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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Protests Under Coronavirus are Dangerous and Illegal... Unless They're by Lefties

Monday, April 27, 2020

Disgusting: Democrats threaten to expel Democratic lawmaker for surviving COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine and thanking Trump

April 25, 2020 By Monica Showalter

What kind of a creature "censures" a black woman who just barely survived the coronavirus and then went on to thank President Trump for suggesting hydroxychloroquine, the drug that turned the tide for her?

Only a Democrat. And in Gretchen Whitmer's Michigan, these beasts have proliferated. Rather than offer thanks to heaven for their fellow Detroit legislator's survival, along with lots of proverbial pats on the back and expressions of support for her recovery, which is what decent people do, these Democrats had different ideas. They decided to punish her, whipping out their censorship apparat and threatening party expulsion all for the 'crime' of surviving COVID-19 by taking hydroxychloroquine and remembering and thanking President Trump.

Michigan's already grossly unpopular governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who banned garden seed sales, mowing the lawn, and visiting one's own getaway cabin, has actually been making time in her busy schedule to send crank texts to the lawmaker, Karen Whitsett.............

By any standard, this isn't normal behavior. This is the viciousness of fanatics, mad dogs so crazed they'd attack one of their own for the slightest nod to someone on the other side who helped. No 'in this all together' talk from them........To Read More....

Coronavirus and Subsidized Unemployment

April 23, 2020 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

 Remember the “jobless recovery” of the Obama years?
Part of the problem was that President Obama kept extending unemployment benefits, which subsidized joblessness, as even Paul Krugman and Larry Summers had warned.

The good news was that Congress eventually said no in 2014 (actually one of the three best things to happen that year).
After that happened, the labor market improved.

But politicians apparently didn’t learn anything. As part of emergency coronavirus legislation, they turbo-charged unemployment benefits.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial from yesterday has a good summary.
Much of the harm from the coronavirus is unavoidable, but it would be nice if politicians didn’t compound the damage by ignoring the laws of economics. The worst blunder so far on that score is the $600 increase in federal jobless benefits… Why would anyone take a pay cut to go back to work? …Employees say they’ll take the unemployment check for as long as they can make more money by not working. …This does not mean these workers are lazy. Workers are making rational decisions based on the economic incentives the political class has created. …The question now is whether the Trump Administration will learn from its negotiating mistake. Democrats will try to extend the $600 for another few months, and then a few more after that, as they describe anyone who disagrees as heartless.
Tim Kane, in a piece for the Hill, explains why this doesn’t make sense.
The UI system is a case study in perverse incentives in the best of times, but the four-month “fix” in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) makes it far worse. …Existing UI provides a government payment to each worker who is involuntarily laid off, in essence paying people not to work. The amount varies slightly according to state-based formulas. But UI checks are generally set to replace 50 percent of the individual’s wages until they find a new job. …Pandemic UI jacks up the replacement rate with a supplemental $600 per unemployed worker for the next four months. That’s roughly an extra $2,400 each month that will go to you only if you are unemployed. …Now that the CARES Act is the law of the land, any American with an annual salary of $62,000 has no financial incentive to work, certainly not until August. …the federal government is going to pay non-working Americans way more than working Americans.
In a column for Bloomberg, Conor Sen explores the implications.
It’s also important to be mindful of how, once the economy is growing again, a $600 weekly benefit can distort the labor market. That works out to the equivalent of $15 an hour for a 40-hour work week, a level that substantially exceeds the minimum wage in most states. When restaurants are open for business again, they are likely to complain if they can’t hire dishwashers who understand that it’s not worth giving up unemployment benefits. One step to winding down the program might be reducing the benefit over time in response to labor-market conditions and monitoring the impact that’s having on workers accepting jobs.
Sam Hammond, writing for National Review, opines on the potential human cost.
…the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program…will…add an extra $600 per week to the base benefit (equal to half the state’s regular unemployment benefit) for up to four months. …This $600 per week add-on — equivalent to a $15-per-hour full-time income — means that many workers will soon be eligible to receive more in unemployment compensation than they would make on the job. …It should go without saying that no government in history has ever designed an unemployment-insurance program quite like this — one that virtually anyone can qualify for, and with benefits on par with the median weekly earnings of full-time workers. …a worst-case scenario is easy to imagine…once quarantines begin to lift, a fraction of Pandemic UI recipients will choose to stay on “extended benefits”… Temporary unemployment will become structural, and a jobless recovery will drag out for decades.
Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center cites some of the academic literature.
The unintended consequences and moral hazard of UI during normal times and normal recessions are well known. Put briefly, generous UI benefits create an incentive for workers to delay looking for jobs until the expiration of the benefit. In 2010, Harvard University economist Robert Barro estimated that the Great Recession expansions in UI benefits raised the US unemployment rate by about 2.7 percentage points. …In addition, economists Lawrence F. Katz and Bruce D. Meyer observe that workers receiving unemployment benefits were likely to postpone their job searches until their benefits expired. This finding was confirmed by many other studies, including one by economist Alan Krueger,  who wrote in 2008 that “job search increases sharply in the weeks prior to benefit exhaustion.”
And she points out that there is a better approach.
…an old policy proposal that should receive new attention—a proposal that by design encourages people to go back to work as quickly as they can… Personal unemployment insurance savings accounts (PISAs) are designed to maintain a financial incentive to return to work as soon as possible. These accounts are individually owned by workers who, during spells of unemployment, can make orderly withdrawals to partially compensate for the loss to their income but can keep and build the balance during their regular times of employment. …This form of UI is not a mere theoretical proposition. The experience of Chile is worth noting, but other countries such as Austria and Colombia have adopted similar plans.
Making a related point, Congressman Justin Amash points out that it would be less harmful to simply give people money rather than giving them money on the condition that they don’t work.
By the way, a study from the Bank for International Settlements, published well before coronavirus became an issue, notes other negative effects of unemployment benefits.
Many countries provide unemployment insurance (UI) to reduce individuals’ income risk and to moderate fluctuations in the economy. However, to the extent that these policies are successful, they would be expected to reduce precautionary savings and hence bank deposits–households’ main saving instrument. In this paper, we study this reduced incentive to save and uncover a novel distortionary mechanism through which UI policies affect the economy. In particular, we show that, when UI benefits become more generous, bank deposits fall. Since deposits are the main stable funding source for banks, this fall in deposits squeezes bank commercial lending, which in turn reduces corporate investment.
Just another chapter in the government’s book on how to discourage savings.
Let’s close with some real world illustrations of how Washington’s approach is backfiring.
A story from National Public Radio shows how workers respond logically to perverse incentives.
…the extra money can create some awkward situations. Some businesses that want to keep their doors open say it’s hard to do so when employees can make more money by staying home. “We basically have this situation where it would be a logical choice for a lot of people to be unemployed,” said Sky Marietta, who opened a coffee shop along with her husband, Geoff, last year in Harlan, Ky. …The shop had been up and running for only a few months when the coronavirus hit. …Marietta was determined to stay open. …But even though she had customers, Marietta reluctantly decided to close the coffee shop just over a week ago. “The very people we hired have now asked us to be laid off,” Marietta wrote… “Not because they did not like their jobs or because they did not want to work, but because it would cost them literally hundreds of dollars per week to be employed.” …the $10 to $15 an hour they’d make serving coffee is no match for the new jobless benefits.
Maxim Lott also wrote about another tragic example.
An additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits…causing concern that some workers could be in a position to actually make more money by leaving their jobs. . …That angers some essential workers on the front lines on the crisis. “I can tell you as a worker who barely makes over minimum wage, at $12 an hour, the whole thing is complete BS,” Otis Mitchell Jr., who works in West Virginia transporting hospital patients to get medical tests, told Fox News. Mitchell Jr. added that he has unemployed friends who already are getting the extra $600, and that “I prefer to work, but sadly I’d make more staying home.” …generous payments are…scheduled to last for four months, ending July 31.
A report from CNBC also found perverse consequences.
Jamie Black-Lewis felt like she won the lottery after getting two forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. …When Black-Lewis convened a virtual employee meeting to explain her good fortune, she expected jubilation and relief that paychecks would resume in full even though the staff — primarily hourly employees — couldn’t work. She got a different reaction. “It was a firestorm of hatred about the situation,” Black-Lewis said. …The anger came from employees who’d determined they’d make more money by collecting unemployment benefits than their normal paychecks. …“I couldn’t believe it,” she added. “On what planet am I competing with unemployment?”
If you want to see why people are choosing unemployment, here’s a chart from the CNBC story. Using examples from three states, it shows the normal generosity of unemployment benefits on the left and the new approach on the right.

Needless to say, it’s economic malpractice to make unemployment more attractive than jobs paying $20-$30 per hour.

It’s the real-world version of this satirical Wizard-of-Id cartoon.

P.S. Speaking of satire, Nancy Pelosi actually argued that paying people not to work was a form of stimulus.

P.P.S. Here are a couple of anecdotes, one from Ohio and one from Michigan, about the perverse impact of excessive unemployment benefits during the last downturn.

P.P.P.S. If you want more academic literature on the relationship between government benefits and joblessness, click here and here.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Untold Story of the Bay of Pigs Freedom Fight—59 Years Ago This Week

Humberto Fontova April 25, 2020 @

(Editor's Note: I discovered Mr. Fontova some years back and in the first year of reading his work I learned more about Castro and that whole disgusting crowd, including the actions of the CIA, State Department, the media and JFK, and his disgusting behavior during the Bay of Pigs invasion, than I learned the previous fifty years before.  I'm 73, and I remember these events. 

He tells us what actually happened. 

I wish to thank Mr. Fontova for giving me blanket permission to publish his work.  RK)

“It’s a great honor and I’m humbled for this endorsement from these freedom fighters (Bay of Pigs Veterans Association)…You were fighting for the values of freedom and liberty that unite us all. (Candidate Donald Trump, receiving endorsement of Bay of Pigs veterans at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami, Florida, Oct. 25, 2016.)

'Shameless ELECTION YEAR PANDERING!' snort liberals. Well:
“I really admire toughness and courage, and I will tell you that the people of this brigade [Brigada 2506] really have that…you were let down by our country.”  (Donald Trump, addressing Bay of Pigs Veterans at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami, Florida, November 1999.
Since liberals (and their libertarian kissing-cousins) mostly parrot versions of the Castro/KGB-concocted script on the Bay of Pigs, let’s clarify a few items:

First off—No, it wasn’t a matter of “Big Bad Bully” Uncle Sam waking up on the wrong side of the bed and deciding to punish an innocuous free-healthcare provider and “nationalist” who booted “The Mob” from Cuba.

In fact: The U.S. gave Castro’s regime its official benediction (diplomatic recognition) more rapidly than it had recognized Batista’s in 1952, and quickly lavished it with $200 million in subsidies.

In fact: In August 1959, the liberal U.S. ambassador to Cuba, Philip Bonsal, even alerted Castro to a conspiracy against his regime by anti-communist Cubans, who knowing how the U.S. State Department and CIA had helped Castro into power, excluded them from their plans.

Thanks in part to liberal U.S. Ambassador Bonsal’s solicitude for a regime then insulting his nation as “a vulture preying on humanity!” and poised to steal $2 billion from U.S. stockholders, the native anti-Castro plot was foiled, hundreds of the plotters imprisoned or executed, and the regime that three years later came closest to vaporizing many of America’s biggest cities (including Bonsal’s home) with nuclear missiles, survived.

In 1958, at the very time the U.S. State Department and CIA were helping his movement, Castro had written in confidence to a colleague, “War with the U.S. is my true destiny.” Castro had sent armed guerrillas to attempt the violent overthrow of five sovereign Latin American countries, (Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, Haiti) stole $2 billion from American businessmen at Soviet gun point after torturing and murdering several U.S. citizens who resisted, invited in thousands of Soviet military and police agents, kidnapped 50 U.S. citizens from Guantanamo Bay, and jailed and executed several Americans before we lifted a finger against him. In fact during this period, the State Dept. made over 10 back channel diplomatic attempts to ascertain the cause of Castro’s tantrums. Argentine President Arturo Frondizi (himself a leftist) was the conduit for many of these and recounts their utter futility in his memoirs. At long last the U.S. started contingency planning for what came to be known as the Bay of Pigs invasion.

No, the invasion was not “doomed” from the beginning because of Castro’s “popular support” in Cuba—as the Media/Democrat complex would have you believe.

No, the invasion was not “doomed” because the original CIA/Military plans were “faulty”—as the Media/Democrat complex would have you believe.

No, the “formerly rich, pampered and effete” Cuban invaders did not “quickly surrender,” as the Media/Democrat complex would have you believe.

In fact, it was the voluntary actions of President Kennedy that led to doom.

'WHAT?! Are they NUTS?!' bellowed Brigade Air Force chief Reid Doster form Guatemala when he learned that Kennedy had canceled most of the vital airstrikes to destroy Castro’s small air force before the invasion. “There goes the whole f***ing war!" 

Where are the planes?” kept crackling over U.S. Navy radios two days later. “Where is our ammo? Send planes or we can’t last!” Brigade Commander Jose San Roman kept pleading to the very U.S. fleet that escorted his men to the beachhead. Crazed by hunger and thirst, his men had been shooting and reloading without sleep for three days. Many were hallucinating. By then many suspected they’d been abandoned by the Knights of Camelot.

That’s when Castro’s Soviet Howitzers opened up, huge 122 mm ones, four batteries’ worth. They pounded 2,000 rounds into the freedom-fighters over a four-hour period. “It sounded like the end of the world,” one said later. “Rommel’s crack Afrika Corps broke and ran under a similar bombardment,” wrote Haynes Johnson in his book, the Bay of Pigs. By that time the invaders were dazed, delirious with fatigue, thirst and hunger, too deafened by the bombardment to even hear orders. But these men (representing every race and social class in Cuba) were in no mood to emulate Rommel’s crack Afrika Corps by retreating. Instead they were fortified by a resolve no conquering troops could ever call upon–the burning duty to free their nation.

"If things get rough," the heartsick CIA man Grayston Lynch radioed back, "we can come in and evacuate you."

"We will NOT be evacuated!" San Roman roared back to his friend Lynch. "We came here to fight! We don't want evacuation! We want more ammo! We want PLANES! This ends here!"

Camelot’s criminal idiocy finally brought Adm. Arleigh Burke of the Joints Chief of Staff, who was receiving the battlefield pleas, to the brink of mutiny. Years before, Adm. Burke sailed thousands of miles to smash his nation's enemies at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Now he was Chief of Naval Operations and stood aghast as new enemies were being given a sanctuary 90 miles away! The fighting admiral was livid. They say his face was beet red and his facial veins popping as he faced down his commander-in-chief that fateful night of April 18, 1961. "Mr. President, TWO planes from the Essex! (the U.S. Carrier just offshore from the beachhead) "that's all those Cuban boys need, Mr. President. Let me order...!"

JFK was in white tails and a bow tie that evening, having just emerged from an elegant social gathering. "Burke," he replied. "We can't get involved in this."

"WE put those Cuban boys there, Mr. President!" The fighting admiral exploded. "By God, we ARE involved!"

Admiral Burke’s pleas also proved futile.

The freedom-fighters’ spent ammo inevitably forced a retreat. Castro's jets and Sea Furies were roaming overhead at will and tens of thousands of his Soviet-led and armed troops and armor were closing in. The Castro planes now concentrated on strafing the helpless, ammo-less freedom-fighters.

"Can't continue,” Lynch's radio crackled - it was San Roman again. "Have nothing left to fight with ...out of ammo...Russian tanks in view....destroying my equipment.”

"Tears flooded my eyes," wrote Grayston Lynch. "For the first time in my 37 years I was ashamed of my country."

When the smoke cleared and their ammo had been expended to the very last bullet, when a hundred of them lay dead and hundreds more wounded, after three days of relentless battle, barely 1,400 of them -- without air support (from the U.S. Carriers just offshore) and without a single supporting shot by naval artillery (from U.S. cruisers and destroyers poised just offshore) -- had squared off against 21,000 Castro troops, his entire air force and squadrons of Soviet tanks. The Cuban freedom-fighters inflicted over 3,000 casualties on their Soviet-armed and led enemies. This feat of arms still amazes professional military men.

“They fought magnificently and were not defeated,” stressed Marine Col. Jack Hawkins a multi-decorated WWII and Korea vet who helped train them. “They were abandoned on the beach without the supplies and support promised by their sponsor, the Government of the United States.”

"We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty!" proclaimed Lynch and Hawkins’ Commander-in-Chief just three months earlier

Believe All Women - Unless They Accuse Joe Biden

By Daniel Greenfield Wednesday, April 22, 2020 3 Comments @ Sultan Knish Blog

Over two weeks after Tara Reade, a former Biden Senate staffer, accused him of sexually assaulting her, the media finally got around to tackling her and the threat she poses to Biden by calling her a liar.

The New York Times' article dryly titled, "Examining Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden" by Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember seeks to discredit Reade's claims.

"No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade's allegation," the article insisted. "The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable."

Then that awkward paragraph with its mix of admissions and denials went down the memory hole.

The same Lisa Lerer who tackled Reade's allegations had sat on a PBS panel which had previously discussed Biden's misbehavior with women, including the allegation by Lucy Flores. At the time, Biden hadn't yet entered the race, and Lerer opined that the Democrat positions on "standards around gender and consent" had shifted and that Biden had to "get right on those issues with where the party is now."

But now that Biden is the nominee, Lerer suddenly has never heard of a pattern of misconduct.

Last year, Sydney Ember had co-written a New York Times article titled, “Biden’s Tactile Politics Threaten His Return in the #MeToo Era.”

Biden had not yet announced that he was running and the story mentioned that, “two more women told The New York Times that the former vice president’s touches made them uncomfortable.”

The pattern of misconduct that Ember and the New York Times had reported on in 2019, had somehow vanished in 2020.

In 2019, Ember had written that, "the list of women coming forward is growing." Now they’re all gone.

Back then, Ember had told the story of "Caitlyn Caruso, a former college student and sexual assault survivor" who described how "Mr. Biden rested his hand on her thigh — even as she squirmed in her seat to show her discomfort" at an "event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas."

Ember and Lerer were not only aware of Biden’s “pattern of misconduct”, but they had discussed it in their line of work before Biden had entered the race. Now that he’s the nominee, there’s no pattern.

Before Biden entered the race, he was a fossil who might weigh the field down. Now that he’s the nominee, the New York Times, Ember, and Lerer have to bury his accusers out on West 41st Street.

But the Reade story and the response to it showcases the larger hypocrisy of the #MeToo movement.

Reade was first interviewed by Katie Halper, a writer for Jacobin magazine, and then was followed up by an article at The Intercept. Both are fanatical pro-Bernie outfits. Halper had previously written a Jacobin article attacking Ember as an anti-Bernie shill for Biden. Of course, Halper is an anti-Biden shill for Bernie. The tawdry state of the #MeToo movement has reduced it to three women trading accusations and denials of sexual assault on behalf of two old men and their respective male bosses, A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of the family business that is the New York Times, and Bhaskar Sunkara, the publisher of the Jacobin, and the former vice-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The #MeToo movement exhausted its obvious targets, known predators like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, and after taking down a string of media second bananas, became a purely partisan weapon to be wielded against Republicans. At the New Yorker, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow pushed Deborah Ramirez's smears of Justice Kavanaugh, before Mayer turned around and tried to rehabilitate Al Franken by smearing his accusers in the same publication. The hashtags of the #MeToo movement were a farce.

The central defense of Franken supporters had been that his first and most famous accuser had become a conservative. The feminist choir member who had also accused Franken was carefully overlooked.

#BelieveAllWomen had become “Believe all Democrat women when they accuse Republicans.”

Not all women. Not all Democrat women. Just Democrat women who accuse Republicans.

The #MeToo movement had begun as a revolution against abuse and ended in the same partisan weaponization of sexual harassment in the nineties that embraced Anita Hill, while dismissing Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and Paula Jones, not based on the facts, but out of pure political cynicism.

The media killed #MeToo just as it kills everything that it touches.

We don’t need to believe Reade to dismiss the New York Times hit piece on her as an inevitable political attack . Ember and Lerer could acknowledge that Biden had touchy problems before he ran, or even before he became the nominee, but not now when he’s on the verge of his coronavirus coronation.

We shouldn’t believe all women or all men. And we should never believe the media.

Individual men and women can have a presumption of honesty, but the media staggers along under an impossible presumption of dishonesty. There is a reason why the #MeToo scandal burned hottest and brightest in the media, taking out chunks of 60 Minutes, NPR, and network news operatives. It’s also why the media can’t be trusted when it deploys its dueling #MeToo hit pieces and coverups.

The media is a deeply corrupt institution. Its external fake news mirrors its internal abuses.

The #MeToo movement brought down actual villains, but it was still a lynch mob. A witch hunt doesn’t stop being a witch hunt just because there are actual witches. The #MeToo movement insisted that the problem was more important than the process. And somehow the media, whose ranks and bosses included some of the worst #MeToo abusers, became the arbiter of whatever process there was.

That’s how we ended up with the Kavanaugh lynch mob and the Biden whitewash.

Is Joe Biden a predator?

His creepy misbehavior has been documented in countless photos and videos. But that doesn’t mean that Reade’s claims are true. There is probably no way to know what really happened between Biden and his former Senate staffer. Reade filed a criminal complaint against Biden a few days before the New York Times story went live. It’s hard not to believe that she joggled the Old Gray Lady’s wrinkled hand.

It’s in the hands of the authorities now.

As Americans, we don’t want our political system governed by media lynch mobs and witch hunts, by accusations that cannot be challenged and by accusers whom we are obligated to believe.

Biden’s political future, what there is of it, won’t be determined by what really happened in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building some 27 years ago, but by what he does and says now.

And that’s the way it should be.

Rep. Clyburn, the top Dem whose endorsement handed Biden a victory in South Carolina and the nomination, who had previously defended Rep. Conyers when he thought his accusers were white, complained that Biden had “become a victim of the #MeToo movement.”

Clyburn argued that Biden was “just a feeler, toucher kind of guy” and that his candidate was struggling because he was “afraid to touch anyone”. Social distancing has temporarily cured Biden of his conflict about whether to grope or not to grope on the campaign trail. But if social distancing ends before the election, the telltale hands may emerge and reveal exactly the kind of man that Gropin’ Joe really is.

Coronavirus - Essential Freedoms and Non-Essential Governments

Join the webinar on Thursday the 23rd, 7 PM EST, 4 PM PST

State, local and big governments tell us that their authority is essential and that everything we do, from running our businesses to leaving the house to planting in our backyard, are non-essential.

The truth is that we are essential and government isn't. Even during a pandemic.
Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine. Click here to subscribe to my articles. And click here to support my work with a donation. Thank you for reading.

New Numbers Confirm Social Security’s Dismal Fiscal Outlook

April 24, 2020 by Dan Mitchell  @ International Liberty
When I put forth the “The Case for Social Security Personal Accounts” in early 2011, I pointed out that the program’s long-run fiscal shortfall was more than $27 trillion.

We should be so lucky to have that problem today.

The Social Security Administration just released the annual report on the program’s finances, so I went to to Table VI.G9 of the “Supplemental Single-Year Tables” to peruse the yearly projections for future revenue and spending (which are adjusted for inflation so we have a more accurate method for comparisons).

The bad news is that an ever-increasing amount of our income is going to be grabbed by payroll taxes. The worse news is that Social Security’s spending burden will climb at an even-faster rate (historical data to the left of the red line, future projections to the right of the red line).

For those who focus on the less-important issue of red ink, the gap between revenue and spending over the next 75 years is projected to reach $44.7 trillion.

The gap in this year’s report is not directly comparable to the number I cited in 2011, but there’s no question the program’s finances are heading in the wrong direction.

This is partly because Social Security – as a “pay-as-you-go” program – is very vulnerable to demographic changes.

Like other types of Ponzi Schemes, it can work so long as there are always more and more new people entering the system.

But America’s demographic profile is changing. We’re living longer and having fewer kids.

In a column for the Foundation for Economic Education, Daniel Kowalski has a summary of how the program works and why it has a grim future.
Social Security recipients are not paid with the money that the government deducted directly from them and their past employers. Instead that money was used to pay the benefits for past retirees, while current retired recipients are getting their money through Americans who are currently working and contributing to the system. …the first recipients of the Social Security program took out far more than they put in with the difference being made up by the fact that active workers then greatly outnumbered beneficiaries. In 1940 this was not an issue as there were 159 workers supporting one beneficiary. …By 1960, 15 years after President Roosevelt’s death, that ratio was reduced to 5 workers for every beneficiary. In 1980, the ratio dropped to just above three and in 2010 it dropped below that. …there is one thing that Millennials and Generation Z can do to prepare themselves for that day. Start saving and planning for retirement now and make a plan that does not count on a government-issued Social Security check.
He’s right, and his column doesn’t even address the other problem for young people, which is the fact that they get a rotten deal from the program, paying in record amounts of money in exchange for hollow promises of a meager monthly benefit.

By the way, the numbers in the two charts above are based on the Social Security Administration’s “intermediate” assumptions.

I’ve never had any reason to question the reasonableness of those numbers. But in a world with coronavirus, which is causing crippling short-run economic damage and could cause significant long-run harm, it may be more prudent to look at SSA’s “high-cost” assumptions.

The bottom line is that the program’s long-run shortfall could be more than $20 trillion higher.

And remember, these numbers are in 2020 dollars. In other words, adjusted for inflation.

So how do we solve this mess? How do we avoid a grim fiscal future?

Shifting to a system of personal retirement accounts would be the most prudent approach. Yes, there would be an enormous transition cost since we would need to pay benefits to current retirees and many older workers, but that transition cost would be less than the $44.7 trillion unfunded liability (or even more!) of the current system.

I’ve written many times about the benefits of personal accounts for the United States, but I find most people are more interested in real-world evidence. Here are just a few of the several dozen nations that either fully or partially utilize private savings instead of political promises.
P.S. Some folks in Washington want to exacerbate Social Security’s fiscal burden by expanding the program.

P.P.S. I hate to add to the bad news, but the long-run finances for Medicare and Medicaid are an even-bigger problem.

'Let's set the record straight': Bret Baier responds to Pelosi claim she didn't hold up virus relief

By Andrew Mark Miller April 24, 2020

 Fox News anchor Bret Baier “set the record straight” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her role in delaying funding to small businesses devastated by the coronavirus.
“Let's set the record straight, here,” Baier said. “Once they found out that the small-business pot was going to be dry, there was a clean bill to put more money in it. Nancy Pelosi did not go forward with that. Period. The end. Stop there. So, yes, they wanted to do other things, Democrats did. But to have an answer that says that it was Mitch McConnell who delayed is really political jujitsu.”
“Let's set the record straight. Once Republicans found out the PPP was going to run dry, there was a clean bill to replenish it. Nancy Pelosi didn't go for it. Period. So to say that the delay was Mitch McConnell's fault is just political jiujitsu for Nancy Pelosi.” @FoxNews — Bret Baier (@BretBaier) April 23, 2020

“So, when the number goes up 4.4 million on unemployment, there is a reason that it goes up that way,” Baier added. “And that delay is part of it.”

Pelosi has been widely criticized over the past few weeks for holding up coronavirus relief for about two weeks, demanding more money be added for healthcare, food stamps, and targeted funds for women and minorities.........To Read More......

The data is in — stop the panic and end the total isolation

By Dr. Scott W. Atlas, Opinion Contributor — 10,480

The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase. Tens of thousands of Americans have died, and Americans are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts. Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function.

Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown.

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19...........

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding............

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem...........

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections..............

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures...........To Read More.....

The CDC sent tests contaminated with the coronavirus to states in February

'It was just tragic'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention botched the crucial rollout of COVID-19 tests in February, sending tests contaminated with the coronavirus to states at a time when the virus could've potentially been better contained without widespread lockdowns, the New York Times reported.........

It was just tragic," said Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, according to the Times. "All that time when we were sitting there waiting, I really felt like, here we were at one of the most critical junctures in public health history, and the biggest tool in our toolbox was missing."

How did this happen? The tests were contaminated due to "sloppy laboratory practices," the Times reported, including employees entering and exiting labs without changing their coats, and tests being assembled in the same room where other researchers were working on positive coronavirus samples.
The CDC has admitted that it did not follow its own manufacturing standards with the tests, and said enhanced quality control measures have been put in place since the errors.......To Read More.....

'Where does it stop?': Trey Gowdy condemns government overreach during pandemic response

Spencer Neale April 25, 2020

Former federal prosecutor Trey Gowdy condemned what he described as vast government overreach in response to the coronavirus pandemic, during a conversation with former Gov. Mike Huckabee on Fox News on Friday.
"The greater the freedom you infringe, the more compelling the reason has to be," Gowdy said. "So, if I'm going to imprison you or fine you for not wearing a mask, why can't I hold you down and vaccinate you against the flu this fall? I mean, you don't want the flu and COVID-19, so can I involuntarily vaccinate you?

Can I show up at your house and make sure you're doing your burpees and your planks and your jumping jacks because obesity and COVID-19 don't go well together? Where does it stop?"........To Read More......

Iran’s IRGC Head: Any US Navy Vessel That Threatens Our Ships Will be Attacked

By Patrick Goodenough | April 24, 2020

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said Thursday the force’s maritime units have been ordered to attack any U.S. Navy ship that threatens the security of Iranian military or civilian vessel.

The comments further escalate tensions, after President Trump warned earlier that Iranian gunboats that “harass” U.S. ships would be destroyed. 

“We are fully determined and serious in defending our national security, maritime borders, maritime interests, maritime security and security of our forces at sea,” the Tasnim news agency quoted IRGC chief Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami as saying.  He added that any wrong move by Iran’s enemies “will meet our decisive, effective and prompt response.”..........To Read More....

My Take - Yeah, well, the fact is - Obama isn't President any longer and "Swift Boat" Kerry is no longer Sec. of State.  Now the thugs and tyrants are dealing with men. 

Hello world, there's a new sheriff in town. 

These are the people Feinstein, and the Senate Terror Caucus (Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal, Schatz, Van Hollen,  Udall,  Cardin, Kaine, Leahy, Merkley, Carper) who want America to lower economic sanctions because according to them, “the right thing to do from a national security perspective.”  

The're insane, and they're not alone.  There's a House Terror Caucus also. 

"Signatories to the letter calling for Iranian access to the banking sector, which it has used to fund terrorism, and to export oil, likewise, included longstanding members of the Democrat Senate and House Terror Caucus including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, Rep. Joaquin Castro, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Marc Pocan, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and, Rep. Hank Johnson: who had compared Jews to termites."

That's the Congressional Terror Caucus.  Definition leads to clearity.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer faces protest outside her home as lawmakers mull curbing her powers,I’m not going to sign any bill that takes authority away from me,” extends lockdown

By - on

........Former Nevada attorney general says Gov. Whitmer broke the law...........Meanwhile, the Michigan Legislature has scheduled a special session for Friday with the goal of creating an oversight committee to review Whitmer’s coronavirus orders and possibly strip her of some of her powers, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Critics have accused Whitmer, a 48-year-old first-term Democratic governor, of overstepping her authority with a series of measures intended to stem the spread of coronavirus in the state. April 9 revisions to her initial stay-at-home order included bans on visiting friends and relatives or traveling to vacation homes, and halts on sales of items such as furniture and gardening supplies.

In a podcast interview, she also said abortions should continue in the state during the virus outbreak because the procedures were part of “life-sustaining” health care for women......To Read More....

Pa. removes 200 ‘probable’ deaths from state coronavirus count as questions mount about reporting process, accuracy

By - on

“These statistics have been made to look really scary when it so easy to add false numbers to the CDC data base. Those false numbers are sanctioned by the CDC. The real number of COVID-19 is not what most people are told. Based on how death certificates are being filed out, you can be certain the number is substantially lower than what we are being told –based on inaccurate, incomplete data people are being terrorized by fearmongers into relinquishing cherished freedoms.”  Dr. Annie Bukacek
“Figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure.”........To Read More.....

Iowa Congressional Candidate Calls for Redefining Islam as 'Militant Cultural Imperialism Seeking World Domination'

Muslim Imperialists are predictably enraged.

Thu Apr 23, 2020 Robert Spencer 91

The coronavirus is bad enough, but the real pandemic these days is of cowardice. Nonetheless, even in these days of wokeness, political correctness, and “hate speech,” there are a few public figures with courage. One of them is Rick Phillips, a Republican Congressional candidate from Iowa, who has dared to grasp the third rail of American public life and state that Islam is not actually the cuddly religion of peace that every enlightened American assumes it to be at this point.

The Des Moines Register reported Monday that Phillips’ “platform calls for redefining Islam as ‘militant cultural imperialism seeking world domination,’” and that he “drew fire Monday for saying he doesn’t believe Islam is protected under the First Amendment.”

Phillips stated on Quad Cities TV station WHBF that the Founding Fathers had only Christianity in mind when they wrote the First Amendment. “They were not talking about anti-Christian beliefs,” he explained. “Now, if a person doesn’t want to believe in Christ, that’s their business. But to say that this First Amendment right includes all religions in the world, I think, is erroneous.”............Responding like the good invertebrate that most Republican Party leaders are, Iowa party spokesman Aaron Britt said that Phillips’ statements “are not reflective of the views of the Republican Party of Iowa.” .........To Read More....

My Take - Over and over again I've stated that Islam isn't a religion. It's a criminal political movement masquerading as a religion.  That's history, and that history is incontestable.

Media-produced coronavirus fear is killing our country

April 25, 2020 By Leslie Taha

The media's incredibly irresponsible "shock and awe" reporting on the coronavirus has created a monumental stampede of fear and panic, which is a million times more damaging than the virus itself.

Here are two facts that say it all:
  • Fact #1. Deaths in the U.S. from influenza from 1950 to 2017 ranged from 13.5 to 53.7 per 100,000.
  • Fact #2. Deaths in the U.S. (as of this writing) from the coronavirus are 14.9 per 100,000. Bear in mind that this number includes "probable" deaths as well as confirmed deaths from the coronavirus.
To sum this up, the per capita deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus are lower than the per capita deaths from the flu in almost every year from 1950 to 2017. The highest number of deaths from the flu per capita was in 1960. Deaths that year were 53.7 per 100,000, well over three times as high as the coronavirus. These are the facts, not crazy media hype. Please check them out for yourself.

Incidentally, the per capita death rate from what the hysterical media love to call a "global pandemic" is 2.4 per 100,000.............The White House Coronavirus Task Force's newest model predicts that coronavirus deaths could reach 60,000. It currently stands at 49,000. Even if that number were to double to 98,000, it would still be much lower than all the per capita flu deaths from 1950 to 1998. ..........To Read More....

The coronavirus modellers are saying even North Dakota needs to stay locked down until July?

April 25, 2020 By Jack Hellner

The University of Washington's all-important Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE), which is those people who are bringing us all of these garbage-in-garbage-out coronavirus "models" that are killing our economy, is now saying the new safe opening date for North Dakota is July.

According to the latest statistics I can find, North Dakota has had 15 deaths attributed to COVID 19 in the last two months, based on state data.

North Dakota is a remote, sparsely populated, spread out state, well beyond the heavy urban centers where the coronavirus has exacted a heavy toll.

I found that around 6,000 people die in North Dakota every year or 500 per month.

So this group of supposed experts that wants to destroy the lives, wealth and income of tens of million of Americans, wants to keep North Dakota closed because of fifteen deaths (1.5% of total deaths) and most of those deaths are older people who have multiple morbidity risks......To Read More.....

My Take -In 2017 the population of North Dakota was 755,393.  Fifteen people died of coronavirus, supposing they've determined that accurately, which has become an issue in other areas.  So, if it's true, and for convenience sake, we will suppose it is, what's the real death rate for coronavirus in that North Dakota?   0.00199%!  So, North Dakota should destroy the state's economy for what reason?  We know this has nothing to do with public health.  It has everything to do with destroying the American economy, the American identity and overthrowing the U.S. Constitution, leading to the ultimate destruction of America.  Why is that so hard to grasp? 

These "expert modelers" need to be investigated, fired, and possibly prosecuted for fraud. 


'The Pretense of Knowledge' has Cost America Dearly

April 25, 2020 By Nicholas J. Kaster

Recently, Brit Hume, the sober and understated Fox News commentator, voiced the thoughts of millions when he said,
“I think its time to consider the possibility… that this lockdown, as opposed to the more moderate mitigation efforts… is a colossal public policy calamity.”
The financial extent of the calamity was quantified by economist Scott Grannis when he observed that “almost overnight, we have wiped out all the net job gains of the past 14 years.” He made that comment on April 12 and the losses aren’t over yet. Grannis bluntly concluded that, “The shutdown of the U.S. economy will prove to be the most expensive self-inflicted injury in the history of mankind.”

The loss of liberty incurred as a result of shutdown is not as easily quantifiable, but is no less significant.

Epidemiological “models” have provided the scientific basis for this large-scale abrogation of personal and economic liberty. Now that the models have been shown to be grossly inaccurate, some are demanding accountability..........To Read More....

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Journey To Tyannous Inhumanity

By Rich Kozlovich

On April 21st this article Dutch Supreme Court expands euthanasia laws for dementia appeared in The Telegraph saying:
The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that doctors could legally carry out euthanasia on people with advanced dementia who had earlier put their wishes in writing even if they could no longer confirm them because of their illness. The ruling is a landmark in Dutch euthanasia legislation which up to now had required patients to confirm euthanasia requests. This had not been considered possible for mentally incapacitated patients like advanced dementia sufferers.
Although it doesn’t run in my family, I've have had a family member with Alzheimer's, who I was very close to. I can assure you, I'm empathetic to anyone going through it, especially their family.

Dementia or Alzheimer's are terrible afflictions. That movie with James Garner and Gena Rowlands "The Notebook" was really touching. But the last thing I want is for bureaucrats deciding who should live and who should die, including the judiciary.

It never stops at this point, and as soon as it becomes acceptable to society for human beings to decide who should live and who should die, it grows and expands, like an infectious disease. To kill someone is murder, even if its authorized by government.

This goes beyond the slippery slope, it’s now the beginning of a toboggin ride. When we allowed abortion, I predicted they would then want to murder those born found to be unfit, and that’s been touted but not practiced, although aborted babies who lived were allowed to die. That's murder.

I also predicted this misanthropy would expand to the elderly, the infirm and the mentally deficient. That’s where this journey is heading.

We also should remember we were practicing eugenics in the United States up to the 1960’s, where there was the forced sterilization of tens of thousands.  I will admit the reason had to do with genetic disorders they were passing on to their children, which is at least understandable.  But when it starts there where does this all end?

This policy of eugenics was promoted by Progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Walter Lippmann, Rexford Tugwell, W.E.B. Dubois, and in Nazi Germany it became policy, only it went beyond forced sterilization, to forced termination.

Margaret Sanger may have been the biggest promoter of eugenics in the world, and even influenced Hitler's thinking.  She wanted to control the "brown" races, and although Sanger was opposed to abortion for that purpose, the organization she founded eventually morphed into Planned Parenthood, which has murdered millions of unborn babies. 

Is eugenics different than murder? Yes, but its part and parcel of the same package, the same mentality, the same moral thread, and the journey eventually leads to the same end.

Once God is out of the equation, everything is acceptable because there’s no longer a moral code that prevents any atrocity conceivable to the human mind. Even with God in the picture, the practices of religious fanatics in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, demonstrate the horrors practiced by tyrants, whether they’re political or religious.

Ideology makes all things possible, and this is an ideological journey to tyrannous inhumanity!

US Meatpacking Bends to Coronavirus Pressure

By Peter Zeihan  on April 23, 2020 @ Zeihan on Geopolitics

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Meatpacking is a messy business almost custom-designed to generate coronavirus outbreaks among the staff. When a cow or hog is brought into the slaughter facility, it is slit, hung, bled-out and then has its skin and organs removed, all in 30 minutes. Since the typical cow weighs a half a ton, it is the ultimate team effort. No social distancing here.

Later on the carcass is broken down into pieces for restaurants, supermarkets with other parts sent on to processing into things like sausages and ground beef. Social distancing is at least possible at these stages, but establishing that all-important six foot bubble means fewer people on the line. That means lower throughput, which means less meat.

Best guess? Roughly 10-15% of the country’s beef processing and 25% of its pork processing is currently offline. We should expect that any plant shutdowns will last at least until the staff recovers. For most young, healthy folks, that’s about three weeks.

There’s also not a lot of spare capacity to ramp things up once these plants reopen. Most plants run two shifts, six days a week. And since most of the labor is migrant, expanding the staff isn’t something that can be done in a few days (or weeks) – especially if a substantial percentage of the staff is out with coronavirus. The issue is amplified in states that have no social distancing guidelines and, as you can see from the map, there is significant overlap.


Now the good(ish) news:

Purging a facility of COVID-19 is pretty straightforward. It just requires removing the vectors (i.e. the staff) from the facility and doing a scrubdown. Meatpacking plants regularly close every week or three for top-to-bottom cleaning and sterilization, so this is baked into normal operations.

Nor can you get coronavirus from meat that came through any of the impacted facilities. Most beef and pork is in a chiller for a few days (more than enough time to kill the virus). Multiple sterilization stages are used throughout the slaughter and packing processes (all of which would kill the virus). And then once the meat makes it to your house, you cook it (also, more than enough to kill the virus).

Finally, there will not be a shortage of animal inputs for the meatpackers. America’s ranchers had been steadily increasing their herds for years, both to serve Americans who had been enjoying a ten-year economic expansion, as well as to serve export markets recently opened up by the Trump administration. The ranchers’ problem is too many animals right now (too many to the point that some pork producers are euthanizing and burying hogs because they cannot get them to a slaughterhouse). The issue is not a shortage of animals; the issue is the bottleneck at the slaughter/meatpacking stage of the supply chain.

A Note From Peter

The last few weeks have been rough on all of us. As of March 1, the vast majority of our income here at Zeihan on Geopolitics came from us putting Peter on a jet and sending him to rub elbows with large groups of people. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, that business line has gone to zero.

Some of our subscribers have realized that, and so have suggested that ZoG provide a means of enabling readers to “tip” us in the manner similar to many other podcast and newsletter and bloggers. In essence if you like the newsletter, you can kick us whatever bit of cash you feel is appropriate.

Starting today we are implementing that program, but we don’t want the funds to come to ZoG. There are many, many people out there who are in a far worse position than the ZoG team who ultimately cuts its teeth on disruption and chaos. We’ll be fine. Others are not so fortunate. So we ask that should you wish to chip in, that you do so via Feeding America. FA is a charitable organization that seeks out foods from farmers, processors and retailers, and delivers it to people in need. Nationwide.

One of the biggest problems the country faces at present is food dislocation: pre-COVID, nearly 40% of all foods were not consumed at home. Instead they were destined for places like restaurants and college dorms. Shifting the supply chain to grocery stores takes time and money, but people need food now. Some 23 million students used to be on school lunches, for example. That servicing has evaporated. Feeding America helps bridge the gap between America’s food supply (which remains robust) and its demand (which coronavirus has shifted faster than the supply chains can keep up).

A little goes a very long way. For a single dollar, FA can feed one person for three days.
Join Peter Zeihan and Melissa Taylor April 30th for an in-depth discussion and presentation on the impact of COVID-19 on global agricultural production and the stability of the world's food supply.
Future planned invents include:
  • Transport and Supply Chains
  • Manufacturing
  • Industrial Commodities