Vaccination Rates Not Linked to Lower COVID Rates, Epidemiology Paper Finds

A new paper in the European Journal of Epidemiology that analyzed 168 countries and 2,947 US counties found that higher vaccination rates were not associated with fewer COVID-19 cases.


On Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article noting that California has some of the lowest COVID-19 case rates in the US, even though the Golden State’s vaccination rate lags many states that are currently struggling with the delta variant.

“One clear example is the New England states of Vermont and Maine,” the Chronicle reported. “Relatively shielded from the worst of the nation’s previous surges, they have struggled against the delta variant, which has sent their case rates soaring.”

In fact, Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country. Among those 65 years and older, 99.9 percent are fully vaccinated, and 74 percent of those 18-64 are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Mayo Clinic.

Yet, as the Chronicle points out, despite its high vaccination rate, Vermont recently set its single-day case record for the entire pandemic. And as of Oct. 1, Vermont’s seven-day average case rate per 100k people was 30—triple that of the Bay Area.

There is widespread agreement among scientists that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at reducing the risk of developing severe COVID symptoms, which can result in hospitalization and death.

Their effectiveness at reducing transmission of the virus, however, remains a subject of debate, particularly since the CDC released findings in July* that show vaccinated individuals still contract the virus, transmit it, and carry just as many virus particles in their throat and nasal passages as unvaccinated individuals do when they contract the virus.

While scientists concede that the vaccines cannot stop transmission, many contend they still reduce transmission of the virus.

“We are confident vaccination against COVID-19 reduces the chances of transmitting the virus,” Johns Hopkins epidemiologists M. Kate Grabowski and Justin Lessler argued in The Daily Beast.

Other scientists are less sure, and new study suggests their skepticism may be warranted. The study, published last month in the European Journal of Epidemiology, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal, examined 168 countries and 2,947 counties in the United States and concluded that higher vaccination rates are not associated with fewer COVID cases.

“At the country-level, there appears to be no discernable relationship between percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days,” the researchers concluded. “In fact, the trend line suggests a marginally positive association such that countries with higher percentage of population fully vaccinated have higher COVID-19 cases per 1 million people.” (emphasis added)

At the county level, the researchers said, there “also appears to be no significant signaling of COVID-19 cases decreasing with higher percentages of population fully vaccinated.”

The findings do not suggest people shouldn’t get vaccinated. Again, there’s robust evidence showing vaccines reduce the risk of severe symptomatic COVID-19 reaction. What the research does suggest, however, is that vaccines are primarily a matter of personal health, not public health.

This is precisely what Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine who studies epidemiology at Stanford, recently suggested. Bhattacharya noted that research indicates that the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna offer abundant individual protection—Bhattacharya credits his own speedy recovery from COVID-19 to the vaccines—but don’t contribute to herd immunity or improve public health.

The findings published in the European Journal of Epidemiology help explain why US states such as Vermont and Maine are suffering massive case outbreaks despite their high vaccination rates. (Public health experts also point out that California has much higher levels of natural immunity than its eastern counterparts, the Chronicle reports.)

But it doesn’t explain why so many continue to maintain that the vaccines reduce transmission of the virus as well as offer protection to individuals—despite an abundance of evidence (both empirical and anecdotal) to the contrary.

One explanation may be found in an observation from economist Ludwig von Mises.

Mises famously observed that much of the strife in the modern world is a struggle over who designs the world, authorities or individuals. As Mises put it, we can either have “the democratic process of the market, in which every individual has his share, [or] the exclusive rule of a dictatorial body.”

If getting vaccinated is simply a matter of individual health, there is little reason for “the planners” (as Mises called them) to exercise control over the public. It would be akin to requiring individuals to have cancerous tumors removed in the name of “public health”.

But if not getting vaccinated is a threat to public health, or “society,” then central planners have their reason (if not a valid justification) to exercise control over society.

In other words, evidence that shows COVID vaccination is primarily about individual health runs counter to the raison d’etre of the planners, which is to exercise their plan over society.

“What those calling themselves planners advocate is not the substitution of planned action for letting things go. It is the substitution of the planner’s own plan for the plans of his fellow-men,” Mises argued in Planned Chaos. “The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute pre-eminence of his own plan.”

For people trying to understand why for the first time in modern history public health officials are trying to combat a respiratory virus by coercing healthy individuals to take their desired actions—and in many cases lose their job and basic freedoms if they do not—Ludwig von Mises is required reading.

*Correction: The CDC’s findings were released in July, not June. We regret the error.

RELATED ARTICLE: States Spent At Least $90 Million on Vaccine Lotteries. Studies Show They Accomplished Nothing

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Why a Capital Gains Tax Increase Would Be a Massive Jobs [and Wealth] Killer

Although startups comprise less than one percent of all companies, they generate 10 percent of new jobs in any given year.


When discussing the economic growth of a post-COVID landscape, too often the role of angel investors is overlooked. Angel investors, or private investors who are often wealthy, finance small business ventures in exchange for equity. For small businesses, angel investors provide a much needed lifeline in the form of cash infusion that doesn’t have to be repaid, except in shared ownership. Private investment, most often through angel investors, is undoubtedly a driving force in technological advancement and job creation.

Unfortunately, angel investment has recently been threatened by the looming possibility of capital gains tax increases under the new administration. Long-term capital gains taxes are applied to assets, such as equity in business, owned for over a year when sold. As of now, long-term capital gains are taxed at 20 percent for wealthy investors. The White House is now calling for a 39.6% top federal tax rate, nearly double the current amount.

As Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at Downsizing Government, explains, “In biotechnology and other leading-edge industries, after-tax investor gains are often reinvested in the next round of risky startups, thus creating a virtuous cycle.”

One of the reasons that nearly all high-income countries keep capital-gains taxes low is to help ensure that investors and entrepreneurs are incentivized to take the risk of committing time and resources to relatively risky start-up ventures, typically reliant on the type of scientific and technical innovation that fuels job growth and progress in the long run.

According to Census Bureau data, although startups comprise less than one percent of all companies, they generate 10 percent of new jobs in any given year. The Kauffman Foundation’s Tim Kane pointed out that “without startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy.” In the same paper, he lays out the argument that “in terms of the life cycle of job growth, policymakers should appreciate the tremendous effect of job creation in the first year of a firm’s life.”

Wealthy angel investors have been behind many US corporations that have revolutionized their field and led to unprecedented growth and technological progress. Henry Ford, for example, received an infusion of cash from coal dealer Alexander Y. Malcolmson. The first investor in Apple was a millionaire retiree from Intel, Mike Markkula. Jeff Bezos obtained $8 million from Kleiner Perkins to build Amazon.

An increase in capital gains taxes would discourage such high-risk investments that provide much-needed seed money to startups, and induce investors to shift their investments to dividend-paying stocks or bonds. While safer, these avenues of investment do not produce the jobs or innovation that startups do, and would hinder entrepreneurship.

“Such tax increases would be a blow to startup investment and entrepreneurship,” Edwards writes. “People considering launching technology startups would instead stay in salaried jobs because earning a smaller after-tax gain from a startup would not be worth all the extra stress, risk, and hard work.”

This tax increase would also make it harder for startups to attract skilled workers. Three-quarters of Silicon Valley firms offer stock options to employees to lure them away from their salaried positions at large companies. A significantly higher capital gains tax would make that benefit much less appealing.

A capital gains tax increase would come as a huge blow to angel investors who fund the new technologies and ideas that we often take for granted. To ensure future growth and progress, it is imperative that we create and maintain an environment that allows angel investors to operate and thrive.

COLUMN BY

Aadi Golchha

Aadi Golchha is the author of “The Socialist Trap: How the Leftist Utopia Will Destroy America” and an independent political analyst.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Vaccine Mandates, The Mask and Leftist Hate

Dr. Jamie Glazov discusses the Left’s romance with tyranny and terror amidst the Bolshevik coup in America.

Watch: Vaccine Mandates, The Mask and Leftist Hate.

RELATED ARTICLE: Hospitals are overflowing with fully vaccinated patients while the unvaccinated remain healthy!

EDITORS NOTE: This The Glazov Gang video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The ‘Build Back Better Baskets’ — All Tricks but No Treats?

Here’s a video of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) explaining Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) agenda. Pelosi also characterizes BBB as “transformative” which sounds eerily like Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform” America.

Pelosi states, ‘The Build Back Better is 3 Baskets. ‘It’s Climate, Health, Jobs, Security and Moral Responsibility.”

According to the White House website Build Back Better is defined as follows:

The Build Back Better Agenda is an ambitious plan to create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working familiesall paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their fair share. [Emphasis added]

According to Wikipedia:

The plan is divided into three parts: the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief package, which passed in March 2021;[2] the American Jobs Plan, a proposal to rebuild America’s infrastructure and create jobs;[3] and the American Families Plan, a proposal to invest in areas related to childcare and education.[4] As of October 1, 2021, the American Rescue Plan is the only plan that has been signed into law, though proposals featured in the American Jobs Plan have been passed in the Senate through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act[Emphasis added]

So, are there are, according to the White House and Wikipedia, only three baskets? Or, according to Pelosi five baskets?

To help us better understand what is really going on with BBB, I will go with what Pelosi’s five baskets.

Let’s take a look at each of these baskets and see what’s inside of each one as we approach Halloween.

  • Basket #1 Climate: This basket is filled with green energy goodies. It’s the Green New Deal on steroids. Unfortunately, if you heat your home using natural gas or electricity you are being tricked because you energy bill will go up, not down. If you drive a car, SUV, truck or van that uses fossil fuels you have already see gasoline and diesel prices go up over 323%. There’s no treats in this basket for us consumers too. For you see went the cost of energy goes up so does the prices of consumer goods. This basket is filled with tricks and no treats. Here are three absolutes, that a good friend of mine taught me about the climate: 1. The climate changes. 2. These changes of the climate follow natural cycles (e.g. summer, fall, winter, spring) and 3. There is nothing mankind can do to change these natural cycles. BASKET #1: TRICK!
  • Basket #2 Health: What basket #2 is about is COVID. Biden, the CDC and OSHA have used COVID to fundamentally transform our economy and how we live our lives. If you don’t have a “vaccine passport” your ability to travel within the United States and overseas can be restricted or even denied. COVID is the hammer and we are the nails. Get VAXXED or get fired. Get VAXXED or you can’t shop, go to a restaurant or even celebrate the 2021 holiday season. The health weapon of choice is government mandates. Obey or suffer the consequences. BASKET #2: TRICK.
  • Basket #3 Jobs: Work for a company with more than 100 employees and don’s get VAXXED you get fired. If you are in the medical profession and work in a hospital and you choose not to get the Covid vaccine you can be fired. It that job creation? We think not. Are lockdowns job creation? We think not. Is forced unions to get jabbed helping the job market? Nope. Are the supply chain backups helping to create jobs? You can answer that one. There’s a growing number of people pushing back against the job killing programs (e.g. higher taxes on business and individuals) of Biden’s BBB agenda. BASKET #3: TRICK.
  • Basket #4 Security: Let’s start with Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan to its being blindsided by China’s new weapons system. Iran is on the rise, Biden is encouraging unvetted illegals to cross our Southern border by the tens of thousand and importing unvetted Islamists from Afghanistan. Biden’s security policy is there’s no national security policy. Get it? Got it? Good! BASKET #4: TRICK.
  • Basket #5 Moral Responsibility: Biden left Americans behind in Afghanistan. Biden supports abortion up to birth. Biden supports giving illegals voting rights and benefits over our wounded warriors. Biden has kowtowed to the most dangerous regimes in the world and left Americans to fend for themselves. We have see an increase in suicides that fit the COVID lockdowns and social isolation. Biden’s DOJ has designated parents as domestic terrorists if the speak out about public school policies during school board meetings. Democrats continue to persecute those who peacefully demonstrated on January 6th, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Those demonstrators are facing abuse and even torture while in prison. Are these morally responsible positions? NOT! BASKET #5: TRICK

Tricks or Treats?

Question: Are we getting treats or being tricked?

Answer: According to our analysis above we’re all being tricked and Biden is just getting started.

Biden laid out the following goals for his “Build Back Better” agenda:

  1. “Build a Modern Infrastructure” [More government spending]
  2. “Position the U.S. Auto Industry to Win the 21st Century with technology invented in America” [Mandate the auto industry comply or else]
  3. “Achieve a Carbon Pollution-Free Power Sector by 2035” [Green New Deal]
  4. “Make Dramatic Investments in Energy Efficiency in Buildings, including Completing 4 Million Retrofits and Building 1.5 Million New Affordable Homes” [More Green New Deal mandates]
  5. “Pursue a Historic Investment in Clean Energy Innovation” [Green New Deal on asteroids]
  6. “Advance Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation” [Famers required to be green or else]
  7. “Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economy Opportunity” [Equal people are not free and free people are not equal]

The Biden administrations agenda has become very clear.

If the intent of Biden is to make the lives of every American better then as of today he is a complete failure.

Conclusion

So Build Back Better is actually a massive government growth coupled with social a massive government spending spree. Not surprisingly it is inextricably tied to Covid.

To pass the Democrat/Biden Build Back Better agenda requires the American people’s cooperation. However, we are seeing more and more Americans taking up arms against this plan via civil disobedience.

Since his election, Biden’s poll numbers have dropped dramatically as he and his handlers try to implement his BBB agenda.

The backbone of Build Back Better is comply or else.

Freedom of choice. My body, my choice only applies to killing the unborn, not to you if you don’t get jabbed.

We predict as the Build Back Better agenda moves forward more and more American workers and their families will move backwards.

We sincerely hope we are wrong but unfortunately is appears were not.

The midterm elections in 2022 will be a bell weather election. If conservatives, note I did not write Republicans, don’t take control of one or both houses of Congress we are doomed

Get out and vote. Insure your state implements laws that enhance election integrity.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Horror: Covid ‘Vaccine’ Vials Under the Microscope [Videos]

This new Glazov Gang episode features Dr. Carrie Madejan Osteopathic Internal Medicine Physician who blends traditional & holistic medicine for optimal health.

Dr. Madej discusses: Horror – Covid ‘Vaccine’ Vials Under the Microscope, sharing her terrifying findings.

And make sure to watch our 2-Part Series with Dr. Carrie Madej and Vera Sharav on COVID Vaccine Mandates & Nazi Tactics and The COVID Vaccine and Rewriting Human DNA.

[1] Dr. Carrie MadejThe COVID Vaccine and Rewriting Human DNA — the transhumanism agenda and the Deep State’s plan to own your body.

[2] Vera Sharav: COVID Vaccine Mandates & Nazi Tactics — How “Auschwitz did not begin with Auschwitz.”

EDITORS NOTE: This Glazov Gang video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Subscribe to JamieGlazov.com.

Gun Control Works! Muslim Convert Murders Five People with a Bow and Arrow

My latest in PJ Media:

Advocates of gun control should take note of recent developments in Norway, but won’t: On Wednesday evening, a convert to Islam in the city of Kongsberg, southwest of Oslo, began shooting at random people with a bow and arrow. Police confronted him, but police in Norway are unarmed, so they had to retreat when he began firing arrows at them. He was only apprehended 35 minutes later, after he had murdered five people. The lessons for foes of the Second Amendment should be obvious, and those aren’t the only lessons of this grisly incident.

The attacker was a Danish citizen and convert to Islam named Espen Andersen Bråthen. And he hadn’t embraced that religion of peace and tolerance that non-Muslim politicians in the West keep telling us about. According to the UK’s Sun, “Police said the Danish man suspected of the attack is a Muslim convert who was previously flagged as having been radicalized.” Chief of Police Ole Bredrup Sæverud stated that “there has previously been worrying information about this man linked to his radicalisation which the police have followed up… but in 2021, we have not received any warnings about him.”

So the police knew that Espen Andersen Bråthen could be dangerous, but they hadn’t received any reports about him lately, and so he was free and unsupervised to the extent that he was able to murder five people. It would be unrealistic to expect Norwegian police to be shadowing every dangerous person who may at some point commit a crime, but Bråthen does appear to be one who warranted a bit more attention than he received. According to the Washington Post, “Norwegian media reported that a court had granted a restraining order last year for the alleged attacker to stay away from two of his family members for six months after he threatened to kill one of them.”

Despite all this, the Sun claimed that Bråthen’s motive was “unknown,” and the Post noted that “the police attorney said psychiatric experts would assess him on Thursday.”

Maybe he is insane, but there is a long history of authorities in the West declaring that people who are obviously jihadis are simply mentally ill. In the real world, there is extremely strong evidence of what Bråthen’s motive was. He is a convert to a religion that reveres as holy a book that tells believers to “kill them,” that is, unbelievers, “wherever you find them” (Qur’an 2:191; 4:89; cf. 9:5). This applies to family members as well, for the same book says: “O you who believe, do not choose your fathers or your brothers for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoever among you takes them for friends, such people are wrongdoers” (Qur’an 9:23). It depicts the patriarch Abraham as telling his unbelieving father that “there has arisen between us and you hostility and hatred forever, until you believe in Allah alone.” (Qur’an 60:4)

There is more. Read the rest here.

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Afghanistan: Sunni Muslims murder 32 Shi’ites in jihad suicide bombing at Kandahar mosque

UK: Muslim linked to ‘Islamist extremists’ stabs MP to death

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEOS: Why Are Mail-in Ballots Wrong?

“So the answer to the question about what could go wrong with mail-in ballots is this: plenty.” – Peter J. Wallison, American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Emeritus.


On November 16th, 2020 a video was posted titled This Is Why “Mail In Ballots” Are A Problem.


On March 29th, 2020 the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center told One America News that the first and, so far, only complete audit of 2020 election mail-in ballots shows about 6 percent of the votes cast were illegal.

On September 11, 2020 a local election official in New York state is warned that some people are trying to request mail-in ballots on behalf of deceased people.

On October 20th, 2020, MIT News reported:

In elections, every vote counts. Or should count. But a new study by an MIT professor indicates that in the 2016 U.S. general election, 4 percent of all mail-in ballots were not counted — about 1.4 million votes, or 1 percent of all votes cast, signaling a significant problem that could grow in 2020.

The study quantifies the range of reasons for this, including late-arriving ballots, problems with ballot signatures and envelopes, and improperly marked ballots, among other things.

In an August 25th, 2020 Op-Ed column titled “Mail-in ballots: What could go wrong?” Peter J. Wallison wrote:

So the answer to the question about what could go wrong with mail-in ballots is this: plenty. Just in the recent primary election in New York, results in one race could not be reported until six weeks after the balloting as the representatives of rival candidates fought over the validity of mail-in ballots. As the Washington Post reported,

At the center of this mess is a massive influx of mail-in ballots — 403,000 returned ballots in the city this cycle vs. 23,000 that were returned and determined valid during the 2016 primary — and a system wholly unprepared to process them. It’s not just delayed results that are at issue: In the 12th District and in the primaries across the country, tens of thousands of mail-in ballots were invalidated for technicalities like a missing signature or a missing postmark on the envelope.

In New Jersey, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, 9.6% of ballots were not counted, because of deficiencies such as late delivery and lack of signatures. These controversies will not be settled by goodwill on both sides. They will eventually make it into the courts, and the inevitable delays in litigation may mean that the new Congress will convene on Jan. 3 without all the seats filled in both the House and Senate.

Infinitely worse will be the controversy over the presidency, as tedious ballot counts produce challenges to the validity of signatures, ballot delivery dates and whether a voter is truly a resident of the state in which the vote was cast. Several weeks ago, for example, the Wall Street Journal published an article by a voter who was once a resident of Washington state but is now a resident of Texas. A ballot was sent to his Washington home and dutifully forwarded by the post office to his Texas address. Clearly, he could easily vote in two states. How many partisans will resist this temptation? Imagine the fights that will occur over whether a particular voter is validly entitled to vote in Texas or Washington. Will the residency of every voter have to be verified?

California’s Mail-in Ballots

On July 13th, 2020 The Associated Press reported:

More than 100,000 mail-in ballots were rejected by California election officials during the March presidential primary, according to data obtained by The Associated Press that highlights a glaring gap in the state’s effort to ensure every vote is counted.

[ … ]

The California secretary of state’s election data obtained by the AP showed 102,428 mail-in ballots were disqualified in the state’s 58 counties, about 1.5% of the nearly 7 million mail-in ballots returned. That percentage is the highest in a primary since 2014, and the overall number is the highest in a statewide election since 2010.

Today California has implemented statewide mail-in balloting.

What could possibly go wrong now?

Mail-in Ballot Fraud

‘Impossible’: Analysis of 950 Military Mail-In Ballots in GA Show 100% Went to Biden.

Ballotpedia defines mail-in ballot fraud as,

Absentee/mail-in ballot vote fraud occurs when an individual commits electoral fraud via absentee or mail-in ballot. Examples include attempting to vote more than once, attempting to vote using the name of another person, and attempting to vote while being knowingly ineligible to do so.”

On October 15th, 2020 Hans A. von Spakovsky and Kaitlynn Samalis-Aldrich in their article titled “More Examples of Election Fraud Prove the Left Is in Denial About It” wrote:

The 2020 presidential election is less than three weeks away, and many Americans have already voted early or through the mail.

Unfortunately, at the same time that they are exercising their franchise, there are others out there who are taking advantage of the vulnerabilities in our system to try to steal their vote or dilute the value of their vote.

Though many on the left downplay the threats to the security and integrity of the electoral process, such fraud really does occur, jeopardizing free and fair elections for the American people.

The Heritage Election Fraud Database showcases a sampling of close to 1,300 proven instances of election fraud. Yet, many other cases go unreported and other potential cases are not investigated or prosecuted.

Here are some examples of mail-in ballot fraud:

  • A German journalist who reports that he received three ballots at his residence in Washington, D.C., for the previous tenant, who moved five years ago; the landlady, who now lives in Puerto Rico; and the landlady’s deceased husband.
  • New Jersey residents across the state reporting that they have received absentee ballots for their deceased relatives.
  • Clerical errors that sent 1,400 Virginia voters two mail-in ballots for the general election.
  • Close to 100,000 New York City voters receiving mail-in ballots with incorrect names and addresses.
  • An acquaintance of one of the writers living in Washington, D.C., who received five ballots in the mail—two for him, one for his roommate, and two for individuals who haven’t lived at his address for years. Those ballots can be seen here.

Conclusion

The Atlantic reported on September 30th, 2020 that, “Democrats looking ahead to the presidential election urged people to stay home in November—and vote by mail.”

An August Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that roughly half of Biden voters were expect to cast their ballot by mail for the 2020 Presidential election.

QUESTION: Did these Democrats cast their mail-in ballots lawfully?

If half of the 130 million votes cast in the 2020 election by Democrats were mail-in, then how many of these estimated 65 million mail-in ballots for Biden legally cast?

If we estimate that 6% were illegally cast then that’s 3.84 million illegal mail-in votes!

No one has seriously looked into this.

Voter fraud is real. Mail-in voter fraud is real. The future of free and fair elections is in jeopardy.

Today with mail-in ballots anyone, legal or illegally, can send in a mail-in ballot.

As we approach the 2022 mid-term elections do we have confidence that the election will be free and fair? With mail-in ballots now becoming the norm rather than the exception, we think not.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

RELATED VIDEO: Election integrity update on Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin audits.

Freedom From Slavery is a Basic Human Right that Nevada Denies Many

By providing legal cover for the sex trade, Nevada is directly violating the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. States cannot create conditions that allow slavery or involuntary servitude to flourish—including in the form of sex trafficking.

The NCOSE Law Center’s lawsuit representing survivors seeks to hold the state of Nevada accountable for protecting prostitution and profiting from it.


The Lawsuit Against Nevada, Explained

Nevada—a state which continues to profit from and provide legal cover for the sexual exploitation of women—has been hit with a lawsuit brought by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center and Jason D. Guinasso with Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC, on behalf of sex trafficking survivors.

In the United States, it is believed that prostitution generates over $14 billion in revenue yearly and five billion of that comes from Nevada. Nevada has legalized prostitution in certain counties, and benefits from the tourism driven by the belief that prostitution is legalized everywhere.  So, not only does the state of Nevada provide the commercial sex industry with legal cover, it also profits from the sexual exploitation of women.

Here’s what you need to know about the lawsuit against Nevada, as well as information on how you can help hold the state accountable for profiting from the sexual exploitation of women.

What happened to the plaintiffs who are suing the state of Nevada?

As a child, during a vulnerable time, Angela Williams encountered a man who became the first of many to sell her to commercial sex buyers. Ms. Williams was attending college in Houston and working two jobs to support herself when she was introduced to her first sex trafficker before she was even 18. Williams was groomed and forced to perform sexual acts on commercial sex buyers once she turned 18.

Ms. Williams was eventually able to break free of her sex trafficker, but ended up at a strip club in Houston where she met another violent sex trafficker. She escaped again but was soon trapped again in the state of Nevada. There, Ms. Williams was sexually abused, exploited, and trafficked time and again. Ultimately, Ms. Williams would be trafficked in Nevada from 2006 to 2017.

Doe was introduced to the world of sex trafficking in Las Vegas by a family member who promised her it was a “quick and easy” way to get money.

Plaintiff Jane Doe was subjected to extreme violence, starvation, and torture while being sex trafficked in Nevada from 2013 to 2018.  Jane Doe eventually ended up at a legal brothel in Nevada, where she was subjected to debt bondage and other forms of coercion.

Why bring a lawsuit against the state of Nevada?

The right to be free from slavery is a basic human right that Nevada denies many. Angela Williams and Jane Doe’s experiences are not isolated.

The sexual exploitation of women for profit happens every single day in Nevada and it has long attempted to normalize and profit from the regulation of prostitution in its state. The demand of commercial sex buyers is extremely high and Nevada pulls in profits of around $5 billion annually from the commercial sex trade.

The commercial sex industry directly subjected Ms. Williams and Jane Doe to slavery and involuntary servitude in the form of sex trafficking, due to Nevada’s system of regulated prostitution.

By providing legal cover for the sex trade, Nevada is directly violating the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment makes it so that states cannot create conditions that allow slavery or involuntary servitude to flourish—including in the form of sex trafficking.

What is the desired outcome of the lawsuit against the state of Nevada?

The plaintiffs are dealing with the repercussions of trauma and physiological damage and are seeking accountability and justice for the state of Nevada for protecting prostitution and profiting from it.

We know these two plaintiffs are not the only survivors who have been sexually exploited for profit thanks to the state of Nevada. Through this lawsuit, survivors are taking a stand and shining a light on the dark side of regulated  prostitution with which Nevada is complicit. It is clear that the state of Nevada is profiting from sexual exploitation and that it will continue to do so if left unchallenged.

Who is helping survivors bring this lawsuit against the state of Nevada?

The legal team representing Angela Williams and Jane Doe consists of:

  • Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC
  • National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center

You can learn more about the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center here.

How can I help support the lawsuit and be part of holding the state of Nevada accountable?

Survivors need all the support they can get to take on this multibillion-dollar sexually exploiting business happening in the state of Nevada. Please consider sharing this blog and the graphics below on social media with a message about the harms of full decriminalization of the commercial sex trade. The injustices happening in Nevada can only stop once buyers feel accountable for the harm that is done.

RELATED ARTICLE: NCOSE Expert Researcher Testifies Against Legalization of Prostitution in Vermont

EDITORS NOTE: This National Center on Sexual Exploitation column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

California Town Sees Businesses Vanish Following Minimum Wage Hike

A couple of years ago, I praised federalism in part because state and local governments would be less likely to adopt bad policy (such as higher minimum wages) if they understood that jobs and investment could simply migrate to jurisdictions that didn’t adopt bad policy.

But “less likely” isn’t the same as “never.” Some state and local politicians can’t resist the temptation to raise taxes, even though that means workers “vote with their feet” for places with lower tax burdens.

And some state and local politicians continue to mandate higher minimum wages (see hereherehere, and here), even though that means workers have fewer job opportunities.

Today, we’re going to look at some fresh evidence from Emeryville, California.

The local newspaper has an impressively detailed look at what’s happened to the town’s labor market.

Representatives from the Mills College Lokey School presented data from its recent ‘business conditions’ survey to our City Council on Tuesday. The study confirmed what restaurant owners warned when the ordinance was hastily passed in 2015. They are struggling, rapidly raising menu prices and increasingly looking to leave. …It’s getting harder to find small food service businesses that were around in 2015 when the MWO was passed. Emeryville institution Bucci’s, Commonwealth, Farley’s, Scarlet City … all gone. In fact, nearly all the brick & mortar businesses that comprised the short-lived Little City Emeryville small business advocacy group have moved, folded or sold. …The survey also identified that “the restaurant industry is clearly struggling.” Specifically, small, independent, non-franchise establishments are having the most difficulty.

Here are some of the survey data on the negative effect.

Here is some specific information on how restaurants have been adversely impacted.

…nearly all the new businesses that have opened have embraced the counter service model that requires fewer employees. Paradita Eatery, whose original plan was for a full service sit-down restaurant, cited Emeryville’s wage ordinance specifically for ‘pivoting’ to a counter service model. Counter service models require fewer employees to offset higher labor costs. …The only full service restaurant that has opened since the Minimum Wage was passed was 612One Asian Fusion which folded after just two years in business.

One of the reasons for the economic damage is that Emeryville has gone further and faster in the wrong direction.

The local law is more onerous than the state law and more onerous than other nearby communities.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW EAST BAY CORE MINIMUM WAGE SCHEDULE COMPARISON

But it’s not just workers who are suffering.

Consumers are adversely impacted, as well.

One commenter, who identified herself as a resident, questioned why the survey did not include consumer data noting her dining frequency was altered by the drastic price increases she’s observed. …She noted that she used to frequent her local Doyle Street Cafe 2-3 times per month but last year went only twice. …Once franchise owner noted that the price increases they’ve been forced to pass along have ironically had the biggest impact on vulnerable communities that are more price-sensitive. “Our largest decrease in guests are folks over 50. Obviously our elderly, disabled, and folks on fixed incomes are unable increase their income to compensate for the price increases.”

Let’s close with a new video from Johan Norberg, which looks at the impact of minimum wage increases in San Diego.

P.S. If local communities are allowed to mandate minimum wages higher than the state level or federal, shouldn’t they also have the freedom to allow minimum wages that are lower than the state level or federal level?

P.P.S. A number of European nations have no mandated minimum wage. As explained in this video, that’s an approach we should copy.

P.P.P.S. If you want some minimum wage-themed humor, you can enjoy cartoons herehereherehere, and here.

This article was reprinted with permission from International Liberty.

COLUMN BY

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a Washington-based economist who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

RELATED ARTICLE: Labor Department Reports Record High Number of Workers Quitting Jobs Over Mandate (VIDEO)

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Court Sides With Unvaccinated Michigan Athletes in Mandate Case

Beautiful. Stand up now or live on your knees.

Court Sides With Unvaccinated Michigan Athletes in Mandate Case

By Steven Kovac, The Epoch Times, October 9, 2021:

Sixteen unvaccinated athletes won another round in their legal battle to play sports, despite Western Michigan University’s mandate that all of its inter-collegiate athletes get the COVID-19 vaccination shot.

In a unanimous published decision issued Oct. 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio, held that the university violated the athletes’ First Amendment rights.

All 16 athletes had filed for religious exemptions, which, according to the court, the university “ignored or denied.”

The court stated: “The university put plaintiffs to the choice: Get vaccinated, or stop fully participating in intercollegiate sports. By conditioning the privilege of playing sports on plaintiffs’ willingness to abandon their sincere religious beliefs, the university burdened their free exercise rights.”

The three-judge panel denied a request by the university to stay a lower court’s preliminary injunction that stopped it from enforcing the vaccination mandate.

The mandate would have barred the athletes from playing in games, or even practicing with their teams, unless they were immunized against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

Attorney David Kallman, senior counsel with the Great Lakes Justice Center, who represents the athletes, told the Epoch Times: “It’s a great win for our clients and for religious liberty.”

According to Kallman the court’s decision is now a “binding precedent” in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

In a press release, Kallman wrote: “The Sixth Circuit Court vindicated their (his clients) religious convictions and that they can continue to be part of their teams.

“We trust all parties can move forward in a spirit of cooperation to uphold the important constitutional issues at stake, as well as taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of everyone at WMU.”

The order affirms: “The First Amendment, as incorporated through the 14th Amendment, prevents a state from ‘prohibiting the free exercise’ of religion.”

The 14th Amendment also guarantees equal protection under the law.

Western Michigan University has no vaccination mandate for the student body as a whole.

However, its athletes are still required to wear masks at practice and be regularly tested for the virus. Those policies were not addressed in the athletes’ complaint.

RELATED ARTICLES:

A Wyoming high school student refused to wear a mask, so police locked down the entire school and arrested her

‘Standing up for freedom’: Candace Cameron Bure says she’s not anti-vaccine but rather pro-immune system, pro-medical freedom

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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SCHOOL INDOCTRINATION: HOW CUBANS AVOIDED IT

To gaze idly at a crime is to commit it.” – José Martí.


AUTHOR’s COMMENT:

“Common Core” is the same educational system the communist regime of Fidel Castro imposed in Cuba in the early 1960s.  It is the norm in all totalitarian communist regimes.  Each child will have a file from birth to death with all his information, including his conduct, his friends and his parents.  Based on that information depends what he would be studying, what kind of job he will be assigned, where he will be allowed to live and what food and clothes he will be allowed to have.  To avoid that situation, Cuban desperate parents did the unthinkable and sent 14,048 unaccompanied children to the U.S. between 1960 and October 1962.  It was known as Operation Peter Pan.  Most Americans have not been told about it. 

According to the Code of Youth of the Cuban Communist Constitution, only the state have the right to educate the children.  Parents do not have any input at all and they can be sent to jail if they teach their children something that contradict the state dogma.


Soon after Castro’s Marxist Communist-Socialist type government took hold of Cuba in 1959, it became clear that Cuban parents where losing the right to make decisions about educating and raising their children.

Their main concern was the political indoctrination tenor of the new curriculum as is happening in the U.S. now in 2021.

Early on, the final signs were when Castro sent his 12-year-old son “Fidelito” to be educated in the Soviet Union, The international Boy Scouts were outlawed and converted into the Soviet-style “Young Communist Pioneers” for elementary school children and the “Young Communist Association” for teenagers. Cuban parent’s fears were confirmed.

All private schools were targeted and soon confiscated by Castro’s government. And many children were sent to distant places on the island to be indoctrinated.

Thus began the destruction of the Cuban family.

Some parents became fearful of their own children and didn’t talk openly in their homes worried of being denounced to the government as the indoctrination demanded. The future looked bleak for the very close Cuban families.

As painful and unthinkable as it was, many parents made the decision to send their children to be educated in the U.S. That was the beginning of a clandestine operation with the cooperation of the U.S. government and Catholic Charities.

In October 1960, the first unaccompanied child arrived in Miami. It had to be done this way because Castro didn’t allow family members to leave his island together. Most parents they thought they would be able to leave Cuba soon to reunite with their children.

In the U.S. the children were sent to live with relatives, foster parents or to orphanages. From 1960 to October 22, 1962, 14,048 unaccompanied children between 6 and 18 years old were able to leave Cuba under “Operation Peter Pan”.

Many children were eventually reunited with their parents but others never saw them again because many were jailed or died in Cuba.

This clandestine operation was the biggest exodus of unaccompanied children in the Western Hemisphere.

Some of these children ended up on the opposite side from their freedom and American-loving parents after passing through the educational system in the U.S., increasingly controlled by Marxist professors and infiltrators since the 1960s.

Of course now the situation has changed in the U.S. and in today’s world there is no place to go to escape indoctrination. It has to be stopped before more harm is done to the new generation.

COLUMN BY

 Agustin Blazquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton, 2021

©Agustin Blazquez. All rights reserved.


INDOCTRINATION OF CHILDREN  IN CUBA AND OPERATION PETER PAN

Common Core” is the same educational system the communist regime of Fidel Castro imposed in Cuba in the early 1960s.  It is the norm in all totalitarian communist regimes.  Each child will have a file from birth to death with all his information, including his conduct, his friends and his parents.  Based on that information depends what he would be studying, what kind of job he will be assigned, where he will be allowed to live and what food and clothes he will be allowed to have.  To avoid that situation, Cuban desperate parents did the unthinkable and sent 14,048 unaccompanied children to the U.S. between 1960 and October 1962.  It was known as Operation Peter Pan.  Most Americans have not been told about it. 

Cuban Kids from the 60s Exodus

The Largest Exodus of Children in the Western Hemisphere

Of the thousands of stories of the Cuban exodus, this one must be told.  It’s the story of the biggest exodus of children ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, but is largely unknown.  From December 26, 1960 through October 22, 1962, 14,048 unaccompanied children between 6 and 18 years old left Cuba for the US.  There were many valiant and dedicated people in Cuba and in the US working for the success of this secret operation.  It was coded:  Operation Peter Pan.

In the 1930s, 7,482 Jewish children were smuggled out of Nazi Germany to England and other countries and in the communist take over of Spain that lead to a civil war, thousands of children were evacuated to France, Belgium and England.  When the communists in Spain were heading for defeat, it is said that 5,000 children were sent to the Soviet Union.  In 1940, during the Battle of Britain, about 1,000 British children were sent to the US for safety.  And at the end of the war, about 5,000 orphans were brought from Europe to the US for adoption.

Before Castro, people used to immigrate to Cuba.  But after Castro, the biggest exodus in this hemisphere began.  The first to arrive into the US in January 1959 came with their money and belongings but later, as Castro added  more and more restrictions, people were forced to leave with nothing.  This created a terrible burden on the relatives and friends who arrived earlier and were supporting and helping the newcomers.  Later, the burden fell to private charities and the US government.  By 1960 some 4,000 had arrived and by December 1961, 12,000 with 200 arriving in Miami each day.  By 1971, 261,000 were established in Miami and almost as many elsewhere in the US.  During the 1980 Mariél exodus 125,000 left but 2 million more who requested to leave were stranded in Cuba when that door was closed.  In 1997 there are 2 to 3 million Cuban exiles all over the world and their numbers would have been greater if leaving Cuba had been easier.

In opposition to general beliefs resulting from 38 years of Castro’s propaganda echoed by the press and the liberal establishment, Castro’s revolution affected Cubans from all walks of life and the brutality of his repression was felt since January 1959.  From the beginning, when people realized that he was moving toward a communist dictatorship, the opposition began, even from the people who previously fought at his side against Batista.  Many Cubans, as the situation worsened during 1959 and 1960, thought that Castro would be overthrown.  As his control grew and his cronies became entrenched in civilian and government positions, Cubans became concerned that unseating Castro would lead to a bloody civil war, as in Spain in the 1930s.

On May 1, 1960, Castro launched his slogan “Cuba sí, Yankees no!” and ordered the creation of communist indoctrination schools while publicly denying he was a communist.  In July, he began to confiscate properties owned by Americans, Spaniards and Jews.  In October, he created the neighborhood committees (fashioned after 1930s Nazi Germany) to spy on and control each city block.

The radicalism of Castro’s revolution spread toward the educational field raising parents’ concern.  Circulating rumors that he was planning to confiscate the over 1,000 secular and religious private schools (which did materialize later) made parents fearful about their children’s future.  Some private schools began closing – temporarily, they thought – because of the increasing pressures from Castro’s regime to change to Marxist textbooks to indoctrinate the children.  After private schools closed, many parents kept their children home instead of sending them to public schools where communist indoctrination had already begun.

Many Cuban parents remembered the stories of the end of the civil war in Spain where 5,000 children were sent to the Soviet Union for indoctrination and others were held as hostages.  They were fearful that the same thing would happen in Cuba.  Many parents did not want to leave Cuba because they thought that Castro would be overthrown in a matter of months.  Or because they could not abandon an old or sick family member, or a spouse or a brother who had become a political prisoner.  Others because they were involved in the anti-Castro movement.  They couldn’t leave but they wanted their children to be saved.

In the fall of 1960, rumors circulating in Cuba and in Miami exile circles added to the fears of parents in Cuba.  The main concern was the prospect of losing the “patria potestad,” which meant that parents would lose the right to make the decisions about raising their children.  Instead, the government would decide such things as where each child would live, each child’s school and curriculum, etc.  This did materialize later on.

The departure from Cuba of Castro’s 12-year-old son, Fidelito, to be educated in the Soviet Union seemed to confirm this rumor.  Then, the creation of the Young Communist Pioneers – replacing the Boy Scouts – and the Association of Young Communists added panic to the situation.  Some of the children already absorbed into these mass organizations began to show the effects of the indoctrination:  parroting Castro’s slogans and using communist jargon, and becoming informants.  In some instances, parents became fearful of their own children and self-censored what they said in front of them to avoid being denounced to the authorities.  The future didn’t look promising for families under Castro. Painful as it was, many parents thought that it was time to get their children out of Cuba even if they had to leave unescorted.

In October 1960, the first unaccompanied Cuban child arrived in Miami.  He was sent by his parents who thought that their relatives and friends would take care of him temporarily until Castro was overthrown.  They had no way of knowing that their relatives were almost destitute.  Since no one was willing or able to take responsibility for his welfare, the 15-year-old boy was being passed from one family to another on a daily basis.  This psychologically affected the boy.  He was scared and hungry and had lost 20 pounds when someone took him to the Catholic Welfare Bureau in Miami on November 15, 1960.  The man who brought him in pleaded for a foster home or a boarding school for the boy.  The boy’s name was Pedro (Peter).  Later on, the organized effort to get the unaccompanied children safely out of Cuba and properly cared for in the US would be named for him:  Operation Peter Pan.

Father Bryan O. Walsh, Executive Director of the bureau, made temporary arrangements for the care of Pedro.  Father Walsh, born in Port Arlington, Ireland in 1930, was ordained as a priest in St. Augustine, Florida in 1954.  He was a dedicated and compassionate Spanish-speaking priest who had been in Miami since 1957.  He was aware of the impending influx of Cuban children through a sister agency, the Hispanic Catholic Center in Miami.  He realized that Pedro was the first child of many that would come as the situation deteriorated in Cuba.  And he sought federal help to cope with the emergency situation that was developing.

Father Walsh also turned to the Welfare Planning Council for help.  They arranged a meeting for the third week of November 1960 with representatives of the Dade County Welfare Department, Florida State Department of Public Welfare, Florida Children’s Home Society, Children Service Bureau and Jewish Family and Children’s Service.  President Eisenhower, aware of the emergency refugee situation in Miami, had just appointed Mr. Tracy Voorhees to look into the matter.  As a result of the meeting at the offices of the Welfare Planning Council and with the recommendation of Mr. Voorhees, one million dollars was allocated by the Eisenhower administration on December 2, 1960.

Also in November 1960, a Cuban mother flew to Key West bringing her two children.  She feared that because of her and her husband’s anti-Castro activities, her children would be sent to the Soviet Union.  Since she did not have family or friends in the US, she brought her two children to the Key West Juvenile Court.  She begged the Judge of that court to find a home for them.  The Judge assumed jurisdiction and placed her children in foster care.  The mother returned to Cuba to join her husband in the fight against Castro.  In addition to Pedro, now there were two more children, without their parents but safe from Castro.

James Baker was the Headmaster of Ruston Academy, an American school in Havana, catering to US residents on the island and upper middle class Cuban families.  As a resident of Cuba, Mr. Baker was very well aware of the tenor of Castro’s regime and the increasing opposition.  Cuban parents concerned about the communist indoctrination and welfare of their children approached him for a way out for their sons and daughters.  In November 1960, he sent one of his teachers to Miami and Washington to look over the situation.  As a result of that visit, they decided to open a boarding school in Miami to help the fearful parents get their children out.

For the purpose of finding a suitable building for the boarding school, Mr. Baker traveled to Miami in the second week of December 1960.  In Miami, he heard about Father Walsh and the plans of the Catholic Welfare Bureau to provide care for unaccompanied Cuban refugee children.  On December 12 he paid a visit to Father Walsh, who pointed out to him that the boarding school would be only a partial solution and that the legalities of custody would eventually surface if separation from their parents became lengthy.  Father Walsh thought that the best way to handle the situation was through a social agency, and said, “specially the younger ones, belonged in foster families, not institutions.”  Also, there was the concern that Jewish and Protestant children would be coming and assurance must be made to their parents that their religious heritage would be respected.

Mr. Baker determined that the best way to handle the situation was to work together with Father Walsh.  He estimated that 200 unaccompanied children would be coming.  He would arrange to get them out of Cuba and Father Walsh would be responsible for receiving them upon arrival at Miami’s airport and provide them with proper care until Castro was overthrown and they could return to their parents in Cuba.  Thus the yet to be named Operation Peter Pan was created.

To help Mr. Baker raise the funds for this operation were a group of members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Havana whose properties were confiscated by Castro.  Among them were Kenneth Campbell and Bob O’Farrell of Esso Standard Oil Company and Richard Colligan of Freeport Sulfur Company.  They were in Miami in a wait and see mode watching the developments in Cuba.  Judging by Castro’s brutality and violations of human rights and the increasing opposition, they agreed that it was a temporary situation until Cubans would gain the democratic change they wanted.  These businessmen wanted to help spare the Cuban children from a possibly bloody struggle.

Mr. Baker returned to Havana on December 13 and the group of businessmen began to obtain donations from US companies (and one British, the Shell Oil Company, which had done business previously in Cuba).  But, they had to prevent Castro from tracing the sources of the funds, otherwise he might stop the operation.  The first donations were paid to the Catholic Welfare Bureau.  They in turn issued checks to a series of Americans living in Miami, who in turn, issued personal checks for the airfare of the children via the W. Henry Smith Agency, a travel agency in Havana, owned and operated by H. Gilbert Smith.  This complicated process was necessary because, in order to get US currency, Castro had already forbidden the purchase of airline tickets using Cuban pesos.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Havana issued student visas to each child.  The Catholic Welfare Bureau gave a letter to Mr. Baker stating that they would be responsible for any child referred by him.  To keep Castro out of it, all communications concerning this operation were handled via the US diplomatic pouch, thanks to the cooperation of Mr. Culver Gidden of the US State Department Reception Center in Miami and the Charge d’Affairs at the US Embassy in Havana, Mr. Daniel Braddock.

On December 15, 1960, several of the American businessmen in Miami took a letter from Mr. Baker in Havana that had arrived that morning in the diplomatic pouch, to Father Walsh.  The letter contained a list of the first 125 children that would be coming.  Immediately he looked for housing for the children.  The County Welfare Department had a group of vacant buildings known as the Kendall complex that had been used to house delinquent children and offered them to Father Walsh.  There, 60 children could be housed but 125 were coming!  Father Walsh found that the St. Joseph Villa, a small group home for children run by nuns, had nine empty beds.  He found that the Assumption Academy, a private girls’ boarding school, also run by nuns, would be empty because of the Christmas holidays and they could temporarily accommodate 200!  He stopped by and asked the Mother Superior for her help.  She agreed with the condition that the children had to leave by January 6, 1961.

On December 24, 1960, Father Walsh received the news that the first children would be arriving in Miami the next day.  On Christmas Day, the only person he was able to locate to go with him to the airport to receive the children was Mrs. Louis Cooper, a Catholic Welfare Bureau social worker.  There were two flights from Cuba that afternoon:  Pan American’s 422 and National’s 452.  To their surprise, no children came on flight 422.  They waited with anxiety for the second flight.  Flight 452 finally arrived also with no children.  They were disappointed and concerned.  What had gone wrong?  What had happened to the children?

As Father Walsh anxiously awaited the flow of what would be the largest influx of unaccompanied refugee children in history, the situation that was causing the influx worsened.  Fidel Castro’s January 1960 death penalty decree for joining or even helping the revolt against him weighed heavily on everyone’s mind.  Masses were apprehended and thrown in jail without trial and summary executions were rampant.  The neighborhood committees spying on each city block were terrorizing people.  Peasants were in open revolt and fighting in the Escambray Mountains.  Students and workers were joining them and other anti-Castro rebels all over the island.  Rebel groups in the countryside were as close as 36 kilometers from Havana.  The organized anti-Castro resistance in Havana and other cities was growing.  The number of people involved in the resistance against Castro was to far exceed the number that had struggled against Batista.  The brutality of Castro’s repression was something never experienced before.  Castro was waging an all out war against the will of his people.

Many parents were panicking at the approaching second anniversary of Castro’s revolution, January 1st, 1961, with the prospect that children may no longer be allowed to leave Cuba.  The government was taking control of more and more aspects of daily life – including the raising of children.  A desperate plan to get them out was under way.  In Havana, James Baker and others willing to take great risks formed a clandestine network.  In Miami, on safer ground, Father Walsh and other dedicated Americans, prepared to accept an awesome responsibility.  The goal was to create the means to get as many children as possible out before January 1st, 1961.

December 26, 1960:  Sixto, 12 and Vivian, 14, brother and sister, the first two children to leave in this underground operation were in Havana’s José Martí International Airport. As required in Castro’s Cuba, they would wait for hours to find out if they would actually be permitted to board their plane to freedom.  Unexpectedly, their mother was allowed in the waiting room with them, a room that came to be known as “the fish tank,” because it normally separated with glass those hoping to leave from their relatives watching from the outside.

Their father, watching in silence, felt deep sorrow and fear on the other side of the cold glass.  He felt impotent in the situation that made him and his wife take a drastic step, not knowing when they would see their children again.  He consoled himself by thinking that at least in Miami his children would be safe from the unpredictable nightmare of Castro’s regime.

For Sixto and Vivian, this was the first time they were going to be separated from their parents.  They were going to the unknown; to a country with a different language, culture and environment.  They were afraid and sad to be leaving their parents, relatives and friends, their familiar home and their country, but as youngsters, they also felt a sense of adventure.  Each one was carrying a small suitcase with the few belongings that Castro’s regime allowed them to take, and of course, no money.  Before, with their parents around, that was not a problem.  But now they were on their own, not knowing who was going to take care of them.

Because their mother was permitted to wait with them, the situation was not as intimidating for them as it was for the others inside “the fish tank.”  Castro’s political police at the airport interrogated the other passengers.  They had to be very careful with their answers and appear calm and confident at all times.  The most minimal suspicious behavior or inconsistency could prevent their departure.  Their suitcases would be carefully checked and anything deemed to be of value would be confiscated “for the revolution,” meaning it would be kept by the inspectors.  This was what Cuba had become since Castro, and until the very last second on that island, while they have you under their control, you are living in uncertainty and fear.  Finally, after four agonizing hours inside “the fish tank,” the police shouted that children were allowed to board the plane.  A last hug and kiss from their mother and a last look at their father on the other side of the glass, a last silent goodbye.

On the “other side of the world” in Miami, Mrs. Cooper went again to the airport to continue the vigil to see if any children would arrive today.  The wait was excruciating.  The first flight from Havana arrived without children.  At about 7:30 pm the second flight arrived.  All the passengers arriving showed an extraordinary sense of relief as they descended and touched the ground in Miami.  Suddenly a boy, holding the hand of a girl emerged and descended the stairs to the tarmac.  There were alone.  They appeared very worried.  There were no relatives or friends waiting for them outside the doors of Customs.  Fear controlled their faces.  “Good God, our children!” exclaimed the relieved Mrs. Cooper.

Sixto and Vivian were very much relieved to see the friendly, smiling face of Mrs. Cooper.  They didn’t know it, but they were the first in a line of 14,048 children that would be arriving during the next 23 months.

Mrs. Cooper took them to St. Joseph’s Villa where they would to live for the next two months until they went to live at the home of their mother’s cousin in Hialeah, Florida.  Their mother came from Cuba five months later and their father about six months after her.  The family was reunited after 11 long months.

The daily vigil for unaccompanied children from Cuba at the Miami airport continued.  Two came on December 28th, six on the 30th and 12 on the 31st.  January 1st, 1961 arrived and Castro did not forbid the exodus of children.  However, he demanded that the US Embassy in Havana reduce its staff from 120 to 15.  This brought a strong reaction from the Eisenhower administration and on January 3, 1961, the US broke diplomatic relations with the Castro regime.  So, the US visas for the coming children would be very difficult.  Father Walsh thought that it was the end of the operation.  No children arrived on January 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  However, four arrived on the 4th!

With the closing of the US Embassy in Havana and the Consulate in Santiago de Cuba, most of the US citizens living in Cuba began to leave.  James Baker, his wife Sybil and their children arrived in Miami on January 5.  Mr. Baker was able to explain in person to the Catholic Welfare Bureau the delays that they were experiencing in getting visas for the children and the increasing number of requests.  Castro’s secret police surrounded the US Embassy while the staff was burning documents – as is customary when closing an embassy.  In the last minutes, the US embassy officials allowed him to stamp 25 extra visas.

Before leaving Cuba, Mr. Baker, with the approval of the State Department, left Miss Penny Powers, a British citizen, in charge of the exodus of the children.  She had been a nurse who was instrumental in the escape of 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi Germany, and years later in Cuba became one of the teachers at Ruston Academy in Havana.

For Father Walsh, Miss Powers and the others involved in this operation, the breaking of relations between the US and Cuba posed an additional challenge, since no more visas for the children could be issued in Havana.  Another source would have to be found in order to get the children out.

Since communication and the free flow of information were among the earliest casualties after Castro, it became very difficult to know what was really going on inside Cuba.  Everything became politically sensitive and a security matter to the regime.  Telephone conversations were monitored and letters were opened by the authorities, so Cubans began communicating by passing information from person to person in a confidential manner.  Everyone became extremely careful, because seemingly anything could bring an accusation of “counterrevolutionary,” or “CIA agent” resulting in jail.  It was known through the grapevine that Castro’s henchmen would select at random from those in jail, who was going to be executed.  Also through this grapevine, desperate Cuban parents learned about the facilities Father Walsh was creating for Cuban children in Miami.  But the problem was, how to obtain the US visa, now that the US Embassy in Havana was closed.

In Miami, Father Walsh continued making arrangements for receiving the estimated 200 children.  James and Sybil Baker, after their arrival from Cuba, were appointed the first houseparents at the newly created Cuban Boys Home at 175 S.E. 15 Road in Miami.  This house was donated by Maurice Ferré, a Puerto Rican industrialist in Miami whose parents were from Cuba.  It was the first home for Cuban teen-aged boys in the city of Miami.  The Bakers made daily trips to the airport to pick up newly arriving children.  They also assigned a Cuban couple, Angel and Nina Carrion, as permanent residents of the house, which eventually became known as “Casa Carrion.”

At the Kendall facility, far from the city, Father Walsh appointed as houseparents, another Cuban couple, Mr. and Mrs. Fernando Pruna.  He also had to hire cooks, janitors, social workers, clerks, typists and a bookkeeper.  James Baker couldn’t forget his friends stranded in Cuba and in coordination with Penny Powers and other trustworthy friends in Havana, a plan was developed with the cooperation of the British government, to get the rest of the children out via Kingston, Jamaica.  The British Embassy in Havana would issue visas to the children.  After the children arrived in Kingston, the US Consul there would give them US visas and they would be able to continue to Miami.  However, the children would need a place to stay in Kingston overnight.

Meanwhile, on January 6, 1961, seven more children arrived at Miami’s airport; two on the 7th and two more on the 8th.  The children were leaving in such a small numbers to minimize suspicions.  On January 8, Father Walsh flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with Frank Auerbach, his contact for the operation at the State Department, to talk about the Jamaica plan.  Although it was Sunday, Mr. Auerbach made arrangements to meet at 2 pm at one of the building’s side doors.

Father Walsh:  “It was a bright, cold winter afternoon, and the streets around the State Department were completely deserted.  Somehow the weather, the day, the time, the happenings of the past weeks all combined to create an atmosphere of intrigue and conspiracy.  Promptly at 2, Mr. Auerbach drove up and we met for the first time.  We entered the building and walked along deserted corridors to the office of Mr. Robert F. Hale, Director of the Visa Office, who was waiting for us.  We spent about three hours discussing the possibility of bringing the children out via Jamaica on the two KLM flights a week among other possibilities.  It was then that I heard for the first time the words ‘visa waiver’.”

At that meeting the possibility that the State Department would grant visa waivers to the children in Cuba, that would allow them to come directly to the US, was discussed.  But consultation with the Justice Department the following Monday morning was necessary.  Father Walsh stayed in his hotel room waiting for word.  On Monday afternoon, the call was received giving the O.K. to both proposals.  So now, the children could leave both ways, coming directly from Havana to Miami and through Jamaica with the visa waiver formula.  The visa waiver applied only to children from 6 to 16.  For those from 16 to 18, names had to be submitted for security clearances.  The operation was on its feet again, for as long as Castro did not discover it.

On January 10, 1960, Father Walsh and Rachel Erwin, his Supervisor of Child Welfare, boarded a flight for Kingston with the list of the coming children to make arrangements for their arrival.  They were met at the airport by Father William A. Connolly, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Kingston who took them to lunch at the Bishop’s house.  At the meeting it was arranged that the boys would stay at St. George College and the girls at Immaculate Conception College.  Father Walsh stayed that evening because next morning he would meet with the US Consul and the managers of Pan American and KLM airlines to secure their cooperation.  On January 11, Father Walsh returned to Miami while Miss Erwin stayed behind to receive the children.  But no children arrived that day in Kingston.

Back in Miami, 50 children were being cared for at three locations:  The Cuban Boys Home, St. Joseph Villa and Kendall.  But no new children were leaving Cuba.  Father Walsh, called Miss Erwin in Kingston.  She said that according to KLM, the first children would arrive on January 17.  However, on Monday, January 16, two children arrived at Miami’s airport.  During this impasse, Father Walsh and Mr. Baker were involved in organizing an education program for the children.  Although everyone thought this was a temporary situation and the children would soon be returning to Cuba when Castro was overthrown, they did not want them to miss their schooling.  Word was sent to Havana to have the children bring their textbooks, if possible.

In Havana, through the grapevine, word of the visa waiver had reached the parents and on January 17 the first seven children were able to leave for Jamaica and on the 18th, two arrived directly from Havana.  In addition to Penny Powers, a clandestine network was established in Cuba for the distribution of the visa waivers.  A group of very dedicated people were risking their lives for the sake of getting these children out to freedom. Among them was the wealthy socialite, Sara del Toro de Odio, Albertina O’Fárril, Teté Pachéz (secretary at the W. Henry Smith Travel Agency in Havana), Gilbert Smith (son of the owner), Adelaida Everhart, Petit Esnart, Laureano Dominguez, Hilda Feo, Emilio Fernandez (Pan American Airlines in Cuba), Pancho Finlay (KLM Airlines in Cuba) and others.  Many of them eventually served time in jail for their “anti-Castro Activities.”  But their incarceration did not stop Operation Peter Pan.  Other people continued their work.

To obtain the visa waiver necessary to send their children to the US, parents had to get to the houses of the people distributing them in Havana.  They had to do so very carefully, due to the increasing surveillance.  There were the dreaded block committees, the network of informants and the secret police.  The people distributing the visas also had to be extremely careful, because the people knocking at their doors could be informants or secret police.  There were enormous risks both ways.  Surviving inside a totalitarian society had become very complicated.

The wealthy Sara del Toro de Odio and her husband Amador had spent time in jail for their prior anti-Batista activities.  They knew Castro personally.  When he took over, they believed and supported his government until they began to realize the communist direction the revolution was taking.  They learned about the summary executions and brutality against the increasing opposition.  They knew Batista’s jails and his treatment of political prisoners from first hand experience.  Castro himself had been treated very well during his 20-month stay at the Isle of Pines Prison.  They were appalled by what was going on now, under Castro.  That wasn’t what they and others had fought for:  democracy.  If there was something that the economically prosperous Cuba didn’t need, it was a totalitarian communist regime.

As they had fought against Batista, Sara and Amador decided to fight against Castro.  But because of Castro’s violent and revengeful nature, they thought it would take a bloody struggle of dimensions never seen before.  They worried that Castro might use their children as hostages and decided to take three of them to safety.  Sara went alone to the US in January 1961 with her son and two daughters.  Before she returned to Cuba to join her husband in the struggle against Castro, she met Father Walsh who gave her visa waivers to distribute in Cuba.  Back in Havana, she and her husband decided to move from their city home to their recreational farm outside the city to be out of sight of the block committees and secret police.

Concerned parents all over the island learned about Sara through the grapevine.  Sara and Amador’s farm was one of the places where the parents could go to get the visa waiver.  Extreme care was necessary to avoid being followed.  The trip was an ordeal for many.  One by one, people from all over the island showed up at the farm.  Some were from poor and far away places who supposedly were the beneficiaries of Castro’s revolution, however, they didn’t want their children indoctrinated.  Many did not have the means to send their children to the US.  In those cases, Sara and Amador provided the US dollars for the trip.

Parents were also knocking at the doors of Bertha and Esther de la Portilla, Laureano Fernandez, Rev. Hernandez, Rev. Maximiliano, Bishop Muller, Serafina Hikel, Beatriz Morton, Israel Padilla, Alicia Thomas and others who also participated at great personal risk.

Through Jamaica and Miami, the number of children arriving was growing and more places were needed to house them.  On Tuesday, January 31, 1961, Father Walsh stressed the need for keeping the operation secret, avoiding all publicity that could jeopardize the children’s safe exit out of Cuba.  The US press was already suspecting what was going on, but in a spirit of cooperation, they did not say anything.  They were the ones who baptized the secret exodus “Operation Peter Pan.”  This name was in honor of the first boy Father Walsh took under his care on November 15, 1960, Pedro (Peter) Menendez.

Father Walsh wrote on February 1, 1961, “As of today 174 children came in (from Cuba).  Of these, 53 have been and are being cared for by relatives and friends, the rest by the Catholic Welfare Bureau except for two by the Jewish Family Service.  In addition, 20 have been sent to the Catholic Children Bureau, in Philadelphia.”  As the numbers grew, children were sent to orphanages and foster homes in 35 states.

The Cuban children were mainly from white middle class families, including some Jewish.  There were also children from black and Chinese families.  The Cuban children, not accustomed to segregation, were shocked by it in Florida.  When black Cuban children were not allowed to enter some places, the others, in a show of solidarity, refused to enter.

The sudden separation from their parents, culture and environment, had a strong effect on many younger children who could not understand why their lives changed so drastically.

On April 17, 1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion took place.  This was the opportunity that the anti-Castro underground resistance movement was waiting for to create a general strike and massive civil disobedience throughout Cuba.  But the long awaited invasion went wrong from the beginning.  First, US officials changed the landing place to a swampy area against the advice of Cubans with expert knowledge of their territory.  Second, President Kennedy reneged on his promise to back up the landing with US air power (waiting and ready to fly).  In the early hours of April 17, Castro ordered the massive detention of 250,000 people suspected of being unsympathetic to his cause, effectively preventing any civilian back up of the invasion.  The detainees were housed in stadiums, theaters and prisons.  Many were executed or remained in prison.

Cubans, after the invasion fiasco, disenchanted with what was perceived as the betrayal of President Kennedy by not helping them to get rid of the communist regime they never wanted, realized that there wasn’t much that they could do alone on that isolated island with a omnipotent leader who would stop at nothing to maintain power.  Kennedy seemed more interested in fighting communism in far away Vietnam than in his own neighborhood.  They also realized that the separation from their children was not going to be temporary, and many started to leave in any way they could in order to be reunited with their children.

My father’s brother and his wife made the “impossible” decision to send their two children to the US.  Their son, Jorge, was 13 and their daughter, Ileana, was 11.  They left on July 8, 1962.  At their arrival in Miami, they were separated.  Jorge was sent to live in a tent in a camp called Matecumbe in Miami.  Ileana was sent to a girls refuge called Florida City.  After a few months, they were adopted by Merlin and Peggy Blair in Pensacola, Florida.  After two years, Jorge was sent to Bay San Luis Catholic Seminary in Mississippi and Ileana went to a Catholic orphanage in Mobile, Alabama.  Later, Jorge was also transferred to an orphanage in Mobile, Alabama.

In Cuba, Sara and Amador were apprehended.  One of their farm workers turned out to be an informant.  They went to jail for anti-Castro activities.  But in spite of the brutality and torture they endured, they never gave the names of the others.  Their properties were confiscated and their farm was converted to a women’s jail were Sara was forced to serve the last six years of her incarceration.  After Amador was freed, they were able to leave for Miami where they reunited with their children.  Amador died some years later.

For 16 months, Operation Peter Pan was proceeding in secret until March 9, 1962.  Father Walsh remembers, “the Cleveland Plain Dealer decided to break the spirit of cooperation and prepared a story for publication.  When all efforts to suppress the story failed, we agreed to a press release giving the basic story but omitting all references to what was being done within Cuba.”

In Cuba, Albertina O’Farril was already in jail with Sara del Toro de Odio.  But after the Bay of Pigs invasion and the massive arrests of April 17, 1961, others began distributing the visa waivers.  During those times Ramón Grau and his sister Polita – relatives of the former constitutionally elected President of Cuba, Ramón Grau San Martin, 1944-48 – became involved in the distribution of visa waivers and the children continued to come.

Then the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in October 1962, putting the world at the brink of a nuclear holocaust.  With the confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union, the last commercial flight from Havana to Miami departed Cuba on October 22, 1962.  On that flight were the last children of Operation Peter Pan.  There were 50,000 more children with their visa waivers left stranded in Cuba; 14,048 were safely out.

Of that total, 7,464 were cared for by the efforts of the 465 people who worked in this operation at the Catholic Welfare Bureau in Miami.  The children were housed at their facilities in the Miami area and orphanages and foster homes in 35 states.  The rest of the children were living with relatives, friends and with their parents as they were able to leave Cuba.

After the suspension of the direct flights from Cuba, parents began leaving through Spain and Mexico, although the transit visa through Mexico was extremely difficult to obtain.  In some instances bribes had to be paid to Mexican officials by relatives and friends abroad on behalf of the parents.  Their exiled relatives and friends were paying the money for the parents’ trip and stay in the transit country.

In early 1965, Castro’s secret police arrested Ramón Grau.  He was brutally tortured for three months at the infamous Villa Marista, the headquarters of the G2 political police.  He was placed in solitary confinement inside a 6×6 tomb-like cell 12 feet underground full of roaches and rats, where he couldn’t even stand erect.  He was subjected to a variety of psychological tortures in an effort force him to sign a confession.  He never did and was tried for anti-Castro activities and sentenced to death – later commuted to 23 years.  His sister, Polita Grau, who was the director of a women’s anti-Castro underground organization called Rescate (Rescue), also spent long years as a political prisoner.

To reunite the families, President Johnson created the Freedom Flights, which began on December 1, 1965.  The parents of Operation Peter Pan children were given first priority.  Within the first six months of the Freedom Flights, about 5,000 children were reunited with their parents.  These flights lasted until April 1973 and brought 260,561 Cubans to the US.

My uncle’s son and daughter remained in separate orphanages in Mobile, Alabama until their parents were allowed to leave Cuba on the Freedom Flights on May 8, 1966.  They were finally reunited after four years and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Both of my cousins have since married and have children and grandchildren.

For most families, reunification brought forth unexpected difficulties that had to be overcome.  Many, including my cousin Ileana, could not communicate with their parents until they could relearn Spanish.  Others remembered their parents as they looked in Cuba when they were younger and in happier times.  The suffering, and for some, incarceration endured by the parents in Cuba, made some parents appear so much older and different that their own children didn’t recognize them.  Some children denied that they were their real parents.  In other instances, parents found their children so changed by the different culture, that reunification became a long-term trauma.

For some, death of one of the parents, either by natural causes or by being executed during the separation period, made the reunion very painful.  Other parents, because one or both were sent to jail or a concentration camp, were unable to reunite, so their children remained in orphanages or living with relatives or friends.  By 1971, 165 children remained under the care of the Catholic Welfare Bureau’s Cuban Children’s Program.  The last of the Cuban children left in 1976, 26 years later!  It is estimated that because of Operation Peter Pan, 150,000 additional people were able to come to the US.  There are enough stories involved with this exodus to fill many compelling volumes.

Sara del Toro de Odio still lives in Miami.  Albertina O’Farril, after 14 years in jail is in exile in Miami.  Ramón and Polita Grau, after their release from jail also came to Miami.  Penny Powers, now in her eighties, still lives in Cuba and was Knighted by the Queen of England.  James Baker, whose wife, Sybil, died, lives near Daytona Beach.  Father Bryan O. Walsh, 69, now Monsignor, as a result of his experience with the Cuban children, is developing a Children’s Village in Miami, where needy children can live in a family like atmosphere.

The children from Operation Peter Pan have grown up to be doctors, lawyers, technicians, musicians, entertainers, etc.  Among the most well known musicians is Willy Chirino.  He married the popular singer Lisette Alvarez, also a Peter Pan child whose parents were the famous 1950s’ Cuban radio and television performers Olga Chorens and Tony Alvarez.  And singer/songwriter Marisela Verena and musician Carlos Oliva.  Santiago Rodriquez has become internationally known as a classical piano virtuoso and Professor at Maryland University – he was 8 when he came to the US.

Sixto Aquino, the first official Peter Pan child who arrived in Miami on November 26, 1960, obtained an degree in Economics in 1969 from Georgetown University and is Division Chief for the Andean Countries at the Inter-American Development Bank and has two children.  His sister, Vivian, graduated from high school in 1963, went to the University of Maryland, married in 1967 and has three children.  She lives in Miami where she and her husband export software to Latin America.

Every Peter Pan child has an important story to tell. Margarita Prats, now Margarita Lora, who came when she was 8 with her sister Lola, 6 and brothers José, 9 and Benito, 7, has three children and is a Research Medical Technologist at NIH and lives in Maryland, while Lola became a Clinical Medical Technologist and has two children.  Her brother, José, is a Communications Entrepreneur in Virginia with two children.  Benito is an Aerospace Engineer in California with four children.  Family reunions are very important for the Prats family and their parents have a series of photos lined up on the wall of their kitchen to prove it.

Mayda Rodriguez, now Mayda Riopedre, who came at 15 with her sister Lina, was a Research Librarian at the Smithsonian Institution and now lives in Miami.  Her sister, Lina, has two children and is a Restaurant Manager in West Palm Beach.  Psychologist Ana Cristina Gardano, PH.D., who came with her brother Enrique, is in private practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  And the list goes on.  There are grown Peter Pan children all over the US.

Since time has healed most of the traumas of the experience, most of the Peter Pan children thank their parents for having the courage to send them to freedom which they now fully enjoy and appreciate.  Would they be able to do the same for their own children?  Perhaps, for some, if the circumstances demanded it.  But not for others, still suffering from the separation trauma.  Some have chosen not to have children, others are very close and protective of them and are glad that their children live with freedom, something that can easily be taken for granted when you haven’t lived in a communist totalitarian society.  In general, they are grateful that Operation Peter Pan gave them the opportunity to fly as Peter did.

© 1997 & 2003 ABIP

Sources:

Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh, CUBAN REFUGEE CHILDREN

Margarita Lora, B.S.

Mayda Riopedre, M.A.

Dr. Ana Cristina Gardano, PH.D.

Santiago Rodriguez

Natalia Rodriguez

Alfonso García

Sixto Aquino

René Blázquez

Ileana Kiefer

Dr. Benito Prats, M.D.

Aleida Duran, INTERVIEW WITH WILLY CHIRINO

Helga Silva, THE CHILDREN OF MARIEL

and other historical and statistical sources

Agustin Blazquez, Producer/director of the documentaries

COVERING CUBA, CUBA: The Pearl of the Antilles, COVERING CUBA 2: The Next Generation & COVERING CUBA 3: Elian presented at the 2003 Miami Latin Film Festival.

Author with Carlos Wotzkow of the book COVERING AND DISCOVERING and translator with Jaums Sutton of the book by Luis Grave de Peralta Morell THE MAFIA OF HAVANA: The Cuban Cosa Nostra.

For a preview and information on the documentary and books click here: ABIP

Biden Plan Would Sabotage U.S. Economic Competitiveness in One Huge Way, Analysis Finds

That’s not ‘Building Back Better’—it’s shooting ourselves in the foot.  


President Biden has heralded his $4.5+ trillion spending proposals and accompanying tax hikes as an investment in “leading the world versus letting it pass us by.” Yet, paradoxically, a new analysis exposes one huge way Biden’s plans would make the US less competitive on the global stage.

Key to financing the spending plans is a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent. When factoring in state corporate taxes, the US’s average corporate tax rate would reach a whopping 30.9 percent. And according to a new Tax Foundation analysis, this punitive level of business taxation would be the third-highest corporate tax rate among developed countries, outstripped only by Colombia and Portugal.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TAX FOUNDATION INFOGRAPHIC

Why is this a problem?

Well, the US would become a less attractive place for business investment, which is bad news for entrepreneurs, workers, and customers alike. Businesses would understandably be less likely to conduct business in the US when they could go to dozens of other developed countries with lower tax rates. As a result, our economic competitiveness would suffer.

“Returning to near the top of the OECD in corporate tax rates would… disincentivize investment and encourage firms to shift profits and locate elsewhere, resulting in fewer job opportunities for Americans and less tax revenue for the U.S. government,” the analysis explains.

Yikes.

Biden claims his tax-and-spend agenda is meant to reassert America’s dominance. But the costly tax hikes the president seeks would set our economic competitiveness back on the global stage. That’s not “Building Back Better”—it’s shooting ourselves in the foot.

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

WATCHNew Biden Vax Mandate Doesn’t Make ANY Sense (Here’s Why)

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

Worldview is Central to Determining Views on Abortion

The month of October kicks off “Respect Life Month” in the Catholic Church, and with the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled to hear the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case on December 1, Christians across the country have begun praying in earnest for the case that could overturn Roev. Wade. How will Americans react to the possibility of the Court altering the long-standing Roe ruling concerning abortion?

Many Americans wonder why abortion remains such a high-profile issue after all these years. The explanation is simple. Almost 50 years ago, seven appointed—not elected—justices decided that killing unborn babies should be a constitutionally-protected act. Since that time, more than 62 million unborn babies have been killed in our nation.

Rest assured, that fact has not gone unnoticed by the God who knitted together those babies in the wombs of their mothers.

Recent worldview research provides helpful insight into Americans’ views about abortion. The annual American Worldview Inventory undertaken by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University shows that after a half-century of energetic public debate about abortion, the abortion perspectives of millions of Americans remain surprisingly tenuous and pliable.

Keep in mind that very few adults are capable of applying a biblical worldview to this (or any other) issue. Although 51 percent of Americans think they have a biblical worldview (according to a Center for Biblical Worldview survey), the American Worldview Inventory reveals that only six percent of Americans actually have one. Since most Americans (88 percent) are driven by a Syncretistic worldview—an inconsistent, unpredictable combination of elements originating in various competing worldviews—the nation’s thinking about the morality and permissibility of abortion is more likely to be based on current emotions and popular thought, not on biblical principles related to life.

Indeed, the American Worldview Inventory underscores the morally wayward thinking of Americans. Not quite four out of 10 adults (39 percent) believe that life is sacred. An equal proportion of Americans argue that life is what we make it or that there is no absolute value associated with human life. The remaining two out of 10 adults possess a variety of other views about life, including outright uncertainty as to whether or not life has any intrinsic value.

Views about life are closely related to worldview and faith commitments. For instance, more than nine out of every 10 adults (93 percent) who have a biblical worldview believe that human life is sacred. Eight out of every 10 (81 percent) SAGE Cons (i.e., the Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservative Christians) possess that view as well. Surprisingly, only six out of 10 theologically-determined born-again Christians (60 percent) say that human life is sacred. Those proportions dwarf those among people associated with non-Christian faiths (25 percent) or those who are spiritual skeptics (15 percent).

Many people are surprised to discover that Millennials are not a pro-life generation. Less than one-quarter of them (22 percent) believes that human life is sacred. Meanwhile, twice as many in Gen X and a slight majority of Boomers and their elders contend that human life is sacred.

Americans’ views about abortion continue to shock many observers. For instance, two out of three adults (64 percent) either say that the Bible is ambiguous in its views about abortion or that they don’t know what those views are. For a nation where roughly seven out of 10 adults call themselves “Christian,” that represents a mindboggling degree of biblical ignorance concerning one of the most high-profile social issues of the past half-century.

Not everyone falls into that vacuum of wisdom, though. More than nine out of 10 people who have a biblical worldview—a group known as Integrated Disciples—reject the notion that the Bible contains ambiguous ideas about abortion. Similarly, eight out of 10 SAGE Cons reject that position as well.

But the idea that the Bible is ambiguous about abortion is held by a variety of population segments. More than 70 percent of people who draw heavily from non-biblical worldviews—specifically, Marxism, Secular Humanism, Modern Mysticism, Postmodernism, and even Moralistic Therapeutic Deism—believe the Bible can be interpreted multiple ways regarding abortion. At least seven out of 10 adults aligned with a non-Christian faith or spiritual skeptics also embrace that point of view. And two-thirds of adults under the age of 50 harbor that misconception as well.

Given these perspectives, then, it should not shock us to find that nearly six out of 10 adults (57 percent) believe that a woman who chooses to have an abortion because her partner has left and she believes she cannot reasonably take care of the child is making a morally acceptable decision. Again, the survey shows that such a decision is a direct reflection of one’s worldview. Just two percent of the Integrated Disciples support abortion under such circumstances. In contrast, more than eight out of 10 who are adherents of other worldviews support that decision. That includes 89 percent of those who often draw their worldview from Postmodernism; 88 percent who often rely upon Secular Humanism; 82 percent who draw frequently from Modern Mysticism; and 81 percent who lean heavily upon Marxist philosophy.

Previous research by the Cultural Research Center also revealed that national opinion is roughly equally divided as to whether the Supreme Court should overturn its disastrous Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. The subgroup numbers line up similarly to the segmentation patterns related to the responses to the other abortion-related questions described earlier. In general, those most desirous of the Court overturning the 1973 ruling are led by Integrated Disciples (67 percent consider a reversal of Roe to be a priority) and by SAGE Cons (74 percent). Those who want the Court to affirm Roe are led by groups that are not favorable to Christianity.

The Court’s ultimate decision, whatever it may be, will not satisfy everyone—or, perhaps, even a majority of Americans. But for biblically informed Christians, the abortion issue is not about pleasing a majority of the public or persuading a majority of jurists; it is a matter of understanding and obeying God’s principles and standing for His truth.

COLUMN BY

George Barna

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Pfizer Insider LEAKS Hidden COVID Vaccine Info

Project Veritas released the fifth video in its COVID vaccine investigative series today featuring a sit-down interview with Pfizer Insider, Melissa Strickler.

She leaked internal emails that show corporate executives telling staff to be secretive about the use of human fetal tissue in laboratory testing of the COVID vaccine.

Here are some of the highlights from today’s video:

  • Vanessa Gelman, Pfizer Senior Director of Worldwide Research: “From the perspective of corporate affairs, we want to avoid having the information on fetal cells floating out there…The risk of communicating this right now outweighs any potential benefit we could see, particularly with general members of the public who may take this information and use it in ways we may not want out there. We have not received any questions from policy makers or media on this issue in the last few weeks, so we want to avoid raising this if possible.”
  • Gelman: “We have been trying as much as possible to not mention the fetal cell lines…One or more cell lines with an origin that can be traced back to human fetal tissue has been used in laboratory tests associated with the vaccine program.”
  • Philip Dormitzer, Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer: “HEK293T cells, used for the IVE assay, are ultimately derived from an aborted fetus. On the other hand, the Vatican doctrinal committee has confirmed that they consider it acceptable for Pro-Life believers to be immunized. Pfizer’s official statement couches the answer well and is what should be provided in response to an outside inquiry.”
  • Melissa Strickler, Pfizer Insider and Manufacturing Quality Auditor: “They’re being so deceptive in their emails, it’s almost like it is in the final vaccine. It just made me not trust it.”

Watch the video:

These are shocking revelations coming from a Brave Big Pharma Insider.

The public has a right to know how the products they consume are developed, especially vaccines.

Project Veritas encourages more whistleblowers working inside Big Pharma to come forward with newsworthy information on the COVID vaccine.

Email us at VeritasTips@protonmail.com


*CLICK HERE TO TWEET OUT THE VIDEO*


EDITORS NOTE: This Project Veritas video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Does Biden’s $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Include a Mileage Tax?

Here’s a dismaying prospect: Paying 6, 8, or 10 cents in new taxes for every mile you drive. It may sound small, but at an 8 cent rate, that would be $1,144 in new annual taxes for the average American, who drives about 14,300 miles a year. Yikes!

Some on social media are claiming that this punitive tax scheme has been slipped into President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending legislation—which, after all, is nearly 3,000 pages and is chock full of unrelated waste and partisan pet projects. But are they right to be concerned about a mileage tax soon becoming reality?

No. At least, not yet.

The infrastructure legislation does not include a mileage tax or another form of driving tax. What it does include is a pilot program to study and test the idea. The legislation authorizes $125 million in taxpayer funding for this test initiative. (A lot of taxpayer money for an experiment, no?)

“People would volunteer to be part of the test,” fact-checkers at local New York news outlet WGRZ-TV report. “The test would require volunteers to record their miles, pay the fees, and then be reimbursed by the government. This pilot program would go through the year 2026 and at that point, if Congress and the president like it, they would have to pass another bill making it into law. This infrastructure bill simply creates the program.”

We can certainly question the wisdom of this endeavor. But rest assured that if the infrastructure legislation ultimately passes—a likely if not certain outcome—you won’t get a new per-mile bill from the IRS. However, this move does represent a shift toward mainstreaming and advancing the idea of a per-mile driving tax.

Such a tax would be highly regressive, meaning that it would disproportionately burden low-income Americans. So, too, the costs would fall harder on rural Americans who drive more than their city-dwelling counterparts. That said, proponents argue it simply funds highway infrastructure by taxing those who use it. They also note that it could replace the gas tax, which currently attempts to do the same yet fails to capture usage by electric vehicles.

Still, the prospect of sizable new taxes levied on working-class Americans solely for the privilege of being allowed to drive your own car isn’t an attractive one. Luckily, we aren’t actually facing this as an immediate reality, even if it is slowly being advanced into the mainstream.

WATCHNew Biden Vax Mandate Doesn’t Make ANY Sense (Here’s Why)

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.