Companies that can decide 'truth' pose 'existential threat to democracy'

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

By Kalev Leetaru
Real Clear Politics

Last week Silicon Valley silenced the president. In unison, the social media giants, with an assist from Amazon and Apple, also eliminated their most popular conservative competitor and announced that their own moderation policies would now extend to other companies. Meanwhile, CNN openly called for Fox News to be banned from cable, while a major talk radio network issued new speech rules to its hosts, extending tech’s moderation policies to the offline world. Beyond all this, Congress and the European Union called for powerful new regulation of online speech.

As a handful of unelected billionaires declare sovereignty over digital speech, where might the coming months take us?

Twitter once touted itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party” and rebuked Congress’ calls for it to ban terrorists, proclaiming that “the ability of users to share freely their views — including views that many people may disagree with or find abhorrent” — was its mission. Indeed, most of the early social platforms emphasized unfettered speech above all other considerations. Over the years, this utopian dream has given way to an emphasis on “healthy conversation” and ever-changing enforcement.

Yet for most of their existence, social media platforms have largely avoided censoring elected officials in the U.S. even as they have deleted the accounts of foreign leaders. That all changed last year as Silicon Valley for the first time began labeling President Trump’s tweets as “disputed” and “false.” As progressive segments of the public embraced this new censorship, platforms moved from merely fact-checking posts to deleting them entirely and threatening to ban some lawmakers.

The courts have repeatedly ruled that Trump’s Twitter account is an official government outlet and thus he is prohibited from blocking users with whom he disagrees. How then is a private company able to establish “acceptable speech” rules for a government publication or silence it entirely?

Perhaps more troubling is that speech rules no longer just govern social spaces. Uber, Lyft and Airbnb have all banned their services from being used by those whose online and offline political speech was deemed unacceptable. Facebook last year extended its reach to the offline world, banning certain kinds calls for protest while permitting others.

It was a remarkable sight to behold Democratic lawmakers and the press lamenting that Congress does not have the power to silence voices with which it disagrees and instead urging Silicon Valley to exercise the power only it holds: the ability to silence any voice from the digital world. And this plea came from the very lawmakers who had once condemned social platforms as dangerous monopolies.

Moreover, the companies’ announcements that they were permanently suspending the president referenced not potential illegal activity banned by law but rather the companies’ decision that permitting him to continue communicating with the nation posed too great a risk to democracy.

The companies themselves had little choice but to remove Trump or face even greater wrath from the new Democratic majority in Congress. Even the ACLU, in its condemnation of Twitter’s suspension of Trump, acknowledged the “political realities” of the incoming administration. Activist groups rushed to claim credit for silencing Trump, touting the high-level discussions they had had with Twitter leadership.

While there has been widespread support for Silicon Valley’s actions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of the dangers in silencing a democratically elected head of state. Moreover, while Democrats are narrowly focused on the present, in a world in which lawmakers and activist groups can wield the monopoly power of social media to mute dissenting voices, what is to stop a future Republican Congress from using those very same powers to silence Democrats? Such is the slippery slope we find ourselves on.

And what about alternatives to Silicon Valley’s platforms? Social media companies have long argued that they are not monopolies because it is possible for competitors to challenge them.

Twitter clone Parler had emerged as just such a competitor, reaching number one on Apple’s App Store this week as conservatives flocked to its minimally moderated platform. Yet within days Apple and Google had banned the sale of it from their respective app stores and banishing it from mobile devices. Parler’s cloud hosting provider, Amazon Web Services, evicted it, taking the site offline until a conservative cloud provider agreed to host it. Yet even if it can rebuild in some fashion, without a smartphone app and blacklisted by most service providers, Parler will be merely a shadow of its former self.

In taking these steps, Silicon Valley cited Parler’s lack of strong content moderation as grounds for elimination. In their letters to Parler, the companies demanded that it adopt acceptable speech policies identical to their own.

Even offline media are not immune. Television channels must contract with cable carriers to transmit them into homes, syndicated radio shows must be hosted by stations, and even independent newspapers must have websites and mobile apps. With local news outlets diminishing, it is important to note that no matter how editorially independent some may be, all are still dependent on cloud providers, app stores, Internet service providers, etc. In the aftermath of Wednesday’s events at the Capitol, CNN openly called for cable carriers to drop Fox News, while Cumulus Media issued new acceptable speech rules to its conservative talk radio hosts.

Where does this leave us?

The nation’s founders chose not to give Congress the power to silence even a madman in the Oval Office, other than to remove him through impeachment. This week taught us that a handful of billionaires in California essentially have that power. Trump’s near-total disappearance from the digital world since his ban serves as a stark reminder of this.

The near-unanimous support from the new Democratic majority for this ban means Silicon Valley is now emboldened to eliminate any voice, no matter how powerful. It creates a dangerous normalization of the silencing of dissent.

The willingness of Uber, Lyft and Airbnb to ban some users for political speech shows that as technology companies’ tentacles reach into other industries, a new era of permanent societal exclusion, much like China’s “social credit” program, is emerging.

To some, the newfound emphasis on combating “misinformation,” with private companies as curators of permissible speech and definers of “truth,” might seem like a positive development. After all, threats of violence, racism, sexism, doxing, sedition, harmful medical advice and the like are damaging to society. Yet billionaires that can silence presidents, a Congress that can silence dissent and private companies deciding what is “best” for the nation and what constitutes “truth” pose an existential threat to democracy. In the end, the very future of our shared society hinges on the ability of Silicon Valley to balance thoughtful moderation with freedom of speech. Perhaps the answer is for the tech companies to become democracies themselves and let society decide what is best.

RealClear Media Fellow Kalev Leetaru is a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. His past roles include fellow in residence at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]


The post Companies that can decide ‘truth’ pose ‘existential threat to democracy’ appeared first on WND.

Source: WND Politics, Companies that can decide ‘truth’ pose ‘existential threat to democracy’

NO DISSENT ALLOWED: Popular GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Suspended from Twitter After Questioning Georgia Elections Results

Last week popular Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene announced she will introduce Articles of Impeachment against Joe Biden over his abuse of power on January 21, the day after the inauguration.

BREAKING: GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against Joe Biden on January 21 Over Abuse of Power (VIDEO)

Rep. Greene made the announcement after the second sham impeachment of President Donald Trump in the US House of Representatives.

On Sunday Rep. Greene went after Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling after the dirtbag accused her and President Trump for the lost senate seats in Georgia.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene BLASTED the

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was not having it. The Georgia lawmaker BLASTED dirty Gabe Sterling in a number of tweets.

BRUTAL! Marjorie Taylor Greene DESTROYS Nasty GA Election Official Gabe Sterling After His Latest Smear on President Trump and Herself

On Sunday afternoon Twitter suspended Rep. Taylor Greene for challenging the 2020 election results.

This is after DEMOCRATS challenged the 2016 election results for 4 years!

Democrats will no doubt cheer this move by Twitter.
God save us from these demons.

The post NO DISSENT ALLOWED: Popular GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Suspended from Twitter After Questioning Georgia Elections Results appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

Source: The Gateway Pundit, NO DISSENT ALLOWED: Popular GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Suspended from Twitter After Questioning Georgia Elections Results

Critical Test of NASA's Giant Moon Rocket Cut Short by 'Major Component Failure' – ScienceAlert

  1. Critical Test of NASA’s Giant Moon Rocket Cut Short by ‘Major Component Failure’  ScienceAlert
  2. After a decade, NASA’s big rocket fails its first real test  Ars Technica
  3. NASA Rocket Test Aborted After One Minute  NPR
  4. See NASA’s massive SLS moon rocket fire up (and shut down early)  msnNOW
  5. NASA’s crucial engine test for moon rocket forced to end prematurely  FRANCE 24 English
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

Source: Google News, Critical Test of NASA’s Giant Moon Rocket Cut Short by ‘Major Component Failure’ – ScienceAlert

Dems laying groundwork for 'survival checks' to run forever

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Policy.]

By Matt Weidinger

Real Clear Policy

Even while $600 stimulus checks are being deposited in tens of millions of bank accounts, congressional Democrats are laying the groundwork for even greater stimulus payments, which some call “survival checks.” As Senate democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently said, “One of the first things that I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families.” With Democrats preparing to take power in Washington, a critical question will be whether such survival checks will be one-time payments or recur each month “for the duration of the pandemic,” as Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and others have suggested. But supporters of recurring payments ignore the fact that, once started, it might be politically impossible to turn off such massive new benefits, requiring huge federal tax hikes to cover their enormous ongoing cost.

Recurring monthly $2,000 checks would mirror the payments proposed in the “Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act” that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced in the Senate in May 2020. While not truly “universal” in that its payments would phase out for high-income households, Harris’s survival checks would significantly exceed other recently proposed universal basic income-like payments. For example, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang touted monthly $1,000 per adult “freedom dividends,” while Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in March proposed $2,000 monthly payments “to every household in America” for “the duration of the crisis.” Harris upped the ante to $2,000 per month per adult, plus $2,000 per up to three children. That means a household of five (mom, dad and three children) would receive an astonishing $10,000 per month in federal payments.

Those checks would flow regardless of whether adults are working; in fact, most of Harris’s payments would be made to households headed by workers. When one-time $2,000 checks were passed by the House in December, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described them as “socialism for the rich.” In truth, Harris’s payments amount to socialism for everyone except the very rich, with payments phased out only for single adults earning more than $120,000 and a married family of five earning above $300,000, closely matching the phaseouts of the House legislation.

Harris’s payments would continue until three months after the “health emergency” ends. There’s no telling when that would be, but even if payments lasted only six months, a family of five would receive a stunning $60,000 in federal payments. Starting such massive payments to most households would create enormous political pressure for simply extending the health emergency, or continuing payments beyond its end. Once started, payments might be politically impossible to shut down, especially for the incoming Democrat-led administration and Congress. The price tag would be ruinous — recent legislation suggests recurring $2,000 checks would cost over $600 billion every month, requiring federal taxes to triple to cover the annual expense.

The “survival check” moniker also suggests such payments are all that stand between Americans and destitution. That’s hard to square with current economic conditions, including the December unemployment rate of 6.7 percent — less than half the 14.4 percent rate in April and well below expert projections. It also completely ignores the extraordinary assistance that continues to be provided to tens of millions of Americans in need. That includes the latest $600 stimulus payments for most Americans, $300 per week additions to millions of unemployment benefit payments, expanded food stamp benefits, increased rental assistance, additional child care funding, and much more.

Unsurprisingly, survival checks come with heavy political implications, starting with the fact that “President-elect Joe Biden pledged that $2,000 checks would be a priority for his administration if Georgia delivered a victory to two Democrats running for Senate in a runoff election.” It’s one thing to satisfy a past campaign promise, but supporters of recurring payments aren’t stopping there. As the liberal Economic Security Project, a cheerleader for universal basic income schemes, bluntly noted, making survival checks recurring could unlock future “political dividends”: “(N)o voter will forget receiving a relief payment in the first few months of a new administration, especially if it continues monthly or quarterly and helps them meet their basic needs. That will pay crucial political dividends in the midterm elections and in the 2024 presidential race.” That naturally ignores the massive tax hike pain needed to keep such payments from further exploding federal deficits, which promises to be memorable as well.

Matt Weidinger is the Rowe Fellow in poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Policy.]


The post Dems laying groundwork for ‘survival checks’ to run forever appeared first on WND.

Source: WND Politics, Dems laying groundwork for ‘survival checks’ to run forever

Sen. Lindsey Graham calls for Senate to reject impeachment trial for “national healing” –

  1. Sen. Lindsey Graham calls for Senate to reject impeachment trial for “national healing”
  2. Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump  The New York Times
  3. Raskin: I am not going to lose my son in 2020 and country in 2021  CNN
  4. Jonathan Turley: Trump impeachment trial – why his best defense may be no defense  Fox News
  5. Lindsey Graham’s weakness  The Washington Post
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

Source: Google News, Sen. Lindsey Graham calls for Senate to reject impeachment trial for “national healing” –

Stockman: Why Does Sleepy Joe Think We Need Another $850 Billion Of Transfer Payments?

Stockman: Why Does Sleepy Joe Think We Need Another $850 Billion Of Transfer Payments?

Authored by David Stockman via,

In light of Sleepy Joe’s swell new $1.9 trillion package of more free stuff, it’s time to get out our magnifying glasses again. The purpose is to compute the size of the hole in  America’s collective paycheck that purportedly requires such continued, extraordinary beneficence from our not so rich Uncle Sam.  

To repeat: There is no reason in the world why the February (pre-Covid) level of wage and salary disbursements is not a solid and appropriate benchmark for measuring the pocketbook hit from the Covid-Lockdowns that have wreaked havoc on the US economy since March. That is, from the point at which the evil Dr. Fauci convinced the Donald to pull the plug on MAGA and his own tenure in office, too (of course, 80-year old Dr.  Fauci is still there, fixing to bamboozle yet another notionally “elected” president).  

Still, back in February the Donald was boasting to one and all that he had delivered the greatest economy the world had ever seen and Wall Street apparently agreed, pushing stocks high into the nose-bleed section of history.  

As it happened, the February run rate (annualized) of wage and salary disbursements was $9.659 trillion, which computes to about $805 billion per month. So we would suggest that if $805 billion of monthly wages was enough to justify celebration of the  Greatest Economy Ever, then the shortfall from that benchmark is a solid measure of the hit to US worker earnings that has occurred since February.  

Based on the red bars in the chart below and translated to actual monthly numbers, the  Covid-wage and salary loss computes as follows:  

  • March: -$25b;  

  • April: -$76b;  

  • May: -$61b;  

  • June: -$43b;  

  • July: -$31b;  

  • August: -$19b;  

  • September: -$12b;  

  • October: -$6b; 

  • November: -$3b;  

  • December est: $0b;  

  • 10-month total: -$276b 

The total of $276 billion of lost paychecks compares to $8.05 trillion of wages and  salaries which would have been earned during that period at the February rate ($805  billion). So the cumulative shortfall through year-end amounted to just 3.4%. 

More importantly, the $0-$6 billion monthly shortfall since September has been so small as to constitute a rounding error in the scheme of things, as suggested by the fact that American households spend far more—about $8 billion per month—-on pet food and pet care alone.  

Yet Sleepy Joe has now teed up another $850 billion of direct aid to households, which in the aggregate are no longer suffering any material paycheck shortfall. And what is  especially egregious about filling a non-existent income hole in this manner is  that 53% of this amount goes to “stimmy” checks and child tax credits, which are  essentially not even mean-tested except at the tippy-top of the income scale ($200,000  for a married couple):  

Sleepy Joe’s $850 Billion of Direct Handouts to Households: 

  • Stimmy checks and child tax credits: $450b;  

  • Unemployment benefits: $200b;  

  • Health insurance aid: $100b;  

  • Rental assistance: $35b;  

  • Child care aid: $40b  

  • Safety net: $20b  

Still, to paraphrase Walter Mondale’s famous campaign slogan from 1984: Another  $850 billion for income replacement but “Where’s The Hole?” 

Compensation of All US employees, Annualized Run Rate, February 2020- November 2020

Of course, there are other ways to measure the hit to the national economy stemming from the Covid-Lockdown impact, as we will amplify below. But first it would be well to summarize the “solution” that Washington’s fiscally incontinent politicians have heaved at the “problem” during the last 11 months—a “problem” that they have never bothered to quantify.  

With the new Biden package, spending authorized by the five major Covid relief  measures can be summarized as follows (billions):  

  • Families First act: $192b;  

  • CARES act: $2,200b;  

  • Paycheck Protection Program: $733b;  

  • Response and Relief Act: $935b;  

  • Biden Jan. 14th plan: $1,900b;  

  • Five package total: $5,960b. 

That’s right. The Washington pols are fixing to heave nigh onto $6 trillion at a $274  billion hole in the nation’s wage bucket. That’s a solution 22X bigger than the putative problem!  

Of course, we do not mean to dwell lightly on the “putative” part, nor embrace the notion that government owes citizens reparations for the damage its actions have caused.  

Yes, the overwhelming share of the actual economic harm since March is due to the misguided (and unconstitutional) lockdown policies of the government and the vastly disproportionate and unwarranted public hysteria fanned by Dr. Fauci and the Virus  Patrol, not the disease itself. But if the state gets into the business of fully indemnifying the public for the endless harm wrought by its policies, insolvency would be thereafter guaranteed, and in short order, too.  

Besides, why does Washington have the right to burden future taxpayers with permanent debt service payments in order to make-whole a $276 billion loss of income and 3.4% inconvenience among taxpayers today?  

And don’t stiff us with the humanitarian relief bit. The simple fact is that the overwhelming share of this $276 billion of wage losses has been visited upon low-wage and part-time workers in the social-congregation sectors of the economy (bars,  restaurants, gyms, hotels, movies, ball parks etc.) that the Virus Patrol in its wisdom has shutdown. The right solution is to send the Virus Patrol packing and let these unfairly penalized employees go back to work.  

Moreover, even if you want to plug that “hole” beyond what the in-place safety net is already providing (see below), well, then, tax the more affluent section of today’s citizenry to pay for it, not unknowing, unborn and voiceless future taxpayers.  

Then again, the bipartisan duopoly is not about to give that fiscally honest approach the  time of day; they specialize in the joint gang-mugging of voiceless future taxpayers.  

Even if you think that the total wage and salary loss computed above understates the  economic damage caused by the lockdowns, the massive fiscal overkill owing to the  Everything Bailouts cannot be gainsaid.  

For instance, GDP is the most comprehensive measure of economic activity that we have  (despite its manifest flaws), but the loss of GDP after February has also been only about  3.6%. In fact, based on the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecast, we project that nominal  GDP during Q4 will post at about $21.650 trillion, a figure only 0.46% below the  Greatest Economy Ever level of Q4 2019.  

So, again, if we assume that Q4 2019 is a reasonable pre-Covid benchmark for the level  of total economic activity in the USA, we get the following shortfall, including an  estimate for Q4 based on the Atlanta Fed’s latest outlook.  

Quarterly GDP Change From Q42019 Benchmark: 

  • Q1 2020: -$47b;  

  • Q2 2020: -$559b;  

  • Q3 2020: -$144b;  

  • Q4 2020E: -$25b;  

  • 4-quarter total: -$775b

So even if you want to count everything including losses from the $2.5 trillion of  imputed activity in the GDP, the pending $6 trillion of Everything Bailouts is 7.7X the  size of the problem!

Quarterly GDP At Annual Rates

Of course, the real point of the bailouts is to compensate the private sector for the economic harm done by the government in its exertions in furtherance of the public health. But when you look at the impact of the Covid-Lockdowns on value-added of the non-financial business sector, the hit compared to pre-Covid levels is also quite small.  

Again, using Q4 2019 as the pre-Covid benchmark and actual results through Q3 2020  and the Atlanta Fed estimates for Q4, the loss in business output relative to Q4 2019 is  just $594 billion or 2.7% of total GDP. So by this measure of the “problem”, the  impending Everything Bailouts would amount to 10X the size of the hole in the bucket.  

Likewise, our Atlanta Fed-based estimate of Q4 nonfinancial business value added of  $10.251 stands at fully 99.1% of the Q1 2019 level. That’s hardly a setback that warrants  burying future taxpayers in $6 trillion of new debt, and most especially not the $1.9  trillion part recommended by our day-late-and-dollar short incoming POTUS, who has  just emerged from his Delaware bunker.  

Quarterly Change In Business Value-Added Versus Q4 2019 Benchmark: 

  • Q1 2020: -$23b;  

  • Q2 2020: -$347b;  

  • Q3 2020: -$142b;  

  • Q4 2020E: -$82b; 

  • 4-Quarter total: -$594b

Quarterly Nonfinancial Business Sector Gross Value Added (Annualized):

By contrast, it is well worth looking at the other side of the coin: Namely, the surge in transfer payments since last February stemming from a combination of the built-in safety net (principally unemployment insurance, foods stamps and Medicaid) and disbursements of stimmy checks, enhanced Federal UI benefits and the rest authorized by the Everything Bailouts.  

At the pre-Covid level in February, total government transfer payments (including state  and local) were running at a $3.165 trillion annual rate or about $265 billion per  month. As shown in the chart below, however, that monthly figure skyrocketed by 107%  to $546 billion in the month of April alone.  

And, no, that latter figures is not the annualized rate: In their infinite generosity,  government programs pumped more than one-half trillion dollars into the household  sector during April alone. That’s $18.2 billion per day! 

Thereafter, the tsunami of transfer payments began to abate, but were still running at a  $400 billion monthly level in July and $306 billion level in November. Overall, the 10- month total of incremental transfer payments above the February level totaled $1.05  trillion.

You can’t make this up. Transfer payments to households during the past 10 months have exceeded the loss of household wages and salaries ($276 billion) by nearly four times.  

So the question recurs: Why does Sleepy Joe think we need another $850 billion of transfer payments to households on top of the immense generosity already dispensed per the chart below?  

The answer is simple: He’s doing it because he can—because the nation-wreckers in the  Eccles Building have determined to purchase $120 billion of government debt and  GSE securities per month for the indefinite future. As JayPo rattled on at his presser this week, they are not even thinking about thinking about tapering this tsunami of fake money plucked from thin air by the Fed’s digital printing presses.  

Accordingly, under this crooked regime of massive debt monetization, there is no here  and now economic sting to rampant Federal borrowing; no “crowding-out” as in times  of yore before the Fed went off the deep-end with Keynesian money-pumping; and no  

surging interest rates to rouse Wall Street and the business community from their happy  slumber in the lap of ultra-cheap borrowing costs.  

Stated differently, when it comes to the rampant fiscal incontinence in the Imperial City  enabled by the Fed, did the election outcome make any difference?  

It did not. Sleepy Joe is about to give the once and former King of Debt a run for his money when it comes to the annals of fiscal infamy in America.

Total Government Transfer Payments, Annualized

Even if you set-aside things like increased Medicaid and food stamp spending embedded in the above figures for total government transfer payments and focus just on the change in Federal-state unemployment insurance disbursements since February, the sheer fiscal madness at loose on Capitol Hill is baldly evident.  

To wit, prior to the Covid-Lockdown battering of the US economy, which has so far caused the filing of an incredible 70 million in new unemployment benefit claims, the  Federal-state unemployment systems was pumping out benefit payments at a $27.8  billion annual rate in February or about $2.3 billion per month. 

Here is the subsequent increase in UI payments from both existing state programs and the Federal pandemic assistance benefits and $600 per month topper payments. They total $518 billion or nearly two-times the $276 billion cumulative loss of wages and salaries during the same 10-month period.  

Moreover, the alacrity with which the system poured money into the ranks of unemployment claimants is a wonder to behold. By April the February payment level of  $2.3 billion had soared to $41 billion, per month and by July the figure came in at an astounding $117 billion per month.  

That’s right. At the June peak rate of $117 billion per month ($1.4 trillion annualized per  the chart below), the monthly payment rate was 51X higher than it had been in  February, and exceeded the full year UI payout rate during the depths of the Great  Recession.

Monthly UI Payments Annualized

But consider this: If the Federal-State unemployment system was already overcompensating for actual lost wages and salaries by 2X, why did we need to send helicopter checks, or what Washington now fondly calls “stimmy checks”, to 155 million households on top of that, when most of these households had not lost their jobs or paychecks?  

Nevertheless, here is the “stimmy check” and related non-means tested money in the  five Everything Bailouts including Sleepy Joe’s new edition to the Fiscal Demolition  Derby:  

Non-Means-Tested Stimmy Funding: 

  • Families First act: $105b;  

  • CARES act: $315b;  

  • Response & Relief Act: $191b;  

  • Biden Jan. 14th plan: $625b;  

  • Total non-means tested stimmy: $1.235 trillion.

In short, the wage loss hole in the bucket was already filled two-times over by the  increase in UI benefit payments since February, but this massive drop of cash on the  American public will have filled it again by another 4.5X. 

As we said, free lunches for one and all……except, except the debt is never going away  and future generations will surely rue the day. 

* * *

The above originally appeared at David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 18:40

Source: Zero Hedge, Stockman: Why Does Sleepy Joe Think We Need Another 0 Billion Of Transfer Payments?

The senator and the sequel to 'Hot Tub Time Machine'


[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Markets.]

By A.J. Rice
Real Clear Markets

Hot Tub Time Machine is about to get another sequel. But instead of super talented funny men like Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson, the third installment of the franchise will star politicians like Mitt Romney, Larry Hogan, John Kasich and Ben Sasse.

The plot is to return the conservative movement to a super polite group of stiff losers who wait their turn to speak while inspiring no one. Colin Powell approves.

As President Donald Trump fights for America, the beloved cherub-like Sen. Ben Sasse, alleged Republican of Nebraska, fights for the media and the Democrats.

This is not a new problem. Sasse stood up as the Senate’s NeverTrumper all the way back in 2016. When Trump was fighting Hillary Clinton, Sasse was fighting Trump. When Trump was fighting the Obama administration’s Russia hoax, Sasse was fighting Trump. When Trump has fought socialism, Marxism, wokism, antifa, defund the police, and the entire Big Tech/media industrial complex, across four grueling years, guess where Ben Sasse was when he wasn’t in the hot-tub with Jeff Flake?

Teach your children to never grow up and be Ben Sasse.

Sen. Ben Sasse

Not one time during Trump’s successful term in the White House, did Ben Sasse put his own ego aside and step up for the conservative, American principles he claims he supports.

Donald Trump delivered the most conservative presidency since Ronald Wilson Reagan. Trump out-performed both Bushes by miles. His conservative accomplishments for America include:

  • The strongest job market, for all demographics, in decades
  • Tax cuts that strengthened the lower and middle classed and unleashed American business

  • Bringing jobs that the Bushies’ NAFTA sent to China and Mexico back to America

  • Historic peace deals between Israel and several of its Arab neighbors

  • Curbed illegal immigration through the wall and enforcement

  • American energy independence and dominance for the first time in decades

Where was Ben Sasse when Donald Trump was racking up win after win for Americans? Where was Ben Sasse when Donald Trump was donating his salary while making sure more and more Americans could find jobs and put food on their tables?

Sasse was sniping at Trump. Sasse compared Trump to the odious David Duke and even Hillary Clinton. Sasse became the media’s favorite Republican, like John McCain before him, by taking pot-shots at a more successful Republican.

In 2017, just four months after inauguration, Sasse was already sitting down for cozy interviews with the media and plotting against Trump. Trump was already fighting for his political life. He had been since before taking office. Sasse was preparing to frag him.

Trump battled back against the media as it launched wave after wave of attack against him on the Russia hoax. Trump could have used some Senate support. He could have benefited if a conservative from the heartland had his back. He got none of that from Sasse. Instead, Sasse accused Trump of “weaponizing distrust in the media.” When Trump was fighting against the media as the enemy of the people, Sasse was making sure the media knew whose side he was on.

Trump had every right to call out the media for its campaign of lies against him. The media is dishonest. It’s untrustworthy. It is the hider of truth and the enemy of the people. Led by the New York Times, the media attacked the foundations of America itself through the 1619 Project and cancel culture. Most Americans rightly despise the media. But Sasse weaponized the media against Trump.

Trump used Twitter before his banishment to fight back, get around the lying media, and talk directly to the American people. What did Sasse do? He clapped back — at Trump.

When the media created the lie that Trump had not denounced white supremacists, which he clearly did immediately after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Sasse shamelessly helped push that lie forward.

As Trump built his astonishing success record, Sasse continued to attack him. In 2018, Trump’s second year, Sasse went to the media to tell the world that he was not on board the Trump train. The truth is, Sasse never even gave Trump or his ideas a chance.

February, 2019: Trump is still battling the media, still racking up conservative wins for America, and getting ready to face the Democrats for reelection. Where was Sasse? Head-faking that he just might run against Trump in the GOP presidential primary. That earned Sasse more fawning media coverage and helped the Democrats. It didn’t help Trump fight for America.

But fast forward to September 2019. Sasse is up for reelection to the Senate. Trump is successful and leading a conservative juggernaut in American policy. Trump has the approval of about 90% of Republicans. Sasse the NeverTrumper decides he needs a helping hand from the president he has spent years trashing.

Trump graciously endorses Sasse, and Sasse wins reelection to the Senate.

How does the allegedly conservative Republican senator repay Trump’s generosity?

By undermining Trump as he fights for the integrity of the presidential election, the foundation on which the legitimacy of our republic rests. Across 2020 before and after the election, Sasse has come at Trump over challenging the election, presidential pardons, even Trump’s quick walk to a historic church showing order had been restored after antifa rioters nearly destroyed it, and Washington DC’s inept mayor did nothing to stop them.

Sasse isn’t done kicking Trump. After protesters including some Trump supporters and antifa apologists broke into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Sasse set a land speed record for getting to his keyboard to blame Trump. The fact that there were election irregulariries that rated attention, and that Democrats including Joe Biden had not opposed months of violent rioting and attacks on symbols of America across the nation, doesn’t seem to have ever entered Sasse’s mind.

Sasse is a waste of a Senate seat for the Republican party. In a nation seeking authenticity, Sasse is a steaming fraud. He uses the labels of “Republican” and “conservative” to undermine the republic and hand power to the opposition. He’s a menace to the party and to the principles he claims to cherish.

Does Sasse see a President when he looks at his reflection in the hot tub? Most likely. But the GOP has changed under Trump and no one is time traveling back to the days of losing honorably like John McCain did in 2008.

Ben Sasse, alleged conservative, has delivered no help to the most conservative president in decades. Parents, teach your kids not to be the fair-weather “friend” that Ben Sasse has been to Donald Trump. Teach them to be better than that.


A.J. Rice is CEO of Publius PR, a premier communications firm in Washington D.C. Rice is a brand manager, star-whisperer and auteur media influencer, who has produced or promoted Laura Ingraham, Donald Trump Jr., Judge Jeanine Pirro, Monica Crowley, Charles Krauthammer, Alan Dershowitz, Roger L. Simon, Steve Hilton, Victor Davis Hanson, and many others. Find out more at

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Markets.]


The post The senator and the sequel to ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ appeared first on WND.

Source: WND Politics, The senator and the sequel to ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’

Opinion: Trump's sordid pardons cement his corrupt legacy

The Founding Fathers would have been disgusted by President Donald Trump’s serial abuse of the pardon power. Nearly 90% of his pardons to date have gone to friends or politically connected allies — including corrupt politicians. While the President’s pardon power may seem unconstrained by the Constitution, a closer look shows that Trump is violating every principle the framers of the Constitution assumed would be followed by a principled President — and there’s evidence they intended special constraints on a President’s pardon power after they’d been impeached.

Source: CNN, Opinion: Trump’s sordid pardons cement his corrupt legacy

Parler Back From The Dead As CEO Posts New Message

Parler Back From The Dead As CEO Posts New Message

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours)

Parler’s website suddenly appeared online Sunday with a message from its CEO, John Matze, who said, “Hello world, is this thing on?”

The message suggests Parler was able to find another hosting service, coming about a week after Amazon Web Services booted the social media website from its services, taking the site down. It came as Parler—billed as a “free speech” platform—was seeing an unprecedented surge in users as prominent conservatives, among others, were being banned from Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.

Matze also issued a temporary status update.

Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform,” Matze. “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media. Our aim has always been to provide a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise their rights to both. We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!

A screenshot of on Jan. 16, 2020. (Screenshot/Parler)


Amazon Web Services’ rationale behind jettisoning Parler was due to a lack of moderation and came in the backdrop of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots. Parler, in a court filing, citing text messages between Matze and an Amazon representative, claimed Amazon was primarily concerned with whether President Donald Trump would migrate to Parler after his Twitter account was banned last week.

The same filing asserted that Amazon didn’t appear to care much about alleged violent threats that were made by Parler users.

Last week, Parler asked a federal court in Washington state to block Amazon’s decision, while maintaining that Amazon engaged in monopolistic practices by booting the platform. Twitter is also a major client of Amazon Web Services.

This illustration picture shows the social media website from Parler displayed on a computer screen in Arlington, Va., on July 2, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a WHOIS search, Parler appears to be hosted by Epik, which also hosts social media website Gab.

While it did not confirm Parler was seeking its services, Epik in a statement last week blasted Big Tech companies’ “kneejerk reaction” of “simply deplatforming and terminating any relationship that on the surface looks problematic or controversial.” The statement noted that Epik is “not quick to abandon our administrative positions,” as it attempted to contrast it and Amazon.

Other than Amazon’s decision, Google and Apple removed Parler from its respective app stores.

Earlier on Sunday, Matze said there was no indication Amazon, Google, and Apple would pull their services.

In the days up to the suspension, “Amazon, as usual, [was] basically saying, ‘Oh, I never saw any material problems. There’s no issues.’ You know, they played it off very nonchalantly. And so we had still even, you know, on the 8th and the 9th, you know, we had no real indication that this was, you know, deadly serious,” Matze told Fox News.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/17/2021 – 18:34

Source: Zero Hedge, Parler Back From The Dead As CEO Posts New Message

Russia’s FM spokeswoman urges US & other countries decrying Navalny's detention ‘not to interfere’ with Russian law

Instead of rushing to condemn the detention of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny upon his return to Moscow, foreign politicians should focus on domestic issues at hand, and respect the Russian law, Maria Zakharova has said.

In a Facebook post on Sunday evening, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to US President-elect Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan who demanded Moscow “immediately releases” Navalny who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after returning from Germany earlier that day.

Also on

Law enforcement officers speaking with Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny before leading him away at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow. © Reuters
WATCH Russian opposition figure Navalny being detained at passport control at Moscow airport

Apart from calling Navalny to be set free, Sullivan also accused the Russian government of violation of the politician’s human rights, describing his detention “an affront to the Russian people who want their voices heard.”

Zakharova warned Sullivan and “other foreign public figures who are rushing to post pre-prepared comments,” against an attempt to influence the Rusisan judicial system, suggesting they focus on their problems at home.

“Have respect for international law, do not interfere with the national law of sovereign countries and deal with your own domestic problems,” she wrote.

Following Sullivan’s suit, a number of other foreign officials and organizations demanded Navalny’s release. Italy’s foreign minister Luigi Di Maio called his detention “a very serious matter,” while France’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said Paris is “concerned” about the arrest. Amnesty International echoed the calls, labelling Navalny “a prisoner of conscience.”

Navalny, wanted in Russia for breaching terms of his probation stemming from a previous criminal case, was detained at the immigration desk soon after the plane carrying him, his wife Yulia and the rest of the passengers touched down. Navalny had spent five months in Germany before his return. In August 2020, he was flown from an Omsk hospital in Siberia to Berlin’s Charite in a coma after collapsing on a domestic flight a few days before.

Also on

Ambulance car transporting Navalny in Omsk, Russia
Omsk doctor who treated Navalny says if opposition figure was poisoned with Novichok, those around him must also be affected

German doctors claimed that Navanly’s was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent. However, doctors in the Omsk Emergency Hospital, who treated the activist immediately after he became incapacitated, said they found no traces of toxic substances in his system. The hospital’s chief toxicologist noted that other people who travelled with Navalny should have suffered from the fallout as well, if the politician indeed had been poisoned with the “military-grade” nerve agent. This was not the case, however.

The Russian authorities have repeatedly asked Berlin to provide them with medical data on Navalny, but to no avail. Moscow’s requests to conduct a joint investigation into the incident have also been ignored.

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Source: RT, Russia’s FM spokeswoman urges US & other countries decrying Navalny’s detention ‘not to interfere’ with Russian law

Chiefs overcome loss of Mahomes to beat Browns in playoff thriller – The Guardian

  1. Chiefs overcome loss of Mahomes to beat Browns in playoff thriller  The Guardian
  2. Bad luck, a bad rule, a bad call and a bad first half for the Browns  NBC Sports
  3. Final thoughts and prediction for the Browns-Chiefs matchup  Yahoo Sports
  4. Patrick Mahomes in concussion protocol; Andy Reid says Chiefs QB ‘doing great right now’
  5. Browns will need more out of Baker Mayfield this weekend  Pro Football Network
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

Source: Google News, Chiefs overcome loss of Mahomes to beat Browns in playoff thriller – The Guardian

Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 coronavirus deaths by mid-February | TheHill – The Hill

  1. Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 coronavirus deaths by mid-February | TheHill  The Hill
  2. Incoming CDC director: Expect 500,000 Covid-19 deaths by mid-February  CNN
  3. New COVID-19 strains shows possible ‘resistance’ to antibody, but not vaccines  Fox News
  4. Researchers Look Into COVID Vaccine’s Impact On Pregnancy  WCCO – CBS Minnesota
  5. Highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first found in U.K. could be dominant in U.S. by March, CDC says  CBS News
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

Source: Google News, Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 coronavirus deaths by mid-February | TheHill – The Hill