Sunday Reading – 11/13/2022

The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.

‘There are so many questions unanswered’: Closure elusive for Alexis Gabe’s family after remains are found – Amid a somber gathering Monday at City Hall meant to signal the end to the mystery of Alexis Gabe’s disappearance, the father of the 24-year-old Oakley woman — once missing, now confirmed to have died after her remains were found last week — insisted his family’s search for justice is not over, and that their quest for peace may never be.

“There are so many questions unanswered,” Gwyn Gabe said Monday, after police detailed how Gabe’s remains were found in Amador County. “I’m not sure if there can be closure for our family in terms of the loss of Alexis. The heartless and cold-blooded murder. The heartless way Alexis’ body was desecrated … .”

Last week, a person in the city of Plymouth found a human skull in a remote area that authorities said they had not previously searched. An odontologist summoned from the Contra Costa County Coroner’s Office confirmed Friday through dental records that the remains were Gabe’s.

“It was hell,” Gwyn Gabe said of the news, which came as his wife, Rowena Gabe, is in the Philippines dealing with the death of her own father. “We were already expecting it. But to truly know that she really is gone, it was heartbreaking.”

Oakley Police Chief Paul Beard said at the news conference Monday that he hoped to “provide some details” about the discovery of Alexis Gabe’s body and to “hopefully try to provide some measure of closure” to the Gabe family. Read More > in The Mercury News

Consumer prices in Bay Area heat up again and rocket higher at faster pace – The inflation rate in the Bay Area has begun to heat up again, fueled by fast-rising prices that scorched the pocketbooks of consumers during October, a forbidding new report released on Thursday shows.

Consumer prices rocketed 6% higher during October compared to the same month the year before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

After the inflation rate eased a bit and fell by 0.5% from June to August, the rate jumped 1% over the two-month period from August to October, the federal government’s report showed. The government reports Bay Area consumer prices every two months.

One major culprit that forced prices to rise: Utility costs — as in PG&E monthly bills — skyrocketed, driven by head-spinning increases in electricity and natural gas piped into the home.

Electricity costs at home bounced higher by 18.9% and natural gas was up 16.3% over the year-long period that ended in October, the labor agency reported.

Bay Area food prices helped to shove consumer costs higher, the labor agency reported.

Over the 12 months that ended in October, food prices in the Bay Area soared 10% higher. That topped the region’s annual increase of 9.6% in food prices over the one-year period ending in August, according to this news organization’s analysis of the report. Read More > in East Bay Times

Americans See Largest Pay Cut in 25 Years Due to Inflation, Dallas Fed Says – Rising inflation has dealt American workers their largest pay cut in 25 years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank.

Fifty-three percent of workers saw their wage growth dwarfed by the rate of inflation this year, according to an October report from the Dallas Fed. Despite having increased wages, the workers saw a median decline in inflation-adjusted wage growth of 8.6 percent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

“Taken together, these outcomes appear to be the most severe faced by employed workers over the past 25 years,” the Dallas Fed said. 

Over the last 27 years, the average median decline has been 6.5 percent, with real wage declines typically falling in the range of 5.7 to 6.8 percent, the report said.

While Americans have seen a 5.1 percent increase in wages, they have had to contend with rising inflation. In September, the Consumer Price Index increased by 8.2 percent year-over-year. Read More > at National Review

Kevin O’Leary on Inflation: You Printed $7 Trillion in 30 Months. What Did you Think Would Happen? – A shortage of discussion on the topic. It’s the number one issue on the mind of Americans heading into midterms, and every day on TV and in newspapers pundits are debating how long it will last and deciding who is to blame.

What’s most astonishing amid the flurry of news is just how badly the commentary misses. While there is broad agreement that the US is experiencing dangerously high inflation, partisanship and ideology have polluted basic economics.

Progressive politicians like Robert Reich and Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweet incessantly that “corporate greed” is to blame, an idea even Democratic economists have summarily dismissed. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has blamed Vladmir Putin. Republicans, on the other hand, have consistently made the case that Joe Biden is the inflation culprit.

All of these explanations are entirely or mostly wrong.

While it’s true that Putin and Biden deserve some blame—particularly in terms of high energy prices—there seems to be an unspoken bipartisan consensus to ignore the elephant in the room: the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented money printing.

One person not playing the game is Kevin O’Leary, the Canadian entrepreneur and investor who regularly appears on ABC’s Shark TankWhile speaking to journalist Daniela Cambone, O’Leary bluntly explained why Americans are experiencing the highest inflation in generations.

“The printing presses have gone insane,” O’Leary said. “That’s why we have inflation in the first place.”

By printing presses, O’Leary is talking about the Federal Reserve. The central bank has been expanding the supply of money for decades, and the clip has picked up in recent years. Nothing, however, has compared to the monetary expansion that occurred during the pandemic, something Fed Chairman Jerome Powell recently admitted in a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley. Read More > at FEE

A tale of two Americas – Yesterday’s Midterms were not a victory for conservative or progressive ideology, but an assertion of the growing power of geography in American politics. It was less a national election than a clash of civilisations.

Virtually nowhere in blue areas did Republicans make gains. Both the north-east and California – the central players in Democratic Party politics – stayed solidly blue. Even the most well-regarded GOP candidates, such as Lanhee Chen who ran for California state controller, struggled to make inroads in Democratic territory.

Meanwhile, the senators and governors of the leading red states – Texas’s Greg Abbott, Georgia’s Brian Kemp, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Ohio’s Mike DeWine – all won handily. Almost all blue-state governors remained the same as well, although the Democratic incumbents often won by smaller margins.

So, what is happening in this increasingly inexplicable country? Essentially, there are now two prevailing realities in the US. One is primarily urban, single and, despite some GOP gains in this demographic, still largely non-white. It functions on the backs of finance, tech and the service industries. The other is largely suburban or exurban, family centric and more likely involved in basic industries like manufacturing, logistics, agriculture and energy.

Usually, the media assume these two Americas represent equally viable political economies. But this is increasingly not the case. In population terms at least, red America is now growing far more rapidly than blue America. And this makes it more important politically. Since 1990, Texas has gained eight congressional seats, Florida five and Arizona three. In contrast, New York has lost five, Pennsylvania four and Illinois three. California, which now suffers higher net outbound-migration rates than most Rustbelt states, lost a congressional seat in 2020 for the first time in its history.

This decline in blue America has accelerated since the pandemic, due to rising crime and the availability of remote work. Last year, New York, California and Illinois lost more people to outbound migration than all other states. Demographer Wendell Cox notes that the largest percentage loss of residents has occurred in big core cities such as New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. In contrast, population burgeoned in sprawling areas such as Phoenix, Dallas and Orlando.

The future of the GOP depends on the continued growth of such places, as well as the growth of suburbia nationwide. Between 2010 and 2020, 51 major metropolitan areas lost 2.7million net domestic migrants from their most central counties, while suburban counties gained two million people. The Midterms show that Republicans are gaining ground in these largely suburban areas – particularly in Florida, as well as suburban Phoenix, the outskirts of Atlanta, the Houston exurbs, largely suburban Nashville, the sprawling Virginia Beach area and suburban Detroit. Democrats, where they made gains yesterday, tended to be in places like California, where the Republican Party has all but ceased to exist. Read More > at Spiked

U.S. diesel shortage squeezes farmers, homeowners and White House – Inventories of diesel in the United States are the lowest they have been heading into winter in 70 years, unnerving a broad spectrum of consumers and businesses. The shortage leaves soybean farmers in the Midwest struggling to stay out of the red and lawmakers in New England imploring the administration to release fuel from the nation’s emergency home heating oil reserves.

In the southeast, a major national supplier of diesel, Mansfield Energy, recently declared a “Code Red,” warning that some terminals were running out of fuel, forcing supply trucks to divert elsewhere. Industrial customers were advised to give three days notice before making new orders. Home heating oil suppliers are confronting similar challenges in New England.

Diesel is a workhorse of the economy, helping power most major industries. Companies rely on it to deliver their goods by truck, rail and ship, and nearly 1 in 5 homes in the northeast use diesel for heating oil. The price hikes this season are crushing, in turn driving up the cost of food and other goods. The average price at the pump is $5.36 per gallon, according to AAA, up from $3.64 a year ago. In California it is nearly $1 higher.

The cost to heat a residence using diesel-based home heating oil is projected to increase 27 percent over last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency’s winter outlook.

The crunch is driven by a confluence of issues. A surge in demand as the economy recovered from the pandemic coincided with a sudden plunge in global supply created by sanctions against Russia, which were triggered by its invasion of Ukraine. The United States now finds itself increasingly competing with Europe for fuel deliveries.

The challenge is compounded by the closing of older refineries in the United States in recent years, which has reduced the amount of diesel made here by 1 million barrels per day, or about 6 percent.

New refineries are unlikely to take their place, industry officials say. Building and running such infrastructure is expensive and typically only profitable if it operates for decades. Investors are wary of such projects at a time when the nation is transitioning away from fossil fuels. Read More > in The Washington Post

Meta laying off more than 11,000 employees: Read Zuckerberg’s letter announcing the cutsMeta is laying off 13% of its staff, or more than 11,000 employees, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a letter to employees Wednesday.

“Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history,” Zuckerberg said in the letter. “I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1.”

Shares of Meta were up about 7.7% Wednesday morning.

The layoffs come amid a tough time for Facebook parent company Meta, which provided lukewarm guidance in late October for its upcoming fourth-quarter earnings that spooked investors and caused its shares to sink nearly 20%.

Investors have been concerned about Meta’s rising costs and expenses, which jumped 19% year over year in the third quarter to $22.1 billion. The company’s overall sales declined 4% to $27.71 billion in the quarter while its operating income dropped 46% from the previous year to $5.66 billion. Read More > at CNBC

Why Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse is falling apart – Mark Zuckerberg currently sees himself as the chief architect of an elaborate new fantasy world. He calls this world the Metaverse. And he desperately wants the rest of us to start meeting and trading in this virtual-reality frontier town. Last year, he even changed the name of Facebook’s parent company to Meta, just to show how serious he was about the whole enterprise.

Yet while Zuckerberg is pouring billions into the Metaverse to make this vision a reality, back home at Meta HQ, Rome burns. What began as murmurs of discontent have become a full-blown revolt.

Zuckerberg warned last year that the Metaverse would be an expensive undertaking. But inattentive shareholders are only just waking up to how expensive it really is. The Metaverse has swallowed up over $15 billion of R&D expenditure in the past year alone. The cumulative expenditure to date is $36 billion – a sum more than double the annual GDP of Jamaica.

This might not matter so much if Meta were showing some real progress with the VR initiative. Yet leaked memos from the company acknowledge problems, or ‘quality gaps and performance issues’. Few people outside Meta use it, and staff hate being made to use it. ‘Why don’t we love the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time?’, asked Metaverse vice-president Vishal Shah in a leaked memo.

Most surreal of all, after criticism that you could only appear in the Metaverse from the waist up, Facebook posted a bizarre video of Zuckerberg’s avatar jumping – only to later acknowledge it was fake.

However, there’s nothing that angry shareholders can do. Google popularised a new model of ownership when it undertook a public offering in 2004, in which the founders maintain outsized voting rights. This model was followed by Facebook after it held its initial public offering in 2012. So Zuckerberg owns only 13 per cent of the value of the shares, but has 54 per cent of the vote. As Richard Windsor explains, not only does this ensure Meta is a private fiefdom, but it also means that non-voting stockholders disproportionately suffer the consequences of Zuckerberg’s decisions. Read More > at Spiked

Immunity debt: Why so many kids are sick with RSV – Recently, children’s hospitals across the nation have been full of sick kids, and it seems like every child has a cold these days. One of the viruses responsible, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is not new to pediatricians, but due to a recent rapid increase in cases, this may be the first time many are hearing of it. RSV is a common childhood virus that typically circulates in the winter months causing respiratory illnesses. This year, children’s hospitals have seen a surge of cases earlier in the year, in the late summer and early fall.

Although RSV can infect people of all ages, it typically does not cause severe symptoms in older children or adults with intact immune systems. RSV can cause symptoms in young children ranging from a mild cold to bronchiolitis, infection of the smaller airways of the lung leading to inflammation and mucus buildup, which can cause difficulty breathing in young children. Bronchiolitis is more common in children under 2 years of age, and although most children with bronchiolitis recover at home within 7-10 days, some may need to be hospitalized for support with their breathing or IV fluids for hydration. Children under 6 months of age are at higher risk for severe disease. RSV bronchiolitis was a major cause of pediatric hospitalizations in the winter months for many years prior to 2020.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, prevention strategies — such as masking, physical distancing and staying at home from school and work — were intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, but they also decreased the spread of these common childhood viruses, including RSV, which easily spread from person to person, especially in group settings like daycare. This disrupted typical viral patterns, and the number of positive RSV cases and pediatric hospitalizations due to RSV in the winters of 2020 and 2021 were decreased compared to prior years. It is unclear how long it will take for these viral patterns to return to their typical pre-pandemic cycles.

Now that most children are back in daycare and school at a time when masking is less widespread, RSV has had the opportunity to spread among children whose immune systems have never encountered the virus before. This phenomenon has been described as “immune debt” due to pandemic prevention measures… Read More > at The Hill  

Don’t bother with dietary supplements for heart health, study says – Six supplements that people commonly take for heart health don’t help lower “bad” cholesterol or improve cardiovascular health, according to a study published Sunday, but statins did.

Some people believe that common dietary supplements – fish oil, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, plant sterols and red yeast rice – will lower their “bad” cholesterol. “Bad” cholesterol, known in the medical community as low-density lipoproteins or LDL, can cause the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. The fatty deposits can block the flow of oxygen and blood that the heart needs to work and the blockage can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

For this study, which was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 and simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers compared the impact of these particular supplements to the impact of a low dose of a statin – a cholesterol-lowering medication – or a placebo, which does nothing.

Researchers made this comparison in a randomized, single-blind clinical trial that involved 190 adults with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. Study participants were ages 40 to 75, and different groups got a low-dose statin called rosuvastatin, a placebo, fish oil, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, plant sterols or red yeast rice for 28 days.

The statin had the greatest impact and significantly lowered LDL compared with the supplements and placebo. Read More > at CNN Health

Column: Newsom said ‘It’s time to stop pointing fingers and join hands’ on homelessness. That means him too – As he approaches a second term, Gov. Gavin Newsom is scolding local governments for failing to conquer homelessness. But he should be pointing his finger in a mirror.

Last week, the governor ripped as “simply unacceptable” homeless action plans prepared by cities and counties. And he froze $1 billion in state money the locals had intended to spend on people who are unhoused.

But there’s a much bigger problem than allegedly weak local plans. It’s the lack of any state plan at all, local officials say.

Newsom has always talked a good game on homelessness. And he and the Legislature have pumped out barrels of state money. But neither the governor nor lawmakers have provided real leadership and guidance on how the money should be spent, the locals assert.

Fiery words flow easily from Newsom — often too easily. He tends to overpromise and underdeliver. He seems sincere, but solutions to homelessness defy emotional rhetoric and good intentions. They’re found in a tangled thicket of complexities requiring a coordinated strategy to make them work. And that has been lacking.

Newsom has been railing about homelessness for years. Moments after being sworn in as governor in January 2019, the Democrat lamented “a homeless epidemic that should keep each and every one of us up at night.”

There were 151,000 homeless Californians then, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. In 2020, the most recent year for which agency data are available, that number had jumped to 161,000. Read More > in the Los Angeles Times

Is America entering a new age of democratic capitalism? – The action today, unlike that of the previous decade, is not found so much among finance-backed IPOs, which are suffering their biggest decline in two decades. Instead, small grassroots businesses are seizing new niches, even in service industries, that could transform our economy. “Lots of good things happened during Covid,” suggests Shaheen Sadeghi, founder of California-based LAB Holdings, which builds “anti-malls” hosting local businesses. “The mediocrities went under, but the people who survived are doing better than ever before. They created new ways of doing business that fit the new realities.”

This grassroots growth is very different from what happened after the last serious recession in 2008. Once the financial engineers of the City and Wall Street finished demolishing the economy, governments moved to bless more consolidation.

The big banks recovered gloriously as inequality soared and incomes, particularly for minorities like African Americans, sank. As one conservative economist put it in 2018, “The economic legacy of the last decade is excessive corporate consolidation and a massive transfer of wealth to the top 1 percent from the middle class.” Fortunately, entrepreneurialism remains embedded in our national DNA. In more managed societies — like Germany, Japan or France — the leading companies tend to remain the same over time; even those historically connected to fascism, such as Mercedes, Krupp and Mitsubishi, survived their ignominy and remain dominant. But in the United States disruptive change has been the norm: only fifty-three of the current Fortune 500 companies were here in 1955.

This emerging new economy is also reshaping our economic geography. Sadeghi’s LAB (“Little American Business”) has developed nearly fifty projects for small, independent firms, predominantly in suburban settings, places not usually thought of as sources of cultural and business innovation. By contrast, the massive bailouts standard for the last three years have not slowed the movement of people and companies away from dense, often hyperprogressive urban locales, dispersing people and work to their periphery.

This is a marked change from the last recession. The great financial crisis of 2008, precipitated by the bursting of a housing bubble, led to much speculation that Sun Belt suburbia would become what the Atlantic predicted would be “the next slums,” and that city living would make a comeback. To be sure, the oligarchic nature of the recovery was somewhat less damaging to cities like New York, San Francisco and Boston, where financial and tech firms are concentrated and key managerial talent remained, despite its previous malfeasance.

Yet the ongoing exodus from big urban centers started before Covid, with over 90 percent of all metropolitan growth between 2010 and 2020 in the suburbs and exurbs. The 2020 census notes that four of the five US counties gaining at least 300,000 people were in Texas, Arizona or Nevada. Houston and Dallas added far more people than New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or the Bay Area.

The pandemic, and the rise of online work, seem likely to accelerate this movement. The big blue coastal cities have all experienced meager growth and, since 2020, serious population losses. In the last year, the biggest migration losses took place in three key states: New York, New Jersey and Illinois. In the post-pandemic economy where some 30 percent of the employed expect to work mostly remotely, this turns even small towns into new centers of economic dynamism.

Overall, notes demographer Wendell Cox, offices on the fringe have recovered far faster than those in the largest urban cores. According to Jay Gardner, president of Site Selectors Guild, leading companies are looking increasingly at opportunities in smaller cities and even rural locations. The biggest upsurge in new business formation took place in the Deep South, Texas and the southwest while New York and the West Coast lagged. This year, Zen Business found that the best places for small businesses — in terms of taxes, survivability and regulation — were overwhelmingly in the south, parts of the Great Plains, Utah and the Midwest.

One surprising aspect of the emerging economy reflects tentative steps by corporations to return production to the United States. Read More > at Spectator World

Study: California is Home to Eight Out of the Ten Worst Cities for Drivers – The past year has been a harrowing one for drivers and the pedestrians they encounter on our roads. People have gone absolutely berserk, resulting in tragic loss of life.

Maybe it’s a California thing. Eight cities in the Golden State just made a list of the top 10 cities with the worst drivers in America:

  1. Bakersfield (#1)
  2. Sacramento (#2)
  3. Los Angeles (#4)
  4. San Francisco (#5)
  5. San Diego (#6)
  6. Fresno (#7)
  7. Riverside (#8)
  8. Richmond (#9)

The list was published by QuoteWizard, which ranked 70 cities across the country on driving safety. The researchers looked at speeding tickets and other dangerous citations, accident rates, and DUIs.

“Bakersfield has the worst drivers in the nation,” the authors proclaim. The city has the highest DUI rate. It’s also eighth in the nation for accidents and citations and fourth in speeding. 

Not a single California city made the top 10 for best drivers. Read More > at California City News

Pension systems post updated losses – California’s behemoth public pension systems, on the other hand, actually lost billions of dollars more than previously reported, putting state and local governments on the hook for even more money, according to adjusted figures recently published by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The new numbers account for updated returns on private equity and real assets, a category that includes real estate, timberland and other holdings, according to the Sacramento Bee.

  • CalPERS — which provides pensions for about 2.1 million state and local employees, retirees and other beneficiaries — posted a 7.5% loss on investments for the fiscal year ending June 30. That’s significantly higher than the preliminary 6.1% loss it announced earlier this year, its first since the Great Recession. “As with other institutional investors, our private assets were not spared from the impacts of global turmoil and domestic economic volatility,” CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost told the Bee. “While the final numbers are informative, we remain focused on long-term performance and our members can be confident that their retirement is safe and secure.”
  • CalSTRS — which provides pensions for hundreds of thousands of public school teachers — closed out the fiscal year with a 3.3% loss on investments, up from its preliminary estimate of a 1.3% loss. The negative return was also its first since the Great Recession. Read More > at CalMatters

About 1,700 California pensions are so big they exceed IRS limits – About 1,700 CalPERS pensions are so large they exceed an IRS limit and siphon money away from government employers, according to new figures from the retirement system.

The IRS sets an annual cap — this year it’s $245,000 — above which public pension payments must be treated as wages, subject to the same withholdings and deductions.

The extra-large pensions are growing more numerous in California, creating added costs for the cities and counties who have to pay for them. About 40% more retirees are receiving pensions above the limit today than four years ago. Read More > in The Sacramento Bee

Many nervous patients show up for dental appointments while high – More and more nervous patients are showing up stoned for dental appointments, often forcing dentists to postpone treatment until the patient sobers up, new survey data shows.

As more states are legalizing marijuana, more than half of dentists (52%) report seeing patients high on weed or other drugs, a new survey from the American Dental Association (ADA) found.

“In my practice, I’m seeing more patients who are openly disclosing marijuana use,” said ADA spokeswoman Dr. Tricia Quartey.

Many use marijuana to relax before an appointment, but being high can limit the care dentists can give and result in procedures being postponed, Quartey added.

“When somebody is under the influence, oftentimes we need to give more anesthesia or we may have difficulty with anesthesia,” Quartey said. “If you can’t get somebody fully numb, it’s not exactly creating the same experience and lessening the anxiety. You have to stop a visit and send somebody home.”

The survey found 56% of dentists did just that, stating that they limit treatment while patients are high. Read More > at UPI

National Park Service warns visitors to stop licking psychedelic toads – The National Park Service is warning visitors to stop kissing, and licking, the Sonoran desert toad because the amphibian’s potent toxin can make people sick.

The National Park Service warned visitors in a Facebook post last week that the Sonoran desert toad’s defensive milky venom, excreted through its skin, is classified as an illegal psychedelic that can produce “late night content no one asked for.”

“These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin,” the post said. “It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth.”

While the venom can make people sick, it can paralyze or even kill dogs, according to the Oakland Zoo, which says the toxin is meant to kill the toad’s predators.

The psychedelic toad is in high demand for its toxin which can produce euphoria and hallucinations, according to a New York Times report.

The toad’s venom, bufotenin, is considered a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal. Read More > at UPI

About Kevin

Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-UPI, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Trustee RD 2137, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction
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1 Response to Sunday Reading – 11/13/2022

  1. William A. Carpenter says:

    Much of this post, especially about inflation, the economy, and fuel prices is written by woke and left leaning deniers. These issues can be laid at the feet of Biden and his cabinet. His stopping of oil searching and delivery has led to a shortage in a once fuel independent country. There is still more oil under the United States than in any other place on earth. We have the resources, but this administration has and is preventing our using them. This country is not yet ready for a complete transition to renewable energy. It costs more and is more harmful to the environment to produce the batteries, of which we have meager resources to recycle, and even less resources to produce.

    Inflation is a direct result of the Biden Administration spending far beyond their means for items not needed by the many of low and low middle income Americans. This spending has resulted in an over production of printed “money” which the country cannot sustain. This is creating a national debt that will leave our children and grandchildren in debt up to their ears for decades. While the rich become richer, the poor become poorer. This country is becoming a two tiered society of the haves and the have not, with the have not becoming more and more the majority.

    The economy is in shambles with more people homeless and poor than ever before. Perhaps more so than even in the great depression. The tax and spend policies of this administration is leading our economy into ruin while depleting our strategic reserves which are intended to provide our military with the means to defend our country should it ever become necessary. The world is being pushed to change the international monetary basis from the Dollar to a Chinese Yuan basis. Should this occur, the United States Monetary system will collapse.

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