What’s Obstructing the Supply Flow, How to Unblock It

A wholistic analysis comes from an interview by Doug Blair with Joel Griffith at Daily Signal What Is the Root Cause of Our Supply Chain Problems? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Blair: So Joel, if there is one thing that is dominating the news cycle right now, it is that there are massive supply chain issues. Americans are seeing images of empty store shelves and prices for things like electronics and gasoline have just completely shot through the roof. With all of this in mind, what exactly is the problem with the supply chain right now?

Griffith: Well, we have unprecedented demands placed on that supply chain. We talk about that chain—when we go to our grocery store, fill up our cars, we’re often not thinking of that process by which we actually get that merchandise. But in our interconnected global economy, which gives us a lot of benefits, we have a much higher standard of living now than we did a few generations ago, but we also really rely immensely on the ability to transport goods from point A to point B. And actually, in between point A and point B, you have a multitude of destination points.

You could be importing a suit from, let’s say, Vietnam. And from Vietnam, you have to go ahead, load it on a ship, get it to LA, to get it from LA all across the country. And if just one part of that process goes awry, you can be talking about delays for months on end. Because even prior to getting that finished product, you have a whole manufacturing product that also has its own supply chain. So one weak link in that chain can mean we don’t see the merchandise that we are in demand of.

Blair: So a lot of different explanations have been given for what the supply chain root cause is, what the root cause of these issues with the supply chain is. Are these basically COVID problems left over from the pandemic? Is this government policy? Is it both? Where are we seeing the root causes of this problem?

Griffith: Well, there’s a multitude of root causes to this problem. Going back the past 18 months, on the manufacturing side, we have many restrictions that were put in place that impacted even the ability to run a factory—distancing restrictions, shutdowns on occasion. And then to get that merchandise transported, there were a lot of restrictions that were placed on not just the cargo shipping sector, but also in the trucking sector as well.

If you back up a year ago, year and a half ago, truckers, especially in places like California, faced so much difficulty in even operating their profession—from not being able to get a shower, not being able to get food. You had instances in which those that wanted to get CDL licenses to drive couldn’t because those facilities were closed. And during that downtime, you had a lot of truckers retire. So we’re paying for those repercussions now.

But in the immediate term, even though the United States has largely reopened from COVID, that’s not the case across the entire world. You see, even in China, most recently in August, you had the world’s third-largest port that was in effect shut down for two weeks because of one single COVID case. And you multiply that across all of China and across Southeast Asia where you’ve had these ports that were shut down on occasion or you had capacity restrictions in place, well, that really compounded that, really made it difficult to ship the same number of items as we did just a year ago prior to the pandemic.

And even here in the United States, in the port of New Jersey, New York, New Jersey ports, we had a lot of COVID restrictions in terms of social distancing guidelines that were in place even throughout much of the summer. And we’re still dealing with the consequences of that.

So that’s just the COVID aspects of these shutdowns. But we can get into the detail about some of the other government actions that have really exacerbated this problem.

Blair: You’ve mentioned a little bit about the COVID issues and that there were other root causes. I’d like to go in-depth a little bit more on the specific government policies that are to blame for this issue. Obviously, the government does have a role to play in the supply chain crisis. What are some of the policies that have been exacerbating this problem?

Griffith: Oh, well, on the COVID front itself, social distancing restrictions that were put in place both in California but also across New Jersey, that really impacted the number of workers that could be on-site at any one time. And then restrictions too in terms of the testing, the quarantine impact on number of workers that you would have on-site. And now, of course, we’re facing a possible vaccine mandate, which is discouraging quite a few, possibly upwards of 10%, of that workforce from participating.

But if you go back to during the shutdown component of this, for quite a time, up until late this summer, you had the federal government that was providing massive unemployment bonuses to individuals. And a lot of warehouse workers, a lot of dockhands, a lot of truck drivers found that when you’re dealing with all of these hassles to actually earning a living, for them it was more personally worthwhile to just be unemployed and take those unemployment benefits, which might have been personally the right decision for them but, of course, that created a further backlog because you have to be able to transport that merchandise once you actually get it into the shipping, the dock facility. So that was a big issue.

On top of that, we had government putting in policies that were suppressing the supply of goods, but that were increasing massively the demand for goods.

If you look at the retail sales numbers right now, we see that our retail sales are at all-time highs. Our retail sales are actually around 15% higher now than they were prior to the pandemic. So we have immense demand for goods, and that is contributing to that backlog.

But that immense demand for goods isn’t really spurred by the free market at this point, that’s spurred in large part by the federal government borrowing and printing hundreds of billions of dollars and juicing up demand. So we see this artificial pressure put on that supply chain as well, which, once again, … the government [is] responsible for.

Blair: Do labor unions in any way, shape, or form have anything to do with this? I know we’ve talked a little bit about how labor and employment shortages are affecting these supply chain issues like dockhands and retail workers. Do unions have any part in this problem as well?

Griffith: Well, organized labor has played a significant role in the delays in relation to the ports in California in particular. Now, usually you have a maximum of one or two cargo ships that are stranded off the Port of Los Angeles. And I say stranded, waiting, waiting to unload the merchandise. And we saw those numbers increase to over 70 just several weeks ago. And that was due in large part to the organized labor groups refusing to expand their work hours and work on weekends.

Container ships off Los Angeles/Long Beach on Wednesday. Map: MarineTraffic The time ships are stuck waiting offshore continues to lengthen. There are simply too many vessels arriving with too much cargo for terminals, trucks, trains and warehouses to handle. There were 103 container ships at Los Angeles/Long Beach terminals or waiting offshore on Wednesday, an all-time high.  This suggests that the cargo currently waiting off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is worth around $22 billion, roughly the equivalent of the annual revenues of McDonald’s or the GDP of Iceland.

So this delay was growing and growing. And about last week, the ports in Florida, they offered to jump in and start taking in some of that excess shipping demand. And I think that’s why you saw those labor leaders finally bend just a few days ago and say, “OK,” they’re going to agree to run those ports 24/7 for the time being in order to catch up.

Blair: We’ve discussed some of the implications of the supply chain issues in terms of massive hikes in common consumer goods and services, price hikes on those certain things as well. What are some of the other implications of the supply chain issues that you see if this isn’t tamped down on?

Griffith: Yeah, well, you mentioned that price. I think it is important to underscore just how much those prices have risen for the shipping side. You’ve seen cargo costs to ship a big container have increased from around $1,500 back in 2017, it’s gone up 1,000%, to about $25,000 today. And those cargo ships, even though most of us have never visited a port in LA or New Jersey, [account] for over 10% of all global trade, just the container ships themselves. So there’s a lot riding on this.

So if these supply chain disruptions continue, that’s going to have a real impact on us as a country, both in terms of the price of goods continuing to rise, which we’ve all noticed, also, just the very ability to gain access to these goods, which I think too we’ve noticed. It’s harder to get shipments in on time with Amazon Prime. You go to Costco, go to your grocery store, oftentimes items are out of stock. So that’s another repercussion.

But something that might not be as evident is the fact that we have a number of manufactured goods that are relying on shipments, on components to finish those processes. And when you see a delay in that, well, that can cause an entire assembly plant to close, which can result in labor disruptions and layoffs.

Those are all big economic concerns, but there’s also a national security component as well. Our military relies on a lot of shipments as well from across the world, just-in-time inventory, lean inventory standards, where they don’t want to have a lot of stockpile on hand, it’s more efficient to ship these items in and have them just in the nick of time.

So I think this is going to really be something the military will have to focus on and ultimately have to reassure Congress that our national security interests aren’t being threatened by the possibility of continued disruptions.

Blair: In order to maybe tamp down on some of these problems, recently, President Joe Biden announced that he was going to be keeping the Port of LA open 24/7. Do you find that this is going to be maybe an effective government response? And if this is something that we should be doing, what else should the government be doing to maybe fix this problem?

Griffith: Sure. Well, the ports being open 24/7, that’s a commonsense measure. This should have been something that was really dealt with months ago. And I think it’s important to note that our secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has been pretty much off the job for two months. He is a new father and has taken paternity leave. But two months off the job in the midst of the biggest transportation crisis of most of our lifetimes and generations, that’s something we should not be applauding.

So I’m glad they’re open 24/7, but longer term, other measures are going to have to be taken because in California, where we rely on a lot of the shipping, there are a number of issues that are going to threaten our supply chains going forward.

One of these is an outright ban the state has proposed through Assembly Bill 5, an outright ban on independent owner-operators of trucks. And these are business owners. People work hard to be able to buy a truck and earn a living off that. And there’s a lot of special interests involved that want to deny the right of these independent truckers to operate.

The Legislature in California has already passed that bill, it’s hung up in court right now. But if the court decides that that doesn’t violate the California Constitution, you’re going to see a crisis in the trucking sector nationwide, because a lot of folks won’t be able to operate in California. Second of all, you have California moving to outright ban diesel trucks in the coming years, that too is going to impact supply chains, going to impact our prices.

So my hope is that, if California doesn’t wake up and stop passing such absurd legislation, my hope is that places such as Alabama, in Mobile; Savannah, Georgia; Texas; and Florida, which have far more sane policies, my hope is that the ports there over the coming years will be able to pick up the slack. But that is going to take time. You can’t just dredge a bigger harbor and build a new railway system overnight. That takes time.

And we are going to be dealing, I think, with the consequences of a lot of this California legislation in the coming years, separate and apart from the pandemic.

Blair: I do want to follow up on that. Switching gears slightly, I read a report in ABC News that says we probably won’t be seeing the end of these supply chain issues for a while. In your opinion, how long do you think this could last? And to maybe quote a phrase from the vice president, do parents need to start buying Christmas gifts for their kids now?

Griffith: It’s tough to prognosticate, but there is a substantial backlog and we still see these disruptions continuing across parts of the world, particularly in China with these rolling COVID shutdowns. So this is going to be something that’s going to take months to resolve.

But on the bright side, I’ve heard a number of retailers, including Best Buy today, talk about how they were working in advance to stock the shelves in time for Christmas. And Best Buy was saying that they’re actually running ahead of prior years in terms of the merchandise that they have stockpiled ready for Christmas. So that’s a positive.

On the negative side … there’s a real important ratio called inventory to sales that measures how much inventory you have on hand relative to your average monthly sales. And those numbers are still near all-time lows or at least generational lows, suggesting we’re not quite out of the woods yet.

Blair: I want to focus on something that I’ve been curious about about these issues. It seems like we’ve been talking about this in the U.S. for quite a while now. Are these issues something that the rest of the world is experiencing as badly as we are? I know you mentioned the ports in China that got closed down due to one case of COVID. But are other countries experiencing supply chain issues just as badly as we are?

Griffith: Yes, we are not alone in this. I don’t know if that should give us comfort. But other parts of the world are struggling with this as well. And in fact, other parts of the world are still struggling with lockdown measures, which are an absolute affront to human liberty. So in that respect, at least we are outperforming because we do have, in most of the country, a greater respect for human dignity and basic of human rights.

Also … with some of these other countries that rely more on the export side, their economies are really being hammered on that because they are much more reliant on manufacturing for the employment of their populace.

Blair: Now, moving back to the domestic side, is this supply chain issue something that affects rural and urban Americans equally, or is this affecting one segment of the population more than another segment of the population?

Griffith: That is a great question, Doug, that I don’t know that I have an answer to. I do know this, that regardless of where you are living, if you are looking to buy a new washer, dryer, vehicle, clothing, so much of that is reliant on imports. Even if it’s manufactured here, it’s reliant on components that come from overseas. And you’re facing some either mild inconvenience—for instance, if your washer machine goes out, you might have to wait a week or two, maybe that’s a modest inconvenience. But let’s say you need a new vehicle, spending 30% more, 40% more for a car compared to a year ago, that’s a major problem, especially for a middle-class family.

So these issues, they really do impact rural areas, urban areas as well. If you’re looking to buy food, all of us, whether we live in the countryside or whether we live in a big city, unless we’re growing our own food, and 98% of us aren’t, well, a lot of that food comes from across the border as well, whether Mexico, Canada, or even overseas for a lot of our vegetables, and those have been increasing double digits, too. So that’s impacting all of us. We are, not to use that phrase, but we are all in this together.

Blair: In a way it’s kind of refreshing that this is something that Americans are going to have to deal with together. So on that topic, what can the American government do, if anything, to help end the supply chain crisis? I know we talked briefly about you were in favor of President Biden’s announcement that he was going to be keeping the Port of LA open 24/7. You mentioned it was a commonsense measure. What are some of the other things that the government can be doing to help end the supply chain crisis?

Griffith: Yeah, and to be clear, with those ports, President Biden can’t just flip the on/off switch on that, but he did encourage them to do that. And I think that should be applauded.

But something that government could do is roll back some of these remaining onerous COVID restrictions that aren’t really grounded in science. And No. 2, this is a real big one, the Biden administration has proposed a vaccine mandate for employees at companies larger than 100. That’s 80 million people that are impacted by that. And there are possibly 5%, 10%, maybe even more, of individuals that have indicated they would rather not work than be subjected to those vaccine mandates.

Now, 10% of the workforce might not sound like a lot, but that’s millions of individuals. And many of them do work in the transportation sectors, whether they are truck drivers or they work at docks. Well, that’s going to not just be a burden on their families if they find themselves required to no longer work because of this mandate, that’s going to impact all of us. Even if a few percentage points of people decide to sit at home, that work in these vital sectors, that’s going to impact all of us.

So the administration could also forego it’s unconstitutional, unlawful vaccine mandate.

Thirdly, and this is a big one, the federal government should stop juicing demand artificially. We have a supply problem. We need to have more items produced, need to have more items shipped. The last thing we need right now, and really ever, is for the government to be printing and borrowing more money and artificially simulating demand at a time especially when supply just simply is constricted because of all these delays and restrictions.

So that’s three things right there the federal government could do to alleviate this problem.

And I want to add one more thing going forward, states have a role to play here longer term. With California looking to impose even more onerous restrictions on people in the shipping industry and in the trucking industry and diesel requirements, well, this gives opportunities for other states—we mentioned Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas in particular—to go ahead and pick up the slack. It’ll benefit their state economies. It’ll also benefit the country as well.

 

Whoops! CNN Unwittingly Lets Truth Get Aired

Tyler Durden at zerohedge explains in article CNN Accidentally Allows Someone To Tell The Truth On Air.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Less than a week after CNN scrambled to do damage control when their chief medical correspondent was wrecked by Joe Rogan over Ivermectin lies, the network may have another fire to put out…

Indeed, just days after anchor Don Lemon tried to ‘networksplain’ Rogan’s argument, host Brian Stelter made the mistake of allowing former NYT Editor Bari Weiss on air to discuss examples of why the world has gone mad.

Stelter’s first mistake, of course, was having Weiss on his show.

His second mistake was assuming she didn’t have receipts when she said the world has gone mad.

“Where can I start? Well, when you have the chief reporter on the beat of COVID for The New York Times talking about how questioning or pursuing the question of the lab leak is racist, the world has gone mad.

When you’re not able to say out loud and in public there are differences between men and women, the world has gone mad.

When we’re not allowed to acknowledge that rioting is rioting and it is bad and that silence is not violence, but violence is violence, the world has gone mad,” Weiss said.

“When you’re not able to say the Hunter Biden laptop is a story worth pursuing, the world has gone mad.

When, in the name of progress, young school children, as young as kindergarten, are being separated in public schools because of their race, and that is called progress instead of segregation, the world has gone mad. There are dozens of examples.”

Stelter’s third and final mistake was asking Weiss “who” is to blame?

“People that work at networks like, frankly, like the one I’m speaking on right now, who try and claim that it was racist to investigate the lab leak theory,” Weiss shot back, adding later that CNN and the MSM’s actions were “disinformation by omission.”

Watching Stelter’s face alone is worth the price of admission.

How did CNN not “lose” her feed halfway through that?

Japan Urges WHO Change Name to Chinese Health Org.

Report from Gateway Pundit Japanese Vice President Says WHO Should Be Renamed the CHO or the “Chinese Health Organization” .  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Japanese Deputy Vice President Aso Taro told reporters the World Health Organization should change its name to the Chinese Health Organization.

So far 500,000 people have signed the petition for the name switch.

Pro-Taiwan Japanese politician Aso Taro blasted the World Health Organization for bowing to China and excluding Taiwan as a member state. Speaking to Japanese lawmakers, Aso Taro, the deputy prime minister, said the WHO should change its name to the “CHO,” or China Health Organization.

Taro said being excluded from the global health body, Taiwan was driven to become a world leader in combating the coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic has led to the postponement of the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

Speaking in Japan’s parliament, the country’s deputy prime minister leveled fresh criticism against China. Although the details are murky, the WHO’s previous director-general was a Chinese national and at the time, there were complaints all around. The current petition has gathered 500,000 signatures. People think the World Health Organization should change its name. It shouldn’t be called the WHO. It should be renamed the CHO. This appeal is truly resonating with the people.

Subversive Humor: USA and USSR

Fox News: A young boy went viral over the weekend after shouting “Let’s Go Brandon” when asked to announce the start of a NAPA Super DIRT race.

“Drivers, start your engines,” three children shouted into the microphone when asked by the announcer to “help kick this thing off” at the race at New York’s Oswego Speedway Sunday.

“Let’s go Brandon!” the boy standing in the middle added.

The girl next to the boy began to laugh after the three words were spoken and the announcer appeared surprised.

The three-word chant has become an internet sensation after an NBC reporter at a NASCAR Xfinity Series race incorrectly reported that fans in the stands were chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” following a victory by driver Brandon Brown, when in fact they were shouting, “F*** Joe Biden!”

So in front of that incendiary mass rebellion, an NBC TV Interviewer was interviewing a NASCAR Driver called Brandon. Anyone with eyes and ears knew exactly what was happening in the background, but she tried to pass off the “F*** Joe Biden” chant as “Let’s Go Brandon”. It was a form of brazen but desperate media gaslighting, and the non-left have picked it up as a slogan against both Biden and the media. “Let’s go Brandon” is the epitome of fake news.

The “F*** Joe Biden!” chants have become popular at large sporting events across the country as his poll numbers have sagged due to inflation and several other issues including his handling of Afghanistan, and have now been replaced in some venues with “Let’s Go Brandon” chants.

Memes, jokes, and comments immediately began to spread across the internet posted by users mocking NBC’s coverage during the interview. T-shirts, caps and signs are now available, and maybe soon some flags inspired by my creation above (modified Iowa state flag).

USA Subversive Humor: Jokes and Cartoons

What’s the best thing about being Joe Biden?
Waking up every day and learning that you’re the president.

It’s 2021, and President Joe Biden is told he needs to assemble a cabinet
Coming back from IKEA, he realizes he’s greatly misunderstood the task.

My conservative grandmother used to be a big Trump supporter, but this year her mail-in ballot was cast for Joe Biden.
No way would she have done that if she were still alive.

What’s the most progressive thing about Joe Biden?
His dementia

Joe Biden had a meeting with the cabinet today
He also spoke to the bookcase and argued with the desk.

The White House said that not sending a senior official to the pre-Glasgow climate talks was a mistake. Joe Biden was supposed to fly there, but he’s not allowed on a plane unless he’s accompanied by an adult.

Joe Biden is concerned about forest fires and said we should listen to Smokey Robinson.

What do Joe Biden and Russia have in common?
Neither of them respect boundaries.

Why is Joe Biden like the Coronavirus?
They are both sweeping through the states, taking the elderly’s breath away.

Joe Biden says he’s going to restore the “soul” of our nation…
…the McRib will now be available nationwide for the first time since 2012.

Hispanic Word of the Day: Bodywash
Joe Biden was on TV today, but no bodywash him.

Why is Joe Biden not behind Greta Thunberg?
Because her security detail is doing their job right.

Joe Biden announced his plan for housing developments, and cited Sherlock Holmes as a model.

Joe Biden’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Neal Kassell, said he has seen no signs of brain damage in the 76-year-old. “He is every bit as sharp as he was 31 years ago. I haven’t seen any change,” he said in in an interview with Politico.

USSR Humor from previous post Soviet Jokes About Living Under Oppression

The Soviet people lived under a regime where private life, ideas and opinions were banished from public expression by state media.  Now the USA has state media rivaling the USSR, only difference is ambiguity whether the media runs the state or vice-versa as in Soviet days.  In any case, Russians and others under that regime voiced their resistance by sharing jokes at the expense of the autocrats.  Wikipedia provides some instructive examples for Americans in the days ahead.

A judge walks out of his chambers laughing his head off. A colleague approaches him and asks why he is laughing. “I just heard the funniest joke in the world!”
“Well, go ahead, tell me!” says the other judge.
“I can’t – I just gave someone ten years for it!”

Q: “Who built the White Sea Canal?”
A: “The left bank was built by those who told the jokes, and the right bank by those who listened.”

Q: Will there be KGB in communism?
A: As you know, under communism, the state will be abolished, together with its means of suppression. People will know how to self-arrest themselves.

Q: How do you deal with mice in the Kremlin?
A: Put up a sign saying “collective farm”. Then half the mice will starve, and the rest will run away.

“Lubyanka (KGB headquarters) is the tallest building in Moscow. You can see Siberia from its basement.”

A new arrival to Gulag is asked: “What were you given 10 years for?”
– “For nothing!”
– “Don’t lie to us here, now! Everybody knows ‘for nothing’ is 3 years.”

Q: What’s the difference between a capitalist fairy tale and a Marxist fairy tale?
A: A capitalist fairy tale begins, “Once upon a time, there was….”. A Marxist fairy tale begins, “Some day, there will be….”

A Soviet history professor addressed his university students: “Regarding the final exam, I have good news and bad news.  The good news: All the questions are the same as last year.  The bad news:  Some of the answers are different.”

Q: What is the difference between the Constitutions of the US and USSR? Both of them guarantee freedom of speech.
A: Yes, but the Constitution of the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech.

Q: Is it true that the Soviet Union is the most progressive country in the world?
A: Of course! Life was already better yesterday than it’s going to be tomorrow!

Khrushchev visited a pig farm and was photographed there. In the newspaper office, a discussion is underway about how to caption the picture. “Comrade Khrushchev among pigs,” “Comrade Khrushchev and pigs,” and “Pigs surround comrade Khrushchev” are all rejected as politically offensive. Finally, the editor announces his decision: “Third from left – comrade Khrushchev.”

Q: “What is the main difference between succession under the tsarist regime and under socialism?”
A: “Under the tsarist regime, power was transferred from father to son, and under socialism – from grandfather to grandfather.”

Q: What are the new requirements for joining the Politburo?
A: You must now be able to walk six steps without the assistance of a cane, and say three words without the assistance of paper.

Our Soviet industry system is simple and works very well.  Our bosses pretend to pay and we pretend to work.

An old woman asks her granddaughter: “Granddaughter, please explain Communism to me. How will people live under it? They probably teach you all about it in school.”
“Of course they do, Granny. When we reach Communism, the shops will be full–there’ll be butter, and meat, and sausage. You’ll be able to go and buy anything you want…”
“Ah!” exclaimed the old woman joyfully. “Just like it was under the Tsar!”

A man walks into a shop and asks, “You wouldn’t happen to have any fish, would you?”. The shop assistant replies, “You’ve got it wrong – ours is a butcher’s shop. We don’t have any meat. You’re looking for the fish shop across the road. There they don’t have any fish!”

Q: “What happens if Soviet socialism comes to Saudi Arabia?
A: First five years, nothing; then a shortage of oil.”

Stalin appears to Putin in a dream and says: “I have two bits of advice for you: kill off all your opponents and paint the Kremlin blue.” Putin asks, “Why blue?” Stalin: “I knew you would not object to the first one.”

 

 

Economic Freedom is the Way Forward, Reject Woke ESG Corporatism

Anthony B. Kim and Patrick Tyrrell write at Daily Signal Economic Freedom Is the Path to Healthy Environments, Social Progress, and Good Governance—Not Woke Corporatism.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The left is trying to refashion how policy makers and private-sector leaders understand their roles by insisting that their actions must have an “environmental, social, and governance” focus. This agenda is frequently abbreviated to “ESG”—a buzzword that is now being heavily circulated online and in D.C. It’s also completely misguided.

The environmental, social, and governance agenda insists that policy makers and private-sector leaders see themselves as the stewards of a newly “woke” planet. In actuality, it is a way to force companies to take positions in the political arena on issues that may have nothing to do with the company’s actual business activities.

Economic freedom, not the environmental, social, and governance agenda, makes the world cleaner, safer, and better governed. It is not hard to find the economic damage that is inflicted by heavy-handed and misguided government policies, which result in lingering uncertainty, deteriorating entrepreneurial environments, and lower employment growth.

The true path to ensuring environmental, social, governance improvements lies in focusing on policies that enhance economic freedom. As documented in The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, the linkage between economic freedom, individual liberty, and prosperity around the world is unambiguous.

This prosperity is not just an end in itself. As the index catalogues, preserving and advancing economic freedom enables individuals, entrepreneurs, and companies to better care for the poor and their environments, create better health care and education systems, ensure an abundance of food and clean water, and solve many of the other societal problems that makes life better for a greater number people.

In countries around the world, economic freedom has been shown to increase the capacity for environmentally friendly innovation. The positive link between economic freedom and higher levels of innovation ensures greater capacity to cope with environmental challenges, and the most remarkable improvements in clean energy use and energy efficiency over the past decades have occurred not as a result of government regulation, but rather because of advances in economic freedom and freer trade.

Equally notable is that countries that provide an environment that is conducive to social progress also largely embrace economic freedom. Countries that allow private-sector competitiveness to thrive free from government interference and open their societies to new ideas, products, and innovations have largely achieved the high levels of social progress that their citizens demand.

It is not massive redistributions of wealth or government dictates on income level that produce the most positive social outcomes.

Greater economic freedom can also provide more fertile ground for effective and democratic governance. Undoubtedly, the achievement of political freedom through a well-functioning democratic system is a messy and often excruciating process, but the positive relationship between economic freedom and democratic governance is undeniable.

By empowering people to exercise greater control of their daily lives, economic freedom ultimately nurtures political reform by making it possible for individuals to gain the economic resources that they can use to challenge entrenched interests or compete for political power, thereby encouraging the creation of more pluralistic societies.

By building on what works, we can accelerate our progress in the face of even the most difficult challenges and chart ever greater success. The key to that is to advance the four pillars of economic freedom—the rule of law, limited government, efficient regulation, and market openness.

Real-world trends already reveal how to advance environmental, social, and responsible governance principles and results. Twenty-seven years of the annual Index of Economic Freedom provide compelling evidence that the pathway to such improvements is not with infringing on people’s economic freedom, but through allowing their economic freedom to flourish.

That responsibility is to advance free people and free markets.

 

Update: What is an “Invalid Vote” Anyway?

As explained in a reprinted post below:

A vote is an indication of preference cast by an eligible, registered voter.  It must be cast in the time, place, and manner prescribed by law.

Thus a ballot cast claiming to be a vote is not in fact one to be counted if any of the conditions are not met.  The image above presents the many ways supposed “votes” failed to be valid votes in Maricopa County, Arizona, in the 2020 federal election.  The total count of ballots cast was 2,089,563 and Biden won by 10,800.  Each of the many circles depict the % of total votes that failed to meet a particular criterion.  If the top row circles are summarized, the total number of invalid votes in that county exceeded 700,000. Jovan Pulitzer explains why he made the chart:

I think people need to visually see all the errors, all the information that shows, hey, Maricopa at its worst literally should be decertified, at its best could easily be redone…

…I just charted out a very simple way to understand how bad is the bad. If they’re just pie charts, if you think here in this election was won on .049047%, right? It’s such a small margin that it could have swung any way…

…There are eight charts across the top, those are just the low hanging fruit that show this election has serious issues because any one of these would demand that it can’t be certified or it needs to be rerun. 

Background at previous post What is a Vote Anyway?

Ted Noel writes at Town Hall In the Arizona Audit, Words Matter.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

This is one of those times when we wish that people would have used more circumspect language. Both the Arizona auditors and John Solomon committed a cardinal error that has allowed the Left to celebrate victory and ignore the fine print. Both note that Biden got more “votes” than Trump. That conclusion is incorrect, because it ignores the rest of the story.

A vote is an indication of preference cast by an eligible, registered voter.

It must be cast in the time, place, and manner prescribed by law. Anything else is not a vote. In Arizona, it is cast on paper ballots and read by machines. All the “accurate count” showed was that the machines counted the pieces of paper accurately. That’s all machines do. They do not count “ballots.”

The canvass did not answer the primary question, “How many of the pieces of paper were lawful ballots and how many should have been excluded because they were not lawful votes?” All the “accurate count” proves is that there was no outside effort to tweak the numbers by changing them by some direct internet chicanery. But it does not prove that Biden won. Or not. And that is the problem.  I won’t repeat all the details the auditors droned on through, but there are several key findings.

Over 50,000 “ballots” were unlawfully cast.

There were dead people, new addresses without re-registration, double votes, envelopes with no signatures, ballots received that were never sent out, and so on. Every one of those “ballots” were unlawful. They should have been rejected to remove them from the canvass. Since the margin between Trump and Biden was around ten thousand, this is far more than enough to cast doubt on the outcome. And then comes the drama.Maricopa County did everything it could to block the audit. If it was confident that it had done its job correctly, then one would expect that it would cooperate fully. Indeed, with the hand count matching the canvas, it seems that all should be well. But then we find that hundreds of thousands of election files were deleted from Maricopa County’s computer servers the day before the audit began. That smacks of guilty knowledge.

We also know that the servers allowed election data to be seen from the internet. Security was extremely lax, and even though it appears no votes were changed, other issues arise. Legally required signature matching on absentee ballots basically evaporated as the original tally went on.

Was someone watching from outside, then advising local officials on how to let unlawful ballots through to obtain the desired result?

At a bare minimum, the Arizona Presidential election was irretrievably tainted. The taint was large enough to make determination of the actual winner impossible. That’s why I wrote before January 6 that VP Pence should send several slates of electors back to their respective state legislatures for a final determination.

Those states, by repeated violations of their own state laws, did not hold elections. The processes they followed did not allow a tally of lawful votes.

The Arizona legislature should vote to decertify the electors for the 2020 election. This may have no legal effect, but if it leads two or three other states to the same conclusion, we may have a Constitutional crisis, and there are no guideposts for this trail. The Constitution simply did not foresee the compounding of raw power applied to prevent the proper administration of a Presidential election. The Supreme Court may deny cert based on the passage of time beyond the designated Electoral College date. Or it could decide to hear the case and ultimately find that Biden’s election is a nullity ab initio. Or something in between. Who knows?

What we do know is that we simply cannot declare who won the Arizona election with any degree of certainty. Even if that changes nothing else, it should give us a resolve to fix our elections so that they cannot be manipulated outside the law.

Pieces of paper with marks on them are not ballots until it is determined that those marks were made by a lawful voter in the time and manner prescribed by the legislature. Only after that bar is crossed for every ballot is it possible to have an election. Biden did not win the Arizona election because there was no Arizona election. It is impossible to truthfully say that he got more “votes” than Donald Trump. Nobody actually knows.

 

 

Vaccine Cult Strikes Again: No Pills Allowed

Matt Taibbi reports at substack The Cult of the Vaccine NeuroticExcerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Yesterday, I ran a story that had nothing to do with vaccines, about the seeming delay of the development of a drug called molnupiravir (see the above segment with the gracious hosts of The Hill: Rising for more). In the time it took to report and write that piece, conventional wisdom turned against the drug, which is now suspected of ivermectinism and other deviationist, anti-vax tendencies, in the latest iteration of our most recent collective national mania — the Cult of the Vaccine.

The speed of the change was incredible. Just a week ago, on October 1st, the pharmaceutical giant Merck issued a terse announcement that quickly became big news. Molnupiravir, an experimental antiviral drug, “reduced the risk of hospitalization or death” of Covid-19 patients by as much as 50%, according to a study.

[For Background see Why Merck Dissed Its Own Invention Ivermectin]

The stories that rushed out in the ensuing minutes and hours were almost uniformly positive. AP called the news a “potentially major advance in efforts to fight the pandemic,” while National Geographic quoted a Yale specialist saying, “Having a pill that would be easy for people to take at home would be terrific.” 

This is what news looks like before propagandists get their hands on it. Time writer Alice Park’s lede was sensible and clear. If molnupiravir works — a big if, incidentally — it’s good news for everyone, since not everyone is immunized, and the vaccines aren’t 100% effective anyway. As even Vox put it initially, molnupiravir could “help compensate for persistent gaps in Covid-19 vaccination coverage.”

Within a day, though, the tone of coverage turned. Writers began stressing a Yeah, but approach, as in, “Any new treatment is of course good, but get your fucking shot.” A CNN lede read, “A pill that could potentially treat Covid-19 is a ‘game-changer,’ but experts are emphasizing that it’s not an alternative to vaccinations.” The New York Times went with, “Health officials said the drug could provide an effective way to treat Covid-19, but stressed that vaccines remained the best tool.”

If you’re thinking it was only a matter of time before the mere fact of molnupiravir’s existence would be pitched in headlines as actual bad news, you’re not wrong: Marketwatch came out with “‘It’s not a magic pill’: What Merck’s antiviral pill could mean for vaccine hesitancy” the same day Merck issued its release. The piece came out before we knew much of anything concrete about the drug’s effectiveness, let alone whether it was “magic.”

Bloomberg’s morose “No, the Merck pill won’t end the pandemic” was released on October 2nd, i.e. one whole day after the first encouraging news of a possible auxiliary treatment whose most ardent supporters never claimed would end the pandemic. This article said the pill might be cause to celebrate, but warned its emergence “shouldn’t be cause for complacency when it comes to the most effective tool to end this pandemic: vaccines.” Bloomberg randomly went on to remind readers that the unrelated drug ivermectin is a “horse de-worming agent,” before adding that if molnupiravir ends up “being viewed as a solution for those who refuse to vaccinate,” the “Covid virus will continue to persist.”

In other words, it took less than 24 hours for the drug — barely tested, let alone released yet — to be accused of prolonging the pandemic.

By the third day, mentions of molnupiravir in news reports nearly all came affixed to stern reminders of its place beneath vaccines in the medical hierarchy, as in the New York Times explaining that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who initially told reporters the new drug was “impressive,” now “warned that Americans should not wait to be vaccinated because they believe they can take the pill.”

[Comment:  Pills are not second to vaccines in some medical hierarchy; they are equally essential and paramount for those who get sick, vaccinated or not.]

Since the start of the Trump years, we’ve been introduced to a new kind of news story, which assumes adults can’t handle multiple ideas at once, and has reporters frantically wrapping facts deemed dangerous, unorthodox, or even just insufficiently obvious in layers of disclaimers. The fear of uncontrolled audience brain-drift is now so great that even offhand references must come swaddled in these journalistic Surgeon General’s warnings, which is why whenever we read anything now, we almost always end up fighting through nests of phrases like “the debunked conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was created in a lab” in order to get to whatever the author’s main point might be.

As a student in the Soviet Union I noticed subscribers to what Russians called the sovok mindset talked in interminable strings of pogovorki, i.e goofball proverbs or aphorisms you’d heard a million times before (“He who takes no risk, drinks no champagne,” or “Work isn’t a wolf, it won’t run off into the woods,” etc). This was a learned defense mechanism, adopted by a people who’d found out the hard way that anyone caught not speaking nonstop nonsense could be suspected of harboring original thoughts. Voluble stupidity is a great disguise in a society where silence is suspect.

We’re similarly becoming a nation of totalitarian nitwits, speaking in a borrowed lexicon of mandatory phrases and smelling heresy in anyone who doesn’t.

This cult reflex was bad during the Russiagate years, but it’s gone into overdrive since the arrival of COVID. The CNN writer who thinks it’s necessary to put a disclaimer in the lede of a story about molnupiravir, of all things, is basically claiming he or she is afraid a theoretical unvaccinated person might otherwise read the story and be encouraged to not take the vaccine.

Except, if that theoretical unvaccinated person could be convinced by anything CNN said or did, they’d have already gotten the shot, because the network runs ten million stories a day directly imploring people to get vaccinated or die. News flash: the instinct to armor-plate even unrelated news subjects with layer after layer of insistent vaccine dogma is not for the non-immunized, who mostly don’t watch outlets like CNN or read the New York Times.

Outlets apply that neurotic messaging for their own target audiences, who’ve been trained to live in terror of un-contextualized content, which everyone knows leads to Trump, fascism, and death.

I’d be the last person to claim there aren’t dumb people out there in America, but at least the audiences of channels like Fox and OAN know that content has been designed for them. The people gobbling down these pieces by Bloomberg and the Times that have the journalistic equivalent of child-proof caps on every paragraph that even parenthetically mentions COVID really believe that content has been dumbed down for some other person. They think it’s someone else who can’t handle news that vaccines work and that there also might be a pill that treats the disease, without freaking out or coming to politically unsafe conclusions. So they put up with being talked to like children — demand it, even. Which is nuts. Right? It is nuts, isn’t it?

 

Dr. Richard Urso: End the Pandemic with Early Treatment

Drug Inventor Urso: Are We Underutilizing Early Treatment?

We cannot use a one-size fits all approach to fighting Covid

Dr. Richard Urso is a scientist, sole inventor of an FDA-approved wound healing drug, and the Former Director of Orbital Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He believes we cannot use a one-size-fits-all approach to fighting Covid.

“We are not going to vaccinate our way out of this,” he said. “There’s no reason to not use anti-inflammatories against inflammatory disease. I used steroids in March and people were saying, ‘Why are you using steroids for inflammatory for this viral disease?’ And I said, ‘Because it’s not a viral disease.’”

Urso says mass lockdowns and waiting for a vaccine never made a lot of sense to him. He calls for a multi-pronged strategy includes targeted vaccination programs, but also early treatment and prevention measures.

“Early treatment should have been part of the equation. I’m not against all those other things. Contagion control is important. Washing our hands. Things like that. They’re all important. Do we need vaccination programs? Absolutely. Do we need early treatment programs? Absolutely. So we have basically put the cart before the horse. The tail is wagging the dog. Early treatment should be a mainstay for everything.”

Background from previous post 3000+ Doctors Declaration for Medical Rights and Freedoms

Update October 7, 2021 Presently 10,000+ medical practitioners have signed the declaration

By Debra Heine writes at American Greatness Over 3,000 Doctors and Scientists Sign Declaration Accusing COVID Policy-Makers of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

More resources are available at Global Climate Summit

A group of physicians and scientists met in Rome, Italy earlier this month for a three day Global Covid Summit to speak “truth to power about Covid pandemic research and treatment.”

The summit, which was held from September 12 to September 14, gave the medical professionals an opportunity to compare studies, and assess the efficacy of the various treatments that have been developed in hospitals, doctors offices and research labs throughout the world.

The Physicians’ Declaration was first read at the Rome Covid Summit, catalyzing an explosion of active support from medical scientists and physicians around the globe. These professionals were not expecting career threats, character assassination, papers and research censored, social accounts blocked, search results manipulated, clinical trials and patient observations banned, and their professional history and accomplishments altered or omitted in academic and mainstream media.

The document, reprinted below in its entirety, sprang from that conference.

Thousands have died from Covid as a result of being denied life-saving early treatment. The Declaration is a battle cry from physicians who are daily fighting for the right to treat their patients, and the right of patients to receive those treatments – without fear of interference, retribution or censorship by government, pharmacies, pharmaceutical corporations, and big tech. We demand that these groups step aside and honor the sanctity and integrity of the patient-physician relationship, the fundamental maxim “First Do No Harm”, and the freedom of patients and physicians to make informed medical decisions. Lives depend on it.

We the physicians of the world, united and loyal to the Hippocratic Oath, recognizing the profession of medicine as we know it is at a crossroad, are compelled to declare the following;

WHEREAS, it is our utmost responsibility and duty to uphold and restore the dignity, integrity, art and science of medicine;

WHEREAS, there is an unprecedented assault on our ability to care for our patients;

WHEREAS, public policy makers have chosen to force a “one size fits all” treatment strategy, resulting in needless illness and death, rather than upholding fundamental concepts of the individualized, personalized approach to patient care which is proven to be safe and more effective;

WHEREAS, physicians and other health care providers working on the front lines, utilizing their knowledge of epidemiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology, are often first to identify new, potentially life saving treatments;

WHEREAS, physicians are increasingly being discouraged from engaging in open professional discourse and the exchange of ideas about new and emerging diseases, not only endangering the essence of the medical profession, but more importantly, more tragically, the lives of our patients;

WHEREAS, thousands of physicians are being prevented from providing treatment to their patients, as a result of barriers put up by pharmacies, hospitals, and public health agencies, rendering the vast majority of healthcare providers helpless to protect their patients in the face of disease. Physicians are now advising their patients to simply go home (allowing the virus to replicate) and return when their disease worsens, resulting in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary patient deaths, due to failure-to-treat;

WHEREAS, this is not medicine. This is not care. These policies may actually constitute crimes against humanity.

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS:

RESOLVED, that the physician-patient relationship must be restored. The very heart of medicine is this relationship, which allows physicians to best understand their patients and their illnesses, to formulate treatments that give the best chance for success, while the patient is an active participant in their care.

RESOLVED, that the political intrusion into the practice of medicine and the physician/patient relationship must end. Physicians, and all health care providers, must be free to practice the art and science of medicine without fear of retribution, censorship, slander, or disciplinary action, including possible loss of licensure and hospital privileges, loss of insurance contracts and interference from government entities and organizations – which further prevent us from caring for patients in need. More than ever, the right and ability to exchange objective scientific findings, which further our understanding of disease, must be protected.

RESOLVED, that physicians must defend their right to prescribe treatment, observing the tenet FIRST, DO NO HARM. Physicians shall not be restricted from prescribing safe and effective treatments. These restrictions continue to cause unnecessary sickness and death. The rights of patients, after being fully informed about the risks and benefits of each option, must be restored to receive those treatments.

RESOLVED, that we invite physicians of the world and all health care providers to join us in this noble cause as we endeavor to restore trust, integrity and professionalism to the practice of medicine.

RESOLVED, that we invite the scientists of the world, who are skilled in biomedical research and uphold the highest ethical and moral standards, to insist on their ability to conduct and publish objective, empirical research without fear of reprisal upon their careers, reputations and livelihoods.

RESOLVED, that we invite patients, who believe in the importance of the physician-patient relationship and the ability to be active participants in their care, to demand access to science-based medical care.

 

Why “Hispanics” is Wrong and Dangerous

This is an informed and timely perspective from a person attributed to be a member of the above “group” in order to join a socio-political US revolution.  Mike Gonzalez explains in an interview with Doug Blair at Daily Signal Why Hispanic Heritage Month Shouldn’t Be a Thing.  Excerpts of transcript with my bolds and images.

Overview

We’re in the first week of Hispanic Heritage Month, yet another 30 days of identity-focused celebration, following on the heels of Black History Month in February and Gay Pride Month in June.

But although the ubiquity of the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” might make it seem that they’ve always been there, Heritage Foundation senior fellow Mike Gonzalez contends that those terms were invented by Marxist activists attempting to persuade so-called Hispanics that they were oppressed.

“I’m very proud of [my heritage], but this amalgamation, this artificial label that is created, the officiality of it is what I’m opposed to, because I know that it is done on purpose and with malice aforethought toward the country of the United States,” Gonzalez says.

The veteran journalist and communicator joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the Marxist history of terms such as “Hispanic” and “Latino,” and to detail the radical left’s plans to use identity politics to seize power.

Doug Blair: Our guest today is Mike Gonzalez, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow for foreign policy as well as the Angeles T. Arredondo e pluribus unum fellow. He is also the author of the new book “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution,” highlighting the Marxist underpinnings of the Black Lives Matter movement. Mike, thank you so much for joining us.

Interview

Blair: I wanted to have you on the show today to discuss Hispanic Heritage Month. You’ve done a lot of really fascinating research on terms like Hispanic and Latino and where they come from. So to start off, could you explain to our listeners a brief history of the invention of these terms?

Gonzalez: So, if by Hispanic Heritage Month we were celebrating what unites, actually, all the “Hispanics” in the United States, that is the founding by the Iberian kingdoms of Portugal, Spain of their lands, I probably wouldn’t have any problem with that. I think that we should learn more about Columbus’ exploration, his brave courageous trek across the ocean to join all of humanity finally together. Leif Erikson, a Viking, is said to have done it, but Leif Erikson was not interested in uniting humanity and forging new and permanent links as Columbus did.

If we mean that, then by all means. If we mean the wondrous actions of Junípero Serra in the West to bring the promise of salvation and Christ to the natives of that land; if we mean by no means all good, but still very brave exploration of Cuba, Mexico, Peru, etc. by Velázquez and Cortes and Pizarro, and looking at all aspects of it, looking at the good things they did and the bad things they did; then yeah, I would be for that kind of Hispanic Heritage Month.

What I’m not for is for the creation of a Hispanic category by leftists—well, the instigation of the creation—because the leftist activists in the ’70s were the ones who really went all out and prodded the bureaucracy, a very reluctant bureaucracy, I must add, who did not want to do it, starting in the late ’60s and culminating in 1977, when OMB, the Office of Management and Budget, finally created the Hispanic category.

And the culmination, I guess, would’ve been when it’s placed on the 1980 census for the first time, and this very large and growing group of Americans are hauled off and counted away from the other races that are recognized by anthropologists, not by leftist activists acting on the pay of the Ford Foundation.

So that is what I’m against. And the reason I’m against it, we can go into that later on, depending on what questions you ask, because it is very clear from the beginning that it is done in order to instill grievances in the members of this category in order to transform the country.

Blair: So what it sounds like you’re saying is that these terms like Hispanic and Latino were not naturally occurring. They weren’t invented by the communities that they were invented to describe. It sounds like these were pushed by leftist academics.

So with that being said, do you consider yourself Hispanic?

Gonzalez: So, opposition came not only from the bureaucrats, it also came from the grassroots. The grassroots wanted no part of this. They were the only people that were interested in doing this. And they were very adamant that Hispanic be created. … They always say, the activists, they hate colonization, but Hispanic and Latin America are both words that are used by colonizers.

I consider myself an American, to be honest. I consider myself a father, first of all; a husband; a Catholic, that’s an affiliation that’s very important to me; an American. I consider myself a Cuban American also, although that is less important than the other things I mentioned.

First, I’m very proud of the contributions of Cuban Americans to this country. . .Very proud of my family. I love my family. I love the history of my family, what it accomplished both in Cuba and in Spain before, because I have very recent ancestors, grandparents who are Spaniards. . .My immigrant grandfather, my immigrant five great grandparents, all of whom were poor, who came from Northern Spain and made it in Cuba.

So I’m very proud of all that, but this amalgamation, this artificial label that is created, the officiality of it is what I’m opposed to, because I know that it is done on purpose and with malice and aforethought toward the country of the United States.

Blair: With that history in mind, and with the way you view yourself in mind, I’m curious, what are the views of the communities that these terms were invented to describe, South and Central Mexican nationals, on terms like Latino and Hispanic? Are these terms popular with them? And then further on, how have these terms been embraced by the wider American population? Is this something that they accept as well?

Gonzalez: Well … I don’t know 58 million of them personally. It’s funny, every time somebody says to me, “Hey, do you know this Cuban?”, it’s like, “Nah, there’s almost 2 million Cuban Americans. We don’t really know each other, all of them.”

Look, we can only look at the opinion polls. Pew Research, every poll that I’ve looked at—Pew is very good by the way. It’s center-left and the analysis is center-left, but if you look at the numbers that Pew puts out, I swear by them. And what they find is that between 20% and 25% uses Hispanic or Latino. The rest uses Dominican or Mexican or Puerto Rican or American.

So the Hispanic and Latino—I’d love to get into Latino, by the way, because that story is not known at all. And of course, Latinx, that term only known to NPR and [President] Joe Biden. I can tell you that nobody in Miami is having a cafecito thinking he’s Latinx, and nobody walks into a bodega in Manhattan thinking she’s Latinx. My goodness, my goodness.

Blair: Well, I’m really glad that you actually brought that up, because as radical leftists kind of continue their war on language, and as they decide that these terms are not far enough, Latino and Latinx are now these things. Chicanx, I’ve heard a couple of times. I mean, how does this evolution of identity-based language, like, Latinx, Chicanx, and all these other crazy ones, how does this play into the sort of Marxist underpinnings of the phrases themselves?

Gonzalez: By the way, I often tweet that I did the Ancestry test and I came back 55% Hispanix, 20% Portugex, 20% Irix, and less than 1% Indiax.

So what they do is they create these categories. … And they’re very open about this, by the way. If you listen to Maria Teresa Kumar, who is wonderful in her ability to just speak the truth, sometimes when she’s on Chuck Todd or doing a show with Nikole Hannah-Jones, she will say, “Look, it’s really, really hard.” She’s the head of Voto Latino. “It’s really, really hard to instill grievances into the members of these categories, because they’re not aware that they’re being oppressed.”

This is, of course, pure and classic critical theory and critical legal theory and critical race theory. They believe from the beginning that what happens is that the members of the population are not aware of their oppression.

[Max] Horkheimer, one of the godfathers of critical theory, writes in the 1930s that, “One cannot rely on the proletariat to overthrow the system because the proletariat will not understand that he’s suppressed. He has no idea that he’s suppressed.” His assistant, Herbert Marcuse, then writes in the 1960s that, “Liberation can only start with the consciousness of servitude.”

And so it is with these activists and the heads of these groups, who grab an immigrant from Uruguay or his progeny and say, “You might be happy here. You may have fought really hard to leave Guerrero, Mexico, and immigrate to this country, and you may think this is the land of opportunity and milk and honey, but you’re wrong. You’re enslaved. You’re oppressed. The dissatisfaction of your material needs through capitalism, even though you’re happy with your Wi-Fi and your split-level home, this is a very oppressive, superstructure.”

In fact, in order to apply for the incentives to do this, you get maybe a preference for a city contract, but in order to get a preference for a city contract, you must write down how you were discriminated against 30 years ago. You must never forget. And my goodness, you must never forgive.

So this is very well thought out, and it works if we let it work.

Blair: The question is now, why? What is the motivation here? Is it to bring a new Marxist world order? What is the end goal here?

Gonzalez: Oh, no, of course it is. It is exactly that. It’s liberation. And they say that.

By the way, notice how Marxists never really promise liberty or freedom, because they know they’re not promising liberty or freedom. What they’re promising is liberation because they believe in the oppressed/oppressor narrative. And so they say, “It’s liberation from oppression that we’re after.” And yes, very much so.

And the penny drops for Herbert Marcuse and he writes that, “It is in the ghetto population,” his words, “that you’ll have the revolutionary agents. They must continue to be guided by a communist, a Marxist intellectual class.” They need to have revolutionary consciousness, which he doesn’t believe they have, but they have revolutionary potential, and he sees that they can be prodded into violence.

And you’re quite right, that the unique and exceptional suffering of black Americans, that suffering must be analogized to these new groups, which is wrong, it’s false. And it is in many ways just ugly because obviously, I or my family, my name is Gonzalez, famously, and nothing like what happened to African Americans happened to my family or to anybody named Gonzalez.

That’s not to say that people named Gonzalez did not experience discrimination, especially in Texas and parts of the Southwest. Earlier on in the last century, that was very real, and there’s very substantial evidence of it. And we know from the experience that they relate that that happened, but nothing ever approximates what blacks suffered in this country.

Blair: So we’ve seen some of the consequences of this kind of hyperfocalization or hyperintense scrutiny of race and identity on American politics and American social cohesion. What do you think are some of the most severe consequences of the left’s push to push everything through this lens of race, including Hispanic and black?

Gonzalez: Well, we see it today. I mean, all the polls tell us that Americans, a majority—a substantial majority, not just a plurality, but a substantial majority of Americans—today believe that race relations are the worst they’ve ever been.

We’ve had riots. 2020, we’ve had a spike in the murder rate of 30%—30%. That’s an extra 5,000 people dead in 2020, I believe mostly because of the riots and the instability, which took place mostly because of the instigation of the organization of the Black Lives Matter organizations, obviously, with an assist from Antifa, although Antifa does not have the organizing muscle or the cache or the money that Black Lives Matter has.

So we’ve seen the invasion of critical race theory into all aspects of our lives: how kids are being divided according to race; how white kids have been told that they’re racist and that they are oppressors and they have privilege and black kids are being told what Derrick Bell said, that they will never gain equality with whites, which is false and disgusting to say that to a black child. That’s a form of child abuse.

It’s also child abuse to tell a black child or a kid named Rodriguez that numeracy or literacy or punctuality or linear thinking or the use of reason are not things for them, that sitting in their desk and being quiet and following what the teacher says and paying attention and doing homework are white things.

My goodness. [These are] things that would’ve made the Grand Dragon of the KKK blush 20 years ago, and now is being repeated in our classrooms and we’re paying for it as taxpayers. We’re being trained in our places of work, under penalty of being fired.

This is all wrong and very wrong. And that’s the reason that the American people are rebelling against this.

Blair:  On that note, I’m curious, if we want to talk about issues relating to this specific subsect of people, is there a way that we can refer to these groups without using these sort of racialized terms like Hispanic or Latino? Does it make sense to talk about things, for example, like the Hispanic vote?

Gonzalez: No, that one makes absolutely no sense.

So, the largest group in America, largest nation of origin group, are Mexican Americans. I think they may be 38 million today. And it makes no sense whatsoever to talk about the Mexican American vote, just like it really makes no sense to talk about the German vote—that’s the largest group—or the Irish vote anymore. The Irish vote has been split now, I believe, since the ’60s.

The Mexican American vote in some parts like the Rio Grande Valley is going heavily conservative, heavily Republican; in the cities of Texas, especially among the young, it is going the other way. It’s going not just the Democrats or liberals, but heavily progressive. So I hesitate to talk about the Mexican American vote.

The Hispanic vote makes zero sense because you have Puerto Ricans voting differently in Florida than they do in Hartford or New York or Philadelphia; Cubans voting definitely massively one way in Miami and then that’s not the way they vote in Houston; the Mexican Americans voting in Houston or East LA.

There’s such an animal as the Cuban vote in Miami. That is part of reality. And if you are in that business, then you should talk about it and think of it that way.

I’m told that there’s even such a thing as the Irish vote in Boston. No longer do we have really the Dutch vote in the Hudson River Valley as we did in the days of Jackson, Andy Jackson.

Blair: So my final question for you is, do you think this fight against racial fragmentation and the left’s campaign to do this is a fight that conservatives are winning? And as a secondary follow-up, what are we doing well specifically and where do we need to shore up our defenses?

Gonzalez: I think conservatives have begun well by identifying the problem, talking about it, freezing it. I think the left has been caught by surprise.

By the way, the left doesn’t know what critical race theory is, obviously, or they’re just lying when they say that it is not critical race theory to talk about systemic racism. That is just a lie, that’s just ignorance.

I don’t blame them, but the majority is definitely against them. And they’re playing with fire.

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Tyranny By Way of Criminal Law

Dr. Lucas Bergkamp writes at Real Clear Energy The Legal Doctrine of “Carbon Crimes”—Torturing Law and Reason to Rid the Planet of Climate Change Deniers.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Abstract

The climate movement has discovered criminal law as a tool for conducting climate politics. To complement civil lawsuits against states and corporations, the movement’s activists intend to invoke torture and a newly proposed crime of “ecocide” to target corporate executives, politicians, and others who stand in the way of their preferred policies. In pushing their agenda, these activists receive assistance from the judiciary—specifically, the European Court of Human Rights.

The use of criminal law to pursue climate politics is a further step in the radicalization of the climate movement and poses a threat to economic and political freedoms, the rule of law, and democracy.

If the movement is able to realize its plans, all those who do not support ambitious climate policies would have to fear prosecution and imprisonment. Conversely, threatening criminal sanctions against politicians and corporate executives will create powerful incentives to adopt ambitious climate policies and the dominant pro-climate narrative.

Lucas Bergkamp explains how criminal law, in the climate movement’s vision, should supplement civil and administrative law to eliminate any and all opposition to its plans for the realization of a climate utopia.

European government of judges

Over several decades, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has evolved into a European government in itself. Based on doctrines designed to enable it to expand its powers at its discretion, the Court has enacted a series of mandates for new laws and policies for Europe. There is little democratic control over the Court’s role in advancing progressive politics. Once the Court has spoken, national parliaments are unable to undo its pontification because a human right trumps national law; national judiciaries are compelled to execute the Court’s judgments, even if their own national law provides otherwise.

While imposing its high moral demands on executive governments, the Court believes itself to be quite exempt from any moral or legal constraints. In a previous contribution, I discussed how climate change litigation before the Court has undermined the rule of law, the separation of powers, and democracy. In this article, I focus on the Court’s role in criminalizing the climate debate. Its reckless disregard of judicial impartiality, the right to a fair trial, and judicial restraint is another manifestation of the Court’s support for the progressive movement.

The rationale supporting criminalization

The argument for criminalizing “climate denial” typically boils down to the following argument articulated by Jeremy Williams:

Given what we know and have known for decades about climate change, to deny the science, deceive the public, and willfully obstruct any serious response to the climate catastrophe is to allow entire countries and cultures to disappear. It is to rob … the poorest and most vulnerable on the planet of their land, their homes, their livelihoods, even their lives—and their children’s lives, and their children’s children’s lives. For profit. And for power…. These are crimes. They are crimes against the earth, and they are crimes against humanity.

This emotional outcry is not only an impenetrable amalgamation of factual and moral reasoning but also assumes what must be proved. To prevent disaster, rationality needs to be brought back into the analysis. Unfortunately, as the ECHR demonstrates, we cannot rely on the judiciary to do so.

“Climate emergency”

The European Court of Human Rights, to which its president refers as the “European Climate Change Court,” has used the opportunity presented by the climate litigation that it invited to take the lead in criminalizing the climate debate. It has done so in a number of ways. First, the Court’s president and one of its vice presidents have declared publicly that “we are facing a dire emergency that requires concerted action by all of humanity” and that “we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security.” Thus, the Court’s leaders have openly and unreservedly endorsed the climate movement’s alarmist rhetoric. They have done so not based on science but on alarmist declarations by Sir David Attenborough, a well-known biologist and climate activist.

Second, to prevent any argument on the facts, the judges added: “No one can legitimately call into question that we are facing a dire emergency that requires concerted action by all of humanity.” They also committed the Court to the cause: “For its part, the European Court of Human Rights will play its role within the boundaries of its competences as a court of law, forever mindful that Convention guarantees must be effective and real, not illusory.”

No right to a fair trial for deniers

By issuing these warnings, the Court effectively closed down any debate on climate change and climate science before any trial has even begun. In doing so, it deprived defendant states of an important argument to defend themselves against allegations that their climate policies are inadequate to fight the alleged climate crisis. Before they could present the relevant scientific evidence showing that there is no such thing as climate emergency or climate crisis, the Court’s leading judges told the defendant states that they should not dare to deny.

By labeling any argument that there is no climate crisis “illegitimate,” these leading European judges, who should serve as examples of judicial impartiality, have endorsed the climate movement’s climate-denier rhetoric. This rhetoric is an inappropriate, unethical play on Holocaust denial. Simultaneously, and directly relevant to this contribution’s subject, the Court’s “illegitimacy” label also raises the specter of criminal prosecution.

There is no climate crisis

It is hard to think of any judicial conduct that shows greater partisanship and disregard for the principle of judicial impartiality than the conduct of these European human rights judges. The right to a fair trial, guaranteed by article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, has effectively been set aside for climate deniers. The question should be asked whether, given the opinions expressed by its leaders, the ECHR can legitimately rule in any climate case.

The Court’s denial of justice is all the more shocking in light of the science, which does not support the proposition that there is a climate crisis. The European Commission has stated: “The term ‘climate emergency’ expresses the political will to fulfil the obligations under the Paris Agreement.” In almost 4,000 pages, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 report does not once employ the terms “climate crisis” or “climate emergency” because these terms do not belong to the scientific terminology (they occur only in a descriptive section on communication). Rather, they are political slogans, as the Commission suggested. To the point, the undefined “climate emergency” is an invention by activists.

Judicial threats

Corporate executives of companies deemed to be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, politicians that do not support ambitious climate policies, and everyone else who advocates against the climate movement’s agenda would be exposed to criminal prosecution and imprisonment of up to 30 years. This is not a far-fetched interpretation of the relevant law but, as explained below, a fairly straightforward application. Obviously, the ECHR was well aware of what it was doing by slipping in “torture,” but it nevertheless felt comfortable proceeding in this manner.

Needless to say, the threat of life imprisonment is a very powerful disincentive. As an academic author for UNESCO put it:

Criminal sanctions are the most potent tools we have to mark out conduct that lies beyond all limits of toleration. Criminal conduct violates basic rights and destroys human security. We reserve the hard treatment of punishment for conduct that damages the things we hold most fundamentally valuable. Climate change is causing precisely such damage.

This seems to be exactly what the judges on the ECHR believe. Corporate executives will have to think twice about corporate climate policies and will be inclined to cave in to activists’ demands. Likewise, politicians skeptical of the current climate policies may feel compelled to give up their resistance. All other dissenters may also be inclined to choose personal security over honesty.

Economic freedom, political freedom, and freedom of speech would be obliterated.

Is this what the Court’s president means when he says that the European Convention guarantees must be “effective and real, not illusory”? The Court’s inexplicable decision to add torture to the charges in the first climate case only adds to the concern that human rights protect only those who endorse progressive causes, not those who have other political preferences.Ecocide

By invoking the crime of torture in the climate debate, the ECHR may also have intended to assist the efforts to get ecocide recognized as a crime. “Ecocide” refers to the “devastation and destruction of the environment,” but no official legal definition yet exists. For decades, greens have been trying to get ecocide recognized as an international crime—but so far, to no avail. In the last two years, however, due to the rise of the climate crisis narrative, they have made significant progress. There now is much activity aimed at persuading international organizations to legislate on ecocide.

In June 2021, an expert panel convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation published a definition of “ecocide” intended to serve as the basis for an amendment to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Once the Rome Statute is amended to include ecocide, individuals suspected of having committed ecocide can be tried before the ICC.

Moreover, the Rome Statute applies equally to all persons, without any distinction based on official capacity; specifically, elected representatives and government officials are not exempt from criminal responsibility.

Thus, politicians, corporate executives, thought leaders, and anyone else can be subject to criminal prosecution if they express an opinion or pursue a policy deemed to be “anti-climate” that therefore may result in ecocide. In the fight against climate denial, this tool would be of incalculable value.

European Union “leadership”

The European Parliament has referred to ecocide in two recent reports and expressed the wish to recognize ecocide under EU law and diplomacy. To prepare the adoption of an EU directive on ecocide, the European Law Institute launched a project on ecocide. Taking advantage of the momentum, even before this project is finished, the ecocide movement is now pushing to get ecocide included in the EU Environmental Crimes Directive, which is currently being revised.

EU member states control a significant portion of the votes necessary for an amendment of the Rome Statute and can provide incentives to secure the additional votes necessary to get the crime of ecocide adopted. The consequences of such an amendment could be enormous if the ICC follows the example of the ECHR and jumps onto the climate activists’ bandwagon.

Climate change is ecocide

Make no mistake: while the definition of ecocide is broad and vague, the primary target of the ecocide movement is climate change. Civil liability law and human rights law give climate activists the tools to force governments and companies to comply with their demands, but this kind of litigation is expensive and takes time. The new crime of ecocide would give them a powerful instrument to shortcut the process by threatening criminal sanctions against corporate directors and officers, as well as reluctant politicians and opinion leaders, and to force them to change their ways.

Climate activists also believe that the term “ecocide” will have an emotive and stigmatizing effect that “causing climate change” does not have. As one author puts it:

The term “ecocide” sounds dramatic. It is more emotive than “contributing to pollution” or “increasing greenhouse gas emissions” or “investing in fossil fuels.” It communicates the gravity and urgency of the irreversible destruction being inflicted on the environment. It unambiguously casts major polluters as “villains,” perpetrators of a crime (emphasis added).

No protection

National laws do not protect the suspects. Under the proposed definition of the international panel, ecocide means “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.” Note that “unlawful,” which is broader than “illegal,” is the gateway to disregarding permits for emissions and compliance of activities and products with national laws.

The main trick is that this definition does not require any actual damage; knowledge of likely damage in the future is enough—which is a given, in light of the “settled science” set forth in the IPCC reports. Fundamental principles of criminal law are merely an afterthought, if they are on the radar screen at all.

Torturing human rights and criminal law

Needless to say, the ECHR’s suggestion that governments “torture” their citizens by implementing “inadequate climate policy” is both insulting to torture victims and unlawful. The inclusion of torture in a climate-policy lawsuit is the culmination of the Court’s progressive move away from a human rights adjudicator to a social policymaking institution. This activism has not only harmed the Court’s reputation as an impartial court of law but has also created serious problems for national legislatures faced with the often unhinged policy mandates imposed by the Court.

To be sure, we do have a torture problem, but it is not the European climate policymakers who are doing the torturing. Rather, the Court itself has tortured the law to fit its own ideology.

The Court tortured the European Convention on Human Rights until it confessed that it is a program for progressive politics. It tortured the right to life and several other human rights until they agreed to include within their scope a whole series of so-called positive obligations, which only the Court gets to define. Perhaps most egregious, the Court tortured the Convention until it gave the Court the right to waive essential requirements imposed by the Convention to eliminate any limits on its jurisdiction, which then allowed the Court to move forward with the first climate change case, which it so desperately wanted.The crime of climate change

The use of criminal law to pursue climate politics is a new chapter in the climate-litigation saga. Climate activists have discovered criminal law as a tremendously effective tool for climate politics. Governments and corporations can be subordinated through civil and human rights law, but to put pressure on corporate executives and politicians, criminal law is much more effective. Criminal law is the crowbar that pries open the doors to the boardrooms and the chambers where policy decisions are made.

What is remarkable is that the activists include not only the nongovernmental organizations that claim to “fight for the climate” but also Europe’s highest judges at the European Court of Human Rights. Are the limits on its authority really lifted by the self-declared crisis?

Lock them up!

In totalitarian states, political dissidents are controlled in three ways: they are removed from public life as a “danger to public order”; they are placed in psychiatric hospitals, since they suffer from mental illness; or they are imprisoned because they have committed crimes. The climate movement’s latest move pursues this third route of “delegitimization” and “denormalization” of its political opponents and those who disagree with the movement.

According to the climate movement, the alleged climate crisis would require urgent action to avert the impending catastrophe and save the planet and humanity. In its view, this requires that democracy, fundamental principles of law, and the limits of judicial power are set aside. In this struggle for survival, the climate movement has concluded that greenhouse gas emissions must be criminalized so that climate deniers can be locked up. Unfortunately, the ECHR has fallen victim to the emotional appeal of the movement’s rhetoric.

Threats to freedom

The climate movement’s strategy is clear: torture and ecocide must be part of its toolbox so that the sinners can be converted, deniers can be punished, and climate utopia can be realized. Inevitably, however, “climatism” results in the suppression of freedom and opens the path to climate totalitarianism. Ironically, the ECHR, which was created in the aftermath of the destruction of the Nazi totalitarian regime to act as a legal bulwark safeguarding individual liberty, has placed itself as the judicial enabler of this process.

See also Q&A Why So Many Climate Skeptics