Patriot Party Fails To Qualify For 2024 Ballot thumbnail

Patriot Party Fails To Qualify For 2024 Ballot

By Daniel Stefanski

Editors’ Note: This article is an important warning for every Arizona citizen concerned about election integrity. Secretary of State (SOS) Adrian Fontes has a long history of rabid partisanship as an elected official in offices that should be nonpartisan. As Maricopa County Recorder until 2021, Fontes ran aggressive voter registration drives in mostly Democrat areas utilizing his large office staff to conduct these activities inappropriately and against the regulations of his office. The Arizona Supreme Court has repeatedly stopped his election manipulation attempts to revise the Elections Procedure Manual and other inappropriate and Democrat-assisting maneuvers  in his prior Maricopa County Recorder office and currently as Secretary of State. He is a partisan hack and a reason to fear the integrity of the approaching 2024 election here in Arizona. In 2020, The Prickly Pear interviewed Stephen Richer, the current Maricopa County Recorder who beat Fontes in the 2020 election. Richer stated in the interview that Fontes, the incumbent Recorder and his opponent, was incompetent and guilty of criminal behavior in the conduct of the office. Remarkably, Fontes is now the Secretary of State after the 2022 Arizona election that resulted in many ongoing questions and concerns about competence of Arizona elections. As SOS, Fontes has a critical role in Arizona’s election processes. He threatens the integrity and outcomes of the 2024 election and future elections by the clear partisan use of his office in multiple ways. The article below is the most recent example.

The Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) gained a significant victory this week over Democrat Secretary of State Adrian Fontes.

On Monday, the AZGOP announced that the ‘Patriot Party’ “failed to secure enough valid signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot,” crediting the “unwavering dedication of over 50 volunteers who…meticulously reviewed over 37,000 signatures by hand.”

This update came days after the Party had issued a press release to accuse Fontes of “misusing his office to influence elections.”

In that communication, the AZGOP explained that the “Liberal Democrat Adrian Fontes quietly and drastically changed his procedures on political party petition filings and denied observer access and public records requests by the Arizona Republican Party.” According to the AZGOP, this occurred when Secretary Fontes allegedly failed “to notify the political parties with ballot access that an appointment had been made by the ‘Patriot Party’ to file signatures on their Petition for Political Party recognition.”

In their release, the AZGOP asserted that Fontes’ actions with the ‘Patriot Party’ filing was “a big departure from what (he) did when ‘No Labels’ filed,” adding that the Secretary’s motivation in running his office is “to help the Democrat Party and hamper (Arizona Republicans).”

The AZGOP outlined the process by which Secretary Fontes “conducted the No Labels filing,” which included the following steps:

  • The Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian parties of Arizona were informed about the filing appointment ahead of time.
  • All three recognized political parties were permitted to have observers present for the entire intake and SOS scanning of petitions with full observer coverage for chain of custody transition.
  • The scans of the petitions, as filed, prior to SOS processing, were made available the morning after filing through a secure fileshare provided by SOS.
  • The fileshare to which counties upload their processed samples was made available to all recognized political parties so that they could follow the filing process throughout.

As the release concluded, the AZGOP demanded that Secretary Fontes “restore the long history of impartiality that existed in the SOS’s office under Secretary Reagan, Secretary Bennett, Secretary Brewer and others.” The party asked for the Secretary of State’s Office to “fulfill (their) public records requests in a timely manner and maintain a fair and unbiased process for all filings made in (the) office.”

The AZGOP threatened Fontes with litigation if he were to “move to validate (the ‘Patriot Party’) as (an actual party) regardless in a partisan effort to hamper the Republican Party. That threat appears to be neutralized thanks to the State Republican Party’s hard work to go through the signatures itself.

With the saga of the petition signatures moving to the rearview window, the AZGOP is focusing on an extremely important election season in 2024, boasting of a “grassroots army of over 5,500 precinct committeemen in Arizona, combined with an additional 20,000 party volunteers.” The AZGOP noted that Arizona Republicans are “united in our mission to register more voters, champion family values, strengthen the economy, and advocate for better educational outcomes and parental choice.”


This article was published in AZ Free News and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Target’s Latest Trans Mania Is Asking For More Boycotts, And Customers Should Deliver thumbnail

Target’s Latest Trans Mania Is Asking For More Boycotts, And Customers Should Deliver

By Shawn Fleetwood

As if partnering with a Satanist to design “pride” month merchandise wasn’t bad enough, Target is back this holiday season to force its latest batch of LGBT-themed Christmas products on its customer base.

Last week, it was revealed that Target is selling a variety of “rainbow”-themed Christmas decorations this year, ranging from nutcrackers holding the “progress” and LGBT flags to black disabled Santa ornaments. The retail giant is also merchandising LGBT-themed snow globes and wrapping paper.

The store has sold “pride”-themed nutcrackers during the Christmas season as early as 2021. But dumping its “rainbow” products onto shoppers this December is just the tip of the iceberg for Target, which apparently failed to learn from major revenue drops that plagued the retailer after alienating customers in June. The retail chain is also elevating individuals promoting the left’s radical LGBT agenda to significant positions within the company.

Among these figures appears to be Erik Thompson, who announced his partnership with Target on Instagram earlier this month as the store’s new “Senior LGBTQIA+ Segmentation Strategist and Pride Lead.” Thompson, who goes by “he/him/his/her” pronouns and uses the Instagram handle “gaycruella,” said he was “[h]onored to get to start a new body of work” and spearhead “Target’s LGBTQIA+ multicultural merchandising strategy and Pride businesses for the company and the LGBTQIA+ & Allied communities across the the [sic] nation.”

“Time to whip out the Glitter & Hellfire flamethrowers and rip that old world to shreds darlings,” Thompson wrote. “Let’s flip that script and rewrite that narrative. This time for ~ALL Guests, ALL Humans & ALL Hearts.”

Target’s attempt to trade Christmas’ green and red colors for rainbow ones isn’t all that surprising, given the company’s decision to sell and promote LGBT-themed merchandise earlier this year, including “light binding effect” swim tops and “tuck-friendly” bottoms as well as pride-themed merchandise for infants and toddlers. The retailer also teamed up with a self-proclaimed “gay trans man” and Satan supporter to “supply transgender-themed merchandise” to its 2023 “pride” collection.

Target has since experienced massive financial losses as a result of its embrace of radical gender ideology. According to The Daily Wire, Target’s third-quarter sales “tumbled 4.9% following a 5.4% decline in the second quarter,” which had been the company’s “first quarterly sales drop in six years.”

The Boycotts Must Continue Until Morale Improves

Don’t let its kid-friendly dog mascot fool you. Target is just as radically left-wing as once-great corporations like The Walt Disney Company have become. It has decided to cast aside its traditional customer base in favor of the latest leftist fad — even if that “fad” does irreparable harm to innocent and unsuspecting children.

[RELATED: It’s Up To Moms To Crush Target]

Until Target stops pushing this demonic paganism on the public (especially minors) and apologizes, there is zero reason sane Americans should continue to reward the retailer with a single penny. Target deserves the same economic pain that Disney and Anheuser-Busch received after those companies shamelessly foisted the trans agenda on their loyal customer base.

People who shop at Target should be treated the same way as people who drink Bud Light. Mock them. Ridicule them. Make them answer for subsidizing a company that’s apparently fine with castrating young boys and chest-binding little girls. Use the left’s tactics against them without a second thought.

Conservatives didn’t choose this culture war. But it’s incumbent upon all of us to fight it.


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


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Too Many Laws thumbnail

Too Many Laws

By Bruce Bialosky

There are many joys of being a Californian. The price of housing, the price of gas, and the price of electricity are just a few. One that is not discussed is how our elected leaders are constantly changing the laws under which we are governed.  This is one of the worst aspects of our “independent press” which barely discusses the matter. 

It has become customary for California’s full-time legislature to justify their collective existence by feeling compelled to propose a laundry list of new bills to become law.  Each member can submit fifty bills in every two-year session. With 120 members, there could be 6,000 bills every session or 3,000 bills annually. It seems that each member attempts to make that “quota.”

The number gets whittled down, but not by much. The amount of bills passed is significant: 2021 – 965 bills; 2022-998; 2023-1046. The Governor gets a hack at them once passed by the Assembly and State Senate, but maybe “hack” is not an appropriate verb here.

In the first year of the session, he has 12 days from passing of the bills to sign them into law or veto them.  In year two, the governor has 30 days. Newsom signed into law: 2021-890, 2022 – 979, 2023 – 890. A total of 3,009 bills passed in the last three years and Governor Newsom signed 2,759 into law. That is 91.7%, and that is just since 2021.

How do you run a state like this?  There becomes a law dysphoria.  Residents don’t know what is legal and what is not.  While the legislators think they are improving our lives they are making everyone less settled as to the government that controls them. 

This deluge of changes to the law and the following of the laws – for those of us who are still law-abiding citizens – is something nobody talks about. While the press was addressing whether the Governor was going to sign or veto the most visible bills, I addressed the issue of the sheer number to Politico. Their daily California summary focused only on which bills they considered newsworthy.  “Are you interested in addressing the mass amount of bills passed?”  Silence.

A perfect example is the column by George Skelton of the LA Times, one of the deans of columnists covering Sacramento.  His column here: applauds Newsom for vetoing bills that would have expanded the budget even further.  Skelton, like all the others, does not address the huge cost to California residents of the 890 bills that were signed into law and the regulations they produced. 

What did the press bother to cover? The State Superintendent of Public Instruction was charged with racism because our schools were disproportionately disciplining students of color.  The Superintendent does not look like someone with an axe to grind against people of color as he is black.  Wait a minute; the Legislature changed the law on that one.

State Senator Nancy Skinner was behind Senate Bill 274 to end the suspension of students for willful defiance in classrooms.  She stated, “Since my start in the state Senate in 2016, I’ve worked to end willful defiance suspensions in our public schools.”  Notably, she hasn’t done anything in classrooms to actually end willful defiance.  That means teachers now have little means of controlling their unruly students. Maybe next session Senator Skinner can do something about that.

This is just one of the many laws that were barely covered.  Some are not covered at all.  Thus, businesses or individuals remain ignorant about the new laws to which they are subject and can get trapped by not knowing.

Swooping to the rescue are the people who are the second largest group (first are public employee unions) to whom these elected officials are beholden – lawyers.  They create little cottage industries to protect innocent people from even further harm.  Adding insult to injury, not only must you relearn how things operate, but you must pay homage to lawyers keeping you from fines and recriminations.

A friend who works in D.C. sent me a marketing piece from a national employment law firm.  They had twelve California laws they cited as being changed in this last session. If you are running a business with employees, you are clearly sunk if you don’t have one of these hired guns to protect you from your own elected officials. It is certainly possible you need these legal eagles since there are another 878 passed bills that could get you in a world of trouble for not following the new laws.

Readers always like to hear solutions, not just complaints. Numero Uno is to stop electing these self-designated potentates.  These are people who think they were elected to micromanage your life because they know better.

That is the problem here – most Californians are unaware of this situation.  Trying to get a replacement (new Assembly or Senate member) is a behemoth challenge.  Plus, if the replacement is not beholden to the public employee unions and the lawyers it will be ever so much tougher.

You can speak to the official’s office. But since they don’t care (because they don’t have to) that is typically a waste of time.

The solution that more people and businesses are trying – is relocation.


This article was published by FlashReport and is reproduced with permission from the author.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

What Is Racism? thumbnail

What Is Racism?

By Craig J. Cantoni

“Racism” is one of the many catchall words that are bandied about without definition or much thought.

Anyone with the temerity to question the meaning of “racism” or to ask for a definition of the word risks being called a racist.

Well, so be it.

Given that “racism” has become one of the most ubiquitous words, and given that someone can be canceled, fired, or even get into legal trouble for being accused of racism, it’s important to have a precise understanding of what the word means.

The same can be said of other popular words du jour, such as “white privilege,” “minority,” “person of color,” “marginalized,” and the six contrived racial and ethnic categories of “White,” “Black,” “Hispanic,” “Asian,” “Pacific Islander,” and “Native American.”

Is this much ado about nothing?  Norman Wang wouldn’t think so.  After being accused of perpetuating racism, he lost his position as an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.  He was in good company.  The American Heart Association was also accused of perpetuating racism.

Their offense?  Wang published a paper in the Journal of the American Heart Association, saying that affirmative action programs should meet legal requirements and that the admissions process should be race-neutral. (Source:  The Canceling of the American Mind.)

That was racism?  By what definition?  Certainly not by the following definition from the Oxford Dictionary.

racism:  prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

That’s a pretty good definition, even though it includes the ambiguous words “minority” and “marginalized.”  We’ll come back to those words later.  Suffice it to say for now that Wang didn’t exhibit prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism against a racial or ethnic group or person.

Unsurprisingly, I prefer my own definition of racism:

racism:the belief that a particular race or ethnic group is inherently inferior or deficient in some way, and to act on that belief.

I’ll use that definition to talk about my own race and ethnicity, in the hope that doing so will reduce the inevitable accusations of racism in writing about racism.

Under my definition, it is not racism for me to say that I dislike Italians who are members of the Sicilian Mafia, or to encourage law enforcement to keep an eye on Mafioso in the event they break the law, or to deny them employment if I were to own a business.  The reason that’s not racism is that my prejudice against Mafioso is based on the fact of their criminality and not on a racist belief that all Italians are genetically predisposed to criminality.

While it’s true that almost all Mafioso are Italian or Sicilian, it’s not true that all Italians are criminals. To say that almost all Mafioso are Italian is a racial fact, not racism.  Conversely, it is racism to say that all Italians are criminals.

As this example shows, the citing of unflattering racial facts is not necessarily an indication of racism.  Unfortunately, this distinction is rarely made today.  The citing of unflattering racial facts is seen as being synonymous with racism, unless the negatives are about so-called White people, or Asian people, who, more and more, are seen as White in values, advantages, and privilege.  These two groups are fair game for not only unflattering facts but also accusations of racism—not the racism defined by Oxford or me, but the racism described in a new definition.

Norman Wang lost his teaching position because of the new definition.  The definition goes like this:

racism:   a failure to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that are designed to address the fact that racism in the United States is systemic and institutionalized, due to the nation’s history of White people oppressing Blacks, indigenous people, and people of color, first through slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and genocide; and then through institutions, social norms, capitalism, a phony meritocracy, and ongoing White political power and privilege—all of which interact together to perpetuate inequalities, and none of which can be remedied without forcing government to use force to override the institutional and socioeconomic roadblocks that keep disadvantaged minorities from advancing, and, at the same time, to stop Whites and those who think like Whites from continuing to unfairly accede to positions of power, influence and wealth in government, education, medicine, entertainment, media, and industry.

Well, since I don’t buy into this definition, that makes me a racist, especially in view of my shameful background.

Starting 50 years ago at an international company, and continuing over my corporate career, I was at the vanguard of equal rights, equal opportunity, and affirmative action (i.e., outreach).  Among other actions, my efforts included going on retreats with Blacks to have frank discussions about race, teaching managers what it’s like for a minority to enter a workforce or attend a meeting where everyone else is a different race, removing counterproductive barriers to advancement, and firing bad managers.

At the same time, I embraced Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s warning about the dire consequences that paternalism and poorly designed welfare programs would have on Black families.

A shameful background, for sure.

Even more shameful, I now believe that the DEI juggernaut has taken a page from the Mafia. 

To explain:

The Mafia came about for understandable reasons.  For millennia, the island of Sicily had been crisscrossed by conquerors and by the ancient version of colonizers, including Africans.  Inhabitants of the island were slaughtered, enslaved, and otherwise oppressed.  In more recent history, Sicilians were subjected to corrupt, confiscatory governments.  Joining or supporting the Mafia was a way for impoverished Sicilians to defend themselves from predation.

When Sicilians and other Italians, including my grandparents, immigrated to the U.S., they were considered non-White by the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant establishment and treated accordingly—as one step up from Blacks.  That gave the Mafia a beachhead in America.

The problem is that the Mafia became even more corrupt, unethical, and self-serving than the establishment it was fighting.  In other words, the victims became victimizers and began preying on innocent people.

In a similar evolution, DEI came about as a response to prejudice and discrimination against selected groups but now engages in prejudice and discrimination against people who had nothing to do with the original prejudice and discrimination.

That sure seems like racism.


Image Credit: Pixabay


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

The Curious Case of Rob Malley

By Peter Schweizer

Hamas’s war against Israel, coordinated with Iran, has exposed the fault lines in the American Left.

While mainstream Democratic liberals have sided with the innocent Israelis massacred by Hamas terrorists, leftist “Squad” members in Congress compete with Ivy League campus radicals to outdo one another by championing the vicious murderers as a “resistance.”

Anti-Israel sentiment has been oozing through those cracks on the Left for years, but the presidency of Barack Obama certainly primed the pump. Obama’s choice of advisors reflected his deep distrust of Israel and penchant for supporting Palestinians and appeasing Iran. One of those advisor choices, the now-disgraced Robert Malley, is a case-in-point.

This summer, Malley was placed on unpaid leave from the State Department and had his security clearance revoked after an internal investigation found he had “mishandled classified information.”

Malley’s case is evidently serious enough that he is also now under investigation by the FBI, which would appear to suggest potential criminal charges of bribery or possibly even espionage.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are now preparing to subpoena Malley and the State Department for documents pertaining to his suspension, a situation that some observers say is among the worst scandals in department history. Due to Iran’s involvement in the Hamas invasion of Israel, they are scrutinizing Malley’s role in negotiating the Biden administration’s September agreement that released $6 billion of frozen Iranian oil revenues to Tehran as part of a broader prisoner-swap agreement. Under political pressure after Hamas’s jihadist pogrom in southern Israel, the Biden administration reluctantly agreed to refreeze those funds.

More bad news for Malley emerged recently when a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails was revealed by Semafor and Iran International. In email exchanges between Iranian Foreign Ministry officials working under the supposedly moderate then-President Hassan Rouhani, they congratulate each other for the public success of what they called the “Iran Experts Initiative (IEI),” a propaganda effort they created back in 2014, and reportedly “funded and directed by an IRGC official named Mostafa Zahrani. Zahrani was the point of contact between IEI members and Javad Zarif, then Iran’s foreign minister.” The IEI cultivated a network of sympathetic academics and intellectuals “with the aim of shaping political and public opinion as the Iranian government, then led by Hassan Rouhani, pursued a nuclear deal with the U.S.”

At least two of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Malley, while a third was hired by the think tank Malley ran before re-joining the State Department.

Malley’s well-known pro-Iran sympathies made him a target of Republicans outraged by the Iran nuclear deal.

Gabriel Noronha, who formerly served as a special adviser on Iran at the State Department under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, charged that while Malley worked for Biden as his envoy to Iran, he and his negotiating team “purposefully funneled billions of dollars to [Iran] through lack of sanctions enforcement and provision of sanctions relief that has given them somewhere between $50 [billion] and $80 billion over the last two and a half years.”

“Rob Malley deserves extensive scrutiny — yesterday, today and tomorrow,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told reporters recently after news broke that officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) planned and signed off on the massacre committed by Hamas terrorists from Gaza against Israel. “These reports,” he added, “could not be more concerning, and they hint at what could be the worst State Department scandal since Alger Hiss.”

Other former officials told the Daily Caller that Malley and a previous advisor of his, Ariane Tabatabai, who holds a senior, security clearance level job at the Defense Department, are “compromised” and had no place running Washington’s Iran policy. Tabatabai is still employed at the Pentagon where, noted the investigative reporter Lee Smith, “she has been serving as chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, Christopher Maier.”

“Tabatabai’s emails show her enthusiastically submitting to the control of top Iranian officials, who then guided her efforts to propagandize and collect intelligence on U.S. and allied officials in order to advance the interests of the Islamic Republic.”

Smith also wrote:

“The contents of the emails are damning, showing a group of Iranian American academics being recruited by the Iranian regime, meeting together in foreign countries to receive instructions from top regime officials, and pledging their personal loyalty to the regime….”

Most recently, a report delivered to the White House charges that Tabatabai and other members of the IEI were also engaged in a “covert campaign” to smear Iran’s leading opposition group, known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). According to Ivan Sascha Sheehan, an associate dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs:

“By seeking to neutralize favorable impressions of the organization among Washington’s foreign policy elite, Tehran sought to take down an entity capable of aiding Western attempts to curtail the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, malign regional agenda, human rights abuses, and fundamentalist inclinations.”

Tabatabai still has high-level security clearance and access to classified information. The FBI has reportedly “refused to remove her.” So, while Israel fights for its existence, a genocidal Iran is using three of its proxies — Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis in Yemen — Tabatabai, who according to Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), “had the mission of influencing U.S. policymakers to agree with what the Iranian government wanted,” may be sending classified information about planned U.S. and Israeli military moves back to Iran.

A spokesman for the Department of Defense told the Washington Free Beacon, “We are honored to have her serve.” What could possibly go wrong?

Regarding Iran in particular, it would be hard to name someone who has been as relentlessly influential in the left wing’s foreign policy sphere as Malley. A longtime friend of Secretary of State Antony Blinken— they attended the École Jeannine Manuel in Paris together — Malley served under the presidencies of both Bill Clinton and his college friend Barack Obama before being named as President Joe Biden’s official envoy to Iran.

Under Clinton, Malley was a Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs, where he oversaw the Camp David negotiations between Palestine Liberation Organization head Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He sat out the Republican administration of George W. Bush and worked for the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group, where he continued to advocate for radical shifts in foreign policies. In 2008, when Obama ran for president, he tapped Malley, his friend and former Harvard classmate, to serve as his campaign advisor for Middle East foreign policy — until Malley was forced to resign in May 2008, after it was reported that he was in close communication with members of Hamas.

Malley, however, returned again in 2014, first as senior director of the National Security Council, then soon becoming Obama’s Special Assistant for Middle East policy. Sure enough, it was Malley who oversaw Obama’s 2015 “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known colloquially as the “Iran nuclear deal,” over the objections of its regional allies, including Israel.

It was no surprise, therefore, when the incoming Biden administration tapped Malley to be its official envoy to Iran as part of its aborted attempt to resurrect Obama’s Iran deal. It had been rejected at the time by the Senate and was discarded completely by the Trump administration. Now finally, Malley himself is being discarded.

The puzzling thing is that throughout his career, Malley has been so pro-Iran, so pro-Hamas, and so anti-Israel that the wonder is: “Why is this just now becoming news?”

Malley has been consistent in supporting America’s Middle East adversaries throughout his government and think tank service.

Malley’s life story makes it clear enough. His mother was a New Yorker who worked for the Algerian National Liberation Front at the UN; his father Simon Malley was an Egyptian-born member of the communist party and an Arab nationalist who worked in the 1950s for Egypt’s notoriously anti-Semitic President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Simon Malley left Egypt to continue life as a Marxist intellectual in Paris, where his prolific writing championed the same Third World-focused, anti-imperialist, anti-American Marxist worldview that has since consumed many of America’s college campuses. The Malley family would later be expelled from France to the U.S. in 1980 because of Simon’s hostility to French policies
in Africa.

“As his father was logging in an impressive 20-hour interview with Fidel Castro and many more hours with Yasir Arafat, Robert Malley’s childhood was a cosmopolitan, internationalist, and Third Worldist one that exposed him from an early age to a vast world of anti-imperialist passions and revolutionary intrigue,” noted the writer Hussein Aboubakr Mansour in a recent profile of Malley. Mansour is an Egyptian-born former jihadi who later renounced his past and became a supporter of the United States and Israel.

Mansour’s use of the term “cosmopolitan” here hits on a core tenet of New Left ideology, where concern for one’s own country is seen as jingoism, and the welfare of other nations, even those openly hostile to the US, occupies the highest priority.

Young Robert Malley apparently absorbed his father’s politics and hatred of Israel so thoroughly that he was writing anti-Zionist op-eds for the Yale Daily News just a month into his freshman year. Throughout his later career in various political offices or writing for left-wing think tanks, Malley has consistently voiced support for the Iranian regime and for radical foreign policy ideas, along the way amassing an army of critics on the political right, who are now challenging not just his ideas and influence, but even his loyalty to the United States.

With this background, the wonder is that he has come this far. His status as a senior policy expert on Iran, at least within left-wing Democratic Party circles, might strike one as astounding. If we assume the worst conclusion to the ongoing FBI investigation, Malley, while serving as the Biden administration’s emissary to Iran, committed espionage by giving US secret information to the Iranian regime, just as his protégé Tabatabai might still be doing. How was her “top level security clearance” approved and why is she still employed in a senior position at the Pentagon?

If anything, Issa’s conjuring up the ghost of Alger Hiss misses a critical distinction. Hiss was outwardly an American patriot, the son of a privileged background who became a Soviet spy and passed secrets to the KGB, all while appearing to work diligently for the US State Department. Hiss acted as though he were above such suspicions.

Malley, on the other hand, has made no bones about his pro-Tehran leanings, ever. In fact, he has been completely open about it for decades. Which conclusion, I wonder, would be more surprising? That Rob Malley has been passing secrets to the hated Iranian mullahs, or that he has not been?

The path from the clandestine treason of Hiss to the case of Malley indicates a deeper rot in our politics. Both Hiss and Malley were Harvard-educated foreign policy professionals, yet Hiss’s status as a member of the Ivy League elite was used as his strongest defense against the espionage charges leveled against him. In Malley’s case, however, his pro-Iranian sympathy is these days the very epitome of the mindset at schools such as Harvard, thanks to the triumph of the Left’s “long march” through academia.

Malley had no need to hide what he really thought. His stances are interchangeable with any number of left-wing foreign policy intellectuals who are right now teaching students at those same schools. Malley is nothing like the sneaky Hiss. He is far closer to those Ivy League professors currently tweeting gleefully in favor of the terrorist group Hamas, just to cite the most current example.

Following the end of the Cold War, “anti-imperialist” left-wing radicals such as Malley came to terms with and were able to influence liberals with whom they had previously battled. In his recent article, Mansour summed up this metamorphosis:

“In this context, one could see Malley’s conversion to American liberalism, his joining of the bureaucratic ranks of what he once considered ‘American imperialism’ was part of a larger phenomenon in which the Western leftwing anti-imperialist intelligentsia was fragmented between those who formed anti-globalization, anti-war, and environmentalist movements and those who merged with the liberal establishment and shaped its progressive wing. Like Obama himself, they were a new American class of international, urban, highly mobile, and highly credentialed professional intellectuals who came to age in the Edward Said moment. They are both comfortable in the professional corporate world and the activist world and both at home in Western and non-Western countries. They no longer believed in what Foucault propagandized as the spiritual humanism of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, nor in the inevitable world-transforming triumph of Palestinian guerrillas. They no longer believed in the conspiratorial villainy of American imperialism, but neither did they believe in American patriotism. Unlike what hot-headed and ill-tempered American conservative populists say, they do not hate America, and they do not work for America’s enemies, but they are merely ambivalent to what we think America represents.”

Worth noting is that this assessment was written in July before the news about Malley’s involvement and the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s control of the “Iran Experts Initiative” came to light.

It is a wonder Malley ever passed a background check in the first place.


This article was published by The Gatestone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

Arizona’s Tax Regime Improves But Arizona Ranks High In Other Measures Of Freedom thumbnail

Arizona’s Tax Regime Improves But Arizona Ranks High In Other Measures Of Freedom

By Neland Nobel

Arizona has moved up in rankings determined by the Tax Foundation, but still can’t break into the Top 10.

The Tax Foundation just came out with its 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index.

The bad news is that Arizona does not make it into the Top 10.  The good news is Arizona did move substantially up in the ranks and is getting close.

The annual study by the Tax Foundation relates to the “business climate” of individual states relating to their taxing structure.  It looks not only at the level of taxes but the structure of taxes.  Complexity adds to the regulatory burden, that is the additional cost of complying with the tax.

States can vary widely in how they employ the mix of taxes as a source of revenue, such as income taxes, property taxes, corporate taxes, and sales taxes.  Also, many states vary as to the sheer amount of regulatory burden in collecting each of these taxes.  The Tax Foundation ranks all of these taxes individually and then combines them for a final number.

For example, Arizona ranks 9th for personal income taxes, but a low 41st for sales taxes.

Ranking number one overall is Wyoming, which has no state or corporate income tax at all.  Not only is zero a low rate, there is no regulatory burden on a tax that doesn’t exist.

Ranking at the bottom is New Jersey, which has a very high and overly complex tax collection structure.

In the overall ranking of the entire tax structure, here is a list of the Top 10 and the Bottom 10 states relating to taxation.

It is not surprising that the rankings generally follow along the ideological and political lines that you might expect.  More Conservative states rank much higher than Progressive-Liberal states.

Arizona moved up from 19th to 14th but still did not break into the Top 10.

According to the Tax Foundation:

“Arizona transitioned from a two-bracket, graduated-rate individual income tax system with a top rate of 2.98 percent to a flat tax rate of 2.5 percent, becoming one of the 11 states with a flat individual income tax structure. Among those 11 states, Arizona now has the lowest individual income tax rate. This major development helped the state improve seven places on the individual income tax component and five places overall, from 19th to 14th.”

It is worth noting this improvement came under Republican Doug Ducey and barely got done due to slim Republican margins in the legislature.  Elections matter.

Taxes, of course, are not the sole criteria for business climate.  The overall regulatory environment, the quality of the educational system, the cost of energy, the quality and availability of the workforce, the cost of housing, and a general environment of personal liberty, are also considerations in attracting both businesses and individuals.

Note that while geographic climate is a factor, New Hampshire and Wyoming rank very high while California and Hawaii are very low.  Nice weather surely is a plus but not determinative when it comes to business conditions.

Other factors beyond climate are also important and here Arizona does somewhat better. Arizona generally is ranked #2 in school choice behind Florida by the Heritage Foundation. This is leading to improved educational outcomes, less cost to the taxpayer, and an improved workforce.

The Goldwater Institute, however, ranks Arizona #1 in school choice.

Public safety is a factor as well and Arizona  ranks #5 for Second Amendment self-protection rights by Guns&Ammo magazine.  About five years ago, the state was ranked #1 in the nation.

The CATO Institute, a libertarian-oriented think tank just released a study looking at multifarious factors of personal and economic freedom just ranked Arizona # 5 in the nation.

Overall, Arizona is doing pretty well but still could use improvement on the tax front.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Arizona News: November 27, 2023 thumbnail

Arizona News: November 27, 2023

By The Editors

The Prickly Pear will provide current, linked articles about Arizona consistent with our Mission Statement to ‘inform, educate and advocate’. We are an Arizona based website and believe this information should be available to all of our statewide readers.

Patriot Party Fails To Qualify For 2024 Ballot

New Poll Shows Rep. Gallego Most Favorable Among Voters In Senate Race

Think tank: Ducey to thank for Arizona’s 5th ranking in overall freedom

Biden Overregulation a Roadblock to Arizona Economy

Chandler School Board Member Organized Rep. Tlaib Appearance In Support Of Hamas

Judge Orders City Of Phoenix To Pay $221K In Attorney’s Fees Over The Homeless Zone

Rep. Biggs: Capitol Footage ‘Embarrassing’ For Mainstream Media, January 6 Committee

14,300 Illegal Border Crossings In Tucson Sector In One Week

Arizona State Troopers Seize More Than 262 Pounds Of Fentanyl Pills

Numerous fentanyl seizures in Arizona in mid-November, eight suspects arrested

ESA Hearing Highlights Hypocrisy

Horne Takes A Stand Against Antisemitic Materials In Schools

Arizona Chamber writes Biden admin warning about EPA proposal

Mohave County Rejects Ballot Hand Count Policy After AG Threatened Criminal Charges

Mohave County opts not to hand count ballots after legal threat from Mayes

No Matter What, Politicians Keep On Spending More Than We Have


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‘I’d Bet My House On It’: Tucker Warns 2024 Will Be ‘Like Nothing We’ve Ever Seen’ Before thumbnail

‘I’d Bet My House On It’: Tucker Warns 2024 Will Be ‘Like Nothing We’ve Ever Seen’ Before

By Hailey Gomez

Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson stated at a conference that 2024 is going to be “like nothing we’ve ever seen,” referring to the upcoming presidential election and other factors.

Carlson spoke at the Risk On 360! Global Success Conference in Las Vegas and discussed his views on the issues within America both politically and culturally. Carlson began his speech by highlighting how the majority of Americans he knows are “angry and paranoid.” (RELATED: Maggie Haberman Says She Heard It’s A ‘Possibility’ Tucker Carlson Could Be Trump’s VP Selection)

“I flew out here across the country this morning and spent five hours texting people … and I gotta tell you, every single person I texted, with the exception of my wife — who’s not on the internet at all — was angry and paranoid,” Carlson stated.

“Seriously, and these are not crazy people. These are normal good people with like kids and stuff. With a vested interest in Americans’ success. These are not the burn-it-down caucus. These are the, you know, these are the people you want voting.”

Carlson continued to state that after his “assessment” of their views, he believes that they are completely justified in the way they feel, noting that the tension building within America will spill into the next year as the U.S. heads into an intense election season(RELATED: ‘Right Wing Avengers’: Joe Rogan Says Crowd Went ‘Nuts’ Over Trump, Tucker UFC Appearance)

“And I have to say after assessing their views for five hours, I think they were justified in both. They had every reason to be angry and all the evidence required to become paranoid,” Carlson continued. “I’m just telling you once again, what you already know, which is this is going to be — the next year is going to be, I think I’d bet my house on it, really like nothing we’ve ever seen in the country. And everyone can kind of feel that. You know, most of our perceptions come through intuition rather than reason.”

“But if you’re close to your dog, you know, the dog knows exactly what’s going on … they just watch and they feel. And people are very much the same. And if something bad is about to happen, everybody gets jumpy. And everybody’s really jumpy right now,” Carlson stated.

Carlson gave some “suggestions” for the upcoming months, emphasizing the need to be aware of political surroundings, calling out President Joe Biden’s mental state, and highlighting the indictments against former President Donald Trump. Carlson additionally highlighted America’s social issues, including gender ideology.

“Your gut is the one thing that doesn’t lie to you. Your gut only has your interest in mind. It is not trying to sell you a product, or convince you to vote for it,” he said.

If you feel like you’re being lied to, you’re 100 percent right — you are being lied to. And if you feel like something very intense in history is about to happen, don’t ignore it. Don’t panic. There’s no profit in that, you can’t control it — you’re not in charge of history,” Carlson added, highlighting that there is “similar volatility” in politics happening across the world, especially in the West.

“You’ve got two people running for president — one of them is literally senile,” Carlson added, adding that he thinks Biden is “not running” the show at the White House. “Yet he’s standing for reelection at the age of 80.”

Carlson then pivoted to discussing Trump, saying, “Every time he gets indicted and every time they tack years onto this potential sentence, he becomes more popular — and now he’s winning.”

“Nothing that is happening now or that has happened for the last five or six years can be explained through conventional political terms.”

With crime rates rising and inflation, nearly 76 percent of voters believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll. Fifty-two percent of Americans feel that, due to the country’s divide, “America’s best days are now behind us,” according to a PRRI report.


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

Image Credit: YouTube screenshot


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Group Releases Analysis of Pinal County’s 2022 Election, Finds ‘Deliberate Malfeasance,’ Concludes Election Should Not Have Been Certified thumbnail

Group Releases Analysis of Pinal County’s 2022 Election, Finds ‘Deliberate Malfeasance,’ Concludes Election Should Not Have Been Certified

By Rachel Alexander

The CONELRAD Group found “malfeasance, incompetence, and possible criminal activity” in their review of the 2022 election in Pinal County. The team of mostly former intelligence and military officers located primarily in southern Arizona concluded in a new report sent to The Arizona Sun Times on Wednesday, “Evidence was clearly identified that should have led to an immediate halt to certifying the General Election.”

Jack Dona, who holds 43 intelligence and technical certifications and diplomas from civilian colleges, technical schools and military academies, and who served in military intelligence, retiring as a master sergeant/first, summarized his team’s report for The Sun Times.

“It is our opinion that the entire legal system in Arizona may be compromised. From the State Bar attacking the law license of Brian Blehm, to the entire judicial system of Arizona dismissing election integrity cases, this appears to be a coordinated effort to intimidate and block any BOS [board of supervisor] elected official attempting to verify our election system via hand counts, or any election integrity transparency at all,” he said. “All cases being blocked and shut down via ‘lawfare’ in the courts and by county attorneys … All avenues of redress are being shut down.”

The report contained six main findings. It was based on 637 pages of evidence, consisting primarily of transcripts of meetings of the Pinal County supervisors, emails, reports, and articles.

Two of the findings related to Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkner, who appointed the law firm of Coppersmith & Brockelman PLC to analyze the 2022 primary election results. However, that firm also represents Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs, an election fraud denier who has fought attempts to uncover corruption in the elections. It was founded by Sam Coppersmith, who has previously served as chair for the Arizona Democratic Party. The team was concerned about why Volkner chose a firm with conflicts.

The team recommended, “At a minimum, candidates who lost their elections statewide and in Pinal County should subpoena to see the communications records between Katie Hobbs, Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and the firm used by both of them for elections, Coppersmith & Brockelman PLC.”

The team found regarding Volkner, “It appears that the County Attorney’s Office now effectively controls all elections in Pinal County and will fight fiercely, using his interpretations of state and county laws, to ensure there is no verification of the internal workings of these machines by a full hand count.”

The report recommended, “Kent Volkmer in his capacity as Pinal County Attorney should be investigated to the fullest extent allowable under the law.”

The report was skeptical of Volkner stating during a meeting that it would take days or weeks to hand count ballots. The team responded in its report, “Ridiculous comment on face value. Given the correct procedure and personnel with observers, a full hand count could have taken place within 48 to 72 hours. Our ancestors did it successfully on election night 40 years ago.”

A third finding in the report compiled a list of Election Day problems, from “multiple problems with these machines receiving re-programming on election day to multiple poll books not functioning correctly.” The team said the election must be hand-counted to fix this issue, and “source codes and super user or root passwords must be given to independent IT experts for analysis.”

The report included testimony from an election worker who said they were instructed to help tear up Republican ballots that had been double-voted or scanned twice through the tabulators. The election worker admitted no Democratic ballots were ripped up.

“I don’t believe the double ballot issue involved the Democrats because other poll workers assisted me with tearing up mail in ballots but the ballots I tore up were all RED,” the ballot worker said.

The team responded in the report, “This is evidence of nefarious activity. These mistakes always affect GOP Candidates. Why wasn’t this referred to Sheriff Lamb for investigation?”


To read the rest of this story, click here, and go to The Arizona Sun-Times.


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Interesting Charts For Provocative Thoughts thumbnail

Interesting Charts For Provocative Thoughts

By Neland Nobel

We have been told that we have had the hottest summer on record and the forests over the summer were all burning up.  That is what the media tells us.  There seems to be just a slight conflict with the facts.

Technology continues to pull the stock market up, even as other shares dither.  We are now priced in relative terms ( tech stocks to the general market), similar to the Dot-Com bubble peak of 1999-2000.  What could go wrong with this?  Either tech stocks will have to weaken, or the general market will have to surge. How likely is the latter?

This chart from the Manhattan Institute shows that revenue flowing to the Federal Government has been amazingly steady, even over the years of major tax rate changes and economic cycles.  It seems that it is hard to extract more than about 18-20% of GDP, without causing money to seek avoidance.  Given this fairly steady flow of revenue, that goes up automatically as GDP increases, it is clear that the problem of deficits is one of SPENDING simply outrunning the rate of economic growth.  We don’t need and have never needed higher taxes. It is only by addressing spending that deficits will ever be reduced.

Aid per capita to “the Palestinians” far exceeds the aid given to any other country in North Africa or elsewhere.  It raises several questions.  Why after years of aid in excess of what anyone else receives, do they live in such poverty, while their neighbor Israel, prospers?  Secondly, why do the US and the UN give so much aid with no conditions or demands to change behavior or to see that the money is not stolen by corrupt leadership?  How many marching college students know this?  Why don’t they?

When compared to what the US gave to war-torn Europe for recovery under the Marshall Plan:

Dr. Eli David compiled these numbers about the wealth of Palestinian leaders:

Where did the money go?
💰 Yasser Arafat: $3B
💰 Mahmoud Abbas: $2B
💰 Khaled Mashal: $5B
💰 Ismail Haniyeh: $4B
💰 Mousa Abu Marzouk: $3B
💰 Cost of Hamas terror tunnels: $10B

When will the US demand some accountability for the expenditure of these funds?

The media and the Biden Administration promote the idea of some kind of “white nationalist” reign of terror against Black people.  They claim it is the most dangerous domestic security issue. Any white-on-black crime is blown way out of proportion while the pervasive assault on white people by blacks is ignored.  What is the end purpose of distorting reality in such an extreme fashion?

We have been told all this monstrous spending will benefit all of us.  Money will be spent to improve “infrastructure”.  This chart from The Economist shows that with all the deficits, infrastructure spending is not even back to the level seen in the decade before Covid and the need to “build back better.” In fact, the level today is about at the same area as the previous troughs in spending. Tired of getting lied to?

This chart from CFACT shows that while the Biden Administration is chasing down our gas stoves, wants us to eat bugs, and drive exploding EVs, China continues to build a massive amount of coal-fired generating plants.  Now if they really believed what they were saying about coal and global warming, why is China given this kind of a pass on this issue?  Why aren’t our climate justice warrior students gluing themselves in front of the Chinese Embassy?  They don’t seem to ever throw paint on any Chinese art exhibits, either.


Image Credit: Pixabay


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Even Though Unparalleled Deeds Offend Today, Great Men Did Shift History thumbnail

Even Though Unparalleled Deeds Offend Today, Great Men Did Shift History

By Elad Vaida Vaida

Napoleon’s ambition, decisiveness, and drive made him excellently suited to make the most out of the tumult of the revolution.

Antony Beevor’s latest article in The Telegraph discusses Ridley Scott’s upcoming film about Napoleon’s life and laments the fact that heroic figures like Napoleon give weight to the Great Man Theory. Beevor sees the idea that a few significant figures have outsized effects as “unfashionable and offensive.”

It is a shame that someone like Beevor, an excellent writer who has produced many magisterial history books about World War II, wrote such a historically misguided article.

What about Great Women?

One of Beevor’s points is that the Great Man Theory “carries the insulting implication that women cannot be great leaders.” But appreciating Napoleon or Caesar does not exclude recognition of the achievements of female rulers. Maria Theresa of Austria is considered by some to be “the most important ruler of the age of Enlightened Absolutism.” Queen Victoria’s rule defined one of Great Britain’s most vibrant eras. Catherine the Great played a key role in turning the Russian Empire into a great power.

Beevor’s assertion that female rulers are somehow “much less susceptible to the narcissistic narratives so favored by male dictators” appears silly to anyone who’s read a biography of Cleopatra or Catherine de Medici.

To his credit, Beevor recognizes that individuals can have an outsized effect on history. He goes on to say, however, that “individuals alone have not created history. Threats to food or energy supplies have played their part in leading to revolution and war. So have differences over religion and its 20th-century successor, political ideology.”

Great Men Need Great Opportunities

But he is attacking a strawman. Yes, of course, great rulers have never appeared in a vacuum. The French Revolution was key to clearing Napoleon’s path to the throne, as Beevor points out. If Japan had not been mired in the turmoil of the Warring States Period, Tokugawa Ieyasu would not have had the opening to unify Japan and proclaim himself Shogun. Without the centuries of social and economic forces and army reforms of Marius that shaped the Roman Republic’s army into the finest the world had ever seen, even a talented commander like Caesar would not have been able to cover himself in glory.

Recognizing that events can provide opportunities for the great men of history does not detract from their agency and talent. They still had the foresight and strength of character to bend those events according to their vision. Napoleon’s ambition, decisiveness, and drive made him excellently suited to make the most out of the tumult of the revolution.

Yes, Alexander may never have started his conquests were it not for Macedonian society’s strong military ethos, his father’s military reforms, and the Greek world’s abundance of the cornel wood that was necessary for producing the Macedonians’ deadly 16-foot-long sarissa pikes. But it took Alexander’s courage and genius for war to make the fullest use of those factors. He used the opportunities to achieve a legendary, unbroken string of victories that military academies still study today.

Social and economic factors, the people a prince rules, and natural and political disasters all shape history. But great individuals impose order on the chaos and make the best use of the opportunities and resources granted to them. Dough without a baker will never turn to bread on its own.

Denying the agency of great individuals is like belittling the artwork of Mozart or Michelangelo because, without years of training by their teachers, financing by wealthy patrons, and society around them that appreciated their masterpieces, they would have been nothing. Of course, all those factors contributed to their artistic success. That doesn’t detract one particle from the beauty of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” or Michelangelo’s “David.”

Great Men and Reckless Politics

It’s true that, as Beevor says, many politicians love melodramatic comparisons to World War II. They cast themselves as reincarnations of Winston Churchill and foreign dictators as Adolf Hitler. The lazy analogy erases nuance in foreign relations and leads to dangerous decisions. Politicians are naturally given to such grandiloquent statements and thoughtless foreign policy choices. But Beevor fails to show why the Great Man Theory leads to this sad state of affairs.

The most absurd claim in Beevor’s article is his last one. He is upset because he thinks the Great Man Theory “is no longer limited to military conquest. It also extends to those leaders who can, through the force of personality, toxify politics by encouraging and exploiting hatred: the Trumps, the Orbans, the Miloševićs.”

How can Beevor shake his head at politicians who keep seeing a new Hitler behind every foreign tyrant’s military uniform and then seriously go on to compare Trump and Orban to Slobodan Milošević?

It’s also inconsistent to blame populist leaders like Trump and Orban for “fomenting hate.” Leftist leaders have turned hatred and division into an industrial complex. Kamala Harris egged on violent rioters burning down our cities. Joe Biden tarred half of the country as fascists. A Marxist professor threatened a conservative reporter with a machete. Myriad other leftist politicians, professors, actors, woke corporations, and media personalities daily try to turn our country into a giant Tower of Babel by dividing us according to race, sexual orientation, and “gender identity.”

Why Are Great Men So Controversial?

Perhaps the best argument against Beevor and all other detractors of the Great Man Theory is the fact that great men like Napoleon still generate so much controversy. As Beevor wrote, Tolstoy believed that powerful rulers are “history’s [slaves].” Yet Tolstoy still cast Napoleon as the principal monstrous villain of his greatest work, War and Peace. That choice makes no sense if the French emperor was just another cog helplessly moved by historical forces beyond his control.

Napoleon, as some have claimed, “has had more books written about him than any other individual, with the sole exception of Jesus Christ.” Although he lived more than two centuries before our time, the ideals he formulated and enacted through his Napoleonic Code reverberate to this day.

It’s worth noting that not all powerful rulers are good men. Individuals like Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong have also had a great effect on history for the worse, murdering tens of millions of innocents.

And Napoleon is just one triumphant example of how true the Great Man Theory is. One could spend hours discussing great men and their contributions to history. Churchill played a key role in stopping Nazi aggression. America might not exist without George Washington’s inspired leadership. The emperor Constantine’s legalization of Christianity helped speed the new religion onto the global stage.

In the end, detractors can say what they want about the Napoleons and Alexanders of our history books. The achievements of these heroes speak for themselves.


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

Image Credit: YouTube screen shot Sony Pictures Official Trailer


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The Administrative State’s Digital Currency Ruse thumbnail

The Administrative State’s Digital Currency Ruse

By Paul Gottfried

When I read about an executive order issued by the Biden administration last year regarding a plan for digital currency, I naturally suspected something quite dire. Generally speaking, whatever the modern, self-described “liberal democratic” administrative state claims to be doing to help supposedly disadvantaged people is actually intended primarily, if not exclusively, to increase government control. Whenever that regime, moreover, claims to be assisting the lowly, we may safely assume that our freedom and property rights are under assault.

A story that appeared in The New York Times on July 22, 2021, describing a plan to help the “unbanked” engage in financial transactions told the discriminating reader all he needed to know about government-run digital currency. Banks right now throw their services at just about anyone who enters their facilities, save for the most unreliable deadbeats. How many people out there really don’t have the means of filling out a banking application due to some insurmountable difficulty? Possibly a number equal to those who can’t show voter identification but feel excluded from the “democratic process” when their votes for the Democratic Party aren’t certified.

Another clue about the government’s intention in pushing for Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) while cutting back on the use of paper money is that this policy is being introduced “bigly” in China, a country not well-known for its high regard for personal freedom. The Chinese are no longer required to trade in paper yuan but can access electronic allocations of credit, which allow them to buy commodities and engage in business transactions. A similar process would be open to us in this country if central banks on instruction from the government were authorized to issue digital currency. Although we might be told differently, sooner or later it might become feasible to ditch paper currency entirely. We’ll then carry out all financial dealings electronically with government-issued electronic currency and receive electronically issued compensation for our labor. A further benefit of this innovation, or so we’ve been assured, is that it wouldn’t be necessary under the new system to worry about unauthorized digital currency, like Bitcoin. The government and central banks would be making a safer product available to us, which would benefit particularly the “unbanked.” We should also hope that Bitcoin would then vanish as a fake alternative to real, that is, government-guaranteed digital currency.

The problem with this argument is what it fails to reveal. CBDC can expand the market for unauthorized credit because it will drive investors to operate outside the purview of public administration. It is precisely the government’s involvement in digital currency that will cause traders and investors to look for alternative means of issuing credit and even to create makeshift currencies without having the government breathing down their necks.

The government’s intention to control financial markets and investments should be obvious here. Who invests where, how much, and when will depend on obtaining the needed capital from state bureaucrats perhaps under the influence of party functionaries. The attempt to present CBDC as a courtesy the state is extending to grateful citizens is patent nonsense. The government’s digital currency issued through central banks will more likely help concentrate financial activity in the hands of the state. Government officials will then drone on about equity while extending electronic credit to some but not others. This will have the predictable effect of creating clandestine financial activity.

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow of Global Economy and Development Eswar Prasad
(Brookings Institution)

Eswar Prasad, an economist at Cornell University and the author of the best-seller The Future of Money, can hardly be accused of being a right-winger. Prasad is a frequent consultant at Brookings and seems generally in favor of extensive government economic planning. But when it comes to government-run digital currency, he points out its downside even while noting plans for it may reflect the “noble purpose” of “banking inclusion.” Prasad warns that government-issued digital currency will destroy privacy, allow the government to track every transaction individuals make.

A government could make it impossible to spend the digital currency on things that the ruling party deems problematic. The government could also make transacting with certain people difficult or impossible—China already has a social credit system that ranks citizens algorithmically and punishes them in various ways.

Does anyone care to speculate about the political outcomes that CBDCs will likely produce? What will happen to Latin Mass Catholics or to those who protest the sexual transitioning of their children in our present not-very-democratic democracy after the introduction of government-run digital currency? In all probability the government would weaponize digital currency to suppress those who resist its rule and its continuing woke transmutation of America. Given what we’ve already observed of Democratic Party governance since 2021, should we imagine that anything else would happen with this further acquisition of state power? And why would I believe that Republican politicians would prevent that outcome if the GOP were allowed to win the next presidential race? The Republican record of reining in government overreach has been something worse than anemic.

From CNN we learn the following about the eventual widespread use of digital currency:

The rise of CBDCs could potentially threaten the status of the US dollar as the global reserve currency. Different countries will have a much easier time transacting with each other directly, removing the need for the US dollar or SWIFT, a global financial messaging system.

The takeaway here is that the government is considering plans to introduce a digital currency to offset the effects of this possible move by other major countries. But it’s hard to see how government-controlled digital credit would benefit most Americans. Many of our commercial transactions are already conducted through digitally transmitted credit, even without the state overseeing who receives this service. An article in The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 7, 2023 makes clear that “A CBDC Dollar Would Empower the Fed, Not Americans.”

In the end, it may pay to consider the broader context of the government’s actions in the economic sphere to understand how digital currency would advance long-established political goals. Let us consider how the government is presently handling economic tasks. The Biden administration, to its discredit, has already caused an inflationary spiral through reckless spending and irresponsible energy policies. Biden’s Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, clearly lied to us when she assured us that inflation would make more disposable income available to more American families. The removal of American energy independence, moreover, was definitely not a move intended to strengthen our dollar; and the predictable effect of that disaster to weaken our currency by necessitating our begging other countries to sell us their energy at higher and higher prices.

In a carefully researched essay in this issue, our foreign policy editor, Srdja Trifkovic, observes that much of the decline of the American dollar as an international currency resulted from the American government’s decision to restrict the use of American currency, lest too many dollars fall into the hands of hostile foreign powers:

A backlash was both predictable and inevitable. In the five years leading up to 2021, the share of the dollar in central bank reserves fell from 70 percent to 59 percent. Dollars held by non-American banks fell from $7.1 trillion to $6.5 trillion between December 2021 and December 2022. The greenback accounted for two-thirds of the world’s monetary reserves in 2003, 55 percent in 2021, and just 47 percent in 2022. The decline of 8 percentage points in the space of one year is remarkable, equal to 10 times the average annual rate of decline of the dollar’s market share recorded in previous years.

In all these activities it is possible to see how the modern administrative state operates in economic affairs. It presses onward even when its policies fail. It is not deterred by these failures but works to take even more control, in the name of equity, climate change, or in the present case, the unbanked. This critical perspective makes more sense than swallowing bromide about the government seeking to help the disadvantaged by introducing CBDCs. (According to Prasad, slightly less than 5 percent of the American population lacks access to banking.)

We might also consider in this vein Michael Rectenwald’s reference in his book The  Google Archipelago to “governmentalities,” agencies that appear to have an independent existence, but which function as extensions of the administrative state and carry out state functions. The most conspicuous of these governmentalities is the mainstream media, which defines and affirms the woke state religion and which assails any interest that stands athwart the expansion of state power. Central banks are another extension of the central government. Ditto for major corporations, which serve equally the state and state religion, and which receive in return government contracts and the privilege of not being investigated for such grave offenses as allowing employees to misgender or for failing to produce the stipulated LGBT quota in the workplace. Universities and most thinktanks are likewise included among Rectenwald’s “governmentalities,” something that should not surprise anyone who has bothered to notice these entities and who is even minimally sentient. It is also hard to miss the fact that the Brookings Institution, whose associates move in and out of government, has been among the most enthusiastic advocates of CBDCs. 

According to Brookings, CBDCs would facilitate international commerce, reverse de-dollarization, and, contrary to putative misinformation, would not be accompanied by the gradual removal of paper currency. Nor should we in this instance, Brookings assures, fear further government control of financial activity. State actors are there to help us engage in safe transactions during a peaceful transition to a more global economy.

The dethroning of the U.S. dollar will knock down the status of the U.S. government from a seemingly godlike entity, immune from the laws of scarcity and accounting that mere corporations, let alone households, must obey.

Another obvious example of a government agency claiming to be dealing with finance but really punishing enemies and rewarding friends of the ruling class is the IRS. This may be an even more brazen partisan actor than the Federal Reserve because there is nothing clandestine about how our tax collectors harass and shake down opponents of the state party. The Obama administration engaged in this activity uninterruptedly for years with impunity. And I’m still waiting to see if Lois Lerner and other IRS officials—who targeted conservative religious organizations and Republican and libertarian critics, subjecting them to painful audits that revealed only the most minor tax infractions—will be brought to justice. Perhaps we shouldn’t count on that happening. Lerner and her associates were doing the bidding of the state party, which treats financial activities as one more means of extending its power.

We may note with satisfaction that some presidential candidates namely, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Robert Kennedy, Jr. have expressed their opposition to government-controlled digital currency. All of them view it quite properly as a tool for allowing the federal government to restrict financial activity, to gather information on our spending, and to deny financial resources to those who displease the state party and its minions. Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has gone even further in opposing this plan which is already in the works. Emmer is sponsoring a bill that would deny the Federal Reserve the right to produce or manage digital currencies. According to Emmer, this “simple” legislation “stops the administrative state under President Biden from introducing a financial surveillance tool that could undermine the very essence of the American way of life.”

On May 12, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that forbids CBDCs in his state. The explanation accompanying this signing is that the governor and state legislature oppose any attempt by the federal government to oversee our use of money. Let us hope that other governors will follow this worthy example. By now it should be clear that this innovation has sinister motives behind it and is one more effort to increase government control over our lives. Any attempt to present CBDCs as a mere convenience or as an act of generosity toward the unbanked diverts our attention from this obvious danger.


This article was published by Chronicles and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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WHO’s Edict Caused the Lockdown Disaster

By Bill Rice

Jeffrey Tucker of Brownstone Institute has identified the key WHO “edict” that led to four years of Covid madness.
In an essay for the Epoch Times, Tucker notes that draconian lockdowns were imposed on  virtually all people of the world after the World Health Organization showered praise on Chinese officials for ordering lockdowns to “interrupt virus spread.

The predicate accepted by all key public health and government officials  – that lockdowns slow or stop virus spread and thus prevent Covid deaths – was never challenged and was indeed embraced as “settled science” (although public health officials had never before locked down billions of people at the same time.)

In a nutshell, the “China solution” to fighting Covid became THE solution every nation must … and did implement.

To me, a key alleged “fact” is that China (a nation of one billion people) recorded very few “Covid deaths” after it ordered its citizens to stay inside their apartments. Thus, if every other nation wanted to avoid massive numbers of Covid deaths, they should emulate China.

By now, every sane person should know the horrific consequences this edict produced. I believe I’m one of the few commentators who notes the entire scientific premise would be bogus and moot if, in fact, this “novel” virus had already been spreading for months before these lockdowns.

I’ll come back to the nonsensical or never-considered points of illogic later, but first I’ll reprint a few of Jeffrey’s excellent points. Writes Tucker (emphasis added):

Jeffrey Tucker’s Excellent Points …

“Three years ago, our social, economic, political, and cultural institutions were shattered by a central decreeThe key edict came from the World Health Organization (WHO). The date was Jan. 30, 2020. The WHO was thrilled with how China was responding to the virus by shattering the lives of its citizens. It told the entire world of the CCP’s miracle cure!

“The WHO, said an official communique, believes that it is still possible to interrupt virus spread, provided that countries put in place strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and treat cases, trace contacts, and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk.”

“The entire world, wrote the WHO, should embrace a “spirit of support and appreciation for China … and the actions China has taken on the front lines of this outbreak, with transparency, and, it is to be hoped, with success.” Cheers to China, said the WHO, because it is “setting a new standard.

“And so the CCP welded doors of apartments shut and an entire city was turned into a prison in the name of virus control. Suicides and despair followed, along with population-wide terror. A month later, the government proclaimed that it had beat the virus.

“The WHO was thrilled, and so it set up a special junket for health officials from the United States, Europe, and the UK. This took place Feb. 16–24, 2020. The chartered flight to see the glories of the CCP miracle included Anthony Fauci’s deputy assistant. The report came in with nothing but rave reviews.

“At the individual level, the Chinese people have reacted to this outbreak with courage and conviction. They have accepted and adhered to the starkest of containment measures — whether the suspension of public gatherings, the month-long ‘stay at home’ advisories or prohibitions on travel.”

Report Became an ‘Instruction Manual for the Entire World’ …

“This one report should have been enough to discredit the WHO forever, and prompt its instant abolition. Instead, the report issued on Feb. 24, 2020, became an instruction manual for the entire world, including the United States. Three days later, the New York Times was calling for nationwide lockdowns. Two weeks later, the Trump administration ordered that “public and private venues where people gather should be closed.”

“We know the rest of the tragedy …Businesses, schools, churches, families, and communities were wrecked, and not just for two weeks but for a year or two or more. Looking back the goal was always to buy time to get the entire population pumped with mRNA shots delivered through lipid nanoparticles. Governments around the world used all their power to make it so.


Above, Tucker presents the salient points or global “takeaways” from The Great China Example. China did nip this virus in the bud. If your nation wanted to do the same thing, it would do what China did and what the WHO recommended with its authoritative “edict” (a decree corroborated by the WHO-appointed Cracker-Jack team of “observers.”)

These (Tiny) Death Figures are very Important

According to a CNN article from January 24th, 2020, China had reported only approximately 50 “Covid deaths” by this date. When President Trump ordered a ban on travel from China on January 31st, his proclamation states that “more than 200” Chinese had (allegedly) died by the end of January.

Forget those videos of people falling dead on the streets of Wuhan; China – per China officials – had recorded hardly any Covid deaths by the end of January. And, presumably, a big spike of deaths hadn’t commenced when the WHO delegation arrived in China in late February to see what was happening for themselves.

The conclusion that framed the narrative that turned the world upside down might be expressed thusly:  “Virtually no Covid deaths in China = every nation should impose draconian lockdowns just like China did.”

I’m Bill Rice … Of Course I’m Going to Get into Early Spread …

Implied – or accepted – in all public health edicts is the “settled science” that this virus definitely originated in Wuhan. But WHEN did the virus really begin to “spread” in China?

Even China’s officials seem to be saying they’d detected the virus early enough and thus were able to prevent the vast majority of its citizens from contracting said novel virus. This, presumably, is the reason so few Chinese died “from Covid.”

According to my research, at least three scenarios attempt to date the initial cases of Covid in China. These are:

The First Cases were People Infected at a “Live Market” in Wuhan in Mid-December, 2019

When calculating “Covid deaths,” one needs to consider the period of time between initial infection and later Covid death. According to multiple studies, on average, people who later died from Covid were infected 21 days before their death.

As the entire premise of the lockdown strategy is that China’s measures prevented Covid deaths, I’ll use this figure to examine the people who did and, more significantly, didn’t die from Covid more than 21 days after the virus allegedly began to spread in this country/city.

If only 200 Chinese citizens had died from Covid by the end of January 2020, spread that began in mid-December at the live market hadn’t spread that far and certainly (if we believe Chinese death figures) hadn’t killed many people.

If this novel virus was super-contagious and super-lethal, in a nation of one billion people, one would have expected to see more than 200 deaths 45 or so days after spread commenced.

It should also be noted that China had NOT ordered lockdowns after the first possible cases were identified at the live market, so for at least a couple of weeks, the virus was able to spread without the resistance of draconian lockdowns.

In a cramped city of more than 11 million people, this would have given this contagious virus a big head start.

Or the Virus really Began to Spread in November

While mid-December was the presumed start date of the virus spread for more than a year, later reports said, “No. The virus probably escaped from a Wuhan lab in November.” This revised timeline is based on articles – published by the Wall Street Journal – that three scientists who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November that they had to be hospitalized with presumed Covid. (The source for this key anecdote is “US intelligence.”)

The public has never learned when in November these scientists allegedly became sick. It could have been November 1st or November 30th. If one picks the mid-point of November 15, one could say that by the last day of January, the virus had been infecting people in this city for 77 days.

Still, with at least an extra month’s head start, the virus had still just produced 50 to 200 (alleged) fatalities.

Or Maybe the Virus was Really Spreading in Wuhan in October or September 2019

Plenty of contrarians have postulated that the virus was infecting many people in Wuhan by mid-to-late October when the city hosted The World Military Games.

It seems to be beyond dispute that large numbers of athletes and visitors from many countries became sick with ILI (or COVID) symptoms while at these Games.

If these people became sick from Covid, the virus must have been spreading in this city before these delegations arrived. If one believes an outbreak of “early Covid” made these visitors sick, it seems to me the virus would have been spreading weeks before their arrival, which would date “virus origins” in Wuhan to September 2019.

If Wuhan citizens were already sick with Covid in Wuhan on, say, October 1, the virus had a head start of 120 days before the end of January 2020. Surely, far more than 200 people would have died from this lethal and super-contagious virus by the end of January if virus spread really commenced in early October.

Quick Summary

One can pick his preferred “virus birthday.” But even with the latest arriving birthdate (mid-December), the virus had already been spreading in Wuhan for weeks or months before China decided to nip virus spread in the bud with its extreme lockdowns.

I also think this (common-sense) point is important: If an extremely contagious novel virus was spreading unchecked in Wuhan … it wouldn’t have remained in Wuhan. One assumes that perhaps millions of people had traveled to and from Wuhan in the weeks between Oct. 1, 2019 and mid-December 2019.

My takeaway is that whatever virus birthday we believe is accurate, the virus would have spread all around the world by the end of December 2019 (if not October 2019).

Now Let’s Look at America’s Virus-Mitigation Response and the Birthday of Covid in our Country

One of President Trump’s points-of-pride regarding his actions to stop spread and protect American citizens is that, via an executive order, he banned Chinese citizens from traveling to America on January 31, 2020.

If one believes this virus was primarily restricted to Chinese citizens, this order arguably makes sense and was warranted by “facts” known to President Trump at the time.

However, as the paragraphs above should make clear, even if the virus had originated in China in December, November or October 2019, by January 31st, travelers who’d left China would have already probably engaged in billions of “close contacts” with millions of people back in their native countries.

That is, if one believes “case zero” in China was in mid-December or mid-November, the only travel ban that might have kept Americans from contracting this virus would be one implemented a couple of days after “case zero” was infected.

President Trump’s travel ban on Chinese citizens was actually controversial (in some circles, it was deemed an unnecessary overreaction). Still, it seems to me the CDC should have supported this travel ban and probably did as the CDC, like Trump (and like every other public health expert) clearly believed it was not too late to “interrupt” the virus spread from China.

As I’ve written ad nauseam, the CDC believed (and perhaps still believes) that the first cases of “community spread” in America didn’t occur until “latter January 2020.

According to CDC experts, “late spread” (which occurred outside the typical cold and flu virus season) is what really happened with this virus in America. However, Americans were in luck, as virus spread could be slowed or stopped if the public simply listened to public health officials and locked down for at least 15 days.

Lockdowns – the “narrative” quickly became – would keep hospitals from being overrun and would prevent perhaps millions of deaths.

But the Narrative Didn’t Pass any Logic Test …

However, the narrative that we could prevent “millions of deaths” should have been considered ridiculous …. even by February 2020.

By February 2020, it was believed/understood that the virus had begun to spread in Wuhan around mid-December at the latest. Still, by February 1, only 200 Chinese had (reportedly) died “from Covid.” And probably 90 percent of the people who died had already reached or exceeded normal life expectancy and many suffered from serious comorbid conditions.

Why Didn’t these WHO Experts Pick Up on this?

The death risk from Covid for healthy Chinese under the age of, say, 60, was minuscule. Officials had to know this by the end of February 2020. For example, members of the WHO delegation must have looked at the medical charts of a few Covid patients and noted the ages and comorbid conditions of the “Covid” decedents. (Or maybe they didn’t do this …. in which case, what good is an official delegation of experts from the WHO?)

By mid-February, public health officials (including those with the WHO delegation) should have also known the average span from infection to death is approximately 21 days.

It seems to me at least a few public health officials should have asked: “If this contagious and deadly virus began spreading in China in mid-December, where are the large number of Covid deaths?”

Did China officials somehow conceal tens or hundreds of thousands of “Covid deaths” from the WHO? Why didn’t America’s “intelligence” analysts pick up on tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of extra funerals or cremations that were now occurring in China?

All that Matters is the Lockdowns were Deemed Necessary …

As Jeffrey Tucker notes, all that really matters is that, almost overnight, the public health community decided in unison that lockdowns were the only thing that was going to save millions of world inhabitants. China had prevented X thousands of deaths by locking down.

That is, it never occurred to any of America’s trusted public health officials that the virus might have escaped China’s borders and reached America at some point in 2019.

If nothing else, our trusted public health officials must be obtuse to have never considered the possibility this virus was already spreading (widely) in America at least by December. “Evidence” of this was almost literally “everywhere” (Here’s one summary of this evidence and here’s another possible clue) … if officials had just done some cursory “investigations,” which they could have done before ordering the lockdowns of March 15.

President Trump Signs on to Lockdowns …

At some point, President Trump’s advisors convinced him that the country should lockdown for at least 15 days. As we all know, “15 days to slow spread” (“or flatten the curve”) became, in some states, 365 days to slow the spread.

If he was once skeptical of the pronouncements of his medical advisors, President Trump quickly came around to their point of view.

For example, here’s a quote from an April 22, New York Times article where President Trump urges more patience regarding the duration of the lockdowns.

“President Trump on Wednesday criticized the decision of a political ally, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, to allow many businesses to reopen this week, saying the move was premature given the number of coronavirus cases in the state.

“I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing,” Mr. Trump said at a White House briefing. “I think it’s too soon.”

“I love those people that use all of those things — the spas, the beauty parlors, barbershops, tattoo parlors,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “I love them. But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit — not much, because safety has to predominate.”

These 4 Words Trouble Me …

The last four words of this quote define the authorized narrative of this world-changing period of time. These words also scare the living daylights out of “freedom” proponents like myself.

According to President Trump – “safety has to predominate.

That is, President Trump believed (and perhaps still believes) that “safety has to predominate” but, more importantly, he apparently believes that draconian lockdowns are/were the only thing that provided the public this “safety.”

In other words, he swallowed the WHO guidance – hook, line, and sinker.

I don’t want to pick on President Trump too harshly. In some respects, I give him a pass because he’s not an epidemiologist. He was simply acting on the advice and counsel of what he thought were the greatest minds in American public health.

I have no doubt his advisors told him if he didn’t order lockdowns millions of Americans might die from this virus … and those deaths were going to be on his conscience. Such a massive spike of (believed deaths) occurring under his watch would also no doubt sink his re-election hopes.

The great irony is that the lockdowns President Trump signed off on (and then extended) probably ensured the election of “Joe Biden” via the mechanism of voter fraud, voter fraud largely enabled by the necessity of widespread mail-in ballots … which were themselves a virus-mitigation measure.

The reason President Trump’s quote troubles me is that it accepts as gospel, that for any president, “safety has to predominate.”

To me, this thinking represents the “Nanny State” view of government and should frighten anyone who believes in the rights of individuals to make their own decisions regarding their personal safety.

After the WHO edict, it became widely accepted that the State was in charge of everyone’s safety and could do whatever it wanted to “ensure” this alleged result (a result many skeptics believe actually guaranteed that more people would be harmed).

Our Lockdowns weren’t as Draconian as China’s Lockdowns …

It’s true America’s version of the lockdowns weren’t as draconian as China’s version.

For example, in America, officials did not weld apartment doors shut. Only half the population was told to stay in their houses or apartments, not 100 percent.

Early on in the official pandemic, almost every American was forced to wear a mask when they ventured out to the pharmacy or grocery store (about the only places we were allowed to visit).

(In one infamous example, lifeguards paddled into the ocean to cite a kayaker who was happily paddling sans mask).

But Did the Lockdowns Work as Advertised in America?

No, they didn’t. The reason President Trump publicly (if gently) scolded the governor of Georgia for discontinuing lockdown policies too early is probably because by that date (April 22) President Trump was reading and watching accounts of the staggering number of deaths that were happening in New York City in April.

However, this massive spike in deaths in New York City should have activated the brain synapses of any official capable of critical thinking.

How could there be a massive spike in deaths in New York City in April and May if lockdowns had been ordered in that city in mid-March?

Again, the knowledge that it takes 21 days for someone to die from Covid should have proven the math didn’t add up.

Most (or many) of these New York residents had clearly contracted Covid after the lockdowns were implemented.

Since approximately half of these residents weren’t leaving their apartments (except to go to the grocery store and even there they were socially distancing) … and since there were no public events they could attend …. and since everyone was wearing masks (which supposedly prevent spread) … how did so many New Yorkers contract the virus in the first place?

Furthermore, as censored mortality data later revealed, the vast majority of deaths occurred in senior citizens who interacted with far fewer people than younger people. Many of the people getting Covid – and then dying from it 21 days later – were the people being the most diligent with their precautions.

If it only takes 21 days to contract and then die from Covid, why did all the Covid deaths explode after the lockdowns that were designed to prevent deaths?

Again, we come back to the iron-clad truth that President Trump and his advisors obviously thought was “settled science.” The virus was simply not spreading or infecting hardly anyone in America – until around the second week of March … when, suddenly, millions of people started becoming infected – including millions of people whose only “close contacts” were at home with family members while binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

Here’s another question our public health officials never asked: Why did a densely-populated huge city like Wuhan not experience a massive spike of deaths like what happened in another densely-populated huge city (New York)?

Surely, virus experts thought the virus spread in Wuhan began much earlier than it did in New York. And Wuhan didn’t lock down for weeks (or probably months) after this contagious virus started doing what contagious viruses do. Despite this, only 200 (very old) people died. Surely most Wuhan citizens had had 21 days to contract the virus and then die from it … but very few did succumb to the virus.

But, for some reason in New York City, they did. 

New York City had 135 Times More Covid Deaths than Wuhan

As Jessica Hockett and her writing colleagues have pointed out, 27,000 (alleged) “excess deaths” occurred in New York City in an 11-week period starting from roughly mid-March (the lockdowns) through the end of May. (The vast majority of extra deaths happened in April and May, well after the lockdowns).

The number of “extra deaths” in New York City (most presumed to be from Covid) was 135 times greater than the number of deaths attributed to Covid in Wuhan by the end of January (27,000 extra New York City deaths/200 Wuhan “Covid deaths”).

Even if one assumes China officials somehow managed to conceal thousands of Covid deaths, the New York virus was still (apparently) far more contagious and lethal than the same virus was in Wuhan.

A Few Officials Should Have at Least Asked these Two Questions:

Shouldn’t Wuhan have experienced far more deaths by January 30?

Or: Shouldn’t New York City have experienced far fewer Covid deaths, especially since half the city locked down by mid-March? (And the other half was taking extreme precautions by then).

These questions, if asked, might have led to this unasked question:

Is it possible all these deaths in New York City really weren’t “from Covid?”

If a few people answered this question with “Yes, that seems entirely possible,” the next question would be even more awkward:

What did cause all or many of these “extra” deaths?

The answers to these questions might be seismic and certainly couldn’t be asked on social media or by the MSM. Maybe other factors explain those deaths (or as Jessica’s hypothesis suggests, maybe all of these “extra” deaths didn’t really happen in the time span we were told they happened).

Maybe the accepted wisdom that “safety must predominate” … actually made many people less safe?


As Jeffrey Tucker’s article makes clear, the key event that ensured the world would be locked down was the WHO’s endorsement of China’s lockdown policies.

As I hope my article makes clear, the lockdowns in China happened far too late to prevent global spread.

If it takes only 21 days for someone to get infected and then die from Covid, the world should have seen a massive spike in deaths by at least some point in January 2020 … in China where spread, allegedly, started.

Instead of the narrative becoming “Lockdowns save millions of lives” perhaps the narrative should have been “This novel new virus isn’t that lethal at all.”

The WHO’s rousing endorsement of the “China model” of lockdowns should have been considered “junk science” before the governments of the world pulled the trigger on these “virus-mitigation” mandates, civil-liberty-eviscerating dictates which also caused a public health disaster for the people of the world.


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

Image Credit: Wikiemedia Commons


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Will Seasonal Strength Become a New Bull Market?

By Neland Nobel

Our last market commentary noted that the stock market was very oversold, both in momentum and particularly in sentiment. As we moved to the end of October, we entered a period where “seasonal” strength is typical.  The combination of “oversold” and seasonal strength prodded us to become more bullish on the market, at least for the next few months.

We thought downward pressure might continue into the first week or so in November, but the market had other ideas and began a strong rally almost starting from the turn in the monthly calendar.  The S&P has jumped almost 12% and other indices are moving as well, including the long-neglected small caps.  We have had a good year in the last month.

The market generated some very strong but arcane technical signals, particularly what are known as “breadth thrusts”.  These are days where advancing issues overwhelm declining issues, with good volume.  While there are particular definitions for different types of thrusts, one in particular (The Zweig breadth thrust) seemed to get the most attention.

It historically has had a good reputation.  It was named for Martin Zweig, an innovative technician who was for younger readers, a frequent guest with Lewis Rukeyser on the PBS show “Wall Street Week.”

Without getting deep in the technical weeds, the importance of these signals, if you believe them, is that they signal more than a rally.  They signal a change in overall direction, from the bear phase into the bull phase.  In short, these signals suggest that strength will be much greater and much more enduring, than a rally for several months.

From a tactical perspective, we suggested the market was going higher.  For the next month or two, we still believe that will be the case.  But has the market changed phase into a bull market that will advance for a year or two?

The honest answer is we simply don’t know.  The prospect of recession and a bizarre year of politics still lies ahead which complicates matters considerably.  The market never really fell to areas of undervaluation and constant governmental interference is playing havoc with traditional signals.  It may be that reliable signals have been going haywire because of massive governmental interference.  If so, how is one to know which should be relied upon and which have been short-circuited?

To give you a sense of just how immense government stimulus has become, see the chart below from the Heritage Foundation.  Some of this money is still unspent.

The spending spree is beyond any historical comparison and likely has played a role in delaying a recession, even as quite a number of recession signals have been flashing for months.   Remember government spending is counted as GDP. It may well be playing a role in making once-reliable indicators, less reliable or at least, more delayed.

Another concern is that the market has surged so strongly coming out of the gate in early November, that it is now getting back into overbought territory as it relates to momentum and sentiment.  As for the latter, the CNN Fear and Greed gauge hit several lows at or below 20 during October and registered 22 as late as October 27, just before the big rally started.  Now, it has soared in the space of a few weeks all the way back to 67, which is back to “greed”, but not “extreme greed” in their terminology.  If we get over 75, it signals “extreme greed”, which is a reading worthy of caution.

Just from an anecdotal standpoint, the number of pundits and articles suggesting the FED has achieved a “soft landing”, and that inflation has been conquered and that interest rates will be falling is very lopsided.  Not surprisingly,  this chart courtesy of Wall Street Silver and Bloomberg, shows once everyone believes in a “soft landing”, the economy promptly goes into recession.  This tends to confirm the “theory of contrary opinion”.  Recall, that as applied to markets,  it is not that the opinion is necessarily wrong, it is that when it is pervasive and widely accepted, then that opinion has already been incorporated into the price structure.  The modification here is that when nobody expects a recession, the more vulnerable the economy is to recession.  Why prepare for something with such a low probability of happening?

From the perspective of momentum, you can see by the price chart that many momentum indicators have also swung from oversold to overbought in a very quick fashion.  That is not helpful either, even though we must give some weight to all the breadth thrusts the market has registered.

In short, it would be healthier for the market if the rally had been a bit more subdued and tentative, rather than having such a dramatic shift in both opinion and market momentum.  As you can see in the red rectangles, our standard indicators of momentum are back in the frothy range.  The moving average conditions remain favorable for the market.

We certainly think investors should now allocate more to stocks than was the case in September-October.  That indeed turned out to be a good time frame to be a buyer.  But does the preponderance of evidence justify a wholesale retooling of the portfolio for a multi-year bull market?

We would say NO, at this time, but our mind is open to seeing more evidence.  We still think a recession is not only likely but there is considerable evidence it may have already started.

Yes, a recession will allow for a drop in interest rates and moderation of inflation, which is bullish for stocks.  However, the decline in earnings and the defaults inherent in recession, are not.  The initial decline in rates should support the market and the bond market as well, but the later effects of the recession could be damaging.  This suggests more of a multi-month rally than a multiyear bull market.

In addition to the possibility of falling earnings, we still think some kind of “credit event” is likely, due to the excessive use of debt while money was virtually free.  Two disturbing stories have surfaced recently.  One is the US banks sit on $650 billion in unrealized losses on their bond portfolios (bonds go down when rates go up).  The second is that while US banks are clearly under pressure, the FDIC has scandal-level excursions into alcohol and sexual misconduct to be investigated.  It is discomforting to know that at this time of crisis, our banks are being supervised by a frat house.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, and anything we say is generalized advice anyway.  Consulting with your own financial advisor (if you have one) is warranted and a good year-end review of where you are should be undertaken.

Bottom line, we think a modest shift in portfolio allocation is warranted, but the evidence remains too murky and conflicted to make drastic portfolio changes.


The chart of stock action is courtesy of and is drawn by the author.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Harvard And Hamas thumbnail

Harvard And Hamas

By Conlan Salgado

Our political class likes euphemisms. One of its favorites is “democracy”; democracy sounds better than “a systemic agenda of censorship, economic irresponsibility, increasing surrender of foreign interests abroad, an almost totally open policy on the border, inability to control crime and drug waves, and a recruiting and morale crisis in our armed forces which hasn’t been witnessed in over a decade.” Of course, concision may have something to do with word choice, but in reflecting on our ruling class’ fondness for sleight-of-mouth, and on the fact that I’m to graduate in less than a year and am looking for a career, I thought I’d try to come up with a few of my own. How ‘bout HarvardAndHamas? Like it? Me too. It’s easier than saying “transnational collaboration between institutions to destroy Western Civilization.”

It also allows us to sum up the absurdity of Leftist inter-sectionalism. Inter-sectionalism is the idea that all oppressed identities are idioms of the same meta-identity, some sort of neo-Marxist, Neo-Platonic proletariat. The proletariat, in this meta-sense, is not simply the economically oppressed; for the New Left, there are gender proletariats, race proletariats, physical disability proletariats, and the list goes on. If you are oppressed, you are a proletariat of some sort, and therefore have a common interest in the cause of all other proletariats.

Which brings me back to “Free Palestine.” I live in Chicago (it is an activity which is rarer and rarer in that city), and every two weeks, thousands of people gather and chant genocide to the Jews (“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”). A good chunk of the crowd are young men; then there are the families, the people who turn out because they have relatives in Gaza or those who are simply loyal to the Gazans because of shared religion or ethnicity (yes, this sort of loyalty is stupid, but it is very common). Then there’s the rest of the Leftist coalition, the LGBTQ oddities, for example, who are happy to show up and support their fellow proletariats. Incidentally, about a week ago, a gay Palestinian was beheaded in the West Bank. But not by the Jews. At least he was killed by his fellow Proletariat.

Oh, no? That was the wrong thing to say? Well, I’m sorry, but I think it’s incredibly hilarious how the same Left which says we ought to discard the Constitution and Declaration because they were written by slave owners, is now weeping over a letter penned by Osama bin Laden and actively advocating the importation of a culture which is anti-women, anti-LGBTQ, anti-individual rights, anti-individual expression, and anti-separation of Church and State (yea, that would be what Sharia means).

What we can take comfort in is that, because of the instability, the in-fighting, and in-hatreds of the Leftist inter-sectional coalition, the Left is doomed to failure.

What we cannot take comfort in is that the Left’s failure may be ultimate, but not immediate. In case you want to imagine what I mean by that, consider: the Nazis ultimately failed. They also conducted one of the greatest mass murder schemes in History before they did.

But perhaps my euphemism is too long. Perhaps I need only one of the words. Perhaps Harvard is a euphemism for Hamas, or vice versa. Have I gone too far? I don’t think so. College students are more capable of spreading their beliefs through violence and/or intimidation than through careful thought or argumentation. This is partly what I mean. To me, in some sense, Harvard is a euphemism for the intellectual structure of Leftism, and Hamas is a euphemism for what Leftist activism will eventually degenerate into: a bloody war against those they hate and disagree with. Even now, Leftists are becoming more violent in the streets, on marches, and attending activist events. The Hamasification of the Left, in its activist mode, is beginning.

For years, Harvard (in its euphemistic sense) has been refining the Neo-Marxian leftist framework. The idea of a meta-proletariat, for example, was an invention over time of the feminists, the gender theorists, the sociologists, the psychologists, the political philosophers, the artists—all those who have made their home at Harvard and similar institutions. This idea of a meta-proletariat laid the basis for the giant, increasingly violent, tenuous enterprise known as inter-sectional activism.

Let me draw one more distinction: the students at Harvard are much more part of the Hamas sect than the Harvard sect, in the euphemistic senses I have established above. How can this be? Because American youth have been raised exclusively in the activist mode, or at least modes that encourage non-rational ways of presenting one’s own beliefs. Technology, for example, has had some effect (I imagine) on the rise of slogans as a replacement for arguments. After all, slogans are easier to tweet than arguments. They are easier to understand, and more importantly, they can be shouted and screamed in a way that nuanced arguments cannot, because arguments are not made to be screamed and shouted, they are meant to be explained. They take time. They are not part of the activist mode.

One way (or maybe the only way, I don’t know) in which humans are rational is that we give reasons for our beliefs. When we give reasons for our beliefs, we not only acknowledge our own humanity, we acknowledge the humanity of the person we give reasons to; we admit that, as a fellow rational being, another human has the right to ask a reason for why we believe this or that. The less rational one is, the less likely one is to give reasons for one’s belief. Ironically, the less rational one becomes about one’s beliefs, the more one looks at others as being irrational for their beliefs. Or, put another way, you are less likely to see others as rational, and therefore deserving of a reason for your actions/beliefs.

Case in point: when somebody starts screaming at you, they are dehumanizing you. When we in society ask for reasons, and they scream slogans, they are dehumanizing both us and themselves. The less one reasons, the more one screams, the more irrationality becomes the basis for one’s entire worldview. This is the Activist Leftist in 2023: he cannot give reasons for his belief. The very premise of his worldview is non-rationality.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Jordan Peterson: Marxist ‘Oppressor-Oppressed’ Narrative Brainwashed American Youth

By Catherine Salgado

“[P]eople have bought this idiot meta-Marxism which is that the way to look at every social relationship that people ever have is through the lens of power.” Dr. Jordan Peterson had a brilliant response to a skeptical Bill Maher, who is wrong most of the time, on the issue of young and not-so-young Americans alike cheering “Palestine” when such a nation has never existed and the “Palestinians” have waged decades of brutal jihad on Israel.

The Arabs (who actually were given their own state in the area: Jordan) have always refused peace with Israel in favor of waging jihad to destroy the Jewish State completely, and the heinous Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israelis—cheered by a shocking number of Westerners, especially college students—were sadly just a particularly egregious sample of the constant terrorism against Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where the majority of civilians supported jihad against Israel.

Below is the transcript of Peterson’s hard-hitting comments (you can watch the clipon Twitter/X). Notice how none of the congressmen to whom Peterson talked, nor leftist presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., were willing to define how far is “too far” when it comes to the radical left. Notice also the fact that virtue, for leftists, is purely surface—it consists in having the “correct opinions” or verbally supporting certain groups, even if the rest of a person’s life is completely corrupt and self-indulgent. I would even go a step further than Peterson and say this pernicious Marxist ideology is being taught in most schools, from elementary school on up, in the United States:

“Part of the reason that you see all this foolishness on university campuses, too, is because people have bought this idiot meta-Marxism which is that the way to look at every social relationship that people ever have is through the lens of power.

And that is—we could put that squarely at the feet of the universities…you know, ‘marriage is a patriarchal institution, and business is nothing but oppression, and you have to view every single situation that emerged historically as oppressor versus oppressed’. And then once you get that [ideology], which you can get in about two minutes if you sit in a course that teaches that sort of thing, you have a lens to moralize about the whole world through. And then, you see, the situation is that the leftists have already decided the Palestinians are the victims, and, as you pointed out” [turning to the woman beside him] “if you’re a victim then you’re morally righteous, and even more conveniently, if you stand for the victim, then you’re morally righteous regardless of what you do with your own life. And that’s pretty much what university students are taught from the time they enter the university classroom, and that’s how they, you know, orient themselves morally. And that’s at the hands of the radical left, too, Bill.

And one of the things that the Democrats also have to pay the price for, I would say, is their absolute refusal to draw a line between the modern Democrats and the extremists…Look, I’ve talked to 40 senators and congressmen in the last five years, I asked them all the same question—including RFK, he wouldn’t answer either—‘when does the left go too far?’ Well, we certainly bloody well saw it in the last month, didn’t we? Because they got the oppressor-oppressed narrative a little mucked up…the consequences of that are going to unfold pretty brutally over the next few months.”

My brother, who attends a leftist university, recently assessed his fellow students’ Palestinian craze in the same way as Peterson did, by noting that the pro-terrorist nonsense has nothing to do with real compassion or evidence of suffering, but purely with the fact that students are told Palestinians are victims. They are trained to be triggered by certain words, and whenever the words are used, they immediately go off half-cock in a frenzy of self-righteous and uninformed zeal.

Israel, a small Jewish state surrounded by larger Muslim states, and always offering a peace that is not accepted, is the victim. The so-called “Palestinians” are the aggressors. Unfortunately, until we address the Marxism that has taken over our school system in America, we will never be able to address the issue of dangerous anti-Semitic hatred that burst forth in such fury last month.

A nice visual of how small Israel is in comparison to the many Muslim nations surrounding it, from Jewish Press, 2014


Image Credit: YouTube screenshot Peterson on Maher


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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The Epitome of Privilege, Inequality, Racism, and Injustice

By Craig J. Cantoni

A review of The Sister, by Sung-Yoon Lee, 2023, Hachette Book Group, New York, 289 pages.

The Sister is a book about privilege, inequality, racism, and injustice.

Sorry to disappoint American wokesters, but it’s not about the United States or White people. It’s about North Korea, a nation that, by comparison, makes America’s racial, economic, and political problems look as insignificant as an ice cube next to an iceberg.

The book pulls the curtain back on Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the current North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, and the granddaughter of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and the progenitor of what is known in Korea as the Mount Paektu Bloodline.

Kim Yo Jong is the second most powerful person in the dictatorship, the chief propagandist for the murderous regime, and the next in line to continue the family dynasty should her brother die first.  Her youthfulness, good looks, and pretty smile have fooled Western leaders and belie her cruelty, authoritarianism, intolerance, bullying, and nuclear brinkmanship.

Like her brother, Kim Yo Jong attended elite schools in Switzerland, grew up pampered in palaces in North Korea, and, as a teenager, was treated as an equal to top military officers and government officials, who feared for their lives if they crossed her.

It’s easy to cross the ruling family.  Kim Jong Un had the head of the People’s Armed Forces executed in public by an anti-aircraft machine gun.  His crime?  He dozed off during one of the dictator’s meetings.  Another high-level minister was sentenced to death for not clapping vigorously enough during Kim Jong Un’s speeches.

As with their parents and grandparents, the two siblings excel at duping leaders, reporters, and the public in Western democracies, who never seem to catch on to the game they play.  First, the siblings come across as belligerent, unhinged, and unafraid of nuclear war.  Later, they put on smiles, turn on the charm, and make peace overtures.  Put off-balance by the dramatic shift in mood, the Western democracies agree to give them humanitarian aid, to reduce economic sanctions against them, and to believe that they are amenable to denuclearization, not understanding that denuclearization to them means the removal of nukes from South Korea, not North Korea.  After getting all the concessions they can from the West, the siblings return to their old behavior of launching ballistic missiles into the Pacific, harassing South Korean ships, kidnapping foreigners, and of course, subjugating their own people to thought control, poverty, and periodic mass starvation, in the tradition of communism.

It is the nature of democracies, or their flaw if you will, to believe that the human desire for freedom and prosperity can be coaxed out of all peoples with the right policies and incentives.  Also, of course, democracies are beholden to public opinion, which is often swayed by emotions and idealism.  This has been the case with South Koreans, who have a strong desire for peace and unification with their racial and familial cousins in North Korea.

To that point, the book gives an example of South Koreans becoming enamored with Kim Yo Jong when she headed a North Korean delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea.  She easily outshined Vice President Mike Pence in public relations at the Olympics, because he was caught in a political Catch-22 and came across as unfriendly and opposed to reconciliation.

Paradoxically, Americans are fixated on race and insist on categorizing the hundreds of unique racial and ethnic groups in the US into the six contrived categories of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American.  Yet in foreign relations, they seem to downplay the strong influence of race in international affairs, as well as downplaying the natural inclination among many nations for racial homogeneity instead of diversity.  The book doesn’t delve into this, but North and South Koreans see themselves as one race, and a unique race at that, a race that is quite different from the Japanese and all of the other races that Americans insensitively lump together as Asian.

That’s not to suggest that the North Korean regime doesn’t categorize people.  Like all communists, they categorize people into classes, based on their perceived loyalty to the ruling party.  At the top is the Core Class, in the middle is the Wavering Class, and at the bottom is the Hostile Class.   Where a Korean is placed at birth determines the individual’s level of food rations and where the person will live, work, and be schooled.

The book describes the two meetings between Art-of-the-Deal President Donald Trump and Rocket Man Kim Jong Un. The first meeting was marked by bonhomie and ended on an upbeat note, with both leaders signing a worthless letter of understanding while smiling for the cameras.  The second meeting went downhill when Trump realized he was being played.

It’s hard to believe, but President Trump had tried to sell Kim Jong Un on developing North Korea’s seashore with resorts and high-rise condos—as if that would serve the interests of the dictator and his regime.  Trump even showed the dictator a short video of what North Korea could be like with the right economic development.

Years earlier, Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo Jong had been particularly insulting about President Barack Obama.  They allowed their propaganda ministry to describe the president in the vilest racist terms, language that was so disgusting that it won’t be quoted here.

The vitriol was just as intense after a summit was held between President Obama and South Korean President Park.  The North Korean regime’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, wrote that the summit was “nothing but a disgusting kiss between the boss of gangsters asking his political prostitute to serve him before going to war and his partner flattering him.”  The propaganda ministry under Kim Yo Jong piled on by describing President Park as “a disgusting old prostitute raising even her skirt, not feeling any shame to bring a stranger [Obama] into her bedroom.”  The ministry would later say that the prostitute “has to be eliminated at an early date.”

Separately, vitriol was directed at Michael Kirby, a retired justice of the High Court of Australia who is openly gay.  For chairing a United Nations commission on human rights abuses in North Korea, the propaganda ministry called him “a disgusting old lecher with a 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality.”

It’s frightening to face the prospect of Kim Yo Jong replacing her brother someday and being just as belligerent and dangerous for decades thereafter but with a disarming smile.

In closing:  It wasn’t the intent of The Sister to make Americans appreciate that they live in a liberal democracy and to realize the fragility of liberal democracy in a world where North Korea isn’t the only despotic and dangerous country.  But that conclusion is inescapable after reading the book—unless that is, the reader is a wokester who believes that the US is an evil empire and the epitome of privilege, inequality, racism, and injustice.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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U.S. Job Market Growth Inflated By Government Hiring, Not Real Value Creation

By Carrie Sheffield

A Potemkin village is a construction—literal or figurative—designed to deceive people into believing a situation is better than it is. The term arose from a fake portable village reportedly built by Russian military leader Grigory Potemkin, former lover of Empress Catherine II, solely to impress her while she traveled to Crimea in 1787.

The Biden administration is trying to sell us the Potemkin village around the U.S. job market. The most recent jobs figures show that government hiring has grown faster than productive industries like manufacturing, mining, construction, and wholesaling.

This artificial demand for government employment is not sustainable because it is paid for by productive activity from taxpayers and/or layered onto the backs of future taxpayers in the form of new government debt.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board reports:

President Biden took his usual victory lap after the latest jobs report on Friday, boasting that he’s “growing the economy from the middle out.” The catch is that he means it too literally, as government jobs drove a third of the gains. The bigger news was the labor market slowdown in the private economy.

The U.S. added 150,000 jobs in October, according to the monthly Labor report. That’s one of the smallest monthly gains since the pandemic recovery took off in 2021, second only to June of this year. Friday’s report also revised down combined job gains in August and September by 101,000.

Job growth in the private economy, the kind that creates wealth and tax revenue, was only 99,000. The government contributed 51,000 of the new jobs, second only to hiring in healthcare (58,400) by industry. This continues the trend of 50,000 new government jobs a month over the past year. Government employment is now back where it was before the pandemic in February 2020.

The problem is that public spending can’t sustain a recovery, and the question is whether October’s softness is a blip or a sign of worse to come.

The Committee to Unleash Prosperity provides this chart below and puts things more bluntly: “This a very BAD trend. The takers – government – are surpassing the makers – private sector producers of goods and services.”

Americans know a Potemkin village when we see it.

Without true, sustainable job growth, America will remain on a stagnating economic path. This is why the Financial Times reported: “Only 14% of US voters say Joe Biden has made them better off.”

Americans deserve better policies that make us freer and promote human flourishing. That includes cutting wasteful spending that saddles us with unsustainable debt, cutting regulation, and ceasing reckless regulatory lawsuits against companies providing value for consumers and small businesses.


This article was published by the Independent Women’s Forum and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: Pixabay


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Sixty Years On, Why the Kennedy Assassination Still Matters

By Michael Wilkerson

James W. Douglass describes how, by 1963, JFK had made himself irredeemably odious to the dark powers of the intelligence community and the military-industrial complex.

A review of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James W. Douglass (Touchstone, 560 pages, $22)

June 10, 2023, marks the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s famous commencement address at Washington, D.C.’s American University. This speech—among JFK’s finest—laid out a vision of how to save America and humanity from the mutually-assured destruction that would come from nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. It also tackled the questions of how to exit the Cold War and accompanying arms race on honorable terms and how to create a new peace with the USSR based not on ignoring our ideological and political differences—which were substantive and fundamental—but instead recognizing our shared humanity, which had been lost in the propaganda, saber-rattling, and undermining actions from both sides amounting to “war by other means.”

The president’s message was delivered in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which, in the absence of JFK’s careful diplomatic maneuvering against the wishes of his military and security advisors, likely would have resulted in nuclear confrontation and the total annihilation of both nations.

JFK’s vision of peace was specific:

Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children—not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women—not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

The message, of course, was trampled underfoot less than six months later in the blood and mire of JFK’s assassination—under circumstances that to this day are shadowed by lies and dissimulation. Sixty years later, it is worth reflecting on why JFK was marked for death and why we should still care.

For most of us, especially those too young to have lived through it, the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents is a fact of history, but not something that touches us personally. Most Americans living today, having no memory of it, spend little time reflecting on it. For many of us, it is like the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide. We are aware it happened but are typically emotionally and morally detached from it. Only when we choose to stare at it, for example by visiting a site, hearing recollections from those who can recall it, or viewing the images, the reality and horror don’t really strike home. This year’s anniversary allows us time for a deeper reflection.

As author James W. Douglass describes in JFK and the Unspeakable, Kennedy by 1963 had made himself irredeemably odious to the dark powers of the intelligence community and the military-industrial complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had warned the nation about just two years before. 

Shortly following his inauguration in 1961, Kennedy ended U.S. support of the CIA’s puppet government in Laos, irritating both Langley and the Pentagon. JFK later reached an agreement with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to support a neutral and independent Laos, undermining the CIA’s efforts.

Later that year, following the Bay of Pigs disaster, JFK realized he had been led into a trap laid by the CIA intended to force his hand to order the invasion of Cuba. JFK semi-privately declared he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind.” He proposed a budget that cut the spy agency’s expenditures by 20 percent. He ordered the termination of CIA-led, U.S.-based paramilitary teams and sabotage programs used to undermine Cuban shipping, commerce, and infrastructure.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK steadfastly resisted insistent demands by the Joint Chiefs and others in the military and intelligence communities to preemptively attack Russian missile sites in Cuba. Instead, he opened a secret, back-channel dialogue with Khrushchev. He made both public and private statements that led Khrushchev to back down, which saved the world from nuclear war and the annihilation of the human race. The military and intelligence communities were enraged that JFK refused to invade the Communist island nation while he had the chance, which had been the objective of the events leading up to the crisis.

A few months later, again against the will of the U.S. military and intelligence communities, JFK removed nuclear-armed Jupiter missiles based in Turkey near the Soviet border. This was done as a quid pro quo for Khrushchev having removed nuclear warheads from Cuba.

In the American University commencement address, JFK proposed a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty with the USSR, and, as a signal of good faith, announced the unilateral suspension of atmospheric nuclear tests—both with the objective of eventual nuclear disarmament. The military-industrial complex was aghast. The president had turned on them and become a peace-lover. Despite the resistance from military leadership on both sides, the two empires entered into a limited nuclear test ban treaty. In the background, JFK continued to work on a plan for complete bilateral nuclear disarmament up until his death.

JFK resisted or shut down multiple CIA programs and clandestine projects, including those with the objective of the assassination of Cuba’s leader, Fidel Castro. JFK began back-channel dialogue with Castro intended to reduce the tension and risk of armed conflict. In the view of the intelligence communities, both then and now, dialogue with one’s adversary is tantamount to treason.

JFK took on the steel industry, forcing price rollbacks and initiating the cancellation of defense contracts that acted as a kick in the shins of the military-industrial complex. He sought to restore a democratically elected government to the Congo, then being run by a proxy government overseen by the CIA for the benefit of Belgian and other mining interests.

JFK was determined to exit Vietnam, which he considered unwinnable. In early 1962, he and Defense Secretary Bob McNamara ordered military leadership to develop a plan to reduce U.S. military command and to return responsibility for the war to the South Vietnamese. These orders were ignored. In August 1963, JFK immediately regretted approving a CIA-led coup that resulted in the assassination of the weak but U.S.-allied South Vietnamese leader, Ngo Dinh Diem. JFK once again believed he was set up by the CIA.

Six weeks before his assassination on November 22, 1963, JFK issued a secret National Security Action Memorandum ordering the withdrawal from Vietnam of 1,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year, and of the vast majority by 1965. Military brass and the defense industry were outraged. Following his death, these plans were rescinded, and U.S. military buildup in Vietnam began in earnest under President Johnson.

The list of JFK’s violations against the powers of the deep state goes on and on. Whether as the result of one or the sum of all the above, by mid-1963 John F. Kennedy had become “Enemy of the State Number One.”

Immediately following the assassination, false flag operations were initiated to turn attention away from what actually happened and by whom. Witnesses were disappeared or bought off, evidence was destroyed or altered, and information was buried away in files that would see the light of day only decades later. This is all chronicled by Douglass in excruciating detail based on newly declassified information only made publicly available in this century. 

We can trace some of the consequences of JFK’s death to the downward spiral of the nation over the following years. The bodies of assassinated political and moral leaders such as Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, Malcolm X, and Robert F. Kennedy continued to pile up. Vietnam escalated, endured for 10 more years, and was pursued at the cost of the lives of over 58,000 U.S. military personnel, an estimated 400,000 Vietnamese civilians, and about $1 trillion (in present-day dollars). This all despite the foreknowledge by each U.S. presidential administration from Eisenhower to Nixon of the impossibility of U.S. victory. The Cold War would continue for three more decades, with trillions of dollars spent on a futile arms race. Culturally, the American people were divided in two, and the image of America around the world sullied as a result of these and other actions. 

As I write in Why America Matters, Americans of all walks of life stopped trusting their leaders. Today, “less than a quarter of Americans say they ‘can trust the government in Washington to do what is right, compared with about three-quarters before the Vietnam War.’ This general distrust, and the long-term decline since the 1960s, spans across lines of party, ideology, age, and ethnicity.”

It is no coincidence that three of the leading contenders for the Oval Office in 2024—running not just against Joe Biden but these dark forces themselves—are each focused on the issue of confronting and reining in the abusive powers of the deep state. Former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as well as attorney and torch-bearer of the Kennedy legacy, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., while not agreeing that they agree, are all running on the proposition that they will aggressively challenge the entrenched bureaucracy. 

While—unlike JFK—Trump lived to tell the tale, he has been through his own version of deep state targeting, malfeasance, and corruption through the multiple frauds of Russiagate, sham impeachments and arrests, and the complicity of all involved in covering up and slow-walking the Hunter Biden investigation. Surely this experience has taught Trump valuable lessons he will not soon forget.

Meanwhile, DeSantis and Kennedy each also have experience in taking on the administrative state—one as a state governor and the other as a regulatory lawyer. Each of them has made clear that dismantling the corrupt and blood-sotted Leviathan would be a top priority of his administration.

While as of today neither Kennedy nor DeSantis appears likely to win his party’s nomination in the primaries, the fact that each is polling as strongly as they are speaks to Americans’ growing frustration with the weaponization of their government.

The deep state may be alive and well, but we can hope it is on its last legs. It will likely not need to be forcibly dismantled from the outside before it implodes on itself from the decrepitude inside, crumbling under the weight of its own history of lies, corruption, deception, assassination, crimes against its real or presumed foreign enemies, its own citizens, and humanity at large. The burden of these sins may have grown too heavy to bear for the institutions and people guilty of committing them and on those who continue to hide them.

To the tens of thousands of patriotic men and women who serve faithfully and honorably in these institutions, may the legacy of JFK encourage you to stand up for truth and resist the corruption and politicization that has captured many in senior leadership over these decades. To those compromised government leaders who continue to pursue wickedness and undermine the will of the American people, know that the hour of justice and recompense is coming, as surely as the rising of the sun.


This article was published in American Greatness and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

ASU Investigating Pro-Palestinian Protesters Disrupting A Meeting On Campus

By Cole Lauterbach

Editors’ Note:  We are pretty much free speech purists, even if that speech is repugnant. However, if groups break the rules pertaining to on-campus meetings or intimidate and interfere with other university functions using force and coercion, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  After the BLM riots, it seems the country got used to allowing vast numbers of people to break the law. The theory seemed to be you need to give space to give people space to blow off political steam through arson and violence. There is no right to riot. That is not speech. Officials are at fault for not only not enforcing the law, but also conveying to other groups, that they would not enforce the law. This needs to stop immediately. We hope ASU makes sure rock throwing will not be tolerated.

Arizona State University leaders are responding to a situation where pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted a student government meeting on campus, inferring there might be criminal charges. 

The incident started with a student government meeting on Nov. 14 where members of Students for Justice in Palestine demanded the school back away from its previous statements of support for Israel in its current military actions against Hamas for the terrorist organization’s invasion of the Jewish nation on Oct. 6. Students for Justice in Palestine also demanded a resolution pushing the school to boycott and divest from Israel be considered, according to an Instagram post

According to Chabad at ASU, the meeting ended early after protesters outside began throwing rocks at the building. 

“All criminal behavior and student code of conduct violations are going to be dealt with accordingly,” the group wrote.

ASU released a statement Wednesday saying they’re looking into the incident. 

“The incident is being reviewed for possible disorderly conduct and criminal damage charges — no arrests have been made at this time. Arizona State University provides a community that embraces diversity, tolerance, respect, and inclusion. The university rejects and denounces antisemitism.” 

The school said it would not tolerate physical intimidation or violence and will take action to ensure the safety of students.

Former Arizona Board of Regents member and 2022 Republican candidate for governor Karrin Taylor Robson expressed concern and solidarity for Jewish students at her alma mater.

“Anti-Semitism is evil & has no place on our college campuses. To see it happening at my alma mater is beyond heartbreaking. It’s unacceptable,” she said in a social media post. “ASU needs to act publicly and decisively. This alum is watching.”


This article was published by Center Square and is reproduced with permission.