Learning to Vote

We tend to think of coup d’états as military overthrows of civilian government, but that is only one variant of the destruction of constitutional government. The destruction of constitutional government by the legitimate authorities themselves has been a major threat to liberty for some time.

The thought comes to mind as I see Nicaragua heading to the fourth consecutive mandate of that country’s tyrant, Daniel Ortega, who has jailed most of his electoral opponents in the run-up to the November 7th presidential elections, as well as activists, journalists and business people, and unleashed unspeakable violence on anyone standing in his way.

He did not come to power by a classic coup d’état. He won a free election in 2006 in which he obtained 38 percent of the vote and therefore an outright victory in the first round (he needed 35 percent and a five-point margin over his immediate follower). He then started to erode the institutions of liberal democracy, becoming one of the modern times’ most repugnant dictators.

Are We Too Distracted to Notice Inflation?

The Consumer Price Index was up again in September. The annual rate of inflation, from September to September was 5.4%, and is likely to go higher by year-end. The Federal Reserve claims to have an inflation target of 2%, but seems to be in no hurry to enact policies to slow the rise in prices. Has anyone noticed?

In the past, an inflation rate of 5% would have caused alarm, but there has been a lot going on lately, with controversies related to various COVID policies, the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, President Biden’s big-spending plans, negotiations on the debt ceiling, and hearings on the events of January 6, to mention a few things. Do all these things crowd out concerns about inflation?

How Governments Botched COVID-19 Testing, Reinforcing Destructive Lockdowns and Massive “Relief” Spending

By Lawrence J. McQuillan and Jonathan Hofer

The most glaring governmental failure during the COVID-19 experience in the United States has been the botched testing strategy because it allowed government authorities to “justify” devastating lockdowns and massive “relief” spending.

But the lockdowns and spending could have been avoided had better testing been pursued from the start—testing rooted in private property rights, autonomy of the individual, entrepreneurship, and incentives. Unfortunately, this approach was thwarted from the earliest days of the pandemic by four governmental failures regarding COVID-19 testing.

Failure #1. The federal government initially created and distributed faulty COVID-19 test kits and then covered it up.

On February 7, 2020, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began sending diagnostic kits to local public health laboratories, kits that the CDC designed. But many of the test kits did not work properly.

Cashing in on Congressional Trading

How bad has insider trading become among politicians elected to the U.S. Congress and congressional employees?

It didn’t take long to find out. Just after this article on conflicts of interest for Federal Reserve and Congress members went live here at the Beacon, NPR broke a new story. Inexperienced traders using the TikTok app to check out investing ideas have figured out congressional insiders have the Midas touch.

Censorship Campaign Reveals China’s True Face

A full 32 years have passed since the Tiananmen Square massacre and an entire generation may be unfamiliar with Chinese reality. Fortunately, the Communist regime recently revealed its true face.

As the BBC reported this month, China will ban “effeminate” behavior and “vulgar influences.”

$3.5 Trillion Does Not Equal $0

President Joe Biden is a lot like President Donald Trump. He likes to use Twitter to gaslight his critics.

How else can you explain President Biden’s September 25, 2021 tweet, in which he claims his Build Back Better Agenda will not cost anything?

On Capitol Hill, President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is represented by the Build Back Better Act. Among Washington D.C. politicians, it’s also known as the “Reconciliation Bill”. That’s because the bill lacks bipartisan support. To pass it into law, Biden’s party in the Congress needs to use the Senate’s reconciliation rules. Otherwise they won’t have the votes.

What the FDA and NIH Have to Say About the Vaccine

Fact-checkers screening for “misinformation,” please note: everything that follows are direct quotes from the FDA Authorization Letter for COMIRNATY, the FDA-approved COMIRNATY package insert, as well as direct quotes of Diana Bianchi, director of the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Free Guy is Light-Hearted Take on Heavy Tech Issues

Perhaps the most refreshing part of the movie Free Guy is the neutral role technology plays in the story. Technology isn’t a dark muse, luring an otherwise innocent into darkness. Perhaps this is why Free Guy seems admirably human despite the fact the entire story is framed within or around a video game.

The central antagonist, Antwan (Taika Watiti, Jo Jo Rabbit, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) is just a flawed human being. He’s a greedy, power hungry human who is clever at getting things he wants. In fact, he doesn’t even appear to understand let alone appreciate technology’s benefits.

The good guys, in contrast, want to harness technology to serve the interests of their customers (or users). They are upset because they made poor decisions and weren’t clever enough to see their competitor for who he was.

Conflicts of Interest at the Fed and Congress

The Federal Reserve is trying very hard to get ahead of a potential conflict-of-interest scandal. Several high-ranking Fed officials have investments in securities the U.S. central bank has been buying to stimulate the economy. Consequently, these officials have conflicts of interest in considering policies that might materially affect the value of their investments.

Reuters describes the action the Fed is taking to eliminate the inherent conflicts of interest that Fed officials have:

Two Federal Reserve officials said on Thursday they would sell their individual stock holdings by the end of the month to address the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren issued statements saying they would invest the proceeds of those sales in diversified index funds and cash savings and would not trade in those accounts as long as they are serving in their roles.

The announcements come after the officials faced scrutiny over trades they made last year, according to their financial disclosure forms.

The Debt—Does Anyone Care?

The worst part about the U.S. federal debt is not how big it has become but the fact that its growth has now become so unstoppable that we now assume that piling debt on future generations is the natural thing for the authorities to do. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2051 the federal debt will equal more than 200 percent of gross domestic product, an outcome that will result from cumulative fiscal deficits of $112 trillion over the next thirty years. The debt projection leaves aside debt owed to the government by itself, such as the trillions owed to the social security trust fund.

  • Catalyst
  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org