Data Explain Midterm Election Results

Figure 4: Senatorial polling results, shown graphically

Joe Fried presents the data based analysis in his American Thinker article Surprised by the Midterm Election Results? Take a Look at the Data.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds

For many Republicans, the final midterm election results were surprising— especially in the states of Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Based on polling, it looked likely that Kari Lake, Adam Laxalt, and Mehmet Oz would win their contests. I believe that there are only three likely explanations for the unexpected results: late campaign surges, polling error, or aggressive ballot-harvesting.

A late surge?

Some Republicans are falling for an illogical narrative put forth by Democrats and the mainstream media. It goes like this: Although Republican candidates were higher in the polls, at the last minute people voted for Democrats because:

  • they feared the end of democracy
  • they hated Donald Trump
  • they were angered by the Dobbs abortion decision
  • they saw more anti-Republican campaign ads, due to financing differences
  • they were turned off by fighting during the primaries
  • they weren’t impressed by the poor quality GOP candidates

Certainly, these were real and very potent factors for many if not all Democrats, and for some independents. However, they were all “baked into the cake” long before the election and long before pre-election voter polls were administered. They were not last-minute issues.

I can think of a couple significant last-minute campaign developments, but they worked against the Democrats— not for them. Many pundits thought John Fetterman’s late October debate performance would put him into a political death spiral. Indeed, he was polling lower than Oz, just before the election. However, he ended up winning by over 4 points— somehow.

And Katie Hobbs was roundly criticized for her deer-in-the-headlights interviews near the end of the campaign. Just before the election, Hobbs was polling substantially below Lake, yet she won. Lake’s pre-election dominance is evident from the polling averages compiled by FiveThirtyEight:

Figure 1: Lake-Hobbs polling trends Oct 1 to Nov 8

When we look at the trend shown in Figure 1, and at the ending polling disparity (2.4%), it is hard to see how Hobbs managed to win.

Polling error?

Of course, polls could have been wrong all along. However, that seems unlikely, given the consistency of the results in a number of polls, administered by many different polling organizations. For the Lake-Hobbs contest, the results displayed by FiveThirtyEight came from 13 different polling organizations, as shown in Figure 2. Only one (Marist) had Hobbs winning:

Figure 2: Lake-Hobbs polling organizations and results

Did 12 out of 13 companies make the same error, and in the same direction?

We see the same pattern with the senatorial contests. Figure 3 displays the final polling averages, as produced by RealClearPolitics, for seven key races. In each case the GOP candidate was leading just before the election, even though these races were in different states and conducted by different pollsters, and for different candidates. This pattern does not suggest polling error. The actual election results (courtesy of Reuters) are also shown.

Figure 3: Senatorial polling versus results

Three of the seven contests were won by Republicans, but look deeper. In every case, the Democrat candidate’s election results were sharply higher than the final polling percentage. For the most part, that was not the case for Republicans, as we can see in the right-side columns in Figure 3.

Figure 4, below, presents the same information in graphic form. Keep your eye on the “zero” line. It shows the expected results for both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are entirely above the “expected” line, signifying that they beat the predictions in every case. On the other hand, Republicans are much lower, and mostly below the expected line.

Figure 4: Senatorial polling results, shown graphically

Before we address ballot-harvesting, let’s summarize: Perhaps I missed it, but it seems there was no last minute erosion of support for GOP candidates. And polling error is unlikely, given that the GOP lead was shown by many different pollsters, in different states, and for different candidates. Yet, the Democrat candidates consistently beat expectations by quite a lot. Why was that?

Ballot-harvesting

It is just a theory, but I believe that aggressive ballot-harvesting is the most likely explanation for the disparity between pollster predictions and actual results in the 2022 midterm elections. In the movie, 2,000 Mules, True the Vote (TTV), the organization run by Catharine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, described the prevalence of ballot-harvesting in the 2020 election. Although its estimates are only rough approximations (based on cell phone analysis), TTV believes there were up to 200,000 and 275,000 harvested ballots in Arizona and Pennsylvania, respectively. Nevada was not included in the TTV analysis, but since the end of 2020, Nevada has taken all restrictions off of harvesting. It is now legal to harvest ballots in Nevada, and it can be done anonymously in any quantity with ballots from unregistered homeless people, drug addicts— anyone.   [Editor’s note: See also phantom voting, previously published at American Thinker by contributor Jay Valentine, here and here.]

When it comes to the legality of ballot-harvesting, there is confusion. As noted, it is now completely legal in the state of Nevada. In most other swing states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona, it is (technically) allowed only within tight limitations (e.g., for family members). That said, large-scale harvesting operations have been performed in many states, and I believe they often lead to serious election law violations. There are three reasons for this:

  • In some states, administrators ignore the practice, and may even see it as “empowering” for voters in “marginalized communities.”
  • It is very easy to cheat when ballots are returned via mail or drop boxes without a hard identification requirement.
  • Harvesters are usually paid “per piece,” and have incentives to find or steal as many ballots as possible.  It is ironic. Democrats are offended by the term “ballot-harvesting” because they see it as a demeaning pejorative. I also am offended by the term, but for a very different reason. I think it is too nice a term for the serious, organized criminal activity that is often associated with ballot-harvesting operations.

Harvesting advocates (mostly Democrats) claim the activity is simply a way to help disadvantaged voters deliver their ballots to a mail box or to a ballot drop box— sort of like a courier service. Do you buy that? Common sense and the polling results tell us that harvesting is much more insidious.

Some Republicans say that the GOP needs to start large-scale harvesting operations, to compete with Democrats. I hope they do not do it because it is a dirty, dishonest practice that should not be tolerated. It is a real “attack on democracy.”

Someday, a whistleblower may step forward to provide hard evidence (if it exists) that can be investigated and prosecuted. Until then, Republicans should consider how very lucky they are. They won a majority in the House of Representatives for, possibly, one reason:

Harvesters did not think their services were needed in the deep blue state of New York!

 

 

 

Left Replaces Thinking with the “Stochastic Terror” Lie

Christopher F. Rufo explains in his City Journal article The “Stochastic Terror” Lie  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The Left’s latest gambit for suppressing speech is built on preposterous grounds.

[Note: Those of us who follow the global warming/climate change alarmists see how the same mentality operates in order to avoid proving cause and effect.  Just watch how climate reparations are being pushed presuming that any loss or damage from natural events is caused by humans using fossil fuels.]

I browsed the news recently only to discover that, according to a popular science magazine, I was responsible for the attempted murder of Paul Pelosi, husband to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In an opinion piece for Scientific American, writer Bryn Nelson insinuated that my factual reporting on Drag Queen Story Hour was an example of “stochastic terrorism,” which he defines as “ideologically driven hate speech” that increases the likelihood of unpredictable acts of violence. On the night of the attack, Nelson argued, I had appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss my reporting, and, hours later, the alleged attacker, David DePape, radicalized by “QAnon” conspiracy theories about “Democratic, Satan-worshipping pedophiles,” broke into the Pelosi residence and attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer.

This is a bizarre claim that, for a magazine supposedly dedicated to “science,”
hardly meets a scientific standard of cause and effect.

There is no evidence that DePape watched or was motivated by Tucker Carlson’s program; moreover, nothing in my reporting on Drag Queen Story Hour encourages violence or mentions Nancy Pelosi, QAnon, or Satan-worshipping pedophiles. My appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight and DePape’s attack against Paul Pelosi are, in reality, two unrelated incidents in a large and complex universe.

And Nelson, a microbiologist specializing in human excrement, is full of it.  But Nelson isn’t trying to prove anything in a scientific sense. Under the concept of “stochastic terrorism,” logic, evidence, and causality are irrelevant. Any incident of violence can be politicized and attributed to any ideological opponent, regardless of facts.

The scheme works like this: left-wing media, activists, and officials designate a subject of discourse, such as Drag Queen Story Hour, off-limits; they treat any reporting on that subject as an expression of “hate speech”; and finally, if an incident of violence emerges that is related, even tangentially, to that subject, they assign guilt to their political opponents and call for the suppression of speech. The statistical concept of “stochasticity,” which means “randomly determined,” functions as a catch-all: the activists don’t have to prove causality—they simply assert it with a sophisticated turn of phrase and a vague appeal to probability.

Though framed in scientific terms, this gambit is a crude political weapon.

In practice, left-wing media, activists, and officials apply the “stochastic terrorism” designation only in one direction: rightward. They never attribute fire-bombings against pro-life pregnancy centers, arson attacks against Christian churches, or the attempted assassination of a Supreme Court justice to mere argumentation of left-wing activists, such as, say, opposition to the Court’s decision in Dobbs. In those cases, the Left correctly adopts the principle that it is incitement, rather than opinion, that constitutes a crime—but conveniently forgets that standard as soon as the debate shifts to the movement’s conservative opponents.

In recent years, the Left has not only monopolized the concept of “stochastic terrorism”
but also built a growing apparatus for enforcing it.

Last year, left-wing organizations and the Department of Justice collaborated on a campaign to suppress parents who oppose critical race theory, under the false claim that sometimes-heated school-board protests were incidents of “domestic terrorism.” Earlier this year, left-wing activists and medical associations called on social media companies and the Department of Justice to censor, investigate, and prosecute journalists who question.

If this process is left unchecked, the consequences will be disastrous.

Left-wing NGOs, social media companies, and federal security apparatchiks will gain unprecedented power to police speech and criminalize political opposition. Conservatives and old-line liberals who still care about civil liberties must expose the scheme and work to dismantle the apparatus that supports it. The line of argument is simple: speech is not violence; statistical abstraction is not a substitute for evidence; and free-association fantasies cannot determine guilt. But the politics of fighting back are more complex. It will require dislodging a network of professionals who see the concept of “stochastic terror” as a path to power.

That concept is built on a lie. It deserves to be exposed and discredited.

See also Science + Politics = Politics

Climate Reductionism

Jen Psaki Will Be Deposed in Censorship Lawsuit

Julie Kelly writes at American Greatness Jen Psaki: Investigations for Thee, But Not for Me.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

It’s beyond ironic that the mouthpiece for a regime proceeding with yet another punitive and vengeful investigation into Donald Trump wants to be shielded from an inquiry into her own misdeeds.

Former White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki, much like her old boss, is a big fan of investigations.

From her perch at the podium in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, Psaki routinely endorsed criminal, civil, and congressional inquiries into the events of January 6 and warned the individuals targeted—including Donald Trump and his former aides—that they must comply with the legal process.

Psaki announced that Biden would not extend executive privilege to his predecessor related to the January 6 select committee’s inquisition, giving investigators carte blanche access to all of Trump’s records for most of 2020—most of which had nothing to do with January 6. “We are, we have been working closely with congressional committees and others as they work to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th, an incredibly dark day in our democracy,” Psaki said in September 2021.

And anyone who defied congressional subpoenas, Psaki noted, could face criminal charges.

But Psaki, unsurprisingly, is taking a different approach now that she’s a defendant in a sprawling civil lawsuit seeking to uncover the federal government’s deep collaboration with Big Tech to suppress free speech and promote Biden’s political interests.

Psaki is one of more than five dozen current and former federal officials—including Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy—being sued by the states of Missouri and Louisiana for violating the First Amendment rights of American citizens.

Having threatened and cajoled social-media platforms for years to censor viewpoints and speakers disfavored by the Left, senior government officials in the Executive Branch have moved into a phase of open collusion with social-media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social-media platforms under the Orwellian guise of halting so-called ‘disinformation,’ ‘misinformation,’ and ‘malinformation,’” the complaint reads. “Under the First Amendment, the federal Government should play no role in policing private speech or picking winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas. But that is what federal officials are doing, on a massive scale—the full scope and impact of which yet to be determined.”

The lawsuit cited numerous occasions when Psaki gloated about the White House’s partnership with social media platforms to ban content contradictory to the official narrative on COVID-19 and vaccines. For example, during a July 2021 press briefing with Surgeon General Murthy, Psaki publicly urged Facebook to deplatform accounts she considered purveyors of “health misinformation,” an alleged scourge that Murthy described as an “urgent public health threat.” Psaki made her expectations quite clear.

“[We] engage with [social media companies] regularly and they certainly understand
what our asks are,” Psaki bragged.

A few days later, Facebook banned the accounts Psaki had accused of spreading “misinformation.”

Now all of a sudden, Psaki doesn’t want to boast about how she strong-armed
Silicon Valley to do the regime’s bidding—especially under oath.

Judge Terry Doughty from the western district of Louisiana last month ordered Psaki to sit for a deposition, finding that the ex-spokeswoman “has personal knowledge about the issue concerning censorship across social media as it related to COVID-19 and ancillary issues of COVID-19.” Doughty further concluded that “any burden on Psaki is outweighed by the need to determine whether free speech has been suppressed.” On November 1, Psaki was served with a subpoena, ordering her to appear for a sworn deposition in Arlington, Virginia, near her home.

Psaki, however, doesn’t have time. The newly minted MSNBC contributor—Psaki is slated to host her own show on the network starting next year—is simply too swamped.

In a separate statement to the court, Psaki claimed that “sitting for a deposition in this matter would be extremely burdensome for me. Among other things, I understand that I would need to devote several days to preparing for the deposition, as well as attending the deposition itself, and that would be highly disruptive to both my work and my family.”

You don’t say!

Psaki’s interview also would create a big job for government lawyers who would need to determine “which of her conversations or recollections might be subject to executive privilege,” her legal team argued.

Setting aside the laughable hypocrisy of Psaki now invoking her status as a “private citizen” and “former senior official” when she offered no such consideration to Donald Trump, and further noting the hollowness of her complaints that a deposition would be far too time-consuming.  The notion is astonishing:  That somehow she is entitled to executive privilege, but a former president and his top aides including legal counsel are not.

Further, Psaki’s lawyers warned they will fight the production of “any Documents and Communications that relate to any member of the White House Communications Team or any other Federal Official communicating with Social-Media Platforms about Content on those Platforms.”

Funny how Psaki had no similar objection when she announced in October 2021 that the White House had ordered the transfer of thousands of Trump’s official records to the January 6 select committee.

Psaki’s lawyers attempted to bypass Judge Doughty. They filed a motion to quash the subpoena in the eastern district of Virginia, where Psaki lives and likely will sit for the deposition. But the Virginia judge wasn’t having any part of it, ordering the matter returned to the Louisiana court where the lawsuit originated.  In other words, the judge told Psaki to “circle back.”

It looks like Psaki has run out of options to avoid her scheduled
December 8 video-recorded deposition.

Which, by the way, Psaki wants under seal. Lawyers representing the eight officials ordered to be deposed asked Judge Doughty to issue a protective order on all recorded interviews, insisting that “civil servants—do not reasonably expect that they will be subjected to video-recorded, publicly disseminated cross-examination about the way that they carried out their job duties.”

Publicly releasing the videos, the lawyers said, creates a “significant likelihood that audiovisual recordings of federal employee depositions taken in this case will be manipulated or abused” and cherry-picked clips “will expose the deponents to undue harassment and invasions of privacy.”

Doughty partially granted their motion, sealing the taped depositions only until the interviews are docketed as discovery evidence before trial. “The public’s interest in access of this information is especially strong because this matter involves the [First] Amendment right to freedom of speech,” he wrote in a November 17 order.

It goes without saying—or should, at any rate—that a coordinated effort between the most powerful government officials and the most powerful information providers to silence and punish political dissent is a far greater “threat to democracy,” as they like to say, than what happened for a few hours on January 6.

And it’s beyond ironic that the mouthpiece for a regime proceeding with yet another punitive and vengeful investigation into Donald Trump wants to be shielded from an inquiry into her own misdeeds. Proof once again that accountability, transparency, and consequences only runs one way in Washington.

Background from previous post

Fed Govt./Big Tech Censorship Lawsuit Update: Senior Biden People Will Be Deposed

Zachary Stieber  reports at Epoch Times Judge Rejects Biden Administration’s Attempt to Block Depositions in Big Tech-Government Censorship Case.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee, rejected a request for a partial stay of his Oct. 21 order authorizing the depositions of eight officials, including President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Government lawyers asked the judge to impose the partial stay as an appeals court weighs a request to vacate the part of his order that enables the depositions of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a Biden appointee; Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, a Biden appointee; and Rob Flaherty, a deputy assistant to the president.

Absent a stay, “high-ranking governmental officials would be diverted from their significant duties and burdened in both preparing and sitting for a deposition, all of which may ultimately prove to be unnecessary if the Court of Appeals grants” their request, the government said.

Doughty ruled that the government failed to show how the officials would be irreparably harmed apart from referencing a diversion from “significant duties.” That didn’t meet the standard for showing irreparable harm, he said.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on July 15, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

From the Judge’s MEMORANDUM ORDER

For the reasons set forth herein, Federal Defendants’ Corrected Motion for Partial Stay is DENIED. (Excerpts in italics with my bolds.)

1. Surgeon General Murthy

Details regarding the allegations as to Murthy are set forth in the Memorandum Order Regarding Witness Depositions. Murthy was found to have first-hand knowledge by (1) publicly criticizing tech companies by asserting they were responsible for COVID-19 deaths due to their failure to censor “mis-information”; (2) issuing a Request for Information on March 2, 2022, requesting tech companies to provide him with “mis-information”; and (3) engaging in communication with high-level Facebook executives about greater censorship of COVID-19 “misinformation.”

Although Murthy was a high-ranking official, the potential burden imposed on Murthy was outweighed by the need to determine whether First Amendment rights of free speech have been suppressed. The Court found exceptional circumstances were present and that the substantive reasons for taking the deposition were sufficient.

2. CISA Director Jen Easterly

Details of the allegations as they relate to Easterly are set forth in the Memorandum Order Regarding Witness Depositions.  Easterly was found to have first-hand knowledge by (1) supervising the “nerve center” of federally directed censorship; (2) directly flagging alleged “misinformation” to social media companies for censorship; (3) stating that social media speech by Americans is a form of infrastructure that allows the CISA to police online speech; (4) being involved in extensive oral communications and meetings between CISA officials and social-media platforms; and (5) being personally involved in text messages specifically discussing how greater censorship of social-media platforms would be done by exerting federal pressure on social-media platforms to increase censorship.

The Court also conducted its analysis of Easterly as if she were a high-ranking official and found that her personal knowledge required her deposition. The Court further found that the burden upon her was outweighed by the need to determine whether First Amendment free speech rights are being suppressed. The Court found exceptional circumstances were present and that the substantive reasons for taking the deposition were sufficient.

3. White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty

Details of the allegations as to Flaherty are set forth in the Memorandum Order Regarding Witness Depositions. Flaherty was found to have first-hand knowledge by (1) having extensive oral meetings with social-media platforms including Twitter, Meta and You-Tube on vaccine hesitancy and combatting “mis-information”; (2) directly communicating with Meta’s director of U.S. Public Policy through “Covid Insight Reports” (which details trends/posts by social media users on Meta); (3) Meta’s reporting to Flaherty about Meta’s intentions to censor disfavored opinions about vaccine effectiveness for new groups for which vaccines were authorized; (4) having specific knowledge on Meta’s attempts to censor groups referred to by Flaherty as the “Disinformation Dozen”; and (5) being aware of the President-Elect-Joe Biden transition team’s efforts to stifle “mis-information” through Meta.

The Court also assumed that Flaherty was a high-ranking official and conducted its analysis
as such. It found special circumstances were present to take his deposition. The Court further found the burden upon Flaherty was outweighed by the need to determine whether First Amendment free speech rights are being suppressed; therefore, the substantive reasons for taking his deposition were sufficient.

For the reasons set forth herein, the Court also finds Federal Defendants are not likely to
succeed on the merits of their mandamus petition.

Background from previous post: Fed Govt./Big Tech Censorship Lawsuit: 47 New Biden People Added

Zachary Stieber writes at Epoch Times 47 New Biden Administration Defendants Named in Government–Big Tech Censorship Lawsuit.  Excerpts in italic with my bolds.

Nearly 50 new government defendants have been added to the lawsuit that alleges the government induced censorship of state officials and others on social media.

The second amended complaint in the case, Missouri v. Biden, includes six new agencies, bringing the total to 13, and 41 new individual defendants, bringing the total to 54.

Altogether, 67 officials or agencies are accused of violating plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights by participating in a “censorship enterprise” through pressuring Big Tech firms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter to take action against users offering alleged misinformation.

Evidence backing the claims has been produced in discovery, including exchanges between White House officials and Meta, Facebook’s parent company and messages showing meetings between administration officials and the firms.

The new defendants include the FBI; former White House senior COVID-19 adviser Andrew Slavitt; Dana Remus, counsel to President Joe Biden; Elvis Chan, an FBI special agent based in San Francisco; Janell Muhammed, deputy digital director at the Department of Health and Human Services; Allison Snell, an official at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the State Department; and Mark Robbins, interim executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

One or more of the Big Tech firms that were subpoenaed in the case identified the officials as possibly communicating with them on content moderation relating to “COVID-19 misinformation,” the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, the administration’s since-disbanded Disinformation Governance Board, and/or “election security, integrity, outcomes, and/or public confidence in election outcomes (not to include issues of foreign interference or related issues).”

Slavitt was named because emails show he was in communication with Facebook regarding the combating of alleged misinformation. The messages show that Facebook was committed to censoring and de-emphasizing posts that were “departing from the government’s messaging on vaccines,” plaintiffs said. Slavitt also called for Twitter to ban Alex Berenson, an independent journalist, previously released messages show.

Muhammed, meanwhile, was in touch with Facebook to ask the company to take down pages and accounts that were allegedly misrepresenting themselves as representing the government. “Absolutely,” one of the Facebook employees responded.

Other discovery suggests the FDA “has participated in federally-induced censorship of private speech on social media about questions of vaccine safety and efficacy, among other subjects,” plaintiffs said.

The agencies that were added to the case did not respond to requests for comment.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee overseeing the case, recently ordered defendants named in earlier complaints to comply with demands, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top medical adviser to Biden. The new documents do not include any more information from Fauci or the White House press secretary’s office.

Footnote: 

From Your news: Biden Admin Showered Millions On Government’s ‘Misinformation’ Czars After 2020 Election

The four groups in question – Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and social media analytics firm Graphika – comprise the “Election Integrity Partnership,” which exists as a ‘concierge-like’ service for federal agencies such as Homeland’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and State’s Global Engagement Center to flag online content for censorship or monitoring by Big Tech using a “ticket” system.

Unsurprisingly, the head of Stanford’s Internet Observatory is a Clinton donor who previously served as Facebook’s Head of Security – while the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public is largely funded by the Knight Foundation, whose board exclusively contributes to Democrat or Neocon entities. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration empowered three liberal groups to file tickets seeking censorship; the Democratic National Committee, Common Cause and the NAACP.

https://twitter.com/katestarbird/status/1556289862973632515

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No Ballot Box Accountability in US?

So it’s early in US Election week (month?) but the results so far are disturbing.  All of the last polls, confirmed by exit polls on election day, pointed to an electorate determined to oust incumbents who governed over the destructive and outrageous last two years.  Yet this morning, if the numbers hold up and are to be believed, the public are serfs voting in favor of more and harder abuses of power.

Judging by the behavior of Democrat candidates, they were told to keep a low profile, don’t debate. And if their voting while in office followed the party line, loyalty would be rewarded with re-election.  Don’t ask how, don’t tell.   Surprise, surprise:  candidates who distrusted results from the last election were defeated in this one.  Axios says distrusting a US election is Chinese propaganda.

It is said that performance matters in politics, and it was true in 2019 when President Trump was in cruise control with a message of “Promises Kept.”  Then came the pandemic, norms and rules and freedoms were overturned, and Biden became POTUS despite hiding in his basement.  And now it appears that brain damage and lack of accomplishment doesn’t disqualify to be US Senator from Pennsylvania.

At the State level, performance was recognized and Governors were rewarded by voters in Florida, Georgia and Texas.  Those also happened to be places where federal DOJ election monitors were excluded.

Democracy was in fact on the ballot yesterday, and it may have been lost in some places, though not everywhere.

 

Advancing National Takeover of Energy Industry

Tom Luongo writes at his blog The Oil Nationalization Two-Step.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

You’ve all heard me rant about the “Straussian Two-Step,” which is nothing more than a retread of the Hegelian Dialectic.   Here’s the formal definition:

An interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (thesis ) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis ), the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis ).

In modern politics it’s used to create a false reality by asserting something that is
partially true (at best) or a truth that you yourself created as a person in power.

In today’s case it’s a manufactured energy crisis across the West.

In order to see the Straussian Two-Step however you have to work backwards. This process is not an a priori deduction or an exhaustive fit of investigative journalism.

Rather it is an inductive conclusion based on awareness of the motivations of those in power and seeing how they lead a mass of people to a pre-ordained conclusion. In other words, schizo-posting.

Carbon fighters attacking the Exxon Mobil bastion, here seen without their shareholders disguises.

Thesis

So, say your goal is to legitimize the state takeover, or advance another step forward the state takeover, of an industry. Let’s use oil and gas for today’s lesson.

The first thing you do is manufacture a crisis that will disrupt the supply of the product you want to takeover. In this case, it started with COVID-19, which disrupted far more than just the energy sector.

More than 2 million barrels per day of refining capacity was lost world wide thanks to COVID-19. Given the current hostility to new refineries (more on this later), those barrels are not coming back.

Don’t forget, that for a “Straussian Two-Step” this big you will have to brainwash and/or gaslight two entire generations into hating themselves for being rich, wasteful, spoiled, alive or worse, just plain white.

So, they are already primed to hate all the things at play here — capitalism, Big Oil, Banks, Old White Guys (rich or poor) — and enrage your useful idiots by pushing their already tenuous hold on reality to the literal breaking point.   “I can’t even….” isn’t the most common phrase uttered on Tik-Tok for nothing.

That’s the Thesis part.

So, when the crisis hits thanks to natural gas disruption you forbid buying of from a particular country… you demonize not only Vlad but the industry itself for price gouging and preying on the widdle guy during a war.   There’s a word for this… chutzpah.

Antithesis

Predictably, you then allow your fake political opponents …[enter Cocaine Mitch from Stage Right]… to produce the opposite argument. In this case, the counter is obviously we need free markets to produce oil and gas. The refiners are just responding to the market.

That fake opposition, of course, also blames Vlad for this crisis to ensure the market’s champion looks not only patriotic but also suitably bought and paid for by Big Oil, Old White Guys, etc.

Both sides of this argument have now been framed 90 degrees away from the real source of the problem–government intrusion into the flow of oil and gas to your homes.

This is a crisis that if left solved to human ingenuity and, yes, the studious application of greed, would be over in a matter of weeks as refineries shut down during COVID would come back online, supply chains reorganized etc.

While the crisis phase would be over quickly, the long term investment cycle set off in refining would take longer to structurally immunize the industry against future supply shocks to accomplish.

Prices may not return to normal for years but the market, without intervention by rapacious morons both in government and running them from behind the curtain, would eventually grind the arbitrage out of the fuel industry nearly entirely.

Synthesis

Remember the goal. Destroy free markets, nationalize oil and gas.

This means also preparing the next move to get rid of another aspect of the free market while zeroing in on the current crisis. In this theoretical case, we’re looking at the massive diesel crack spreads of refineries, fueling the perpetual motion machine of Marxism’s inherent envy.

Moreover, this situation exploded on the eve of a crucial election to put into the mouths of the crisis actors we call colloquially, “Members of Congress.”

Their solution? Put windfall profit taxes on refiners who are taking advantage of the vulnerable and needy common man. They are evil ‘price gougers’ by accepting the bids from the market for the fruits of their labors which occurred precisely because of artificially inducing a shock to the system.

In the case of diesel fuel in the US this is clearly a manufactured crisis.

COVID took a lot of refineries in the Northeast (PADD-1) offline. And given the hostility of the Biden administration and environmentalists to the oil industry as a whole, as I alluded to earlier, those refineries are not coming back online anytime soon.

Don’t take my word for it, take it from the ones who own the refineries.

“Building a refinery is a multi-billion dollar investment. It may take a decade. We haven’t had a refinery built in the United States since the 1970s. My personal view is that there will never be another refinery built in the United States.”

According to Wirth, oil and gas companies would have to weigh the benefits of committing capital ten years out that will need decades to offer a return to shareholders “in a policy environment where governments around the world are saying ‘we don’t want these products to be used in the future’”.

Why would they? If it were your money would you begin the insane process to build an oil refinery in the US today even with crack spreads at $70+ per barrel? Of course not. By the time you filed the first Environmental Impact Assessment application form the spreads could be back to $20 because it’s politically advantageous for the “Straussian Two-Steppers” to take the pressure off for a few months.

Government is keeping the market in a supply/demand mismatch on purpose. That’s the only conclusion you can draw. Because if “Biden” wanted to solve this problem he wouldn’t be draining the SPR, he’d be rolling back regulations on refining oil or offering some of that ‘infrastructure money’ to help the industry rebuild post-COVID.

High Bid Wins the Prize

Diesel fuel demand is mostly inelastic, since it’s simply necessary for our daily life. Any supply disruption will cause massive price spikes because people will fall all over themselves bidding up the price of available supply to get what they can.

This is the one thing morons leftists can’t wrap their head around. Producers aren’t withholding supply and ‘raising prices’ in an open market economy. That’s propaganda. The reality is that consumers bid up the price for everything in demand or withhold those bids when the cost/benefit isn’t in their favor.

This is the dynamic at play when I use the term cost-push inflation. A supply shortage pushes the bids for basic goods up out of necessity and pouring money into the system through government handouts only accelerates this effect.

Low cost or free dollars flow to the things people need the most and that is the main source of our inflation today.

So, when you see the headlines full of scaremongering like the US only has 20 days of diesel fuel left, this undergirds the bids for limited supply. The futures markets are stripped of their power to coordinate supply over time and producers are stuck being demonized by low quality agitprop from the likes of AOC and Lizzie Slapaho.

Nationalization: The Next Two-Step

Windfall profit taxes are already on the way in Germany, 90% of all profits taxed away to the state. Energy production, when that bill passes, will be nationalized in Germany. The end of rational energy pricing will be gone.

Germany will become another energy subsidizing hellscape like we see all over the world.

The choice in front of German energy companies now is Uniper’s fate, nationalization through bailout, or remain ‘private’ but on a government-mandated cost-plus business model the profits from which will never outcompete the depreciation curve.

Today here in the US the Democrats are pushing for outright nationalization of all oil and gas production. That was the goal all along, the thesis. The fake antithesis is the “Drill baby, Drill,” crowd on Capitol Hill, crying crocodile tears over the loss of the Keystone XL pipeline for more than a decade.

The synthesis this time around will be finally getting through their long-sought after billionaire’s tax in the form of a windfall tax starting with evil Big Oil. Even if they don’t get it, it’s not like they don’t have other things on their to-do lists to get it done.

They are starting here again because they know no one will seriously consider outright nationalization (the next synthesis) unless there’s a war with Russia…

Fed Govt./Big Tech Censorship Lawsuit Update: Senior Biden People Will Be Deposed

Zachary Stieber  reports at Epoch Times Judge Rejects Biden Administration’s Attempt to Block Depositions in Big Tech-Government Censorship Case.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee, rejected a request for a partial stay of his Oct. 21 order authorizing the depositions of eight officials, including President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Government lawyers asked the judge to impose the partial stay as an appeals court weighs a request to vacate the part of his order that enables the depositions of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a Biden appointee; Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, a Biden appointee; and Rob Flaherty, a deputy assistant to the president.

Absent a stay, “high-ranking governmental officials would be diverted from their significant duties and burdened in both preparing and sitting for a deposition, all of which may ultimately prove to be unnecessary if the Court of Appeals grants” their request, the government said.

Doughty ruled that the government failed to show how the officials would be irreparably harmed apart from referencing a diversion from “significant duties.” That didn’t meet the standard for showing irreparable harm, he said.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on July 15, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

From the Judge’s MEMORANDUM ORDER

For the reasons set forth herein, Federal Defendants’ Corrected Motion for Partial Stay is DENIED. (Excerpts in italics with my bolds.)

1. Surgeon General Murthy

Details regarding the allegations as to Murthy are set forth in the Memorandum Order Regarding Witness Depositions. Murthy was found to have first-hand knowledge by (1) publicly criticizing tech companies by asserting they were responsible for COVID-19 deaths due to their failure to censor “mis-information”; (2) issuing a Request for Information on March 2, 2022, requesting tech companies to provide him with “mis-information”; and (3) engaging in communication with high-level Facebook executives about greater censorship of COVID-19 “misinformation.”

Although Murthy was a high-ranking official, the potential burden imposed on Murthy was outweighed by the need to determine whether First Amendment rights of free speech have been suppressed. The Court found exceptional circumstances were present and that the substantive reasons for taking the deposition were sufficient.

2. CISA Director Jen Easterly

Details of the allegations as they relate to Easterly are set forth in the Memorandum Order Regarding Witness Depositions.  Easterly was found to have first-hand knowledge by (1) supervising the “nerve center” of federally directed censorship; (2) directly flagging alleged “misinformation” to social media companies for censorship; (3) stating that social media speech by Americans is a form of infrastructure that allows the CISA to police online speech; (4) being involved in extensive oral communications and meetings between CISA officials and social-media platforms; and (5) being personally involved in text messages specifically discussing how greater censorship of social-media platforms would be done by exerting federal pressure on social-media platforms to increase censorship.

The Court also conducted its analysis of Easterly as if she were a high-ranking official and found that her personal knowledge required her deposition. The Court further found that the burden upon her was outweighed by the need to determine whether First Amendment free speech rights are being suppressed. The Court found exceptional circumstances were present and that the substantive reasons for taking the deposition were sufficient.

3. White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty

Details of the allegations as to Flaherty are set forth in the Memorandum Order Regarding Witness Depositions. Flaherty was found to have first-hand knowledge by (1) having extensive oral meetings with social-media platforms including Twitter, Meta and You-Tube on vaccine hesitancy and combatting “mis-information”; (2) directly communicating with Meta’s director of U.S. Public Policy through “Covid Insight Reports” (which details trends/posts by social media users on Meta); (3) Meta’s reporting to Flaherty about Meta’s intentions to censor disfavored opinions about vaccine effectiveness for new groups for which vaccines were authorized; (4) having specific knowledge on Meta’s attempts to censor groups referred to by Flaherty as the “Disinformation Dozen”; and (5) being aware of the President-Elect-Joe Biden transition team’s efforts to stifle “mis-information” through Meta.

The Court also assumed that Flaherty was a high-ranking official and conducted its analysis
as such. It found special circumstances were present to take his deposition. The Court further found the burden upon Flaherty was outweighed by the need to determine whether First Amendment free speech rights are being suppressed; therefore, the substantive reasons for taking his deposition were sufficient.

For the reasons set forth herein, the Court also finds Federal Defendants are not likely to
succeed on the merits of their mandamus petition.

Background from previous post: Fed Govt./Big Tech Censorship Lawsuit: 47 New Biden People Added

Zachary Stieber writes at Epoch Times 47 New Biden Administration Defendants Named in Government–Big Tech Censorship Lawsuit.  Excerpts in italic with my bolds.

Nearly 50 new government defendants have been added to the lawsuit that alleges the government induced censorship of state officials and others on social media.

The second amended complaint in the case, Missouri v. Biden, includes six new agencies, bringing the total to 13, and 41 new individual defendants, bringing the total to 54.

Altogether, 67 officials or agencies are accused of violating plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights by participating in a “censorship enterprise” through pressuring Big Tech firms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter to take action against users offering alleged misinformation.

Evidence backing the claims has been produced in discovery, including exchanges between White House officials and Meta, Facebook’s parent company and messages showing meetings between administration officials and the firms.

The new defendants include the FBI; former White House senior COVID-19 adviser Andrew Slavitt; Dana Remus, counsel to President Joe Biden; Elvis Chan, an FBI special agent based in San Francisco; Janell Muhammed, deputy digital director at the Department of Health and Human Services; Allison Snell, an official at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the State Department; and Mark Robbins, interim executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

One or more of the Big Tech firms that were subpoenaed in the case identified the officials as possibly communicating with them on content moderation relating to “COVID-19 misinformation,” the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, the administration’s since-disbanded Disinformation Governance Board, and/or “election security, integrity, outcomes, and/or public confidence in election outcomes (not to include issues of foreign interference or related issues).”

Slavitt was named because emails show he was in communication with Facebook regarding the combating of alleged misinformation. The messages show that Facebook was committed to censoring and de-emphasizing posts that were “departing from the government’s messaging on vaccines,” plaintiffs said. Slavitt also called for Twitter to ban Alex Berenson, an independent journalist, previously released messages show.

Muhammed, meanwhile, was in touch with Facebook to ask the company to take down pages and accounts that were allegedly misrepresenting themselves as representing the government. “Absolutely,” one of the Facebook employees responded.

Other discovery suggests the FDA “has participated in federally-induced censorship of private speech on social media about questions of vaccine safety and efficacy, among other subjects,” plaintiffs said.

The agencies that were added to the case did not respond to requests for comment.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee overseeing the case, recently ordered defendants named in earlier complaints to comply with demands, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top medical adviser to Biden. The new documents do not include any more information from Fauci or the White House press secretary’s office.

Footnote: 

From Your news: Biden Admin Showered Millions On Government’s ‘Misinformation’ Czars After 2020 Election

The four groups in question – Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and social media analytics firm Graphika – comprise the “Election Integrity Partnership,” which exists as a ‘concierge-like’ service for federal agencies such as Homeland’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and State’s Global Engagement Center to flag online content for censorship or monitoring by Big Tech using a “ticket” system.

Unsurprisingly, the head of Stanford’s Internet Observatory is a Clinton donor who previously served as Facebook’s Head of Security – while the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public is largely funded by the Knight Foundation, whose board exclusively contributes to Democrat or Neocon entities. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration empowered three liberal groups to file tickets seeking censorship; the Democratic National Committee, Common Cause and the NAACP.

NY and PA: Midterm Election Energy Lesson

The Marcellus formation lies under more than 60 percent of the state of Pennsylvania alone. Some geologists and petroleum engineers believe that the massive shale formation may hold as much as 500 to 700 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This amount of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale could supply the entire east coast for the next 50 years according to some geologists.

Larry Behrens writes at Real Clear Energy Fetterman and Cuomo: A Midterm Election Energy Lesson.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

With energy dominating the national discussion, look no further than Pennsylvania and New York as examples of failure and fortune. The Empire State might be looking to make a U-turn after a years-long trip into failed energy policy, while the Keystone State must decide if they will adopt the “America Last” energy policy currently favored in Washington, D.C.

The two states share a border of 225 miles, but when it comes to energy,
they might as well be on different planets.

It’s clear energy is on the ballot this midterm season. That’s bad news for fracking foes like Pennsylvania Senate Candidate John Fetterman. While he may be struggling to articulate his position du jour on fracking, it’s clear he’s borrowing from the Joe Biden play book: play a moderate in the campaign, return to radical roots once elected.

In 2014, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo imposed an outright ban on fracking in his state. The decision cost a loss of 400 jobs per year in some of the state’s counties and resulted in a “statically significant increase in unemployment.” By declaring a war on pipelines, some utilities in New York stopped “new residential, and commercial and industrial customer gas service connections.” New Yorkers are paying the 10th highest electric rates in the nation, and nearly 30 percent higher than their neighbors in Pennsylvania.

With no fracking ban in their state, Pennsylvanians are much better off. Today, the Commonwealth is second only to Texas when it comes to production of shale gas and in 2021 the state received over $235 million in impact fees from drillers. One university study found communities in Pennsylvania suffering from long-term economic stagnation are the beneficiaries of American energy development in their area.

Two different states, two very different outcomes. Enter the 2022 midterm election.

Rank FF Consumption  Trillion BTU
1 Texas 11767
2 California 4845
3 Louisiana 3698
4 Florida 3110
5 Pennsylvania 3110
6 Ohio 2774
7 Illinois 2590
8 New York 2370

Source of Primary Energy Consumption Data:  EIA   Notice that California and New York are top consumers of FF energy, principally oil and natural gas, but neither is a top producer, despite accessible resources.  Florida, Ohio and Illinois also share that predicament.

New York’s race for Governor is turning into a nail-biter, as residents of the state consider hiring the first Republican for the job in 16 years. Appointed Governor Kathy Hochul would continue Cuomo’s failed anti-fracking policy while Republican Lee Zeldin supports energy development in New York. The result? A Republican is surging in a massively blue state where people say their top issue is the economy. New Yorkers are suffering under the consequences of failed-fracking policy. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, they have a radical in moderate’s clothing that thinks the New York failure is just fine.

The stakes are as high as they are clear: John Fetterman wants to end fracking and if elected, he’ll do all he can to do it. Sure, we all witnessed his bumbling response where he pinky-swears he now likes fracking, but he can’t bumble over the truth. He once referred to the industry as a “stain” on the state he is seeking to represent. Don’t forget that Joe Biden also did the fracking flip-flop as a candidate, only to take office and impose an “America Last” energy policy that’s delivered record gas prices, massive inflation and a weaker country on the world stage. Apparently, John Fetterman and Joe Biden view the disaster in New York as a winning game plan.

It failed for Andrew Cuomo, it’s failing for Joe Biden and if he’s elected, it will fail for John Fetterman, too. You might say that just like Communism, banning fracking has failed everywhere it’s been tried.

Vote accordingly.

See also New England Energy Inflation Self-Imposed

Project abandoned in 2017 after New York blocked planning and permit processes.

Woke Gatekeepers The Problem

Michael Lind explains in his Tablet article The New Gatekeepers.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

How the major institutions of American society all came to sing in the woke chorus,
and what can be done about it

The Great Awokening is a misleading term. Woke activists are not honest missionaries; they are infiltrators, acting with the specific goal of seizing control of institutions and imposing their views on others. Unlike the Protestant evangelists of the Great Awakenings, today’s activists do not use simple language to spread their message to sinners in need of repentance. On the contrary, they camouflage radical beliefs in bureaucratic acronyms like DEI and CRT, and anodyne-sounding terms like “gender-affirming health care”—in practice, often a euphemism for castrating boys and men and sterilizing and performing irreversible mastectomies on girls and women. Where Protestant evangelists sought voluntary and whole-hearted conversion, the new activists seek submission, imposed on penalty of ostracism.

If these activists are not evangelists, what are they? They are “entryists.” The term “entryism” has been associated with the Trotskyist denomination of Marxism since the 1930s, when the exiled Leon Trotsky urged his followers in Britain to infiltrate the Labour Party and influence it from within, rather than form their own small, ineffectual party. But the tactic is not limited to the political left. In the United States there have been cases in which Protestant fundamentalists ran for local school boards as moderates and then, once they had majorities on the board, used their power for goals like teaching “creation science” along with evolutionary biology.

The center left of the political spectrum has historically been vulnerable
to entryism by small, radical sects of zealots.

Today’s illiberal radicals, like yesterday’s communists, have profited from a “no enemies to the left” policy among liberals. Mild-mannered liberals and progressives believe in civil rights, so therefore something called “anti-racism” must be worth supporting, even if there are a few problems here and there: Ibram X. Kendi’s sectarian lunacy thus hitches a free ride on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Similarly, adding “T” and “Q” to LGB legitimated public acceptance of radical gender ideology, as though insisting that controversial and often dangerous “gender transitions” are a natural and unobjectionable continuation of the campaign to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Wokists, then, are not the new Protestants, any more than they are the new Trotskyites. They are entryists in their methods, but not in their ideology. Such identity politics is not the kind of coalition of college students and minorities that Herbert Marcuse and other Marxists hoped for in the 1960s, after they were disappointed by the lack of revolutionary fervor among the American and European working classes. Black nationalism, the model for all racial and ethnic nationalisms on the Western left, has its roots in 19th-century German racial and cultural nationalism, not cosmopolitan Marxism. Radical feminism, which spawned gender ideology, has its own tradition as independent of socialism, even if some radical feminists have also been socialists. Indeed, real communist regimes like the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and Cuba have usually been repressively traditional in matters of sex and gender.

This, however, raises a question. The various streams of identity politics that feed into today’s radical ideology are not new. Indeed, they have existed on the margins of politics and intellectual life for generations. As recently as the 1980s and 1990s, “political correctness” was ridiculed into irrelevance everywhere except on university campuses and a handful of sectarian left institutions. What exactly is it that changed in the structure of American institutions so that the new entryists were able to successfully infiltrate and capture so many major organizations and professions in the 2010s, after such tactics had repeatedly been tried and failed before?

Three Gateways Taken Over by Woke Activists

Control of three gateways in particular has been critical to the success of woke entryism. The three gateways are college education, professional accreditation, and commercial services, particularly new online media platforms like Twitter, sales platforms like Amazon, and financial platforms like PayPal. All three wield variants of the same power: the power to exclude people from the economy. Good Trotsky-style entryists that they are, woke activists, knowing that they would be defeated in free elections and in open public debates, have sought to infiltrate institutions to control key chokepoints or gateways, which empower them to be gatekeepers.

Today, unlike a generation ago, young Americans typically must pass through three gateways, in order to be economically successful. They must obtain college diplomas; they must join professional accrediting organizations; and they must be able to do business via platforms in the marketplace.

The American Medical Association was founded in 1847, and the American Bar Association in 1878. Colleges and universities assumed their present form only in the late 19th and 20th centuries, and as recently as 1960 only about 10% of American men and around 6% of American women had bachelor’s degrees or higher.

Of the three kinds of gateway—the professional, the academic, and the platform—the third is the newest, a product of the early 21st century. As one writer recently put it, “the Woke is a vanguard movement that seized control of a new technology and used it as a force multiplier to discipline and terrorize the larger institutional landscape.”

Waiting for people at each gateway, like trolls under a bridge in a fairy tale, are woke leftists, who demand that they recite the in-group passwords before they are allowed to pass through the gates. What makes these gateways particularly vulnerable to capture by disciplined, zealous entryists in the United States is the fact that they are mostly private and unregulated. America’s most prestigious universities are private, and they set the standards for other universities in the country, both private and public. Whether private or public, all American universities are accredited by private, nonprofit accrediting agencies and not by America’s federal or state governments.

But most traditional corporations either face rivals in competitive markets, or, if they are natural monopolies, are subject to regulation and government oversight. In contrast, platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and PayPal, along with search engines like Google, are near-monopolies in whole sectors of the economy, and yet have won the right not to be regulated by federal, state, or local governments. As a result, they can “deplatform” people, including the president of the United States, at will—and those who have been deplatformed, canceled, or otherwise disappeared from the marketplace or the public realm have little recourse, except to a rubber-stamp board appointed by the platform’s executives, on the basis of “rules of service” that the corporate managers and their puppets make up and can change at any time. This combination of exemption from regulation with legal impunity would have been unthinkable in the age of AT&T and the three broadcast networks, before the rise of the tech sector at the end of the 20th century.

No wonder that woke entryists prefer worming their way into immense, centralized quasi-monopolies and oligopolies in the private sector instead of trying to capture the government by persuading voters and winning in thousands of elections at all levels.

The increasing polarization of the American class system along educational lines, along with a massive oversupply of college graduates for too few jobs that actually require college degrees, breeds conformity and submission in undergraduates. In the 1990s, you could mock your politically correct professor or classmates and go on to a successful career in law, medicine, business, or even the academy. In the 2020s, if you mock your politically correct professor or classmates, you can be put through Kafkaesque trials and Maoist reeducation on campus, and the mark on your permanent record can prevent you from getting into a good professional school.

Students who dissent from enforced woke orthodoxies on campus run the very real danger of summary punishment by university administrators for a very wide variety of potential crimes, which will be adjudicated by those very same authorities. These crimes can range from holding incorrect opinions about racial essentialism (you’re supposed to be for it) or the existence of multiple genders (there is no exact number, gender being a subjective and elastic concept).

The next gate is the professional gateway—and here again, we find that our entryists have seized the sentry positions and imposed new passwords. The AMA recently issued a glossary of Woke Newspeak, instructing medical doctors to say “equity” instead of “equality” and “systemically divested” instead of “poor.”

Last year, the AMA Board of Trustees passed a resolution demanding that sex cease to be noted in all future birth certificates, on the theory that a boy might have been born by accident in a girl’s body or vice versa, and that the individual might not realize he or she was in the wrong body until decades later. Yes, this is the American Medical Association, not the American Association of Astrologers.

Meanwhile, the American Bar Association has proposed making the accreditation of U.S. law schools depend on their success in promoting goals like rigid race and gender quotas among faculty and students. Noting that such accreditation requirements might cause law schools to run afoul of federal and state laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which established nondiscrimination as the legal standard, the ABA says its own private, made-up accreditation requirements trump actual laws: “The requirement of a constitutional provision or statute that purports to prohibit consideration of race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, or military status in admissions or employment decisions is not a justification for a school’s noncompliance with Standard 206.”

Let’s assume that a submissive, deferential American professional of the 21st century, having mouthed the platitudes necessary to obtain a B.A. and graduate from a professional school, now seeks to practice a career in sales, authorship, or politics. If you wish to buy or sell a gun in a perfectly legal transaction, Visa will allow it but PayPal and Square will not.

If you publish a book critical of the new gender ideology, Amazon may disappear it, the way it disappeared Ryan T. Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally. Inexplicably, Amazon sells Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters—but then, despotic power is more frightening when it is arbitrary.

And if you run for office, you may find yourself banned or suspended by social media platforms. As of Aug. 15, 2022, Ballotpedia listed seven elected officials who had been banned or suspended by Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube—all Republicans. In addition to Donald Trump, the list includes Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, suspended by Twitter for 14 days in 2021 for “targeted misgendering or deadnaming transgender individuals,” and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a medical doctor, suspended by YouTube for seven days for allegedly spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

Piece by piece, woke activists are assembling a private version of China’s social credit system, which can cut off individuals who run afoul of ideological orthodoxy from acquiring educational credentials, practicing a trade, or engaging in political speech. While Trotskyist entryists spent decades trying to infiltrate and influence social democratic parties and trade unions, woke entryists in only a decade and a half have captured many of the leading communications, sales, and financial platforms in modern society, along with professional associations and universities. Leon Trotsky would be impressed.

Alas, only one solution to the threat of woke hegemony can possibly work: a massive and permanent expansion of the regulatory powers of American government.

Because of the longstanding ideological habits and precommitments of those who broadly agree with the above diagnosis of the problem, this is typically the last solution that occurs to them. Paradoxical though it may seem, however, political intervention is necessary to depoliticize the institutions that have already been diverted from their limited missions and competencies. Reluctant but determined intervention by the elected branches of government can compel neutrality on the part of professional and commercial institutions that have been captured and weaponized by the new entryists.

The obvious objection to expanding the power of the states and the federal government to eliminate control by the new entryists over key social and economic chokepoints is the libertarian belief that government itself is the enemy. One response might be that the belief that private enterprise would be more inherently fair than a state grounded in the democratic process and the rule of law is what got us into this mess in the first place.

It is also the case that, contrary to popular belief, the federal government does not have vast plenary powers. The federal government chiefly influences state and local policy by means of “fiscal federalism.” The Obama administration abused fiscal federalism when radical activists ensconced in his Department of Education made federal funding for K-12 schools contingent on public schools adopting controversial gender ideology.

The best way to prevent the federal government from using this kind of economic blackmail against state and local government institutions, of course, is to keep woke parties and politicians and appointees out of power in Washington, D.C. If that fails, states should refuse federal funding that comes with strings attached, rather than submit to blackmail by tiny cadres of activists who have infiltrated and captured specific federal agencies like the Department of Education.

Increasingly, state governments led by anti-woke elected officials have begun using state power to check the ideological excesses of corporations and banks. Far from being an assault on liberty, this is a healthy and overdue reassertion of democracy. Elected officials answer to citizens. Corporations and nonprofits answer only to their boards of directors and shareholders or donors. And as entities that can exist and do business only because of government charters, corporations and nonprofits must follow rules promulgated by representatives of the people.

Will anti-woke governments commit abuses in responding to the abuses of woke companies and nonprofits? No doubt they will sometimes. But if they do, their misdeeds will be easily identified and have clear remedies, unlike the hidden decisions of vast private bureaucracies. Abusive legislators and governors can be voted out of office, unlike the obscure individuals who belong to Facebook’s self-regulating bureaucracy.

In other eras, and in other countries, public tyranny has indeed been a major threat to individual freedoms. In the United States, in the third decade of the 21st century, the private tyranny of universities, professional associations, and tech platforms is a greater threat than the tyranny of an oppressive state. When it comes to reducing the power of the new entryists in the private sector, the restoration of our liberties requires an expansion of democratically accountable government.

 

 

 

 

Leftists Tighten Tax and Regulation Screws

William Watson explains at Financial Post: We will need Trussonomics.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

If subsidies change behaviour, as their proponents clearly believe they do,
so must taxes and the rising cost of regulation

The Nobel-winning novelist Doris Lessing once wrote that “In politics it is easier to be mad unnoticed than anywhere else.” Of course, she was writing about Communist Party politics in what was then Southern Rhodesia during World War II, not leadership campaigns in the 21st-century British Tory party. But the goings-on of the various factions that make up the Tory party have been at least tinged with madness, if not steeped in it. And it is not going unnoticed. The whole world is watching, as the chant goes, especially the bond market.

The pity is that fine and ever more necessary ideas have been caught in all the loopiness and, guilty by association, are being dumped in the ash bin at the very time they are needed most. What for the next 20 years will be branded “Trussonomics” is in its essence simply tried and true common sense: ever rising tax rates and ever more intrusive regulation, which is what western countries have these days, are not and never have been the road to high and rising living standards.

Now, strangely, these libertarian ideas are being categorized as “populist,” the supposedly idiot beliefs of the great and ignorant unwashed. There may be places in the world where libertarianism is populist — Wyoming, maybe, rural New Hampshire, anywhere that lived under Soviet Communism — but in this country and in the United Kingdom such ideas are best loved by the not very numerous readers of such bricks as Friedrich Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty, which according to Amazon weighs 1.68 pounds. Their most effective European exponent, Margaret Thatcher, who supposedly carried that book in her purse, making it a truly lethal weapon if swung with sufficient force, sold this set of ideas on the basis that “There is no alternative,” hardly the most appealing brand labelling.

Many Canadians are in some ways instinctive libertarians.

Why are we paying for the prime minister’s groceries, many will wonder — not his state dinners and receptions but his ordinary family groceries? Why are the Governor General’s airplane meals so expensive? Could she not settle for the dried-out trail mix the rest of us are served while flying? Why does Ottawa think (see Matthew Lau’s article elsewhere on this page) “people who menstruate” — the people formerly known as women — should have free female hygiene products, plus installed receptacles for them, provided in every bathroom in federal jurisdiction — men’s, women’s and other?

In each case, the populist answer, though simple, is right: He should pay for his own family groceries. She should eat the airplane meals the rest of us eat. And Ottawa should stay out of the bathrooms of the nation (as an earlier Trudeau might have said). To be sure, more subtle and sophisticated reasoning can and often does lead especially very highly-educated people to conclude that such answers are hopelessly, horribly wrong. In these more refined circles “populist” is a way of saying “simple-minded” and “unseemly.”

It is true that Trussonomics, as proposed by its namesake, was flawed in very avoidable ways. If you win a leadership contest, it’s a sign of weakness, not strength, to exclude rivals from your cabinet (or, attention Mr. Poilievre, shadow cabinet). If the spending hikes and tax cuts you want could cause reasonable people to worry about the resulting government debt, you should not close down a watchdog whose job it is to track such things. And you must tell your cabinet where you are heading and also prepare the public — a lesson learned in this country in 1981 when finance minister Allan MacEachen sprang fiscal surprises in a budget that, several weeks later, had to be walked back, not long before MacEachen himself was walked over to External Affairs, as it then was. Ever since, budget secrecy be damned, federal budgets have been telegraphed well in advance.

In Ottawa, as the budget approaches, small dogs must be kept indoors
lest they be frightened by popping of trial balloons going off like fireworks.

But though the Trussonomics package was badly wrapped, its contents remain sound. People do respond to incentives. If you tax income too much, you reduce the incentive to earn and report it honestly. If you regulate people too much, you induce them to spend their money and time getting round regulations, including by doing the regulated activity in jurisdictions (not yours) where it is regulated less. Pile on taxes and rules, and lawyers and lobbyists grow rich while invention, investment and innovation languish or relocate.

It’s sometimes argued that people aren’t as responsive to economic incentives as economists claim, so taxing them and raising their regulatory costs won’t discourage the animal spirits that impel them to constructive action. But those offering this argument are invariably inveterate subsidizers, who would encourage all manner of activity they deem socially worthy by subsidizing it, taxing it less or lightening its regulatory load.

But you can’t have it both ways. Subsidies that don’t change people’s behaviour are just ways of getting money to friends. But if subsidies change behaviour, as their proponents clearly believe they do, so must taxes and the rising cost of regulation.

Ms. Truss may walk off into history. Trussonomics our over-taxed and over-regulated societies desperately need.

Footnote from Issues and Insights: Biden Has Unleashed The Regulatory Leviathan: Report

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) just this morning released its hugely valuable report called “10,000 Commandments,” which is a compendium of the regulatory state. In it, CEI Vice President for Policy Clyde Wayne Crews lays out the terrible truth about Biden’s regulatory zeal.

The first thing you have to understand about federal regulation is how massive it already is, with compliance costs that total more than $1.9 trillion a year.

That’s bigger than Canada’s entire GDP. It’s bigger, in fact, than all but seven nations in the world. It works out to almost $15,000 per household.

And it is growing at a ferocious pace. From 1995 to last year, regulators issued a total of 114,821 new rules.

The cost of complying with this mountain of mandates is on top of the $6.3 trillion the feds spent this year, which means the true cost of government equals roughly a third of the nation’s economy.

 

World Sick Men: US, UK, Canada

Conrad Black observes in National Post:  Canada, the U.S. and U.K. have become the new ‘sick man’ of the world.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The three principal predominantly English-speaking Atlantic countries (the United States, United Kingdom and Canada) are now “the sick man” of the world. For almost all of the 19th century and up to the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was reviled as ”the sick man of Europe,” and its leader was habitually referred to as ”the Abominable Porte.” These disparagements proved premature when put to the test in the First World War. The Ottoman Empire outlasted the Russian Empire in the war and the Turks threw the British, French and Commonwealth forces into the sea with 220,000 casualties in the debacle at Gallipoli in 1915-16, the greatest and near-terminal defeat in the career of Winston Churchill. It is also very premature, of course, to underestimate the three leading English-speaking countries, but as our longest-serving prime minister, W. L. Mackenzie King, said of his own career at its low point in 1930, we are all “passing through the valley of humiliation.”

In Britain, Prime Minister Liz Truss and then-chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng presented a bold and imaginative budget. Facing double-digit inflation and negligible economic growth, they instituted a cap on energy price increases to the public by having the state pick up the tab for natural gas and electricity price increases above a designated level, reverse a planned six-point increase in the corporate tax and reduce the maximum income tax by five points. Unfortunately and inexplicably, they produced no accompanying proposals for substantial government cost reductions. Normally, ambitious proposals for tax reductions are accompanied by elaborate estimates of the resulting loss of revenue being substantially regained by increased revenue from heightened consumer demand and the greater transactional velocity of money. Of course, all such estimates are essentially throwing a dart at a board, but they are necessary to shut up opinionated and dogmatic economists, especially high-tax leftists and authoritarian regulators.

Economics is essentially psychology and Grade 3 arithmetic.  Truss and Kwarteng
got the psychology right, but in failing to produce any arithmetic at all,
they left themselves wide open to a deluge of skeptical ridicule.

The official Opposition, the Labour party, now a Corbynite gaggle of unregenerate Marxists hiding behind their relatively innocuous leader, Keir Starmer, the socialistic hypocrites at the International Monetary Fund and the sprawling apparatus of the European Union, which is still wheezing with rage over Brexit, all pounced on the budget like famished wolves. As always happens when the conventional wisdom is stoked up and unopposed, even the most ludicrously implausible sources of any worthwhile opinion on the subject, U.S. President Joe Biden in this case, joined the torrent of brickbats.

 Truss did not handle it very convincingly, and her chancellor was confidently informing the international financial media in Washington last week that he was firm in his position and his views and was “not going anywhere,” when his boss folded like a $3 suitcase and gave him the order of the boot. Even Starmer, who is no Benjamin Disraeli or Winston Churchill as a parliamentary wit, got off some pretty good shots, adapting the famous statement of Margaret Thatcher to a beleaguered party conference in the early days of her radical government: “U-turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” It appeared to justify the French media’s sarcastic reflection on the difference between the Iron Lady and the “Iron Weathervane.” She has only been prime minister for six weeks, and though it would seem almost unimaginably absurd for even the querulous and treacherous backbenchers of the British Tory party to disembark another leader so quickly after they filled the space between former prime minister Boris Johnson’s shoulder blades with knives, that is exactly what happened. Following a string of cabinet departures and internal party dissent, Truss announced her resignation on Thursday. Meanwhile, the separatist Scottish National Party is now leading the Conservatives in the polls and the formerly terrorist-tinged Sinn Féin, the parent of the Irish Republican Army, is settling into the government of Northern Ireland. As the new monarch enters upon his reign, the political condition of his principal realm could scarcely be worse. It will probably get better because further deterioration is hard to imagine, but much will depend on whether the Tories can mount a historic comeback.

Most Canadians are somewhat aware of the debacle in Washington. Since his election, President Biden has maintained a war without mercy on the U.S. oil and gas industry, while simultaneously disparaging the House of Saud as moral pariahs. A recent report from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that, given rising prices, if the Trump administration’s energy policies had been maintained, the United States would be producing two- to three-million more barrels a day of oil than it currently is, which would have pushed down global oil prices. Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially applied the increased revenues from his higher-priced oil exports to finance his war of aggression in Ukraine, which the United States is now admirably spending tens of billions of dollars to assist the Ukrainians in resisting. Because Biden is intimidated by the green terror that he mindlessly espouses like an eco-robot on autopilot, he was reduced to calling upon the Saudi crown prince, metaphorical cap in hand, and asking for production increases. Instead, the Saudis, with well-earned disdain for the government of the world’s most powerful nation, reduced production further, leaving Biden’s bumbling entourage talking about suspending armament sales to the Saudis. This would only make matters worse by giving scores of billions of dollars of defence contracts to our enemies. Even great powers, when their foreign policy is based on idiocy, can be, in U.S. President Richard Nixon’s famous expression, “a pitiful, helpless giant.” Five thousand illegal migrants a day are pouring across the southern border and Russia, even as it blasts Ukraine, is representing the U.S. in an insane effort to revive the disastrous nuclear agreement with Iran that Barack Obama negotiated and Donald Trump cancelled. None of it makes any sense.

Canada — which, as historian W. L. Morton said, is ”strong only in moderation and governable only by compromise” — has never in its 155 years as an autonomous country come close to the shambles of government that has been unfolding in Washington, or the sequence of fiascos that have afflicted the current era of Conservative government in Britain. Our comparative decorum should not lead any Canadian to complacency, though. We have spent seven years wallowing helplessly in a mindless fixation on climate, Indigenous and gender issues. Canada is a treasure trove of resources that we are afraid to utilize and we are somnambulating in the world like a toked-up Peter Pan.

Based on history, all three countries will pull themselves together quite soon and resume their rightful places among the most respected nations in the world.