Fireside Chat

Ep. 134 — Which Will Do More Harm: The Virus or the Lockdown?

The LA Times reports that extreme poverty may be the pandemic’s heaviest toll. But it isn’t the virus causing this suffering—it’s the lockdown. Dennis also addresses the latest new media lie about him—these leftists are determined to discredit Dennis, but they are just too easily proven wrong every time they try.

Please watch the VIDEO

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Energy Used vs Wealth

  By Bob Shapiro – Image from WUWT

As per capita use of energy goes up, so does wealth. Making energy cheaper means more energy can be used, which translates into a higher standard of living. To make people poorer – lowering their standard of living – you raise the cost of energy, reducing the per capita use of energy.

By forcing greater use of more costly solar, wind, and other uneconomical renewables, the US and other western governments (and the NGOs supporting the Global Warming nonsense) are spreading poverty throughout their countries.

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We’ve Just Had the Best Decade in Human History

– Re-Blogged From The Spectator

Little of this made the news, because good news is no news

Let nobody tell you that the second decade of the 21st century has been a bad time. We are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history. Extreme poverty has fallen below 10 per cent of the world’s population for the first time. It was 60 per cent when I was born. Global inequality has been plunging as Africa and Asia experience faster economic growth than Europe and North America; child mortality has fallen to record low levels; famine virtually went extinct; malaria, polio and heart disease are all in decline.

Little of this made the news, because good news is no news. But I’ve been watching it all closely. Ever since I wrote The Rational Optimist in 2010, I’ve been faced with ‘what about…’ questions: what about the great recession, the euro crisis, Syria, Ukraine, Donald Trump? How can I possibly say that things are getting better, given all that? The answer is: because bad things happen while the world still gets better. Yet get better it does, and it has done so over the course of this decade at a rate that has astonished even starry-eyed me.

CalEPA Studying Ways to Sunset the California Economy

By Ronald Stein – Re-Blogged From Fox and Hounds

Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

California is about to take one giant step toward following Germany’s failed climate goals which should be a wake-up all for governments everywhere. Yes, you guessed it, our legislatures have authorized CalEPA in the 2019 – 2020 California State budget and Assembly Bill AB 74 to conduct studies and identify strategies to manage the decline of in-state crude oil production and decrease demand and supply of fossil fuel.

Germany tried to step up as a leader on climate change, by phasing out nuclear, and pioneered a system of subsidies for industrial wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies. Today, Germany has the highest cost of electricity in the world.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #385

The Week That Was: November 9, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “It’s a kind of scientific integrity, principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards.

You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.”

“In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” – Richard Feynman, Cargo Cult Science

Number of the Week: Down 66%. From 1.9 billion to 650 million.

The Buck Stops Here: President Harry Truman (1945 to 1953) was not well liked by the eastern political establishment, either Republican or Democrat. He was considered ill-educated, crude, and ill-suited for the job. Yet he was well read in history. He was ill-prepared for assuming office on April 12, 1945 because President Roosevelt hid his illness and did not include Truman in important discussions.

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Targeting nGDP

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Not too long ago, we wrote about the so called Modern Monetary so called Theory (MMT). It is not modern, and it is not a theory. We called it a cargo cult. You’d think that everyone would know that donning fake headphones made of coconut shells, and waving tiki torches will not summon airplanes loaded with cargo. At least the people who believe in this have the excuse of being illiterate.

You’d think that everyone would know that printing fake money and waving bogus theories around will not create new wealth. The excuse is that so called the wealth effect is so pleasant. Like drugs provide a happiness effect.

There is an old joke about a guy who talks to a psychologist about his crazy brother.
The guys says, “Doc, my brother thinks he’s a chicken.”
The psychologist says, “You should make sure he gets therapy for this delusion.”

“I would, but the eggs are good!”

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Impoverished Island Nation Embraces Coal

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Squatters from the Highlands living at Six-Mile Rubbish Tip in Port Moresby. Stephen Codrington [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

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Carbon Taxes Increase the Risk of Food Insecurity, Worse than Climate Change

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT 

Who would have guessed that raising the cost of energy with regressive carbon taxes would harm a vital, low margin energy intensive economic activity?

Climate taxes on agriculture could lead to more food insecurity than climate change itself

  • Date:July 30, 2018
  • Source:International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
  • Summary:New research has found that a single climate mitigation scheme applied to all sectors, such as a global carbon tax, could have a serious impact on agriculture and result in far more widespread hunger and food insecurity than the direct impacts of climate change. Smarter, inclusive policies are necessary instead.

An Indian farmer walks with his hungry cow through a parched paddy field in Agartala, capital city of India’s northeastern state of Tripura, March 10, 2005. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey

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High Minimum Wage Laws INCREASE Poverty Among the Already-Poor

By Kaylee McGhee – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

‘Each $1 increase in the minimum wage has…increased poverty rates and the receipt of public assistance…’

Labor Force Participation Still Well Below Pre-Recession Levels

Photo by jronaldlee

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Anti-poverty initiatives, like higher minimum wage laws and heftier welfare programs, have actually hurt poor and disadvantaged communities, according to a new studyby the Employment Policies Institute.

University of California, Irvine economists David Neumark and Brittany Bass, and Brian Asquith of the National Bureau of Economic Research, studied the long-term effects of these programs in struggling neighborhoods, looking at how minimum wage and welfare policies have impacted poverty rates over the past three decades.

They found that rather than improving impoverished communities — as they are designed to do — these policies have hurt poor areas.

“Neither a higher minimum wage nor more-generous welfare benefits have reduced poverty rates in the country’s most-disadvantaged neighborhoods. In fact, the authors find some evidence that poverty rates and the share of residents on public assistance have increased alongside a rising minimum wage,” the study reads.

The researchers said they found that the most common long-term outcome of higher welfare benefits was increased poverty and a higher number of people receiving public assistance.

“To put this in practical terms, it means that each $1 increase in the minimum wage has, in disadvantaged neighborhoods over the past three decades, increased poverty rates and the receipt of public assistance by roughly three percent,” the researchers wrote.

This study raises important questions about the effectiveness of the poverty-reduction programs leftist politicos tout.

“These findings cast serious doubt on whether the normal poverty-reduction policies — minimum wages and welfare programs — actually contribute to increased employment, reduced poverty, and higher household earnings,” the EPI wrote. “Indeed, this study should give pause to any level of government interested continuing or expanding such policies.”

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California: 4th Largest Economy Has Nation’s Worst Poverty Level, Quality Of Life

By Onan Coca – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

Have you ever seen those gorgeous California tourism commercials, where the famous people in the ads are having a wonderful time on the beach, on the golf course, and doing various other fun activities?

Well, the latest study from U.S. News and World Report puts those commercials to the lie and unmasks the ugly truth about California.

The latest rankings of best to worst states puts California firmly in the middle of the pack, thanks mostly to being ranked the 4th best economy in the nation, but the reality is that there is a wide gulf between the have’s and the have-not’s in the Golden State. That high economic ranking is misleading because so many of America’s wealthiest happen to live in the state. While California may have a high-powered economy with many wealthy people, the state also has the nation’s WORST poverty rate as well!

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UN Admits It Can’t Link Global Warming To The Spike In World Hunger, Then Does It Anyway

   Michael Bastasch From The Daily Caller – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

A United Nations report admits it’s “impossible” to link man-made global warming to a jump in world hunger statistics, but then goes ahead and does make that link anyway.

The new U.N. report estimated global warming helped increase the number of people around the world suffering from chronic hunger and undernourishment, which was mainly driven by violent conflicts in poor countries.

The U.N.’s mainline findings claim global warming compounded food shortages and famine driven by economic slowdowns and violent conflict, while an accompanying Q&A document makes another stunning admission about global warming.

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Extreme Poverty USA: The True Cost of Climate Madness

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

While various US governments continue to waste unimaginable sums of public money on pointless climate schemes, real problems ranging from third world poverty in Alabama to an explosion of the skid row population of Los Angeles are being allowed to fester.

Human Intestinal Parasite Burden and Poor Sanitation in Rural Alabama

Hookworm infection affects 430 million people worldwide, causing iron deficiency, impaired cognitive development, and stunting in children.

Saying No to Pipelines Won’t Help Struggling Families, Solutions Will

By David Holt – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Everything is increasing for the low and middle class.

Housing-related costs are up because of a severe lack of inventory. So, too, are health care costs, because there aren’t enough affordable coverage options. Even car loans are reaching a breaking point with high-interest, subprime loans that more and more people are defaulting on.

We know these truths well because they’re widely reported, constant go-to talking points for lawmakers, locally and federally.

And these trends hurt those on a fixed budget, like the elderly. They also adversely impact those who can least afford to pay more, like families and households living at or below the poverty line with little or no wiggle room in their already razor-thin budget for even the slightest increase in costs.

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‘WASI’ Paris Climate Agreement

By Paul Driessen – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Foreword: Following President Trump’s exit from the Paris Climate Treaty, a number of states, cities, universities, companies and institutions formed a “We are still in” consortium. Its members insist that they remain committed to Paris and are determined to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and prevent climate change.

As our article explains, this is all puffery and belief in tooth fairies. The issues and questions we raise ought to shame and embarrass WASI members – for spending countless billions of other people’s dollars to prevent an undetectable and irrelevant 0.01 degrees of global warming. We also ask whether jurisdictions within WASI states can take the “progressive” route and declare themselves sanctuary cities or counties, to protect their jobs and families against WASI dictates. Perhaps our article will persuade more Americans to make their voices heard, ask hard questions – and start resisting The Anti-Trump Resistance.

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Vegans are not from Vegas

[There is yet another study out – this one from U of Minnesota – saying how we could save the world by cutting beef from our diets. -Bob]

By Willis Eschenbach – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

In response to my recent post about whether we could feed more people if everyone were vegetarians (I say no), a poster named Marissa wrote a heartfelt paean  to Veganism.

Figure 1. Perhaps the world’s best-known adherent of a strict Vegan diet.

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Oxfam’s Climate Warriors Declare War on Poor People

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Oxfam have written a report which claims coal power will create more poverty. In my opinion this claim is a disgusting direct attack on the coal fired industrialisation, jobs and opportunities currently lifting a growing number of people out of chronic poverty in Asia and Africa.

Energy Use 2010-2015

Energy Use for Aluminium Smelting 2010-2015. Source World Aluminium Institute

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The Reality Of It: “Immigration Can NEVER Be An Effective Way To Deal With The Suffering People Of The World”

By Mac Slavo – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost

The most oft cited reason by opponents of President Trump’s immigration policies for why America should open its borders to the millions of impoverished and persecuted individuals around the world often center around humanitarian reasons. As a rich country with plenty of land mass, we should be able to take in anyone and everyone who may be in need, right?

While that notion, like Marx-Engels’ ideas for taking from those who have the ability and giving to those who need, may seem great on paper, successfully implementing such policies in the real world is starkly different.

According to Census Bureau statistics, some 1.3 million foreign-born individuals legally immigrated to the United States in 2014. That figure doesn’t include the nearly one million immigrants that enter the country illegally each year. Those who support open border immigration have said that we need to take in even more people.

But according to journalist Roy Beck, taking in one million people per year makes almost no difference in the grand scheme of things because for every million we bring into the United States, another 80 million people yearly are born into countries with extreme levels of poverty, violence or war. According to Beck, even opening our borders to five million more people per year would do nothing to stem the real problems.

In what is one of the most viewed immigration policy videos on the internet from Numbers USA, Beck ingeniously utilizes gumballs to demonstrate why open borders simply will not work. As well, he provides a seemingly novel solution that has for decades fallen on deaf ears:

We never get ahead of what’s happening in these countries… Don’t you see? Immigration can never be an effective or significant way to deal with the suffering people of the world… they have to be helped where they live…

99.9% of them will never be able to immigrate to a rich country… there is no hope for that… they have to bloom where they’re planted… the only place that 99.9% of these people can be helped is where they live… let’s help them there.

In short: taking in millions of immigrants doesn’t even make a dent.

So for those utilizing immigration as justification for violent protests and kinetic civil war, or for those who follow such narratives blindly based strictly on emotions that are devoid of any rational thought, we encourage you to consider the reality of bringing in millions of immigrants from impoverished countries.

And don’t just consider the non-effect of such policies as they relate to the global humanitarian situation, but consider the implications this has on America’s resources, as well as our citizens, who will be burdened with heavy taxation to cover the costs.

Even if we went by the most radical proposals in Washington, which are to actually double our immigration to two million a year… which would totally overwhelm our physical, natural and social infrastructures, we couldn’t even make a visible difference.

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The Great Skittles Non-troversy

By Kyle Becker – Re-Blogged From http://www.IJR.com

[There’s a Skittles comparison bruhaha going on. This video was from quite a few years ago. -Bob]

The video masterfully demonstrates the problem with massive immigration to the United States, and the more effective strategy of exporting freedom and democracy around the world to improve people’s quality of life. Gumballs, Skittles, there’s something about immigration controversy that lends itself to candy analogies.

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The Impoverishment Of The Masses

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.financeandeconomics.org

Feudal and mercantilist economic systems were characterised by the lower orders of ordinary people being enslaved by, or subjected to, the commands of an elite. Beyond basic subsistence, serfs and slaves were not enabled to consume other goods, nor were they given the means to do so. Communism was hawked as handing power to the serfs, or workers, united in and by the state. But again, it meant that workers remained serfs, employed and commanded by a state set up in their name. Freedom from the bourgeoisie became subjugation by the state. Only capitalism, founded on free markets and freedom of choice for all, held the promise of freeing the masses from a life of drudgery and servitude.

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Socialist Venezuela is a Hellscape Right Now

After decades of authoritarian socialist policies and wealth redistribution, the country of Venezuela is collapsing.

Here are a few examples of how the financial system that Salon.com once called an “economic miracle” has deteriorated for the people forced to live under it.

1. If you live in Venezuela, government policies have made your money worthless.

After current President Nicholas Maduro seized control over monetary policy of the country, a steep and steady devaluation of the currency has taken place. According to CNN:

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro has touted the Bolivarian Revolution, started by his deceased predecessor Hugo Chavez, as a successful movement. The goal is to equally distribute wealth among all the country’s people. Maduro has continued massive public spending programs to appeal to the country’s poor.

But the bolivar’s implosion has only created more inequality. There’s a growing divide between Venezuelans who can pay to exchange bolivars for dollars and those who can’t.

Here is the rate of inflation for the Bolivar:

venezuela inflation_0

One Bolivar is now worth less than a penny.

2. The Venezuelan government does not have enough paper to even print money.

Image Credit: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela is printing currency at an alarming rate, and the government is forced to outsource that printing to offshore companies. The financial site Zerohedge explains why:

“The central bank’s own printing presses in the industrial city of Maracay don’t have enough security paper and metal to print more than a small portion of the country’s bills, the people familiar with the matter said. Their difficulties stem from the same dollar shortages that have plagued Venezuela’s centralized economy, as the Maduro administration struggles to pay for imports of everything, including cancer medication, toilet paper and insect repellent to battle the mosquito-borne Zika virus.”

3. Grocery stores are barren wastelands.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 7.57.56 PM

Government stores are open just two days a week and are only accessible with a valid ID that limits them to a certain number of products. Even with these restrictions, these stores look like barren wastelands. Venezuelans wait all day in line hoping to get their hands on basic goods like bread and milk.

4. A hamburger will cost you $170.

https://i0.wp.com/static.ijreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/GettyImages-512498654.jpg

Economic shortfall has officially made hamburgers a luxury in the country. What many Americans enjoy off the value menu at McDonald’s is now worth 1,700 Venezuelan dollars or $170, according to Yahoo.

5. People are hunting dogs, cats, and pigeons to eat.

The situation in Venezuela has gotten so severe that bakeries can’t even produce bread anymore. Empty store shelves coupled with hyperinflation has left the community turning to hunting down dogs, cats, and pigeons to survive.

6. Clean water=gold.

As if the crippling economic crisis wasn’t bad enough, the El Nino weather system has caused water levels to drop dramatically. With 60% of the country’s electricity powered by a hydroelectric plant, the country is in a desperate situation.

On top of that, many communities are faced with yellow water that is filled with dirt. Water trucks that carry clean water get robbed 2-3 times a week, leaving drinkable water hard to come by.

7. There’s a black market for milk.

Scarcity in the country has left people looking beyond their empty store shelves to get their necessities. One person described to Telegraph that they message someone using ‘Whatsapp’ when they want to buy milk. This person’s story is more common than you think. Milk is one of the most common items on the black market.

8. There’s no toilet paper.

In Venezuela, people wait in enormous lines, begging for toilet paper. In Venezuela, they don’t care if it’s 2-ply or 4-ply or if a cute bear family is on the wrapper. All they want is a roll.

When they get their hands on it, it’s like they struck gold. With Venezuelans searching up to two weeks for the product, even tourist hot-spot hotels are now asking guests to bring their own toilet paper.

9. Electricity is rationed.

Venezuela’s new 2 day workweek isn’t as glorious as it sounds. It’s actually the latest measure to cut back on power usage. Other measures include shutting off all power for at least four hours a day. Some of these blackouts last up to 12 hours, putting daily life on pause and leaving food to spoil.

10. If you become sick in Venezuela, you are in trouble.

The state of medical care in Venezuela is straight out of a horror movie, with a lack of supplies, clean beds and caregivers. Elderly and children are dying. Read this excerpt from a recent bombshell New York Times report:

The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward.

Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.

“The death of a baby is our daily bread,” said Dr. Osleidy Camejo, a surgeon in the nation’s capital, Caracas, referring to the toll from Venezuela’s collapsing hospitals.

People have turned to social media to find medicine.

 

Faced with a public health crisis, Venezuelans are desperately using the social media platform in a last-ditch effort to save their loved ones. Using the hashtag #ServicoPublico, they are reaching out to each other in search of pills, vaccines, and even blood transfusions.

11. Lawless gangsters can kill you and your family at will.

Venezuela is lawless. Gangs control large parts of the country and commit heinous crimes at will, with little to no recourse from the authorities.

Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world:

And one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world.

For the 30 million people who live in Venezuela, these are the effects of the government’s socialist policies.

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Stock Buy Backs Are Nay Votes

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Stock prices change minute to minute based on investor perceptions and emotion. Investors compare the current price with current – and expected – earnings.

Over the longer term, it is earnings which will determine the trend of a stock’s price history. You would (correctly) expect that if Company A’s earnings rose by 25% a year for 10 years, while earnings for Company B fell by 25% a year, that the price of Company A stock would have gone up dramatically, while the stock of Company B would have fallen drastically.

One metric that investors use to compare the stock of different businesses is the PE Ratio – a simple division of the Price by the Earnings per Share (usually for the last 12 months). As optimistic investors put more money into a particular stock, the price goes up, and with it the PE Ratio also goes up.

Optimism implies that investors expect the future prospects for a business to be good. If business really is going to be good, you would expect the managers to try to put more capital to work. The business can get this capital in several ways.

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Nevada Passes Universal School Choice

Vouchers for everyone!

By Max Borders – Re-Blogged From the Foundation for Economic Education

Nevada is changing everything. According to the NRO,

Nevada governor Brian Sandoval [recently] signed into law the nation’s first universal school-choice program. That in and of itself is groundbreaking: The state has created an option open to every single public-school student.

Even better, this option improves upon the traditional voucher model, coming in the form of an education savings account (ESA) that parents control and can use to fully customize their children’s education.

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The Ethics of Climate Change

By Bob Lyman – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Calls for massive reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions ignore the impacts on the poor.

People who believe in the theory of catastrophic human-induced global warming claim that they want to “save the planet” and that this is the moral thing to do. They insist, however, that saving the planet requires stringent reductions in people’s use of fossil fuel energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They never talk about what that means to the poor. I think that, before people decide on the ethics of the debate, they need to consider what the impact would be of sharply reducing energy consumption on the wellbeing of world’s population, and especially on the poor.

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19 Surprising Facts

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

There are numerous doom and gloom blogs out there. While many times they’ll say things which are over-the-top, sometimes they also give factual reason for thought.

I came across one such site recently, The Economic Collapse Blog. One article caught my eye in particular – “19 Very Surprising Facts About The Messed Up State Of The U.S. Economy,” by Michael Snyder.

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