was asked about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the information residing on the server that was installed at the home she shared with former President Bill Clinton in Chappaqua, N.Y. 

So far, Biden is denying this.

What is classified information and what is the danger of improper disclosure?

Information can be classified at different levels: “Confidential,” “Secret,” “Top Secret,” and “SCI.”

Each label is supposed to convey the level of harm that could reasonably be expected to occur if the information is disclosed without authorization, as follows: “Confidential” (“damage to the national security”); “Secret” (“serious damage to the national security”); and “Top Secret” (“exceptionally grave damage to the national security”).

“Sensitive Compartmented Information” describes classified information that is derived from or relates to sensitive intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes.

Additionally, some “Top Secret” information is additionally categorized as “Special Access Programs,” a category that limits access to a small group of top military and intelligence officials.

Classified information can reveal sources and methods that we utilize to gather intelligence. It can reveal human assets that cooperate with us in other countries, which can imperil their lives.  It can reveal sensitive information about our technological capabilities or our plans to counter the activities of groups and countries that may mean us harm. 

Countries may be cooperating with us but, for political reasons, they would not want others to know that they are cooperating with us. Disclosure of the fact that they are cooperating with us against common adversaries and of the extent of that cooperation may cause them to cease cooperation and may disincentivize others from cooperating with us.

And there is no question that presidents and vice presidents have access on a regular basis to the “crown jewels” of classified information.

What are the penalties for mishandling classified information?

Various federal laws, including the Espionage Act, make it a criminal offense to remove, divulge, or destroy classified information either intentionally or “through the exercise of gross negligence.” Violations can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years plus hefty fines, but if someone is convicted of espionage, the potential penalty is death.

Several public officials, including retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus and former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, have pled guilty to charges of unlawfully removing classified documents. 

However, more recently, then-FBI Director James Comey gave Hillary Clinton a pass (a decision which should have been made by the Justice Department, not the FBI) even though he stated at the time that Clinton and her State Department colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

Comey found it was “possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account,” but still he concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

How Has Biden Responded?

In a word: poorly. 

His answer about the documents’ not lying in the street is the worst answer we have heard since Clinton—who had her own issues with the misuse and improper disclosure of classified information—said “What difference, at this point, does it make?” during her congressional testimony when asked about the events leading up to the tragic events in Benghazi that led to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. 

Moreover, Biden has been justly criticized for appearing like a hypocrite, given his reaction to the Mar-a-Lago raid when he expressed incredulity, tellingScott Pelley on CBS’ “60 Minutes”: “How that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible? And I thought, what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods. By that, I mean, names of people helped or et cetera.”

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Is a Special Counsel the Same as an Independent Counsel? 

No, it isn’t. 

But before explaining the difference, let’s pause for a moment to reflect how bewildering it is that currently there are two special counsels—Jack Smith and Robert Hur—who have been appointed by Garland to investigate the former president and the current president, respectively, who ran against each other in 2020 and may be doing it again in 2024, for the mishandling of classified information.

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which created independent counsels who would be appointed by members of the judiciary and would act independently of the Department of Justice.

The law was challenged and ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court in 1988 in Morrison v. Olson, despite a vigorous dissent by then-Justice Antonin Scalia, who argued that the law was unconstitutional because the decision about whether to prosecute someone is an exercise of “purely executive power” and that the law deprived the president of his “exclusive control” of that power, adding, “I fear the Court has permanently encumbered the Republic with an institution that will do it great harm.”

In 1999, after presidents of both parties had been subjected to prolonged investigations by independent counsels, Congress decided it had had enough and allowed the law to expire.

A special counsel is a prosecutor appointed by the attorney general (or deputy attorney general if the attorney general is recused) to conduct a criminal investigation of a person or matter. While special counsels have traditionally operated with a degree of autonomy not exercised by other federal prosecutors, they are appointed by and ultimately supervised by the attorney general, an executive branch official. 

The applicable regulations provide that, “[t]he attorney general … will appoint a special counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted” and that an “investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by … the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances” and “[t]hat under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside special counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.”

Who Is Robert Hur?

Hur, a graduate of Stanford Law School, is a partner at the prestigious firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He clerked for then-9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski and for then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He has had a distinguished career, having served as a special assistant and later counsel to the then-assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division, Chris Wray, an assistant U.S.  attorney for the District of Maryland, a principal associate deputy attorney general under Rod Rosenstein, and then as the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, having been nominated to that position by Trump.

What Should Congress Do?

Congress can, and should, conduct vigorous oversight hearings. While they may be stymied, Congress should do its level best to unearth exactly what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and if there should be any consequences. 

Congress should, at the very least, review how classified documents were handled at the end of the Obama-Biden administration in order to minimize the risks to our national security in the future.

What Does This All Mean?

It’s hard to say at this point. While cases should ultimately rise and fall on the strength of the evidence in each case, there is no question that if Trump (Biden’s past and potentially future political rival) is indicted and Biden is not—just as Hillary Clinton wasn’t—there will be many who will believe that there is a double standard of justice at the Justice Department and the FBI.

That’s not good for the country, as it would further add to the growing perception that there are two standards of justice in this country—one for Republicans, and another for Democrats. 

John G. Malcolm is the vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, overseeing The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Cully Stimson@cullystimson

Charles “Cully” Stimson is a leading expert in national security, homeland security, crime control, immigration, and drug policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research.

Original here. Reproduced with permission. 

Titanic Survivor Recalls the Event – Mesmerizing

The BBC at its once glorious best. This man’s recollections of that fateful night will haunt you as they did him.

How Two Brothers Transformed an Abandoned Data Center into an Indoor Farm

A farm replacing a data center in Northern Virginia — is that even possible? 

This reversal of development trends happened in September, when Beanstalk Farms, opened at what was an abandoned data center in downtown Herndon.

Beanstalk is no ordinary farm. Named after the “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairy tale the siblings’ mother read to them as children, it uses a new method of high-density, highly automated indoor agriculture that yields hyper-fresh, nutritious produce that can be delivered within 24 hours of harvest.

As an indoor vertical farm, Beanstalk grows crops in rows of shallow trays to allow for more efficient use of the facility’s dimensions. To do so, the Ross brothers use a system they designed known as a “growing tower.” The nine-level, 100-foot-wide, 24-foot-deep apparatus, which CEO Mike Ross calls “the world’s largest vending machine,” operates vertically and horizontally to lower plants from the stacked shelves for workers to harvest, package, and deliver. The farm currently operates one tower, but they plan to add two more.

The operation is 200 times more productive than traditional farms. Beanstalk can grow more than 100 acres worth of produce on just a half-acre of land while using 90 percent less water.

The idea did not sprout overnight. The brothers trace the roots of Beanstalk Farms to 2017, when Jack, now 28, was an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. There, he was awarded a $5,000 grant that afforded the duo the materials to build their first growing tower prototype. By 2018, they were opening a 3,000-square-foot farm in Springfield, which closed when they moved to Herndon.

The Ross brothers are now hoping to see their growing method employed elsewhere.

“Nutritious, fresh produce is hard to find, so we eventually want to take our show on the road,” Mike Ross says. It’s an endeavor that will be enhanced by their emphasis on sustainability. Because Beanstalk is an indoor farm, it does not rely on changing seasons and uses no pesticides or chemicals, Ross says. Beanstalk also uses clean, tested tap water, which is recycled along with composted plant waste and soil.

It’s a completely closed-loop system that results in Beanstalk producing zero waste and being carbon-neutral.


A Farm of the Future

Imagine a fully automated farm. A farm that doesn’t need pesticides or have “seasons”. A farm that helps the environment by recycling water and reducing carbon emissions. Beanstalk is building farms that support our future.

Grows Seeds from Around the World

Beanstalk’s indoor farms create
the perfect environment for the tastiest seeds from around the world. Local produce can now be exotic.

Within the City

To build our farms, we refurbish commercial buildings with our vertical gardens. Our new growing system is 100x more productive so we can bring the farm into the city.

De Santis fights back – By using existing law

One thing you can depend upon in Congress is their belief that we always need, “just one more law”. And yet enforcement is never budgeted for nor encouraged.

In Florida, the Governor is of a different view. His Department of Economic Opportunity is threatening to suspend licenses for businesses that to show proof of E-Verify compliance, an official list that screens for illegal immigrants who are not legally recognized by the system. People here legally have registered, have a SSN for paying taxes and are legitimate.

This push comes as part of its greater effort to protect Florida residents and their jobs as the nation faces a mass immigration crisis on the southern border.

The DEO sent this letter to several businesses, flagging the various companies for “repeat non-responsiveness” to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

This is the way to ensure that people here legally are able to work and contribute to society, while discouraging the illegal migrants from by-passing the proper system.

“I gotta rest my back.” Does this look violent to you?

Body-worn camera footage obtained by American Greatness of a D.C. Metropolitan police officer on duty on January 6, 2021, shows the chaos unfolding in real-time that day and how law enforcement’s response to the protest led to rising tension and deadly violence.

“Buddy, it’s my house, I paid for it. I gotta rest my back.” “We’re peaceful people. We love our country. We love this Capitol. We’re not starting any trouble.”

New Police Body Cam Footage From Inside The Rotunda On January 6th

Officer Terrence Craig, an 11-year veteran of the force, testified last week in the criminal trial of Richard Barnett, the Arkansas man notoriously photographed with his feet on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office on January 6, 2021. Nearly two-and-a-half hours of video was captured by Craig’s body-worn camera, providing an uninterrupted and shocking view of what happened inside and outside the building. 

Never-before-seen interactions with police and protesters bolster demands by House Republicans to release all surveillance video recorded by Capitol security cameras on January 6.

The Sun Came Up Today Just Fine. (No economic cataclysm after Biden debt ceiling warning.)

Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling was coming due on Jan. 19 and that Congress had better act to increase or else, boy, would there be hell to pay. 

The sun rose on Jan. 19. Nothing happened.

There was no default on the $31.4 trillion U.S. national debt as the Treasury continues to refinance existing debt up to the statutory debt limit as Congress considers the terms for an increase.

A comet did not strike the U.S. economy.

Interest rates did not suddenly skyrocket as the U.S. government failed to pay its obligations to bond holders. 

Foreign nations such as Japan or the United Kingdom have held onto their stockpiles of U.S. treasuries, continuing the years-long arrangement of preserving the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Remarkably, despite elevated 6.5 percent inflation, 10-year treasuries remain sticky at just 3.4 percent. 

Even 30-year mortgage interest rates are starting to come down off their recent highs of more than 7 percent, according to the latest Federal Reserve Data. Now they’re down to 6.3 percent. 

Millions of Americans did not lose their jobs, and federal government workers today have found the lights are still on. There were no busybody credit card collection companies barring the doors of federal agencies.

And so forth. The federal government could wait another day to increase the debt limit, while Congress and in particular the House—for which all bills raising revenue must originate—do their jobs and figure out how to rein in the size and scope of government.

In fact, Republicans have for decades promised variously to use must-pass spending bills to do things like balance the budget, reduce the growth of mandatory spending and freeze discretionary spending. 2022 was no different. They told voters that’s what they’d do, and the American people voted for a House Republican majority by a 3 million vote margin. 

Now, President Joe Biden might not care much about mandates to govern much. After losing the House, his legislative agenda is effectively dead for the next two years.

But it could get new life right now if he comes to the negotiating table, something he is so far refusing. 

The dirty little secret is that a debt ceiling deal with House Republicans would likely help Biden politically by taking pressure off of federal deficits at a time when unemployment is really low, and keep Congress and the Treasury’s powder dry for what by most accounts is an imminent recession.

Usually, Congress engages in counter-cyclical spending when unemployment rises. This was true in 2009 and 2020, when millions of jobs were suddenly lost. In addition to expanded unemployment claims, a mainstay of the Great Recession more than decade ago, the 2020 Covid lockdowns found new things like Payroll Protection forgivable loans to small businesses, checks to households and bailouts to major industries.

And it added up. Roughly $6 trillion was added to the M2 money supply thanks to Congress spending and borrowing, and the Federal Reserve helping to print a great chunk of that. 

Since this happened at the same time as an orchestrated global halt to production of goods and services while the pandemic washed over us, it was literally too much money chasing too few goods. Production is still catching up to demand, which is now sagging as U.S. household budgets are stretched thin.

Historically, that has meant recessions. And more unemployment. But right now unemployment is still historically low at just 3.5 percent. It’s probably not going much lower than that. So, Biden doesn’t need more spending right now. At all. 

And he doesn’t need to worry about economic Armageddon anytime soon. 

Now, maybe Biden is a gambling man and wants to play chicken with the debt ceiling. He’s the one up for reelection next year. The fact is, he can cut or freeze spending now by doing a deal with House Republicans, it will give the Treasury some wiggle room on selling treasuries, and have less money printing as a result from the Federal Reserve, helping to cool off inflation more. Politically, wouldn’t that help Biden in 2024?

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.  

To view online: https://dailytorch.com/2023/01/no-economic-cataclysm-came-on-jan-19-after-biden-debt-ceiling-warning/

Whiny little men have tantrums and delusions at WEF Davos thus proving their insignificance

Who did this? It’s hilarious!

LOL Al Gore has Meltdown “Boiling Oceans”

He might have been exaggerating a bit…

But don’t worry – ubër élite John Kerry is here to calm us all down with his Savior Complex

Along with the usual bunch of lecturing nannies who know best…

On and on and on they go…

Modern Medicine: Tele-Abortions, Euthanasia, Groupthink, and Junk Science

The Hippocratic Oath, for centuries a foundational recitation of the objective goal of physicians to preserve life, remain ethical, and above all to serve their patients wisely, has, like so much of contemporary civil society, been largely cast aside as outdated – in the words of a dean at the Yale School of Medicine, it had become “impersonal, cold, and too pat.” 

In many medical schools, the oath now taken by graduating medical students is personal and subjective rather than objective, thus allowing each newly minted physician to decide for themselves what code they will follow in their career. 

The dilution of a common, universal code for doctors is one of many reasons why the practice of medicine in the United States, and even more so in our neighbor to the north, has become unmoored from the formerly sacred doctor-patient relationship, and more closely tethered to “equity” and the whims of patients, including facilitating abortion and even euthanasia.

As with many troubling trends in the country, the beat-down of scientific inquiry and reasoned debate within the practice of medicine is being led by California, where the primacy if not the infallibility of the federal CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is now the law.

The COVID pandemic opened the door to perhaps the most unscientific approach ever to public healthcare policy, reaching its nadir with the new California law that prohibits physicians from communicating information critical of federal COVID guidelines. Failing to adhere to this prohibitory statute can result in doctors losing their licenses. 

Interestingly, one prominent medical organizations, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) blames the federal government for much of the “lack of trustworthiness” that caused “inequity” in the response to the COVID pandemic, but turns right around in a study – “The Way Forward Starts Now, Lessons From COVID-19” – advocating for expanded federal money and guidance.

Matters are even worse in Canada, where doctors now must submit to reeducation courses and fear having their licenses pulled, for doing nothing more serious than “retweeting a comment .  .  .  about the unnecessary severity of the COVID lockdowns” – via procedures that apparently can be initiated against the doctor by any person, whether or not a patient. 

The glorification of abortion as the new Holy Grail of Democrat politics, finds wide acceptance among doctors, many of who no longer adhere to earlier oaths that recited the protection of “human life from its beginning.” 

Protection of life has been so devalued that Uncle Sam’s Food and Drug Administration, the primary regulator of prescription drugs, decided that the COVID pandemic necessitated allowing the abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol to be available to pregnant women by telephone. That opening has empowered Planned Parenthood offices in states such as Kansas in America’s heartland, to begin offering “teleconferences” so that the abortion pills can be even more easily obtained. 

At the other end of the life cycle, Canada has taken to marketing “Medical Assistance in Dying” as a coloring book for children. This bizarre step starts the process of normalizing euthanasia so that by the time children become young adults, the practice will be as widely accepted as, well … abortion.  

Such cavalier treatment of life and death fits comfortably within the broad parameters of modern “science,” at least as directed by learned universities and government agencies, that now considers the scientific fact of two sexes – male and female – outdated.

The looseness with which medical schools and government agencies now are treating “science” has spilled over into the corporate arena, where standards for testing and certification have fallen victim to scams and lax regulatory oversight. The Theranos scandal is the most prominent of scientific testing scandals, but a recent decision by a federal judge dismissing claims against a formerly top-selling heartburn medicine, Zantac, which had been accused by a questionable testing firm as being carcinogenic, illustrates that the problem of junk science remains a very real and costly danger.

Welcome to the brave new world of modern medicine. 

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard. Original here. Reproduced with permission.

Brace! The Fed is coming for your “anti-social” activities.

The Federal Reserve, our central bank. is conducting a pilot program where a group of big banks will be required to test the effects of climate-related scenarios on their books, a preliminary exercise they claim will have no formal bearing on their regulations – yet.

“In my view, the Fed does have narrow, but important, responsibilities regarding climate-related financial risks. These responsibilities are tightly linked to our responsibilities for bank supervision,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said. “The public reasonably expects supervisors to require that banks understand, and appropriately manage, their material risks, including the financial risks of climate change.”

His remarks come as the Fed and other regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission have come under scrutiny for the role they’re playing in counteracting global warming. Many environmental groups have pushed for the central bank to make it more expensive for banks to lend to the fossil fuel industry, while Republicans have pressed the Fed not to take that route.

FAA broadens health rules for pilots – “Does not improve safety” says expert

You may have heard the rumor that the Davos parasitical elite put out a call for unvaccinated pilots. Turns out – according to the ever-amazing Michael Yon, that this isn’t true, however businesses are looking into the options and risks of vaccination of pilots.

However, it looks like the FAA is desperate

According to a report on Substack by Vaccine Safety Research Foundation founder Steve Kirsch, the October 2022 version of the FAA Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners widened the range acceptable for pilots to fly.

“The PR (a measure of heart function) used to be in the range of .12 to .2,” he writes. “It is now: .12 to .3 and potentially even higher. This is a very wide range; it accommodates people who have cardiac injury.” This does not make air flight safer. Listen to the good doctor in the Tucker clip below.

TRENDING