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The 2017 Tax Reform Delivered as Promised

Our predictions about the law’s effects on business investment, wages and tax revenue were correct.

By Tyler Goodspeed and Kevin Hassett • The Wall Street Journal

ILLUSTRATION: MARTIN KOZLOWSKI

As Karl Popper demonstrated, evaluating a scientific proposition requires falsifiability—theories or hypotheses can’t be proved or disproved if they can’t be subjected to empirical tests. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, we were criticized for being overly optimistic about the effects we predicted it would have. Now the evidence is in. Our critics were wrong, and the economic data have met or even exceeded our predictions.

In 2017, we predicted that reducing the federal corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% and introducing full expensing of new-equipment investment would boost productivity-enhancing business investment by 9%. Though growth in business investment had been slowing in the years leading up to 2017, after tax reform it surged. By the end of 2019 it was 9.4% above its pre-2017 trend, exactly in line with the prediction of our models. Looking solely at corporate businesses—those most directly affected by business-tax reform in 2017—real investment was up by as much as 14.2% over the pre-2017 trend, slightly more than we expected. Among S&P 500 companies, total capital expenditures in the two years after tax reform were 20% higher than in the two years prior, when capital expenditures actually declined.

Citing an extensive empirical literature, we also predicted that by enhancing worker bargaining power and increasing new investment in domestic plant and equipment, the average household would see real income gains of $4,000 over three to five years. In 2018 and 2019 real median household income in the U.S. rose by $5,000—a bigger increase in only two years than in the entire eight years of the preceding recovery combined. In 2019 alone, real median household income rose by $4,400, more than in the eight years from 2010 through 2017 combined.

Those extra wages contributed extra tax revenue as well. We predicted that despite a short-term drop in corporate income-tax revenue as companies expensed new-equipment investment, the combination of increased economic growth and reduced incentives to shift corporate profits overseas would result in a long-run net positive revenue effect. Before the reform, U.S. firms moved their profits overseas to avoid the highest tax of any advanced economy. After the reform, we predicted that more profits would be booked at home. For each dollar booked at home there would be a gain for the U.S. Treasury, since 21% of a positive number is much larger than 35% of zero.


Commentators have recently noticed that in the 2021 fiscal year, not only did federal corporate tax revenues come in at a record high, but corporate tax revenue as a share of the U.S. economy rose to its highest level since 2015. Actual corporate tax revenue in 2021 was $46 billion higher than the Congressional Budget Office’s post-reform forecast. Even though the U.S. economy was only slightly larger in 2021 than the CBO had projected, corporate tax revenue as a share of gross domestic product was 21% higher (1.7% versus 1.4%).

Some have attributed this good news to transitory effects related to the pandemic rather than 2017 tax reform. Yet in President Biden’s latest budget, the administration’s own baseline forecast for corporate tax revenue (i.e., before the revenue effects of its budget proposals) is now above the CBO’s pre-2017 forecast for every year from 2023 through 2027. This is true for both the level of corporate tax receipts and as a share of GDP. This optimistic forecast is consistent with our views about the long-run nature of the effects of tax reform and inconsistent with critics’ claim it has no effects.

Why are corporate tax receipts coming in not only at much higher levels, but also as a bigger share of the U.S. economy? The reason is exactly as we foreshadowed in the 2018 and 2019 Economic Reports of the President. By neutralizing the favorable tax treatment of selling intellectual-property services overseas via a foreign subsidiary, and by taxing past corporate earnings previously sheltered in those foreign subsidiaries, the 2017 tax law effectively created an incentive for multinational enterprises to move their profits home.

As a result, not only did domestic pretax earnings grow by a greater percentage than total pretax earnings between 2019 and 2021, they also grew by more for companies with greater foreign-derived income from intellectual property, meaning these firms were either repatriating intellectual property to the U.S. or locating less new intellectual property outside the U.S.

This is reflected in aggregate international transactions data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which shows that firms were repatriating only 36% of prior-year foreign earnings, and reinvesting 70% abroad, in the years leading up to 2017. Since 2019 they have on average repatriated 57%, and reinvested only 47% abroad. Overall since 2017, firms have repatriated $1.8 trillion in past overseas earnings.

In addition, the average annual dollar value of acquisitions by U.S. companies of foreign assets in 2018 and 2019 was 50% higher than in the two preceding years, while acquisitions of U.S. assets by foreign companies declined by 25%. Multinationals find the idea of domiciling in the U.S. and pursuing outbound acquisitions increasingly appealing. U.S. companies, on the other hand, are increasingly uninterested in being acquired by foreign multinationals and domiciling in lower-tax jurisdictions.

One of the exciting aspects of academic discovery is the opportunity to test theories and hypotheses against real-world data. In 2017, we put our hypotheses about the effects of corporate tax reform in the public record and have passed the test. The White House and Democrats in Congress should think twice about undoing the corporate tax reform and partisan economic pundits should point their criticisms at something else.


Inflation proves Biden has done everything wrong all at once

By Kevin D. Williamson • The New York Post

Biden's administration has blamed soaring inflation on Putin and called it "transitory" but failed to face up to the real problem — their own terrible economic policies that have made matters worse.
Biden’s administration has blamed soaring inflation on Putin and called it “transitory” but failed to face up to the real problem — their own terrible economic policies that have made matters worse. Getty Images

Our increasingly ugly inflation problem is a perfect illustration of the Biden administration’s uncanny ability to get everything everywhere wrong all at once.

The Biden administration’s first response to any problem is to pretend that it isn’t a problem. That’s how inflation went from a minor problem to a major one. Unwilling to take the necessary steps to rein in inflation early — pushing the Fed to raise interest rates and slowing down the torrent of money going out the Treasury’s doors — Biden and congressional Democrats at first insisted that inflation wasn’t a real problem: “Transitory,” they called it.

And then when inflation turned out not to be transitory, they thought they could just pin it on the Russians. Jen Psaki sniffed smugly at the “Putin price hike,” as though Americans were too stupid to understand that inflation at home had started long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That gambit fizzled, too.

When you don’t have any fresh ideas or real principles — and when your long-term goals are limited by the fact that the president, who was born during the Roosevelt administration, isn’t exactly buying any green bananas — then the easiest thing to do is to throw money at every problem.

The Biden administration has found a convenient — and easy — target in Russian leader Vladimir Putin, blaming him for the inflation spike. But inflation was rising before the Ukraine war.
The Biden administration has found a convenient — and easy — target in Russian leader Vladimir Putin, blaming him for the inflation spike. But inflation was rising before the Ukraine war.

Throwing money at things is how you make inflation worse.

Washington had already thrown a lot of money at the economy during the COVID-19 emergency, and, predictably, the emergency spending outlasted the emergency. By the time Biden was elected in 2020, Washington had thrown $2.6 trillion in budgetary resources at COVID and had authorized as much as $4 trillion in subsidized federal lending. That was new money amounting to about a third of GDP sloshing around the economy. Biden’s first priority was pushing out another $1 trillion in a phony infrastructure bill (that has little to do with actual infrastructure) and a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, even though the Consumer Price Index was already rising steeply, according to the Federal Reserve.

Our inflation problem is only partly an issue of dovish monetary policy and reckless spending. There are problems in the real-world physical economy, too, those “supply-chain issues” we hear about. The Biden administration has done extraordinarily dumb things to make these worse, too, keeping in place the worst of the Trump administration’s anti-trade policies. That “Made in the USA” talk sounds good on the stump, but the truth is we need a lot that we don’t make at home and aren’t going to — including much of the steel and other vital inputs for the high-value manufacturing we actually do here.

The incredible fact is the Biden administration still had punitive tariffs on Ukrainian steel while it was seeking financial aid for the Ukrainians — it wasn’t until the Chamber of Commerce and conservative critics started making a stink that the administration changed its stance.

Container ships wait to dock at Los Angeles harbor. Biden policies have hindered efforts to improve port efficiency, further adding to the current supply-chain crisis.
Container ships wait to dock at Los Angeles harbor. Biden policies have hindered efforts to improve port efficiency, further adding to the current supply-chain crisis.

Biden has rejected obvious reforms such as waiving the Jones Act, which keeps goods — and fuel — from moving from one US port to another via ship. It has backed union efforts to prevent operators from improving the capacity and efficiency of our ports through automation, sacrificing that progress in favor of a make-work policy for the benefit of longshoremen. Nearly none of that “infrastructure” money has made its way to any project that would actually ease supply-chain issues.

Interfering with trade during a supply-chain crisis is how you make inflation worse.

The United States, Canada and Mexico together make up a formidable energy superpower. But it does not matter how much oil and gas you have if you cannot get it to refineries and then get the refined products to consumers. Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline, and his EPA is standing on the neck of developing any new conventional energy infrastructure. As gasoline prices skyrocket, US refineries in the Gulf are sending much of their gasoline to Mexico to be sold, because there is no economic way to get it to the Northeast or the West Coast.

Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have helped expedite the shipment of crude oil across the US. Instead, we are buying much of our oil from overseas.
Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have helped expedite the shipment of crude oil across the US. Instead, we are buying much of our oil from overseas.

Biden is contemplating a trip to Saudi Arabia to beg OPEC to produce more oil —apparently, nobody has told him that Midland, Texas, is a hell of a lot closer.

Driving up energy prices for no good reason is how you make inflation worse.

Inflation is sometimes associated with a booming economy, but our economy shrank in the last quarter. Biden, who was in the Senate in the 1970s, is old enough to remember the word “stagflation,” which is what you get when you have a stagnant economy and inflation at the same time.

With inflation hitting levels not seen in over four decades, global stock markets are tanking — taking personal savings and 401k accounts down with them.
With inflation hitting levels not seen in over four decades, global stock markets are tanking — taking personal savings and 401k accounts down with them.

And it is what you get when you combine the wrong monetary policy with the wrong fiscal policy, the wrong trade policy, the wrong regulatory policy, and the wrong energy policy. 

And that’s how you make inflation worse.


ABOUT RUSSIA WITHOUT ILLUSIONS

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi • Frontiers of Freedom

According to Matthew 12:36, Jesus said:  “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself.”  The absolutely unjustified, illegal and genocidal war of the Russian Federation against the sovereign state of Ukraine cannot hide the former’s uncompromising war with itself.   Indeed, present-day Russia is being thoroughly devastated by all the accumulated evil demons of a millennium which have been born from the enduring despotism as well as the inherent barbarism of the violently uncivilized and uncultured core mentality of the Russian people.  Moreover, the reality of the West’s enduring superiority over Russia’s historically underdeveloped state of affairs is again materialized in the former’s impressive unity against the antediluvian hatred of the Russian political elite toward the rest of the world.  Literally, Russia’s abominable past is killing the present post-Soviet regime of President Putin.  For this reason alone, the dead soldiers and civilians have more power over the despotic regime of the Kremlin than all of Russia’s nuclear arsenal with its awe-inspiring destructive powers.

Clearly, the disintegration of President Putin’s despotic regime was evident on May 9, 2022, by the scaled down parade and by his lackluster speech about the war and the purported heroism of his Potamkin military.  This military might still achieve partial victories in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, but the costs of the war have further sharpened the deepening chasm between the West and Russia, between Russia and Ukraine, and between Russia and the rest of the world.  The increased insubordination and brutality of military commanders and their soldiers, the use of illegal methods as killers in uniform have become heroes for the majority of Russians, and the pusillanimous cowardice of the badly trained conscripts, all point to the diminishing control of the President and his close circle over the mainstay of the regime. 

In the economy, the burgeoning effects of the sanctions, the uncertainties of the duration and final outcome of the war, combined with the growing unemployment, will certainly lead to the loss of credibility of the regime.  Judging by President Putin’s victory day speech, he and his administration are badly divided and even clueless about how to extricate themselves from their self-inflicted misery.  Granted that there has been no shortage of able bureaucrats in the Central Bank of Russia and the ministries responsible for the economy, but they do not have the political power to change the ossified and obsolete parts of the existing corrupt structures.  In this manner, President Putin and his entourage can only rely on the bastions of the regime, the collection of various police forces and the faltering military.  Facing humiliation in the battlefield and marching toward an economic as well as financial abyss, President Putin’s despotic regime will be incapable of embracing reality in a constructive way.  The power of reason will be defeated by the fear of collapse that, in turn, will prevent developing a strategy which could enable Russia to change course and finally begin progressing toward a normal political harmonization.

Where does all this leave President Putin and Russia?  It leaves both in a bottomless vacuum filled with innumerable crises.  It leaves him personally in an unenviable position of becoming the prisoner of his own fantasies and illusions.  It leaves him, if the war does not go his way, in desperate denial and even nihilism.  It leaves him no choice but to increase oppression by new concentration camps, inhumane prison conditions and execution squads against everybody who even slightly expresses doubts about his narcissistic as well as delusional course of Russia.

Himself possessed by the demons of the past, namely, the never existent greatness of Tsarist Russia, the misleadingly fallacious strength of the former Soviet Union and the foul semi-Christian doctrines of the official Russian Orthodox Church, President Putin does not comprehend his country’s actual place and importance regionally and globally.

Aiming at destroying the entire European political system in order to restore the so-called Soviet Empire, President Putin has signed his and his country’s death warrant.  Surely, Ukraine is going to turn into Russia’s greatest disaster, because President Putin and his comrades do not have the wherewithal to make genuine peace.  By stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the sovereignty of the formerly Soviet Republics, every illegal Russian military invasion will be nothing but a truce, by which every fleeting victory will only feed the Kremlin’s growing paranoia.  In the twenty second year of his despotism, the 69-year-old president and his small group of like-minded advisors have lived too long in their own cocoons; not being able to grasp the ubiquitous depravity of the monster that their predecessors and they have created.  Imprisoned in their own lies and deceptions, President Putin and his comrades will remain ruthless manipulators of their nuclear prowess without any redeeming principles. 

Thus, devoid of the gift of seeing clearly the realities of the world, their lives will continue to be uncompromisingly hellish.  In order to prevent the total breakdown of the international order and to accelerate the demise of this wicked despotism, all states must remain firmly united in their uncompromising resolve to stop once and for all this cancerous growth from destroying the world.


THE APPROACHING COLLAPSE OF THE HUNGARIAN “ORBANISTAN”

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi • Frontiers of Freedom

From time immemorial, Hungary has been plagued by  quintessentially feudal nepotistic corruption coupled with institutionalized inhumanity.  This deeply entrenched national corruption as well as its wicked inhumanity have culminated in lawless immorality that has perverted the political, social, economic and cultural realms at every level of public and personal lives.  In politics, corruption and immorality have been compounded by a uniquely Magyar (Hungarian) ethnic schizophrenia that, in turn, has led to “doublethink” and “doubletalk.”  The over four decades of Soviet military occupation and dictatorial Communist rule between 1948 and 1990, have only exacerbated the wholesale corruption, egotistical inhumanity and ruthless immorality of the nation.  When independence came in 1990, Hungarians as a whole were woefully unprepared to create a real representative democracy and a free market economy.  In spite of the cautious westernization permitted under Janos Kadar, the eponymous head of Communist Hungary, the country still differed radically in its political, economic and financial institutions from the West and have been separated from the European Union by its status as an occupied state. Thus, in their mentality Hungarians have remained the children of the past Communist dictatorship.   

Political power, especially in a dictatorship, is like honey.  It attracts the most controlling and ruthless dimwits who remain rooted in the past, while falsely pretending to fully embrace the new ideas dictated by the overwhelmingly external circumstances.  These newly emerging young Communists coalesced around Istvan Stumpf, the son in law of the then Interior Minister Istvan Horvath in the late 1980s.  Among them were Viktor Orban and almost all of his closest associates in the current Hungarian government.  Today, after having exercised a one-party dictatorship for twelve years, they have become exactly as authoritarian as their Communist parents and grandparents were.  History teaches that when political and economic corruption becomes a way of life, the entire country suffers irreparable catastrophe.  Drunk with absolute power, Viktor Orban’s FIDESZ party passed a new constitution on April 18, 2011.  With this unilateral act, the restoration of the one-party dictatorship has commenced.  After ten self-serving amendments to this constitution, Viktor Orban has cemented the death of democracy, the rule of law, and the inability of the opposition to win elections by adhering to the hypocritical political processes of the ruling party.

The well-documented fact that Viktor Orban’s and his crime syndicate’s greed knows no limits has been demonstrated by the many government projects that are nothing but corrupt schemes to enrich himself, his extended family and a very small circle of boyhood friends, collectively referred to by the folkish black humor “the Knights of the System of National Cooperation.”  Among the most glaringly corrupt government projects are the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, the upgrading and the expansion of Hungary’s only nuclear power plant in Paks, the by now infamous Microsoft scandal, the planned construction of the campus for the Chinese Fudan University, the reorganization of public universities into private foundations, which are controlled by Viktor Orban’s strohmen, the establishment of unaccountable private foundations, again exclusively ran by his minions, and the utterly corrupt resettlement bonds, which are in reality government securities.  The latter is codified by Law CCXX of 2012, as an amendment to the Law II of 2007, on the Entry and Stay of Citizens of Third States, mandates that permanent residency can be awarded to citizens of third countries whose entry and stay in Hungary is justified by his or her investments on the basis of national economic interests.  While denying entry to asylum seekers from all over the world, an assortment of questionable characters from mostly Russia and China can buy their ways into the European Union by “legally” bribing Viktor Orban and his government.  Coupled with a tangled web of innumerable offshore companies, these so-called national security projects are presenting and will continue to pose enduring existential threats to the security of NATO as well as the European Union, and the financial and economic stability of the continent.  It goes without saying that Brussels has tried to investigate and punish this government sanctioned corruption – thus far with very limited success.         

Clearly, as Moses advised his people in Deuteronomy 16:19, not to succumb to bribery, because doing so  “blind the vision of the wise.”  And herein is the supreme tragedy of today’s Hungary.  The deadly virus of corruption has inflicted even those who supposedly have been charged with fighting theft, embezzlement, bribery, racketeering and money laundering.  Corresponding to this abominable state of affairs, the Hungarian government, led by Viktor Orban, will continue to be unable to adapt itself to the core values and principles of the West.  Absolute powers always dehumanize those who exercise them.  Vested with tremendous political powers, Viktor Orban is convinced that he rules over instead of serving the Hungarian people.  For this reason alone, he and his pitiable subjects will surely face the deadly political and economic consequences of their all pervasive national irresponsibility.


Biden’s Tantrums leading the USA to War

Obsession with reversal of Trump policies proving disastrous

By Larry Fedewa, Ph.D. • DrLarryOnline.com

On 30 September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain joined France and Italy in the Munich Agreement which pledged that these countries would not interfere with Germany’s annexation of the Sudeten section of Czechoslovakia, which was inhabited by ethnic Germans.

This treaty became known as the “Munich Betrayal” because it violated mutual defense treaties signed in 1924 and 1925 by France and Czechoslovakia. Subsequent events showed that this treaty simply allowed Adolph Hitler the additional time he needed to conquer Europe one victim at a time. Eventually, he turned on Britain as well. For those reasons, Neville Chamberlain’s name has become synonymous with “appeaser”, “coward” and “naïve”.

In 2022, Joseph Biden is facing a similar dilemma. Russia and China are both asserting the same claim that Hitler used as an excuse to begin his invasion of most of Europe, namely, the ethnic heritage of the target countries. To date, Biden, like Barack Obama, seems inclined to imitate Chamberlain rather than Churchill.

The irony is that Biden himself has created this dilemma. His predecessor had implemented a set of solutions aimed at avoiding the very problems Biden is now facing. Underlying all of these problems is the Bidens’ lack of understanding that many actions taken in governing the homeland have foreign policy consequences as well. Biden and his cohorts appear to be living in a little bubble.

The present situation in Europe is a case in point. Much to the satisfaction of the radical Left, the new President cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, then the Anwar Pipeline in Alaska, followed by declaring all federal lands and seas off limits to all new oil drilling and pipelines, effectively crippling the energy industry in America and, incidentally, eliminating the USA’s energy independence as well as our ability to export energy products to other countries, especially Europe, Japan and China.

In a spasm of righteousness, he also reversed America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear materials production agreement as well as the other “green planet” agreements of the Obama administration. He also abandoned Israel and Afghanistan. And Germany got to keep the Nord Stream Pipeline. What he seemed to miss was the effect all this would have on Germany, NATO and Russia – with China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan in the wings.

Our adversaries are watching all this. They have also seen the invasion of foreigners through our southern border, the steep inflation of our economy, the deep division of our population, and the paralysis around the COVID 19 pandemic.

They decided to take advantage of all this and make their play for their own dreams of conquering new territory. Russia covets control of Ukraine now, with the rest of the former Soviet empire on its agenda. China, having already broken its treaty with the UK and taken control of Hong Kong, now wants to annex Taiwan on its way to replacing the USA as the dominant power in the Western Pacific. (USA interests are commercial trade relationships rather than territorial – including China.)

So, let’s connect the dots. The most urgent issue at the moment is Russia’s interest in Ukraine. Why is that a concern of the United States? That is a good question. The answer really goes back to 1945.

World War II ended when Nazi Germany found the eastern half of the country occupied by the Soviet Union and the other half by the Allies, led by the United States, which had saved Europe from the Nazis, aided by the UK and France.

The Americans wanted to stop fighting and go home. The Soviets, however, saw no reason not to extend their occupation and they had the army standing by to replace the Germans as the conquerors of the rest of Europe.

Actually, the Allies faced the distinct possibility of that happening if they did in fact go home. To avoid the possibility of the Soviet Union using its army to occupy the rest of Europe after the surrender, US President Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Churchill were able to persuade their other ally, Soviet Leader Josef Stalin, to divide Germany into four zones: USA, Soviet Russia, UK, and France, thus leveraging their power which Stalin still needed to win the war. (That treaty was the controversial Potsdam Agreement.)

When the actual surrender came, then, General Dwight Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander, authorized the Soviet occupation of what came to be called East Germany (for which he was criticized in some quarters).

This caution was further justified in 1948 when the Soviets blockaded Berlin. Only the outstanding performance of President Harry Truman’s US Army Air Force in the Berlin Airlift avoided another war. This incident led to the formation in 1949 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to protect Europe from the Soviet Union.

The ultimate concern of the NATO countries with Ukraine (not a member of NATO – although they want to join) is the same that Chamberlain faced in in 1938 with the Nazis, namely, that Russia will keep conquering one country after another until they control all the European countries – by far the major trading partners of the United States. Already, Russian President Vladimir Putin has added Georgia, Belarus, and Crimea and now he is threatening Ukraine (again). At some point in this scenario, World War III would start. Nevertheless, the objections to US involvement in Ukraine are already starting in America.

The force that stands in the way is NATO. It was formed for this purpose and has been successful for 72 years. The mainstay of this alliance on the European continent has been Germany, the most prosperous nation in Europe. However, Germany has a soft underbelly, namely its lack of sufficient sources of energy to support its population. This has become a critical concern of German authorities in recent years.

The closest source for 40% of the energy Germany needs is the new Nord Stream Pipeline which has been built under the Baltic Sea to link Russian oil directly to Germany. This creates a dependence of Europe’s largest and most prosperous nation on the European continent to the Russian Federation. This dependence gives Russia a potential weapon which can be used at any time to cripple the German economy as well as that of France.

The Trump administration dealt with this threat by succeeding in stopping the construction of the pipeline and substituting American energy for Russian energy, thus diffusing the entire issue. At the same time, President Trump strengthened NATO by requiring member nations to contribute their share of the cost of the Alliance and re-arming Poland and other nations bordering Russia one more time. Putin’s hands were tied by this strategy and the threat of war averted.

Joe Biden doesn’t’ have any of these levers. With childish delight he killed America’s energy industry, so that instead of supplying Europe with LNG, we are now pleading with Putin to sell us more of his supply. We have gone from seller to buyer. Biden has painted himself into a corner.

To add to his inept diplomacy, his administration has openly threatened Russia with an American cyber attack, not realizing apparently that American intelligence is unanimous in estimating that Russian cyber warfare capabilities exceed America’s. Russia is thought to possess EMP (electromagnetic pulse) technology which could cause a nuclear explosion powerful enough to cripple our entire electrical grid – a catastrophic weapon. The Americans have spent little on hardening our electrical grid, and our military spends more time on CRT briefings than on developing an offensive EMP weapon. So, Biden is playing with fire. We can only hope that we don’t get burned.
The bottom line is that there are consequences to every major action of an American president. To ignore these consequences is to disqualify oneself and one’s advisors from office.

Maybe impeachment isn’t such a bad idea after all. . .


Make No Mistake, Tucker Carlson Won Big In Ohio

By George Landrith • Daily Caller

Politicon 2018 - Day 2

The left loves to hate on those who speak truths they’d rather not hear. Elon Musk was once their darling until he came out for free speech. Extremists also hate Tucker Carlson, the popular news and opinion host at Fox News, because he has been particularly effective in pointing out the hypocrisy, inconsistency and outright insanity of the far left. They want his show cancelled and him silenced. They’ve even staged protests at Tucker’s home in hopes of intimidating his family. That is how the left works — notice the recent protests at the homes of Supreme Court justices.

Despite all the hate from the left, Tucker Carlson and the ideas he advocates had a very good night this past week in Ohio. One doesn’t have to agree with every opinion expressed by Tucker — he’s expressed literally thousands and thousands of opinions, so it would be normal to have some differences with even like-minded people. But no one can deny that Ohio’s primaries showed that Tucker is on to something big and that conservative, America-first ideas are popular.

Ohio is broadly seen as a bellwether because the state has historically been representative of the nation’s voting patterns in several ways. So what do the Ohio GOP primaries tell us? Twenty-two out of 22 candidates who represented a conservative, America-first political approach won in the primaries. Additionally, GOP voters outnumbered the opposition by 2 to 1 in the US Senate primary. Simply stated, the Make America Great Again (MAGA) approach batted a perfect one thousand and energized voters, proving that the MAGA agenda is far more supported than the Left is willing to admit.

Tucker was also the first major supporter of J.D. Vance’s Senate candidacy — a political newcomer who easily won the GOP primary. While Vance garnered other endorsements, including Trump’s, most came at the last minute, and Tucker’s early support helped build Vance’s support and credibility. Tucker’s endorsement of Vance not only hit back at the left but also dealt the more establishment, anti-MAGA Republicans in the state who had endorsed more moderate candidates a stinging defeat.

The left continues to contend that a conservative, America first economic and foreign policy doesn’t represent what most Americans think and that while Donald Trump may have been the president from 2017 to 2021, he only won because of the so-called Russian collusion. And as a result, he wasn’t that popular and his MAGA agenda was illegitimate. But Ohio’s GOP recent primary proves the lie of the left’s absurd propaganda.

While President Trump on occasion alienated voters with his brusk no-nonsense manner of speaking, his policies were actually widely supported. The economy was strong, wages were growing, America and its friends were safer and less threatened by totalitarianism and terrorism.

And while some voters may have assumed that the economic boom and safer international climate were just good fortune before the COVID pandemic struck, the last 15 months have provided a sharp contrast to the good times that the MAGA agenda brought. The evidence has been mounting that while Trump may have offended some, his policies benefitted everyone and made the country freer, more prosperous and more secure. Ohio’s primary results — with record turn out and a strong and consistent showing for MAGA oriented candidates — prove that Americans have woken up to the destructive mischief caused by the left.

Virtually every night, Tucker Carlson is exposing the left and showing that they seem more interested in expanding their power and prestige than in helping make America stronger, freer and more prosperous. So we should expect the attacks on MAGA candidates and Tucker to become ever more shrill and intolerant. The extremists on the left are losing the political debate — being beaten on the airwaves and at the ballot box.

These are very difficult times for the extreme left. Tucker Carlson will continue to draw their ire as one of the most articulate proponents of America First principles. Anyone who effectively advocates for American values can expect to be the target of increasingly shrill attacks and demands that these “dangerous people” with “dangerous ideas” must be silenced.

The extreme left sees time-tested truths and basic facts as dangerous to their political aims. And since they cannot win the debate, they hope to silence their opponents. If you disagree with Tucker or with an America First agenda, that’s your right. But it isn’t your right to silence those with whom you disagree.

Those who seek to silence others are admitting the inferiority of their own ideas and their ability to advocate for them. Those the left seeks to silence are typically the most effective and fact-based advocates of conservative principles. So watch who the extremists on the left attack most vociferously and seek to silence, and you will know who is advocating most effectively for making and keeping America strong, prosperous and free. I suspect that Tucker will continue to be one of those at the top of their list.


Pelosi House ramps up perks like Peloton, liquor store while Americans scramble for baby formula

Republicans call new perks "disgusting" and "out of touch."

By John Solomon • Just the News

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belatedly jumped into America’s baby formula crisis on Friday, calling nationwide shortages “unconscionable” and setting an emergency vote next week. But while she tried to get Democrats caught up on a crisis that caught them by surprise, her administrative office was busy ramping up new perks for lawmakers.

House members were alerted to two new perks this week compliments of the chamber’s Democrat leadership: fully paid memberships to Peloton gyms as well as a brand new liquor and drinks outlet.

Republicans immediately seized on the optics, saying doling out additional benefits to lawmakers when everyday Americans are struggling to fill gas tanks, grocery carts or baby bottles was a bridge too far, even for Washington.

“Washington Dems couldn’t be more out of touch,” Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) wrote as he tweeted out a new announcement by the House Chief Administrative Officer announcing a new “House Drinks storefront” in the Rayburn House Office Building where lawmakers and staff can buy beverages, wine and liquor.

“Whether you’re hosting a meeting or an office event or just want to stock up on your favorite drinks, House Drinks sells water, soda, juice, alcohol and spirits,” the announcement boasted. “Six, twelve and 24-packs are available depending on the drink.”

Ferguson, a member of the powerful purse-strings-controlling Ways and Means Committee, sent out his tweet with the hashtag “FirePelosi” and noted “your tax dollars can be used for purchases.”

“Americans can’t afford to buy groceries or put gas in their cars, and Nancy Pelosi decides now is a good time to open a congressional liquor store on Capitol Hill,” he added.

Meanwhile, multiple members of Congress confirmed to Just the News that the Chief Administrative Officer has also decided to provide all lawmakers, staff and Capitol Police officers with free VIP memberships to Peloton gyms.

An email obtained by Fox Business said the “premier employee benefit” will provide employees with both Peloton All-Access and a Peloton App membership at no monthly cost. The network said the deal involved a $10,000 upfront payment and $10 per month per staffer who used the perk.       

Peloton confirmed to Fox Business that the “the US House of Representatives is extending Peloton Corporate Wellness to all House staff and Capitol police.”

The new perks follow other benefits Congress has received — and in some cases abused — over the years, like a post office, a bank, and fat pensions. And they come after Pelosi has faced murmurs about multiple instances of being out of touch, including when she boasted about her expensive freezer filled with ice cream during the pandemic, a move some progressives claimed hurt Democrat election chances.

The gym deal resonated all the way to the campaign trail, where Tennessee House candidate Robby Starbuck decried Washington’s tone deafness.

“Moms and Dads are going to 8 stores looking for baby formula while paying for gas they can barely afford but at least the Democrats are using our tax dollars to do Peloton,” Starbuck tweeted. “Disgusting.”


Pop Goes the Presidency

Biden gets desperate

By Matthew Continetti • The Washington Free Beacon

Getty Images

A wise man once said: “When the economy is bad, people blame the party in power. When the economy is good, people look at other issues.”

Well, the economy is bad. Nice-sounding growth, job, and wage numbers do not count for much when the American standard of living is in decline. Inflation has outpaced income gains since last year. It remains at a 40-year high. Gas costs more than four dollars per gallon—sometimes much more—in every state. Americans under 40 years old are experiencing consumer delays, shortages, and scarce necessities, including baby formula, for the first time in their lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Americans say that inflation is “a very big problem.”

It’s also a very big problem for the party in power. President Biden’s economic approval rating is 34 percent in the most recent CNN poll. His overall job approval rating is 41 percent in the FiveThirtyEight average of polls. Republicans have held a slight but durable lead in the congressional generic ballot since last October. The midterm election is less than six months away. To preserve their narrow majorities in Congress, Democrats need to change the trajectory of this campaign. Right now.

Their solution? Pretend that the election isn’t a referendum on Biden’s job performance but a choice between Biden and Donald Trump. Scare voters with references to the extremism of the right. Invoking Trump alone is not enough, however. Terry McAuliffe tried that approach during last year’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign and it flopped. McAuliffe lost. Running against Trump and the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement doesn’t work when Trump is neither president nor on the ballot. Democrats have convinced themselves that victory in the fall requires something scarier than MAGA. It requires Ultra-MAGA.

On May 10 Biden contrasted his policies with the “Ultra-MAGA Agenda.” Haven’t heard of it? According to Biden, it’s the brainchild of Senator Rick Scott of Florida, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (In his remarks, Biden erroneously said Scott hails from Wisconsin.) Back in February, Scott released a policy document that remains controversial within the Republican Party and that few Republican candidates have endorsed in full.

Biden isn’t subtle. He wants to use Scott’s proposals as an electoral cudgel, just as Barack Obama campaigned against Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” in 2012. Hence Biden’s description of “the ultra-MAGA plan put forward by congressional Republicans to raise taxes on working families; lower the incomes of American workers; threaten the sacred programs American count on like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires.” Biden says that his foes are not ordinary Republicans. They are not run-of-the-mill Trump voters. They are “Ultra-MAGA Republicans.”

Someone has been spending too much time in focus groups. The Biden administration and congressional Democrats must think that the prefix “ultra” makes a noun sound spooky. But the president and his underlings will have to specify who really counts as an Ultra-MAGA Republican, what the Ultra-MAGA agenda entails, and when “ultra” should be capitalized before voters stop worrying about rising prices, violent crime, insecure borders, and craziness in schools. In its current usage, “ultra-MAGA” comes across as comical. It’s a hackneyed slogan. Some people may even find it appealing.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the other day that “ultra-MAGA” is the president’s coinage for Republicans who support Rick Scott’s plan, Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion returning abortion law to the states, and Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R., Fla.) fight with Disney. “And so,” said Psaki, “to him, adding a little ‘ultra’ to it, gives it a little extra pop.”

A little extra pop? What is Psaki talking about—a new flavor of Pringles?

The Democrats are unable or incapable of running on their accomplishments. Their economic agenda is discredited among voters grappling with inflation. Their traditional advantage on education has narrowed because of parental fury at school closures, mask rules, confusing COVID guidance, and politically correct school boards. They have fallen back on scaremongering and name-calling.

Not for the first time. Nor for the last. Expect the alarm bells to ring louder as autumn approaches. By Election Day, Biden will have moved from “Ultra-MAGA” to “Mega-MAGA,” “Super-Duper MAGA,” “MAGA Deluxe XXL,” and, in homage to his love of ice cream, “All-Out Triple Scoop Chunky Monkey MAGA with Extra Deplorables.” Voters will respond as they usually do when Biden speaks. They will ignore him.


Ukraine And The Cloud Of Genocide

By Norman M. Naimark • Hoover Institution

When confronted with the murderous policies of the Third Reich on the eastern front in the late summer of 1941, Winston Churchill stated: “We are in the presence of a crime without a name.” Three years later, the Polish-Jewish jurist Raphael Lemkin gave the crime the name of genocide. The powerful implications of that name descend like a dark cloud over the Russian invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine today.

Lemkin had studied law at University of Lviv in the early 1920s (Lviv, today part of western Ukraine, was then called Lwów and was within the borders of Poland). He practiced international law in Warsaw before fleeing to the United States after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. Lemkin coined his famous term in a 1944 Carnegie Endowment publication: “The practices of extermination of nations and ethnic groups as carried out by the invaders [the Nazis] is called by the author ‘genocide,’ a term deriving from the Greek word genos (tribe, race) and the Latin cide (by way of analogy, see homicide, fratricide).” Lemkin knew Ukraine well; he was one of the first to identify the Holodomor (Killer Famine) of 1932­–33 that killed some four million Ukrainians as a genocidal attempt on the part of Stalin’s regime to break the back of the Ukrainian nation.

Dedicated to establishing an international law that would proscribe genocide in the international system, Lemkin lobbied at the newly founded United Nations to pass a “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” which it adopted unanimously on December 9, 1948. Here, genocide is identified as a series of acts—killing members of the group is the first mentioned—“committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such.” The emphasis here is firmly on the destruction of a “group, as such” and its ability to continue to function as a group. Among the other acts mentioned in the convention are: “causing bodily harm . . . to members of the group,” “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction,” “imposing measures intended to prevent births,” and “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Even the quickest review of the events of the past ten weeks in Ukraine makes it evident that the Genocide Convention applies at least in part to the Russian actions in the Kyiv region revealed after the withdrawal of their forces. We still are uncertain of the extent of genocidal acts in the coastal city of Mariupol, but the pounding of the city’s civilian population, the revelation of mass graves, the forced evacuation of tens of thousands of citizens to Russia, the role of “filtration camps” in Rostov-on-Don, and the alleged relocation of Ukrainian children indicate an assault on Ukrainian nationality as such, which would constitute genocide.

Both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and US President Joseph Biden have accused the Russians of committing genocide in Ukraine. It is good they bring this up, if only to put Putin and the Russian elite on alert that they will be held accountable for their crimes. Certainly, the indications of genocide are there, even if the factual materials for a legal case have not yet been collected. One of the problems in coming to an unalloyed conclusion about genocide in Ukraine is that the evidence that has been released to the public is not conclusive and there is much we still do not know about the Russians’ actions and intentions. The war is far from over and the worst may be yet to come. Even at that, as we know from the bloodshed in Bosnia, evidence from mass graves can be turned up long after the actual fighting is over. Even in the case of the Holocaust, fresh evidence continues to be produced that can be used in cases against the few perpetrators still alive.

We know that the US Department of State is accumulating evidence against the Russians, as is the Ukrainian government, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and a host of international NGOs. Most important, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim A. A. Khan, was just in Ukraine, along with other investigators, reviewing and cataloguing the host of crimes committed by the Russians in Bucha, Irpin, and elsewhere. Most of these cases are linked to “war crimes” (willful killing, willful infliction of suffering, taking of hostages, etc.) and “crimes against humanity” (extermination, torture, rape and sexual slavery, enforced disappearance, etc.), both of which are also subject to ICC prosecution. The crime of aggressive war, for which Nazi leaders were tried and hanged at Nuremberg in 1946, also falls within the purview of the ICC. But by statute, the court cannot pursue the particular case of aggressive war—in contrast to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide—against a country (Russia is one, the United States is another) that does not formally recognize the court’s jurisdiction. 

There is also the crucial criterion of the perpetrators’ intentions in assessing genocide. Do Putin and his coterie of political and military leaders seek to destroy the Ukrainians as a national group as such? There is considerable evidence in the public domain to support this assertion. Putin’s historical screed of July 2021, “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” and a series of his speeches and off-the-cuff remarks deny the distinctiveness of the Ukrainian nation and its historical legitimacy. For Putin, Zelenskyy and his government represent the interests of neo-Nazis and their American and European supporters. The goal of the Russian campaign in his view is the “denazification” and de-militarization of Ukraine. These statements are mimicked by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov; former president and deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev; and other Kremlin leaders who refuse to take Ukrainian national identity seriously. In this view, anyone who asserts Ukrainian identity thus becomes an enemy.

Comments by some pro-Kremlin television commentators and journalists are even more blatantly genocidal. In an April 3, 2022, article released by Novosti, the semiofficial Russian news agency, the journalist Timofei Sergeitsev took a frightening step beyond Putin’s already baleful accusations of Ukrainian Nazism. He suggested that the bulk of the Ukrainian masses were “passive Nazis” and “accomplices of Nazism” and should be subjected to re-education. The Ukrainians’ desire for independence and a European path was nothing more, he states, than pure Nazism, or what he called “Ukronazism.” Margarita Simonyan, who heads up a Kremlin news group, inserted an even more toxic additive to this dangerous rhetoric: “What makes you a Nazi is your bestial nature, your bestial hatred, and your bestial willingness to tear out the eyes of children on the basis of nationality.” It is hard to believe any Kremlin propagandists, given their mendacity, but given the viewpoints of many Russians, the media have succeeded in dehumanizing and diminishing the Ukrainians as a people, one of the signposts of genocide. 

The extent to which the rhetoric has been translated into actions has become terrifyingly apparent. Simonyan’s diatribe about Ukrainians’ readiness “to tear out the eyes of children” was reflected in the signature, “for the children,” that was painted on the missile that the Russians lobbed into the train station at Kramatorsk, killing, among others, at least five children. One of the constant themes of Russian propaganda in the breakaway Donbass region since 2014 is that Ukrainians are killing and maiming children, even committing genocide.

Russian soldiers stop Ukrainian civilians at road blockades and guard posts to search for “Nazis,” looking for nationalist tattoos on the men, in which case they are dragged off to be interrogated, tortured, and worse. All it takes is for someone to be identified as having fought in a nationalist formation or even simply to be a good, patriotic Ukrainian for the Russians to wreak vengeance. The torture, executions, mass burials, indications of abuse, beatings, and rape—the senseless shelling of civilians in their homes and on the roads—leads one to believe that many Russian soldiers have absorbed the “Ukrainians are Nazis” line that they have been fed by their government and officers. Even if they do not, they have no choice but to remain silent. Some desert or surrender readily, just as hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens have left their homeland for abroad, searching for respite from the Kremlin’s lying and oppression. But most stay at their posts and fight.

The war in Ukraine grinds on; genocide hangs in the air. Evidence is being collected by the day. Some Ukrainian jurists recommend that a trial of the perpetrators be arranged in Kharkiv, which was the site in December 1943 of the first trial of Nazi perpetrators for their crimes against civilians in World War II. Putting Putin and his coterie on trial for genocide would not be easy and it will not happen soon. It took years after the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims for former Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević to be brought to trial for genocide (Milošević died before a verdict could be rendered). The remaining Khmer Rouge leaders were brought to trial by the Cambodian tribunal only in 1997, almost two decades after they were responsible for killing more than a fifth of their population.

Like the war itself, the trials of its perpetrators will demand great patience and fortitude—above all, from the Ukrainians themselves.


FBI’s Partisan Witch Hunt – Is Bureau Purging Agents Who Simply Attended Jan. 6 Rally?

By Paul Crespo • American Liberty

FBI’s Partisan Witch Hunt – Is Bureau Purging Agents Who Simply Attended Jan. 6 Rally?

Bureau whistleblowers are claiming that the FBI is using the January 6 riot at the Capitol as a pretext to perform a political purge of agents. This purge targets FBI agents and other employees who simply exercised their constitutionally protected rights and attended the January 6 rally — and committed no crimes.

“The employees did not enter the United States Capitol and have not been charged with any crime” but are allegedly still being fired, said the House Judiciary GOP in a Twitter post on Friday, citing unnamed whistleblowers at the Bureau.

In response to a letter from Republican lawmakers to the FBI Director Christopher Wray — signed by House Judiciary Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — the congressmen confirmed reports that the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s (DOJIG) office is considering investigating whether the FBI revoked the security clearances of agents who simply attended the rally last year. 

As most who have worked in federal law enforcement or intelligence know, revoking security clearances makes it impossible to do the job. As the letter notes, “these actions [revoking clearances] mean the FBI has suspended these employees indefinitely.”

On Thursday Fox News noted that:

…the FBI revoked their clearances, citing “Adjudicative Guideline A – Allegiance to the United States. This move appears to follow a Democratic tactic in conflating peaceful protesters on Jan. 6 with those who actively stormed the Capitol in an apparent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote for President Biden.

Fox News also reported that the DOJIG Michael Horowitz told House Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in a reply letter that his office “will ask the FBI to provide the bases for the security clearance and personnel actions taken against the employees you reference in your letter.”

The IG added: “In making such an assessment, we will also consider information about other employees who believe the FBI has taken administrative actions against them for engaging in protected activities on January 6, 2021.” 

While the Hatch Act prohibits FBI and other government employees from engaging in partisan political campaigns or political management, The Epoch Times reported that Friday’s letter noted that despite the Hatch Act:

FBI employees do not give up their rights to engage in political speech activity. We have serious concerns that the FBI appears to be retaliating against employees for engaging in political speech disfavored by FBI leadership.


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