This Is The Wrong Time To Compromise With Democrats On Gun Rights Or Anything Else

By Auguste Meyrat

It’s a mistake to view today’s Democrats as fellow Americans who share the same values and goals but have different ideas of how to get there.

This past week, a group of ten Republican senators, led by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, met with the ten Democrat senators, led by Sen. Chris Murphy, in a bipartisan committee to write new federal gun control legislation. According to The Independent, “the legislation will include an expansion of background checks for people under age 21 to include a search of juvenile justice registries, as well as a federal grant program that will encourage states to pass red flag laws, which allow family members or law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily restrict certain persons from owning firearms.”

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is hailing this as a great example of compromise and placating the “do something!” crowd, this is rather a shameless concession that will make Americans less safe, less free, and less represented while emboldening today’s toxic Democrats to wreck the country even further.

Obviously, the proposed bill is meant to be a response to the mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo. Democrats want to disarm potential psychos by placing more barriers to owning and using a gun, and Republicans want more intervention with individuals who suffer from mental health problems. On the surface, their bill seems e a win-win: fewer guns and fewer crazy people.

Except that these two incidents have almost nothing to do with guns or psychopaths, and everything to do with the profound dysfunction of American law enforcement. There were plenty of “red flags” with both shooters that warranted earlier intervention and immediate action, but nothing happened.

In Buffalo, there were already red flag laws, and no one bothered to enforce them. And in the Uvalde shooting, police officers actively impeded any kind of intervention while the shooter was shooting people, mostly children, for at least an hour.

So this new legislation would only empower and enrich incompetent police officers and punish and disable law-abiding Americans. Instead of deterring these monsters with armed civilians, the government will deter those civilians from becoming armed in the first place. Added to this is the costly and politicized bureaucracy to enforce these regulations on people who have done nothing wrong.

On a deeper level, it must be reiterated that these types of regulations are an unconstitutional violation of civil liberties. The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the right to use firearms to defend themselves — according to Justin Trudeau, Canadians have no such right.

Like the right to free speech, the right to due process, or the right to be treated equally, the Second Amendment empowers individuals against all forms of tyranny, whether that be from the state, the corporate elite, the mob, criminal organizations, or any other oppressor. Take it away, and Americans have one less tool to protect their freedom, their property, and their lives.

For people who don’t own firearms, this may be too abstract. Therefore, as a good analogy, they can consider restrictions on their right to own and drive a car (which, by the way, kills thousands more Americans each year than firearms). At that moment, all people would be forced to depend on the government’s approval to drive a car of the government’s own choosing or rely on government-run mass transit.

Perhaps some may be fine with this, living in an urban area where they have a semi-functional bus and subway system and few places to go unless they are rich, leftist, and own a fleet of Teslas. However, the great majority of people would resent being restricted in this way, and object that their right to automobility (which isn’t an amendment but probably should be) was being infringed.

In response, those who oppose such freedoms could always claim that there are fewer traffic accidents, and the United States is finally starting to resemble the rest of the developed world. The matter would finally rest there, and the government would put another freedom on the chopping block.

As it is with driving a car of one’s choice, so it is with protecting oneself with a gun of one’s choice. So many social reforms may fall under the heading of “safety,” but they inevitably translate to more government control. This is the Democrats’ whole agenda. Whether it’s gun restrictions, diversity quotas, ending economic security in the name of climate change or eliminating poverty, all of it amounts to the government having more control and making Americans less independent and self-sufficient.

All of this is why Republicans need to stop meeting their political opponents halfway. G. K. Chesterton’s criticism made more than a century ago is still quite apt: “Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen, it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.” With this new bill, McConnell and the rest of the ilk are celebrating yet another half-loaf while their constituents already suffer from malnutrition.

It’s a mistake to view today’s Democrats as fellow Americans who share the same values and goals but have different ideas of how to get there. Rather, they have completely different goals and will employ any means to achieve them, even if that means putting on show trialsexploiting mass shootings, and intimidating and threatening opponents — to say nothing of rigging electionsbankrupting the country, and ushering in millions of illegal immigrants.

The time for negotiation and “crossing the aisle” is over, and has been for a long time. Democrats have figured this out and continue to push their failed policies with impunity. Republican leadership continues to play political patty cake while their country goes up in flames. The American people are on their own right now. And it’s times like these where an individual’s freedoms matter most, particularly the freedom to defend oneself.

*****

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

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Arizona Becomes the 19th State to Ban Warrantless Searches of Prescription Drug Database

By Jeffrey Singer

On June 8, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed SB 1469 into law. Introduced by Senator Nancy Barto (R‑Phoenix), the bill requires law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before perusing the state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) database, administered by the Arizona Board of Pharmacy. The bill passed unanimously through both houses of the state legislature. Until now, law enforcement could inspect the PDMP database without a warrant by simply stating in writing that the information is necessary for an open investigation or complaint. The new law further states that if, upon perusing the database, police find no evidence of a statutory crime but believe a practitioner’s prescribing patterns fall outside the norms, they may only report the matter to the relevant state licensing board for possible investigation. State medical licensing boards conduct investigations using members of the medical profession who understand the variations and nuances of clinical situations, and the practitioner under investigation is afforded due process.

This is an important reform. As panelists explained at a Cato conference in 2019, while PDMPs have succeeded in pressuring practitioners to reduce opioid prescribing (down more than 60 percent since its peak in 2011), they primarily serve as a law enforcement tool. They have not reduced the overdose rate–if anything, PDMPs have driven non-medical users who are unable to obtain diverted prescription pain pills to more dangerous drugs in the black market, such as heroin or fentanyl, causing the overdose rate to increase.

With countless stories in the mainstream press about doctors arrested, sometimes with police bursting into their crowded waiting rooms, or having their licenses suspended for “overprescribing” prescription opioids—even though there is no legal definition of “overprescribing”—many doctors have been frightened into curtailing their pain medicine prescribing. Some are refusing to see patients for pain altogether and referring them to pain management specialists, many of whose practices have long waits for appointments because they are inundated with referrals. Some pain clinics refuse to see new patients. Some patients, in desperation, seek relief in the dangerous black market. Some resort to suicide. Some exasperated patients threaten their doctors. Some even resort to murdering their doctors.

The goal of SB 1469 is to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of patients and doctors. Hopefully, as police discover they cannot go on fishing expeditions through private medical records without convincing a judge to issue a search warrant—and if they can’t dictate how to practice medicine by arresting doctors for what they perceive as “inappropriate” prescribing—the new law will help thaw the chilling effect cast upon doctors treating their patients’ pain.

Arizona has now become the 19th state to enact this search warrant requirement. It joins states as diverse as Alaska, Montana, Missouri, Utah, California, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Unfortunately, Rhode Island repealed its search warrant requirement in 2017.

In 2019 Drug Enforcement Administration investigators wished to inspect the New Hampshire PDMP and were rebuffed, pursuant to New Hampshire law that requires a search warrant. The DEA claimed the requirement did not apply to the federal agency. The New Hampshire PDMP lost its argument in front of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire and appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief supporting the appellant. In January of this year, the appeals court upheld the trial court’s opinion, ruling the DEA can access a state’s prescription drug database without a warrant. The state of New Hampshire petitioned for an en banc rehearing in March, which was denied in mid-April. New Hampshire next sought a stay of the appeals court decision pending the filing of a certiorari petition in the U.S. Supreme Court, implying the state intends to appeal to the Supreme Court. The state has until mid-July to file the cert petition.

Regardless of the federal case’s outcome, state and local law enforcement remain subject to the search warrant requirement. And while the DEA may be the giant gorilla in the room, state-level efforts to protect the privacy of medical records and the patient-doctor relationship is a welcome step in the right direction. Arizona’s legislators and governor deserve praise for enacting SB 1469.

****

This article was published by Cato Blog and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

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

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

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

By Wolf Richter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margin debt and hype-and-hoopla stocks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

Continue reading this article at Wolf Street.

TAKE ACTION

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

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

Social Security’s Unfunded Obligations Getting Worse thumbnail

Social Security’s Unfunded Obligations Getting Worse

By Rachel Greszler

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

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

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

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

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

Policymakers must act now, and Congress has a choice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

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

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

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

Sorry Libs, You Can’t Replace Dads With Government

By Kevin Roberts

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

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

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

Children raised in single-parent homes constitute:

63% of teen suicides;

90% of runaways and homeless children;

85% of behavior disorder patients;

71% of high school dropouts;

75% of teenagers in substance abuse rehab centers;

85% of young prison inmates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dads: accept no substitutes.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

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

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

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No, Putin Didn’t Cause Inflation

By Peter C. Earle

The May 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) release was worse than virtually any forecast predicted. The year-over-year CPI came in at 8.6 percent, not only higher than expected but notching a new four-decade high. The month-over-month CPI (April to May) also came in higher than expected: 1 percent versus 0.7 percent surveyed. Today’s release makes clear that the Fed is behind the curve in terms of employing policy measures to blunt the rise in prices. The response from the Biden Administration, meanwhile, has been to blame Vladimir Putin(an easily disproved assertion) and weaponize rising prices in the service of interventionist policy measures.

It is worth noting that while the Fed was dithering–categorizing the rise in prices which began in the spring of 2021 as “transitory”–a litany of additional missions have been added to their already cumbersome mandate. Over the past few years, the Fed has been tasked to craft monetary policy in manners explicitly supporting social justiceclimate changeESG, and other political goals.

This is not particularly surprising, given the trend in mission creep since the Fed’s founding. At inception the Fed was tasked to prevent financial panics and bank runs. When millions of veterans returned from foreign battlefields after WWII, Congress added the requirement that the Fed should conduct monetary policy in such a way that employment conditions are maximized. In 1978 both “reasonable price stability” and the “maintain[ence] of long-run growth” were appended to the Fed mandate, and after the 2008 financial crisis financial stability joined the Fed’s list of responsibilities.

When, in addition to this, one considers attempts by recent administrations to appoint ideological candidates to the Fed, missteps, and failures become easier to explain. The considerable advantages of monetary policy over fiscal policy measures, in particular not having to go through Congressional horse-trading, make the incentives to influence the Fed readily apparent.

Just this afternoon during President Biden’s speech in Los Angeles, he referred to inflation, or at least the energy portion of it, as “Putin’s tax.” It is a demonstrably false characterization of the current inflation. In fact, by any number of measures prices began rising above trend in March 2021, almost a full year before the Ukrainian conflict began. A second, steeper uptrend in prices began in September 2021, six months before war broke out in central Europe. 

WTI & National Average Gasoline Price per Gallon, 2021 – present

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

The WTI price increase was mostly demand-driven: $47.47 per barrel in Jan 2021, and doubled to $95 per barrel by Feb ‘22. Since the war started, the price has risen to roughly $118 per barrel. The average US price of gasoline was $2.57 per gallon in January 2021 and reached $3.75 per gallon in early February 2022. Inflation more broadly was well underway by the end of 2021, but it was only in November that the Fed began to back away from its assurances that price level increases were transitory. Worse yet, it wasn’t until March 2022 that the Fed began to implement measures to arrest the rise in prices.

US CPI (yoy), 2021 – present

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

The May 2022 CPI numbers released today show that not only is inflation rising undeterred by the Fed, but worsening. More prices are rising more quickly, and possibly accelerating. The likelihood that the Fed will have to act aggressively enough that a recession result is materially higher now than it was even a few months ago. Allowing political officials to blame Putin, large corporations, shipping firms, billionaires, insufficient taxation, “greed,” or any of a number of other tired scapegoats misleads the public. It also distracts attention from the pernicious effects of a politicized and increasingly influenceable central bank.

*****

This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

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

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Total Southern Border Encounters, ‘gotaways’ Greater Than Population of 23 U.S. States

By Bethany Blankley

President Joe Biden and his administration insist the southwest U.S. border is closed and federal immigration laws are being enforced.

But since Biden took office, more than 3 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally from over 150 countries, according to Customs and Border Patrol data. And that number doesn’t include so-called “gotaways,” the term used for those crossing the border illegally who evade capture. 

CBP doesn’t report the number of gotaways publicly, but Border Patrol agents who spoke to The Center Square said they total more than a million since Biden took office, setting the total number of border crossings at more than 4 million.

In 17 months, those entering the U.S. illegally total more than the individual populations of 23 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Of the most populous of these 23 states, those entering illegally since Biden took office total slightly more than Oklahoma’s population of 4 million; more than Connecticut’s 3.5 million; more than Utah’s 3.3 million; more than Nevada’s 3.3. million.

In the first five months of this year alone, more than 1 million people have been encountered/apprehended entering the U.S. illegally. They total more than the individual populations of Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming.

The number encountered/apprehended in May 2022 was 239,416, according to CBP data, a new monthly record high. That’s after a previous record high in April.

In April, CBP reported 235,478 total encounters; in March, 222,239; in February, 165,902; in January, 154,816.

The last two months alone equals roughly the size of the population of Wyoming being encountered entering the U.S. illegally.

The majority of them have been released into the U.S., including a record number of unaccompanied minors. This is in addition to another estimated more than 1 million got-aways, those who’ve made their way into the U.S. evading capture.

Those in law enforcement have expressed concerns to The Center Square that the got-aways are the ones who keep them up at night. Those evading capture, not surrendering to Border Patrol requesting asylum or making other immigration claims are more likely those with criminal records and don’t want to be caught, they say.

Images captured by private land owner’s critter cams, hidden cameras, and drone footage of mostly single military-age men walking across their property at night at the southern border in Texas, regularly shared with The Center Square, show many wearing camouflage, carrying backpacks, and other gear. 

Law enforcement officers say they don’t know who they are, where they are now, or really how many there are in the U.S.

*****

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

Even When There Is Inflation, the Fed STILL Fights Falling Prices thumbnail

Even When There Is Inflation, the Fed STILL Fights Falling Prices

By Brendan Brown

Under any remotely sound money regime, the aftermath of war and/or pandemic is highly likely to feature a sharp decline in the prices of goods and services on average. Even under unsound money regimes, there are powerful forces operating towards lower prices once the war/pandemic recedes. Strong injections of monetary inflation, however, can overpower them.

The Fed and all the foreign central banks which follow its lead and/or doctrines are apparently of the intention that this time the decline in prices will not take place. Instead, they state the aim of their monetary policies, to be achieved within two years, as a decline of the inflation rate from present near-term highs to 2 percent.

In combatting the powerful “natural rhythm” of prices downwards in the aftermath of pandemic and war we should expect the Fed and foreign central banks to marshal a tremendous amount of monetary power. That will occur beyond an intermission where central banks are ostensibly trying to rein back the monetary inflation which has reached its peak virulence in 2021–22.

Precise measurement of monetary inflation, including its stages, is impossible under the present monetary regime where the supply and demand conditions for monetary base—and the attributes of base money—have been deeply corrupted. In thinking about the next monetary inflation injections, history provides considerable insight.

The aftermaths of supply shocks are full of inflation danger, even though recession intervenes and mitigates this for some time. Monetary inflation has accompanied all the great supply shocks and sometimes preceded them as in the present case of pandemics and war. Here monetary inflation stretches all the way back to 2012/13.

In the aftermath of World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic (1918–19), US consumer prices fell by around 20 percent (from mid-1920 to end-1921). The fall in prices stemmed both from deliberate monetary deflation (starting in late 1919 as the Benjamin Strong–dominated Fed sought to reverse the monetary inflation in the half-year following the armistice) and the easing of supply restraints (with huge gluts developing for many primary commodities).

After World War II there was an almost 5 percent decline in CPI from mid-1948 to the end of 1949, overlapping the recession of November 1948 to October 1949. There was no sudden substantial monetary policy tightening during that time. But the around 30 percent rise of consumer prices during 1946–47 coupled with the constancy in the outstanding supply of high-powered money stock meant this shrunk far in real terms. Accordingly, the overhang of excess money supply dwindled.

Towards the end of the Korean War (1950–53) and into its aftermath consumer prices were relatively flat (mid-1952–55), having risen by almost 12 percent between mid-1950 and the end of 1951. That was despite the McChesney Martin Fed following an inflationary monetary policy as evident first in asset inflation and later in an eruption of consumer price inflation (the second half of the 1950s). In effect, the “natural rhythm” downward of prices as wartime constraints eased and a sustained leap in productivity growth got under way meant that monetary inflation did not produce at first the symptom of consumer price inflation.

Toward understanding the potential strength of price reductions in these examples, we turn to the concept of the “natural rhythm of prices,” already highlighted in the above summary. “Natural rhythm of prices” transcends and goes well beyond the familiar statistical distinction between overall CPI inflation and so-called core inflation (which strips out food and energy). It refers to persistent moves in an upward or downward direction of prices of goods and services which are not attributable to money supply veering persistently ahead of demand (monetary inflation) or below demand (monetary deflation).

Why “natural”? Because the direction of price change as measured in aggregate is in harmony with how real economic changes underway would influence the pricing decisions of individual firms (if indeed there were no offsetting monetary forces thwarting this).

For example, during an economic expansion when productivity growth is surging, firms in competitive sectors would tend to cut prices in line with falling costs as brought about by efficiency gains. Incomes would rise faster in real terms than in nominal terms. Correspondingly the path of demand for money would not shift substantially and remain broadly in line with the slowly growing money supply. Hence, under a sound money regime, declining prices would be consistent with no monetary deflation or inflation.

Turn next to the natural rhythm of prices in the context of the economic journey from the pandemic and/or wartime shortages to resource abundance. The increased scarcity of supplies prompts many businesses to raise their prices. At the same time, the shortage including dislocations goes along with a fall in real incomes. So, overall demand for money might not change significantly (unchanged pace of growth in nominal incomes made up of some decline in real terms and big price rises). If the money supply is on an unchanged low path, then the increase in prices does not signify monetary inflation. Correspondingly there would be no symptoms of asset inflation.

By the same token once peak scarcity has been reached and resources become more plentiful, real incomes rise, prices fall, and the demand for money would still be in line with very slowly growing supply. Falling prices would not indicate monetary malaise but natural rhythm.

In the actual context of the massive fiscal “stimulus” in the US during the pandemic, most households felt much better off even though for society as a whole it was a period of hardship. Real disposable incomes and real demand for money increased; money supply veered far ahead of money demand but not by as much as first appearances might suggest.

Even so, we can say that the increase in underlying prosperity in aftermath of a pandemic and/or war means that the demand for money in real terms is likely to be increasing by more than normal. A fall in prices would be consistent with money demand rising in line with the slowly growing money supply.

Instead, the central scenario is surely that the Fed has flooded the system with so much money (only some of the excess removed during the period of hawkish turn and taking account of cumulative price rises) that the natural downward rhythm of prices will not show up in outward reality. Rather, the Fed will use the relief from symptoms of inflation in the consumer price data to double down on monetary inflation. This would show up at first in a new episode of asset inflation. It will be boom time for government collections of monetary repression tax (this corresponds to interest rates manipulated by the central bank at artificially low levels whilst CPI inflation remains low).

It is not too early for investors or the more general public to concern themselves about the next wave of monetary inflation. Many worry that the Fed may pull back from monetary tightening on the first signs of recession rather than completing the task of bringing inflation back down to 2 percent and keeping it there. That is likely to prove a false version of the problem.

More likely the Fed will keep tightening policy into the first stages of the next recession—that is just par for the course. Inflation may fall below the banner 2 percent. Then the Fed will unleash a powerful monetary stimulus rather than simply allowing the money supply to continue growing at a slow pace with a powerful natural rhythm of prices downwards pulling the economy forward.

The monetary inflation of 2012–22 is dead! Long live the monetary inflation of 2023 onwards!

*****

This article was published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

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

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

And A Bear Came to Wall Street thumbnail

And A Bear Came to Wall Street

By Neland Nobel

The last time we provided you with market commentary was in late May.

You might recall, that our position since last summer was that when the Fed took action to constrain inflation, all the markets that had been elevated by easy money policies and zero interest rates would face a challenge.

The market had fallen so far and so hard by our last visit, that we suggested a respite, at least a temporary contra trend rally. We got one from late May into mid-June, but it was feeble and short-lived.

Since then, it has been like being mauled by a Kodiak bear. In 5 of the last 7 sessions, more than 90% of stocks on the NYSE fell. According to Jason Geopfert at SentimentTrader.com, this is the worst bout of selling in the S&P since 1928!

From the May 27 temporary peak, the most widely followed average shed about 11.5 %.

About the only positive thing you can say about this is that such extremes tend to indicate capitulation. Maybe we get the contra trend rally?

On the NYSE, 7531 issues are below their 200-day moving average, one of the most lopsided readings everSo, while the percentage losses are still within the “normal” range as bear markets go, the market internals is breaking records. Weakness has been severe and very widespread.

The Fed has painted itself into a corner.  If it did not fight inflation by reversing policies, markets would lose confidence that they were serious and inflation would run wild. Previous fake attempts to slow down money growth and raise rates had ended at the first sign of pain, and so the Fed had to deliver or their credibility would be shot. 

They started late to the game and many market participants did not take them seriously. Remember when the Fed said they wanted inflation above 2%? What a policy catastrophe!

If they address inflation urgently, it meant most markets that have flourished over the past decade would be in big trouble when the policy is reversed. That was the basis of our macro thesis and that certainly has proven to be the case.

We called this the “investor’s dilemma” because there just are not many good choices when multiple markets have been elevated by easy money to extreme valuations, and then the monetary regime is reversed. Even cash, which is price neutral, is losing almost 9% per year because of the Fed and Biden-instigated inflationary policies. However, losing 9% is better than losing over 20%, and then losing the 9% in addition anyway because stock prices too are quoted in dollars losing value.

However, as we pointed out, he who loses the least is the winner in a bear market.

Markets put in a remarkable performance last year with stocks up 28%. We started 2022 near 4800 on the S&P 500 index. By early January, things started a severe downhill slide and it has continued with little interruption.

As of this writing, the S&P has now dropped 22%, officially in bear territory. Many other indices had already reached that threshold and have gone even further. This is also true of most foreign markets. In short, there has been no place to hide from the claws of the bear.

With rates rising, both stocks and bonds have been put under pressure, undermining the classic 60% stock, 40% bond allocation used by many advisors.

Both stocks and bonds have had the worst start of a year, in half a century so those doggedly determined to hang on to classic portfolio design have been hit hard.

Welcome to Biden economics!

Equity bear markets historically lose about 35%, on average. With losses now around 22%, that suggests we still have more to go. How much is unknowable. We will likely have bounces, but the trend is down.

A famous adage among those that practice technical analysis is that “a trend in force, is a trend in force until proven otherwise.”While very oversold at present, there has been no reversal yet of the bearish trend.

Just remember that an “average” is a mixture of prices, including high and low extremes. Given the extraordinary spending, deficits, market interference, a long period of zero interest rates, and speculation in everything from stocks, bonds, SPACs, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, art, and real estate; we can’t be assured this cycle will be average. Historically markets have a kind of symmetry, that is the more extreme the up cycle, the more extreme the down cycle.

Thus, the honest answer is nobody knows how bad this will get.

Much of the pattern since 1987, has been the Fed “put”. The “put” were both actions and statements made by the Fed that suggested to investors that the Fed had their back. They would cut interest rates and gun money growth to shorten and cushion the severity of stock cycles. But in so doing repeatedly, the Fed trapped itself. Today, rates can’t lowered if they are already zero, and the money supply cant’t be increased  if double-digit inflation is on the loose.

In the past, the exercise of the “put” was a constant interference in the market’s natural response to cleanse itself of excess.

Therefore, with today’s inflationary excesses, the Fed “put” appears inoperable. They now are much like a fire department that rushed to put out every little brush fire, allowing excessive underbrush to build up. Now they show up with a pumper truck empty of water facing a conflagration of their own making.

Stocks are not alone in this mess. Bonds have been remarkably weak with high yield or junk bonds getting pounded badly of late.

Cryptocurrencies have not proven to be anything like a store of value or alternative currency. The best ones such as Bitcoin are down a whopping 70%! And others have turned out to be either a fraud or so poorly constructed they could not function once investors wanted to get out. From a market cap slightly above $3 Trillion just this past October, we are now under $1 Trillion. Yes, $2 Trillion just vanished.

We sense, but cannot prove, that much of the rout in cryptos has spilled over into the stock market of late. There were skeptics, ourselves among them (see the archives for Cryptocurrencies and Financial Speculation). But little could be done to counter the hype. This raises an important question: where were the regulators?

Crypto promoters had an endless stream of sports figures and sexy media stars promoting their claims. The explanations were so complicated that many felt, even if they themselves could not understand the arguments, the complexity itself was proof of the brilliance of the promoters’ claims. You don’t want to admit confusion or doubt, do you? It is better to follow the Kardashians.

At this juncture, we are moving from modest losses in most people’s 401Ks to severe losses. If both stocks and real estate buckle together (and there is increasing evidence they are), families will have to pull back on spending.

Unlike the stagflation of the 1970s, we still have low unemployment and a record number of job openings. But if employment weakens along with the household net worth, consumers will become desperate.

There is already some evidence that the last few months of soaring credit card debt is consumer response to high food and fuel prices. Consumer spending is 70% of GDP. You can’t have the consumer get into trouble and avoid a recession in the real economy.

That is when the bear moves from Wall Street to inflict his depredations on Main Street.

TAKE ACTION

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

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

There’s No Objective Evidence the Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban Saved Lives thumbnail

There’s No Objective Evidence the Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban Saved Lives

By James D. Agresti

In reality, Biden is confusing terms and distorting data to paint a picture that is opposed to the facts. Such facts include but are not limited to the following:

  • The number of people killed in mass shootings didn’t decline even after the 1986 federal ban on automatic guns, which are more capable of mass murder than the guns Biden wants to ban.
  • The terms “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines” are misleading and refer to common weapons used by citizens for hunting and home defense.
  • Before, during, and after the 1994 law cited by Biden, the portion of the U.S. population killed in mass shootings barely budged, and the slight changes are better explained by other factors.

Automatic Firearms Have Been Banned Since 1986

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Eddie Hedgepeth looks through the scope of his 5.56mm M4 Carbine. Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Eight years before the “assault weapons” ban referenced by Biden, Congress passed and President Reagan signed a 1986 law that made it unlawful for civilians to “transfer or possess a machinegun.” Under federal law, the term “machinegun” means “any weapon” that can fire “more than one shot” with “a single function of the trigger.” Thus, the ban includes all types of automatic firearms, including machine guns, submachine guns, and assault rifles. These are the types of guns commonly used by armed forces.

The 1986 ban, which is still in effect, has an exception for guns legally owned before the law was enacted, but because automatic firearms have been heavily regulated since 1934, less than 4 million are currently owned by civilians. The relative rarity and strict regulation of these weapons are highlighted by a 2016 U.S. Department of Justice study that found “no evidence that” any owner of an automatic gun was convicted of using one to commit a crime from 2006 through 2014.

The primary purpose of the 1986 law was to reduce mass shooting deaths by limiting the availability of weapons with rapid rates of fire. As explained in the book Military Technology, “A machine gunner’s weapon fired hundreds of bullets each minute. He could point the weapon in the general direction of his enemy and fire. Even poorly-trained shooters could hit their targets. Automatic weapons made war a far more deadly business.”

Nevertheless, the portion of the U.S. population killed in mass shootings (defined in academic literature as those in which four or more people are killed), didn’t decline in the wake of the law:

Semi-Automatic “Assault Weapons” Were Banned From 1994–2004

AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Credit: istock/Luevanos

Less than a decade after banning automatic weapons, Congress passed and President Clinton signed a 1994 law that made it illegal to “manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon.” These guns often look like military firearms and share some characteristics with them (like detachable magazines and pistol grips), but they lack their defining feature: the ability to fire multiple bullets with a single trigger pull.

For that reason and the fact that these guns are used for hunting and home defensefirearm specialists typically don’t call them “assault weapons” but describe them as:

  • “modern sporting rifles,”
  • by their make/model (like “AR-15”), or
  • with functional descriptors like “semi-automatic rifle.”

Nevertheless, the politicians who sponsored the 1994 law labeled these semi-automatic guns “assault weapons.” This term sounds very similar to “assault rifles,” which happen to be the most common firearms used by soldiers and terrorists.

The lawmakers’ decision to use those easily confused terms accords with a 1988 booklet written by Josh Sugarmann, the founder of a prominent gun control organization called the Violence Policy Center. In it, he wrote about the “new topic” of “assault weapons” and laid out this strategy for banning them:

The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

Many journalists have advanced this agenda by using the term “assault weapons” to describe a broad range of semi-automatic guns. These include the most commonly sold rifles in America, more than 19.8 million of which are now in circulation.

Numerous journalists and politicians have also conflated “assault weapons” with “assault rifles” by applying both of these terms to semi-automatic guns. This is chronicled in the nation’s leading authority on journalism lingo, the Associated Press Stylebook. A decade ago, the 2011 Stylebook distinguished between “assault weapons” and “assault rifles” as follows:

assault weapon: A semi-automatic firearm similar in appearance to a fully automatic firearm or military weapon. Not synonymous with assault rifle, which can be used in fully automatic mode.

This splitting of verbal hairs between semi-automatic “assault weapons” and military “assault rifles” led journalists to misuse these terms, but instead of fixing this confusion, the 2015 Stylebook made it worse. It did this by combining both terms into a single definition while stating that they “are often used interchangeably,” but “some” journalists “make the distinction that assault rifle is a military weapon….”

The use of similar and even identical terms to describe materially different weapons violates a basic principle of honest reporting stressed in journalism guidebooks: “use jargon only when necessary and define it carefully.”

Like the 1986 ban on automatic weapons, the 1994 ban on semi-automatic “assault weapons” had an exception for guns legally owned prior to the law’s enactment. Unlike the 1986 ban, however, the 1994 ban was not permanent. That’s because lawmakers included a provision that sunset the ban in 10 years as a compromise to secure enough votes to pass it and to provide time to “investigate and study” its “impact, if any, on violent and drug trafficking crime.”

The law required the U.S. Attorney General to conduct and publish such a study within 30 months of the ban’s enactment, and the study concluded that “the public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated.” A similar study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice was published in 2004, the year the law was due to expire. It found that the ban had:

no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury, as we might have expected had the ban reduced crimes with both AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large-capacity magazines].

On the other hand, the authors of the study noted that the effects of the law “are still unfolding and may not be fully felt for several years into the future,” and so it is “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”

When the ban expired in 2004, various members of Congress sponsored bills to renew it, but none of them passed.

“High Capacity” Magazines Were Banned From 1994–2004

Left: 17-Round magazine for handgun. Credit: Magpul. Right: 30-Round magazine for rifle. Credit: istock/zim286

The same 1994 law which banned many semi-automatic guns until 2004 also banned “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” for the same period. The most common of these devices are detachable magazines (or “mags” for short), which hold and feed ammunition into the vast bulk of semi-automatic guns.

The politicians who wrote the law applied the term “high capacity” to mags that hold more than 10 rounds, even though these are standard on many popular handguns and rifles. For example, the stock magazine for a Glock 19, one of the best-selling handguns in the world, holds 15 rounds.

In fact, mags that hold more than 10 rounds are so common that more than 150 million of them are currently in circulation in the United States.

As a general rule, mags with more capacity are a tactical advantage because they allow the shooter to fire more bullets without reloading. However, a trained gunman can swap out a mag in one second. This allows mass shooters to effectively bypass the capacity restriction by bringing multiple mags to an attack. In contrast, it is not practical for the many millions of citizens who legally carry concealed firearms to keep a stockpile of mags on their waist.

Another tradeoff on mag size is that larger ones are bulkier, which can make weapons less concealable and harder to maneuver. Also, very large mags tend to jam, like the 100-round magazine used by the perpetrator of the 2012 “Dark Knight” movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.

What Happened in the Wake of the 1994 Law?

The 1994–2004 ban on certain semi-automatic guns and 10+ round mags correlates with a slight decline in the portion of the U.S. population killed in mass shootings, but the association is weak, and there is no clear pattern:

Furthermore, the ban did not begin until the last 3.5 months of 1994, and:

  • production of these weapons in 1994 was more than twice that of a typical year because people rushed to buy them before the ban took effect.
  • a 2002 paper in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology found that the rush to buy these guns “produced the unintended consequence of making AWs more accessible” through at least mid-1996.
  • the portion of people killed in mass shootings was lower in 1996 than in six of the eight years that followed while the ban was in effect.

Most importantly, Biden’s statement suffers from the sophomoric myth that association proves causation. Students are taught to avoid this fallacy in high school, but reporterscommentators, and even scholars often embrace it. In the words of an academic textbook about analyzing data:

Association is not the same as causation. This issue is a persistent problem in empirical analysis in the social sciences. Often the investigator will plot two variables and use the tight relationship obtained to draw absolutely ridiculous or completely erroneous conclusions. Because we so often confuse association and causation, it is extremely easy to be convinced that a tight relationship between two variables means that one is causing the other. This is simply not true.

The reason why this is not true is because many other factors can affect events like mass shootings, and there is frequently no objective way to isolate and quantify the effects of a single factor. With regard to the 1994 ban, just a few of the many factors that could have been at play during this era include the following:

  • The very same 1994 law that enacted the firearm and magazine restrictions also contained a massive array of measures to reduce violent crime, including incentives for states to increase “the percentage of convicted violent offenders sentenced to prison” and increase “the average prison time which will be served in prison by convicted violent offenders.” This is significant because the vast bulk of murders are committed by people with long rap sheets.
  • Wall-to-wall media coverage of mass shootings—which began with the Columbine school massacre of 1999—has since motivated many copycat killers seeking fame. Notably, the infamous Columbine mass murder occurred in the midst of the 1994–2004 ban.
  • Less than 1% of all murders in the U.S. occur in mass shootings, and the overall murder rate fell by 39% during the years of the ban. Thus, the slight decline in mass shootings may be a consequence of the much larger decline in all murders. This is why the 2004 DOJ-funded study concluded that “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”

Using the childish logic of Biden, one would be forced to conclude that the right-to-carry law enacted by Florida in 1987 is responsible for the massive drop in murder rates that occurred in its wake:

The chart above shows what a strong association looks like, but even still, one cannot draw definitive conclusions from it because a multitude of other factors could be at play.

Biden’s & PolitiFact’s Phony Data

As proven by the data above, Biden’s claim that “mass shootings tripled” after the 1994–2004 ban has no basis in reality. However, a PolitiFact article by Jon Greenberg alleges it is “mostly true.”

PolitiFact attempts to support this claim by citing a paper published in 2019 by the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. The details of this study are hidden behind a $60 paywall, but there, the authors reveal that their count of mass shootings is “restricted to incidents reported by all three” of the following sources: “Mother Jones Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and Stanford University.”

Using that methodology—which relies on the absurd notion that all three of their sources have complete data stretching back for decades—the study presents the following chart that shows zero mass shooting deaths in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2004:

In other words, the paper ignores numerous people killed in mass shootings during the period of the ban, pretending as if these events and many others never took place:

  • The 1995 Corpus Christi, TX workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered five people.
  • The 1996 Fort Lauderdale, FL workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered five of his former coworkers.
  • The 1997 Orange, CA workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered four people.
  • The 2001 Melrose Park, IL workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered four people.
  • The 2002 Rutledge, AL farm shooting, where a gunman murdered six members of his girlfriend’s family.

Further illustrating the inanity of this study, Dr. Louis Klarevas of Columbia University, a Ph.D. who specializes in mass-casualty violence, skewered the paper for having “a large number of misclassifications.”

Yet, PolitiFact treats this deceitful data as if it were fact, and healthcare professionals are invited to be brainwashed by it because the paper is “Accredited for Continuing Medical Education.”

Summary

In his speech, Biden declared that his gun control strategy is part of “my Unity Agenda,” but he betrayed this claim in the same speech by making a partisan plea for votes while attacking Republicans. If “Congress fails” to implement his agenda, said Biden, “I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote.”

Contrary to Biden’s claim that his agenda would save lives:

  • there is no association between the number of people killed in mass shootings and the 1986 ban on automatic guns.
  • there is a weak association between the number of people killed in mass shootings and the 1994–2004 ban on certain semi-automatic guns and 10+ round mags.
  • the weak association is easily attributable to other factors.
  • the “mass shootings tripled” statistic is patently false.
  • bans on magazines that hold 10+ rounds give mass murderers a tactical advantage over law-abiding citizens who carry guns to protect themselves and others.

*****

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

Read This Book To Counter The Hopeless Lies Of ‘1619 Project’ Racial Determinists thumbnail

Read This Book To Counter The Hopeless Lies Of ‘1619 Project’ Racial Determinists

By Casey Chalk

‘The State of Black America’ offers a much needed corrective to the cynical (and false) thinking peddled by people like Nikole Hannah-Jones.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post last month entitled “For African Americans tired of U.S. hostility, Ghana is still calling,” columnist Karen Attiah discusses the trend of African Americans moving to Africa, or what she calls “black asylum from white supremacy.” Attiah, of Nigerian and Ghanian descent, declares that “leaving is the most powerful form of resistance,” and cites prominent African Americans who move to Africa to “feel mentally and spiritually free from White America’s psychic violence.” Because, you know, Africa doesn’t suffer from much violence.

I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised to read such nonsense from a writer who two years ago blamed the “lies & tears of white women” for violence against black Americans and claimed white women were “lucky” blacks were not “calling for revenge.” But Attiah’s blinkered thinking on race in America is sadly commonplace among prominent black intellectuals on the left.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose “1619 Project” curriculum is now taught across the United States, has claimed America was “founded … on an ideal and a lie” as a “slavocracy,” and that “anti-blackness” is “at the core of so many of our institutions and really our society itself.” Ibram X. Kendi, perhaps the most prominent black intellectual in America, has claimed that “racial discrimination is the sole cause of racial disparities in this country and in the world at large.”

It is these theories — and the often erroneous stories that reinforce them — that define much of the discourse on race in America, especially during national Juneteenth celebrations, which commemorate the effective end of slavery. But the story doesn’t have to be told this way.

There is an alternative approach to understanding (and celebrating) black life in the United States. “The State of Black America: Progress, Pitfalls, and the Promise of the Republic,” edited by emeritus professor of political philosophy at Michigan State University W.B. Allen and featuring essays from several prominent black scholars, offers a much-needed corrective to the cynical (and false) thinking peddled by people like Attiah, Hannah-Jones, and Kendi.

In Touch With Reality

In an essay entitled “Whose Fourth of July: Black Patriotism and Racial Inequality in America,” the erudite and rhetorically effective Brown University economics professor Glenn C. Loury calls for an “unabashed black patriotism” and “forthright embrace of American nationalism by black people.” One of the keys to doing so, as Loury has regularly explained, is to “keep in touch with reality.” By that, the economist means that, whatever racism still exists in America, we must not allow that to obscure the remarkable, even unprecedented success black Americans have experienced in the United States.

“Here in America,” writes Loury, “we have witnessed since the end of the Civil War the greatest transformation in the status of an enserfed people … that is to be found anywhere in world history. Some forty million strong, we have become by far the richest and most powerful population of African descent on the planet.”

He notes several important developments for blacks in the last 75 years: the development of a large middle class, the existence of black billionaires, and the influence of blacks on American culture. “Black Americans are the richest and most powerful people in large numbers of African descent on the planet. … [African Americans] have access to five times the income of a typical Nigerian.” He also argues that the success of people like Hannah-Jones and Kendi “gives the lie” to their cynical pessimism.

Bluffs and Bludgeons

“Structural racism,” says Loury, is largely a fabrication employed as a “bluff and a bludgeon.” It is a bluff in the sense that it is presented as an explanation that is not a legitimate one, and a bludgeon in that it is leveraged as a rhetorical weapon to shame and defeat one’s opponents.

An example of the bluff is the left’s obsessions with the narrative of police brutality against black victims. Yet more whites are killed by police every year, and although blacks are overrepresented in that statistic, they are far less than the majority (about one-fourth of just over 1,000 fatal shootings by police annually).

The left-wing narrative also typically elides that many of the persons killed are engaged in violent conflict with police officers, and that, as Loury notes, almost half of the 17,000 homicides in the United States every year involve black perpetrators. “For every black killed by the police, more than twenty-five other black people meet their end because of homicides committed by other blacks,” writes Loury.

The bludgeon, of course, is even easier to identify. That weapon is employed every time someone claims that this or that institution is permeated with systemic racism, or claims systemic racism explains some news event. The reaction to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock is explained by structural racism; gun rights are based on it, and the disproportionate number of black Americans killed by Covid is because of it.

These are either overly simplistic or fallacious. Although the use of this weapon is pervasive and quite damaging, Loury is hopeful: “I believe we are already beginning to see the collapse of this house of cards.”

A More Complicated History

The introductory essay by W.B. Allen and Mikael Rose Good exposes yet another problem with the “systemic” and “structural” racism narratives on the left. For, contrary to what many have been led to believe, substantial progress toward parity with whites for black Americans occurred before the civil rights movement, and during Jim Crow — quite an achievement, given what blacks were up against. Yet the sharpest drop in intergenerational economic mobility in the United States since 1965 has been among African Americans — quite counterintuitive given this was coeval with desegregation and other race-related policies like increased government subsidies for black communities, affirmative action, and busing.

What then explains the stagnation, and even decline of black fortunes in America? Allen and Good blame, in part, administrative cantonment, by which they mean the policy of the U.S. government treating blacks as separate and apart from everyone else.

Precious D. Hall and Daphne Cooper in their essay note that “on the whole, public policies have had a negative effect on African Americans, contributing significantly to a persistent state of poverty … and causing them to face unemployment, underemployment, and inadequate access to health care, housing, and education.” Stan Parker and Robert Borens in the summary of their essay note that poverty correlates strongly with family structure, that since the 1960s marriage and the traditional family dramatically deteriorated (in large part because of changes in attitudes toward religion and government), and that these changes were bolstered, accelerated, and enabled by Supreme Court decisions such as Roe v. Wade.

Ian V. Rowe in another essay observes that “overwhelming data and common sense suggest that family stability matters significantly in virtually every facet of a child’s future life.” Yet about half of black children are living in a home headed by a single parent, increasing the likelihood of all manner of negative outcomes, including failure to graduate high school, underemployment, or prison time. As Parker and Borens mourn: “It is an unfortunate historical fact that the civil rights movement coincided with the prevalence of a certain cultural arrogance which emphasized religion and pretended like the federal government could solve all social ills.”

Which Story Will We Tell?

In other words, the very same trends that have devastated all American demographics since the 1960s — the breakdown of the family, declining religious observance and attendance, failed federal social welfare programs, and increased rates of substance abuse — have hit the black community. Many of the economic and social gains patiently and diligently accumulated among multiple black generations since emancipation — which was leading them closer to parity with white Americans — stalled, or even evaporated. 

A few years ago, Hannah-Jones asserted: “None of the actions we are told black people must take if they want to ‘lift themselves’ out of poverty and gain financial stability — not marrying, not getting educated, not saving more, not owning a home — can mitigate 400 years of racialized plundering.” The story told by the contributors to “The State of Black America” quite decisively repudiates Hannah-Jones’ claim and the broader racialist accounts offered by her and others like Attiah and Kendi. This Juneteenth, which story we tell ourselves, and allow to inform our imaginations, will in large part determine the future trajectory of blacks in America.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

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

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

Soros-Backed Media Consortium Is Buying, to Censor, Conservative Radio Stations thumbnail

Soros-Backed Media Consortium Is Buying, to Censor, Conservative Radio Stations

By Mike Gonzalez

Wait until Americans with origins in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other lands demolished by communism find out that their favorite conservative radio stations are being bought by a media consortium headed by a longtime henchman of the Marxist founder of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza.

And wait until Mexican Americans, with roots in this country going back to the 17th century or earlier, find out that this BLM confidant, Jess Morales Rocketto, includes as one of her goals to tear down a society and culture that has taken generations to build, or that she told Latinos to follow BLM’s lead during key moments of instability.

And wait until all these voters find out that the justification the consortium, Latino Media Network, gives for the $60 million purchase of 18 stations is that they are too stupid to be able to tell truth from lies, and have been duped by “disinformation” into voting for conservatives.

And wait until these voters hear that, indeed, a big part of the “disinformation” agenda has to do with denying them the same right enjoyed by audiences of English-language media like MSNBC, CNN, Fox, etc.—to wit, being able to choose programming that does not make their blood pressure spike.

Rocketto’s partner in the Latino Media venture, Stephanie Valencia, in fact, warns ominously that “balanced journalism” will be imposed on stations bought, such as Radio Mambi, long a mainstay of the conservative Cuban American community in Miami.

Do NPR listeners want conservative views imposed on them? No. If they did want conservative views, they’d listen to Salem Radio.

I raise the language issue not to imply that American Latins are victims (they’re not), nor to play the identity politics card. I raise it because progressives know too well that if you choose Spanish-language media because you are more comfortable with it, you can be made into a captive audience.

And they are now going to, under their ideological definition of “disinformation,” make 20 million people in the nation’s largest media markets, fully one-third of Latins in the U.S.—and a much higher percentage of those who rely on Spanish—captive to the liberal values of one ultra-lefty corporate giant owner.

Progressives are pushing for censoring conservative views in Spanish because they are panicking about the Democratic Party bleeding Latin voters. A recent Quinnipiac poll, one of several, showed President Joe Biden’s support among these voters at 26%. No wonder Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling the purchased media “manipulation.”

Latino Media Network’s claim that it is bipartisan is simply hogwash; the “Republican” on its board is Al Cardenas, a nice guy perhaps, but a “Never Trumper” married to CNN’s Ana Navarro. Until now, these Spanish speakers had an actual choice—Univision and Telemundo are very progressive—but now they won’t. Lest we forget, NPR, too, insists that it is “balanced.”

These 20 million will now be delivered into the hands of those with a political and cultural interest in telling them not to assimilate, or love their new country and seek to preserve its ways, but on the contrary, they’ll be told to consider themselves victims of the system and in need of government help.

Valencia is a former aide to President Barack Obama, whose well-publicized speech about the need for government to control “disinformation” curiously preceded the creation of a disinformation czar at the Department of Homeland Security. The czar position—curiously again—had as one of its main tasks to fight “disinformation” in Spanish-language radio, and was abandoned only after a public outcry.

If these Spanish-language radio listeners are not upset enough by all of the above, let’s wait until they find out that Latino Media Network is partly financed by George Soros, a billionaire whose funding of ultra-leftist causes in their countries of birth ultimately contributed to their ruin, and whose financing of very liberal prosecutors in the American cities where they now reside has, too, made them crime-infested.

If there are any media outlets left able to report the truth, these voters are sure not to be happy when they find out these things. “If,” however, has not become iffy.

In an irony of ironies, the voters of San Francisco, one of the markets where Latino Media Network is seeking to buy a station, just this Tuesday recalled the Soros-financed rogue prosecutor Chesa Boudin. Would this San Francisco station had been able to report that Boudin’s parents were both Marxist terrorists and that Boudin was raised by another set of Marxist terrorists who were associates of Obama?

The new Marxist left provides evidence that these stations were engaging in disinformation the fact that a commentator called Biden a socialista. Never mind that this is a matter of definition—was calling President Donald Trump a xenophobe, a Russia front, or an illegitimate president disinformation? Then the ownership of MSNBC, CNN, and NPR needs to change (on this last one, we wholeheartedly agree).

If “socialista” is now verboten, then these stations won’t be able to report that Garza is a bona fide capitalism-hating Marxist, and that BLM to this day is working with the Biden White House on crafting policy for the American people.

And these stations won’t be able to say that Rocketto is a longtime collaborator of Garza, with whom she serves in numerous organizations, including the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and with whom she co-founded the group Supermajority, which mobilizes people to vote for and support leftist causes.

Or they won’t likely report that Rocketto actively encouraged her Latin followers to take part in the 2020 insurrection, the costliest riots in U.S. history, and to follow BLM’s leadership during moments of instability, not just the nationwide riots in 2020 but also those in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, which made BLM into the political powerhouse it is today.

As she put it while Ferguson burned, “If your first instinct is to talk about the need for nonviolence, please check your privilege. Your brain is in the right place, but it lost connection with your heart somewhere.”

These stations likely won’t report either on how Rocketto, echoing the many explicit calls by BLM leaders to dismantle American society root and branch, also wants to tear down U.S. society—only she says she wants to do this destructive work out of patriotic “love.”

“This is about the love of our communities and the love that we have for this country and the people in it,” she told Time. “I get so emotional about that because I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than an expression of people who love something so much that they are willing to tear it down and recreate it again.”

This is the person who will now be in charge of a huge segment of Spanish-language views.

Some commentators may say that conservatives now upset about this impending media purchase are being inconsistent since they so cheered Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. But in that instance Musk is promising to restore free expression to Twitter, whereas this purchase clearly is about censoring views.

The Federal Communications Commission will need to approve this transaction. Before it does that, Congress must exercise oversight.

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

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

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

By the Numbers: How Many Men in California Prisons Identify as Women thumbnail

By the Numbers: How Many Men in California Prisons Identify as Women

By Fred Lucas

California’s prison population includes 1,115 biological males who say they identify as women, according to the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

About 1 in 3 in that population has requested transfers to women’s prisons, but only about 1 in 10 of those requests have been approved, the corrections department says.

California’s prison agency provided the statistics in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Oversight Project, the government watchdog division of The Heritage Foundation. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

A women’s advocacy group sued the state of California in November to overturn a law allowing biological males to be housed in women’s prisons after a female inmate said she was raped by someone the prison called a “transgender woman with a penis.”

A section of the corrections department’s website devoted to “frequently asked questions” includes this question: “Does a transgender person have to have gender-affirming surgery to be housed at an institution that matches their gender identity?”

The department provides this response: “No. All housing for incarcerated people is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, which includes their criminal history, behavior, rehabilitation opportunities, medical and psychiatric needs, [and] program needs as well as their safety and security.”

Legislation passed by the California State Assembly—SB 132, called the Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act—took effect Jan. 1, 2021. The new law allows incarcerated transgender, nonbinary, and intersex individuals to request to be housed and searched in a manner consistent with their gender identity.

In 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which prohibits making decisions on prison housing based on an incarcerated person’s genitalia.

‘A Tragedy’

California’s law could put female inmates in danger, state Assemblywoman Megan Dahle says.

“All incarcerated individuals have a basic right to safety while serving their sentence in the California prison system,” Dahle told The Daily Signal in a written statement, adding:

If people are under the prison system’s care, we should do everything in our power to prevent cases of sexual assault. I voted against SB 132 when it was in the State Assembly and it is a tragedy to hear that there are cases that have come as a result of this poor policy.

As of May 23, 1,549 state inmates identified as transgender, nonbinary, or intersex, according to the corrections department. That means the 1,115 who are biological males identifying as women make up the largest subset of that group of inmates.

Also as of May 23, a total of 342 biological male inmates who identified as women had requested to be transferred to a women’s prison. Of them, 39 were approved for transfer to a female institution, according to the corrections department. Another 14 were denied a transfer and 28 changed their minds about making the move, the agency said.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation “is committed to continuing to fully implement” the new law and to “safely housing everyone in its facilities,” spokesperson Terry Thornton told The Daily Signal in an email.

“This is important as national data shows transgender people experience the highest rates of sexual victimization inside prisons and jails,” Thornton said.

Heritage’s Oversight Project also asked California’s prison agency how many biologically male inmates who identify as female have at least one conviction for sexual abuse or a sexual assault.

The corrections department responded:  “We are still working with another unit on this item.”

Asked how many of these inmates have been charged with a sexual abuse or sexual assault offense while in prison, the department responded that “reporting mechanisms do not track sexual assaults by gender identity.”

“Requests for transfer are voluntary; CDCR does not collect and cannot provide information on individual decisions to make, or not to make, a voluntary request for searching or housing based on gender identity,” Thornton, the department’s spokesman, said.

Related Litigation

In November, a feminist group called the Women’s Liberation Front filed a lawsuit, Chandler v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, accusing the state prison system of endangering women by housing biological males in women’s prisons. 

The complaint argues that incarcerated women have experienced “fear, anxiety, depression, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder” because of residing, dining, and showering with biological males. SB 132, the lawsuit says, violates the First, Eighth, and 14th amendment rights of female inmates.

In April, the state filed a motion to dismiss the case. In early May, four incarcerated biological males who identify as women filed a motion to intervene in the case, to which the Women’s Liberation Front recently filed a response.

“There is more to come. We will have witness declarations, information from plaintiffs, and information from more inmates,” Lauren Adams, legal director for the Women’s Liberation Front, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Some of the conditions for women in these prisons are horrifying.”

Among the plaintiffs is Krystal Gonzalez, who says she was raped at Central California Women’s Facility by a male who said he identified as a woman. 

According to the lawsuit, after Gonzalez requested to be housed away from men, the prison’s response referred to her alleged attacker as a “transgender woman with a penis.” The lawsuit adds that “the psychological distress caused by her assault is exacerbated by the prison’s refusal to acknowledge the sex of her perpetrator.” 

Asked about the fairly modest number of transfers compared to the prison system’s total number of males who identify as female, the Women’s Liberation Front’s Adams said: “The state started last summer making transfers. They have slowed the rate, but the transfers haven’t stopped. They were forced by security and safety reasons to put the brakes on.”

The corrections department doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation, Thornton said.

“However,” the spokesperson said, “the department is committed to continuing its full implementation of SB 132 and providing a safe, humane, rehabilitative, and secure environment for all people in its custody.”

Review Process

The website of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has a lengthy entry on “Frequently Asked Questions” that addresses aspects of SB 132 for prisons.

The FAQ page includes this question: “Will housing transgender women in a female institution put the safety of cisgender women at risk?”

The answer: “Part of the review process for transgender, non-binary and intersex people requesting housing based on their gender identity will include an evaluation of the safety of the person making the request as well as the safety of the people at the facility where the person has asked to be housed.”

Adams, the lawyer for the Women’s Liberation Front, rejected the state’s argument that a careful review process exists.

“If it is a good review process, I would hate to see a bad process,” Adams told The Daily Signal. “Beyond our general objections to housing women with biological men, we are hearing reports of incidents of sexual acts, both consensual and non-consensual.”

The prison system’s FAQ entry also includes this question: “Is there a risk that cisgender men will falsely claim to be transgender women in order to be housed with women?”

The answer: “CDCR has the ability to deny a request based on management or security concerns.”

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

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

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

Here’s How Gas Prices Rank Around the Country thumbnail

Here’s How Gas Prices Rank Around the Country

By Casey Harper

Gas prices have hit record highs day after day in recent weeks, breaking the $5 mark over the weekend for the first time ever.

Those higher prices have put many Americans in a bind as they also deal with the highest inflation in decades.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit a record-high $5.01 Monday, up from $4.43 a month ago and much higher than the price of $3.08 this time last year.

All 50 states around the country have seen major price hikes, though some more than others.

With average prices varying by state, here is the breakdown, from highest to lowest, of the regular gas price for every state in the nation.

Gas Prices State Ranking

State Current Price Price One Month Ago Price One Year Ago
1. California $6.44 $5.87 $4.23
2. Nevada $5.66 $5.14 $3.66
3. Alaska $5.57 $4.82 $3.37
4. Illinois $5.56 $4.81 $3.35
5. Washington $5.55 $4.92 $3.62
6. Oregon $5.54 $4.90 $3.47
7. Hawaii $5.53 $5.31 $3.97
8. Arizona $5.32 $4.72 $3.12
9. Indiana $5.22 $4.41 $3.05
10. Michigan $5.22 $4.35 $3.17
11. Idaho $5.10 $4.50 $3.29
12. Maine $5.08 $4.46 $3.06
13. Pennsylvania $5.07 $4.58 $3.18
14. New Jersey $5.06 $4.50 $3.07
15. Ohio $5.05 $4.29 $3.03
16. Massachusetts $5.05 $4.48 $2.95
17. Vermont $5.05 $4.48 $2.99
18. New York $5.04 $4.68 $3.11
19. Rhode Island $5.02 $4.46 $2.97
20. Maryland $5.02 $4.41 $2.99
21. Utah $5.02 $4.48 $3.37
22. New Hampshire $5.00 $4.40 $2.94
23. Delaware $4.99 $4.40 $2.97
24. Connecticut $4.98 $4.40 $3.09
25. Wisconsin $4.92 $4.20 $2.92
26. West Virginia $4.91 $4.24 $3.00
27. Montana $4.91 $4.27 $2.96
28. Florida $4.89 $4.47 $2.97
29. Colorado $4.88 $4.12 $3.22
30. Virginia $4.86 $4.27 $2.93
31. New Mexico $4.83 $4.28 $2.97
32. Kentucky $4.80 $4.22 $2.91
33. North Dakota $4.77 $4.11 $2.89
34. Minnesota $4.76 $4.10 $2.86
35. Wyoming $4.76 $4.24 $3.14
36. Nebraska $4.76 $4.09 $2.91
37. Iowa $4.74 $4.13 $2.87
38. South Dakota $4.72 $4.14 $2.93
39. Missouri $4.68 $4.03 $2.76
40. North Carolina $4.67 $4.21 $2.88
41. Kansas $4.66 $3.99 $2.85
42. Texas $4.66 $4.11 $2.76
43. Tennessee $4.64 $4.17 $2.88
44. Oklahoma $4.64 $4.00 $2.75
45. Alabama $4.63 $4.14 $2.82
46. South Carolina $4.61 $4.13 $2.80
47. Louisiana $4.55 $4.09 $2.72
48. Arkansas $4.54 $4.01 $2.77
49. Mississippi $4.52 $4.02 $2.72
50. Georgia $4.48 $3.95 $2.91

*****

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

TAKE ACTION

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

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

The Media Has Reached an Agreement on Guns, Not the Senate

By Lee Williams

If the legacy media had their way, your front door would explode and seconds later you’d be hip-deep in armed gun-grabbers delivering high-caliber butt-strokes to your noggin until you surrendered the combination to your gun safe. That is the level of anti-gun bias today’s legacy media uses whenever they report on anything related to guns or the Second Amendment. Their recent stories on developments in the Senate are no exception to this rule.

“The Senate has finally reached an agreement on guns,” a CBS news actor breathlessly announced Monday morning. Except the Senate hasn’t reached any agreement. Ten Republican Senators have agreed in theory to back a gun-control framework, which is lightyears away from agreeing to support an actual gun-control bill.

Once again, the legacy media is way ahead of the actual story. Once again, they are reporting what they want to happen, instead of what actually happened. Rather than reporting the truth, today’s media consistently pushes its own agenda, which in this case is their belief we need more gun control.

To be clear, a bipartisan group of 20 Senators – 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats – led by Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), announced yesterday their support for a proposal, which is not a bill.

According to a press release from Murphy’s office, the proposal is “a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country.”

“Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities,” Murphy said in the statement. “Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons. Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law.”

You can read the full text of Murph’s proposal, as well as which Senators have announced their support, here.

Is this development concerning to those of us who value our God-given constitutional rights? Yes, it certainly is. However, we do not yet know what provisions of the proposal will be included in the bill, or even if there will be an actual bipartisan bill.

The National Rifle Association said as much in a statement released Sunday night:

“As is our policy, the NRA does not take positions on “frameworks”. We will make our position known when the full text of the bill is available for review. The NRA will continue to oppose any effort to insert gun control policies, initiatives that override constitutional due process protections, and efforts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their fundamental right to protect themselves and their loved ones into this or any other legislation.” ​

While some of the concepts contained in the Senators’ proposal are likely unconstitutional, it is a proposal, not legislation, at least not yet. We need to monitor developments closely and keep in contact with our elected representatives. While the gun banners are celebrating wildly while the cameras roll, do not fall victim to the media’s spin. That friends, is exactly what they want. They survive solely on clicks and ratings. Do not feed the media beast.

*****

This article was published by The Second Amendment Foundation and is reprinted with permission.

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A House Divided – An Open Letter to a Democrat

By Mark T. Cicero

We are a nation divided today: split into political divisions, Democrat, Republican, Socialist, Progressive; into racial divisions: black, white, Asian, Hispanic; into cultural and sexual divisions: straight, gay, lesbian, transexual, etc. Our entire country’s fabric is being torn asunder as these separate ‘tribes’ are set against one another. In Chapter 3 of the Gospel of Mark (verses 24 & 25), Christ stated “If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”. This once great nation is being fractured and only its people can prevent it.

I had a conversation with a dear friend yesterday, who thought I might be amused by a verbal gaffe committed by President Biden. (It is important to note that he is an ardent and lifelong liberal Democrat while I have considerably more conservative leanings.) I was not amused, as I find the lack of clarity, intellect, and honesty to be severely lacking in this president. Having him prove it again by speaking publicly again does not strike me as funny. This conversation quickly devolved into an argument – left versus right which terminated when my friend hung up on me in mid-sentence. His hatred of Donald Trump was matched only by my disdain for Joe Biden. He railed on about Trump being a liar and trying to steal this election from Biden by inciting insurrection, being in bed with Russia, and being arguably the most horrible person that this planet has seen since Ivan the Terrible.

I tried to segment these issues and tackle them individually, which only increased the emotional level of the discourse. It quickly became apparent that Mr. Trump was bad because my friend’s “gut instinct” told him he was a bad guy. The rumors of his “Russian Collusion” only served to reinforce this feeling along with any coverage by ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, et cetera (“MSM – Main Stream Media”).  The most difficult part of this entire conversation was that it drove us into an adversarial position with no hope of compromise. He completely discounted my research into the issues with the 2020 election: the complete failure of the swing state’s Biden vote count to pass Benford’s Law of First Digits, Peter Schweizer’s book entitled “Red Handed”, or any coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop with his payments to the “Big Guy”.

As a result, there was literally no basis for a conversation or debate. There was no common starting point and no concrete foundation that could be agreed upon. With emotions beginning to increase and frustration on both sides ratcheting up, it quickly became apparent that this now shouting match could fracture a close friendship. In hindsight, I am glad that he chose to hang up on me before it got to that level.

While I regret the tone the conversation took, I know that he loves America and is grateful for the opportunities it has afforded him, as am I. However, in retrospect, I now know that polite discourse between our two parties will never happen until we can get common facts to rely uponThe complicity of the MSM with the Democrat party is almost total and complete and, without any opposing voice except Fox. 

Until journalists start to report on events with some level of impartiality using a factual basis, the distrust of all voices will only increase (consider how every news outlet spiked the Hunter Biden laptop story until recently and then with only minimal coverage). It is time for us, as a nation, to demand honesty from our media outlets and news organizations.

For example, when Darrell Brooks Jr. drives an SUV through a Christmas parade in Wisconsin, killing 6 and injuring dozens more, it should not be reported as “An SUV killed people in a parade”. I believe that, because Mr. Brooks is a black man and most of his victims were white, this particular crime did not assist in pushing a BLM/Antifa agenda and received very little MSM attention. Now, when Peyton Gendron, walks into a Buffalo NY supermarket and kills 10 people who were primarily black, this gets put on the cover of every newspaper and leads in the MSM as a “hate crime”. Both acts are similarly heinous but received very different reporting. 

An aside: It is also interesting to note that there was no one blaming the automobile manufacturers for building and promoting “weapons of war” but that’s a Second Amendment argument not for this essay.

It should be important to remember that Mr. Biden’s inaugural address included the following: “the dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer” and “my whole soul is in this: bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation”. These were the words he spoke to our nation, his promise to America. Do we have equal justice in this nation? In the almost 18 months since his inauguration, has there been any move to create unity? Let’s examine each of those points closely.

“Justice for all” seems like the exact language our Constitutional framers would have used to describe a judicial utopian ideal that our courts and law enforcement agencies are designed to emulate. If justice is to be fair, it must also be delivered evenly, regardless of race, religion, or political party.

When you consider the treatment of Roger Stone, arrested in his home in the pre-dawn hours with a SWAT team, and Peter Navarro, who lives 50 feet from the FBI’s Washington office, being shackled with handcuffs and leg irons at National Airport after offering to surrender himself earlier that same day. Stone was arrested for lying to the FBI and Navarro for ignoring a Congressional subpoena. James Clapper and John Brennan, both staunch Democrats were guilty of lying to Congress – no arrests, no jail time, and no court appearances. Instead they were rewarded with positions on cable news.

Also consider the case of Michael Sussman, who essentially admitted to lying to the FBI and was acquitted of his crimes. In case you need a refresher, he is the DNC lawyer at the firm of Perkins Coie. Two of this law firm’s main Washington DC clients are the DNC and the Clinton family – who delivered the notorious Steele Dossier that began the entire Russian Collusion Hoax. Yes, that same Steele Dossier that was created at the request of the Clinton Campaign, paid for with Clinton campaign funds and used by the FBI to get the FISA courts to permit them to spy on the Trump campaign. Is this equal justice, when one political party has the leading law enforcement agency in the world doing its bidding, including staffing an office in the DNC’s pet law firm, Perkins Coie?

On to unity: how is that working out? Every action of this administration seems intended to fracture our society rather than bring us together.  We are watching our rule of law fade into the background as the administration lets millions of unknown people stream across our southern border. Will these new ‘citizens’ help us find unity?

We know they are responsible for over 100,000 deaths of actual American citizens from fentanyl overdoses delivered to us from China via Mexico. We are also confronted by an economic tsunami that Mr. Biden and Ms. Pelosi are directly responsible for – all that Covid stimulus money inflated our money supply by 50%, which any first-year economics student will tell you produces runaway inflation.

This is further exacerbated by working to reduce and retard domestic energy exploration and production with the zeal of a PRC Security officer suppressing a Uighur neighborhood.

This is additive to the inflation from the increase in our money supply.  It affects the cost of everything in our country, from your cost of energy, your latest purchase on Amazon to the family summer vacation to the cost of groceries.

We have a baby formula shortage, you can’t get glass for the windows in new home construction, and virtually every good and service cost more and is scarcer than it was 18 months ago. Inflation, by definition, creates competition for all goods and services. It pits neighbor against neighbor, further fracturing our neighborhoods and our sense of nation.

So, once again, I beg of you, my liberal friends, to help me understand why any of these policies of this administration are helping our country? How an open border flooding deadly fentanyl across our land and scattering millions of unknown people throughout our country will make America a better place to live? Why is it better to buy oil from Venezuela, Iran, or Saudi Arabia than it is to drill for it here?

I understand that we may have different world views, watch different television shows, and vote for different people, but can you please tell us how anything this administration has done to us will also be for us.  Perhaps then we can have a positive and constructive conversation.

TAKE ACTION

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

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

Celebrating LGBTQ+ and Other Playacting thumbnail

Celebrating LGBTQ+ and Other Playacting

By Craig J. Cantoni

The phoniness of free riders who benefit from the heavy lifting of earlier generations.

Long before the word “gay” came into popular use, long before the word “pride” was modified by the word “gay,” and long before gay marriage was sanctioned, two gay guys, Ken and Gerry, were good friends of my working-class parents.  Lifelong partners, both were white-collar professionals and, in my estimation as a kid, great guys.  Their sexual preference was irrelevant to me and my parents, and while they didn’t hide it, they also weren’t crusaders about it.

It was the same with other gays I later came to know, whether in college, business, or the neighborhood.

Now I’m being asked in TV commercials and in messages that come across my computer screen to “Celebrate gay pride during LGBTQ+ Pride Month.”

How am I supposed to do that?  Shooting off fireworks in the backyard?  Tying rainbow-colored balloons to my mailbox at the street?  Wearing a party hat?

And if I did that, how does it change American society for the better?

Speaking of change:  Circa 1990, when I was a business executive before “transgender” became a cause du jour, an employee in one of my departments began transitioning from a man to a woman.  No big deal.  His preferences were accommodated on how he wanted to be addressed and what restroom he wanted to use, and I quietly got the word out to his coworkers that the company expected them to be mature adults about it.

It was a similar story at other large corporations at the time, as I knew from being a member of a business roundtable that met to discuss human resources issues.

Back then, there was not any hullabaloo about sexual and gender preferences:  no rainbow banners at company facilities, no saccharine messages on company message boards, and no advertising touting how wonderfully open-minded my employer and I were or how thoroughly modern and hip we were.

Now retired, I’m getting messages like the following every day:  “Improve LGBTQ+ students’ experience.”

How am I supposed to do that?  And what about the experience of heterosexual students?

Another message suggests an answer:  “June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month.  Celebrate in classrooms across the country with GISEN.  Donate now!”

The same answer about donating appeared in this message:  “NBJC promotes racial equity for Black LGBTQ+/SGL people.  Donate now!”

In addition to messages about sexual and gender identity, Americans are bombarded daily by a barrage of shopworn commercials, advertisements, and messages about diversity and inclusion.  There are so many that companies seem to be in the business of selling diversity instead of the business of selling goods and services. 

On second thought, they seem to be in the business of selling baloney.

Once again, this is quite a contrast with my experience decades ago, when my employer and I, as well as other like-minded executives and employers, engaged in quiet but effective efforts at equal opportunity, affirmative action, racial sensitivity training, and the more recent name for all this, “diversity,” which entered the lexicon after R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. published his landmark Harvard Business Review article on the subject.  

Internal political battles were fought, racist and sexist employees and managers were fired, the numbskulls at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were humored so that they didn’t stop progress with their bureaucratic bumbling, and the vast majority of employees heard and heeded the message without being beaten over the head.  We called this leadership.

At the same time, with no fanfare, my employer addressed the woefully inadequate education of its black employees in the Deep South.  Illiterate employees were given the opportunity to learn to read and write at company expense so that they could operate new manufacturing technology.  Almost all of them took the opportunity, and they later beamed with pride at an in-house graduation ceremony that their families attended.

None of this was delegated to a department of diversity and inclusion because there wasn’t such a department.  And there wasn’t such a department, because company leaders were doing their job of leading.

Today, whether in industry, government, or academia, leaders have become followers with respect to diversity and inclusion.  They parrot platitudes and banalities, they kowtow to pressure groups, they engage in tokenism and pandering, and they run unoriginal and farfetched commercials and ads, featuring the requisite number of races, skin shades, eye shapes, mixed marriages, and sexual and gender identities.

It’s all so formulaic, superficial, and tiresome.

Today’s leaders cum followers also cater to their idealistic, naïve, and programmed employees, the ones who mistake virtue-signaling for virtue, righteousness for being right, sanctimony for seriousness, progressiveness for progress, and politically-correct pronouns for pertinence.

Most of them, executives and rank-and-file knowledge workers alike, live and work in cocoons—in places that might have some modicum of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, but are homogenous in social class, education, and, yes, privilege and power.

They benefit from the heavy lifting of those from earlier generations who fought hard battles for equal rights and risked their careers in the process.  As free riders, the cocoon dwellers advance their careers, not by doing anything serious about the socio-economic issues of the day, but by putting on party hats and celebrating LGBTQ+. 

TAKE ACTION

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

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

Davos Reminds: Other Countries Aren’t Committing Economic Suicide For Climate Change

By Seton Motley

In very many WEFs past, lots of countries have made lots of climate change pledges and promises. They then moved on as if they never said anything – and kept doing what they had always been doing.

“One-third of the roughly 270 WEF panel discussions in Davos will focus on climate change or its effects, with extreme weather, efforts to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and finding new, cleaner sources of energy on the agenda.”

Of course, the world’s globalist billionaire “leaders” are all members of the “Do As I Say – Not As I Do” Club.

Just How Much CO2 Did Woke Elites Spew Flying Private Jets To Davos?:

“Overall, roughly 1,500 private jets flew to and from airports near Davos for the WEF annual meeting in 2019, according to an analysis from Air Charter Service, The Guardian reported at the time. The firm didn’t conduct a similar analysis for this year’s conference, a spokesperson told TheDCNF.”

Get that?  When the number of private jets flying in to discuss “climate change” is an embarrassment?  Stop counting the private jets.

At Davos, Are Leaders’ Private Jets and Limos Actually Hurting Climate-Change Efforts?

Gee, ya think?

If you still take these globalists seriously – about anything?  You’re either not paying attention – or are irretrievably stupid.

In very many WEFs past, lots of countries have made lots of climate change pledges and promises.  They then moved on as if they never said anything – and kept doing what they had always been doing.

And as is always the case when people get away with things?  These countries are attempting to get away with bigger and more brazen things.

Having faced zero consequences for lying about doing climate change things?

Not a Single G20 Country Is in Line with the Paris Agreement on Climate, Analysis Shows

Nations now increasingly don’t even bother to lie.  To wit: China, Russia, and India are the three biggest “emitters” not named the US….

Cop26: China, India and Russia Must ‘Do More’ to Tackle Climate Crisis

Except….

China, Russia, India, Worlds Top 3 Methane Emitters, Won’t Pledge to Cut Emissions

China, India, and Russia Aren’t Interested in Updating Their Emissions Targets Before 2025

And they tell lies so biliously preposterous – they are utterly unenforceable even if they weren’t lying.

India Targets 2070 for Net-Zero Emissions

China’s Contentious Path to Net-Zero by 2060

Russia Aims to Reach Net Zero Emissions by 2060

Just about none of the globalist fat cats (emphasis on “fat”) bearing witness to these Davos climate “pledges” will be alive in 2060 when they first begin coming due.  If any of these nations actually intended on adhering to them – which they absolutely do not.

India, China, Russia Kill Climate Deal

These international climate “pledges” aren’t worth the very many dead trees on which they’re printed.  They are nothing but gassy, sound-good soundbites.

Because these countries wish not to commit economic suicide.  And I certainly don’t blame them.

But exceedingly awful president Joe Biden is rigorously determined to commit US economic suicide on our behalf.

Biden Commits to Cutting U.S. Emissions in Half by 2030

That means the US economy doesn’t grow – it shrinks by about 50%.  In eight years.  And as I’m sure you’ve noticed – what with the heinously horrendous economy in which we all are mired?  Biden isn’t just saying these things – he’s actually doing them.

Video of the Day: Joe Biden Promises No More Drilling for Oil – Period

Joe Biden Just Promised No Coal Power Plants Will Ever Be Built In America

No empty economic suicide pledges from Biden.  Like, say, from China, Russia and India.

China Is Investing in Its Domestic Oil and Gas Industry

Russian Oil Production Is Rebounding and Will Keep Rising

India Continues to Buy More Oil from Russia Despite the Western Pressure

India Looks To Buy More Iranian Oil

China Tells Mines to Produce ’As Much Coal as Possible’

China Needs Russian Coal. Moscow Needs New Customers

In Russia, Coal Is Still King. And The Government Wants Even More

India Ramps Up Coal Production

So as but a tiny salve to our under-climate-siege economy?  Let’s tax the imports from these climate liars.

Trump Trade Principles to Mitigate the Climate Alarmists and Their Many Taxes:

“We have been artificially, dramatically increasing the cost of our energy – while no other country really has.

“Which is a de facto subsidy.  By every other country – for every product, they export to us.

“Because everything they do – is cheaper than everything we do.  Everything they make – is cheaper than everything we make.

“How should we rectify this idiocy?  How do we get to global ‘climate change’ even?

The ‘Border Adjustment Tax’: Great Tax Reform – That Gets Us Great Trade Reform

Border Carbon Tax: DC Can Do Better – When It Chooses to Do So

Build Back Never: Let’s Carbon Tax Them – Not US:

“‘What Is a Carbon Border Tax and What Does It Mean for Trade?:

“‘A carbon border adjustment tax is a duty on imports based on the amount of carbon emissions resulting from the production of the product in question. As a price on carbon, it discourages emissions. As a trade-related measure, it affects production and exports.’

“The US imposing a carbon tax on US – will export lots and LOTS of companies and jobs.  Taxing them and not US – will do exactly the opposite:

“‘Instead of taxing exports and not imports, we’d be taxing imports and not exports. Instead of reading about corporate inversions and outsourcing, we’d be reading about jobs and firms moving into the U.S. to take advantage of the favorable tax rules here.’”

Yes, please.

At the very least, it would help to mitigate the egregious “climate change” damage Biden is unilaterally doing to the US.

*****

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

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Oil Companies Unload On Biden After His Thinly-Veiled Threats

By Thomas Catenacci

Oil companies responded in force after President Joe Biden threatened executive action over U.S. refinery capacity declines.

“Following on your campaign promise to ‘end fossil fuel,’ consider just some of the policy and investment signals being sent by various federal agencies and allied state governments to the market about our refining industry,” the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers wrote to Biden on Wednesday.

“What we have seen since January 2021 are policies that send a message that the Administration aims to impose obstacles to our industry delivering energy resources the world needs,” Chevron spokesperson Bill Turenne said.

Oil companies and industry trade groups criticized President Joe Biden after he sent a letter to them threatening action over high gasoline prices.

Biden penned a letter to seven major oil companies Tuesday insisting they increase oil refining operations to counter declining fuel supplies and inventories nationwide. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) sent a letter to the White House Wednesday evening, saying energy companies are refining at an increasingly high rate and government policies have injected uncertainty into the industry, in a response sent to the White House on Wednesday evening.

“Refiners do not make multi-billion-dollar investments based on short-term returns,” the two groups wrote in the joint letter to Biden. “They look at long-term supply and demand fundamentals and make investments as appropriate. To that end, following on your campaign promise to ‘end fossil fuel,’ consider just some of the policy and investment signals being sent by various federal agencies and allied state governments to the market about our refining industry.”

“The timing and reasons for shutdowns of several refineries, including the Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Shell Convent refineries, were primarily due to lack of buyers willing to continue operating the facilities as petroleum refineries given growing rhetoric about the long-term viability of the industry,” the letter continued.

On Wednesday, several of the companies Biden addressed in his warning letter responded in force, echoing the industry groups’ response. They noted their refinery utilization rates are high and that the president’s policies are holding them back.

“Specific to refining capacity in the U.S., we’ve been investing through the downturn to increase refining capacity to process U.S. light crude by about 250,000 barrels per day – the equivalent of adding a new medium-sized refinery,” ExxonMobil said in a statement shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We kept investing even during the pandemic when we lost more than $20 billion and had to borrow more than $30 billion to maintain investment to increase capacity to be ready for post-pandemic demand.”

“Longer term, the government can promote investment through clear and consistent policy that supports U.S. resource development, such as regular and predictable lease sales, as well as streamlined regulatory approval and support for infrastructure such as pipelines,” the company’s statement continued.

The API and AFPM noted that the Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized a vehicle standard to force gasoline demand down over the next decade and the administration encouraged an effort in California to place a future ban on traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. Multiple federal agencies have also introduced roadblocks for approving and constructing energy infrastructure projects like pipelines, the groups added.

Increasing refining capacity would boost crude oil demand and, therefore, prices would soar higher since the administration has largely opposed new fossil fuel production and leasing, the groups said.

In addition, Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith and Phillips 66 spokesperson Bernardo Fallas both highlighted that U.S. refinery utilization is up, in emails to TheDCNF.

Operable refinery utilization — a figure that measures how much petroleum companies are refining relative to their maximum capacity — reached a whopping 94.2% this month, its highest level since 2019, and is expected to remain at that rate through the summer, according to the Energy Information Administration. But total U.S. refining capacity has declined due to environmental regulations and projected gasoline demand decline as a result of the so-called green transition.

“Chevron is committed to the supply of affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy in the United States and across the globe,” Chevron spokesperson Bill Turenne told TheDCNF. “We understand the significant concerns around higher fuel prices currently faced by consumers around the country and the world. We share these concerns, and expect the Administration’s approach to energy policy will start to better reflect the importance of addressing them.”

“Unfortunately, what we have seen since January 2021 are policies that send a message that the Administration aims to impose obstacles to our industry delivering energy resources the world needs,” he added. “All of Chevron’s U.S. refineries are operational and our refinery input grew to 915,000 [barrels per day] on average in the first quarter from 881,000 in the same quarter a year before.”

*****

This article was published by The Daily Caller News Foundation and is reprinted with permission.

TAKE ACTION

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

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

Biologic Men Are Crushing Women’s Sports thumbnail

Biologic Men Are Crushing Women’s Sports

By Ellie Fromm

Title IX was signed into law on June 23, 1972, almost 50 years ago, giving women equal opportunities and representation in all sports, from elementary school through college. The supporters of Title IX clearly recognized that women should have equal opportunity to compete in sports.

They knew men and women are physically, emotionally, and mentally different. For example, men generally have stronger upper bodies, while women usually have stronger lower bodies. Men have larger lung capacities and hearts. Also, women have an extra layer of fat for childbearing.

Because of the differences between men and women, it would not be fair or reasonable to have them competing against each other. A man who puts in the same amount of effort and hours will always be stronger than a woman who does the same. It’s not inequality, it’s biology. The purpose of Title IX was to protect women from these differences and allow them to excel in their own sports.

In full disclosure, I am active in athletics. I am a three-sport high school varsity athlete (swim, soccer, and track), have played club soccer for five years, am a summer swim coach, assistant coach for a boys’ club soccer team, and work out at the gym regularly. I have a substantial experience with athletics, and not just female sports. I have trained with, and coached, both boys and girls. Once boys reach about age 10, they are almost certainly stronger than their female counterparts.

When I go to the gym, my male counterparts always lift more than me, as well they should. They are male and their bodies are built for it. My body was built with a different purpose in mind.

Lately, some biological men have been identifying as women and then crushing women in their sports. This is a blatant violation of Title IX. While these men may claim they are women, there is a lot more to being a woman than long hair, estrogen, makeup, and dresses. Taking hormones does not suddenly change your body into a woman. At the end of the day, you still have the genetic makeup and physicality of a man. The shoulders are still broader, and the hips are smaller. Taking hormones does not magically alter your muscle tone, body build, and bone density into a genetic female. The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently found that biologic men taking hormones are still stronger and faster than their female counterparts.

The biologic man who now goes by Lia Thomas, whose birth name is Will Thomas, has been the focal point of the women’s sports debate. Thomas recently finished his senior year of college at the University of Pennsylvania as a student-athlete. He is a swimmer. For three years, Thomas competed on the men’s team. Then he decided to transition into a woman and compete on the women’s team. Keep in mind that Thomas was not a star swimmer on the UPenn men’s team. Because he was swimming for an Ivy League school, he was fast, but not a super-star. On the men’s team, Thomas ranked nationally “554th in the 200 freestyle, 65th in the 500 freestyle, and 32nd in the 1650 freestyle”. However, when competing against women, Thomas suddenly became ranked “fifth, first, and eighth in those respective events”.

At the NCAA 2021 championships, Thomas (competing for the women’s team as Lia Thomas) won the 200 freestyle 6.1 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, a female. In the swim world, that is an eternity for a championship race. Most championship race finishes are within milliseconds of each other, not six whole seconds. Face it, Thomas won because he had an advantage over the females in the pool, the advantage being Thomas is genetically male. He trained his entire life as a male, full of testosterone. That training and muscle memory remain present even if  testosterone levels are pharmacologically lowered.

Genetically born men competing as women were also present in the 2021 Summer Olympics. Laurel Hubbard (biological male competing in women’s weightlifting for New Zealand) and Chelsea Wolf (biological male competing for the United States of America BMX women’s team as an alternate) competed on women’s teams, despite being born as men. This has also leaked into the NFL, which just signed its “first openly transgender cheerleader”.

Even the high school level has been affected. From 2017 to 2019 at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), a track competition, two biologic males won 15 girls’ state track championship titles.

These males, from all age levels, are not only emotionally and psychologically harming women, but are also a threat physically. Yes, all the sports I have listed are non-contact, but biologic males are also competing as women in high-contact sports, such as rugby, wrestling/martial arts, and soccer, among others. For example, Kelly Morgan, a British male, has a teammate who bragged to BBC sports about a time Morgan “folded an opponent ‘like a deckchair’”. Excuse me?

Women are not only losing to men, but are also becoming injured. Allowing biologic men to compete in women’s sports shows a dangerous and wrongful disrespect for women’s health and wellbeing.

If feminism was always about equality, where are the feminists now? Shouldn’t they be out there, protecting women’s rights under the Title IX progress established in 1972? Feminists are only vocal when it is convenient and useful for the left. This fight is on the shoulders of women athletes, and it has been made clear that feminists will not help with this fight.

Currently, only nine US states have passed legislation to protect women’s sports. We must take a stand, say no, and fight for ourselves. We need our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers to help us fight. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are”. We must ensure our future daughters, granddaughters, and nieces have the opportunity to compete against other females on a level playing field.

Click here to sign the ‘Save Women’s Sports’ petition.

Click here to demonstrate if your state has passed legislation to protect women’s sports.

*****

Ellie Fromm is currently serving at The Prickly Pear as a Journalism Intern. Ms. Fromm is entering her senior year of high school and has been home schooled since preschool.

TAKE ACTION

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

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