Right Wing Granny

News behind the news. This picture is me (white spot) standing on the bridge connecting European and North American tectonic plates. It is located in the Reykjanes area of Iceland. By-the-way, this is a color picture.

Right Wing Granny

A Very Predictable Reaction To The New Law

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that California fast food restaurants are beginning to lay off workers in anticipation of the new minimum wage that will take place April 1.

The article reports:

A California state law is set to raise fast-food workers’ wages in April to $20 an hour. Some restaurants there are already laying off staff and reducing hours for workers as they try to cut costs.

California restaurants, particularly pizza joints, have outlined plans to cut hundreds of jobs in the months leading up to the April 1 wage mandate, according to state records. Other operators said they have halted hiring or are scaling back workers’ hours. 

Michael Ojeda, a Pizza Hut driver for eight years in Ontario, Calif., received notice in December that his last day would be in February, according to a letter from his former employer. Pizza Hut franchisee Southern California Pizza offered $400 in severance if he stayed through February, but Ojeda, who said he made hundreds of dollars a week in wages and tips as a delivery driver, went on unemployment instead. 

“Pizza Hut was my career for nearly a decade and with little to no notice it was taken away,” said Ojeda, 29, who previously supported his mother and partner on his Pizza Hut delivery wages. 

Southern California Pizza didn’t respond to requests for comment. Pizza Hut said it was aware of some of its California franchisees changing their delivery services. 

The article concludes:

Alexander Johnson, a second-generation owner of 10 California Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon restaurants, said the higher wages would lift his labor costs by around $470,000 annually. He has reduced his staff by about 10, and his 73-year-old parents have returned to working in the business to help shave costs. 

Johnson said he turned down a recent offer to add a location in a waterfront tourist area in San Francisco because of the projected operating costs. 

“It pains me to think about shutting down stores or laying people off,” said Johnson, who moved to Nevada this year to open Scooter’s Coffee locations in the state. “I love California, and I’m very sad about what’s going on.”

This new law will also have a negative impact on people entering the workforce for the first time. Unemployment will increase under the new law, and it will be more difficult to find an entry-level job. Companies are not in the habit of training inexperienced workers at the rate of $20 an hour. I wonder how long this law will stay in place.

Hudna?

In a recent article, I explained the concept of “hudna.” Basically, the principle is “please stop attacking me so that I can re-arm.” Another tenet of Islam is “taqiyya” which says that it’s okay to lie to infidels for the sake of the advancement of Islam. We are seeing both of these concepts at work after the horrific attack on Israel on October 7th.

On Thursday, The American Thinker reported:

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published a bombshell report, identifying an arms-trafficking scheme in which “Iran and its allies” have been smuggling heavy weapons and small arms to the jihadi terrorists occupying certain areas of Israel; see the lede below:

Long before Hamas militants burst out of their Gaza stronghold to massacre scores of civilians with handguns and assault rifles, Iran and its allies had accelerated efforts to smuggle weapons into a different part of the Palestinian territories, the West Bank.

What was most explosive though, given current circumstances, is that the arms flowing from the terrorist regimes to the smaller terrorist groups, often comes disguised as aid packages. The authors of the Journal item recount that after the February 2023 earthquake in Turkey and Syria, Iran “began hauling large quantities of weapons to Syria” in shipments disguised as aid; as we see, a “humanitarian crisis” or an “emergency” is a great cover for arming terrorists.

On a separate and totally unrelated note… From a Politico report last week:

The U.S. will send $100 million in aid for humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.

‘This money will support more than 1 million displaced in conflict affected Palestinians, including emergency needs in Gaza,’ Biden said Wednesday during a speech in Tel Aviv.

We are arming the enemies of Israel while we claim to be supporting them.

 

The Real State Of The Economy

Remember when owning your house was something of a hedge against inflation? When everything else fell apart, at least your house maintained its worth and you had a place to live. Well, it seems as if President Biden is even threatening that small amount of stability. First the administration changed the mortgage rules to penalize people with good credit ratings (article here), now higher interest rates are beginning to slow down the housing market.

On Thursday, The Conservative Treehouse reported the following:

As higher interest rates continue to put pressure on borrowers, the ability of the average person to afford a mortgage diminishes. Higher mortgage rates lead to downward pressure on residential home values as fewer borrowers can afford higher payments. Simultaneously, commercial real estate is dropping in value as vacancies continue increasing.

Put both of these issues together and already tenuous banks holding mortgage bonds as assets can become more unstable.

…A perfect storm starts to realize.

(Wall Street Journal) U.S. existing-home sales decreased 2.4% in March from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.44 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. March sales fell 22% from a year earlier.

March marked the 13th time in the previous 14 months that sales have slowed. The housing market had a surprisingly strong February, when sales rose a revised 13.75% from the previous month. But after mortgage rates ticked higher, March sales resumed the extended period of declines.

The housing market’s slowdown is now starting to weigh on prices, which have fallen on an annual basis for two consecutive months for the first time in 11 years. The national median existing-home price decline of 0.9% in March from a year earlier to $375,700 was the biggest year-over-year price drop since January 2012, NAR said.

Median prices, which aren’t seasonally adjusted, were down 9.2% from a record $413,800 in June. Home prices in the western half of the U.S. experienced some of the biggest gains for many years but are now falling the fastest.

[…] Housing starts, a measure of U.S. home-building, fell 0.8% in March from February, the Commerce Department said this week. Residential permits, which can be a bellwether for future home construction, dropped 8.8%.

The housing market slowdown shows one of the main ways that the Fed’s aggressive interest-rate increases are rippling through the economy. Housing is one of the most rate-sensitive economic sectors, and high housing costs have been a big contributor to inflation.

The article concludes:

As mortgage rates rise, just as a consumer would pull back from the housing market, so too will institutional investment groups now control the slow dumping of the asset to remove the equity they pumped into it.  Much of the investment housing will be retained as rental housing, with the monthly rents being part of the returns on the investments.    However, as this dynamic unfolds further investment purchases of houses stop, because the asset overall is declining in value.  This halt of investment activity also worsens a steeper drop in home values.

Notice this line within today’s WSJ article: “The housing market had a surprisingly strong February, when sales rose a revised 13.75% from the previous month.

What happened in February?  The BIG CLUB [Blackrock, Vanguard, Citadel, etc.] moved liquid assets out of banks into hard assets (real estate), to avoid a predictable banking issue which surfaced a month later in March.  They knew what was going to happen in banking, they moved their own assets to avoid it.

I am not sure that the American economy can survive the Biden administration’s economic policies. Even if you hated President Trump, the impact President Biden has had on stock portfolios, real estate values, the price of gas, etc., has had a serious negative impact of the middle class.

Will There Ever Be An Apology?

I really like Rand Paul. He is not afraid to say what he believes is truth regardless of the pushback. He was one of the more rational voices during the Covid pandemic and was ridiculed for the things he said (things that later turned out to be true). Will the Democrats and tech companies who maligned him ever apologize? Probably not.

The Washington Examiner posted an article on March 1st about Rand Paul and the information he provided on Covid during the pandemic.

The article reports:

The U.S. Energy Department and the FBI now agree that a lab leak is probably to blame for the spread of the COVID-19 virus, according to reports. The disclosure was made in “low confidence” earlier this week after the department received new intelligence on the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Energy Department oversees 17 national labs and research centers and was investigating the pandemic’s origins. Meanwhile, the Energy Department’s admission was just the latest in a recent string of evidence vindicating Paul. A new study released this month revealed that immunity from a natural COVID infection was “at least as high, if not higher” than receiving the vaccine. Paul said this last year but was dismissed by many on the Left as spreading misinformation.

The article concludes:

Paul was heavily criticized by those on the Left for saying the same thing the Energy Department just now concluded. He was censored by Big Tech and vilified by Democratic politicians who claimed Paul’s now-vindicated assertions were detrimental to the country. But it was Big Tech and the Democrats who were harming the country, not the Kentucky Republican.

“Trust the science” evolved into “trust the tyrants,” and the Left sought total compliance to its authoritarianism during the pandemic. Anyone objecting, such as Paul, was vilified as an ignorant conspiracy theorist and, in some cases, accomplice to murder. What happened to Paul should serve as a warning of left-wing, Democratic totalitarianism and why they can never be trusted to regulate speech or information. Liberals, Democrats, the Left, and Big Tech all owe Rand Paul an apology. Will they ever do so?

Will the political left ever be held accountable for their lies?

 

The Threat Of Disinformation

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article about Elon Musk’s release of Twitter’s documents showing censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

The article reports:

Elon Musk’s release of internal emails relating to Twitter’s 2020 censorship is news by any definition, even if the mainstream media dismiss it. There will be many threads to unspool as more is released, but a couple of points are already worth making.

The first is that Mr. Musk would do the country a favor by releasing the documents all at once for everyone to inspect. So far he’s dribbled them out piecemeal through journalist Matt Taibbi’s Twitter feed, which makes it easier for the media to claim they can’t report on documents because they can’t independently confirm them.

A second point is an huzzah for Rep. Ro Khanna, the California progressive Democrat, who warned Twitter in 2020 about the free-speech implications and political backlash of censoring the New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. That was good advice, even if Twitter didn’t take it.

A third point is the confirmation of the central role that former spies played in October 2020 in framing the Hunter Biden story in a way that made it easier for Twitter and Facebook to justify their censorship.

Recall that former Democratic intelligence officials James Clapper and John Brennan led the spooks in issuing a public statement suggesting that the laptop may have been hacked and its content was Russian disinformation. On Oct. 16, 2020, Mr. Clapper told CNN that “to me, this is just classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work.” On Oct. 19, 51 former spooks released their statement claiming that the arrival of the emails “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” (The statement and signers are published nearby.)

The article at the Wall Street Journal concludes:

The partisan foray by current and former U.S. intelligence officials in the last two elections should be deeply troubling to Americans on the left and right. They have authority by dint of access to information that isn’t confirmable by the press, which takes their spin as gospel. This is a form of political corruption that needs to be exposed, and perhaps the Twitter documents will help to unlock the story.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is very possible that the former and current U.S. intelligence officials working to get Joe Biden elected didn’t want President Trump looking into the domestic activities of our spy agencies. It seems that a thorough examination of those domestic activities is long overdue.

 

Delta Owns An Oil Refinery!?!?

On Monday, Hot Air posted an article about the current energy problems in America (and worldwide).

The article quotes The Washington Post:

The country is down to 25 days of diesel supply with stockpiles at their lowest level for this time of year in records going back to 1993. In the Northeast, where more people burn fuel for home heating than anywhere else in the country, inventories are a third of their typical levels heading into winter. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese called the levels “unacceptably low.” By late October, diesel prices had risen for more than two weeks to 50% above where they were a year ago.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Biden administration has leased fewer acres for oil-and-gas drilling offshore and on federal land than any other administration in its early stages dating back to the end of World War II, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

The article includes the following chart:

The article at Hot Air reports:

Where does Delta come into all this, after the commodities and doom and gloom lecture? That’s kind of interesting, too. At the top of the post, where I linked to those three PA refineries being closed in 2012? One of them was the Trainer facility, and it was given an EPA reprieve, of all things. CONOCO-Phillips still wanted to unload it, and Delta Airlines bought it as a hedge against oil prices and jet fuel shortages. They lost their butt owning it for years – as a small refinery fighting the EPA mandates tooth and nail didn’t help – and repeatedly tried to unload it, but, HEY! There’s been a sudden turnaround. Things are looking rosy and they are looking prescient. From April:

Delta will see a benefit of 20 cents per gallon of jet fuel from its refinery, which acts as a hedge against the spike in fuel. In particular, the refinery supplies fuel for Delta’s York operations, but Chief Financial Officer Daniel Janki said Monroe Energy’s output acts as a 40-50 percent fuel hedge across Delta’s network. In the first quarter, the refinery knocked about 7 cents off each gallon of jet fuel Delta consumed.

When Delta first bought the Trainer, Pa., refinery from Conoco Philips — now Philips 66 — in 2012, analyst opinions were mixed. Some argued it was a stroke of genius on the airline’s part, while others said it was too far afield from Delta’s core operations to make sense for an airline with no experience in selling or marketing petroleum products. The years since have been up and down for the refinery but now, with oil prices spiraling up in the wake of the Ukraine war, the refinery is proving its worth.

The refinery generated $1.2 billion in revenue in the first quarter, compared with $48 million in the same quarter in 2019, Delta said in its first-quarter results. About 80 percent of its output is diesel and gasoline, prices of which have surged. “Our Monroe refinery provides a unique benefit, acting as a partial hedge to elevated cracks,” Janki said. “This is especially true with New York Harbor Jet cracks, where our production at Monroe provides 100 percent offset.”

It really is time to rediscover American energy independence!

 

Is Anyone Comfortable With This?

On Sunday, The U.K Daily Mail posted the following headline, “FDA set to authorize updated COVID-19 booster shots for newer Omicron strains without completed human tests: Agency will assess new jabs based on mice research and older vaccines.”

The article reports:

New COVID-19 booster shots are set to be authorized this week by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will be available to most Americans before human testing has even been completed.

The shots have been modified to target the latest Omicron variant, but won’t have finished testing in humans when the FDA makes the decision. Instead, the FDA is relying on data from other sources – like research in mice and older vaccines, the Wall Street Journal reported.

‘Real world evidence from the current mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, which have been administered to millions of individuals, show us that the vaccines are safe,’ FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a tweet last week. 

This is insane.

The article notes:

WILL THEY WORK BETTER?

No one knows. Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an FDA vaccine adviser, said the antibody jump from that earlier BA.1-tweaked candidate was ‘underwhelming.’

‘What the administration is asking us to do is to accept this bivalent vaccine as significantly better’ than another dose of today’s vaccine, he said. ‘It would be nice if there were data to support that.’

But while FDA hasn’t made a final decision, Marks said there’s evidence that the updated boosters are safe and that waiting for more study of their effectiveness would risk another mutant appearing before they could roll out.

They ‘essentially refresh the immune response,’ he said. ‘Granted, it’s still a bit of a guess how long it will last but, this is doing our best.’

Given how outdated the current shots are, an update makes sense, said Dr. Walter Orenstein of Emory University, a former vaccine director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While he’d like to see more data, he plans to get the new booster.

 A large percentage of Americans have had Covid. They have natural immunity. The shots did not prevent people from getting or spreading Covid, so why in the world should they get the booster. The current variant of Covid is not a danger to most Americans. The only reason to continue with the nonsense of creating vaccines that don’t work is financial, and that is not a valid reason to inject people with an untried vaccine.

Whose Debt Is It Anyway?

Today, The National Review reported that President Biden announced that he would be forgiving the student loans of many Americans.

The article reports:

President Joe Biden is set to “forgive” up to $10,000 in federal student debt for those making under $125,000 annually, and $20,000 for Pell grant recipients, transferring the cost of the loans to the American public, the White House announced Wednesday.

…Biden is also set to extend the federal student loan freeze for a final time until December 31.

Lawmakers, including Nancy Pelosi, have argued that Biden’s executive order, is unconstitutional and goes outside the rights of the executive branch.

Congress, not the president, is the only body that can cancel student debt, Pelosi said in July of 2021, arguing that “the president can’t do it.”

“Not everybody realizes that, but the president can only postpone, delay but not forgive” student loans, she added.

The Department of Education came to the same decision, arguing that the executive branch “does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.”

The article concludes:

The total estimated cost for Biden’s one-time cancellation is $300 billion, according to a study released Tuesday by the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania. The cost would increase to $330 billion if the program continues over the standard ten-year window, the study showed.

Republican lawmakers have sounded the alarm over Biden’s decision, saying that it will lead to inflation.

Payments for most student loan borrowers have been stalled since March of 2020, when Congress, and then former president Donald Trump, paused the payments due to predicted financial hardships stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden has extended the pause four times, and the freeze was expected to expire on August 31.

For once I agree with Nancy Pelosi. The President does not have the power to forgive student loans.

In December 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

To help pay for ObamaCare, Democrats simultaneously federalized the student loan market and projected fictitious savings, all while adding more than $1.2 trillion to the federal balance sheet. The amount keeps increasing like the debt clock. Liberals then cited the government “savings” to peddle the fallacy that the feds make money off student loans—a pretext they then used to sweeten debt forgiveness plans that have helped keep default rates artificially low.

The Education Department claims the national student loan default rate is 11.3%, yet only half of all debt is in repayment. Borrowers can seek forbearance or deferment if they are unemployed, return to school or claim financial difficulties. Or they can enroll in income-based repayment plans that let them discharge the debt after making payments equal to 10% of their discretionary income for 20 years. Those who work in “public service”—government or a nonprofit—can wipe out their debt in 10 years without a tax penalty.

Initially, only students who borrowed in 2014 or later were eligible for these generous loan forgiveness plans. Then President Obama retroactively extended the benefits to buy millennial votes. Over the last three years the share of outstanding federal direct loan dollars in income-based repayment plans has doubled to 40%. Costs have exploded.

Students signed a contract to repay those laws. By switching the college loans from private lenders to the government, the government acquired the power to interfere in that contract. However, the House of Representatives has the ‘power of the purse’–not the President.

I wonder if the people whose loans are forgiven will see through this effort to buy votes or if they will simply vote for Democrats because their loans were forgiven.

Searching For The Truth

On Saturday, Townhall posted an article about Americans and the Covid vaccine.

The article reports:

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, UCLA Geffen School of Medicine Doctor Joseph Lapado and Yale School of Public Health Doctor Harvey Risch are sounding the alarm that there may be serious underestimated risks involved with the side effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus vaccine.

This comes as an independent pollster found that a significant number of Americans regret receiving the vaccine in the first place. 

10 percent of those vaccinated said they wish they hadn’t done so, while 15 percent of adults said they have been diagnosed with a new condition by a medical practitioner weeks or months after the first dose. 

Children’s Health Defense (CHD) authorized the poll two years after the first vaccine was rolled out. 

“The fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 232 million Americans ages 18–65 have taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 15 percent of those surveyed report a newly diagnosed condition is concerning and needs further study,” Laura Bono, CHD’s executive director said. 

The article lists some of the medical problems encountered by those who received the vaccine– blood clots, disrupted menstrual cycles, heart attacks, strokes, lung clots and liver damage. About 10 percent of the people who experienced these problems said that the problems were severe.

The article concludes:

The Epoch Times reported that in May, hospitals saw an increase in cases of heart inflammation among patients. They also noted that the media has given more attention to cases of blood clots despite myocarditis being more common. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci also admitted that vaccine caused menstrual irregularities, saying that the issue is “temporary” and that they “need to study it more.”

I wish they had studied it more before they demanded that everyone take the shot or lose their job.

I Wonder If They Have Thought This Through

A website focused on English grammar lessons posted the following in May 2022:

The expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” originates from the writings of Thomas Bertram Lance. Lance was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Jimmy Carter administration in 1977. The newsletter of the US Chamber of Commerce, Nation’s Business, quoted Lance as saying the following in May 1977.

Bert Lance believes he can save Uncle Sam billions if he can get the government to adopt a simple motto: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

However, while Lance gets the credit for popularizing the expression, its origin goes back to a colloquial saying from the southern states. The Texas newspaper, “The Big Spring Herald,” published the following in an article in December 1976.

“We would agree with the old Georgia farmer who said his basic principle was ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’”

The expression comes to mind when reading an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal written by Jason Riley and posted on Tuesday.

The op-ed notes:

“During Trump’s first three years in office, median household incomes grew, inequality diminished, and the poverty rate among Black people fell below 20% for the first time in post-World War II records,” the Journal reported in October 2020. “The unemployment rate among Black people went under 6% for the first time in records going back to 1972.” Minorities weren’t the only beneficiaries of this boomlet. Between 2017 and 2019, wages for the bottom 10% of earners grew at more than double the rate they did during President Obama’s second term.

This record is all the more impressive because it defied expectations. The growth of gross domestic product during Mr. Obama’s final year in office was only about half of what it had been a year earlier, which prompted no shortage of doom-and-gloom economic forecasts for the Trump presidency. Nevertheless, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, the unemployment rate came in below what the Federal Reserve had predicted, while GDP was higher than anticipated.

…Lower corporate tax rates were intended to reverse the downward trend in business investment, and following their implementation major companies announced wage hikes, bonuses and 401(k) match increases. In the two-year period after the 2017 tax reform passed, household incomes rose by more than they had in the previous eight years combined.

The article explains that the Inflation Reduction Act is the exact opposite of the policies that resulted in the growth of the economy and will have a negative impact on growth:

The reason this history is important is because Democrats, via the Inflation Reduction Act unveiled last week, want to raise the taxes that Mr. Trump cut. No matter what it’s called, the legislation is another tax and spending bonanza that will do little if anything to reduce inflation. But passage could discourage the kind of business investment we saw before Covid. And because corporate levies are borne mainly by employees, higher taxes on businesses can also lead to lower wages and less hiring.

Congress needs to take an economics course and a history course.

The article is shared on Facebook in the Right Wing Granny group. You can read the entire article there. Otherwise the article is behind The Wall Street Journal pay wall. Please read the entire article.

The Rate Of Recovery

On of the principles in the founding of America was that each state would be run individually and become a laboratory for new ideas. If a state had policies that were succeeding, other states would then be free to copy the ideas that worked. However, we are not necessarily seeing that concept currently put in practice. If it were, California would be copying the policies of Florida rather than trashing the Governor of Florida.

On July 5th, The Wall Street Journal posted an article illustrating the contrast in the economic conditions of blue and red states.

The article reports:

The pandemic has changed the geography of the American economy.

By many measures, red states—those that lean Republican—have recovered faster economically than Democratic-leaning blue ones, with workers and employers moving from the coasts to the middle of the country and Florida.

Since February 2020, the month before the pandemic began, the share of all U.S. jobs located in red states has grown by more than half a percentage point, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Brookings Institution think tank. Red states have added 341,000 jobs over that time, while blue states were still short 1.3 million jobs as of May.

Several major companies have recently announced moves of their headquarters from blue to red states. Hedge-fund company Citadel said recently it would move its headquarters from Chicago to Miami, and Caterpillar Inc. plans to move from Illinois to Texas.

The article includes the following:

Pandemic Recovery

The economic recovery of states since March 2020 has been uneven. Index of state progress, based on 13 metrics including economic output, employment, retail sales and new-home listings.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is fascinating.

The article concludes:

California’s public-school enrollment has fallen 4.4% since the pandemic, according to American Enterprise Institute. In Oakland, the school board recently voted to close schools because of declining enrollment.

Florida saw a surge in new residents, many from the Northeast, where Covid-19 related restrictions such as school closures were stricter.

At the Ohana Institute, a private school in Florida’s Panhandle, for kindergarten through 12th grade, the waiting list for students grew from 95 just before the pandemic to 393 last fall, Executive Director Lettye Burgtorf said.

Mrs. Burgtorf said the school fielded requests from hundreds of parents around the U.S. who wanted to move to Florida to be closer to the beach. Many were also unhappy that their children’s schools in other states had moved to remote learning. The Ohana Institute went remote for several weeks, then reopened, with mask mandates. “The parents were really like, ‘We cannot educate our kids at home,’ ” Mrs. Burgtorf said.

For years, a real estate boom in coastal cities made many families wealthy because their homes appreciated. Now, that is happening in red states. Florida led all states with a 31% jump in the median home price in the 12 months through January, with prices soaring in the Panhandle.

Such price increases can narrow the cost-of-living differential with the blue states that the migrants are fleeing, and increase living costs for longtime residents who don’t own homes,

These days, Mr. DeSantis’s spokeswoman said, one of the top complaints the governor’s office receives is soaring rent.

The law of supply and demand is at work in the Florida housing market.

You Know You Are Toxic When…

On Wednesday, Just the News reported that Ohio Senate Democratic nominee Representative Tim Ryan will not be appearing with President Biden next Wednesday when the President visits Ohio to discuss a program benefiting union workers. That is an indication of how low the President is in the polls.

The article reports:

Ryan’s campaign says the candidate will be a no-show due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict – the same explanation given by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nan Whaley’s campaign.

The absences from candidates in tough elections at the Biden event suggests some hesitancy to appear on stage with a president whose has low poll numbers – amid record inflation.

In addition, Biden in 2020 lost to incumbent GOP President Trump roughly 53-to-45% in Ohio, a traditional labor union state.

Biden will, however, on Wednesday be joined by Ohio lawmakers and fellow Democrats Sen. Sherrod Brown, Reps. Shantel Brown and Marcy Kaptur and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, as well as Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

The address will primarily be aimed at appealing to blue collar voters.

The article concludes:

On Wednesday, Ohio GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance tried to tie Ryan to Biden and his policies.

“Ryan has worked in lockstep with Biden to destroy our economy and Ohio’s middle class is suffering today because of it,” he said “But now, for the second time in two months, Ryan is refusing to be seen in public with his own party’s president.”

If the blue collar workers cannot see the difference in the impact of President Biden’s policies and the impact of President Trump’s policies, they are not paying attention. Under President Biden, the middle-class is struggling with high gasoline prices, high food prices, high energy prices, and no end in sight. Under President Trump, the middle class prospered.

On January 28, 2022, The Wall Street Journal posted the following:

Part of what made the Trump boom unique, however, is who benefited the most. The economy grew in ways that mostly benefited low-income and middle-class households, categories that cover a disproportionate number of blacks. In 2016 the percentage of blacks who hadn’t completed high school was nearly double that of whites—15% vs. 8%—and the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree was 35% for whites and only 21% for blacks.

These education gaps are reflected in work patterns. Blacks are overrepresented in the retail, healthcare and transportation industries, which provide tens of millions of working- and middle-class jobs. In 2019, 54% of black households earned less than $50,000 a year, versus 33% of white households. At the other end of the income distribution, slightly more than half of all white households (50.7%) earned at least $75,000, compared with less than a third (29.4%) of black households. What this means is that reductions in income inequality can translate into reductions in racial inequality, which is what the country experienced in the pre-pandemic Trump economy.

Between 2017 and 2019, median household incomes grew by 15.4% among blacks and only 11.5% among whites. The investment bank Goldman Sachs released a paper in March 2019 that showed pay for those at the lower end of the wage distribution rising at nearly double the rate of pay for those at the upper end. Average hourly earnings were growing at rates that hadn’t been seen in almost a decade, but what “has set this rise apart is that it’s the first time during the economic recovery that began in mid-2009 that the bottom half of earners are benefiting more than the top half—in fact, about twice as much,” CNBC reported.

Citing a graph included in Goldman’s analysis, CNBC added that the “trend began in 2018”—the first year that the corporate tax cuts were in effect—“and has continued into this year and could be signaling a stronger economy than many experts think.”

Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s policies have erased all of those gains in eighteen months. Electing a Republican Congress may help put back some policies that will be beneficial to the middle class, but we won’t see any upward mobility to and within the middle class until we vote Democrats and liberal Republicans out of office.

Somehow Those Who Want All Of Us To Drive Electric Cars Don’t Mention This Part Of The Story

On June 3rd, The Wall Street Journal posted an article by Rachel Wolfe about a drive from New Orleans to Chicago and back in an electric car.

The article reports:

I thought it would be fun.

That’s what I told my friend Mack when I asked her to drive with me from New Orleans to Chicago and back in an electric car.

I’d made long road trips before, surviving popped tires, blown headlights and shredded wheel-well liners in my 2008 Volkswagen Jetta. I figured driving the brand-new Kia EV6 I’d rented would be a piece of cake.

If, that is, the public-charging infrastructure cooperated. We wouldn’t be the first to test it. Sales of pure and hybrid plug-ins doubled in the U.S. last year to 656,866—over 4% of the total market, according to database EV-volumes. More than half of car buyers say they want their next car to be an EV, according to recent Ernst & Young Global Ltd. data.

Oh—and we aimed to make the 2,000-mile trip in just under four days so Mack could make her Thursday-afternoon shift as a restaurant server.

The article continues with an account of the planning that went into this trip:

Given our battery range of up to 310 miles, I plotted a meticulous route, splitting our days into four chunks of roughly 7½-hours each. We’d need to charge once or twice each day and plug in near our hotel overnight.

The PlugShare app—a user-generated map of public chargers—showed thousands of charging options between New Orleans and Chicago. But most were classified as Level 2, requiring around 8 hours for a full charge.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We are being sold a bill of goods on electric cars. Has anyone considered the load on the electric grid if everyone actually bought an electric car? There is already talk of rolling brownouts this summer because the electric grid is overloaded in some places. What impact will thousands of electric cars have on an already overloaded power grid?

The article concludes:

At our hotel, we decide 4 hours of sleep is better than none, and set our alarms for 4 a.m.

We figure 11 hours should be plenty for a trip that would normally take half as long. That is, if absolutely everything goes right.

Miraculously, it does. At the McDonald’s where we stop for our first charge at 6 a.m., the charger zaps to life. The body shop and parts department director at Rogers-Dabbs Chevrolet in Brandon, Miss., comes out to unlock the charger for us with a keycard at 10 a.m. We’re thrilled we waited for business hours, realizing we can only charge while he’s there.

We pull into New Orleans 30 minutes before Mack’s shift starts—exhausted and grumpy.

The following week, I fill up my Jetta at a local Shell station. Gas is up to $4.08 a gallon.

I inhale deeply. Fumes never smelled so sweet.

Be careful what you wish for.

Using Spin Instead Of Solving The Problem

On Wednesday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article detailing how the Biden administration plans to address the problem of rising inflation as they approach what could be a disastrous mid-term election. Mid-term elections tend to lose seats for whatever party holds the White House. If this year’s mid-term is an honest election, the prospects for the Democrat party are looking bleak.

The article reports:

President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party finally have a plan to get inflation under control and address the economic anxiety felt by millions of Americans. It’s not a plan in the conventional sense, but rather a public relations campaign to convince the American people that “despite their current misgivings, the economy is actually doing quite well.”

Inflation is soaring and gas prices are through the roof, but Americans are wrong to be concerned about the direction of the country, the president and his allies will argue this month. Politico reports that Biden has assembled a team of experts and professional communicators to make the case that, actually, the economy is good. The White House effort to “communicate on our accomplishments” kicked off on Monday with a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Biden touted his stewardship of “the most robust recovery in modern history” and cited a bunch of macroeconomic statistics to make his case.

No one who routinely makes trips to the gas station or the grocery store is going to believe that the economy is doing well.

The article concludes:

The dubious public relations campaign is in keeping with the Democratic Party’s longstanding belief that all of their electoral problems could be solved by simply explaining to skeptical voters that they have no good reason to be skeptical. It is also indicative of a White House in disarray. Biden is reportedly furious at his subordinates for failing to come up with a winning message ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, and White House chief of staff Ron Klain is rumored to be on the chopping block. Anita Dunn, a longtime Biden aide who once provided “damage control advice” to disgraced Hollywood rapist Harvey Weinstein, could take his place after the midterms.

Considering all of the information bubbling beneath the surface about Hunter Biden’s laptop and what is on it, Anita Dunn might be a really good choice for chief of staff.

 

Unraveling The Lies Of The Past Five Years

On Saturday, Hot Air posted an article reminding us that the trial of Michael Sussmann begins Monday. I suspect the exhibits are going to be far more interesting than the trial itself.

The article reports:

When we last checked in with the John Durham case against Michael Sussmann, Durham’s team had asked the judge to decide whether a small group of Fusion GPS emails were covered by attorney-client privilege. According to lawyers for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, Fusion GPS was hired solely to provide legal advice about defamation and libel laws which meant everything they did was legal consulting work. Judge Christopher Cooper didn’t seem to buy that claim and yesterday announced that Fusion GPS would have to turn over 22 emails to the prosecutors.

The Washington Post reported on May 12th:

The charge against Sussmann is the first Durham case to go to trial. A Washington-based researcher faces trial later this year for allegedly lying to the FBI about how he collected allegations against Trump. In 2020, a former FBI lawyer pleaded guilty to illegally changing a government record.

Robert Mintz, another former federal prosecutor, said the trial next week “will be the first real test” of Durham’s work. By going to trial, he said, Sussmann has “thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the significance of the prosecution and the wisdom of bringing the case.”

…“The strategy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew DeFilippis said in court Monday, “was to create news stories … to get the government to investigate it … and to get the press to report the government was investigating.”

…Prosecutors signaled this week that they plan to call a host of current and former law enforcement officials to describe how the FBI pursued the Alfa Bank accusations, and to paint Sussmann as part of a “joint venture” that included Joffe, Clinton’s campaign, research firm Fusion GPS and cybersecurity experts.

The article at Hot Air quotes a Wall Street Journal article by Kimberly Strassel:

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Kimberley Strassel argued yesterday that Durham’s team has already gone a long way to revealing the machinations behind the scenes of the Clinton campaign, Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS and the rest: (Please follow the above link to the Hot Air article to read the quote)

…Strassel concludes that Sussmann’s trial “on its face is about one lawyer, but in reality is the continuing tale of one of the dirtiest tricks in modern U.S. history.” I guess we’ll see how the trial goes next week. It looks to me like Durham’s team has the goods on Sussmann. Whether that will allow him to make a larger case about the Clinton campaigns dirty tricks remains to be seen.

This might be a really good time to sit back and get some popcorn ready.

Something Rarely Mentioned In The Abortion Debate

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial about an aspect of abortion in America that is rarely mentioned.

The editorial notes:

Scholarly studies show that black women are far likelier to terminate their pregnancies than whites.

…Bill Clinton’s famous formulation in 1992 was that abortion ought to be “safe, legal and rare.” His goal was to coalesce liberal and moderate Democrats on the issue, but the wording also suggested that even among supporters of Roe v. Wade, abortion was properly viewed as undesirable: the fewer, the better.

In the three decades since, the U.S. abortion rate has in fact declined—in recent years it’s fallen to about half of what it was in the early 1980s—yet significant racial disparities persist. In other contexts, group differences in outcome set off alarms on the political left. The racial gap in test scores has brought calls to eliminate the SAT and other admissions tests. The racial gap in arrest and incarceration rates has brought calls to legalize drugs and reduce resources for law enforcement. Racial differences in wealth and income fuel progressive demands for slavery reparations and a larger welfare state. And so on.

When it comes to abortion, however, left-wing concern seems to stop at making the procedure safe and legal, even while black-white disparities have not only persisted but widened. A 2020 paper by public-health scholar James Studnicki and two co-authors cites data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to note that the black abortion rate is nearly four times higher than the white rate: “Between 2007-2016, the Black rate declined 29% and the White rate declined 33%—meaning that the racial disparity actually increased rather than decreased.” Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence in a 2019 abortion case observed that “there are areas of New York City in which black children are more likely to be aborted than they are to be born alive—and are up to eight times more likely to be aborted than white children in the same area.”

The editorial concludes:

You’d think that the activists and media elites who are otherwise obsessed with equity—and who have spent the better part of a decade lecturing the country about the value of black lives—might take more interest in the Roe decision’s contribution to racial inequality. The black poverty rate has been roughly a third higher than the white rate for close to 30 years. Among married blacks, however, poverty has been in the single digits over the same period. In some years, the poverty rate for black married couples has been below the rate of not only blacks as a whole but also whites as a whole. If activists believe that higher black incomes will result in fewer black abortions, why not focus on how to increase black marriage rates?

One problem is that such a conversation requires frank talk about counterproductive attitudes toward marriage and solo parenting in low-income black communities. It requires discussing antisocial behavior and personal responsibility. The Democratic left has fashioned a politics around avoiding those subjects and accusing anyone who broaches them of racism. No issue has a bigger impact on America’s black population than legal abortion, but we’re not supposed to talk about that.

There is a reason Planned Parenthood puts their abortion clinics in poor minority neighborhoods. At some point Americans need to realize that you are not really helping people by making it easy to kill their children.

When Medicine Became About Money

On April 29th, The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer’s Covid-19 pill has failed its latest test.

The article reports:

The Covid-19 pill from Pfizer Inc. failed to prevent symptomatic infections in adults who had been exposed to the pandemic virus, a late-stage study found.

Pfizer said Friday that the drug, named Paxlovid, failed the study’s main objective of meaningfully reducing the risk of confirmed and symptomatic Covid-19 infections in adults who were exposed to the virus by someone in their household.

Paxlovid was cleared for use in December by U.S. health regulators to treat people 12 years and older early in the course of their disease who are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19.

A website called uncoverdc.com reported the following:

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill on Apr. 22, 2022, allowing Ivermectin to be dispensed without a prescription. The new law states, “a pharmacist, in good faith, may provide Ivermectin to a patient who is eighteen (18) years of age or older pursuant to a valid collaborative pharmacy practice agreement containing a non-patient-specific prescriptive order and standardized procedures developed and executed by one (1) or more authorized prescribers.” 

Introduced by Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) on Jan. 31, Senate Bill 2188 was co-sponsored by Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City). The amended version of the bill signed by Gov. Lee will create a standard procedure for pharmacists to easily dispense Ivermectin to patients while protecting a pharmacist or doctor from being held liable for doing so. 

The article includes the following chart:

Ivermectin can cost up to $4 a day. As of April 2022, the cost of the Paxlovid  treatment costs $530. I think it’s time to take a really good look at big pharma and its relationship to the FDA and related organizations. American medicine has prioritized profit over patient treatment and that needs to change.

Big Brother Doesn’t Need A Warrant

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation performed potentially millions of searches of American electronic data last year without a warrant, U.S. intelligence officials said Friday, a revelation likely to stoke longstanding concerns in Congress about government surveillance and privacy.

An annual report published Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that the FBI conducted as many as 3.4 million searches of U.S. data that had been previously collected by the National Security Agency.

Senior Biden administration officials said the actual number of searches is likely far lower, citing complexities in counting and sorting foreign data from U.S. data. It couldn’t be learned from the report how many Americans’ data was examined by the FBI under the program, though officials said it was also almost certainly a much smaller number.

The report doesn’t allege the FBI was routinely searching American data improperly or illegally.

The disclosure of the searches marks the first time a U.S. intelligence agency has published an accounting, however imprecise, of the FBI’s grabs of American data through a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that governs some foreign intelligence gathering. The section of FISA that authorizes the FBI’s activity, known as Section 702, is due to expire next year.

I think the Republicans need to be very careful about any law they pass that involves searching records, electronic or otherwise. This section of the FISA law needs to be allowed to expire next year. The fuse that began the use of government agencies for political purposes is found in the Patriot Act.

On Thursday, The Conservative Treehouse noted:

After the Patriot Act was triggered, not coincidentally only six weeks after 9/11, a slow and dangerous fuse was lit that ends with the intelligence apparatus being granted a massive amount of power. The problem with assembled power is always what happens when a Machiavellian network takes control over that power and begins the process to weaponize the tools for their own malicious benefit. That is exactly what Barack Obama was all about.

The Obama network took pre-assembled intelligence weapons we should never have allowed to be created, and turned those weapons into tools for his radical and fundamental change. The target was the essential fabric of our nation. Ultimately, this corrupt political process gave power to create the Fourth Branch of Government, the Intelligence Branch. From that perspective the fundamental change was successful.

The Wall Street Journal article concludes:

“For anyone outside the U.S. government, the astronomical number of FBI searches of Americans’ communications is either highly alarming or entirely meaningless,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), a privacy advocate, said. “Somewhere in all that overcounting are real numbers of FBI searches, for content and for nonconsent—numbers that Congress and the American people need before Section 702 is reauthorized.”

At a conference later Friday, Matt Olsen, the chief of the Justice Department’s national security division, said agencies were discussing what they could declassify about the use of Section 702 to demonstrate its value. He added that he expected to be able to share more information in the coming months.

The FBI has previously faced scrutiny for its oversight of how authorities plumb Section 702 data, including a rebuke from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2018 that found some searches violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans.

In response, the FBI has imposed new safeguards meant to better ensure compliance. Those include a requirement that all searches involving 100 or more query terms get additional approvals and that analysts actively opt in to search Section 702 data, rather than passively allowing it.

Friday’s report also revealed four instances last year in which the FBI, due to specific factual considerations about a search of data, should have sought approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before performing a search and looking at the content of U.S. communications that were produced.

The FBI has never sought approval from the court since the requirement was adopted in 2018, officials said.

Please follow the links above to read both articles. Big brother is watching all of us.

The Social Police Are Coming For All Of Us

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article about a new policy in Walmart.

The article reports:

Walmart Inc. is ending cigarette sales in some U.S. stores after years of debate within the retail company’s leadership ranks about the sale of tobacco products, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cigarettes are being removed in various markets, including some stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico, according to the people and store visits. In some of these stores, Walmart has rolled out a design with more self-checkout registers, as well as other items such as grab-and-go food or candy sold near the front of stores in place of Marlboro, Newport and other tobacco products.

Walmart, which has more than 4,700 U.S. stores, is removing tobacco products from select locations where the retailer has decided to use the space more efficiently, a spokeswoman said. “We are always looking at ways to meet our customers’ needs while still operating an efficient business,” she said. She declined to say how many locations will continue to sell cigarettes but said Walmart isn’t halting all tobacco sales.

I am not a smoker and hate the smell of cigarette smoke. However, tobacco is a legal substance. People are addicted to it, but it is a legal substance. Any retail outlet has the right to sell or not to sell any product it wants to; however, I wonder if this is a portent of things to come. Will bookstores stop selling conservative books (many already avoid putting them in prominent places)? Will grocery stores decide meat is bad for you and stop selling it? Will drug stores stop selling over-the-counter pain medication because some people become addicted? The decision by Walmart may lead to equally bad decisions by other retail outlets.

The article also notes:

As with tobacco, Walmart has pulled back on sales of firearms in recent years after similar internal discussions. It raised the age to purchase guns to 21 after the 2018 high-school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and discontinued sales of ammunition used in semiautomatic weapons and handguns after a 2019 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

At Walmart, sales of cigarettes are generally less profitable than some other items sold near the front of stores such as candy, according to the people familiar with the situation. It is also an operationally complex sale, eating into profits. Tobacco is kept in a locked case or blocked from shoppers. Food and Drug Administration regulations require that an employee make the sale. At Walmart, that employee must be over a specific age based on local laws and trained in tobacco sales. Theft is high throughout the supply chain, said some of these people.

Was this a decision based on principle or profit?

This Could Easily Crash The American Economy

In explaining why oil is traded in American dollars, Quora reports the following history:

Allegedly, In a series of meetings, the United States — represented by then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger — and the Saudi royal family made an agreement. The United States would offer military protection for Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, and in return the Saudi’s would price their oil sales exclusively in United States dollars (in other words, the Saudis were to refuse all other currencies, except the U.S. dollar, as payment for their oil exports). By 1975, all of the oil-producing nations of OPEC had agreed to price their oil in dollars and to invest surplus oil proceeds in U.S. government debt securities in exchange for similar offers by the U.S.

That agreement has propped up the American dollar during Washington’s wild spending binges. It has allowed America to create the massive debt we now have without going bankrupt. Just for the record, high inflation makes it easier to pay off that debt.

Yesterday Yahoo News posted an article that is not good news for the future of the American dollar.

The article reports:

Saudi and Chinese officials are in talks to price some of the Gulf nation’s oil sales in yuan rather than dollars or euros, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two nations have intermittently discussed the matter for six years, but talks have reportedly stepped up in 2022, with Riyadh disgruntled over the United States’ nuclear negotiations with Iran and its lack of backing for Saudi Arabia’s military operation in neighboring Yemen.

Nearly 80 percent of global oil sales are priced in dollars, and since the mid-1970s the Saudis have exclusively used the dollar for oil trading as part of a security agreement with the U.S. government, according to the Journal.

The talks are the latest in an ongoing effort by Beijing both to make its currency tradeable in international oil markets and strengthen its relationship with the Saudis specifically. China previously aided Riyadh in construction of ballistic missiles and consultation on nuclear power.

Conversely, the Saudi-U.S. relationship has been increasingly frayed in recent years. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman initially put forth a public image as a reformer, liberalizing the country’s policies on women’s rights and criminal justice.

However, the 2018 assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been catastrophic for both the crown prince’s public relations offensive and relations with Washington. The rift intensified after President Biden, who has said the assassination should make the kingdom a “pariah,” took office.

During the same period, China’s economic relationship to Saudi Arabia has grown closer, with the kingdom providing 1.76 million barrels of oil a day to the country in 2021, according to the Journal, citing China’s General Administration of Customs. While the country plans to maintain the dollar for the majority of its oil trading, a shift by the Saudis could create a domino effect for China’s other major oil suppliers, such as Russia, Angola and Iraq.

I am not a financial expert and would not presume to tell anyone what a safe investment would be for the future, but I can say that this is not good news for the American economy.

What An Amazing Coincidence

On Friday, The Washington Free Beacon reported the following:

Federal authorities are investigating three Democratic megadonors who made an enormous bet on shares of Activision Blizzard just days before Microsoft agreed in January to acquire the video game company for $69 billion.

The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are both looking into the suspiciously timed trading activity of Barry Diller, owner of the Daily Beast, his stepson Alex von Fürstenberg, and his friend David Geffen, a longtime Democratic donor who gave $500,000 to the scandal-plagued Lincoln Project in 2020.

…The Journal (The Wall Street Journal) notes that Activision stock options similar to those purchased by Diller, Geffen, and von Fürstenberg were “sparsely traded” in the days before the Microsoft acquisition was announced, but “exploded” in response to the news. The wealthy Democrats’ stock options instantly surged in value by more than 60 percent—an amazing coincidence, indeed.

The men have yet to exercise their options, which don’t expire until 2023. They could realize a profit of about $60 million if they sold today, based on Activision’s current share price of $80. They stand to make more than $100 million if the Microsoft acquisition, expected to close this summer, goes forward at the agreed-upon price of $95 per share.

What better way to ensure generous donations than to help those donors make money in the stock market? Is this an incredible coincidence as those involved claim?

I Wondered About This When He Said It

There were a lot of misleading statements in the State of the Union address on Tuesday. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article about one of these statements.

The article reports:

Presidents typically embellish their achievements during their State of the Union addresses, but President Biden’s pose as a budget deficit hawk is one for the ages.

“By the end of this year, the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before I took office,” he said, adding that he will be “the only President ever to cut the deficit by more than one trillion dollars in a single year.”

That’s not by choice.

The article notes:

This assumes Congress doesn’t enact his Build Back Better plan or the more Covid relief he’s asking for.

He’s also using the fiscal 2020 budget as his benchmark. Congress passed $2 trillion in Covid relief in March 2020 to prevent a recession. Both parties piled on $900 billion more that December, and Democrats in March 2021 ladled out nearly $2 trillion more. The deficit is declining because Congress blew it out for two years.

…Inflation is always good for government coffers. Receipts are up 28% during the first four months of this fiscal year. But the Congressional Budget Office still projects deficits to exceed $1 trillion on average over the next decade.

The article concludes:

Mr. Biden is hoping the deficit reduction ruse will lure West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to go along with more spending. Don’t fall for it, sir.

Remember, statistics can pretty much be manipulated to say anything a statistician wants them to say. President Biden evidently has some good statisticians in his speech writing department.

Are You Better Off Now Than You Were A Year Ago?

In the past, many election campaigns have asked the question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” We have seen the results of an election even after only one year.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article Thursday about the current rate of inflation.

The article reports:

A relentless surge in U.S. inflation reached another four-decade high last month, accelerating to a 7.5% annual rate as strong consumer demand collided with pandemic-related supply disruptions.

The Labor Department on Thursday said the consumer-price index—which measures what consumers pay for goods and services—in January reached its highest level since February 1982, when compared with the same month a year ago. That put inflation above December’s 7% annual rate and well above the 1.8% annual rate for inflation in 2019 ahead of the pandemic.

The so-called core price index, which excludes the often volatile categories of food and energy, climbed 6% in January from a year earlier. That was a sharper rise than December’s 5.5% increase and the highest rate in nearly 40 years.

Prices were up sharply in January for a number of everyday household items, including food, vehicles, shelter and electricity. A sharp uptick in housing rental prices—one of the biggest monthly costs for households—contributed to last month’s increase.

High inflation is the dark side of the unusually strong economy that has been powered in part by government stimulus to counter the pandemic’s impact. January’s continued acceleration increased the likelihood that Federal Reserve officials could speed up a series of interest-rate increases this spring to ease surging prices and cool the economy.

Inflation is a tax that impacts everyone. When your grocery bill doubles, you have to find a way to pay for the increase and still pay your other monthly bills. People who live paycheck to paycheck are being negatively impacted. The increased price of gasoline impacts the spending power of everyone who has to commute to work every day and the price of anything we buy that is transported by truck.

Elections have consequences.

Spreading Lies In The Name Of Human Rights

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial about a recent report by Amnesty International. The more than 200-page report accused Israel of being an apartheid state. When you consider that Arabs in Israel have more freedom than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East, this is an amazing accusation.

The editorial notes:

Perhaps you thought Israel had long ago established its right to exist as a Jewish state. Guess again. Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran want to eliminate Israel as we know it, but who would have thought they’d find allies in Amnesty International?

Perhaps we should have known this given some of Amnesty’s sympathies with the global left. But the nonprofit advocate for political prisoners is going far beyond that with its 211-page report labeling Israel an “apartheid” state that deserves the world’s opprobrium and sanction. The report is embargoed until Tuesday, but we’ve obtained the draft from a source other than Amnesty. It deserves condemnation for its bias and lack of understanding about why Israel survives amid hostile neighbors.

…The Amnesty report is a long indictment of Israel that attempts to show it is an apartheid state in how it treats Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. “Israel has established and maintained an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination of the Palestinian population for the benefit of Jewish Israelis—wherever it has exercised control over Palestinians’ lives since 1948,” says the report summary.

No one was claiming to be a Palestinian in 1948, but that doesn’t stop Amnesty International from attempting to undermine Israel’s right to exist. As I have reported before, Walid Shoebat once stated, “One day during the 1960s I went to bed a Jordanian Muslim, and when I woke up the next morning, I was informed that I was now a Palestinian Muslim, and that I was no longer a Jordanian Muslim.”

The editorial concludes:

The Amnesty report is especially ill-timed in an era when Israel and Arab states are negotiating new deals for commerce and travel since the Abraham Accords. A fair assumption is that Amnesty’s drafters hope to block such progress by inflaming world opinion with the “apartheid” slander. Amnesty also calls on the United Nations to sanction Israel, and the International Criminal Court to investigate and hold Israelis criminally responsible.

We assume the Biden Administration will denounce this calumny and oppose all efforts to use it as a cudgel against America’s best friend in the Middle East.

Don’t count on the Biden administration coming to Israel’s rescue.

An Interesting Perspective

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal posted an op-ed piece about vaccine mandates. The editorial pointed out some very obvious questions.

The article notes:

Federal courts considering the Biden administration’s vaccination mandates—including the Supreme Court at Friday’s oral argument—have focused on administrative-law issues. The decrees raise constitutional issues as well. But there’s a simpler reason the justices should stay these mandates: the rise of the Omicron variant.

It would be irrational, legally indefensible and contrary to the public interest for government to mandate vaccines absent any evidence that the vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the pathogen they target. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening here.

Both mandates—from the Health and Human Services Department for healthcare workers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for large employers in many other industries—were issued Nov. 5. At that time, the Delta variant represented almost all U.S. Covid-19 cases, and both agencies appropriately considered Delta at length and in detail, finding that the vaccines remained effective against it.

Those findings are now obsolete. As of Jan. 1, Omicron represented more than 95% of U.S. Covid cases, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because some of Omicron’s 50 mutations are known to evade antibody protection, because more than 30 of those mutations are to the spike protein used as an immunogen by the existing vaccines, and because there have been mass Omicron outbreaks in heavily vaccinated populations, scientists are highly uncertain the existing vaccines can stop it from spreading. As the CDC put it on Dec. 20, “we don’t yet know . . . how well available vaccines and medications work against it.”

The article notes that mandating a vaccine to stop the spread of a disease requires evidence that the vaccines will prevent infection or transmission.

The article also notes:

As the World Health Organization puts it, “if mandatory vaccination is considered necessary to interrupt transmission chains and prevent harm to others, there should be sufficient evidence that the vaccine is efficacious in preventing serious infection and/or transmission.” For Omicron, there is as yet no such evidence.

The article concludes:

It is axiomatic in U.S. law that courts don’t uphold agency directives when the agency has entirely failed to consider facts crucial to the problem. In many contexts courts send regulations back to the agency for reconsideration in light of dramatically changed circumstances. If the agency’s action “is not sustainable on the record itself, the proper judicial approach has been to vacate the action and to remand the matter back to the agency for further consideration,” as the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia put it.

Neither HHS nor OSHA ever considered Omicron or said a word about vaccine efficacy against it, for the simple reason that it hadn’t yet been discovered. In these circumstances, longstanding legal principles require the justices to stay the mandates and send them back to the agencies for a fresh look.

It is becoming very obvious that there is a severe lack of common sense among those who are currently supporting vaccine mandates.