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Good Economic News

September 24, 2020

How about a little good news that you probably won’t hear in the media? After the big economic downturn due to the coronavirus shutdowns, the economy has already rebounded enough that Americans’ household wealth recently hit its highest level ever.

The shutdown and stock market plunge in April dropped Americans’ total household wealth to $111.3 trillion, but the Federal Reserve reported Monday that in the April-June quarter, it rose nearly 7% to a record $119 trillion. For the quarter ending in June, the value of homes grew $500 billion while stock portfolios leaped by $5.7 trillion. The amount of money in checking accounts rose 33% to $1.8 trillion, while savings accounts rose 6.1% to $11.2 trillion.

It was partly due, of course, to the relief checks and expanded unemployment payments, but it also shows that the economy wasn’t destroyed, it just had the wind knocked out of it by China, and it's already getting back on its feet. I look forward to hearing the numbers for July-September, which I assume will be even better. I hope they arrive before the election so that voters aren’t misled into taking a U-turn back to the economic tar pit of the Obama-Biden years.

Low Energy Joe

September 24, 2020

There’s an inside term in political journalism that everyone needs to learn: “Put a lid on the day.”

No, that doesn’t refer to thinking “Oh, put a lid on it” every time Nancy Pelosi opens her mouth. It’s what a campaign team tells the media to let them know that there will be no more comments, appearances or events involving the candidate for the rest of the day. And the media are hearing it a lot these days from the Biden campaign, and very early in the day, which worries them since they are the unofficial PR arm of the campaign.

For instance, Tuesday morning before 9 a.m., Biden’s aides told the media they were “putting a lid on the day.” So 42 days away from the election, while President Trump is jetting around the country, giving 90-minute campaign speeches and addressing the UN in between dealing with major policy issues, Biden is declaring the day over before most people even get to work.

In the linked article from David Marcus of the Federalist, he goes to some lengths to say he has tried hard not to accept rumors or assumptions about Biden’s mental or physical health. I’ve also tried not to get into that kind of personal speculation. Maybe it is some brilliant "lay-low strategy" they're following. But when the candidate not only seems incapable of remaining coherent even with a Teleprompter in front of him, and his campaign day ends at 9 a.m., you have to start wondering if Biden is capable of handling the most demanding job in the world.

It’s obvious that his supporters in the media are starting to panic. I hate giving the leftist magazine the Nation any clicks, but just to prove I’m not making this up, one of their writers just published a screed insisting that there’s nothing to be learned from presidential debates so we should cancel them all, “permanently.”

Translation: I’m saying “permanently” because I don’t want to admit that I’m scared out of my wits about this particular candidate in these particular debates, but I’ll write another screed arguing the opposite in four years.

If Biden is capable of being President, then he should at least be capable of working past the end of the “Today” show. If he’s not, and the Democrats know it, then they are attempting to pull a shameful scam on the American people, and one that’s cruelly unfair to Biden as well. As for all the claims that there should be no debates because Joe Biden is just too honest and pure to lower himself to debate Trump, my response to that is “Put a lid on it.”

Proving once again that you can’t cure “stupid,” the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of their plan to defund the local police department by about $3 million (they claim this is a “down payment” on their plan to cut police funding by 50% by next year.) Think about it: they're actually worse at their jobs than the Mayor of Seattle!

In a city torn by radical rioting and lawlessness, Council President Lorena Gonzalez declared that it’s vital to cut the police budget and spend the money on social programs instead because “Everyone deserves to feel safe…” Safe from the police, she means. Because that's the big worry in Seattle: being assaulted, robbed and set on fire by the police.

I’m sure that just like the poor people suffering under the brain dead city council of Minneapolis, they’ll end up feeling very safe from having the police intrude on the criminals who are going to be targeting them daily. Seattle voters who start asking, as people in Minneapolis now are, “Where are the police?!” should mark it down now so they can remember it: the police are gone because you voted leftist morons into power. And believe me, I don’t use that term as a pejorative but because it’s the most accurate term I can think of, based on the evidence.

Breaking News on the SCOTUS Nomination: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of the Republicans who was originally said to be opposed to confirming a Trump nominee before the election, now says she won’t rule that out if the Judiciary Committee passes one. Also, it depends on who it is.

Considering those two conditions would apply to any SCOTUS nominee, this shouldn’t even be news (“Bulletin: Senator Does Constitutional Duty!!!”) But the big news here is that with Murkowski and Mitt Romney both rejecting the Democrats’ threats and demands to refuse to do their jobs, at least one side of the Senate is still functioning according to the Constitution, not politics. The equally good news is that threats, ultimatums, name-calling and temper tantrums may have finally ceased to be effective tools of political persuasion.

It might have helped if everything the Democrats are threatening to do (harass and assault Republicans at their homes and in public, riot, burn things down, pack the Court, etc.) they hadn’t already been doing for months/years or already threatened to do anyway if they got into power.

I don’t want to be accused of being a “climate denier” (I do believe there is a climate) or of being so anti-science that I disagree with Nancy Pelosi when she warns us, “Mother Earth is angry.” But if we’re ever going to get the terrible wildfires in California under control, it’s necessary to look at real facts and not simply accept overheated claims that “manmade climate change” is entirely to blame for the fires – something that even Gov. Gavin Newsom recently admitted wasn’t true.

Toward that end, I thought I’d point you to a couple of recent reports that look at real statistics and history of both wildfires and weather trends to see if the environmental left’s claims about droughts, temperature and forest fires (pardon the expression) hold water.

First, check out this report from the Foundation for Economic Education.

It asks the provocative question, if global climate changes are to blame for California’s fires, why aren’t other places with forests on fire? Texas, for instance, has more forest acreage than California and a hotter climate, but it’s not burning down. California's winds get blamed, but those have been blowing for millennia. Maybe, as the article points out, it’s because 95% of Texas’ land is privately owned by people who practice wise management policies like controlled burns to remove dead vegetation that turns into kindling, something that California’s environmentalists won’t allow.

"Well, then, how do you explain why the number of wildfires and the acreage on fire are both at record levels?"

Answer: they aren’t. 2020 is on track to be a very bad year, but not as bad as 2017.

“Still, that was the all-time record year for forest fires!” Only because the records being cited start in 1960. In 1930, about five times more acreage burned as in 2017, and the annual average from 1926-‘52 was several times higher. Forest fires have been with us since before there even were humans in North America, but in recent decades, we learned how to control them. Only California has made those methods illegal.

Ironically, one thing that’s also illegal in California is arson, but that hasn’t seemed to stop anyone from doing it.

Of course, pointing all this out doesn’t mean that there is no climate change going on. But the climate is always changing. The big questions are, is it due to humans and is it catastrophic? It’s now conventional wisdom that the answer to both is a big “YES!” and if you disagree, you’re a science-denying lunkhead.

So to check that out, a researcher for the Global Warming Policy Foundation examined data mostly from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “to analyse trends in temperature, precipitation, droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea-level rise and wildfires. In particular, it takes account of the widely varying regional climates.” The goal was to determine the state of the climate in 2019.

Here’s what the data shows, quoted directly from the report’s summary:

• “Average temperatures have risen by 0.15°F/decade since 1895, with the increase most marked in winter.

• There has been little or no rise in temperatures since the mid 1990s.

• Summers were hotter in the 1930s than in any recent years.

• Heatwaves were considerably more intense in decades up to 1960 than anything seen since.

• Cold spells are much less severe than they used to be.

• Central and Eastern regions have become wetter, with a consequent drastic reduction in drought. In the west, there has been little long-term change.

• While the climate has become wetter in much of the country, evidence shows that floods are not getting worse.

• Hurricanes are not becoming either more frequent or powerful.

• Tornadoes are now less common than they used to be, particularly the stronger ones.

• Sea-level rise is currently no higher than around the mid-20th century.

• Wildfires now burn only a fraction of the acreage they did prior to the Second World War.

In short, the US climate is in most ways less extreme than it used to be. Temperatures are less extreme at both ends of the scale, storms less severe and droughts far less damaging. While it is now slightly warmer, this appears to have been largely beneficial.”

I’m sure many people will attack the report, the writer and the foundation that funded it. But I’ll be waiting to see if they produce any evidence that he or NOAA got their weather data wrong.

Wrong Hill

September 24, 2020

Speaking of being on the wrong side of history (and common sense), a new USA Today/Ipsos poll found that 64% of Americans believe protesters and counter-protesters are overwhelming America’s cities. Interestingly, only 48% of Democrats agree that cities are under siege.

Fifty percent of Americans say they believe theft and vandalism have gotten worse in their own communities, 68% think vandalism has gotten worse nationwide (only 68%?), 63% think assaults on police have gotten worse nationwide, and more people believe assaults on police have gotten worse over the past six months than assaults by police.

The poll also found that 54% of Americans think people should own firearms to protect themselves from violent protesters, and 56% agree that when necessary, federal law enforcement officers should be sent in to restore law and order. Democrats were much less likely to agree with both of those positions.

I don’t claim to know everything about politics, but I can tell you that when heading into a major election, telling over half of Americans that they’re wrong on the most important personal safety issue of the age is not the hill I’d want to be standing on.

Bring It On

September 24, 2020

The Democrats’ hyperactive threats to burn down the country over a judicial nomination aren’t generating the fear and intimidation they might have hoped. The reactions mostly range from “Yawn!” to “Bring it on!” After four years of threatening us for daring to voice any opinion they disagree with, followed by months of rioting, arson, assaults and looting in their own cities, many Americans have had it with their bullying and demands to give them what they want or else. We’ve been there, done that, and have the videos on Facebook to remember it by.

Their rhetoric has become so overheated that even CNN anchors are starting to roll their eyes at fellow CNN anchors.

In fact, they’ve done so much of this that we’ve now reached the point where threats really become ineffective: Americans are starting to laugh in their faces, aided by the conservative satire site, The Babylon Bee, which summed up their tiresome tantrum threats with a couple of hilarious stories.

And since there’s not enough laughter in the world (if you tune in the late night "comedy" shows, you’d think there was none), here’s one more Babylon Bee story on a related topic.

Return to Impeachment

September 23, 2020

I mentioned elsewhere that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pressed on whether she would use impeachment to try to block President Trump from appointing a replacement for Justice Ginsburg. She replied that the Constitution requires that Congress “use every arrow in our quiver.” (Actually, it doesn’t. Also, her claim that Trump and his “henchmen” have threatened not to accept the results of the election applies much more accurately to her and her “henchpersons.”)

You can always tell that Pelosi is lying when she starts citing the Constitution, a piece of paper for which she has as much regard as a roll of Charmin. I guess she’s forgotten this bit of recent history, so let me remind her:

The House ALREADY impeached Trump on ridiculous, unconstitutional grounds. The Senate threw it out. Even if (God forbid) the Dems win the Senate, there’s no way they’re winning two-thirds of it, which would be required for removing Trump. And if (again, God forbid) Biden is elected, Trump would be gone anyway.

So the threat of impeachment is pure hot gas. It’s already proven so ineffective that Democrats were too embarrassed even to bring it up at their convention. As a weapon against Trump, it would be the equivalent of those people in movies who fire revolvers at Godzilla.

(Incidentally, did anyone else notice how Speaker Pelosi inexplicably wished “Good morning” to George Stephanopolous, 6-1/2 minutes into their interview? Joe Biden had better keep wearing that mask because whatever he has must be contagious. Yes, this is real.)

If you wonder why I reference George Orwell so often, it’s because 1984 might not have been the way he predicted, but it turned out he was just off by about 36 years. Remember how Winston Smith, the main character in “1984,” had a job in the deliberately misnamed “Ministry of Truth” rewriting old news stories and removing (“canceling?”) “unpersons” from photos to make history conform to the party line? Today, instead of working for Big Brother, he could work for Black Lives Matter.

I’ve previously written about how this organization, like the “Ministry of Truth,” uses the indisputable truth that “black lives matter” as a name to cover for the fact that it’s actually a radical anti-American organization run by self-proclaimed “trained Marxists,” and that their website proudly proclaimed that their goals include dismantling the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and fostering “a queer-affirming network” by “freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.”

Unfortunately for them, a lot of people have started looking and listening more closely to their radical rhetoric and violent behavior and realizing that they are more concerned with tearing down America than lifting up black people. So guess what? Abra-cadabra! The “What we believe” page of their website where they admitted what they really are has suddenly disappeared! Try to click on it and you get a message reading, “Sorry, but the page you were trying to view does not exist.” Big Brother would be proud.

Well, sorry, but one thing Orwell didn’t predict is that the Internet is forever. That page may no longer exist on their site, but it’s been archived in plenty of places where it can’t be thrown down the memory hole so that they can rewrite history. And after four months of rioting, we’ve all figured out what BLM really stands for. We no longer need their web page to tell us.