Companies Jumping on the LGBTQ+ Bandwagon: TARGET thumbnail

Companies Jumping on the LGBTQ+ Bandwagon: TARGET

By 2ndvote .com

Target (1.72) and other retailers are jumping on the LGBTQ+ bandwagon with both feet.  Please do not even try to tell us that it takes courage to support the movement that is grooming children for pedophilia.  Caving to the politically correct stance may be the least courageous thing you can do.  Sure, you will be applauded by the media and the pro-ESG investment crowd as well.  But if you want to take a courageous stand, stand up and oppose these destructive initiatives publicly. Now.

Here’s the latest Pride month promotion from Target.  They have a t-shirt with the message “Trans Rights are Human Rights,” displayed on a child-sized mannequin in store and on a toddler on their website.  They are TARGETING our children with their over-sexualized propaganda.

Do you remember the days when the gay rights movement told our government to “stay out of our bedrooms”.  They shouted flamboyantly that the person with whom they sleep is purely a private, personal matter and should not be the subject of legal, political or public discourse.  “All we want is equality”.  Remember those days? If only we could revert to an equal approach for all and the elimination of this LGBTQ+ stridency from political and economic interactions instead of having the LGBTQ+ agenda rammed down our throats at every turn. But equality was never their agenda.

Similarly, we can recall the days when people were annoyed that the top 1% ran everything and told us what to do.  Of course, they were referring to the rich in their anti-capitalist sentiment.  But, strangely enough, that perspective isn’t too far off today.  We have deviant behavior, in which less than 1 percent of the people actually engage, being pushed as acceptable and mainstream.  This new one percent are running the show at Target, at many other retailers and across most of our publicly traded companies.

If you want to support companies that are at least neutral on these radical social topics, you really need to check their 2ndVote score frequently. We help you shop at, invest in and support organizations that just want to provide a good service or product and generate fair returns for their shareholders without these other distractions.  In the digressive left’s business world, its hard to keep up with the landscape. From supposedly trans-gender babies to ESG initiatives for business, the battle is complex. Find out who is voluntarily wasting resources on these initiatives instead of providing the best possible products and services so that shareholders get the best possible returns on their investment. And since 2016, we have continued to push #AnythingButTarget .

AUTHOR

2ndVote Contributor

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Company Contrast: Waffle House thumbnail

Company Contrast: Waffle House

By 2ndvote .com

Each week 2ndVote takes a look at popular companies that either score well or score poorly  and then try to provide alternatives that either better align with the 2ndVote values or should be avoided to the best of your ability. This series is called The Company Contrast, and the company we will be focusing on this week is Waffle House (4.14).

Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. One of the more popular dining options for the morning meal has become Waffle House. Having nearly 2,000 locations in 25 states, and with many along major interstate and US highways, it is a popular choice for travelers.

For patriotic, freedom loving Americans, fear not because Waffle House is currently 2nd Vote’s highest scoring restaurant. The company has contributed to  multiple pro-life and anti-human trafficking organizations, as well as demonstrating support for our basic freedoms and a civil-safe society by donating to several Christian ministries and law enforcement.

On the other hand, however, another popular diner chain is Denny’s (1.52). With one of the lowest scores for a restaurant company, Denny’s has demonstrated a strong support for anti-American values. They have partnered with the National Urban League, which supports sanctuary cities, Common Core education, gun control measures, and opposes religious freedom legislation.

So when you’re craving that bacon and eggs special, go for the All-Star at Waffle House and skip the Grand Slam at Denny’s. Your conscience and stomach will thank you.

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Google Search is Bad. On Purpose. thumbnail

Google Search is Bad. On Purpose.

By Jihad Watch

Charlie Warzel of Galaxy Brain has an Atlantic essay on Google that’s far short of Galaxy Brain. It recapitulates the now famous thread on why searching Reddit is better than searching Google, and offers random speculation on what’s wrong with Google Search and whether it might not be “leaving us behind”.

It’s packed with so many Google apologetics, I certainly hope that Google paid for it, e.g.

Google search might be worse now because, like much of the internet, it has matured and has been ruthlessly commercialized. In an attempt to avoid regulation and be corporate-friendly, parts of it might be less wild. But some of what feels dead or dying about Google might be our own nostalgia for a smaller, less mature internet. Sullivan, the Search liaison, understands this longing for the past, but told me that what feels like a Google change is also the search engine responding to the evolution of the web…

Haynes agrees that ads’ presence on Search is worse than ever and the company’s decision to prioritize its own products and features over organic results is frustrating. But she argues that Google’s flagship product has actually gotten better and much more complex over time. That complexity, she suggests, might be why searching feels different right now.

Nah.

The problem with Google Search can be easily summarized as a lack of competition. Aside from Bing and satellite search sites like DuckDuckGo that use Bing’s search index, there’s nothing.

Google so thoroughly dominates search that there’s no competition. And so no incentive for it do anything except monetize search up to its eyeballs.

Alphabet doesn’t need good searches. Its searches are so bad because it stopped having any interest in having you find things a while back. What it wants you to do is…

  1. Click on its services
  2. Click on its ads
  3. Search in predictable ways so that it can sell ads

Helping you find things is not on the list because Google does not make money if you spend 2 seconds clicking on the first search result and find what you’re looking for.

Google makes more money when you can’t find things than when you do. It makes more money when it serves you bad results. It makes more money when it ignores what you searched for and instead serves up the results that make it money.

This is the definition of why monopolies are terrible. But Google has a monopoly on internet search for reasons I’ve gone into before. And so internet search is terrible and as Google, like most big companies, gets hungrier, they’re going to get worse.

AUTHOR

DANIEL GREENFIELD

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Big Hedge Fund Citadel Moving From Chicago to Miami Following Democrat Crime Spike thumbnail

Big Hedge Fund Citadel Moving From Chicago to Miami Following Democrat Crime Spike

By The Geller Report

Just last month Boeing announced that they are leaving Chicago as well. The radical mayor of Chicago refuses to take any action to keep her citizens safe. As such, we could be seeing the beginning of a corporate exodus from the iconic Windy City.

Ken Griffin Moving Citadel From Chicago to Miami Following Crime Complaints

By WSJ, June 23, 2022

Billionaire Ken Griffin is relocating his big hedge-fund firm Citadel from Chicago to Miami, the third major employer to announce  from Illinois in the past two months.

In a letter to employees Thursday, Mr. Griffin said he had personally moved to Florida—a state that doesn’t collect personal income tax—and that , Citadel Securities, would also transfer. He wrote that he views Florida as a better corporate environment and though he didn’t specifically cite crime as a factor, company officials said it was a consideration……

AUTHOR

Geller Report Staff

RELATED ARTICLES:

Richest Man in Illinois Moves Business From Chicago to Miami Amid Crime Concerns

Get Woke, Go Broke: Netflix Massacre – 300 Employees Axed in Largest Layoff Since Subscriber Downturn

Biden State Department taps pro-China BlackRock executive to run China shop

Merrick Garland’s Department Of Justice Is A Threat To The Republic

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

OPEN LETTER TO KROGER: Stop Pulling Patriotic Items From Your Shelves! thumbnail

OPEN LETTER TO KROGER: Stop Pulling Patriotic Items From Your Shelves!

By Beverly Newman

Dear Kroger,

Do you have any idea how offensive it is for our once-favorite grocery chain to pull patriotic items from its shelves? Do you have any idea where we shall buy our groceries, floral items, paper products, and other such products because your grocery chain has favored those who denounce America over those who embrace this country that embraced our legal immigrant parents fleeing from Nazi atrocities?

Our family fled the remnants of Europe after seven years as Jewish slaves, easy targets of the Nazis who disarmed the populace in order to enslave them and extinguish their lives. We Americans are proud to have ended World War II, which we did not commence but had to intervene in, at grave costs of American lives and limbs and minds.

Removing patriotic products from Kroger’s customers is a bitter reminder of the ugly past that forced “America the Beautiful” to die to defeat National Socialism; for it is today’s socialists who actively disrespect America’s history, Constitution, and traditions, seeking to impose their dictates upon the American People by pressuring corporations to appease their socialist demands.

In short, we love the country that loves us and the corporations that respect this nation.

Sincerely,

Beverly Newman

Daughter of a Holocaust Survivor

Please send your email to the following:

rodney.mcmullen@kroger.com

corpvps@kroger.com

©Beverly Newman. All rights reserved.

Get Woke, Go Broke: Netflix Massacre – 300 Employees Axed in Largest Layoff Since Subscriber Downturn thumbnail

Get Woke, Go Broke: Netflix Massacre – 300 Employees Axed in Largest Layoff Since Subscriber Downturn

By The Geller Report

I generally do not applaud such news but these woke companies have so disabused their customers, this is well deserved. They can shove their relentless poisonous propaganda back down the hole they crawled out of.

Jedimaster Trump tweeted to P Smith

So not Cuties…

I am shocked that the population is not 80% African American, 45% Gay, Transgender, and 100% in support of Grooming Children…

No wonder Netflix swung from 700 a share to 170…

Maybe they should try catering to the actual population Demographics and Sensibilities

Netflix Massacre: 300 Employees Axed in Largest Layoff Since Subscriber Downturn

By: David Ng, Breitbart, 23 Jun 2022:

The bloodletting at Netflix continued on Thursday as the far-left-wing streamer axed an additional 300 employees worldwide, or about 3 percent of its workforce — the company’s largest layoff since its subscriber downturn in the first quarter.

Netflix handed out pink slips to 216 staffers in the U.S. and Canada, with the remainder of the cuts coming from other regions throughout the world. according to an official statement sent to multiple news outlets.

In May, the streamer laid off 150 employees, or 2 percent of its workforce, as part of its ongoing efforts to cut spending amid a catastrophic subscriber forecast for the months ahead. Netflix said it could lose up to 2 million subscribers in the coming months after unexpectedly losing 200,000 customers in the first quarter of the year.

Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix Inc., speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, June 27, 2016.

Those layoffs were preceded by smaller staffing cuts in Netflix’s animation department and in-house fan site, Tudum.

Netflix leaders described Thursday’s layoffs as ” very hard for everyone – creating a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.”

AUTHOR

Pamela Geller

RELATED TWEET:

Only in #BidensAmerica is the U.S. Navy more focused on woke, made-up pronouns than ensuring our forces are equipped and ready to defend America.

This is an embarrassment – our enemies are laughing. https://t.co/Goqm2IfWIC

— Brian Babin (@RepBrianBabin) June 22, 2022

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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Why Cutting the Gas Tax is a Bad Idea

By Neland Nobel

Biden says he will request a three-month reduction in the Federal gas tax and urges states to follow as well. At one time Barak Obama called this idea a gimmick. Obama was right.

Certainly, one can understand why. The increase in fuel costs is hurting everyone, including those at the bottom of the income scale the Democrats say they are concerned about.The public is howling, with about most people polled blaming Biden and the Democrats. Most do not feel it is the fault of the greedy oil companies or Putin. These energy companies that just more than a year ago provided us fuel at half the cost did not just discover profits. They pursued profits when energy was cheaper, as they should.

And, if you have been paying attention, energy costs started to rise after the election and were well on their way higher before Putin invaded Ukraine. No, high energy costs are clearly the consequence of Democrat policies that began years ago but culminated with the election of Biden. As the sticker says, he really did do that!

High fuel costs are altering, if not canceling, vacation plans. They are increasing the price of food and everything that is shipped by rail, air, ship, or truck.

Democrats are looking to “do something” to ease the pain because of the fall congressional elections. But the consequences will be found for years in higher home heating oil prices, higher food prices, higher electricity prices, and reduced industrial production. Economic growth relies on the access to competitively priced energy, where energy sources are determined by engineers and the market, not environmental departments at universities and politicians.

When the world moved from wood to coal, from coal to oil, from horses to cars, from kerosene to electricity, it was entrepreneurs operating with the voluntary forces or profit and loss that made the determination. At the turn of the century, we had electric cars, steam-powered cars, and the internal combustion engine, all competing with one another. We had Westinghouse and Tesla competing again Edison. Let that process work today.

What we have now is a top-down, centrally planned forced conversion to different energy systems based on biased research about CO2 and its role in temperature changes. It is what Biden calls a “transition.”

Republicans should not accommodate Biden for the following reasons:

As a tactical matter, do not provide your opponent help when he is hurting himself. They don’t deserve the assistance and it is politically stupid to help them.

We should replay as often as possible all the campaign promises where Democrats pledged to put the oil and gas industry out of business. We should further explain that this has been a long-standing goal of Democrats going back at least 20 years with Al Gore and his inconvenient blunders.

We should explain to the public how the  ESG movement starves energy corporations of capital and reduces supply. Ideas have consequences. The explanation of why these ideas are bad has more weight when people feel the consequences of bad political and scientific decisions. There is nothing quite like pain and fear to focus one’s attention.

This blowback from high prices needs to be unleashed not just on the politicians but the university departments, the environmental industrial complex, and environmental organizations. This has been their multi-year project and we now see the consequences.

More importantly, reducing a tax does not produce one bit of additional energy. Rather, it gives the Democrats the appearance that they care, while they impoverish us all in their Green New Deal fantasy. 

No, let the reality of what they are doing sink in. Many of the people who voted for Biden need to see reality by experiencing the consequences of destroying an industry before better alternatives are created. It is time for tough love. Democrats are reducing our standard of living deliberately to force their ideas on “climate change.” The collateral economic damage is felt by all, but especially by many who voted for Biden.

That pain is a positive thing because it will create political change.

It is the same with the release of oil from the strategic oil reserve. Such action produces no energy and further, uses what is supposed to be a “strategic reserve” intended for when the country is involved in war or confrontation with a hostile energy producer like Iran or Russia. That is a misuse of the purpose of that reserve. It is not a political piggy bank to be drawn on when Democrats are in trouble.

We could have gotten almost an equivalent amount of oil from Canada simply by completing pipelines that were already well on the way to completion.

Releasing oil from the strategic oil reserve, and cutting the gas tax, are all calculated steps to distract us all from the real problem:  the US has immense energy reserves and Democrats stand in the way of them being utilized. It is painful for us all, but we must let that reality be driven home.

There are additional problems as well. This revenue goes to the highway trust fund and is needed for vital infrastructure improvement. We should not let that trust fund be raided by politicians seeking relief from their own policies.

That money will have to be made up somewhere. Thus, the loss in revenue has to come from somewhere, higher taxes elsewhere, or increases in the deficit that adds upward pressures on inflation and interest rates.

Finally, the amount of 18 cents for gasoline, and 24 cents for diesel, is hardly enough to provide relief and it will be only temporary relief at best. We have seen the price of gas go up that much in a day or two.

I drive a mid-sized pickup that averages about 18 miles per gallon, for city and highway.  I drive about 10,000 miles a year. So, let’s do the math. At 18 miles per gallon, that is about 555 gallons per year.  Saving 18 cents per gallon would save me about $100 for a year.  The three months proposed would equal about $25 of total savings.  C’mon man.  I am not worried about the $25, I am worried about Biden’s energy policy costing me more for gas, electricity, and propane, for the rest of my life and for my children and grandchildren.

In summary, it is a political gesture with no meaningful benefit other than to help Biden.  He doesn’t deserve it.

If we really want to have a sane energy policy that keeps prices low for consumers,  the Democrats need to lose.  We should see that they do.

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A World Turned Upside Down thumbnail

A World Turned Upside Down

By Ken Veit

When Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, the band played a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down”. We could use some of that music today.

As I quietly celebrate a new national holiday called “Juneteenth”. I am grateful for the opportunity to have another chance to feel guilty about something. Another reminder that we are all racists never does any harm, does it? A holiday is a great time to feel bad, or at least sad. I always feel terrible at Thanksgiving about what we have done to turkeys.

The prices of Bitcoins and all the rest of the crypto-nonsense are hurtling down the drain, yet the business media pretends these are just stocks seeking to “find a bottom”. How about zero? Nevertheless, some “expert” just trotted out a poll showing that 70% believe that Bitcoins are “trustworthy”. What does that even mean? People can be trustworthy; fantasies, not so much.

Another report shows the price of jet fuel up 128% in the last year. Airlines are about to jack up prices again. Yet everyone seems ready to fly somewhere, even though incomes are lagging further and further behind inflation. My guess is that credit card defaults will soon be spiking.

The airlines have canceled tens of thousands of flights this weekend, citing staffing problems. The Administration’s Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttijug, is threatening to fine the airlines if they don’t hire more people. Maybe they should train some of those homeless people to fly. Many of them already take self-activated trips every day. Pistol Pete neglected to mention that the main reason for the cancellations was the short-staffing of the Government’s own air traffic controllers. All those kids playing video games should make ideal air traffic controllers.

The Secretary has been touting the excellence of AMTRAK. Yet, when he had a flight between DC and NYC canceled, he drove instead. I wonder why?

Based on the latest statistics, it appears we will have a new record: over 2 million illegals coming to the U.S. this year. Now the Administration is planning to bus them further from the border, giving large cities an opportunity to host more people who committed a crime getting here and no one knows how many more beforehand. Their major contribution seems to be that they keep our supply of fentanyl growing.

A decision on overturning Roe v Wade is due any day now. It seems clear that the case was wrongly decided on legal grounds many years ago. Each State will now get to decide what they want. A lot of misery is coming, but as long as the lawyers have won, we should all be happy. Who better to make moral decisions than lawyers? Politicians?

The price of a barrel of oil has come down from the stratosphere. Don’t celebrate just yet. The price of gasoline has little to do with Russia and the war. Years of reducing investment in exploration for new sources have guaranteed a supply deficiency for years to come. Even the Saudis don’t have an inexhaustible supply. We do, but we don’t want to continue to depend on our own supply. Some think it better to be dependent on foreign supply. The Germans believed it a good idea to depend on Russian gas and now look at the mess they are in.

The President says the fault is the greedy oil companies. Having never actually been in business himself, he apparently does not know that companies make investment decisions based on expected profitability. Who in his right mind would make a decision to invest when the President of the U.S. is determined to put you out of business and continually issues Executive Orders aimed at facilitating your demise? In fact, Biden is so determined to kill the U.S. oil industry that he goes begging to our enemies to please pump more oil in order to keep the price down. The only logical conclusion is that he sees the destruction of hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs in the U.S. as an unavoidable consequence of making us the leader in the attempt to halt climate change.

His own spending binge caused the current bout of inflation, the worst since Jimmy Carter’s feckless presidency. Spending has to be financed, and since we could not find the money elsewhere, it fell to the Treasury and the Fed to just print the money. Flooding the country with too much money is what causes inflation, not greedy oil companies.

Biden’s answer is to combat climate change and inflation by stimulating the development of electric vehicles, and wind and solar power. As always, the question is how all this change will be financed and how major practical problems will be solved. He promises to put charging stations every 50 miles along the nation’s highways, apparently unaware that there are long stretches in the West that have no way to bring electric power to run the charging stations. And let’s not forget that his Transportation Secretary wants to tear down parts of the Interstate Highway System because they bulldozed black neighborhoods when they were constructed in the 1950s.

We are told that inflation will soon subside, even though it keeps increasing. It will be interesting to see what the Social Security benefits increase will be for 2023. One thing is sure. The number will be manipulated downward using technical esoterica in justification. It won’t be the first time, nor the last. The Social Security System simply can’t raise benefits by 8% without the Fed having to print more money.

I laugh when various experts come on TV to debate the “possibility” of a recession. Open your eyes, guys! We are already in one. All the talk of “soft landings” is pure balderdash. Inflation will moderate eventually but forget quickly. I frequently eat lunch with a friend at Otro Café, a local restaurant that serves the best tacos in Phoenix. Like many men, we always have the same thing. For a long time, the price of our lunch for two was $35. This past week it was $48. Same meal, same tax, same % tip. That is a 37% increase. I could quote similar increases in other restaurants, One restaurant’s takeout price was $48 during COVID, $60 now. Same meal. This can’t continue. Demand destruction is just around the corner.

Suppose that prices just stay high. If the public won’t support higher prices, and they just stay the same, isn’t that a lower rate of inflation? Yes. If only…!  In reality, wages have fallen quite a bit in relation to inflation. Workers need to catch up, and the sudden interest in unionization in places like Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks suggests that workers feel the need for unions to make them whole again. Of course, increasing wages means pressure to increase prices in order to keep the business going. And so, inflation does not just go away.

In the long sweep of history, there are two facts that we need to keep in mind as we lurch from one insanity to another.

We have been fortunate to have lived our lives in a relatively small number of years when the climate of planet Earth has been exceptionally favorable to life, agriculture, and to prosperity. Continuance is not an inevitability. But neither is our ability to materially change geophysical realities. Climate change is real, but it is not man’s fault, nor can we do as much to change what we don’t like as we would like to think. Exaggeration of facts is not the way to sound responses.

Empires have frequently risen and fallen. Ours is not necessarily immortal. With enough arrogance and stupidity, we could actually hasten the fall of the most productive and free world power the world has ever known. There is always “another side” in a debate. When the major objective of politics is the annihilation of opposition, the final outcome may well be the annihilation of all. Neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to recognize that at this time.

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Chevron CEO Fires Back at Biden, Slams His Attacks And ‘Political Rhetoric’ in New Letter thumbnail

Chevron CEO Fires Back at Biden, Slams His Attacks And ‘Political Rhetoric’ in New Letter

By The Geller Report

The Democrat USG is out of control – destroying our economy, our freedoms, our every way of life.

In the wake of Democrat-induced hyper inflation amid massive government spending, the Biden regime has gone on the attack against ……. business.

In this case, Chevron has responded, which is mighty brave. Speaking truth to power makes you an an enemy of the Biden regime — a suicidal act.

The irony is Chevron and other oil companies have been trying to appease the radical greens for years by running away from defending their core oil business and promoting biomass and other green fantasies. https://t.co/3Vgq9YVXrn

— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) June 22, 2022

Biden last week blamed oil companies for contributing to high prices — arguing they aren’t refining enough oil after previously claiming they aren’t drilling enough on existing federal leases and slamming companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron for reaping massive profits as global prices rise.

Wirth pushed back on Biden’s portrayal of the companies as responsible for soaring gas prices, which last week hit an all-time average of more than $5 per gallon.

Chevron’s CEO pointed out to @adsteel that the U.S. hasn’t constructed a new refinery since the 1970’s and he doesn’t believe a new facility will ever be constructed. https://t.co/u2iHzxg6td

— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) June 21, 2022

Biden mocks ‘sensitive’ Chevron CEO Michael Wirth in spat over gas price claims https://t.co/wUJdy9l5bB pic.twitter.com/wwXvAfdoBf

— New York Post (@nypost) June 21, 2022

Chevron CEO Fires Back at Biden, Slams ‘Political Rhetoric’ in New Letter

By: Jack Phillips, June 21, 2022

The CEO of Chevron sent an open letter to President Joe Biden after Biden sent a letter suggesting that oil companies could face consequences and accusing them of not doing enough to increase refining capacity.

Mike Wirth, in the letter, called on the White House to end its hostilities toward the oil industry, saying there needs to be a change in its approach and policies before gas prices can drop.

“Addressing this situation requires thoughtful action and a willingness to work together, not political rhetoric,” Wirth said, adding, “Your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry.”

More than a week ago, Biden attacked oil companies and claimed they’re making record profits before urging them to increase oil production to alleviate record-high gas prices. Targeting ExxonMobil specifically, Biden accused them of making “more money than God” and not drilling enough during comments he made in May.

Soaring Gas Prices

In recent months, Biden has taken criticism as regular gas prices have eclipsed the $5 per gallon mark. AAA data shows that prices fell for several days before rising again this week to $4.96 per gallon.

Since Biden took office, gas prices have been steadily increasing as the president issued a number of energy-related executive orders, including suspending new oil drilling leases and ending the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The U.S. energy sector needs cooperation and support from your Administration for our country to return to a path toward greater energy security, economic prosperity, and environmental protection,” Wirth said in the letter, adding that Chevron has increased production in recent years.

Oil companies “need clarity and consistency on policy matters ranging from leases and permits on federal lands, to the ability to permit and build critical infrastructure, to the proper role of regulation that considers both costs and benefits,” Wirth added.

“Most importantly, we need an honest dialogue on how to best balance energy, economic, and environmental objectives–one that recognizes our industry is a vital sector of the U.S. economy and is essential to our national security,” he said. “We can only meet these challenges by working together.”

When asked about the letter, Biden didn’t appear to try and tone down the tensions.

“I didn’t know they’d get their feelings hurt that quickly. We need more refining capacity. This idea that they don’t have more oil to bring up and refine is simply not true,” he told reporters.

Last week, ExxonMobil responded to Biden’s letter and said it had invested $118 billion in new oil and gas supplies compared to a net income of $55 billion.

“We kept investing even during the pandemic, when we lost more than $20 billion and had to borrow more than $30 billion to maintain investment to increase capacity to be ready for post-pandemic demand,” the company stated.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is slated to meet with oil industry executives on Thursday to discuss ways to reduce energy prices.

AUTHOR

Pamela Geller

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Biden Soaring Gas Prices Are Part Of Green Agenda-Gas Stations Adding Extra Digit Expecting $10 a Gallon for Gasoline

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

3 Things Biden Has Done That Increased Gas Prices thumbnail

3 Things Biden Has Done That Increased Gas Prices

By Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

President Biden isn’t entirely to blame, but his anti-market policies have contributed to the problem.


Average gas prices recently passed $5 per gallon nationwide, setting a new record. This is bad news for workers’ budgets, and since it’s happening under President Joe Biden’s watch, it’s bad news for the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects.

The White House has tried to deflect blame for the insane surge in gas prices onto Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. And, to be fair, gas prices are definitely not completely within any president’s control. They absolutely are influenced by global factors, and the disruption in the global energy market caused by Putin’s invasion certainly has contributed to higher prices.

But Biden isn’t off the hook. Gas prices started rising long before the invasion, and the president still has direct responsibility for how his policies have contributed to this problem.

Here are three specific things Biden has done that have led to increased gas prices.

Since taking office, Biden has taken too many steps to count to limit domestic production. These include halting federal permits for oil and gas drilling and leasing shortly after taking office and blocking drilling in a major oil-rich Alaskan region.

To be clear, these decisions will mostly affect future production. But that does still significantly affect gas prices because companies factor in their expectations about the future into the decisions they make today.

“Some say that new leases … would have taken time and would not yet be online, but even so, there is evidence that expectations of increased future supply has a beneficial impact on current prices and expectations of future supply drying up has a negative impact on current prices,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ben Lieberman said.

“At a day-to-day level, I am hearing from drillers that they are having a very hard time getting all the approvals they need from [the Environmental Protection Agency] and other agencies in order to produce on existing wells, and of course, new federal leasing has come to a halt,” Lieberman added.

It’s just basic economics that when the government throttles future supply in an industry, that will lead to higher prices both now and in the future. Biden was warned by many critics at the time that this would happen, but he proceeded anyway.

Speaking of basic economics, it’s well established that when businesses’ costs rise, that puts upward pressure on the prices they charge consumers. The oil and gas industry is no exception.

And unfortunately, the Biden administration has both proposed and implemented a wide array of regulations on the energy sector, inflicting billions in direct financial costs and incalculable indirect compliance costs — plus further harming expectations for the future.

“The regulatory chokehold imposed by the Biden administration on oil production in place of a Green New Deal has drastically raised gasoline prices, thereby hurting lower-income people the most,” said conservative economist Vance Ginn, who served in the Trump administration.

“This is yet another example of the high cost of big-government environmentalism when the better approach is to remove government barriers so that free markets can better let people adapt to changes in the environment at a much lower cost,” Ginn concluded.

Rhetoric matters. While words don’t literally do anything to change gas prices, the signals coming from policymakers absolutely do affect the long-term investment decisions businesses make.

And even as a presidential candidate, Biden sent very negative messages about what his leadership would mean for the gas industry.

In just one example, as Americans for Tax Reform pointed out, Biden said during a campaign stop: “We are going to get rid of fossil fuels. … We’re going to phase out fossil fuels.” Then, upon taking office, the president followed these words with actions such as canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking leases, restricting imports, and pursuing regulations.

In general, Biden’s open hostility toward the oil and gas industry has almost certainly curbed investment into production that otherwise would’ve occurred.

“Such extinction rhetoric, coming from the now-president, has an unprecedented chilling effect on investment,” Lieberman said. To put it simply, less investment means less supply — which means higher prices.

It’s absolutely true that our high gas prices aren’t entirely Biden’s fault. But the president is not the helpless bystander his defenders would have you believe.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner. 

AUTHOR

Brad Polumbo

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

RELATED ARTICLE: Why High Gas Prices Are a Signal of (More) Inflation to Come

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These Widespread Shortages Can’t Be Explained by Supply Constraints Alone

By Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

Poorer markets can still clear. So why won’t they?


All sorts of shortages are now popping up in our economy. At the head of the list is undoubtedly infant formula, but there are literally dozens of other items in short supply. There are so many of them that I feel constrained to mention them in alphabetical order, lest I inadvertently miss one or engage in double counting.

Here they are, as best I can list them: aluminum, avocado, bicycles, blood collection tubes, blood for transfusions, canned vegetables, cat food, chlorine, Christmas trees, coal, coins, commercial air tickets, computer chips, cream cheese, dye used in CT scans, eggs, fuel oil, garage doors, gasoline, girl scout cookies, hand sanitizer, home covid tests, infant formula, juice boxes, liquor, lithium, lumber, maple syrup, meat, motorcycles, natural gas, paper towels, pet food, potatoes, semiconductors, soap, soda, sunflower oil, toilet paper, tomato paste and wine. Peanut butter has not yet been mentioned in this regard but will soon, undoubtedly, be added prominently to this list.

I’m not kidding: each and every one of these items has been mentioned in this regard in the major media. What is going on here? Has the economy gone crazy, or what? According to several headlines, that is just about what is occurring. Here are a few of them: “The world is still short of everything; get used to it.” “America is running out of everything.” “Product shortages and soaring prices reveal fragility of U.S. supply chain.”

If the shortage list is long, the presumed causes of this economic malfunction are almost as large. For peanut butter, it will be a recall due to contamination; a salmonella outbreak. But this is an input into many other products, such as fudge, chocolates and peanut butter sandwiches, which will also soon be hard to find. For many items on the list the antecedent is the Coronavirus, which has led to supply chain problems. Paying workers to stay home and earn as much or more than their salaries, a few months ago, also contributed. Blame was also laid at a harsh winter. Imports from abroad have been subject to sudden border closures. Ships stuck at harbors on the west coast have been vulnerable to shortages of truck drivers and regulations. Computer chips have been susceptible to supply inelasticity; new offerings as a result of higher prices take a great amount of time to become forthcoming. Consumers have been castigated for hoarding. Staffing problems have been held responsible for commercial air travel disruptions. Drought, the bird flu and the Ukraine war have been held culpable.

But we have had all of these things before, war, pestilence, disease, bad weather, ill health, government regulations, before. However, massive shortages, not of everything under the sun, but almost pretty close, have never before disrupted the economy to anything like the degree we are presently experiencing (apart from the two world wars, of course).

Where is the much-vaunted free enterprise system in all of this? Nowhere, that is where. Has it succumbed to so-called “market failure?” Not a bit of it. Rather, the difficulty is that public policy has made capitalism operate with one arm tied behind its back, and it has not been able to function when hemmed in by a plethora of restrictions, limitations and regulations.

Basic introductory Economics 101 teaches us that a shortage occurs when demand for an item exceeds its supply. What invariably occurs then? Why, prices rise. When this takes place, businesses are incentivized to produce more, buyers to purchase less. Voila, the shortage ends. Why doesn’t this occur under the Biden Administration? Why do we have so many shortages?

One possibility not at all in the public eye is that business firms are afraid to raise prices lest they be charged with price gouging. And why in turn might this be the case? The Bidenites are not exactly friends of the free enterprise system. Yes, to be sure, prices have indeed been rising. But are they increasing fast enough so as to quell shortages? Evidently not. Why not? This is possibly due to fear of being accused of gouging, and being subject to antitrust attentions. Wages, too, are on the incline. But likely not sufficiently so as to overcome the supply inelasticity difficulty. Why not? Firms may well be leery of so doing, in case they have to be decreased later on, and will be accused of exploiting, or victimizing laborers, or some such.

Prices and wages are typically somewhat sticky; that is, they are not instantaneously and fully flexible. But an anti-business philosophy of the sort now prevailing in Washington D.C. makes them even less able to perform the tasks for which we need them, than would otherwise be the case.

AUTHOR

Walter Block

Walter Edward Block is an American economist and anarcho-capitalist theorist who holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Record High Diesel Prices Threaten Domino Effect To Other Goods

By Casey Harper

Record high diesel fuel prices are yet another driver of rising costs for Americans, and those costs could get even higher this year.

Diesel gas prices hit another record high Thursday at $5.79 per gallon, according to AAA. That is a spike from $5.57 a month ago and much higher than the average of $3.22 the same time last year.

Diesel gas prices have continued to hit new records this week even as regular gas has leveled out, at least for the last couple of days.

Those higher prices are one of several factors raising costs for businesses, costs that are often passed down to consumers.

President Joe “Biden’s attack on the fossil fuel industry can be felt across every sector of the economy because everything needs energy,” said Daniel Turner, executive director of the energy workers advocacy group, Power the Future. “So it’s not just gas prices. It is also consumer goods, food, and all services. The diesel prices are particularly alarming because of what machinery uses diesel: agriculture, trucks, and railroad. All cargo shipping is diesel powered. So the price of all food that is planted, irrigated, fertilized, harvested, processed, packaged, and transported is being made more expensive at every step of the process. All those costs are passed on to consumers.”

Food prices have soared in recent months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10.1% increase in the food index in the previous twelve months, “the first increase of 10 percent or more since the period ending March 1981.”

Food prices have been hit hard by Russian President Valdimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine since Ukraine is a major exporter for food and chemicals used in fertilizer, but several other factors have played a part, including inflation. BLS’ producer price index rose 10.8% in the past 12 months, and consumer prices are rising at the fastest pace in four decades.

Many of the food production costs that are hitting farmers now will not be felt by consumers until the crops are harvested and sent to market later on.

“We have not yet begun to see the cost of Biden’s war on energy, on food prices because we have not yet harvested,” Turner said. “It’s only late spring, and we are still eating last year’s wheat. Wait until late summer and early fall and we will see painfully high prices across the board, and we are woefully unprepared.

“Making energy expensive makes life expensive, and as we spend more money to fill up our cars and buy basic groceries, we will be spending less on entertainment, travel, dining, shopping, etc,” he added.

Diesel, though, is used to transporting all kinds of goods, not just food. Right now, businesses are paying more than ever to transport via diesel trucks while the market also deals with a truck driver shortage.

Those higher costs are one more supply chain issue facing the U.S. economy right now as prices on all kinds of goods rise.

Experts say higher energy costs will only make that worse if they remain elevated for an extended period of time.

“By the economics textbook, higher costs work themselves up through the supply side of the market and raise prices,” said Roger Cryan, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, as previously reported by The Center Square. “The prices are especially high right now because of the sudden lack of access to Black Sea grain, but if these energy prices stay high in the long run then they will entirely work their way into food prices.”

Biden has taken heavy criticism for his energy policies from detractors who point to his policies that held back oil leases and pipeline development.

Biden has tried to deflect those critiques, pointing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted global oil markets. 

“Biden has got a case that there is a Russia shock, but the other side has also got a case that if the United States were producing more, the Russia shock wouldn’t be such a big deal,” said Desmond Lachman, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute.

“The Biden case is pretty weak when he … tries to make it sound like inflation is all Putin’s fault because of the oil and food prices because the truth of the matter was inflation was far too high before February 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine,” he added.

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China’s Economy Is Collapsing. Here’s Why You Should Worry

By Gordon Chang

Chinese ruler Xi Jinping has staked his rule on making China larger, by annexing neighbors. Taiwan is not his only target. He needs success to assure a precedent-breaking third term as the Communist Party’s general secretary, but the Chinese people, preoccupied by a failing economy, are in no mood for their leader’s aggression.

We start with the Party’s storyline that the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdowns is leading to an economic revival. (RELATED: CHANG: Biden Administration Is Handing Space To China On A Silver Platter)

Don’t believe it. The ongoing downturn is not merely the result of disease-control measures. The most fundamental problem is that Xi has been reversing reforms and reinstituting strict state control. He is a totalitarian at heart.

The second-most fundamental problem is that China is carrying a staggering load of debt. The Bank of International Settlements estimated that the country’s debt was equal to about 290% of gross domestic product in late 2020, and there has subsequently been a rapid accumulation of indebtedness, during the pandemic. When adding the so-called “hidden debt” and deflating GDP to minimize the effect of inflated official reporting, the country’s ratio is now around 350%.

The debt, however large it may be, is distorting the economy, especially the crucial property sector, which accounts for about 30% of GDP. Home prices are declining country-wide, but, more worryingly, sales volumes are plunging. Home sales fell 34.5% in the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year. Property developers are defaulting one after another. One of them, Evergrande Group, is struggling under $305 billion in obligations.

Banks are troubled. There have been at least six bank runs since mid-April, in Henan and Anhui provinces. There are restrictions on deposit withdrawals elsewhere, including Shanghai, the financial capital. China’s banking system is showing the strain of an economy that looks like it is contracting.

Investors are fleeing. The bond market in May recorded its fourth-straight month of outflows as investors chased higher yields in the U.S. The Chinese central bank cannot match the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes because higher rates in China would push the economy deeper into the red. The renminbi, not surprisingly, is trading at its lowest level in 20 months.

Beijing cannot expect others to come to the rescue by buying Chinese products, like they did in 2020. The world, unfortunately for the party, is headed into recession or worse. It will be a “calamity,” Charles Ortel of the “On the Money” podcast tells me. As he notes, “Not since the OPEC oil shock have global economic conditions been so unsettled.” With trends moving against Beijing, the world’s next great economic crisis will almost surely be China’s.

Why should we care? For decades, the primary basis of legitimacy of the Communist Party has been the continual delivery of prosperity. Now, because of the accelerating downturn, the Party’s only remaining basis of legitimacy is nationalism.

Chinese foreign policy since 1949, when the Communist Party came to power, has had one overarching goal: the maintenance of Party rule. Therefore, the world should expect Beijing to engage in even more nationalistic behavior to justify its existence.

In fact, the Party is increasingly belligerent. The Chinese military, for instance, violated sovereign Taiwan airspace in February and in late May intercepted and damaged an Australian reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the South China Sea. This month, General Wei Fenghe, the defense minister, made threatening public comments directed against the United States during the high-profile Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference in Singapore.

Yet Communist Party aggressors face a fundamental problem, something evident from their unwillingness to come clean about battlefield losses. It took them eight months to admit they had suffered four dead from a sneak attack they launched against India’s forces in June 2020 in Ladakh in the Himalayas. Chinese officials, according to both Indian and Russian estimates, undercounted the dead by a factor of 11.

The skittishness of the regime suggests its leaders know that the Chinese people, suffering from an economic downturn, are in no mood for another military misadventure abroad. A combined air-sea assault on Taiwan, even if successful, would result in massive Chinese casualties.

Xi Jinping, however, wants to march on neighbors, so peace in Asia depends in large measure on whether the Chinese people are able to restrain him. The millennia-old contest between China’s rulers and its people has never been more consequential.

*****

This article was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.

What Is the End Game with Ukraine and Russia? thumbnail

What Is the End Game with Ukraine and Russia?

By Neland Nobel

Is it just me, or is the United States sliding towards a major war without really any kind of debate? No declaration of war for sure, as such a thing as following the Constitution clearly cannot be considered by the leadership class in this nation.

There has not been any kind of use of force resolution either.

Instead, $40 billion has been appropriated for Ukraine and most Republicans signed on without hesitation or asking any questions. Democrats, once an antiwar party, ignominiously pulled out of one war in Afghanistan and immediately got us involved in another.

The expansion of NATO continues, which by treaty could involve us in a war with Russia if they get crossways with any number of new members. Have we thought this through?

Putin is a dangerous aggressor. On that, it is possible for all to agree. But have we been going out of our way to aggravate him? Is this the best way to deal with him?

And if he is so evil, why are the Germans and the Italians doing big business with them for energy? Why are they destroying their own energy capacity and making themselves more dependent on such a dastardly foe?

Moreover, what can be strategically accomplished with the current US intervention?

It is to weaken Russia we are told.

If that is true, why is the ruble rising against the dollar, with the dollar being the second strongest currency in the world? Who is being weakened here? As long as Russia dominates energy markets and is backed up by China, how weak are they?

Russia will have all the food, fertilizer, and energy it will need, while the rest of the world will not? Who here is the weakened party?

And why this silence among all the war hawks about the role of China? What does the NBA and Nike shoe, the big banks and brokerage houses that lecture us constantly about our shortcomings think of this nefarious alliance with China, Russia’s chief benefactor?

Moreover, the Russians seem to be slowly winning the war on the ground. That is the emerging reality. Are we willing to spend our money to fight Russia right down to the last Ukrainian? If what we have done will not stop them, what will it require? Are we ready for what it will require or are we just flushing $40 billion down the drain to look good?

Russia seems to be consolidating in the East. The Economist reports Ukraine is outnumbered 10 to 1 in artillery. Many other categories of war show similar lop-sided advantages for the Russians. And while the Ukrainians have fought bravely, they are fighting a much larger power willing to take heavy casualties. In a dictatorship like Russia, which controls the press, and has no political opposition, casualties don’t create the normal negative feedback loop.

How can Ukraine win if they cannot gain air superiority and further, interdict their opponent’s supply lines?  That would require a much greater effort on our part and risk invading Russian territory.  But with all of the resources of Russia, their larger population, and their productive capacity for war kept intact, Ukraine simply can’t win this war of attrition if Russia can bomb Ukrainian infrastructure at will but Ukraine can’t touch the Russians.

How can Ukraine win a war of defense only, outnumbered and outgunned in every military category? They for sure can make the Russians pay dearly, but can they win? What is your answer? If we can’t win, what are we doing?

It could be argued we are fighting for democracy. How can that be seriously argued since Zelensky just banned all political opposition?

And if you do think you are fighting for “democracy”, what benefit to the cause is it to lose? Counterfactually, this could simply encourage the Chinese and the Russians to bolder actions.

As peripheral matters, the US is doing some very strange things that can do significant long-term damage to ourselves. It is not just the tremendous expense and the drawdown of our own inventory of missiles and equipment.

Seizing Russian foreign reserves, with no judicial process at all, simply on the whim of the US, has demonstrated that the US dollar is not a safe place to put your foreign reserves. China, India, and Middle Eastern dictatorships, all took note of this. This has the potential to upend the entire post-war monetary framework built up after the Bretton-Woods Treaty.

The US has profited immensely by having the dollar the reserve currency of the world and the oil settlement currency of the world. Did we just blow that up for a war we can’t possibly win?

Over the weekend, a newly minted NATO member Lithuania decided to block the transit of goods to Kaliningrad. Look it up on a map.  It is part of Russia and the home of their Baltic fleet.

It is one thing to block purchases of Russian goods (sanctions) it is quite another to block Russian goods from getting from one part of Russia to another. That is clearly a direct intervention into the internal affairs of another country and not a “sanction” on “foreign” trade. How would we feel if Russia blocked the shipment of beef from Iowa to Ohio?

It would appear it is an act of war.

Ok, did Lithuania clear that with us? As a new member of NATO, do they not know that if Russia retaliates all of NATO is treaty-bound to come to their aid? Is our decision to expand this war in the hands of a small foreign nation rather than our Congress? Yes, it appears that it is!

Did World War III just start while the world was chattering about Biden falling off his bike?

Are the American people fully aware of what we are getting ourselves into?

When are Republicans going to start asking some important questions about what procedure is followed to commit this county to war, why are we doing it, what is the end game, can it be won, and what will be the cost?

In short, is it too much to ask that our U.S. Representatives and Senators do their damned jobs?

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Made in America Series: CREEKKOOLER & American Fireworks for the 4th of July thumbnail

Made in America Series: CREEKKOOLER & American Fireworks for the 4th of July

By 2ndvote .com

Here at 2ndVote we always advocate for the three pillars of shopping your values; shop local whenever possible, shop the highest 2ndVote score whenever possible, and shop American whenever possible. American production has been outsourced overseas for the sake of labor costs, sometimes even using slave labor, for far too long. It is high time that we as Americans demand that the goods and services we purchase are made by Americans, for Americans, in AMERICA!

That’s why we at 2ndVote endorse a product Made-in-America every week. This weekly message features various products that have been verified to be 100% American produced so that 2ndVote shoppers can better support American economic independence. It should be noted that while any products or companies featured in this series have been vetted for being American-made, there is not a guarantee that all such companies have been scored by 2ndVote at the time of publication.

Made-in-America product is the CREEKKOOLER:

Introducing the CreekKooler. An innovative patented floating cooler designed with dual-wall construction and top quality insulation resulting in superior ice retention. 

The CreekKooler glides across all surfaces and easily navigates behind your kayak, canoe, SUP or raft. With tow points allowing users to tie it to their boat or canoe, users favorite beverages and food are always within arms reach. 

The CreekKooler, whether used as a cooler or for safe storage, is at home anywhere, especially in the water.

CreekKooler is made in Rogers, AR



Check them out here!


Made-in-America product is American Fireworks:

American Fireworks Company was started in 1902 by Vincenzo Sorgi, the fourth generation of his family to be involved in the field of pyrotechnics.

Starting out in one small building, Vincenzo Sorgi quickly gained recognition for his handmade products of beauty and quality. In 1929, “Jimmy the Bomb” (as his friends referred to him) gained worldwide recognition by becoming one of the first attempting to shoot a rocket to the moon. Though never achieving his goal, his designs and plans closely parallel those used today and he was regarded as an innovator, well ahead of his time.

Today, over a century later, things at American Fireworks have changed very little. The business is still family owned and operated. Vincenzo’s son Jim and grandson John guided it from the late 20’s to the early 2000’s; they were the fifth and sixth generations of the Sorgi fireworks family. Now, over a hundred years later, Jim’s wife Nancy, John’s wife Mercy and the seventh generation of Sorgi’s, his great grandsons John and Roberto, are carrying on the family’s passion. Over their seven generations they have always tried to raise the bar in terms of quality and most importantly safety.

Vincenzo’s one building on 1/2 acre has grown into more than 60 buildings on 70 acres. Special formulas, handmade craftsmanship, and unique touch for each show are still hallmarks of the company. Although they are no longer trying to shoot rockets to the moon, their firework displays are still like Vincenzo said, “ahead of their time.”

American Fireworks are made in Hudson, OH

Check them out here!

The best way to make positive change in the world of woke businesses is to vote with your wallet, so remember: shop local, shop the highest score possible, and shop American! 2ndVote is not paid for this feature. While any products or companies featured in this series have been vetted for being American-made, there is not a guarantee that all such companies have been scored by 2ndVote at the time of publication.

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote Made in America Series column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Your Misery Is All About Their Power thumbnail

Your Misery Is All About Their Power

By Michael Senger

It is a testament to mankind’s enduring optimism, as much as our enduring hubris, that with every generation hope should spring anew that the fundamental forces which have governed our affairs since time immemorial have changed for the better.

After each passing calamity, the majority are once again lulled back into the comforting fantasy that we’ve reached the end of history, that the perennially destructive impulses of vanity, pride, greed, narcissism, cowardice, and inhumanity have been consigned to mere curiosities in our books and historical records, no longer playing any significant role in the decision-making of those with the power to shape our reality and the causes to which they recruit us.

No event in living memory has more thoroughly lain bare the folly of that notion than the response to Covid-19.

At every turn, the story of the world’s response to Covid is the story of power: The perception of it, the exercise of it, the fear of it, the abuse of it, and the pathological lengths to which some will go to obtain it.

During the response to Covid, we witnessed the ability of those who were perceived as having the power to simply make up reality as they went along. They were able to redefine scientific terms, causality, history, and even entire principles of the enlightenment virtually at leisure. More often than not, their narratives made no logical or chronological sense; in many cases, the absurdity was the point.

We were told that a two-month lockdown of one city in China had eliminated Covid from the entire country—but nowhere else—a false syllogism dutifully repeated by our political class for two years.

We were told that the purpose of lockdowns had been to flatten the curve, but also to eliminate the virus, in order to buy time for vaccines for the virus.

We were told that lockdowns in China violated human rights, fractured society, and led to deaths by other causes, but that lockdowns in the west did not.

We were told that outdoor protests spread the virus, unless the protest was for the right cause, in which case it slowed the virus.

We were inundated with reminders that all the myriad harms of lockdowns, from lost education and bankruptcies to drug overdoses and famine—while regrettable—were merely a result of the “pandemic,” and thus outside the control of the leaders who’d ordered the lockdowns.

We were told that “science” was a command to be followed, rather than a process for building and testing knowledge.

We were told that masks were useless and we were bad for procuring them, until we were told that they were mandatory and we were bad for refusing them. This, again, was attributed to a change in “science”—a natural force outside the control of our leaders.

We were told that medical information shared before the “science” had so changed was misinformation to be censored, even if the change in “science” was retroactive.

We were told that national governments, local governments, and private businesses could each impose mandates if they wished, but that no government could revoke a mandate imposed by a local government or private business.

We were told that lockdowns didn’t weaken human rights, our leaders were simply interpreting data differently; but now that we’d had lockdowns, fundamental rights to movement, work, and commerce were contingent on vaccination.

We were told it wasn’t safe for American children to attend school in-person, and that they had to wear masks if they did so attend, but also that it was never unsafe for European children to attend school without masking.

We were told that school closures were good and that opposition to them had to be censored until we were told that school closures had always been bad.

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.

Those in power were able to so whimsically shape our reality because the officials, journalists, judiciaries, citizens, and self-styled intellectuals who were meant to keep power in check were revealed to be little more than sycophants. And they were sycophants so that they could retain some of that power for themselves.

In short, people seek power because other people are sycophants, and people are sycophants because sycophancy is the simplest route to power. This age-old dynamic is what allows those in power to shape reality so free of accountability, scrutiny, or even basic logic. It’s the reason that power has always been fought over with scorched-earth ferocity, and why, in the absence of institutions adequate to keep it in check, power is almost always seized by sociopaths.

To Friedrich Nietzsche, the foundational motivating force behind all human behavior was not so much happiness, or even survival, but instead the will to power—to have one’s will exerted onto existence as one perceived it.

Nietzsche deconstructed preexisting notions of morality into what he termed “master” and “slave” morality, which he distinguished primarily by the motivations behind them. Master morality was motivated by the self-actualization of one’s own virtues and will onto existence.

Slave morality, by contrast, was motivated by limiting the power and self-actualization of others. To Nietzsche, the will to power was itself neither good nor bad, it was simply the fundamental force behind all human actions; but more often than not, human actions were motivated by slave morality.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that, in the process, he does not become a monster himself. Gaze long enough into an abyss, and the abyss will gaze right back into you.” ~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886

Perhaps more than any event in history, the response to Covid illustrated Nietzsche’s point that human behavior is not fundamentally motivated by happiness, but instead by the simple will to power—to have one’s will exerted onto one’s perceived existence—and how easy it is to subvert that will toward the petty limitation of others’ self-actualization. Healthy people living their lives normally were demonized not because they were threatening, but because they were self-actualizing in a way that the mob could not.

The unvaccinated were vilified not because they were dangerous, but because they were free. Those questioning these things had to be censored not because their thoughts were wrong, but because they were thinking. Children could not be allowed to grow and live not because it was risky, but because preventing them from living was simply something for the mob to do.

I dare not imagine the living hell that some human beings must experience in their formative years to learn that power can be used to enslave others by motivating them toward the petty limitation of their peers; I would not wish such hell on anyone. Nor did I ever imagine that I would spend two years having to convince people that what’s good for themselves and their loved ones actually is good, but here we are.

I dislike what I witnessed during Covid, particularly what it revealed about the minds of those around me. What I believed were commonly-shared ideals of liberalism, humanity, critical thinking, universal rights, and constitutionalism were revealed to be little more than the modern trappings of sycophancy—fashion statements popular among contemporary elites only to be jettisoned as soon as the rich men who funded their employers, peers, and influencers decided that they were no longer convenient.

We were told that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. But worst of all, our own friends and peers were told to ostracize and vilify us if we did not do as we were told—and far too often, they did as they were told.

*****

This article was published by the Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.

‘Realistically, What Are They Going to Do?’ Biden Adviser on Gas Prices thumbnail

‘Realistically, What Are They Going to Do?’ Biden Adviser on Gas Prices

By Jihad Watch

Biden is on top of skyrocketing gas prices.

“Not only is there not an extant solution, but nobody thinks there’s going to be a compelling solution,” an outside economic adviser to the White House said. “They’re fighting about narrative rather than fighting about substance, because realistically, what are they going to do?”

What to do?

1. Drop energy taxes

2. Stop announcing that you want to wipe out fossil fuels in the next decade while insisting that companies should invest in more production

3. Stop blocking and sabotaging oil and gas leases

Those are things Biden doesn’t even need to do, but just to stop doing. But of course he’s not. The problem is coming from inside the house. The White House.

When you keep playing arsonist, then you need a hell of a narrative to explain why all the houses burning down isn’t your fault.

AUTHOR:

DANIEL GREENFIELD

RELATED ARTICLES:

Why are gas prices so high? It’s the oil refineries stupid!

Biden Regime: “Well, Brazilians Are Paying the Same Amount for Gas”

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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Margin Debt Unwinds Further amid Massacre of High-Flying Stocks and Forced Selling

By Wolf Richter

Margin debt issued warnings starting in early 2021 that the Big S would hit the fan. Folks blew it off.

Editors” Note: Wolf Richter makes a brief point about “securities-based lending” (SBL) that deserves some additional commentary. This has been all the craze at major brokerage houses, which encourage both advisors and clients to use their stock portfolio as collateral for non-securities purchases. In most cases, this has been for real estate; spec homes, second homes, and rental homes. The problem is that this area gets little rigorous reporting, so it is not clear how exposed are the brokerage houses or the public. If both real estate and stock prices were to decline together (not unusual in a recession), investors may be forced to liquidate their stock portfolios to protect their real estate or sell their real estate to protect their stock portfolio. If the value of a stock portfolio declines to where the collateral value of the stocks for the SBL  falls to the level near the value of the loan, stocks have to be liquidated just as in a conventional margin call. This can lead to crash-like conditions where there is forced selling.  Since securities are much more liquid than real estate, usually they get sold first. We live in a highly leveraged world where many strategies made sense in an environment of both plentiful and ultra-cheap money. The problem is the ultra-cheap money is obviously being taken away by the Federal Reserve. It is likely we had record high SBL debt as well as margin debt.

Margin debt – the visible tip of the iceberg of the direction of overall stock-market leverage – dropped by $20 billion in May from April to $753 billion, according to Finra, based on reports from its member brokers. Margin debt had peaked in October 2021 at $936 billion, and began to decline in November 2021.

The Nasdaq peaked in mid-November as margin debt began to unwind and has since plunged 33%. The S&P 500 peaked on the first trading day in January, as margin debt was beginning to plunge. And the S&P 500 has since then dropped 22%.

In the seven months since the peak in October, margin debt has dropped by $183 billion, or by 20%, from the gigantic levels last year, an indicator of the turmoil in the market, but also an indicator that leverage is still extremely high and has a long way to go:

Sharp increases in margin debt are associated with increases in stock prices because leverage creates buying pressure with borrowed money; but then the tables turn, and in a vicious mechanism that includes margin calls, major stock market events are associated with sharp declines in leverage. Margin debt can serve as an effective warning about issues in the stock market.

The absolute amount of leverage in the stock market, across all forms of leverage, is unknown and no one tracks it. Margin debt reported by brokers is the only form of stock-market leverage that is tracked and reported on a monthly basis.

Another form of stock market leverage, Securities Based Lending (SBL), is sporadically and partially reported by banks on their annual reports or their quarterly reports. Some banks give amounts, other banks lump it in with other forms of lending. There is no total metric for the amounts of SBL across all banks.

Other forms of stock-market leverage include hedge funds and family offices that are leveraged at the institutional level. This is not tracked either. They do get margin calls, and every now and then, one of them collapses. It’s only then, when creditors pick through the debris, that the world discovers how much leverage there was.

Other forms of leverage include stock-based derivative products, such as those that felled the family office Archegos in March 2021, wiping out billions of dollars in capital at the prime brokers that had provided the leverage. No one tracked this leverage. Apparently not even banks and brokers that funded it knew at the time how much total leverage their client had from all brokers combined.

Margin debt and hype-and-hoopla stocks.

Brutal collapses of hype-and-hoopla stocks that get chopped down 80% or 90% in a matter of months trigger forced selling amid the margined crowd that was planning to get rich quick on those stocks and that therefore had concentrated holdings of these stocks. Hundreds of stocks have collapsed, starting in February 2021, and I’ve documented some of them in my Imploded Stocks.

Here are some well-known names whose share prices have collapsed. There are many more lesser-known names out there, including the EV SPAC, Electric Last Mile, that already announced that its stock will go to zero and die as it will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation one year after going public.

Now imagine the margin calls these collapses triggered (percentages from their highs through June 14 mid-day):

  • Carvana: -94.5%
  • Vroom: -99%
  • Rivian: -84%
  • Nikola: -93%
  • Lordstown: -98%
  • Zillow: -85%
  • Redfin: -92%
  • Compass: -80%
  • Opendoor: -87%
  • Peloton: -94%
  • DocuSign: -81%
  • Snap: -86%
  • Pinterest: -81%
  • Buzzfeed: -88%
  • Coinbase: -88%
  • MicroStrategy: -88%
  • Robinhood: -91%
  • PayPal: -77%
  • Block (former Square): -79%
  • SoFi Tech: -79%
  • Affirm Holdings: -90%
  • Metromile: -96%
  • Wayfair: -87%
  • Chewy: -77%
  • Shopify: -83%
  • Rent the Runway: -87%
  • Beyond Meat: -90%
  • Teladoc: -90%
  • Lyft: -84%
  • Grab: -86%
  • Zoom: -76%
  • Virgin Galactic: -86%
  • Palantir: -83%
  • AMC: -84%
  • Moderna: -76%
  • DoorDash: -77%
  • Chegg: -85%
  • Roku: -85%

These stocks plunged from ridiculous highs that many folks had assumed would lead to even more ridiculous highs, which was why they bought them in the first place. As the shares collapsed, leveraged investors had to reduce their margin debt because collateral values vanished, and they became forced sellers.

Leveraged investors with a concentration in these stocks could get completely wiped out, with their brokerage account balance reduced to near nothing, if they didn’t dump these instruments in time.

Even some of the biggest stocks plunged far enough to have triggered forced selling among margined investors (percentages from their highs through June 14 mid-day):

  • Netflix: -76%
  • Amazon: -45%
  • Tesla: -46%
  • Meta: -57%
  • Nvidia: -54%
  • Salesforce: -47%
  • Intel: -44%

*****

Continue reading this article at Wolf Street.

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Social Security’s Unfunded Obligations Getting Worse

By Rachel Greszler

Our Social Security program is running dry. Policymakers have no plan to fix it, and generations of Americans have been duped into believing it’s a good deal.

Social Security was established to prevent older Americans from living in poverty once they’re unable to work, but the program’s unchecked expansions have made that outcome anything but secure for current and future workers.

The Social Security Board of Trustees reports that the program will run out of money in 2034. That means anyone 55 or younger today won’t receive a single full benefit, and most current retirees will be subject to 23% benefit cuts — an average loss of $4,400 per year.

Preventing benefit cuts would require an immediate payroll tax increase, from 12.4% to 15.8%. That amounts to $2,300 more per year, and $10,800 in total Social Security taxes, for the median household with $68,000 in earnings. It’s also a far cry from the program’s original promise that Social Security would never take more than 6% from workers’ paychecks.

Even as Social Security’s shortfalls continued to rise, the U.S. financial outlook seriously deteriorated over just the past two years.

Policymakers must act now, and Congress has a choice.

It can make Social Security bigger—increasing taxes and increasing benefits for everyone—or make it smaller and better targeted.

The Social Security 2100 Act proposed the former route. At the Heritage Foundation, Drew Gonshorowski and I analyzed the proposal and found it would leave all income groups worse off. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Polling finds strong agreement—more than 80% of Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike—that a more targeted program could solve Social Security’s financial shortfalls and increase incomes and opportunities for all Americans.

The current system gives workers a raw deal. Every dollar they pay into Social Security goes immediately out the door to fund current benefits, never getting a chance to earn a positive rate of return.

In contrast, my Heritage colleagues and I found that the average worker would have three times more retirement income if they were able to keep and invest their Social Security taxes. Even the lowest-income workers would have 40% more retirement income.

They would also have something to pass on to their family members. Currently, people with shorter lives—including the 1 in 5 Black men who die between the ages of 45 and 64—can end up getting little or nothing from Social Security after paying into the program for decades.

Far better to return Social Security to its original goal of poverty prevention. Taking measures like gradually shifting to a flat benefit, slowly raising the retirement age and indexing it to life expectancy, using a more accurate inflation measure, and eliminating work disincentives would protect and improve Social Security.

The Heritage Foundation‘s Social Security model estimates that these changes would make the program solvent and allow for a roughly 20% tax cut. And adding an ownership option would give Americans more control over their own retirement incomes and let them benefit from investment returns.

The Penn Wharton Budget model projected that a smaller, better-targeted Social Security program like the one outlined above would result in an economy that is 7.3%, or $1.6 trillion, larger than with a bigger Social Security program. That translates into $10,740 more in annual income per household across the U.S.

Each year that policymakers fail to act, the costs and consequences of Social Security’s inevitable reform just become larger. Over just the last 10 years, Social Security’s unfunded obligations more than doubled, to $20.4 trillion—the equivalent of $157,000 per household.

Social Security’s solutions are straightforward, and despite the program’s fiscal imbalances, there are ways to make it better for everyone. By tackling Social Security reform now, policymakers could protect a popular program and reduce the chances of a fiscal crisis. It’s time for policymakers to get serious about getting America’s fiscal house in order.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sorry Libs, You Can’t Replace Dads With Government thumbnail

Sorry Libs, You Can’t Replace Dads With Government

By Kevin Roberts

It’s been said that America can always be counted on to do the right thing, once we have exhausted all the other alternatives. As of Father’s Day 2022, America has spent about 60 years exhausting the alternatives to fatherhood — and the collateral damage is all around us.

Broken families. Gutted communities. Betrayed women. Terrified children. Busy morgues. And overflowing prisons. (RELATED: LUKAS: Let Girls Be Girls. Protect Them From The Left’s Gender Agenda)

The evidence is so overwhelming that it’s not really controversial anymore. Children who grow up without their fathers — especially in communities where fatherlessness has become the norm —carry the heaviest social, economic, and psychological cross social science can measure. The mountain of data is nothing short of Himalayan.

Children raised in single-parent homes constitute:

63% of teen suicides;

90% of runaways and homeless children;

85% of behavior disorder patients;

71% of high school dropouts;

75% of teenagers in substance abuse rehab centers;

85% of young prison inmates.

This is what we have to show for the trillions of dollars spent and the decades of research conducted. If there was a way for a social worker or a bureaucracy or a government check to fill the Dad-shaped hole in America’s broken families, we would have found it by now.

It doesn’t exist. Three generations of elites — from Washington to Hollywood — have promised young Americans that severing the natural connections between sex, marriage, commitment, kids, and parenthood would be “liberating.” As the statistics above show, it’s been anything but.

The only solution to fatherlessness is fathers. And we have to figure out a way to say so, even in these hypersensitive times.

Our culture has gone to such laudable lengths to de-stigmatize single motherhood that we now accidentally denigrate married fatherhood. We work so hard to affirm non-traditional gender roles and family structures that we have forgotten just how valuable they have always been.

Fatherhood isn’t about being a male. It’s about being a man. Fatherhood harnesses masculinity for the good of society, so the community benefits along with the family, and each individual father as he grows into his vocation. The strength, courage, dependability, honesty, accountability, gentleness, toughness, and protectiveness that define real masculinity keeps children safe, wives happy, and trouble at bay. A fish may or may not need a bicycle, but women and children very much need men.

We know what actual toxic masculinity looks like. It looks like boys raised without men: insecure, vulgar, misogynistic, angry, ignorant, violent, confused, and above all, scared.

In every poor community in America, from opioid-riddled Appalachia to violent inner cities, every boy who doesn’t know how to be a man and every girl who doesn’t know she deserves one, is crying out into that empty void in their homes and in their hearts, “Father, father, why have you abandoned me?”

That question cannot be answered, or that agony soothed, with universal health care or a “Build Back Better” plan. The measurable, material benefits of intact families — the second income and additional caregiver — are the least important ones. What really matters is not what fathers do, but what they are.

For two generations now, America’s elite institutions have devalued what they are, through a welfare state that penalizes work and marriage, an education system that punishes boyishness, and a culture that scolds chivalry as abusive and masculinity itself as toxic. It turns out, that dads are just one more thing our failed elite class was wrong about.

Father’s Day is a reminder that what our broken culture, struggling single moms, and frightened kids need is not another program or policy, but a person.

Dads: accept no substitutes.

*****

This article was published by The Daily Caller News Foundation and is reprinted with permission.  Keven Roberts is President of the Heritage Foundation.

TAKE ACTION

The highly choreographed January 6 Select Committee that is being performed on primetime TV over the next several weeks can only be described as political and partisan trash. It is not about truth or acting in the interests of American citizens. It is about the 2024 election – clear as day.

Please click here to inform our elected leaders how you feel about the partisan travesty unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives.