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[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] Mask Mandates and Broccoli Mandates The opposition to mask-mandates harkens back to the Obamacare challenge. Published:6/28/2020 10:39:48 PM
[abortion] Will the conservatives’ losing streak at the Supreme Court continue? (Paul Mirengoff) Tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m. in the East, the Supreme Court will start issuing its final opinions of the term. The big cases yet to be decided include: June Medical Services v. Russo (regarding abortion), Trump v. Mazars USA and Trump v. Vance (regarding access to President Trump’s tax returns case), Little Sisters of the Poor Sts. Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (regarding the conscience exemption from Obamacare’s birth Published:6/24/2020 9:12:37 PM
[Health Care] Obamacare 2.0 Bill Would Be a Windfall, But Also Pyrrhic Victory, for Insurance Lobby

In December 2013, 11.8 million Americans had individual health insurance coverage. The federal government provided no subsidies for that coverage. Six years later, in December... Read More

The post Obamacare 2.0 Bill Would Be a Windfall, But Also Pyrrhic Victory, for Insurance Lobby appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/24/2020 2:46:56 PM
[Health Care] A Decade After Obamacare Became Law, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Is Working to Fix Issues It Created

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was supposed to cut insurance premiums, reduce the uninsured population, and provide the option to keep your plan and... Read More

The post A Decade After Obamacare Became Law, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Is Working to Fix Issues It Created appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:5/26/2020 2:33:17 AM
[Politics] Coronavirus widens healthcare divide between red states and blue states

A decade after Obamacare became law, California has vastly expanded health coverage; Texas has resisted. The difference is huge in many people's lives

Published:5/25/2020 7:30:41 AM
[Markets] Obama's Ambassador To Beijing Compares Trump To Hitler On Chinese TV Obama's Ambassador To Beijing Compares Trump To Hitler On Chinese TV Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 11:25

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, American leftists have been repeatedly caught parroting the rhetoric of the CCP as they decried President Trump's use of the term "Chinese Virus" as racist while amplifying unfounded claims that President Trump is solely responsible for all of the deaths in the US, despite the growing body of evidence that the coronavirus was spreading in the US even earlier than initially believed (the first known death has been dated to Feb. 6 in California, which suggests the virus was likely spreading in the US before the end of January).

As a reminder, China didn't inform the world about the evidence of human to human transmission (which they likely possessed for 6+ weeks at that point) until Jan. 22.

Despite all of this, Democrats have taken a distinctly "soft on China" tack, in opposition to President Trump's increasing hawkishness, even going so far as to side with the CCP (which, remember, just put 1 million+ Muslims into concentration camps) over the White House, as the National Review pointed out in a recent article.

One of the most galling examples of this phenomenon to date occurred Thursday, when former Obama-era ambassador and noted Sinophile Max Baucus, also a former Democratic Senator from Montana, compared President Trump to Hitler during an appearance in the Chinese press.

The former U.S. ambassador to China during the Obama administration has compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler and Joseph McCarthy on Chinese state-run television.

Max Baucus, who served as Montana senator from 1978 to 2014 until he was appointed ambassador to Beijing, compared Trump’s rhetoric on China to that of Hitler and McCarthy during a May 6 interview on CNN. Since then, Baucus has appeared on Chinese state television and repeated his claims.

"Joe McCarthy [and] Adolf Hitler…rallied people up, making people believe things that were really not true,” Baucus told China Global Television Network on May 12. "The White House and some in Congress are making statements against China that are so over the top and so hypercritical, they are based not on the fact, or if they are based on fact, sheer demagoguery, and that’s what McCarthy did in the 1950s."

Appearing on CNN is one thing. But what, we wonder, would motivate a former US Senator to appear in Chinese state-controlled media like this, blatantly parroting Chinese state propaganda, or at least willingly playing along with it.

Aside from criticizing President Trump, Baucus has waxed about America's impending decline on Chinese television, playing into an even more sinister theme of anti-Americanism.

On May 14, Baucus told China’s state-run Global Times, “We Americans are so used to being number one. We’re so used to being the leader in the world. Now that might change.”

During his time in the Senate, Baucus rose to become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (which is different from the Senate Banking Committee before which Mnuchin and Powell testified earlier this week) and has been credited as a chief architect of Obamacare.

Published:5/22/2020 10:38:22 AM
[World] Nancy Pelosi's $3 trillion 'coronavirus relief' bill is a leftist boondoggle

In the pantheon of great lines suitable for induction into Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2010 comment about Obamacare: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

While that seemed outrageous and even comical to many at the time, ... Published:5/18/2020 1:41:18 PM

[Satire] CNN Panel of Coronavirus ‘Experts’ Includes Celebrity Truant Greta Thunberg, Failed Obamacare Architect Kathleen Sebelius

CNN, the so-called news network that employs two of the entertainment industry's biggest whiners—Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter—is holding a town hall on Thursday to discuss the "facts and fears" surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The post CNN Panel of Coronavirus ‘Experts’ Includes Celebrity Truant Greta Thunberg, Failed Obamacare Architect Kathleen Sebelius appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:5/13/2020 3:37:38 PM
[Markets] Greta Thunberg Repurposed For CNN Town Hall On Coronavirus Greta Thunberg Repurposed For CNN Town Hall On Coronavirus

Greta Thunberg has overcome her ruined childhood to become an expert on COVID-19, according to CNN - which will feature the teenage climate activist in a Thursday town hall to discuss the virus.

Appearing alongside Thunberg for Coronavirus: Facts and Fears will be former Obama admin officials Richard Besser, who served as director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for less than six months, and Kathleen Sebelius, who was Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services - overseeing the disastrous Obamacare rollout which resulted in Republicans calling for her resignation.

What Thunberg can contribute to a discussion on COVID-19 is anyone's guess, but we're guessing anyone who dares to set foot in an airport is in for a guilt trip.

There couldn't be a funnier parody of the "facts first" network's promo for the event:

As Brad Polumbo opines in the Washington Examiner:

There are almost no words for how ridiculous this is. Anchor Chris Cuomo has touted CNN as the “facts first” network. Reliable Sources (ironic) host Brian Stelter regularly tut-tuts Fox News (sometimes justifiably) for having unqualified guests speaking on expert subjects. But at least they don’t tell their viewers to take their coronavirus wisdom from 17-year-old, troubled teenagers.

The same liberal journalists who have scolded people for so much as questioning the wisdom of the federal government’s top coronavirus experts, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, are now literally telling people to get their scientific analysis from Greta Thunberg.

To be clear, you shouldn’t hold contempt for Thunberg — you should feel bad for her. She is a deeply troubled young woman with a long history of struggles with depression, OCD, eating disorders, bullying, and more. Sadly, she has latched onto an alarmist ascientific doomsday tale of a pending climate apocalypse as a way of coping. There’s nothing horribly wrong with this; Thunberg is a young woman of admirable passion and should pursue her beliefs. What’s disturbing is to see liberal journalists exploit such a young, ill-informed activist to push their political agenda even to her detriment.

*  *  *

We couldn't agree more.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/13/2020 - 16:25
Published:5/13/2020 3:37:38 PM
[Markets] Bad Look Of High Stock Prices & High Unemployment Bad Look Of High Stock Prices & High Unemployment

Via Global Macro Monitor,

In less than an hour, the BLS will release the employment situation for April, which will illustrate the devastation the COVID crisis has inflicted on the U.S. labor market.  Since the crisis began 30 million plus American workers have filed for unemployment insurance, which is about 20 percent of the 150 million workforce.

Not all 30 million will show up in this morning’s number due to lags in how the data is gathered.  We expect the unemployment rate will probably peak in the May report and gradually begin to recover.  All bets off if the country is hit with a second wave of COVID infections and deaths.

Today’s Unemployment Rate Reflects A Closed Economy

Though we are very empathetic to those who have lost their jobs, we are also cognizant that many of the 30 million unemployed will return to work once the economic reopening accelerates and what really matters is how much long-term damage has been done to the economy and American labor force.  Nobody knows for certain as we are all engaged in a guessing game, which will probably be the case until the economic fog begins to burn off in the fall.

There will likely be an initial burst of economic activity due to a huge pent-up demand as America opens for business but the long-term reality will be determined by how much damage and hysteresis the lock-down has inflicted. 

Hysteresis in the field of economics refers to an event in the economy that persists into the future, even after the factors that led to that event have been removed.

– Investopedia

Stocks seem to be expecting a fairly rapid return to normal as the S&P is only a little over less than 10 percent from it’s all-time high.   We are not so sanguine and our priors are the unemployment rate will linger in the low double-digit range for sometime.  

A high stock market and double-digit unemployment is not a good look going into the November presidential election, especially for President Trump, who derives much of his support from his populist and anti-elitist rhetoric.

Top 10 Percent Of Households Own 88 Percent Of Stock Wealth

The elites, or let’s say the Top 10 percent of households, for example, own 88 percent of stock market wealth.  See our post,  Why The Stock Bull Is A Big Meh For Most Americans.

And a stock market clinging close to its highs with an unemployment rate that has nearly tripled will reopen the wounds of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) that the “fat cats” were once again bailed out at the expense of Main Street.

The same toxic politics – but this time on steroids – which helped Trump get elected in 2016.

“This is the second time we’ve bailed their asses out,” grumbled Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, last month. The battle over who pays for the fiscal burdens of the pandemic is just beginning. On the present trajectory, a backlash against big business is likely…

The most overlooked risk is of a political backlash. The slump will hurt smaller firms and leave the bigger corporate survivors in a stronger position, increasing the concentration of some industries that was already a problem before the pandemic. A crisis demands sacrifice and will leave behind a big bill. The clamour for payback will only grow louder if big business has hogged more than its share of the subsidies on offer. It is easy to imagine windfall taxes on bailed-out industries, or a sharp reversal of the steady drop in the statutory federal corporate-tax rate, which fell to 21% in 2017 after President Donald Trump’s tax reforms, from a long-term average of well over 30%. Some Democrats want to limit mergers and stop firms returning cash to their owners.

The Economist

Moreover, a narrative is beginning to take shape that the Trump administration and his Republicans are more of a Trojan Horse for the 1 percent and Greenwich set.  That is, tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations while cutting social services and healthcare for the middle class and pumping up and bailing out stocks at the expense of Main Street, where the top 10 percent directly hold almost 90 percent of total stock wealth while the bottom 90 percent have only a little over 10 percent.

At the same time, the Trump administration presents itself as sort of a dysfunctional Honey Boo Boo reality show to entertain its base.  Though what some may perceive as a nice circus act but not quite exactly the savior of the working and middle class that many voted for.

Finally, today’s cover of The Economist pretty much nails it and also frets how divorced financial markets are from the current and coming economic reality.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/08/2020 - 07:58
Published:5/8/2020 7:01:09 AM
[The Courts] Roberts, Liberal Justices Wary of Trump Exemptions to Birth Control Mandate

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed wary of Trump administration exemptions to the Obamacare birth control mandate in a marathon teleconference session that lasted over 90 minutes.

The post Roberts, Liberal Justices Wary of Trump Exemptions to Birth Control Mandate appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:5/6/2020 4:50:10 PM
[World] Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Obamacare Birth Control Case Published:5/6/2020 10:47:50 AM
[Markets] How Fanatics Hack Our Minds (And Why We Let Them) How Fanatics Hack Our Minds (And Why We Let Them)

Authored by Barry Brownstein via The American Institute for Economic Research,

In his 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles MacKay wrote, During seasons of great pestilence men have often believed the prophecies of crazed fanatics, that the end of the world was coming. Credulity is always greatest in times of calamity.”

During the COVID-19 crisis, there has been no shortage of “crazed fanatics.”

In a recent interview, Bill Gates claimed that “normalcy will only return when we’ve vaccinated the entire global population.” Acknowledging that the “economic hit” will be immense, he proclaimed, “but [we] don’t have a choice.” That is, no choice other than to go down the path Gates prescribes.  

Then, to deflect criticism from his prescribed path, Gates sets up a mystical strawman opponent who wants to “ignore what’s going on here.” 

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel was an architect of Obamacare. Emanuel too proclaimed, “We will not be able to return to normalcy until we find a vaccine or effective medications.” 

Rhetorically, Emanuel asked, “How are people supposed to find work if this goes on in some form for a year and a half? Is all that economic pain worth trying to stop COVID-19?”

Emmanuel didn’t invite a dialogue on his questions. He answered his questions with the cry of every other fanatic, “The truth is we have no choice.”

Fanatics proclaim their way is the only way forward and want us to believe “we have no choice.” 

Notice, Gates and Emmanuel present a false dilemma, two alternatives: shut down the economy for many months to come or do nothing. You either support the lockdowns, or you’re a threat to public health.

Gates and Emmanuel refuse to acknowledge other possibilities. They fail to see the limitless possibilities that arise from voluntary adjustments by businesses and individuals.

Through this COVID-19 crisis, fanatics have weaponized the false dilemma logical fallacy to obscure “rational, honest debate.” “This insidious tactic has the appearance of forming a logical argument, but under closer scrutiny it becomes evident that there are more possibilities than the either/or choice that is presented.”

You may recognize this tactic in various other forms. You either want educational spending by government to increase, or you’re against education. You either want higher taxes on the “wealthy,” or you want the poor to go without healthcare.

Foxes and Hedgehogs

Those who use the false dilemma tactic and think in black and white terms have the worst records as forecasters. In his book, Enlightenment Now, Steven Pinker reports on the research of University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock, who interviewed 284 forecasters to understand the makeup of an accurate forecaster from the many more who are “often mistaken but never in doubt.”

Tetlock metaphorically drew on the Greek poet Archilochus who wrote, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” “The hedgehogs are more the big idea people, more decisive,” Tetlock observes. For forecasters, decisiveness is not a good quality. Don’t rely on the forecasts of hedgehogs.

A physician with the mindset of a hedgehog might remove your tonsils to cure repeated sore throats. Medical hedgehogs wouldn’t be knowledgeable of dietary and lifestyle changes that could support your health. 

Pinker warns, those “with Big Ideas—left-wing or right-wing, optimistic or pessimistic—which they held with an inspiring (but misguided) confidence” were the worst forecasters. Having a narrow focus, hedgehogs can’t see the big picture beyond their specialization. In the words of Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, they labor under “an enhanced illusion of their skill.” Their forecasts, Kahneman adds, “produce poorer predictions than dart-throwing monkeys who would have distributed their choices evenly over the options.”

The black-or-white thinking of these poor forecasters stems from their desire “to squeeze complex problems into the preferred cause-effect templates.” Ideas and evidence that don’t fit their theories are treated as “irrelevant distractions.”

Fame leads to arrogance. Kahneman writes, “The more famous the forecaster the more flamboyant the forecasts.” Tetlock observes, “Experts in demand were more overconfident than their colleagues who eked out existences far from the limelight.”

Pinker adds that poor forecasters are allergic to the ambiguities of life and “to wishy-washy answers.” Rather than looking for evidence that contradicts their position, they pile “up reasons why they were right and others wrong.” Such experts “were unusually confident and likelier to declare things ‘impossible’ or ‘certain.’ Committed to their conclusions, they were reluctant to change their minds even when their predictions clearly failed. They would tell us, ‘Just wait.'”

We already hear the “just wait” threat from experts who assure us that if we don’t keep following their advice, the second wave of COVID-19 will inevitably be “far more dire” and the “potentially overwhelming outbreak.”  

Foxes are the “superforecasters.” Pinker instructs that they are “not necessarily brilliant,” but “they have personality traits that psychologists call ‘openness to experience’ (intellectual curiosity and a taste for variety), ‘need for cognition’ (pleasure taken in intellectual activity), and ‘integrative complexity’ (appreciating uncertainty and seeing multiple sides).”

Superforecasters are actively looking for their mindset biases. Pinker writes of the best forecasters, “They constantly ask themselves, ‘Are there holes in this reasoning? Should I be looking for something else to fill this in? Would I be convinced by this if I were somebody else?'”

Politicians and central planners listen to fanatical hedgehogs who insist their way is the only way. The hedgehogs may be decisive, but their forecasts are often spectacularly wrong. 

Why Hysteria is Contagious 

Jonathan Sumption, a former UK Supreme Court Justice, recently warned, “When human societies lose their freedom, it’s not usually because tyrants have taken it away. It’s usually because people willingly surrender their freedom in return for protection against some external threat.”

Sumption blames the public for demanding draconian actions. Most “don’t pause to ask whether the action will work. They don’t ask themselves whether the cost will be worth paying.” 

Because of herding behavior, “hysteria is infectious.”

If you were handed two cards with lines on each, one clearly shorter than the other, could you tell the difference? If you think this is a ridiculous question, think again.   

In one of psychology’s most famous experiments, Solomon Asch showed that if you’re in a group and most of the group members claim the shorter line is longer, you might just go along. In his book You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney reports, “In Asch’s experiments, 75 percent of the subjects caved in on at least one question [about the length of the lines]. They looked at the lines, knew the answer everyone else was agreeing to was wrong, and went with it anyway.” 

Perhaps even worse, those who changed their correct answers to conform with others “seemed oblivious to their own conformity. When the experimenter told them they had made an error, they came up with excuses as to why they made mistakes instead of blaming the others.”

If you’re sure you would go against the grain, consider this: “The percentage of people who conformed grew proportionally with the number of people who joined in consensus against them.” 

Imagine you are in a meeting, and a significant decision is to be made. You think your manager’s plan is ditzy. You are ready to speak out when you see everyone else in the meeting is agreeing with your manager. Would you behave like a mouse and go along? If you’ve ever gone along with a poor decision, don’t beat up on yourself; it’s tough to go against the herd.

Perhaps you think Asch’s experiments merely show there is no reason to dispute the crowd when the situation is trivial. Sadly, research shows when something significant is on the line, fewer people will buck the herd. 

In his book The Science of Fear, Dan Gardner reports on experiments by psychologists Robert Baron, Joseph Vandello, and Bethany Brunsman found that conformity goes up “so long as the judgments are difficult or ambiguous, and the influencing agents are united and confident.” 

Gardner wondered, would new evidence “make us doubt our opinions?” The answer, Gardner found, is, “Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that supports that view while ignoring, rejecting, or harshly scrutinizing information that casts doubt on it.” Confirmation bias trips us up from changing our mind.

The latest evidence suggests COVID-19 is not as high a risk as initially thought. If you think such evidence will convince your neighbors or Facebook friends that it’s time to end the lockdowns, you will be endlessly frustrated. Our neighbors care what other people think. If you live in an area where support for the lockdowns is widespread, your neighbor will likely go along. Remember, the more nuanced an issue is, and the more critical the problem, the more the desire to conform goes up. 

We are living through both a pandemic and a contagious madness of global proportions.

Politicians who led us down this destructive lockdown path won’t be changing their view until their “solution” is politically untenable.

In his conclusion to The Road to Serfdom, Hayek warns, “We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.” To grow wiser, we first need to “free ourselves” from a mindset that obscures our errors. We will continue to make errors as long as we continue to believe “what we have done in the recent past was all either wise or inevitable.” 

We have become a nation of professional victims. We are not victimized by the coronavirus or by politicians and “experts.” We are victims of our choice to conform in support of their policies. Stephen Covey has observed, “It’s easy to take responsibility for the good things in our lives, but the real test comes when things aren’t going well.” 

Today, we can take responsibility for changing our minds. We are each 100% responsible for how we choose to interpret our experience of life. In her timeless book, The Discovery of Freedom Rose Wilder Lane explained why some prefer to turn over responsibility to authority. When something goes wrong, they proclaim I am an innocent victim of forces beyond my control. Pretending we are innocent is a steep price we pay for losing our freedom.

Writes Mackay, “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

When we choose to see beyond the “we have no choice” mindset, limitless solutions will begin to come into view. The future of America depends, not upon bailouts or a fast-tracked vaccine, but upon individuals choosing to recover their senses.   

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/30/2020 - 23:40
Published:4/30/2020 10:48:47 PM
[The Courts] Supreme Court Puts Government On the Hook for $12 Billion in Obamacare Payments

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the federal government is on the hook for billions in payments to health insurers who sold coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The post Supreme Court Puts Government On the Hook for $12 Billion in Obamacare Payments appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/28/2020 8:28:57 AM
[] When will there be consequences for Biden adviser Ezekiel Emanuel getting his COVID-19 projection so, so wrong? Published:4/25/2020 1:44:19 AM
[] Formerly Conservative Website National Review to Stop Running Columns From Formerly Conservative Grifters Last month, formerly conservative publication National Review ran a column by Mona Charen endorsing Obama's wingman for president, and, one assumes, also endorsing the major expansion to Obamacare that this credibly-accused sexual assailant has proposed. It seems National Review is... Published:4/24/2020 11:02:09 AM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] DOJ Dismisses Indictment of Machine Prosecution While Cert Petition Was Pending How often does the SG dismiss an indictment while a cert petition is pending, without a confession of error? And is there a connection to the Obamacare case? Published:4/22/2020 2:54:28 PM
[Politics] 12 States Want Trump to Reopen Obamacare Enrollment President Donald Trump should open a special Obamacare enrollment period for at least 30 days, according to a letter from 12 Democratic governors. Published:4/13/2020 3:48:13 PM
[Opinion] You Almost Have To Feel Sorry For Poor Old Barack

By Dave King -

Barack Obama upset

When Barack Obama stated that, as president, he intended to “fundamentally transform America”, he was basing this promise on taking over the nation’s healthcare system with Obamacare, and using the lie of global warming in order to outlaw automobile usage, halt commercial jet airline travel, convince people to stop using ...

You Almost Have To Feel Sorry For Poor Old Barack is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/11/2020 4:26:09 PM
[World] America, on coronavirus crisis: Fight now or forever hold the peace

Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel — who likes to go by Dr. Zeke Emanuel, so as to get the street cred front and center right away — is an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, an architect of Obamacare and, of late, a modern-day prophet who predicts that social distancing, quarantining, ... Published:4/9/2020 4:51:35 AM

[2020 Presidential Election] Joe Biden adviser: We’re basically out of it after age 75 (Paul Mirengoff) Ezekiel Emanuel, a highly respected doctor and an architect of Obamacare, is also well known for saying that he doesn’t want to live past the age of 75. He explained why in an article for The Atlantic: [H]ere is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long. . .renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be Published:4/8/2020 2:19:14 PM
[Markets] No, Mr. Boomer, We’ve Run Out of God Pills... No, Mr. Boomer, We’ve Run Out of God Pills...

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'Guns blog,

Consider this an open message to The Davos Crowd.

I can see you using the pandemic of COVID-19 to run the table on holding onto power while your institutions fail.

It is obvious that by either design or acting opportunistically this pandemic has become your casus belli on us, to usher in a new world based on total surveillance, total compliance and control.

You’ve used fear over a bug to induce mass hysteria at a level that is difficult to contain. After more than two generations of marginalizing the masculine and amplifying the feminine the Progressive deification of trained experts which you turned into ‘believe all women’ to push identity politics has reached its zenith.

This has now reverted back into ‘believe all smart people’ in the minds of your useful idiots who retweet exponential growth curves they don’t understand and take as gospel truth your antipathy to curing this virus.

Thanks to this mass induced insanity we have a society that is uncomfortable with the risk of living thanks to a Nanny State that is more Oedipal Mother than the usual Abusive Father.

But this is more than just risk aversion. It’s truly a pathological fear of risk and the consequences of poor decisions; high time-preference decisions that permeate every aspect of our Western society.

Because we’ve been conditioned by you to believe there’s always another bubble to be blown up. There’s always another credit-induced boom around the corner. Housing prices can’t go down. Our jobs will come back and there will always be enough food.

But that myth of the magic money tree can’t bargain with a random piece of foreign DNA. The threat to our biology can’t be fought with more fake money.

But we still cling to your mass delusion that we live in a post-scarcity age that’s endemic across the generations. Even the angry and bitter Gen-Xers aren’t quite ready for what the world looks like without access to nearly unlimited credit.

And it has created the false sense of security that we as a species have mastered risk.

But we haven’t. You’ve mastered the art of laying off that risk for another day, another week, another year and called it prosperity.

And because we all want to believe we’re smarter than average bear and don’t want to face tomorrow without our favorite things we go along with the comfortable lie.

In other words, we believe risk is someone else’s problem. And that we owe the debts to ourselves. And it’s okay to foist risk off on those hapless suckers lest we be inconvenienced by the barest minimum of privation.

Let’s call that, in the words of a friend of mine, Spiritual Boomerism.

It’s so insane that our financial system is built on pricing debt instruments based on the dubious concept of R* equaling zero. What is R*? It’s the ‘default risk premium’ used to ‘price’ financial assets.

Only supremely arrogant people who believe they have conquered time, can believe there are such things as risk-free anything.

But it’s clear that into this riskless world you’ve steered us into thinking exists we’re being over-stimulated to believe in the potential risk from COVID-19 to push for changes to our society that benefit you far more then us.

But I thought we mastered risk. You told us so.

And that’s the dirty little secret isn’t it? The truth is that you’re the ones that can’t handle risk. You’ve never actually risked anything, preferring instead to create an endless series of one-way trades where no matter who loses, you win.

You love your power and pelf. You believe you are the wise, all-seeing parents, guiding their wayward children to a better world, your Utopia.

The riskless systems you’ve deluded us into building for your benefit over-invested in the wrong kinds of insurance; social safety nets that are now overwhelmed to the breaking point and are soon to be revealed as just another failed bribe.

While the kinds we need, medical infrastructure, don’t have a dime’s worth of spare capacity when risk actually rears its ugly head, because you extracted that out in all your laying off the risk.

From the beginning, the threat from COVID-19 wasn’t about the virus itself but about its added strain to already over-strained medical systems. These are the mismanaged and malinvested systems of either full-on state control like in your paragon of Europe or Byzantine regulatory strata designed to eliminate competition and drive up pricing known here as Obamacare.

And now you’re going to use your own failures to scare us into accepting the worst kinds of intrusions into our lives. You’re going to lock out dissidents who refuse to get a medical passport and Bill Gates’ ID2020 chip.

It’s like all of a sudden Gates has emerged as the high priest of Spiritual Boomerism. We need this as the first stage of preparation for the next virus coming our way.

Because, you know, risk.

We’ve gone from a fairly normal world to an episode of Black Mirror in a month. And in your unbelievable hubris you think we’re all going to just go along with it because of a fucking cold and a four-year old TED Talk?

Do you really think we’ve become such ball-less eunuchs to think that this worship of blue-check marked, official smart people is the key to humanity’s future in dealing with the risks of being alive?

Because we can see you crapping your pants on TV, by the way. That is, when we decide to tune in for a few minutes to see if you’re still there.

But looking at the numbers it’s clear we’re not watching your doom porn anymore and we’ve got a whole lot more time on our hands to wonder why in the hell we spend 70 hours a week on a hamster wheel to pay the most onerous taxes in human history for a few leftover slips of green paper you treat worse than people treated toilet paper before the Coronapocalypse.

Faith in government is failing at every level. The continued false thesis that China’s death toll is only around 4000 people because they locked everyone down is meant to be the antithesis to the U.S.’s less top-down approach where now the death toll in New York alone is more than three times those that died on 9/11.

And the synthesis in your inaccurate Straussian model of our behavior is us accepting free movement as long as we can show our proper papers?

Um, how about no?

We can see you prepping the ground for this. This is the deplatforming of Alex Jones taken to its logical conclusion. If we aren’t willing to submit to complete monitoring and tracking of all of our movements then we cannot be a member of your society.

I can see why Donald Trump is fighting this they way he is. He’s started a new Cold War with China because he realizes it’s a major front in his, to date, mostly defensive war against you.

I think he understands that the real fight is between your quislings in the DNC and across the European Union trying to export China’s dystopian world and retaining some semblance of the nation-state. And this full court press for global government in the name of stopping a disease is ludicrous.

Because when you step back from those growth curves and put down the crack pipe full of noradrenaline if we hadn’t named it, if you hadn’t instructed the media to create mass hysteria most people in the world would just see it as another really bad flu season.

Because that’s the reality of the numbers at this point.

And had your financial markets not crapped the bed, you would be lying to us still about the severity of this virus.

So issue your diktats all you want. Push for your post-COVID Utopia of driverless cars, bug burgers, biometric conduct codes and rights-denying vaccination profiles.

Go for it. Honestly, we aren’t listening anymore. You lost your cache with us because your first instinct in any crisis is to lie to us. And now we don’t believe you about frankly anything.

Because after decades of lying to us about everything we’re asking the simple question, “Why would you be telling us the truth now?”

When someone as mild-mannered as Scott Adams is now talking functional anarchy to his millions of followers, you have a real problem.

That’s the voice of the normies talking, not some cis hard-right, racist, libertarian, Nazi, nationalist climate denier.

So, you’d better start wondering just how many button pushers you actually have to shock us back into the bread line.

But you already know in your hearts there aren’t enough.

And make no mistake, no matter how powerful you think your databases are we will never thank you for handing us back the bread you stole from us. They are not your magic God Pills. They are simply second rate Viagra bought from a liquor store in a now-destitute Mexican resort town.

I really don’t think you understand just how much anger there is out there or you wouldn’t be playing this card now. And I’m not talking in Flyover Country but in your backyards.

So, if you are as smart as you think you’ll realize it’s over. We’re taking the piss out of Spiritual Boomerism and assuming some risk.

Armed with a concierge health care provider, some hydroxychloroquine, a $5 Z-pack, and some red meat, we’ll brave the Coronapocalypse and get back to rebuilding our communities you so desperately want to destroy.

And I know what scares you the most, that we’ll actually prefer that to being coddled back into the amniotic sack of the magic money tree and all the fake protection it buys.

We’ve already won and this world no longer belongs to you. Because failure here is the end of you.

This is what real resistance looks like. And no amount of sending out the bot army to scream “Flatten the Curve” will stop that.

This is what you won’t stop. We’re not going to pick up guns and give you a reason to kill us. We’re not even going to raise our voices. We’re simply going to stop bothering to listen to a thing you say.

Consider yourself warned.

*  *  *

Join My Patreon if you want help opting out of your state addiction.  Install the Brave Browser to begin de-Googling your life.

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/07/2020 - 04:00
Published:4/7/2020 3:09:18 AM
[Markets] Spain Reports More Than Five Times As Many COVID-19 Deaths-Per-Capita As US Spain Reports More Than Five Times As Many COVID-19 Deaths-Per-Capita As US

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

It's been a couple of days since my post on deaths per 100,000 in the USA and several other countries.

I'm very much a cautious "measure twice, cut once" type of person, so I went back and updated some of my calculations using more recent numbers.

Specifically, I've updated the third graph in the original post which is the number of deaths per 100,000 at the same point in the timeline since at least 1 case per million population was reported.

In the US, the first day to show more than one case per million population was March 7. So, counting up twenty days we arrive at March 26. On that day, there were 1,295 total deaths in the US. That works out to 0.391 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000. Meanwhile, in Italy, the first day with at least one case per million was Feb 22. Twenty days later, there were 1,106 deaths. That works out to 1.572 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000.

And so on:

And here's how things looked five days earlier, on day 15:

The gap between the US and Spain and the US and Italy became larger over these five days. At day 15, Italy's total for deaths per 100,000 was 3.9 times larger than the US rate. At Day 20, Italy's rate was up slightly at 4 times larger. At Day 15, Spain's death rate was 4.6 times larger than that in the US. At day 20, Spain's rate had grown to 5.6 times larger than the US rate.

As I noted earlier, there are many reasons why the deaths per 100,000 could be higher in Spain and Italy than in the US, Germany, and Switzerland.

One may be the quality of healthcare.

While the US, Germany, and Switzerland all have health systems with sizable government sectors, they have multi-payer systems that are more competitive and modern than the systems found in Spain and Italy (and the UK, for that matter).

Switzerland has a system similar to Obamacare.

Another major factor is demographics. Both Spain and Italy have some of the lowest birth rates in the world, and these relatively elderly populations are lopsidedly affected by COVID-19. These demographic trends can be seen a bit in their population growth:

Note how few people Spain and Italy add each day on average. Spain barely adds anyone at all each day. And Italy is declining in population. (These are historical averages, so this doesn't include deaths from COVID-19.)

Italy is simply a country with a very old population and very low birth rate. In fact, Italy's population is projected to fall more than 10 percent over the next thirty years. The US's population growth, while not high by global standards, is certainly more robust than we're seeing in Spain and Italy. This is true both in total numbers and proportional to the population overall. With the exception of Iran and Switzerland, the US is growing faster percentage-wise than all these countries.

These trends aren't carved in stone. It's entirely possible that something will happen in which the US's death rate accelerates so fast that it overtakes Spain and Italy in this regard. At this time, however, that is not the trend.

(Net population change data, COVID-19 deaths, and total population data are from Worldometer.)

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/02/2020 - 03:30
Published:4/2/2020 2:38:41 AM
[Markets] U.K. in Lockdown; Trump Wants U.S. Reopened Soon: Virus Update (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. became the latest nation to put its citizens under lockdown, while President Donald Trump said the U.S. economy can’t remain slowed for too long, declaring the country “was not built to be shut down.”Singapore reported its largest daily increase in cases, while deaths in Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, slowed for a second day. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first coronavirus test came back negative.The Federal Reserve announced a second wave of initiatives after Democrats blocked the Senate from advancing a rescue plan. An International Olympic Committee member said a decision to postpone the Games in Tokyo has already been made, though a delay hasn’t been announced yet. Key Developments:Cases top 375,000 and 16,000 dead: Johns Hopkins tallyCrisis in aviation industry deepensIOC member says Olympics will be postponedCVS to hire 50,000 workers to meet demandFed’s Bullard says U.S. unemployment may hit 30% in 2QRhode Island postpones its presidential primary from April 28 to June 2Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here. To see the impact on oil and commodities demand, click here.AB InBev Withdraws Outlook on Virus Impact (7:25 a.m. HK)Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, withdrew its 2020 outlook. The company cited the uncertainty, volatility and fast-moving developments of the coronavirus pandemic in markets where it operates, according to an emailed statement.In February, AB InBev cut its chief executive’s bonus and forecast the steepest decline in quarterly profit in at least a decade as the coronavirus damps barhopping.Trump Says U.S. to Reopen in Less Than 3 or 4 Months (6:38 a.m. HK)President Donald Trump said the U.S. economy can’t remain slowed for long to fight the coronavirus, declaring the country “was not built to be shut down.”“America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon,” Trump said at a news conference. “A lot sooner than three or four months.”The president also said he was delaying the Oct. 1 deadline for Americans to get a REAL ID. The identification will eventually be required to board a domestic flight in the United States.Florida Orders Self-Isolation for Travelers From N.Y., N.J. (5:34 p.m. NY)Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will issue an executive order making it mandatory for all arrivals from New York and New Jersey to self-isolate for two weeks upon entering the state.Trump Administration May Reopen Obamacare Exchange (5:20 p.m. NY)The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering reopening enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in response to the outbreak. Americans who don’t currently have coverage may see if they qualify for “special enrollment periods” if they’ve lost their job or have been subject to other life-changing circumstances, a CMS spokesperson said.CMS is working closely with the states and health plans to assess other necessary actions to ensure Americans have coverage and access to services during the pandemic, the spokesperson said.Boris Johnson Puts U.K. on Three-Week Lockdown (4:38 p.m. NY)U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved radical measures to ban all unnecessary movement of people for at least three weeks. Police will break up gatherings and have the power to fine individuals who break the tough new laws. Shops selling non-essential items, playgrounds, libraries and places of worship will be closed.Read the full story hereWork to Begin on Hospital at Javits Center (3:33 p.m. NY)Construction will begin this week to turn the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan into a 1,000-bed hospital, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.The main showroom of the center will be broken up into four 250-bed hospitals each about 40,000 square feet in size, Cuomo said at the center. The state is hoping to add an additional 1,000 beds at the center for less-intensive medical care, for a total of 2,000 new beds, Cuomo said.New Jersey, too, expects to increase patient capacity and is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to operate four pop-up hospitals, a step that has support from President Donald Trump, Governor Phil Murphy said.Read the full story hereFrance Advises Against Test Drug (3:03 p.m. NY)As deaths climbed almost 30% in France, Health Minister Olivier Veran said the government recommends against prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine or using it for anything other than severe cases. France is participating in a multi-country study looking at the efficacy of four experimental treatments, including hydroxychloroquine.New Deaths Fall in Italy for Second Day (2:27 p.m. NY)Italy reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, posting a decline for a second day, as the country enters its third week of lockdown measures designed to keep the spread of the disease in check.Total cases in the country rose to 63,927, civil protection officials said, while the hard-hit Lombardy region around Milan, which accounts for about half of the nation’s infections, registered a decrease in the number of hospitalized virus patients, top health official Giulio Gallera said Monday.Read the full story hereIMF Predicts Recession (1:30 p.m. NY)The International Monetary Fund said it expects a global recession this year that will be at least as bad as the downturn during the financial crisis more than a decade ago, followed by a recovery in 2021.Nearly 80 countries have asked the Washington-based IMF for emergency finance, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement Monday following a conference call of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers. Georgieva said the fund strongly supports extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries and welcomes the moves of major central banks to ease monetary policy.“Even more will be needed, especially on the fiscal front,” she said.Read the full story hereBoeing Closes Washington Plants (1:15 p.m. NY)Boeing Co. is temporarily shuttering its Seattle-area factories, compounding hurdles for a company already reeling from the grounding of its top-selling plane.The shutdown will begin March 25 and last 14 days. The company will conduct deep cleaning at affected sites and establish “rigorous criteria for return to work.”The closing leaves Boeing with just one fully functioning jetliner factory.Read the full story hereGermans Offer to Help Stricken Italy (1:10 p.m. NY)German officials are ready to help Italy get through the coronavirus pandemic and are prepared to support an emergency loan from the euro area’s bailout fund.The preferred option in Berlin would see Italy granted an enhanced credit line by the European Stability Mechanism with minimal conditionality, according to a German official with knowledge of the government’s thinking. While Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she’s happy to discuss Italy’s request for jointly issued coronavirus bonds to shore up euro members’ finances, the official said Germany isn’t ready to move forward with that idea.Read the full story hereDow Loses Gains Under Trump (12:02 p.m. NY)The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 30% of its value in just over a month, wiping out all of its gains since Donald Trump was elected on Nov. 8, 2016. The S&P 500 Index isn’t too far behind, while the Nasdaq Composite Index’s return remains in the green -- albeit on a downward trajectory with the rest.New Cases May Be Slowing in Germany (10:25 a.m. NY)Germany’s public health authority has seen a trend toward the exponential growth in new cases flattening out and expects to see by Wednesday whether this is the case, Lothar Wieler, president of the authority, said at a press conference earlier on Monday. “I am optimistic.”RKI repeated that many local health agencies don’t report over the weekend and that those numbers will trickle in during the course of the week.NYC May Lose $6 Billion in Tax Revenue (10:21 a.m. NY)New York City is “staring down a fiscal emergency” and may lose as much as $6 billion in tax revenue over the next 15 months, as the the Covid-19 epidemic shuts down a broad swath of the city’s economy, comptroller Scott Stringer said.Moderna’s Vaccine May Reach Some This Fall (10:10 a.m. NY)Moderna Inc.’s experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus could be available to a select few as soon as this fall. That’s ahead of expectations for a commercial launch in another year.Stephane Bancel, the biotech’s chief executive, told Goldman Sachs representatives on Friday that the vaccine could be made available to a few, potentially health-care workers under emergency-use authorization. Moderna has been working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on the vaccine and just started testing in humans earlier this month.A potential vaccine isn’t expected to be commercially available for at least a year. Moderna is also scaling up manufacturing so that the company can produce millions of doses each month, according to a company statement.Trump Weighs Easing Curbs (8:50 a.m. NY)President Trump began talking privately late last week about reopening the nation, despite the swiftly rising number of coronavirus cases and against the advice of health professionals, because he’s worried about the economic damage from an extended shutdown, according to people familiar with his thinking.He earlier retweeted several posts calling for healthy people to return to work after 15 days of precautions. “The fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy that President Trump has built up,” says a post retweeted by Trump. “Flatten the curve NOT the Economy,” another says.Singapore Sees Largest Daily Increase (8:35 a.m. NY)Singapore reported its biggest one-day jump in coronavirus infections with 54 new cases, of which 48 were imported. Earlier, Malaysia confirmed 212 new cases, the biggest daily jump, bringing the total to 1,518 despite imposing a lockdown that began on March 18.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P. Published:3/23/2020 6:43:12 PM
[Politics] White House Weighs Opening Up Obamacare Enrollment Following the lead of Democratic states that have reopened Obamacare enrollment amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration is considering reopening the national marketplace enrollment at Published:3/22/2020 8:02:02 AM
[Politics] Biden: Italy Has Single-Payer; 'It Doesn't Work There' Contrasting his Obamacare-era healthcare policies to Sen. Bernie Sanders', I-Vt., Medicare for All proposals, Joe Biden pointed to coronavirus-ravaged Italy as an example of how single-payer healthcare can fail. Published:3/15/2020 7:54:38 PM
[Politics] Obamacare Remains A Party Line Thing

Voters are evenly divided over whether Obamacare should stay or go now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of what’s left of the health care law.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters think the complete repeal of Obamacare would be good for most Americans. Forty-one percent (41%) say it would be bad for most instead, while eight percent (8%) feel complete repeal would have no impact. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted March 3-4, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:3/12/2020 9:33:14 AM
[] Bill Clinton: My Tawdry Sex Sessions With Monica Lewinsky Weren't About "Ministering" To Her At All. No, They Had a Medical Purpose -- They Were About "Managing My Anxieties." To be honest, blow-jays and r-jobs really do take the edge off a day, no? If only Bill Clinton had had Obamacare, he wouldn't have had to self-medicate like this! Bill Clinton claims the affair with Monica Lewinsky that almost... Published:3/5/2020 12:49:14 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Ilya Somin] Obamacare Returns to the Supreme Court—Yet Again My take on today's decision to consider the Obamacare severability case. Published:3/2/2020 9:34:47 PM
[] Supreme Court to Rule, Finally, On Obamcare's Unconstitutionality, After the Election; Court Declines to Review Rule Banning Bump Stocks Your weekly reminder that John McCain was a liar and serial betrayer. The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear a GOP-led effort against Obamacare, with opening arguments likely slated for the fall after the justices initially decided against... Published:3/2/2020 12:32:05 PM
[Politics] Supreme Court Takes Up Case that Could Wipe Out Obamacare

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will hear a Democratic bid to protect the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, teeing up a major dispute over the landmark healthcare law’s fate in the midst of the 2020 campaign.

The post Supreme Court Takes Up Case that Could Wipe Out Obamacare appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/2/2020 11:32:23 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Supreme Court to decide fate of Obamacare It looks like John Roberts is about to get a do-over from his horrible 2012 decision to uphold Obamacare: CNBC – The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will hear an . . . Published:3/2/2020 9:44:08 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Supreme Court to decide fate of Obamacare It looks like John Roberts is about to get a do-over from his horrible 2012 decision to uphold Obamacare: CNBC – The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will hear an . . . Published:3/2/2020 9:44:08 AM
[Politics] Supreme Court says it will again consider whether to strike down Obamacare

In a win for California, Supreme Court will weigh Trump's plan to strike down Obamacare and consider a Texas case.

Published:3/2/2020 9:01:34 AM
[Markets] "Con Job": Trump Responds To Obama Taking Credit For Booming Economy "Con Job": Trump Responds To Obama Taking Credit For Booming Economy

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

President Trump responded Monday night, calling Barack Obama’s claim that his prior administration is responsible for the booming US economy a “Con job”.

“Did you hear the latest con job?” Trump tweeted, explaining that “Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration.”

“He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing.” Trump noted.

Trump also noted that he “had to rebuild our military, which was totally depleted.”

“Fed Rate UP, taxes and regulations WAY DOWN.” The President continued.

If Dems won in 2016, the USA would be in big economic (Depression?) & military trouble right now. THE BEST IS YET TO COME. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” Trump concluded.

The President was responding to the below tweet from Obama, sent on President’s Day, which claimed that Obama’s Recovery Act “paved the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”

As Trump urged, however, the economy under Obama was the most worst since World War II, despite being largely propped up by the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented decade-long zero percent interest rates during his two terms.

The White House also issued a statement responding to Obama.

“President Trump reversed every single failed Obama-era economic policy, and with it, reversed the floundering Obama/Biden economy,” read the statement from Kayleigh McEnany, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary. “Obama and Biden orchestrated the worst economic recovery in modern history.”

“By contrast, though, deregulating, lowering taxes, and supporting free-market policies, President Trump has created the hottest economy on record, with unemployment hitting generational lows and all-time lows for African Americans, Hispanics, the disabled, veterans and many other hard-working Americans,” added McEnany.

And, it’s not just Trump and Infowars pointing this out.

The Wall Street Journal recently asked 68 economists who was responsible for the booming economy and the consensus was that it is “President Trump, and not Obama, who should be taking a bow.”

It has been blindingly obvious for years that Obama did not seed the current recovery.

“The Obama recovery of the last seven years remains the worst in postwar American history,” a Forbes article from 2016 noted.

Others were quick to respond to Obama’s phoney claim:

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/18/2020 - 12:25
Published:2/18/2020 11:31:59 AM
[Markets] Can Sanders Beat Trump In Capitalist America? Can Sanders Beat Trump In Capitalist America?

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

The Democrats are searching for the candidate best able to defeat Trump in the forthcoming Presidential race. The question on the mind of many democrats is whether Bernie Sanders can beat Trump in a capitalist America? Considering the surge in inequality the answer is, yes. It is difficult to underestimate the anger building under the surface as Trump makes his rounds declaring this the "best economy ever."

The reason for the discontent is many Americans are not feeling all that blessed. Wealth inequality has soared in recent years and now stands at the worst it has been during the entire U.S. post-war period. Simply put, statistics show many Americans lack the money to pay for a $500 repair. Driving a decent car doesn't make a person middle-class or economically equal, especially if they are up to their eyeballs in debt to do so.

As for whether Sanders could beat Trump, a couple of issues rapidly come to mind.

  • First, Trump is not as loved as he indicates, matter of fact  the President has a way of ruffling the feathers of both friends and foes. The word braggadocios has been used to describe Donald Trump, synonyms for this word according to are blowhard, boaster, bragger, show-off, and windbag. None of these are very flattering and over time such behavior has a way of wearing on people. This has caused many of his supporters to indicate they would like him to stop tweeting and shut-up.

  • The second fact is that by flipping a couple of swing states to blue it would be all over for the republicans.  

Like Always The Swing States Decide

Much of Sander's appeal comes from his promises he can deliver a more just society by transferring wealth to those embracing his long-held socialistic values. This highlights a glaring weakness in the democratic system, and that is, a highly motivated minority can overwhelm an unmotivated majority. History shows the promises of generous programs have proven to be a great motivator. It does not hurt that Sanders comes across as sincere and passionate. Those wielding the power to bring about change are often sheltered from the pain inequality and a broken justice system cause. This means they are out of touch with what many people are forced to go through every day. Because of this, the thorny problems of the day become a low priority. Sanders on the other hands seems to relish the challenge of attacking these issues.

The reality that a vast majority of people face diminishing prospects is a concerning trend. This was highlighted by the IMF in a report focused on data showing how middle-income households have continued to move downward. The U.S. middle class has never recovered after being “hollowed out” when manufacturing jobs fled America and incomes fell. Current trends indicate the "equality gap" is not expected to narrow in the future. This comes at a time when the American worker is being told robots are here and more are being deployed each day. This means millions of jobs will soon vanish due to automation. This is a huge threat and could prove to be a big deal. Growing income inequality is not just an American problem but it is an issue across the globe and no magic or silver bullet exists to address the conundrum brought about by this concentration of power and wealth.

A More Recent Chart Hard To Find!

In a piece titled; "The Morass That Swallowed the Middle Class" Matthew Shaw delves into how much of the inequality debate focuses on the gains of “the 1%,” and less attention has been paid to the economic well-being of what is broadly termed the middle class. These people are all too often just lumped into a diverse group labeled the 99%. Some of these people do very well for themselves but many are dirt poor. Much of this centers around just how out of touch our "professional elite" are with the general population and the economy. By our professional elite, I refer to those who make the rules and their minions, their aids, the academics, the financial institutions, economists and the media, all of which have tied their wagon to the status quo. Conflict and corruption also enter into this because we often find those setting the rules also tend to want a bigger piece of the pie.

Trump's trickle-down economics and tax cuts may sound good but they have not worked for all of America. Trump is very comfortable with economic manipulation and has displayed a surprisingly short-term view in his economic policies. This means he often appears more worried about today than the future. His "damn tomorrow" attitude is reflected in deficit spending, his calls for lower interest rates, and by embracing MMT. The Trump economy which is based on huge deficit spending can only take the economy so far and carries with it a fair amount of negatives. Trump's delusion that his stock market can go straight up forever is not based on years of stock trading but rather his years in real estate where inflation treated him well as prices rose ever higher.

The structural issues that haunt America's competitiveness and far outweigh the benefits of lower taxes. If you are one of the many Americans that pay no taxes this subject only means the government will have less to transfer your way. Healthcare remains a huge issue for most voters and Trump's failure to move healthcare reform forward coupled with Republicans' pathetic excuse for an answer to improve healthcare was short of inspiring. While Trump predicted that Democrats will own ObamaCare if it falls apart reality may not support his view. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows a majority of voters, 61 percent said they now blame Trump and Republicans for “future problems” with the healthcare law.

Trump's narrative that tomorrow will be brighter is not being heard everywhere, in fact, some people are downright fearful of where he is taking the country. Many Americans balk at the idea their children will enjoy a better life partly because the system has become so unfair. Moreover, a slew of important emotionally charged issues such as immigration and climate change are still being ignored. In fact, Trump often shows a lack of respect and mocks those concerned about these matters  In addition to exorbitant healthcare America has a broken justice system that it is both expensive and often unjust.  As more Americans retire and become dependent on government anxiety will continue to grow. Also, there is the issue of continuing expensive wars, something Trump pledged to end, not only has he failed to do so but he seems to agitate and inflame discontent where ever he goes.

Just like in the previous elections voters should be prepared to be given a less than inspiring choice for a President to lead us forward. Even though he has been acquitted on impeachment charges Trump still has a reputation of being a schmuck which is something he most likely not be able to shake. Expect both these men to be supported by motivated bases with demographics favoring the Democrats but it is the disaffected independents that will decide this election. Do not be surprised if the decision comes down to who these independents dislike the least, at this point, it is a toss-up. The argument that socialism doesn't work and that all countries that have attempted to institute it have miserably failed may not be enough to turn voters away from seeking new answers.

While I have strong reservations as to the argument Sanders can trump the Don I must say Sanders is clearly shining a spotlight on growing inequality and the unrest bubbling beneath the surface. If Sanders can tap into this feeling it may become more about a kinder more compassionate America than socialism or Trump. This means watching how women and the elderly weigh in. Whether Sanders could win the election without increasing polarization and hatred is questionable but it would be wise for those in power not to get overly comfortable or to underestimate the resentment brewing under the surface.

*  *  *

This is an exercise based on Sanders becoming the Democratic party nominee. It should be noted this has not yet occurred. A big wildcard in the 2020 election would be a third party candidate drawing off just enough votes to spoil everyone's plans. Remember 1992 and Ross Perot!.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/16/2020 - 17:25
Published:2/16/2020 4:35:09 PM
[Markets] Reality Check: There Is No Political Solution To Income Inequality Reality Check: There Is No Political Solution To Income Inequality

Authored by Peter Van Buren via,

Sorry Sanders supporters: your guy might be well-meaning, but like everyone else he has no practical solutions. 

Bernie, et al, imagine there exists some means to redistribute wealth, most likely following the economist Thomas Piketty, via a progressive tax on the rich. Just talking about that may be enough to scare the wealthy into putsching a corporate Democrat in Bernie’s place yet again, despite his human shield of nose-pierced volunteers. But even if Sanders were to win, it would not be enough to change America. It’s a reality problem.

The reality of wealth is that the gap between most Americans and those who sit atop our economy continues to grow. During the two decades after 1960, the real incomes of the top 5 percent and the remaining 95 percent increased at almost the same rate, about 4 percent a year. But between 1980 and 2007, incomes diverged, with those at the bottom seeing annual increases only half that of those at the top. Then it got worse.

Lower savings and hyper-available credit (remember fraudulent Countrywidemortgages, ARMs, and usurious re-fi’s?) put the middle and bottom portions of society on an unsustainable financial path that crashed into the Great Recession of 2008. Yet America’s top earners’ wealth still grew; the one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth, as the stock market recovered, while the bottom people became poorer, as their missing homes did not. Their wealth, such as it was, was a Potemkin vision, held in the form of houses they didn’t actually own. The recession represented the largest redistribution of money in a century. How did the rich pull this off?

It came down to the reality of possession. The wealthy own stock and real estate, not just personal homes. Yet just under half of Americans own no stock (the wealthiest own over 80 percent of all stock, along with 40 percent of America’s land). Markets over time go up and those who own parts of them do well. A rising tide lifts all yachts, as historian Morris Berman observed. People who do not own homes have to rent them from those who do. Owners can raise rents anytime they want more money. 

It can be hard to comprehend the sheer level of wealth possessed by the rich: Redfin figured out Bill Gates could buy all of the real estate in Boston. Candidate Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, could pick up Anaheim. Google’s Larry Page is able to buy Boca Raton. Never mind yachts; they can buy whole cities.

It is the reality of the system. Walmart associates make minimum wage. Most of them are nowhere near full-time, so their take-home pay is well below the poverty threshold. Employer-assisted Obamacare, such as it is, only kicks in after one works 20 hours a week or more, so following the implementation of that policy, most employees were cut to less than 20 hours, meaning they had to juggle multiple jobs to live and still did not have health care, as qualifying hours are not cumulative.

Walmart can pay low wages, creating a new status known as working poor, without having to see workers literally starve on the job, because their employees receive $2.66 billion in government poverty assistance each year. That works out to about $5,815 per worker, or about $420,000 per store. 

Food assistance is also key in profiting from income inequality. According to one study, in a single year, nine Walmarts in Massachusetts received more than $33 million in food stamp dollars spent at their stores. In two years, Walmart received about half of the $1 billion in food stamp expenditures in Oklahoma. Overall, 18 percent of all food benefits money nationwide is spent at Walmart. That’s about $14 billion.

So let’s Robin Hood the wealthy, Bernie, Elizabeth, and others say. After all, Jeff Bezos’ net worth is $109 billion. But that’s everything he has, not just the 6 percent tax Elizabeth Warren wants him to pay. The net worth of the entire Forbes 400 is under $3 trillion. That’s everything they own. The reforms Warren has proposed to address economic inequality will cost us some $20 trillion. The gap has gotten too big to raise everyone up.

But you have to start somewhere, right?

Given that America’s largest companies already pay little to no tax, it is unclear how such a system could ever be enforced in the long run, given that the wealthy will just offshore their money. Taxes still leave in place other factors driving economic inequality, including inheritance laws (money is immortal. The children of rich people are born rich and unless they get really into hookers and blow, will inevitably get richer. They almost can’t help it) and the ability of the wealthy to control wages and the availability of jobs. Unions are increasingly a thing of the past and automation threatens jobs daily. The rich decide when to pull the trigger on touch screens in fast food restaurants and deep-six cashier jobs. And never mind the mass extinction that driverless delivery vehicles will bring on, to say nothing of the one after that when advances in AI crush entry-level coding jobs.

The single most significant factor is that financial growth via capital ownership (what the rich do for money) always outstrips wage growth (what the rest of us do for money). Getting richer by owning stuff is always a better deal than trying to get rich by working for wages from the people who own stuff. Even if a magic wand were to somehow reset society, the nature of capitalism would soon set things back on the path to income inequality.

Rich people get money through capital gains, via assets they buy cheaply that become worth more over time (until slavery was replaced with the minimum wage, human beings were also considered a form of capital asset—seriously, check with human “resources” where you work). That’s why a short-term downturn that’s bad for you (you lose what you have, like a home) is ultimately good for most of them (downturns are discount buying opportunities for those with spare money). It’s why the stock market troubles that uninformed people wish for will not make Trump go away. Math!

The only hope lies in the reality of politics, right? Over large swaths of the earth, there are no elections. In some of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East and Asia, there is not even the pretext of anyone choosing a government. Most governments are controlled by family ascension, not unlike the Middle Ages. In more modern places, corruption and manipulation control things, as power and wealth work together.

Such is the case now in the United States. According to the once-prescient Lawrence Lessing (who has since lost his mind to Twitter and TDS), thanks to concentration of wealth, 132 people in the U.S. essentially control elections. They do so by donating—just that handful of people—over 60 percent of Super PAC money. Those 132 represent 0.000042 percent of the total number of voters; most other contributions to candidates are small, many below $200. It sounds nice when a candidate talks about this, but it diffuses power even as you think he owes you something now. That’s because it’s impossible under such circumstances for government to create laws against the interests of the wealthy; after all, they work for them.

The reality is there is no answer, no solution. That’s because things are working more or less as they are supposed to. From a certain perspective, income inequality means things are going according to the rigged rules. The system is designed to squeeze wealth up into a smaller and smaller group of hands. A byproduct is the creation of more and more poor at the bottom. It is the inevitable endpoint for a society set up to fund the wealthy via capital appreciation by paying low or stagnant wages to everyone else.

To say it can’t be is to ignore the last time it sort of was, one king in one castle sustained by tens of thousands of serfs living in sloven conditions, with feudalism the dominant force. A very, very few owned most everything of value. The 99.999 percent majority—serfs then, valued Target associates now—worked for whatever the feudal lords allowed them to have.

It’s very American to believe there are always answers, that there are not forces stronger than change at work, especially in an election year. Yet if you’re still looking for those answers—solutions—well, you’ve gotten to the end of the article.

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/12/2020 - 21:05
Published:2/12/2020 8:08:14 PM
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