Russia & Ukraine: Geopolitics, Liberty and State Power

In Analysis by Michael Rae

The war between Russia and Ukraine is happening on the opposite side of the world and between countries that have different histories and political cultures from our own. Where is there a guide through all this complexity for journalists; policy staff in the U.S. government’s legislative and executive branches; college students at the graduate and undergraduate levels; and civically-minded members of the general public? I’ve sought to provide such a guide in this annotated set of recommended readings. The books and articles listed in the bibliography do not take a uniform stance, but they do …

Fauci and CDC Won’t Admit Mistakes

In Analysis by Michael Rae

On August 11, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) rescinded and altered key recommendations such as disparate treatment for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, natural immunity, and six-foot distancing measures.  “The CDC is admitting it was wrong here, although they won’t put it in those words,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford University, told The Epoch Times. “What they’ll say is that, well, ‘the population is more immunized now, has more natural immunity now, and now is the time—the science has changed.’”  As Dr. Bhattacharya noted, a large percentage of the U.S. population has had natural …

What John Oliver Gets Right (and Wrong) about Inflation

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Funnyman John Oliver recently offered a confused message on what’s driving rent prices sky high. This week he moved onto inflation, and his analysis was much sounder—though he still made one critical mistake. The British-American comedian and host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver begins by noting everyone is pointing fingers over inflation. President Joe Biden blames Vladmir Putin. Republicans are blaming Joe Biden and his Build Back Better spending agenda. Democratic lawmakers Sheila Jackson Reid and Elizabeth Warren say it’s “corporate greed,” while other commentators have cited supply chain disruptions. “There has …

Why Did it Take So Long for the US to Get the Novavax Vaccine?

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Even as Covid-19 infections and deaths decrease globally, the World Health Organization warns that “the pandemic is not over.” The Biden Administration seems to feel the same. Earlier this month, the federal government extended the Covid-19 public health emergency again. Why the concern? As WHO Director Tedros Ghebreyesus stated, “A new and even more dangerous variant can emerge any time and vast numbers of people remain unprotected.” Covid’s BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants could be an example.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, BA. 5 currently composes 80 percent of new Covid-19 cases in the …

Dr. Fauci Quarantines Truth, Common Sense, and Accountability

In Analysis by Michael Rae

“All I have ever done—and go back and look at everything I’ve ever done—was to recommend common-sense, good CDC-recommended public health policies that have saved millions of lives.” That was Dr. Anthony Fauci in late July. The declaration will come as a surprise to Drs. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University.  As we noted in January, these medical scientists of the Great Barrington Declaration, expressed “our grave concerns over the inadequate protection of the vulnerable and the devastating harms of the lockdown pandemic policy adopted by much …

Government COVID Blunders Continue With Monkeypox

In Analysis by Michael Rae

The Centers for Disease Control now tracks the confirmed number of monkeypox cases across the country. As of August 3rd, the agency reports about 6,600 cases across the country. The first confirmed monkeypox infection in the US was reported on May 19th. Monkeypox cases have followed a similar trajectory across Europe.  As cases increased, several states declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Most recently, the Biden Administration issued a public health emergency and enlisted the help of public health agencies to address recent outbreaks. That might be the most troubling news of all.  Over the …

The Economy is Under-Regulated and Increasingly So

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Without important regulations, we risk higher prices, lower quality, and worst of all, recessions. Yes, you heard me—deregulation was responsible for the 2007-2008 financial crisis.  Regulation is a set of penalties and rewards associated with certain actions.  Central to regulation is the notion of feedback loops. Some actions are rewarded and therefore encouraged; others are punished and therefore discouraged. Regulation that works “well” for consumers will trigger a set of penalties for high prices, shoddy quality, or excessively risky loans, to take just three examples.  That it will do at a bare minimum.  Better regulation …

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Congress Is Supersizing the IRS. Here’s Why That’s Bad News for Everyday Americans

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Americans love their fast-food supersized. But supersizing the Internal Revenue Service? Probably not so popular. That’s evidently of little concern to a majority of Congress. Lawmakers are poised to pass a large tax-and-spending bill, which Biden is eager to sign, that would increase IRS funding by an astounding $80 billion. The legislation “provides 14 times as much funding for ‘enforcement’—as in fishing expedition audits—than it does for ‘taxpayer services’ such as answering the phone,” according to Ben Susser of Americans for Tax Reform. The IRS would more than double its workforce under this legislation, Joe …

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The Fastest Growing Category of Government Spending

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Let’s play a game. What do you think the fastest growing category of spending for the U.S. government will be over the next 30 years? Here are your choices: Social Security Medicare Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Obamacare Subsidies Net Interest on the National Debt Everything Else While most of these categories are self-explanatory, the Everything Else category includes all the budget items the U.S. Congress sets annually. It includes things like national defense, emergency pandemic spending, welfare, et cetera. Are you ready for the answer? Here it is: This data comes from the Congressional …

Gov. Newsom Revives Delta Tunnel Project

In Analysis by Michael Rae

“After decades of failure, California dusts off controversial Delta tunnel water project,” headlines a July 27 Modesto Bee report. As author Dale Kasler explains, the administration of Governor Gavin Newsom has unveiled “a downsized version of the controversial, multibillion-dollar plan to re-engineer the fragile estuary on Sacramento’s doorstep that serves as the hub of California’s over-stressed water-delivery network.” As we noted in 2015, Governor Jerry Brown proposed to drill two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, at an estimated cost of $25 billion. As Katy Grimes of the California Globe notes, each tunnel …

The Biden Administration Says US Not in a Recession, but Federal Statutes Say Otherwise. Who is Right?

In Analysis by Michael Rae

As expected, the United States posted negative growth for the second consecutive quarter, according to government data released on Thursday. “Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022, following a decrease of 1.6 percent in the first quarter,” the US Bureau of Economic Analysis announced. The news prompted many outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, to use the R word—recession, which historically has been commonly defined as “economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP …

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The Gray Man, Harvard Elites and State-Sponsored Murder

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Netflix just dropped its high octane action movie The Gray Man on its streaming service. The streaming service reportedly dumped $200 million into the film’s production budget. While the money shows in its production values and top-flight acting, the storyline and plot don’t quite measure up. This is surprising since the movie is directed, written, and produced by the Russo brothers (and others). The Russos are the dynamic duo of filmmaking: Their commercially released films have grossed nearly $6.7 billion worldwide on combined production budgets of $1.2 billion. Netflix is betting big on The Gray Man. In addition to …