Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: reality

Pew Research: Americans Getting More Comfortable With Firearm Ownership

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 23, 2017:  

Pew Research Center’s latest in-depth report on what it calls “America’s Complex Relationship with Guns” is revelatory. According to the report, released on Thursday, Americans are becoming more and more comfortable with guns and gun ownership, and less and less enchanted with more gun laws to fight perceived gun violence.

When 3,390 U.S adults were polled in March and April, they were asked whether it was more important to protect gun rights or to control gun ownership. In the year 2000, two-thirds of those polled then favored more gun control. Today, that has dropped to less than half,

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Illinois Sends “Dear Contractor” Letters Ordering Them to Stop All Road Construction

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 15, 2017: 

English: A photograph of the Springfield Capit...

A photograph of the Springfield Capitol Building

Illinois contractors working on the state’s roads just received a “Dear Contractor” letter from the state ordering them to halt work because the state is out of money to pay them:

At this time appropriate funding is not available after June 30, 2017. Thus, work shall cease effective June 30, 2017.

Please bring all projects to a condition that will provide a clear and safely traveled way….

On July 1, 2017, all work shall cease except for maintenance.… The department will notify you when work may resume.

Right now the state has $14.5 billion in unpaid bills, an increase of nearly $4 billion just since the end of December, with no end in sight. When Republican Governor Bruce Rauner took office in January 2015, he promised he would bring order out of chaos by

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Will Rogers, Meet Andrew McCabe

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 29, 2017:

FBI Badge & gun.

Will Rogers is credited for noting that “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” Andrew McCabe is about to suffer the consequences of not following Will’s wisdom.

When Joe Lieberman withdrew his nomination for FBI Director last week, he claimed it was because of a potential conflict of interest in that he works for the same law firm as Trump’s lawyer who is defending the president against the faux Russia investigation. In reality,

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Moody’s Revelation: “Managed” Economies fail

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 26, 2017:  

Perhaps without knowing it, Moody’s downgrade of China one full notch on Wednesday exposed the fallacy of managed economies: that government bureaucrats with fancy degrees from the University of Chicago, Harvard, or Yale know what they’re doing. One of those fallacies that have been promoted for years came from Yale grad Arthur Laffer as far back as the Reagan administration. On the surface it sounds eminently logical: cut taxes and the economy will grow. The fallacy is knowing just how much to cut, whose to cut, when to cut, and how long to cut.

The Laffer Curve undergirds the whole idea of “supply side economics” –

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Moody’s Credit Downgrade of China First in Almost 30 Years

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 25, 2017:

China GDP

China GDP

Moody’s Investors Service, one of the big three credit-rating services in the country, downgraded China’s creditworthiness one full notch on Wednesday. It moved the world’s second-largest economy from Aa3 (“high quality [with] very low risk”) to A1 (Upper-medium grade [with] low credit risk”). It explained why:

The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectations that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to grow as potential growth slows.

That “potential growth” has been slowing since at least 2010. In that year Chinese government agencies reported growth in excess of 10 percent. By 2014, it had slowed to 7.3 percent, to 6.9 percent in 2015, and is now at a reported 6.7 percent.

Moody’s is late to the game.

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The Sausage-Making in Washington Begins

his article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 24, 2017: 

Engraving of Otto von Bismarck

Engraving of Otto von Bismarck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that the White House has released the budget for fiscal year 2018, the quote from Otto von Bismarck becomes operative: “Laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made.” But that only becomes operative after the election, about which H. L. Mencken said, “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” And when those stolen goods exceed $4 trillion, everyone has a distinct interest in getting, keeping and expanding his share.

When Trump’s “blueprint” was rolled out in March, it provided the bare bones of what he hoped it might accomplish:

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Trump’s Budget: a Mixture of Magic, Hope, Pixie Dust, and Gimmicks

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, May 23, 2017:

Now that the long-awaited Trump budget for Fiscal Year 2018 has been released, it hasn’t failed to deliver what skeptics initially expected: Growth coupled with lower taxes will drive the economy to levels that will balance the budget — by 2027  — much of it based on magic, hope, pixie dust, and gimmicks.

First, the “magic.”

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More “Fake News?” Trump Behind Wednesday’s Stock Market Dump

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 19, 2017:

Cover of "The Intelligent Investor: The D...

It’s almost too trite to say that the mainstream media engages in “fake news,” but its nearly unanimous claim that Wednesday’s selloff in stocks was due to Trump’s troubles borders on fake news. It certainly violates a primary rule of logic: post hoc, ergo propter hoc – after this, therefore because of this.

Here is a perfect, but certainly not the only, example. From Marketwatch one learns that “The sell-off came in the wake of a bombshell report in the New York Times that notes from fired FBI Director James Comey revealed President Donald Trump had asked Comey to stop the FBI’s investigation into fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia.”

The tortured logic is this: Trump’s controversies, including those concerning Comey, are going to distract him and his administration from accomplishing many of the policy goals upon which the stock market was banking. Hence, the market will be disappointed.

Other MSM outlets lined up:

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Trump Didn’t Cause Stock Market Decline

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 18, 2017:  

According to nearly every major news outlet, Wednesday’s 372-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average was Trump’s fault. CNN Money said “Trump drama rattles market” while CNBC blamed the selloff “on Trump fears.” NPR said the decline was because “Trump remains embroiled in controversy” with CBC News saying it was due to “uncertainty around Trump.”

Precious few deviated from their mission to blame everything on Trump to look at the real reason behind Wednesday’s modest selloff:

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Russia, Saudi Arabia Release Trial Balloon: Extend Production Cut by a Year

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017: 

In a joint statement released on Monday, oil ministers from Russia and Saudi Arabia said the present crude oil production reduction agreement reached last November should be extended for another year. The original target was a reduction of world crude inventories down to its five-year average. Since the present agreement didn’t come close, it should be extended, said Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih:

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Senator Ted Cruz Introduces Bill to Have Drug Lord El Chapo Pay for the Wall

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 1, 2017: 

When Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced his bill — the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act — on Tuesday, he said the $14 billion seized from the Mexican drug lord would help build President Trump’s wall:

$14 billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border.

The money isn’t available just for the taking, added Cruz:

The U.S. government is currently seeking the criminal forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering.

As part of the agreement between Mexico and U.S. authorities, El Chapo won’t face the death penalty, but his confiscated assets might be available if Cruz’s bill passes the Senate and the House, and is signed into law by the president. Confiscated assets such as these are usually directed to law enforcement efforts in the United States.

Cruz told Tucker Carlson on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday that it’s “only fitting” that drug money be used to build the wall:

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Is History About to Repeat Itself – Building the Wall to Keep Drugs Out?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 1, 2017:

Cover of "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of...

As Samuel Taylor Coleridge expressed it, “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”

Those unfamiliar with the lessons history teaches regarding attempts to legislate morality are about to get another one. One of those, surprisingly, is the Republican Senator from Texas who has just introduced a bill to let El Chapo pay for the wall. After all, said Ted Cruz, it’s “only fitting.” Cruz told Tucker Carlson on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday:

These drug cartels are the ones crossing the border with impunity, smuggling drugs, smuggling narcotics, engaged in human trafficking. They’re the ones violating our laws and it’s only fitting that their ill-gotten gains fund securing the border.

Cruz’s bill specifically targets El Chapo’s assets for use in building the wall:

All illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera (commonly known as “El Chapo”), which are criminally forfeited to the United States Government as a result of the conviction of [El Chapo] … shall be reserved for security measures along the border between the United States and Mexico, including the completion of a wall along such border, for the purpose of stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States and furthering the Nation’s security.

Cruz sounded very much like another member of Congress who hasn’t read, or remembered, his history: Rep. James Sensenbrenner. In March Sensenbrenner offered his bill, cleverly titled the BUILD WALL (Build Up Illegal Line Defenses With Assets Lawfully Lifted) Act, explaining:

If we do nothing, we put the people of this nation at risk, as well as allow illegal immigrants to take away jobs, opportunities, and social funding from U.S. citizens – all at the expense of the American taxpayer. The BUILD WALL Act is a creative solution to a complex problem.

When quizzed about his bill in March, Sensenbrenner reiterated the case that drug lords should rightly pay for the wall:

This is a way to fulfill the president’s desire to have Mexico pay for the wall. Having the money seized from Mexican drug cartels would mean that bad Mexicans would end up paying for the wall – the bad Mexicans [who] have been terrorizing the good Mexicans with crime and kidnappings and murders within Mexico itself.

But why is no one asking the real question: if the wall is built, will it work in keeping drugs and criminals out of the United States? Or will it, just like the Volstead Act, cause misery beyond measure, with consequences still being felt today nearly a hundred years later?

Films over the last few decades have attempted to answer that question, films such as The Untouchables (1987) or, more recently, Lawless (2012) which just touch on the horrors inflicted upon innocents as those illegal liquor merchants plied their wares, operating as simply businessmen doing their best to “meet a demand.”

As Borderland Beat, the relatively unknown but highly-regarded source of information about the border drug wars, recently noted: “With U.S. support Mexican authorities have been able to kill or capture 33 out of the 37 most dangerous cartel leaders. The recent extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States is a testament to the value of high-level cooperation between the two countries. As a result of these notable successes, several larger cartels have fractured and have descended into in-fighting.”

But they haven’t gone away. That have reorganized, are adapting to the new reality, and continue their drug trafficking. First, they consider themselves as businessmen providing a product to meet market demand. Thwarting border protections is an industry in its own right, whether it’s developing tunnels (with electric lights, air-conditioning and motion sensors) under the border, or creating false documentation to get their mules through border checkpoints. They still have immense resources and can buy all the talent they need to counter any protective schemes the Trump administration might dream up.

When they wish to move large sums of cash across the border, the cartels have used “cloned” vehicles that resemble official cars. When that fails, they buy up and ship across the border vast numbers of gift cards, thus reducing law enforcement’s ability to track down the movement of money.

When drones become pesky, they develop countermeasures to defend against them. And they are developing “narco drones” of their own to deliver drugs across the border to the U.S.

In addition, they have the resources to bribe successfully hundreds of Department of Homeland Security employees who have taken in nearly $15 million in bribes since 2006. As Borderland Beat notes, all of this means “that a new border wall will not end or significantly reduce the capabilities and power of Mexican drug cartels. From the days of tequila smuggling into the United States during Prohibition, illicit trafficking across the southwest border has remained a constant.”

As Kyle Smith wrote in his review of “Prohibition,” a PBS special a few years ago:

Banning the sale or manufacture of alcohol made ours “a nation of scofflaws,” as Burns and Novick entitle the second episode of their miniseries. After an initial dip in alcohol consumption, booze sales spiked, with one cop estimating there were 32,000 speakeasies in New York City.

 

No one who backed the 18th Amendment thought much about the additional police needed to enforce it, the ease with which those police would be bought off, the job losses it would cause, or the innocent bystanders who would be shot when the government decided to crack down.

 

Prohibition lessened respect for the rule of law and created a big business in bootlegging, which in turn led to murder and mayhem on the streets. Organized crime barely existed before the Al Capones of the world found their calling in Prohibition, and in order to lessen turf wars the gangland bosses began to carve out spheres of influence on a nationwide scale.

 

“Prohibition was the finishing school, the college and the graduate school for the criminal syndicates of America,” says Dan Okrent, author of “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition,” in the film.

If the wall is built (regardless of who pays for it), people like Cruz and Sensenbrenner (and others who should know better) are very likely to learn this lesson from history: one cannot legislate morality, and attempts to do so are likely to have painfully negative and long-lasting consequences. Unfortunately, Coleridge’s lantern, for many, shines only on the waves behind.


Sources:

History quotes

The New York Post: What we learned from Prohibition

Fox News: Sen. Ted Cruz: ‘It’s only fitting’ cartel money be used for border wall

Washington Examiner: Jim Sensenbrenner: Make Mexican cartels pay for the wall

Borderland Beat: THE BORDER WALL: MAKING MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS GREAT AGAIN

Background on Borderland Beat

Conservative Tribune: Congressman: Pay for Border Wall by Seizing Money From Mexican Drug Cartels

CNNOfficial: Mexican cartels use money, sex to bribe U.S. border agents

Breitbart: Ted Cruz Calls for $14 Billion Seized from ‘El Chapo’ to Fund Border Wall

Text of Cruz’s bill, S.939

The Untouchables (1987)

Lawless (2012)

Former Heritage Economist Stephen Moore Refutes CBO’s Doom & Gloom

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, April 26, 2017:

Stephen Moore by David Shankbone, New York City

Stephen Moore

The Heritage Foundation’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow Stephen Moore, now a CNN economics commentator, thinks the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is far too pessimistic. Instead, he believes that most of the nation’s fiscal problems can be solved just by prodding the economy.

The CBO report, “The 2017 Long-Term Budget Outlook,” assumed that little would change politically over the next 10 to 30 years, despite promises from President Trump that his policies would “make America great again.” It projected that the Baby Boomers would exhaust the resources of Medicare and Social Security, and then those costs would be shifted directly to the Department of the Treasury.

If nothing changes, said the CBO, the percentage of the national debt held by the public (pension plans, mutual funds, foreign governments, and wealthy individuals) would double over the next 30 years, which would “pose substantial risks for the nation.”

The problem is exacerbated, said the CBO, not only by an aging population demanding that the government keeps its promises to them, but also

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Trump Administration Tips Its Hand, Oks Third Greek Bailout

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 17, 2017:

It took EURACTIV, the online source that focuses on European policymaking, to report that the Trump administration has signaled that, previous protestations to the contrary, it won’t object to a third Greek bailout. The anonymous Trump administration tipster told its reporters: “We’re looking for the Europeans to help Greece to resolve its economic problems by the Fund [the International Monetary Fund], despite the criticism of many Republicans regarding the two previous bailout programs in 2010 and 2012.”

This anonymous tip kicks to the curb protestations voiced by Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in February that

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Trump’s Strange Reversal on Ex-Im Bank: Names One Opposed to It to Run It?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 17, 2017:

English: Congressman Justin Amash

Congressman Justin Amash

When Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) learned on Friday that President Trump intended to resuscitate the Export-Import Bank by naming two people to its board (it has been limping along with just three out of five board members present), he nailed it, tweeting, “ExIm corporate welfare bank is the symbol of D.C. cronyism. It steals from taxpayers to subsidize big corporations. End ExIm. Drain the Swamp.”

For a while it looked as if the Ex-Im Bank was for all intents and purposes dead. In 2015, the House failed to renew its charter for the first time since 1945. However,

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More Evidence that OPEC’s Influence is Waning

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 22, 2017:

A measure of the success – and failure – of OPEC’s agreement to limit crude oil production can be seen in the chart of NYMEX crude oil price behavior (Sources below) dating from last fall. When the agreement was inked back in November, crude was at $46.50 a barrel. The price soared and traders got excited, putting in long bets that set records.

By early January, reality began setting in as compliance among the cartel’s members and non-members (who agreed to go along for the ride) began to wane. The roof fell in a couple of weeks ago when inventory builds continued to set records, and the price dropped through support at $50.

In other words, in OPEC’s attempt to birth an elephant, it succeeded in birthing a gnat.

Saudi Arabia maintained a stiff upper lip during the Houston oil conference, stating flat out that

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Restaurants Add “Labor Surcharge” to Tabs to Cover Minimum-wage Increases

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 13, 2017:

English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...

Instead of increasing their menu prices in response to increased minimum-wage levels, restaurant owners are burying their increased labor costs at the bottom of each tab. The increase, between three and four percent, only comes after the customer has completed his meal. The increase also increases the tip customers leave behind as most customers leave a gratuity based on the check’s total. This is going to raise the average customer’s check, which has already increased by nearly 11 percent since 2012, close to five or six percent.

Some restaurant and fast-food owners aren’t burying the increase but are instead calling attention to it so that customers know that they’re the ones actually bearing the brunt of the forced increase in the minimum wage. Sami Ladeki, the owner of six Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill restaurants in San Diego and eight others across California, used to call it a “California mandate” but removed it after getting a call from the city attorney. Ladeki, who says he makes a profit of around one percent charging $12 to $14 a pizza, told the Wall Street Journal:

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Samsung to Expand in United States, Bringing Back 500 Jobs From Mexico

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 8, 2017:

English: Samsung Logo Suomi: Samsungin logo

The South Korean behemoth maker of consumer electronics, semi-conductors, ships, and telecommunications equipment was reported by the Wall Street Journal (quoting unnamed inside sources) to be investing $300 million in facilities in South Carolina and simultaneously bringing 500 jobs back from Mexico to work there.

It’s a tentative decision, according to Samsung in a statement it made to the Journal, with the company noting that “this is a complex process that, like all strategic business decisions, will not be made final until it is determined through proper due diligence and planning that it is the best option for Samsung.”

In ordinary times such a modest investment, made under such indeterminate conditions with such disclaimers, would hardly rate a few column inches at the back of the business section. But these are hardly ordinary times,

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Former Reagan Economic Advisor Warns: Debt Ceiling “Hard Stop” for Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 27, 2017:

Cabinet - Class Photo, 1984: Front row: David ...

Cabinet – Class Photo, 1984: Front row: David Stockman, Director, Office of Management & Budget; Back row : Malcolm Baldrige, Secretary of Commerce; Samuel Pierce, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development

David Stockman, former President Ronald Reagan’s director of his Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985, told Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog that March 15, two days after President Trump presents his budget to Congress, will be a “hard stop” for the economy:

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The Broken Promise of Minimum wage laws

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 20, 2017:

The promise is that by requiring businesses to pay their employees $15 an hour, the net result is that everyone will live better. The low-paid people will have more money to spend, the upward “ripple” effect on other higher-paid people in the organization will also have more money to spend, the economy will grow, there will be more jobs hiring people who will then have more money to spend, and so on into the woodwork.

This was the claim by that “poverty” expert, former Senator Teddy Kennedy whose family’s wealth extended backwards for generations, who said that

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.